Monday, April 10, 2006

Bringing Hotel Luxury Home

Jennifer Candotti's husband recently gave her a gift: a quiet night away from him and their baby in a nearby hotel. "It was such a great night," she said. "I was by myself. I was so, so comfortable."

The next morning, she reflected on what made her feel so cozy - the featherbed mattress pad, the down comforter, the feather and down pillow, the 300-thread-count sheets and even the bed skirt, because it matched so nicely. Ultimately, her stay produced sensations associated with royalty.

"I just didn't want it to end," she said. It didn't have to.

Candotti went back to her home in Brookeville, Md., and did something thousands of hotel guests now do every day: She logged on to the hotel's website and went shopping. She ordered, for $1,500, just about everything her body touched. By the end of the week she had the goods, which she used to turn her guest room into a hotel at home.

The days of hotel guests stealing Ritz-Carlton towels are gone. Now they just buy the room, or even the lobby - the shower curtains, the lamps, the carpet, the chairs, the chaises, the desks, the beds, the bedding, the soap, the dishes, the flatware and pricey artwork on the wall. The hotels sell all this in an effort to tap into the dreams of the American consumer, who has already been rapidly trading up to other high-end products, such as $60 bottles of vodka, $200 designer jeans and pricey chocolate.

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