Monday Wake-Up: Sir Francis Drake Reborn, More Free Cookies in Ft. Wayne

● Visitors to the Bay Area, rejoice: the historic Sir Francis Drake Hotel has reopened after a $30 million renovation. All 416 rooms have been renovated to bring to life the elegance of the 1920s (the hotel originally opened in 1928), and the lobby and 21st-floor Starlight Room have been revitalized as well. The boutique hotel’s location near Union Square has always drawn in locals as well as guests, but new restaurants, bars, and rooms will help ensure the Kimpton-owned hotel’s legacy in coming years. [Travel Weekly]

● Thailand is courting the environmentally conscious, making green protocols integral to planning and carrying out meetings and events. They’ve already certified eight major conference venues and 170 hotels as officially “green,” all in an effort to attract American business, who increasingly cite green efforts as key in their meeting planning. [Travel Daily] ● Sometimes it’s the little things that count — and at Fort Wayne International Airport in Indiana, those things are free, delicious cookies upon arrival. The program started 10 years ago and has just expanded to late-night arrivals, thanks to a self-service stand where travelers arriving after 8:30pm can help themselves. [Overhead Bin] ● The 2011 Conde Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards were announced last week, and while the entire list is worth perusing in the November issue (on stands this week). Highlights include a new top city in the U.S. (Charleston, S.C.) a new top hotel in the U.S. (the Elysian, in Chicago) and a new top hotel in the world: The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong. [Travel Pulse] ● American Express has long been the gold standard for businesses of all sizes, and now their corporate cards have announced new cardholder benefits — free Global Entry membership to speed your way through security, and 10 Go-Go inflight wireless credits per year. [Business Travel News]

Sweet Hotel Deals for April

imageHotels are slashing prices, lowering rates, and making deals. You can profit from their losses and take advantage of all the sweet deals out there right now. First up: The Kimpton Hotels “Sweet Tax Relief” deal. They’re offering tax-free rooms and meals at their onsite restaurants. To make the deal a little sweeter, they’re throwing in cute candy in the mix, like Sugar Daddies, 100 Grands, and Paydays. The no-tax deal can add up to a sizable savings, especially since some room taxes can be $30 a night. This offer is good at many of the properties, including Hotel Palomar, Sir Francis Drake Hotel, Hotel Triton, The Muse, Topaz Hotel, Helix Hotel, and Hotel George.

Moving over to New York, there’s dozens of hotels on sale, prices hovering between $99 and $200. A partial list:

Hudson Hotel – $119 Time Hotel – $135 6 Columbus – $139 Hotel Mela – $147 Carlton Hotel – $150 City Club Hotel – $172 The Dream Hotel – $150 Gild Hall – $159 The Mansfield – $179 The Cooper Square Hotel – $195

The Gramercy Park Hotel is offering 50 percent off every other night through April 30. If you live in the Tri-State area, The Algonquin Hotel will take 20 percent off your room rate and comp you an upgrade.

San Francisco: Top 5 Stay & Play Hotels

imageSave on taxi fare at these SF hotels with built-in party scenes …

1. Phoenix Hotel (Tenderloin) – Chill poolside with the Chili Peppers at SF’ s only rock n’ roll hotel. 2. Hotel des Arts (Union Square) – Your favorite local artists trick your suite with detailing to pimp your room for your stay. 3. Sir Francis Drake Hotel (Union Square) – Lavish Euro-style digs and 21st-floor nightclub with ass-kicking views.

4. W San Francisco Hotel (SoMa) – Yuppie wonderland, but the entrance leads straight to the bar (brilliant). 5. Elements Hotel (Mission District) – Part nightclub, part hotel, part hostel, part restaurant, all good.