City Sights from the Front Seat, Courtesy of Hotel Concierge

There’s a lot to see anytime you land in a new city, and your travel time is always precious. In an effort to accommodate their customers’ need for speed and comfort, luxury hotels are offering more options than ever for getting around.

The Peninsula hotel group has long been ahead of the curve in making courtesy cars fun — they offer chauffered hunter green BMW Mini Cooper S Clubman’s service at their properties in New York, Chicago, Hong Kong, or Tokyo that are custom-designed with a mini-fridge stocked with goodies and cold towels and an iPhone/iPod connection in the front and rear. But it’s the Peninsula Hong Kong that really goes over the top with signature vehicles, which include a helicopter, 14 Rolls-Royce Phantoms, and one 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II in Peninsula Green, as well as the aforementioned fleet of Minis.

The posh grounds of the Intercontinental London Park Lane have recently seen some unusual company, as Alvaro Rey, the general manager, has instituted regular rides around the property with members of the hotel staff, during which they share with him their insights into how the hotel is running, and he shares with them facts along the way that transform them all into tour guides, so that guests who choose to use the hotel bicycles have plenty of assistance in enjoying their route.

In true Parisian style, the Four Seasons Georges V has the world’s only Hermès-designed Rolls-Royce Phantom, available to hotel guests through the concierge. The sleek gray exterior is complemented by a rose-gray Hermès leather interior, with the steering wheel and passenger console done in gold calfskin accents. Also in Paris, guests staying in the suites at the Plaza Athenee are provided with keys to either the elegant Aston Martin Rapide or the small, sporty Cygnet.

While the European bike-sharing programs are terrific for European travelers, American travelers without chip-and-pin cards may find their city bicycling somewhat curtailed. That’s why Park Hyatts in Chicago, Washington DC, Buenos Aires, Sydney, Toyko, Beijing, Moscow, Goa, and Milan are all providing bikes for their guests, with more hotels expected to roll out the program soon.

Up in the mountains, sportscars can be more of a liability than an amenity, so the Four Seasons Vail has opted for a fleet of Mercedes SUVs to take you on scenic drives through the valley, on a downtown shopping excursion, or up the mountain to begin and end your day. And if you have multiple destinations on your itinerary, they’re even open to a drive to Aspen or other mountain towns.

One of the world’s most luxurious hotels requires a suitably top-of-the-line vehicle, so it’s no wonder that the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi opted for a chauffeur-driven Maybach, available to guests of the hotel’s most expensive package suites. Other guests will have to content themselves with the Rolls-Royce option also on hand.

The broad avenue outside the Grand Hotel Europe in St. Petersburg, Russia is lined with BMW 7 Series limousines, as well as BMW X1 or X5 if you have heavy shopping to do. They’re available for airport transfers, nights out of the town (which come in handy if you’re out across the river late at night) or tours of the historic city.

Shutters on the Beach is one of Santa Monica’s most popular beachfront hotels, but when you’re ready to come off the beach, out of town guests who may not have a car at their disposal have access to a Jaguar XJ within the city limits. Of course, for a sportier option, the hotel also has adorable Kate Spade bicycles that are free for guests to use anytime.

Guests of the Beach House Maldives, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, have as much exploring to do by sea as by land, so the resort’s bright white DeHavilland Twin Otter seaplane is a welcome amenity for getting to and from the airport and around the island — and it doesn’t hurt that the plane is stocked with iPads full of entertainment, Bose headphones, and more.

As bike programs spread throughout multiple cities in the USA (Minneapolis and Portland may be the veterans, but DC, New York, and more are coming up behind them), hotel bike programs are more desirable than ever. All Fairmont Hotels in the United States have a set of BMW Cruise bikes that come complete with helmets and locks for cruising around town.

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The Obamas Revive Vail’s Ski Chic

As a far as North American ski resorts are concerned, Vail has long been the underachieving Rocky Mountain sibling to Telluride and Aspen’s ultra-pricey luxe. But thanks to a recent face lift that transformed its dated base village into a Bavarian hideaway, Vail is beginning to attract the attention of world-class hoteliers, restaurateurs, and artists. “Vail’s Renaissance” officially kicked off with the arrival of its latest luxury hotel, The Sebastian, in Vail Village. Along with it came a boom of fantastic restaurant, spa, and nightlife openings. International travelers and ski fanatics have followed, and, as if to clearly trumpet Vail’s arrival as the “it” place to stay and ski, the Obamas paid the quaint town a visit just a couple weeks ago. Here’s a look at their weekend ski itinerary.

Their Hotel: The Sebastian image Breakdown: Apparently, while Barack stayed back in DC, Michele took Malia and Sasha to the new Vail Village crown jewel (on their own, personal dime—mind you!), The Sebastian—which has been open for just over a month. The property, located at the former site of the Vail Plaza Hotel, underwent a major overhaul after the Timbers Resort took it over in 2009, and it’s been the subject of the much buzzed-about “Vail Renaissance” that began in 2008. Stand-Outs: I’m betting that Michele and her brood stayed in the Residences at the Sebastian—multi-room condos outfitted in a stylish alpine motif, with incredible views of the snow-covered mountain and quaint village. Usually an owners-only stay, they are equipped with gourmet kitchens, huge bedrooms with their own private bathrooms, and a gorgeous fireplace. I could also wax poetic about sitting outside in steaming hot tubs—four of them—in a near blizzard as a cocktail waitress serves up margaritas. Or maybe the fantastic mixology bar, Frost, that hawks original creations like the Snuggler (DeKuyper Peppermint Schnapps and hot chocolate, topped with whipped cream and Dekuyper Crème de Menthe). There’s also Block 16, a Napa-style farm-to-table restaurant, or the simple provisions at Market, The Sebastian’s restaurant. Not to be left out is Bloom Spa, with an array of unconventional apres ski treatments. Especially outstanding: BaseCamp, their private mountain club outfitted with ski valets to keep you from lugging your gear around town. Location: Just off the Vail Village pedestrian thoroughfare, near the Four Seasons. Best For: Families, young couples, and anyone who can really appreciate luxury on a mountainside.

Next: Uncommon Concierge Picks

Uncommon Concierge Picks image You could ski and snowboard all day, or you could go out for a different kind of adventure. Here are some interesting things to see, explore, and do around town, curated by The Sebastian’s concierge team. 1). Dog Sledding with Mountain Mushers: Ride with a mass of dogs through unspoiled vistas of Colorado. The up-close interaction with the dogs on your team, along with a high-speed (30 MPH) chase through winding hills, make for a memorable experience. 2). Adventure Ridge at Eagle’s Nest: The Obama kids would have had a ball tubing, ski biking, trampolining, and snowshoeing at this fun spot at the top of the mountain. 3). Ice Skating at Solaris in Vail Village: Under a crazy art installation in the town’s square lies a brand new ice rink, open from 1-8pm. 4). Sleigh Ride Dinners: Minutes from Vail, enjoy Sleigh Ride Dinners at 4 Eagle Ranch. Under starlit skies, an open horse-drawn sleigh picks you up at your front door and takes you back to the way Colorado used to be.

Next: Dining and Nightlife

Dining and Nightlife image On Property: 1). Frost Bar: Eighty different types of scotch, 52 different types of tequila, and signature cocktails (Bacon Bloody Mary, anyone?) will entice guests to linger. 2). Block 16: Largely focused on the produce and proteins sourced locally, Block 16 feature seasonally relevant dishes with a Mediterranean influence. Try the “Mar & Montańa” (Mountain & Ocean): Maine lobster and braised veal cheeks with salsify purée and a merlot reduction. Concierge Picks: 3).Bol 4). La Tour 5). Kelly Liken: Note—Michele O had the ribs.

Vail Airport Runway Party

The Eagle Airport of Vail airport wants to thank the community for putting up with the hassles of the 5-year, $40 million inconvenience of building a new runway. So before any planes christen the runway with jet fuel and baggage carts, it’s being offered up as a party spot for an event called “Romp the Runway.” This includes free music by local band Hardscrabble, a unique sprint-style bike race, a 5K fun run, a children’s obstacle course, a “Paint the Plane” contest, and a chalk aircraft drawing contest. In addition, the Gypsum Fire Department will host a spaghetti dinner!

The bike race will allow cyclists to compete in a 9,000-foot, straight-line speed dash along the newly finished runway before its grooved and put into service. Similarly, the 5K will be the “flattest run in the Rockies,” with virtually no elevation changes at all. Race winners in each adult division will receive a free American Airlines voucher good for travel anywhere in the continental U.S., courtesy of American Airlines and Vail Resorts. With the exception of bike and running race registration, all activities are free. The Colorado’s Eagle County Regional Airport will reopen September 1 with service from Dallas/Ft. Worth on American Airlines and from Denver on United Express. The full winter schedule, with service to 13 major airports on four airlines starts mid-December.