When President Obama entertains groups of senators, he seems to favor the private dining room at The Jefferson, Washington, DC.

Perhaps the President loves the hotel’s famous Maryland blue crab risotto? But then this hotel, where Larry King used to record his radio shows before he moved to CNN, is accustomed to celebrities.

Look at the books in the paneled library and you see signed copies by such regulars as David Balducci, Diane Keaton, Martha Stewart and dozens of other household names.

They too must love the hotel’s signature Thomas Jefferson Suite, which touts views south down 16th Street to the White House, and the Washington Monument beyond.

The 1,900-square-foot space bears lots of touches by the hotel owner, Connie Milstein, who sits on the boards of the New York City Opera and the City Parks Foundation.

Interestingly, all telephone calls at the hotel are complimentary, even dialing to the other side of the world. As Milstein says, she does not charge people when they stay in her own home, so why would she here?

Charging for Internet, by the way, is irking top travelers more and more. As is paying to have their pets along. The Triton in San Francisco not only invites dogs to stay for free, but has a four-legged pet concierge, Romeo, a golden Labrador.

Mollie Fitzgerald, co-owner of Frontiers International Travel, based in Pennsylvania, has noticed an increase in the number of private jet charters for favorite dogs being shuttled from one home to another, say Cleveland, Ohio, to Palm Beach in the fall, and back again in the spring.

Fitzgerald runs the agency’s Elegant Journeys division, which looks after select clients throughout the Americas, Australia, Russia and the UK. Regardless of new destinations being offered, perennial top choices remain France and Italy, with the Galapagos coming up fast.

Speaking of the Galapagos, the number of cruise ships to the island chain seems to grow every year. One favorite is the 48-passenger La Pinta, which comes with a gym, top-deck Jacuzzi and permanent doctor, and is owned by Metropolitan Touring.

The company, whose main shareholder is former Quito mayor Roque Sevilla, also owns the much-admired 22-room Mashpi Lodge, located on 2,600 acres of private rainforest two and a half hours west of Quito.



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