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Sizing Up Hotels


What makes a great business hotel? Spacious guest quarters, super meeting facilities, room service fit for royalty? Log on to BusinessWeek Online (www.businessweek.com/go/hotelsurvey) and tell us -- by completing the Best Business Hotel survey. Do this, and you'll become eligible to win one of two two-piece sets of Tumi luggage. A Florida condo and early bird dinners? Forget about it: An increasing number of Americans among the 5.5 million expected to retire this decade will opt for $1 million-plus trophy homes with spas, exercise rooms, and home theaters. "The people buying these homes have worked hard their whole lives, and now they've earned a retirement that is going to be all about them," says consultant John Burns, who studies the retirement-home market. Burns figures 3.5% of coming retirees are the target market for these luxury dwellings -- based on 2000 U.S. Census data that show 3.5% of households in the age 55 to 64 category earned more than $200,000 annually.

Jeffrey Prostor, a luxury home builder in Southern California, says popular features in the 55-plus age group are low-maintenance yards just big enough for a lap pool and ground-floor master bedroom suites suitable for wheelchair use. Many retirees who can splurge on senior-style McMansions are awash in cash from selling a house in today's heated market they bought years ago. Also, "we're finding people over 55 are willing to take on more debt than previous generations," Burns notes. They would rather live in a million-dollar house with a $500,000 mortgage than a more modest home they buy outright. Just in time for Labor Day, here are two hot new barbecue items. Planning a cookout in the park? Rather than lug charcoal, take along the 41-pound Weber Q portable gas grill ($179). The cast-iron grate can hold 18 burgers, and one-touch ignition makes lighting the fire a cinch.

With the $75 stainless steel Grill Alert probe from Brookstone, just enter the type of meat you have and how you want it cooked, then clip a wireless receiver to your belt. The screen displays existing and target temperatures, and soon a digitized voice will say: "Your entr?e is ready."


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