New York Travel Guide

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Chatwal Hotelier in Trouble Again (But It's Not Vikram)

April 18, 2014 at 12:05 PM | by | Comments (0)

Usually when we hear of a Chatwal hotelier in the news, it's often about Vikram Chatwal, the troubled hotelier behind The Dream Hotel brand. But today, it's Vikram's father who's in the news. And it's pretty serious.

The Daily News reports that Sant Singh Chatwal, the chairman of Hampshire Hotels & Resorts which includes his namesake, The Chatwal Hotel, pleaded guilty to "recruiting straw donors to make illegal campaign contributions to three federal candidates." He also pleaded guilty to tampering with a witness who he allegedly told to lie to the FBI and the IRS.

Chatwal stepped down as CEO of Hampshire Hotels earlier this month (probably because of the charges) but remains on as chairman. Eric Danziger, formerly CEO of Wyndham Hotel Group, took Chatwal's place. Wyndham franchises the Dream and Night hotels which were started by Chatwal.

Meanwhile, Chatwal faces up to five years in prison and a fine of $200,000 when he's sentenced on July 31. He also offered to pay the U.S. government $1 million in restitution.

This is not the first time Chatwal has been in trouble with the government. Back in 2012, it was discovered that The Chatwal Hotel pretended to be a church for several years to avoid paying taxes. (It's a long story but the hotel was previously a church and the hotel never changed that status.) Let's hope this is the last of the Chatwal crimes.

[Photo of Chatwal and Danziger via Rediff]

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First Look at Homewood Suites, Opening in NYC on June 1

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 312 W. 37th Street [map], New York, NY, United States, 10018
April 18, 2014 at 11:02 AM | by | Comments (0)

Last fall, we let you know that NYC would soon be getting its first Homewood Suites Hotel and now today, we've got pictures from inside the spot, opening on June 1.

Located in Times Square South at 37th Street and 8th Avenue, this Homewood has two big amenities that we love--full kitchens (with a full-sized fridge, microwave and oven) and free WiFi. It's also got all-suite accommodations, free hot breakfast every day and complimentary dinner and drinks Monday-Thursday.

We especially dig the "homey" part of this Homewood suites. The rooms look quite...well...pretty to be honest. We like the hardwood floors, the color scheme and even the wall paper that looks like flecks of light behind the bed. Much better-looking than this Homewood Suite.

Rates for opening night start at $279 for a king studio suite, which is a nonrefundable rate. A more flexible rate of $301 is also available. A one bedroom suite starts at $379 a night.

Keep reading for more photos

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Yotel's New Restaurant Looks East and West

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 570 10th Avenue [map], New York, NY, United States, 10036
April 16, 2014 at 2:15 PM | by | Comments (0)

Futuristic pod hotels are dime a dozen these days, keeping brands on their toes. The Yotel New York is keeping things interesting by upping their dining offerings with a brand new restaurant.

East & West, a new dining and lounge concept from China Grill Management, opened in the hotel last week and features a menu by Executive Chef Bradley Day that features shareable small and large plates and pays homage to the best of the eastern and western worlds -- kinda like the hotel itself.

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The Archer Hotel and Its Sweet Turndown Service Will Debut in May

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 45 West 38th Street [map], New York, NY, United States, 10018
April 14, 2014 at 2:42 PM | by | Comments (0)

The much-anticipated and slightly secretive Archer Hotel in NYC is getting very close to opening day.

Although we are still waiting on an exact date, we are told that the hotel will now be opening in May -- that's quite an improvement on the July date we were expecting, although, currently July 1st remains the first date open for booking through the website (starting at $229 a night).

At the construction site on West 38th Street, scaffolding is down and signs are being pasted up as we speak.

We also hear that there will be an eight-item rotation for turndown that will offer complimentary treats including Baked by Melissa cupcakes, Fatty Sunday Pretzels, Dylan’s 100 Calorie Bars, Kanpekies Shortbread Cookies, Chocolate Dipped Fancy Fortune Cookies with Archer messages, and, from David Burke (who will be running the hotel's restaurant), black and white Cookies, fruit pops and truffles. Oh dear, we're already sweet on The Archer.

We're hoping to get an exact May opening date for you soon. Stay tuned!

[Photo: HotelChatter}

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At Last, Inside citizenM Times Square

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 218 West 50th Street [map], New York, NY, United States, 10019
April 11, 2014 at 10:32 AM | by | Comments (0)

They finally made it. The long-awaited citizenM Times Square is open and welcoming guests as of last night -- but, sorry to those unhappy with the pricing, not for less than $199 a night.

We had a look around yesterday and were shown the room in the top photo. It is neat, clean, bright and, with features like a big bed and a large underbed storage drawer, makes good use of its limited space, but, yeah, pretty small.

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A Sign of The Times: The Hotel Carter May Finally Get Cleaned Up

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 250 W 43rd St [map], New York, NY, United States, 10036
April 10, 2014 at 5:42 PM | by | Comments (0)

As long as it's still operating under this name, The Hotel Carter in Times Square will never be able to shake its reputation as The Dirtiest Hotel in The World, a dishonor bestowed on the hotel in 2008 by TripAdvisor. Yet we had heard horror stories from the Hotel Carter for a few years before that.

Put it this way, a "good" review from 2005 went like this: "Didn't Get Killed Mugged or Infected."

But now, The Carter might get a new life. The WSJ says the building is on the market and several buyers have been interested. As soon as next week a new owner could be announced. Which has us wondering, what hotel brand could be put in? Well, the way the hospitality market has been going in NYC and especially near Times Square, the possibilities are probably endless.

That said, the Carter is going to need to be closed and renovated. An analyst told the WSJ that at least $125 million was needed to bring it up to a 3-star level. Yowza.

If you want to stay at one of the last shitholes semi-affordable hotels in Times Square, the Carter is currently going for $209 (#thatsnotok) for a double room on Sunday night.

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The Jade Hotel to Expand in NYC and Miami

April 10, 2014 at 2:56 PM | by | Comments (0)

Looks like we weren't the only ones who enjoyed a stay at the The Jade Hotel in NYC.

According to the Wall Street Journal, a second Jade Hotel with what we hope will be 114 similarly designed rooms will open in late 2015 at 34-36 W. 38th Street (near Bryant Park). What's got us excited is that the original architects from Atelier & Co. along with the city's most prolific hotel architect ever, Gene Kaufman are tasked with doing the design. And that's not all. A third Jade Hotel will open near the South Street Seaport at 33 Peck Slip. This address was previously occupied by a Best Western. Atelier will also be behind this project along with MLG Architects. This hotel will actually open first in mid-2015.

But wait, there's YET ANOTHER Jade Hotel in the works...in Miami. That hotel will open sometime in 2016. #OMG #Yes.

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The Paris Review is Looking for a Writer to Shack Up at The Standard East Village

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 25 Cooper Square [map], New York, NY, United States, 1
April 9, 2014 at 5:55 PM | by | Comments (0)

Have you got a book to finish writing but can't quite find the right setting to do it in? Consider The Standard East Village.

Once again, the hotel and The Paris Review have partnered up to put a lucky novelist up in a queen room room for three weeks this July (they did a similar stint in January.) The guest/writer will also get daily continental breakfast and unlimited coffee. Alas, you still need to put down a credit card for incidentals.

There are a few other caveats--namely, you must already have a book under contract with a publishing house (not your own self-pub shop) and you need to have at least a description and some sample pages of the project to show before the May 1 application deadline. But still, three weeks in Cooper Square, totally gratis? Sigh. If only we started shopping our hotel blogging memoirs sooner.

Not a writer, but still want to spend a night at the Standard East Village? Rates start at $375 a night in July.

[Image: The Paris Review]

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CitizenM is at It Again, This Time Dissing Luxury Hotels

April 8, 2014 at 6:14 PM | by | Comments (0)

Last week, CitizenM Hotels dissed Holiday Inn on the internet by "selling" an old front desk on Craigslist as part of an April Fool's Day joke. Today, they've done it again--by parking a stretch-limo out in front of the Trump International Hotel near Central Park with a sign on the side of the car that says,

"Luxury is free WiFi and XL beds, not a stupidly long car."

The limo also drove by a few other NYC hotels like the Grand Hyatt and The Plaza as CitizenM said to "to make our point and also annoy the doormen."

We kinda love CitizenM for calling out these hotels are their WiFi policies and for annoying the doormen with a ridiculous limo but hello, Citizen M! Rates at your Times Square property aren't exactly affordable either, with one reader telling us rates were over $300 a night after your grand "reopening." For teeny rooms. At least at the Trump, we get some more space.

So keep on fighting the good fight but also maybe consider lowering those room rates a touch.

UPDATE: The Trump Hotel actually has free WiFi so this kind of didn't work out right.

[Photo: CitizenM Times Square/Facebook]

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Two New Stonehill & Taylor-Designed Hotels are Coming to Midtown

April 8, 2014 at 3:10 PM | by | Comments (0)

We are fans of architectural team Stonehill & Taylor's work on (to name just a few) The NoMad Hotel and Refinery Hotel, so we are pleased to see that, in a landscape of bland hotel development projects, they will be bringing their touch to two new Midtown Manhattan hotels.

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The Fabergé Big Egg Hunt is On at These NYC Hotels

April 4, 2014 at 11:31 AM | by | Comments (0)

Designed by Mattia Bonetti, on display at The Mark Hotel

The world's biggest egg hunt, the Fabergé Big Egg Hunt, raises money for good causes across the globe, from children in New York City through Studio in a School to conservation efforts to save the Asian elephant through Elephant Family.

New York City is hosting the egg hunt from now through April 26, and more than 250 egg sculptures, each individually created by leading artists and designers, will be hidden across the city. The public are encouraged to participate in the “hunt” by finding all of the eggs – with gemstone prizes from Fabergé serving as an incentive. The hunt will culminate with an auction of the collectible and one-of-a-kind egg sculptures, held by Sotheby’s and online via Paddle8.

No surprise that some of these special eggs have found their “nests” at hotels around New York City. Here's the run-down of the hotel eggs, with descriptions provided by the Fabergé Big Egg Hunt:

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A Big New Hotel is Headed for Midtown Manhattan But It's Not Much to Get Excited About

Where: 350 West 40th Street [map], New York, NY, United States, 10018
April 3, 2014 at 12:00 PM | by | Comments (0)

There's yet another new hotel coming to Midtown Manhattan and the elements are likely the dullest words we will write today.

The men behind this underwhelming project are the ubiquitous Gene Kaufman and Sam Chang, and it is depressingly located across from Port Authority Bus Terminal and down the street from the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. (Still, though, we'll admit it's a handily central, though not exactly scenic, location).

In a little bit more interesting news, however, Curbed reports that the hotel will rise 35 stories and hold a massive 594 rooms That's definitely one of the most biggest developments we've heard of for a while in this area. We just hope they find a way to jazz it up.

[Photo: HotelChatter]