United States Travel Guide

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The Gershwin is Dead, Long Live The Evelyn

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  Site Where: 7 East 27th Street [map], New York, NY, United States, 10016
December 22, 2014 at 9:40 AM | by | Comments (0)

Deluxe Queen

You knew it as The Gershwin. But it appears the chic little NoMad hotel has quietly undergone gender reassignment; because without letting anyone know, or closing down, it’s just come out of a $30m renovation and is celebrating by changing its name to The Evelyn.

At least, it’s just finished the first renovation phase. All 160 rooms have now been redone. Next year, they’ll be tackling the public spaces.

The new rooms have been designed by Silvia Sofio, and reference Art Nouveau (we would have guessed Deco, tbh, but what do we know). So think sweet, sinuous lines, natural materials and old-style telephones (although we’re not sure what Art Nouveau types would think of the new peekaboo bathrooms).

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Hotel Holiday Cocktail Week 2014: San Juan Marriott’s Tropical Eggnog

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  Site Where: 1309 Ashford Avenue [map], San Juan, Puerto Rico, United States, 00907
December 19, 2014 at 4:02 PM | by | Comments (0)

‘Tis the season to celebrate and there’s no better way than with a holiday-inspired beverage. And, as we all know, a holiday cocktail a day keeps the Grinch away. For Hotel Holiday Cocktail Week, we’ve scanned the globe for some delectably delicious cocktails that will leave you humming a merry tune that doesn’t include, “You’re a Mean One, Mr Grinch.”

For those of you lucky enough to find yourselves in a tropical idyll over the holidays, way to plan ahead. For the rest of us, we’ll have to content ourselves with having this tropical version of eggnog to tide us over until we, too, find ourselves in a swinging hammock overlooking the ocean blue.

Popular in the tropics right about now is the Coquito – a traditional holiday bevvie made with evaporated and condensed milk and rum. The San Juan Marriott Resort offers lucky hammock-swinging guests complimentary glasses of the stuff during the holiday season (OK – they actually give it to guests at the property’s oceanfront restaurant, La Vista Latin Grill, but we’re sure hammocks must be close by).

If you’d like to try this creamy cocktail at home, beware: the recipe below makes a gallon of it and, because it’s seriously delectable, it’s also seriously dangerous!

San Juan Marriott Coquito

Ingredients
4 cans Evaporated Milk
4 cans Condensed Milk
2 cans Coconut Cream
1 liter White Rum (preferably Don Q)
1 cup Brandy
Vanilla to taste
Cinnamon to taste

Preparation
Mix together all the ingredients and let stand in the fridge for at least two hours before serving.

[Photo: San Juan Marriott Resort]

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Is Santa Fe's Four Seasons the Most Down to Earth in the Country?

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  Site Where: 198 State Road 592 [map], Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States
December 18, 2014 at 10:45 AM | by | Comments (0)

Across the country, there are examples that show Four Seasons luxury properties trying to remain down to earth. Cheesesteak spring rolls in Philly, for example, or free drinks in Denver. But never have we seen a Four Seasons let its hair down the way it has in Santa Fe.

The tone at the Four Seasons Rancho Encantado Santa Fe is set immediately by two things: The setting and the staff. The former speaks for itself in terms of its location in the hills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains ten minutes outside of downtown Santa Fe. If you do any research at all, you expect that. I mean, the address is "198 State Road 592," after all. But do you expect to walk into a Four Seasons and see that the staff is all decked out in... jeans?

I enjoy a taste of luxury as much as anyone, but I was relieved the moment I arrived and saw the front desk crew wearing the same thing as me. It just made sense for Santa Fe, a destination where chile, chocolate, and lacing up your hiking boots are the main attractions. Dress up?! I ordered red chile!

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It's Time to Riff on the 1980s in Chelsea's Newest Hotel

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  Site Where: 300 West 30th Street [map], New York, NY, United States, 10001
December 18, 2014 at 9:25 AM | by | Comments (0)

Last time we met Riff Hotel Chelsea, the 80s-themed hotel in Chelsea (NY not LON), it was getting ready to break open the bright colors and go all "retro-contemporary".

And now it’s here! The Chelsea Star is no more; the hotel silently riffed into its new incarnation earlier this month (no big statement opening? Not very 80s). All rooms are now renovated, and they’ve even installed a (temporary) 12ft high Santa in the courtyard. The verdict?

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Inside The Long-Awaited Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage Near Palm Springs

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  Site Where: 68900 Frank Sinatra Drive [map], Rancho Mirage, CA, United States, 92270
December 17, 2014 at 7:01 PM | by | Comments (5)

It is always a bit surreal to step inside a hotel or resort that you've spent months or years hyping up--you know how we do it--poring over renderings, searching for possible opening dates, hunting for room amenities and cycling through the reservations system to find out the opening rates for different room types.

But when we stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage near Palm Springs last month, that strangeness was heightened because the resort took more than seven years to open.

In fact, the resort was mostly finished in 2008 but then the financial crisis hit and since one of the hotel's backers just happened to be Lehman Brothers (RIP), the Ritz-Carlton was put on hold. The hotel was locked up--but fully secured and with air conditioning--for the next seven years until new owners (and money) were found to finish up the resort.

It finally opened for real in May. And yes, some of the rooms look exactly like the initial room renderings we saw back in 2007.

Yet despite all those years hidden away, half-finished and neglected, the resort has emerged as a bright, shiny desert gem.

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Hotel Holiday Cocktail Week 2014: Waldorf Astoria Park City

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  Site Where: 2100 Frostwood Drive [map], Park City, Utah, United States, 84098
December 17, 2014 at 5:22 PM | by | Comments (0)

‘Tis the season to celebrate and there’s no better way than with a holiday-inspired beverage. And, as we all know, a holiday cocktail a day keeps the Grinch away. For Hotel Holiday Cocktail Week, we’ve scanned the globe for some delectably delicious cocktails that will leave you humming a merry tune that doesn’t include, “You’re a Mean One, Mr Grinch.”

The Waldorf Astoria Park City in Utah has gotten into the holiday spirit with their Cedar Smoked Manhattan. We picked this bevvie because a) it just looked so darned pretty, and b) we’re really into smoking cocktails – instead of sitting in front of a fire, you can just sit in front of your cocktail. Both will warm you up.

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So Long, Sam: Nazarian No Longer Running The SLS Las Vegas

December 17, 2014 at 2:14 PM | by | Comment (1)

Last August was undeniably the peak of hotelier Sam Nazarian's career. After a few years of stagnancy followed by some fast and furious renovations, the worn down Sahara Las Vegas casino and hotel was set free from its Rat Pack history days and transformed into the modern, design-forward, and frankly, thrilling SLS Las Vegas.

We attended the opening (you can read that coverage here) and even though we knew Nazarian didn't single-handedly breathe new life into a rather depressing end of the Las Vegas Strip, he was the visionary behind everything that is now in place at the resort--from Chef Jose Andres Bazaar Meat restaurant to Philippe Starck's stylish guest rooms, Umami Burger, LiFE Nightclub, Griddle Cafe and a handful of retail boutiques from Fred Segal.

Making the opening night of the SLS more meaningful for Sam was that he and his dad rang in the SLS opening bell in a ballroom where Frank Sinatra and other legends once performed.

But now, those legendary moments are over. At least for Nazarian in Las Vegas.

Stockbridge Capital, the company that owns 90 percent of the SLS Las Vegas to Nazarian's SBE's 10 percent, announced yesterday that Nazarian will no longer be involved in the management of the SLS Las Vegas.

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The Four Seasons Resorts on Lana'i are Now Sporting Wristbands

December 17, 2014 at 11:20 AM | by | Comments (0)

A few months ago, we put out a poll that asked readers how they felt about hotels replacing traditional keycards with electronic wristbands. A few people liked the convenience of having everything on their wrist and not keeping track of a key, but most, including this writer, balked at the idea.

Part of it is that the hotel chain in question, EVEN Hotels, is charging guests $8 for them. The other part of it was the belief that if anything is going to replace our beloved keycards, it should be smart phone technology. Who needs one more thing?

Alas, it looks like enough people are at least interested in the concept to give the trend a chance to become a mainstay. But this time it’s no small potatoes. This time, it’s Four Seasons touting them as a perk.

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Dee Dee Ramone Has Returned to Hotel Chelsea

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  Site Where: 222 W 23rd St [map], New York, NY, United States
December 17, 2014 at 9:24 AM | by | Comments (0)

We may be waiting a while for the Hotel Chelsea to reopen – 2016 if the updated website is anything to go by, though the new logo still says 2015, and we wouldn’t be surprised if it took longer – but the spirit of the place has just returned to the Hotel Chelsea Storefront Gallery, with the opening of a Dee Dee Ramone exhibition.

Dee Dee, of course, was the author of Chelsea Horror Hotel: A Novel, a semi-autobiographical novel about the hotel. The exhibition has been curated by his estate; on display are Dee Dee’s records, clothes (leopard-print robe FTW) and, more importantly, art – paintings, drawings and cartoon strips. Although you may want to visit on an empty stomach; according to Newsweek:

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Smyth Tribeca Launches New Public Spaces, Fresh Rooms Will Come Soon

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  Site Where: 85 West Broadway & Chambers [map], New York, NY, United States, 10007
December 17, 2014 at 8:55 AM | by | Comments (0)

Thompson Hotels may be planning to head west (Seattle) and south (Nashville), but they’re not forgetting their NYC properties: Smyth Tribeca, which arrived after a much-delayed start just shy of six years ago, finished the first phase of its complete redesign last month.

That includes the entire ground floor, which has been divided in a series of smaller spaces, filled with a mixture of Scandinavian and American mid-century furniture. Above is the Den, with a fireplace that uses Guastavino tile – and if you wonder why that’s significant, it is the same that is used for the ceilings of city landmarks like Grand Central Terminal and Carnegie Hall.

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The Fairmont Copley Plaza Will Pop Up All Festive on Friday

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  Site Where: 138 St James Ave [map], Boston, MA, United States, 02116
December 17, 2014 at 8:25 AM | by | Comments (0)

Trees, gingerbread houses, insane glass bottle installations – Christmas hotel decor is all well and good, but sometimes you want to bring a taste of it home.

Luckily, this doesn’t mean stealing the towels at the Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston – because they have a holiday-themed, farmer’s market-style pop-up store in the tea court this Friday.

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Hotel Holiday Cocktail Week 2014: The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa

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  Site Where: 3649 Mission Inn Avenue [map], Riverside, California, United States, 92501
December 16, 2014 at 5:00 PM | by | Comments (0)

‘Tis the season to celebrate and there’s no better way than with a holiday-inspired beverage. And, as we all know, a holiday cocktail a day keeps the Grinch away. For Hotel Holiday Cocktail Week, we’ve scanned the globe for some delectably delicious cocktails that will leave you humming a merry tune that doesn’t include, “You’re a Mean One, Mr Grinch.”

The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa in Riverside, California has a 12 Days of Christmas cocktail menu on offer during its 22nd Annual Festival of Lights celebration, which turns the property into a glowing spectacle of four million sparkly lights.

If you’d also like to get a glow on head to the hotel’s Presidential Lounge where the festive cocktail menu includes 12 drinks named for, and inspired by, the classic song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” The menu starts with A Partridge in a Pear Tree made with Absolut Pears, lime juice, pear nectar and Baileys Caramel and goes all the way to Twelve Drummers Drumming made with Starbucks liqueur, Godiva Chocolate liqueur, and hot chocolate garnished with whipped cream and a cinnamon stick.

If you prefer to get lit at home, try this recipe based on the most pivotal point of the song - the Five Golden Rings – where everyone gets it together again after flailing about with the rest of the lyrics.

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