United States Travel Guide
It’s time for Guess the Hotel revealed! Yesterday we introduced you to the creepy lobby display of the West Coast hipster hotel that had been inexplicably abandoned for 43 years before being opened up by the current owners in 2007.
This is the Commodore Hotel in Astoria, Oregon.
The Commodore was built in 1924 as a 24-room hotel for travelers on the Portland train and the ferry to Washington. Then in 1964 it mysteriously closed from one day to the next. As in, closed the doors but left furniture, belongings, everything inside, right down to magazines and cigarette stubs by the beds. Nobody knows why, though they think it might be to do with the arrival of the Astoria-Megler Bridge.
In 2007, the current owners bought it, opened it up, and commenced renovation, while saving much of what was found in the rooms for the spooky lobby display. It opened as the Commodore in 2009.
These days, there are 18 rooms: suites and cabins. Cabins are small rooms with a washbasin inside and shared bathroom facilities down the end of the corridor. Not scary shared bathroom facilities though – there are separate toilets for men and women (huzzah!), each toilet and each shower is in its own closed room rather than public cubicles, and when we toured the hotel they were spotlessly clean. There are two showers and two toilets per floor, shared by six cabins. Could be better (could be ensuite), but not an alarming ratio.
This isn’t what it looks like.
It looks like any other West Coast hipster hotel, trying to be quirky with its odd lobby collection of books, maps, magazines, bottles and suitcases.
But here’s where it gets creepy: all this stuff, apart from the books, is what was found in the hotel when the present owners bought the building in 2007.
Before that, it had been abandoned for 43 years. As if the previous owners went out grocery shopping and never came back. Pretty spooky – even for a town that’s seen its fair share of violence, back in the days of gangs and murderers and abductions – many of whom were abducted to serve in the military.
Maui Hotels / Hotel Juices / Juicing / Drinks / Hotel Wellness / → All Tags
Maui Week has come to an end but before we get off the island (figuratively), here's one last way to make the most of your time there. In the meantime, don't forget to revisit our list of Must-Stay Hotels in Wailea, what to order at MiGRANT and MALA at The Marriott, what to stop in and see at the Andaz and where to get away from it all at the Hotel Wailea.
If you're a fan of juicing, then you've come to the right spot. Maui is all about the juicing. And it goes way beyond POG juice.
We picked up an interesting concoction at the Down to Earth organic supermarket when we left the airport called the Maui Cold Buster, made with pineapple and onion by Joy's Place (see below.) Yet while there are a ton of great local juice spots to hit up in Maui, you can also find fresh juices in crazy combinations inside the resorts in Wailea.
Women-Friendly Hotels / Four Seasons Hotels / Washington DC Hotels / DC Hotels / Luxury Hotels / → All Tags
Speaking of Washington D.C. today, we happened to stumble across these special amenities for women offered at the Four Seasons Washington, D.C.. Here's what the luxury hotel is giving out to its gals on the go. We think Olivia Pope and her female gladiators would approve.
1. Access to the fitness center: This is given to all guests but the Four Seasons will also give you a local guide to the area's best yoga, Barre and Pilates studios.
2. In-Room Amenities: Rooms are stocked with a plethora of pampering goodies like nail kits, pro hair dryers, straightening irons, hairspray, hair serum, bobby pins, bath salts, loofahs and eye masks. You will also get a kit from Amala which includes organic face cream, cleansing milk and serum. You can peep a similar kit here.
Now, this week, the hotel officially broke ground on construction. Well, actually it was just a ceremonial groundbreaking since the hotel will be rise within the bones of the historic Old Post Office building.
Here's a snapshot of the Trump family of hoteliers--The Donald, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump--along with DC dignitaries Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Mayor Vincent Gray, D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser, and Norman Dong, Commissioner of the Public Buildings Service for the U.S. General Services Administration. Is it just us, or are those shovels plated in gold? #trumplyfe.
No cute hotel doggy to share this week; instead we’ve got cute hotel sealions, the guests of honor at the Portofino Hotel & Marina in Redondo Beach, where we stayed the week before last.
We’d been warned about the sealions before our arrival – apparently, it’s mating season at the moment, and they’re right outside the hotel – and LOUD. In fact, the hotel even provides earplugs to drown out their racket in every room:
Maui Hotels / Hawaii Hotels / Maui Week 2014 / Hotel Renovations / Quiet Hotels / Resort Alternatives / → All Tags
Maui Week continues! On Monday, we gave you a list of Must-Stay Hotels for Wailea in Maui. Today, we're heading up the mountains for a different side of Maui. Don't worry, it's not too far from the ocean. Mahalo!
Your dream vacation to Maui probably involves lounging on a beach and sipping on a Mai Tai. What your dream vacation probably doesn't involve is getting up early to wait in line to reserve a beach lounge chair. Or dealing with screaming kids by the pool. Or waiting for an elevator in a sopping wet bathing suit.
While the resorts along the beach in Wailea offer easy access to the ocean and beach activities, along with several different pools to try, they aren't exactly the most tranquil spots in town. Enter The Hotel Wailea, a Small Luxury Hotel of the World.
Located in the hillside, about a mile from the beach resorts, the Hotel Wailea features 72 suites spread across a 15-acre property. Each one-bedroom suite has generous bedrooms, and living areas with sectional couches, along with outdoor lanais. All of them are extremely private and quiet and most have full ocean views. None of them require elevators to reach. Rather, you meander along winding pathways, admiring the waterfalls and koi ponds along the way.
Now, beach bums, don't fret. The hotel has complimentary shuttles to the beach along with a dedicated beach attendant, ready with complimentary water bottles, chairs and umbrellas. It's the best of both worlds.
Considering it’s right on Venice Beach (or pretty much right on Venice Beach, anyway), the Hotel Erwin was always going to have top notch views of the Pacific from its rooms.
But, on a recent visit to the rooftop bar, High, we couldn’t help but noticing that not all views are created equal.
From High, the coastline was spectacular – both north, towards Santa Monica, and south, beyond LAX – and the whole rooftop was in the sun.
Maui Week continues! On Monday, we gave you the Must-Stay Hotels for Wailea in Maui. Today, we're going inside one of them--The Andaz. Mahalo!
It’s no secret that HotelChatter loves the Andaz brand so when we rolled up to the Andaz Maui in Wailea we were not surprised at how much we wished we were actually staying there, instead of just visiting.
Fortunately, there are so many ways to enjoy the Andaz Maui without actually being a guest. So whether you’re staying in a different resort or renting a villa, here’s what you should pop in and try:
Yesterday, we gave you the Must-Stay Hotels for Wailea in Maui. Today, we're giving you a Must-East spot. Conveniently, it's in a hotel. Mahalo!
Chef Sheldon Simeon has done pretty well for himself after finishing in the top three of Season 10 of "Top Chef" and winning the "Fan Favorite" award. The Hawaiian native, who previously helmed Star Noodle in Maui not only opened his own restaurant, MiGRANT, at the Wailea Beach Marriott, he's also taken over the kitchen at the hotel's Mala restaurant.
So with the same chef overseeing both restaurants, what's the different? The Mala restaurant has a more formal restaurant set-up with a somewhat traditional menu while MiGRANT has a casual setting with a more creative menu. Ok. So which one should you choose? Allow us....
We stayed at the Marriott in May while celebrating a family member's big milestone, and when a dinner at Mala ended up being fraught with service issues, we were invited back to try it again, this time with Chef Simeon himself guiding us along his excellent culinary adventure.
The dishes that we had were a mixture of Mala and MiGRANT items but all were Simeon's creations, heavily influenced by local traditions and his own Filipino heritage. Here's what we sampled, and ultimately fell in love with:
The annual nerd fest that is Comic-Con kicks off on Thursday in San Diego and whether you're headed there to see Kiefer Sutherland relive Jack Bauer's greatest moments on 24 or learn some "cool" Star Wars origami tricks or celebrate the 25th anniversary of The Simpsons or pick up some new comic book collectibles, we suggest making a stop off at these hotels for some Comic-Con-themed goodness.
· The US Grant Hotel, where the first Comic-Con was held in 1970, has partnered up with The Cravory to create special Comic-Con cookies. If you were lucky enough to get a room before the hotel sold-out, on Friday, July 25, four Comic-Con inspired Cravory cookies will be placed on the guest room beds at turndown. Guests who dine at The Grant Grill will also receive a commemorative Captain Grant coaster, letter-pressed with Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist for the Union Tribune, Steve Breen's exclusive artwork, while supplies last.
· Manchester Grand Hyatt is honoring Marvel Comics with three specialty cocktails ($11). Starting tomorrow, at the hotel's rooftop bar, Top of the Hyatt, Thor's Hammer(ed) will be a fun spin on the classic Long Island Iced Tea. In the Grand Lobby Bar, The Hulkito, essentially a Mojito, will be served to honor the green superheor while in Redfield's Sports Bar, the Marvelrita, a margarita, will be served in Marvel Comics' signature red color.
· Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina has created a Captain America cocktail ($9) which tastes like a Pina Colada but instead is colored red, white and blue, just like Captain America himself.
[Photos: US Grant & Sheraton San Diego Marina]
Kimpton’s soon-to-be newest property takes us to Pittsburgh, a city we don’t hear much about in terms of its hotel scene. Like its state rival Philadelphia, the Steel City has a history of being a blue-collar town, one not exactly known for luxury and boutique properties. But Philly has certainly changed its ways, so why can’t Pittsburgh?
In October, the Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh will open as both Kimpton’s first venture into the city and will look to compete with other traditional luxury hotels in the vicinity, such as the Renaissance, Omni, and Fairmont.
To be located at 6th Avenue and William Penn Place, the Monaco plans to pair the original Beaux Arts architecture of the building with classic Steel City local flavor – think yellow, black, and white colors – throughout nine stories and 248 guestrooms. Rates will start at $219 a night.