United States Travel Guide
Hotel News / Manhattan Hotels / Four Seasons Hotels / Hotel Construction / Hotel Openings / Hotel Hype / Hotel Delays / → All Tags
Three years ago, we told you to mark your calendars for the 2014 opening of Four Seasons New York Downtown. Well, here we are in 2013 and not much progress has been made. In fact, we were juuust getting ready to strike said reminder from our iCal when we stumbled across this article yesterday throwing our hopes back into the air.
The reports says that the project is once again moving forward—now that financing has been secured—and that the 185-room luxury hotel is now set for a 2016 opening. Originally, this hotel was slated to open in 2011 (ha!), though by now we've come to understand that projected opening dates mean diddly squat and any hotel that opens on time is a rare thing indeed.
But back to the Four Seasons: the report doesn't give us too much new information except that the building will be 926 feet tall (one of the tallest hotels in NYC) and that the lobby will be a three-story atrium with lounges, a ballroom, a restaurant, meeting spaces, and a spa.
Hotel Anniversaries / Hilton Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / Hotel Deals / Hotel Events / Historic Hotels / → All Tags
Over in Manhattan, New York Hilton Midtown is celebrating the big 5-0 by launching a new website that fills people in on the hotel's colorful history (did you know this was the first hotel to replace keys with keycards? Yeah, neither did we!).
But there's more happening here than just reminiscing over old black-and-white photos (see above).
Another component of the birthday celebrations are what the hotel is calling 50 Random Acts of Hospitality, which calls for New York Hilton Midtown employees to "engage in random acts of hospitality". In case you're wondering just what that means, the acts will include: offering complimentary room upgrades, handing out umbrellas on rainy days and helping guests score tickets to local attractions and events.
In other words, everything a hotel is supposed to do anyway.
Photo Gallery / Hotel Design / Hospitality Design Expo / Hotel Furniture / Hotel Technology / Hotel News / → All Tags
This week we attended the Hospitality Design Expo Conference in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center and never before have we seen so much hotel furniture in one spot--from chairs and beds to desks and lamps and beyond. It was thrilling for hotel nerds like us.
We'll have more from what we learned at the show next week (keyword: MILLENIALS) but for now, we thought we'd simply show you what we saw. Take a, um, seat and enjoy!
Hotel Openings / Florida Hotels / Beach Hotels / Hotel Technology / Hotel News / Apple TV / → All Tags
All right, so here we go: Apple TV is digging its heels in the hotel industry.
When The Pearl, a 55-room luxury resort, opens in July on Rosemary Beach Florida, it will offer Apple TV in all its rooms. Is it ironic that an establishment on a beautiful stretch of beach is upgrading your television-watching ability? Totally!
We've hashed out our torn opinions about the value of in-room technology and its effects on the art of travel, especially when it drives up the room rate, but we do know that there are many travelers who will be quite pleased by this news (some of us included!). For those who've just come out of hibernation, Apple TV will allow you to stream shows and movies from iTunes and Netflix right to your hotel room.
Hotel WiFi / Hotel Technology / Dallas Hotels / ZaZa Hotels / Hotel Amenities / Free WiFi / → All Tags
Often times, when we plead our case for free hotel WiFi, we hear that setting up a network or upgrading an existing network is an expensive investment for hotels and in order to recoup the costs, they need to charge guests to use the WiFi.
Now, every hotel is different but there are plenty of hotels out there that have been updating their networks to provide faster speeds and more bandwidth to guests and they still aren't charging for WiFi.
For example, The Hotel ZaZa in Dallas which recently added a new fiber data network throughout the hotel. Hotel president, Benji Homsey, explained the reason for the network upgrade saying:
We designed this network with special attention to the increased presence of Apple iPad, iPhone and Google/Android users in conjunction with the typical laptop usage. We want every Hotel ZaZa guest to have the best, from coverage and access points to best of breed fiber data network to the newly installed bedside power docks in every room.
And the charge to access the internet? It's still totally free.
Hotel Amenities / Hotel Spas / Hotel Check-In / Manhattan Hotels / Plaza Athenee Hotels / Hotel Packages / → All Tags
Nothing is worse than showing up bleary-eyed to your hotel and being told your room isn't ready yet. Worse still if your bones ache from sitting on a plane all day and you've been dragging around your suitcase for so many hours that your hand has become permanently locked in claw grip position.
Thankfully, the Plaza Athenee in New York has come up with a solution to the whole early check-in conundrum: the "Rest and Refresh" package. By reserving ahead of time, guests can kill time in their own private Spa Suite, which comes with a marble bathroom and private steam shower. In addition, they can request a facial or massage, and even sneak in a quick breakfast or lunch at the hotel's Arabelle Restaurant.
With pampering like this, who needs the guest room?
But it's only scary because we can catch the folks riding up one of the roller coaster peaks right before it dips back down. Luckily, these windows are noise-proof so we can't hear the people screaming. Other than that, we're quite pleased with the view especially since once we look down we can spy on the pool scene.
As for the rooms at New York, New York, we're staying in a "Park Avenue Room" but let's be clear here--it's a long ways from Park Avenue in the real NYC. The furniture is new as are the bedding, pillows, curtains and such but the bathroom is showing its age, the shower in particular. Also, we're bummed by the bland toiletries that are offered.
The rest of the hotel tower is also a little beat-down with old hallway rugs and room doors and not-so-clean elevators. Then again, we nabbed the room for $75 a night on Tingo.com so we can't complain too much (And no, we didn't get any money back from Tingo.)
However, the WiFi is rather slow. So slow, we can't even upload the rest of the room photos. The WiFi is part of the $18 plus tax room rate but still, this is unacceptable. We posted the screenshot over here where we are keeping tabs on hotel speeds but let's just say the grade begins with F.
When we first uploaded the above photo into our story, we worried that it was upside down*; then we realized it actually didn't matter because disoriented, confused, and slightly dizzy is exactly how you're supposed to feel at Bar Oppenheimer, a new pop-up bar that debuted this week inside Hôtel Americano.
Bar Oppenheimer is located in the basement of the hotel via a narrow cement staircase behind the hostess stand in the lobby. There's no sign, no big door with a velvet rope, not even a hint of the bar's presence anywhere in the hotel.
(However, that may be a good thing because when you eventually find it—as we did, after five minutes spent aimlessly wandering down hallways and opening emergency exit doors—you feel like you've stumbled into a secret room that no one else in the hotel knows about.)
The truth is that lots of people in New York know about this place. It was designed by Frankfurt-based artist Tobias Rehberger, who felt a desire to recreate his neighborhood bar in Germany, also called Bar Oppenheimer, in the basement of a Manhattan boutique hotel. Cool, right?
For more photos of the triply black-and-white striped bar, read on!
If you thought the only exciting thing about Cassa Hotel was its abrupt re-branding into a Viceroy hotel last year, you're wrong. It turns out that the hotel's proposed restaurant, BLT American Brasserie is causing even more drama than the hotel itself—and it hasn't even opened yet!
Chef Laurent Tourondel created a lot of buzz when he attached himself to the hotel back in 2011. He was famous for his BLT restaurants, so that's what we all expected to open at Cassa. And as of last February, that was still the plan.
However, nothing ever happened, and the other day we received an anonymous tip that the "BLT coming soon" sign has been removed from the hotel.
Hotel Rate Watch / Manhattan Hotels / Sheraton Hotels / Starwood Hotels / Langham Hotels / Kimpton Hotels / Hotel Rates / → All Tags
Summer is almost upon us, and along with all the regular seasonal delights (rooftop cocktails, long weekends in Cape Cod, ice creeeaaam), one thing we hate, hate, hate about summer in the city is the exorbitant hotel rates.
We've seen numbers climbing to $600, $650, and even $700/night for a standard room, and we feel someone needs to take a stand against such preposterousness. So that someone may as well be us.
At a glance, we found several hotels overstepping the line with $700+ rates on a weeknight in June. Sheraton Times Square must be really raking it in, as they claim their "lowest available rate" is $749/night. Meanwhile, less than three miles away, the Sheraton Lincoln Harbor is offering a room on the same night for $289. For the difference in price, we could treat ourselves to a steak dinner at Peter Luger's and still wind up saving money.
Our question is: considering that hotels can justify these kinds of rates because it's the summer season, would you pay $700/night to stay at a Sheraton? Or would you look elsewhere? Let us know your thoughts below!
The Kimpton Palm Springs will be an entirely new build hotel on North Palm Canyon Drive with 190 hotel rooms and a rooftop bar and pool, a first for the area. There will also be a "chef-driven restaurant", over 24,000 square feet total of event and meeting space and great views of Mount San Jacinto State Park from all angles. Oh and don't forget about the nightly wine hour and the free WiFi for Kimpton InTouch members!
We've got a ways to wait as the hotel won't open until 2015 but knowing Kimpton, it will be worth it. In the meantime, the Hard Rock Palm Springs is still set to open in the Fall. Admittedly, we're more of Kimpton's target clientele than Hard Rock but a new hotel is a new hotel!
Either Cameron Diaz has been reading HotelChatter, or she's got friends who keep a close eye on the NYC hotel scene. The Jade Hotel is still brand new (it officially opened just over two months ago) but that didn't stop the long-legged beauty from stopping by this past weekend.
The NY Post spotted Diaz hanging out at Grape & Vine, an intimate cocktail bar and bistro located behind the lobby. According to the spy:
"The bar area was so crowded, but Cameron and her friends sat right in front of the bar and joked around with the bartender . . . Most people were dressed up, but she was in a T-shirt and jeans, wearing flats with her hair up."
The article goes on to say that she "graciously spoke to a guy who was trying to flirt with her." We can't imagine ever trying to walk up to Cameron "Something About Mary" Diaz and asking for her number, but it's nice to know if we ever do see her in a hotel, we'd have a shot.
Meanwhile, we wonder if she surprised the bartender by ordering one of the bar's secret, off-the-menu cocktails that we wrote about last month. Or maybe her visit inspired them to name a whole new drink after her…
Diaz, who's in town filming scenes for her next movie, The Other Woman, didn't spend the night at the hotel (despite her admirer's best efforts, we're sure), but if you feel like resting your head in a place Cameron Diaz likes to hang out, rates here start at $280/night.