United States Travel Guide

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A Golfer's Must-Stay Hotel: The Jack Nicklaus Villas at Trump National Doral

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  Site Where: 4400 N.W. 87th Avenue [map], Miami, FL, United States, 33178
February 27, 2015 at 4:31 PM | by | Comments (0)

South Florida is not short on golf resorts with championship golf courses, but only the Trump National Doral outside of Miami has bragging rights to the new Jack Nicklaus Villas, a collection of 172 guest rooms and suites with views of the resort's famed "Blue Monster" golf course which Nicklaus frequently played, and won.

The villas, a part of the $250 million renovation Trump has done on the property, were designed by architects WATG with interiors by Ivanka Trump who went with her usual elegant palette of ivory and champagne with a bit of caramel mixed in. Mahogany wood and gold leaf Spanish revival details were also added and each room features photos and mementos of Nicklaus' career.

In short, it feels more like a Trump Hotel than a themed-golf suite and that's a good thing. If you've had a bad back nine, the last thing you want to see when you get back is more reminders of your crappy play.

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1 Hotels Are Giving Us a Peek of Their Style on Instagram

February 27, 2015 at 8:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

Creating seed bombs. Little takeaway reminders to make beautiful things grow.

A photo posted by 1 Hotels (@1hotels) on

We're only a few weeks away from the opening of the very first 1 Hotels and the eco-luxury hotel brand is starting to reveal a bit about themselves on Instagram. Check out this little takeaway "seed bag" the 1 Hotel South Beach is planning on giving to guests.

As we told you a few months ago, the hotel give guests a "goodie bag" on arrival filled with healthy snacks. So perhaps the seed bomb is the takeaway gift. Either way, we approve. It's always the little freebies, er, touches that keep us coming back.

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The Park Central Hotel Has Taken Over The Westin Market Street in SF

February 26, 2015 at 5:47 PM | by | Comments (2)

The San Francisco hotel scene continues to be upgraded. The Westin Market Street hotel is no longer. Well, of course, the building and hotel still exist, however it is now going by the new name Park Central Hotel.

The change happened in late January when LaSalle Hotel Properties purchased the 681-room hotel and installed Highgate Hotel to manage it. The property will undergo only "modest renovations" and the restaurant MaSo will stay in place. The hotel will focus on bringing in some new programs and new partnerships with local affiliations.

As for the WiFi, which was free in the lobby and pay in the guest rooms under Westin, the Park Central plans on keeping it status quo.

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DC is Readying a Bunch of New Hotels in Time for the 2016 Election

February 26, 2015 at 3:57 PM | by | Comment (1)

Only 620 days until the 2016 election, but who’s counting? The momentum is building and hoteliers in the DC area are physically building new hotels as well as renovating in advance of what will be a very important presidential election. Let’s review who's on the hotel ballot:

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AC Hotel Chicago Downtown is Expected to Open in May (So They Say)

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  Site Where: 630 N. Rush Street [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60611
February 26, 2015 at 8:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

We've long known that the old Sheraton Four Points in Chicago on Rush Street was transforming into an AC Hotel by Marriott but now we have a date on when this transformation will be revelead---MAY.

That's what the website for the hotel is saying, but you know this hotel business, dates can, and do, change. Interestingly, that's also when the new Hyatt Centric brand will open in Chicago. (Taps fingers together and laughs a Dr. Evil kind of laugh.)

Still, if May is when the hotel opens, guests can expect masculine but comfortable decor, free WiFi, tapas and cocktails from the AC Lounge, and breakfast with those imported buttery croissants in the AC Kitchen. There should also be an AC Store where you can pick up toiletries, snacks, wine and phone chargers, among other things. No word on room rates but we'll update you when we have them. #prayfor$200orless

Elsewhere in the AC world, AC KC (Kansas City) is about to open, while AC DC is happening next month, followed by AC MB (Miami Beach). And there's a whole bunch more in the works too. You can read those here.

GO INSIDE THE AC HOTEL BY MARRIOTT EXPERIENCE!

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Now That Everyone Can Sleep With The Virgin, How Goes It?

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  Site Where: 203 N. Wabash Avenue [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60601
February 25, 2015 at 3:35 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's been over a month since we slept with the Virgin Chicago and a few things have already changed since we did it.

For starters, Sir Richard Branson came in for a visit. Then on Valentine's Day, the new coffee and wine bar, Two Zero Three, opened just off the entrance of the hotel.

Opening next week is Miss Ricky's All American Diner a 23-hour spot serving "new classics" such as a Great Lakes Reuben, The Biggie Grilled Cheese, Short Rib Pie and decadent donuts and dessert. You can see Virgin CEO Raul Leal's recent tweet for confirmation of such decadence:

The hotel has also rolled out a partnership with Tesla Motors, giving all Virgin guests the option to be ferried around town in a Model S P85D. It's color? Bright red of course. #howVirginsdoit

Now, these things are all fun to talk about, but it's time to see what real guests are saying about the hotel. And for that, we head to TripAdvisor. Even though everyone knows to take TripAdvisor with a grain of salt (seriously awful reviews can never be trusted, neither can the gushing ones) it's still a place all guests go to when thinking about booking a hotel.

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The New York Edition Hotel Will Open in May, With a Three Month Opening 'Festival'

February 25, 2015 at 2:07 PM | by | Comments (4)

The long-awaited, eagerly anticipated New York Edition, inside the historic Clock Tower building at Madison Square Park, is going to need a little bit more time.

After reservations for Miami opened last fall, word was that the New York Edition would open in April, but looking at the hotel's website today, we found this:

JUNE. But don't put away your Platinum Amex card just yet.

Master hotelier and Edition visionary, Ian Schrager has told HotelChatter that the hotel will actually open on May 11, with a grand opening on May 12. He promises this will NOT be a soft opening but that the hotel will be "totally ready." Even better, Schrager said there will be a "three-month festival of events to celebrate. This completes the trilogy of three hotels originally owned by Marriott: Miami, London and NY." (These hotels are actually being sold off now.)

Sad as we are about even a slight delay, this is probably a smarter time to open. I mean, have you seen New York lately? With the kind of winter they are having, it's better to wait it out. So May will be the perfect spring awakening. The days will be longer, the skirts will be shorter, the sweaters will be thinner, and most importantly, the moods will be happier. But you better hope your wallets are thicker.

Rates for a 265-sq.ft. superior room at the New York Edition will start at $725 a night, which is actually in line with many high-end luxury properties in NYC. A gorgeous-looking Loft Suite is going for $1,000 a night and has views of Madison Park. Whatever the room, all guests will get free WiFi, bottled water and no doubt, a crazy cool curated minibar.

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Hyatt Centric South Beach Has Opened Up Reservations for Stays From....

February 25, 2015 at 12:21 PM | by | Comment (1)

UPDATE: A Hyatt Centric South Beach reps says the hotel will open in April but that the "spring inventory" has not been released yet. The hotel is working on a special opening package which they will release next week. Once we have those details, we will let you know how you can book a stay in April. Stay tuned.

The other week, we had an operative on the ground in South Beach who cruised by the forthcoming Hyatt Centric South Beach to check on the construction progress. Our operative's conclusion? April was going to be a tough opening date to make. And they were right.

Hyatt Centric South Beach, one of the first hotels of the new Hyatt Centric millennial-friendly brands to open, is now taking reservations from JUNE 1.

We found a room on that date for $239 a night for a 300-sq.ft. king bed with complimentary WiFi, 47" flatscreen HDTV, a tea and coffemaker, a minibar, an oversized desk with ergonomic chair and a Hyatt Plug Panel for all your gadget hookups.

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Crazy But True: Roberto Cavalli is Working on a Luxury Hotel for DTLA

February 24, 2015 at 5:39 PM | by | Comments (2)

Downtown Los Angeles is in the middle of a certified hotel boom, echoing the larger development boom that is happening in this often overlooked area of Los Angeles. There's the Ace Hotel (which we know and love), the just-opened hybrid Residence Inn and Courtyard by Marriott, along with the forthcoming massive InterContinental Hotel, a hip Freehand Hotel/Hostel and the pending new look of the old-school Hotel Figueroa.

And in a few years, there will be a luxury hotel from Roberto Cavalli. Seriously.

DTLA's man about town, Brigham Yen reports that the new Figueroa Central complex, which just broke ground across from the Staples Center, has released the details on the planned 183-room hotel. And Roberto Cavalli, through the Dubai-based Pragma Group, will be doing the branding of the hotel.

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Peace Out Powell, Say Hello to The Axiom Hotel in San Francisco

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  Site Where: 28 Cyril Magnin St. [map], San Francisco, CA, United States, 94102
February 24, 2015 at 1:42 PM | by | Comments (0)

Change is definitely in the foggy air for San Francisco's hotel scene. Last week, we told you about a newcomer to Fisherman's Wharf, Hotel Zephyr, along with a few other changes like the Loews taking over Mandarin Oriental and a new hotel brand, Proper Hotels, launching later this summer.

Now, we have word that the Powell Hotel in Union Square will transform into The Axiom Hotel. Host Hotels & Resorts bought the hotel last year and closed it in December to begin renovations. When The Axiom debuts in the fall, it will have 152 rooms, managed by Kokua Hospitality.

Above is the sample layout for a guest room at Axiom and below is a look at some rough sketches of the hotel's new look, which is being created by prolific hotel designers, Stonehill + Taylor:

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Old and New LA Is Converging at Koreatown's Hotel Normandie

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  Site Where: 605 S Normandie Ave [map], Los Angeles, CA, United States, 90005
February 24, 2015 at 9:15 AM | by | Comments (0)

Cassell's reborn

One of the things we most like about the Downtown LA renaissance is the redevelopment of old buildings into sexy modern hotels (unless, that is, you’re talking about the Fig, which we cannot conscience in anything but its old, Moroccan incarnation).

The Hotel Normandie was already pretty sexy – a Renaissance Revival-style building done 1920s by Walker & Eisen, who also did the Beverly Wilshire and the United Artists Theater (aka the Ace DTLA), and now a 94-room boutique hotel (although with the old style preserved rather than gutted).

But now it’s stepped up the ante with some food and drink offerings that, rather like the hotel, combine the best of old and new LA.

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The Gregory NYC is The Next Man Who Wants to Sleep With You

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  Site Where: 42 West 35th Street [map], New York, NY, United States, 10001
February 23, 2015 at 2:57 PM | by | Comments (0)

The The Gregory.

There will be another man to sleep with in Manhattan this Spring. No, sorry, it's not a real man but rather a manly hotel.

The practice of giving a hotel a man's name has been all the rage for the past few years and NYC seems to be leading the pack with The Paul, Archer, The William, The Roger Smith and The Marlton. Now comes, The Gregory NYC, opening in May.

The 132-room hotel was previously known as Hotel 35 at 42 West 35th Street. But way before that, in 1903 when it first opened, the hotel was known as The Gregorian. Its sole purpose back then was to house the overflow of its sister hotel, The Waldorf-Astoria. (The Waldorf was previously located on the spot of where the Empire State Building now stands.) Interestingly, The Gregory's sister hotel today is The Renwick, which will open near Grand Central Terminal this summer.

Nevertheless, its this turn of the century history that is influencing the hotel's renovation today:

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