United States Travel Guide

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Domingo Zapata Has Brought His Artist's 'Studio' to The W Union Square

Where: 201 Park Avenue South [map], New York, NY, United States
September 18, 2014 at 3:44 PM | by | Comments (0)

Two years ago, The W Hotel Union Square in New York debuted a new lounge concept for the space once occupied by Underbar, which in its heyday of the early aughts, was the place to see and be seen. Called Lilium, the space operated as a small nightclub with hand-sculpted steel lilies hanging from the ceiling and video art played on a loop on a flat-screen TV behind the bar.

Today, Lilium is out and Studio is in. The space, officially opening tonight, is a partnership between the Gerber Group (who also ran Underbar and Lilium) and contemporary artist, Domingo Zapata, who designed the club's interiors which are inspired by Alice's Adventures In Wonderland. Here's how the space is described:

Upon arrival, guests will descend into Zapata’s richly imagined interior world, falling down a veritable “rabbit hole” as they experience Alice-inspired murals leading down to a subterranean lounge. Once inside, a continuous, vaguely narrative mural runs through the space’s perimeter. Inspired by the style of his own Gramercy Park studio, Studio’s shadowy enclaves and seating areas are reupholstered in rich velvet red fabrics, and allude to a glamorous old New York feel contrasted by the rawness of open ceilings and untainted floors.

We call the Queen seat.

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The Mother of All Virtual Tours is Now Making Its Way Around the Country

September 18, 2014 at 1:05 PM | by | Comment (1)

About a month ago, our bro Jaunted wondered aloud whether virtual reality could make waves in the travel industry, allowing people to be mentally transported to destinations around the globe without physically leaving their home cities. We've thought about this very same concept in the form of hotels and online virtual tours as a way to experience properties before booking.

This morning, Marriott unveiled the mother of all virtual tours, a piece of technology it calls "The Teleporter," a virtual reality machine that allows people to "tour" some of its hotels in the States. The Teleporter made its public debut at the Marriott in New York. It will remain there for five days, then take off for the rest of its eight-city tour to its properties in Boston, DC, Atlanta, Dallas, San Diego, San Jose, and San Francisco.

Judging from the early reports, Marriott didn't cut any corners when developing the technology. A journalist from Wired had great things to say about the experience, noting that "pumps embedded in the floor, misting nozzles in the walls, heater blowers in the ceiling, fans in the ceiling and floor, a scent dispenser, and a 1000-watt amplifier all deepen the feelings of immersion. When you land on the beach, the pumps in the floor create the feeling of a cushioned landing, and you feel 80-degree warmth, a sea breeze, and ocean mist."

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Time to Channel a Speakeasy at This Scottsdale Spa

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 4949 EAST LINCOLN DRIVE [map], Scottsdale, AZ , United States, 85253
September 18, 2014 at 9:28 AM | by | Comments (0)

Couples' massages. Romantic or creepy?

There are plenty of hotels which offer exclusive rental of the spa, of course, but none quite like this experience at the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia.

The Puerta Privada deal not only nets you out of hours access to the Joya Spa (along with two other couples), but makes an evening out of it.

Step one: Knock on the (closed) door of the Moroccan-inspired spa, and whisper the night’s password, speakeasy-style.

Step two: Follow your butler (butler!) to your spa suite (suite!) which comes with a terrace, private pool (pool!) and view of Camelback Mountain.

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What's Inside Marriott's New Healthy Vending Machine?

September 17, 2014 at 11:00 AM | by | Comments (2)

While its tipping envelope initiative continues to dominate the headlines, Marriott's introduction of a healthy vending machine at its Chicago O'Hare airport location has been much less controversial. Earlier this month, it jumped on the bandwagon of a Chicago start-up called Farmer's Fridge, which creates healthy options using local ingredients, puts them in a jar, and delivers them to vending machines throughout the city.

Yep, healthy food in jars, which can be recycled back into the vending machine after the meal. There's approximately 12 of them in Chicago, and Marriott plans to test out the concept for the next five months at O'Hare. It seems like a great fit for an airport hotel, with plenty of guests on the go, many arriving late at night and departing early in the morning when hotel restaurants may not be open. This, in theory, gives them an option that's healthier than a fast food restaurant or a candy bar from a typical vending machine. We've certainly been there.

We haven't swung through to try it for ourselves, but are very curious to see how travelers respond to it. We're also interested to know if the food's any good, so drop us a line if you've tried it. As for what's on the menu, here's the full list of the items inside, which range from $3 to $12 dollars in price:

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5 New Hotels You Should Know About For Your Trip to South Beach This Winter

September 16, 2014 at 3:40 PM | by | Comments (3)

Miami has been getting new hotels on a regular basis for a few years now but in the next six months (give or take a few weeks), 5 important hotels will open in South Beach. Here's who they are and what they are all about:

The Thompson Miami Beach: The long-awaited, official, outpost of the Thompson Hotels brand will open on November 14 at 4041 Collins Avenue with 380 rooms. Rates start at $389 a night for a special "Preview" offer which includes $100 food and beverage credit to use at the Michelle Bernstein restaurant on site called Seagrape. There is a $25 resort fee per night which includes WiFi, two chaise lounge beach chairs, access of fitness center and fitness classes and a daily newspaper.

The Edition South Beach: The first stateside edition of Edition Hotels will open in November at 2901 Collins Avenue with 294 rooms. Despite the November opening. the hotel is only accepting website reservations for December 1. Rates on that date start at $429 a night. That will include free WiFi but there's also a $25 resort fee which includes beach chair service, beach towels, bike rental and "more."

Obviously, an older photo

Nautilus Sixty South Beach: Interestingly, the original founders behind Thompson Hotels--Jason Pomeranc and Stephen Brandman--will be readying their own hotel at 1825 Collins Avenue under their newly formed Sixty Hotels brand. There is no concrete opening date other than "Fall 2014" but our insiders say the 250-room hotel will open this year. We don't have a price point but expect it to be similar to the Thompson, with a resort fee as well which is sadly, common for South Beach. [Update: A rep for the hotel said the opening will happen in Winter 2015.]

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Radisson Hotels Will No Longer Stand Behind The Minnesota Vikings

September 16, 2014 at 11:29 AM | by | Comment (1)

The opening of the 2014-2015 NFL season has been severely tarnished by the off-season antics of some of the league's star players.

First, Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens was caught on video punching, then dragging his then-fiancee, now wife in an elevator at an Atlantic City casino. Next, it was revealed that Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings took a switch (better known as a tree branch) and repeatedly hit his four-year-old son with it. While Rice was suspended and cut from the Ravens, Peterson was only deactivated from Sunday's game. Yet the way he chose to discipline his son cost his team a very big sponsorship partner.

Radisson Hotels, whose U.S. headquarters are in Minnesota, have decided to suspend their sponsorship of the Vikings while they "evaluate the facts and circumstances." Radisson's parent company, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, also put this statement out: “Radisson takes this matter very seriously particularly in light of our long-standing commitment to the protection of children.”

The suspension was put in place just hours after the general manager of the Vikings gave a press conference about reinstating Peterson while the GM was stood in front of backdrop that held both the Vikings and the Radisson logo. Since the questionable behavior of NFL players off the field will continue to be a topic through the rest of the season, we suggest all hotels look carefully at the teams they sponsor and if necessary, follow Radisson's lead.

[Photo via Daily Norseman]

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Inside The Soho House Chicago, Not Just for Members Only

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 113-125 N. Green Street [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60607
September 15, 2014 at 12:08 PM | by | Comment (1)

A few weeks ago, Soho House opened their newest, exclusive hideaway in Chicago. We finally went to check it out for ourselves and we think, this might just be the one of the best hotels in Chicago.

The property has 40 bedrooms, three restaurants (all open to the public), a private cinema and a retro-styled gym with a vintage boxing ring and aerial yoga classes. Soho House is also located on a back street in the West Loop neighborhood behind the hottest restaurant precinct in town. (Since you can clearly work off whatever you ate the night before, there's no reason not to take a few steps to some of the eateries found on Randolph Street.)

Take a look around a "Medium" room at the Soho House Chicago

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The Line Hotel Will Be The Official Hello Kitty Con Hotel

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 3515 Wilshire Boulevard [map], Los Angeles, CA, United States, 90010
September 12, 2014 at 12:54 PM | by | Comments (0)

Hello Kitty, not actually a kitty, is turning 40 years-old this year and to celebrate, Sanrio is hosting the first ever official Hello Kitty Con 2014 in Los Angeles from October 30-November 2. EEEK!

If you're a huge Hello Kitty lover (as if there is any other kind), then you should book your room at The Line Hotel in Koreatown, STAT. The hotel, which is the official Hello Kitty Con Hotel, has put together a "Hello Kitty Sweet Stay" Package which includes an exclusive Hello Kitty 40th Anniversary Welcome Kit at check-in, and lots of "super cute" Hello Kitty themed surprises throughout the hotel like HK limited edition items at the hotel's Poketo gift shop and Hello Kitty food. Yes, food. There will even be Hello Kitty-styled theme rooms, although we're not quite sure what those will look like. We do know that LA-based designer Sean Knibb will be designing a special Hello Kitty Suite that will be open to the public.

The Line is also hosting a Hello Kitty Birthday Party on Saturday, November 1 with the Hello Kitty suite serving as the VIP room. Tickets were available through the package but the hotel is now sold-out on Saturday night. Saddies. Rates are still available for Thursday and Friday nights at $344 and $229 respectively. At least you can still get that welcome kitty. Er, we mean, welcome kit.

[Screengrab: The Line Hotel]

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Hotel Hugo NYC Opens Today, Will Loan You a Vespa During Your Stay

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 525 Greenwhich Street [map], London, NY, United States
September 12, 2014 at 9:39 AM | by | Comments (0)

It didn’t take Hotel Hugo New York nearly as long to open as was expected after its name change earlier this year: rather than winter 2014, the hotel soft-launched in April, and today the hotel is officially saying “we’re here, come on in!”.

Located on Greenwich Street in Hudson Square, the hotel has 124 rooms with gleaming walnut headboards and lots of design features, but there are interesting amenities to be found outside too. We’re not just talking about the city and river views either: you can get your hands on a Vespa to tool around Manhattan with.

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Another One Falls Away: The Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City Will Also Close Its Doors

September 10, 2014 at 11:10 AM | by | Comments (0)

Showboat Casino? CLOSED. Revel Casino? CLOSED. Trump Plaza? ABOUT TO CLOSE (this weekend.) Trump Taj Mahal? PROBABLY GOING TO CLOSE.

Ugh. Another round of bad news for Atlantic City and its employees. Trump Entertainment Resorts filed for bankruptcy protection yesterday and said that if it could not make "significant expense reductions", the casino will close on November 13. Nearly 3,000 employees will then be out of a job.

The odds of Trump Taj Mahal closing are very, very good. Trump Entertainment Resorts, which is a separate entity from the Trump Hotels company as using the Trump name is simply a licensing deal, did not pay property taxes on the Taj Mahal last month and cannot pay off $285 million in bonds. Not even a strip club could save the Taj.

Trump is hoping to cut labor costs but the unions are strongly opposing it, saying even if the workers accepted minimum wage with no benefits, there wouldn't be enough money to save the Taj Mahal. This is some dire stuff. You can read more of the nitty gritty here on this NY Times article.

Hopefully, this will be the last closing in Atlantic City for a while. At least until 2015.

[Photo: HotelChatter]

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Oh No They Didn't! Virgin Drops Doormats at Competing Hotels in Chicago

September 9, 2014 at 8:02 PM | by | Comments (0)

Looks like starting crazy rumors about themselves wasn't enough.

Virgin Hotels are now printing those rumors--on doormats--and dropping them off at other competing hotels in Chicago. Here are a couple of snapshots of the upcoming hotel's cheeky brand awareness campaign.

We've actually seen this sort of campaign before when CitizenM parked a stretch limo plastered with ads for their new Times Square hotel in front of luxury hotels. We like the doormat idea better but would it have hurt you, Virgin, to put an opening date on the doormat? #canthardlywaitanylonger

[Photos via Virgin Hotels]

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Werk It: JW Marriott Houston Downtown Shows Off New Glam Uniforms

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 806 Main Street [map], Houston, TX, United States, 77002
September 9, 2014 at 1:52 PM | by | Comment (1)

It's Fashion Week in NYC but down in Houston, Texas there's another fashion show of sorts taking place. The JW Marriott Houston Downtown, opening later this month, has just unveiled their new uniform collection for hotel associates (aka employees).

The seriously stylish collection was actually inspired by the 104-year-old Samuel F. Carter Building, which was Houston's first skyscraper and which now houses the luxury hotel brand. A custom blouse print even features a photograph of the building taken in 1910.

David Peck USA designed the men's and women's line which features classic silhouettes for the ladies in the form of pencil skirts, structured jackets, sheath dresses and blouses with neckties and chiffon panels and for the men, neutral tones with splashes of bright blue and peridot and some dandy accessories like bow ties and suspenders. Both the women's and mens lines features custom, hand-woven and fair trade tweed in several pieces.

“Traditional uniforms can mask individuality so we wanted the JW Marriott Houston Downtown associates to stand out and feel confident,” David Peck said n a statement. “The fashionable designs we’ve created empower the associates, both as individuals and as a team, to provide the guests with a quality of service guests that has become synonymous with the JW Marriott brand around the world.”

Take a look at these uniforms, if you can even call them that. They might just be the best ones we've seen yet. Even better, David Peck USA locally manufactured and custom tailored the women's line and used garments from a local shirt maker and menswear manufacturer for the men's line. #keepingitlocal

Now, we just hope these uniforms hold up after a few months of wear.

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