United States Travel Guide

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The Four Seasons Miami Used This Much Chocolate To Make Their Easter Display

April 18, 2014 at 6:00 PM | by | Comments (0)

What you're looking at is nearly two thousand pounds of chocolate. Ok, 1,700 pounds to be exact. But that's how much chocolate was used for the new "Easter Wonderland" display at the Four Seasons Miami.

Created by the hotel's new pastry chef, Keith Wallace, the display is meant to capture both the playful and colorful scenes of "Alice in Wonderland" and the playful and colorful side of Miami. Aside from the massive amounts of chocolate, the display and its 30 chocolate eggs, along with some chocolate mushrooms, took 20 hours to build.

Wallace and his team will have even more chocolates and other desserts on display at the hotel's Easter Brunch, happening on Sunday at the Edge Restaurant from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The cost is $99 for adults and $25 for children ages 5-12. Make your reservation by calling (305) 381-3190 or book online at www.edgerestaurantmiami.com.

[Photo: The Four Seasons Miami]

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Hop Over to These New England Hotel Easter Egg Hunts

April 18, 2014 at 5:47 PM | by | Comments (0)

Adults and kids will jump for joy at these festive New England outings. Unless you want angry neighbors rapping on your door all day, we don’t typically endorse indulging your kids in a sugar rush while staying at a hotel. But this weekend is Easter, after all - so if your little cottontails are going to get their paws on milk chocolate bunnies, they might as well do it somewhere nice. You know, somewhere with a spa. (That’s for you.)

To save you the trouble of hunting all over the Internet, here are a few New England properties that are hosting Easter egg hunts for kids and families. At the very least, they’ll get the children to play with something other than an iPad. The best-case scenario: Hopping all over the hotel puts them down for a nap, and that spa is all yours.

Omni Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, NH The property is hosting not one, not two – but FIVE different Easter egg hunts that are open to various age groups (and guests and locals alike). Among them: the all-ages “Great Bretton Woods Hunt,” which will scatter eggs (including a prized “golden egg”) across 464 acres of New Hampshire’s largest ski area. (“Powdery treats” are promised as you search.) There’s the “Easter Egg Extravaganza Hunt,” that will hide 600 colored eggs around the hotel itself, and there’s the “Slopeside Pub Easter Egg Hunt,” an adults-only afternoon hunt in the property’s tavern. (Other weekend activities include a “Tortoise and Hare” themed ski and snowshoe race, and story time with the Easter Bunny.”)

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Chatwal Hotelier in Trouble Again (But It's Not Vikram)

April 18, 2014 at 12:05 PM | by | Comments (0)

Usually when we hear of a Chatwal hotelier in the news, it's often about Vikram Chatwal, the troubled hotelier behind The Dream Hotel brand. But today, it's Vikram's father who's in the news. And it's pretty serious.

The Daily News reports that Sant Singh Chatwal, the chairman of Hampshire Hotels & Resorts which includes his namesake, The Chatwal Hotel, pleaded guilty to "recruiting straw donors to make illegal campaign contributions to three federal candidates." He also pleaded guilty to tampering with a witness who he allegedly told to lie to the FBI and the IRS.

Chatwal stepped down as CEO of Hampshire Hotels earlier this month (probably because of the charges) but remains on as chairman. Eric Danziger, formerly CEO of Wyndham Hotel Group, took Chatwal's place. Wyndham franchises the Dream and Night hotels which were started by Chatwal.

Meanwhile, Chatwal faces up to five years in prison and a fine of $200,000 when he's sentenced on July 31. He also offered to pay the U.S. government $1 million in restitution.

This is not the first time Chatwal has been in trouble with the government. Back in 2012, it was discovered that The Chatwal Hotel pretended to be a church for several years to avoid paying taxes. (It's a long story but the hotel was previously a church and the hotel never changed that status.) Let's hope this is the last of the Chatwal crimes.

[Photo of Chatwal and Danziger via Rediff]

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First Look at Homewood Suites, Opening in NYC on June 1

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 312 W. 37th Street [map], New York, NY, United States, 10018
April 18, 2014 at 11:02 AM | by | Comments (0)

Last fall, we let you know that NYC would soon be getting its first Homewood Suites Hotel and now today, we've got pictures from inside the spot, opening on June 1.

Located in Times Square South at 37th Street and 8th Avenue, this Homewood has two big amenities that we love--full kitchens (with a full-sized fridge, microwave and oven) and free WiFi. It's also got all-suite accommodations, free hot breakfast every day and complimentary dinner and drinks Monday-Thursday.

We especially dig the "homey" part of this Homewood suites. The rooms look quite...well...pretty to be honest. We like the hardwood floors, the color scheme and even the wall paper that looks like flecks of light behind the bed. Much better-looking than this Homewood Suite.

Rates for opening night start at $279 for a king studio suite, which is a nonrefundable rate. A more flexible rate of $301 is also available. A one bedroom suite starts at $379 a night.

Keep reading for more photos

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This Inn in Ojai Seems Like it Could Belong in the Rainforest

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  Site Where: 108 Pauline St [map], Ojai, California, United States
April 17, 2014 at 1:30 PM | by | Comments (0)

The small town of Ojai often gets lost in the shadows of destinations such as Santa Barbara, Paso Robles, and Big Sur along California's central coast, but after a recent visit to the "Valley of the Moon," we began to understand what has made it a long-time getaway for those looking to escape L.A. and refresh in the powerful, healing aura that our bro Jaunted discovered.

Something that initially seems like a drawback is what turns out to be one of Ojai's best attributes: The fact that it is not located on the coast. Tourists coming to California understandably want to be near the ocean, yet same-state travelers (aka Cali locals) appreciate the change in scenery, change of pace, and the rejuvenating properties that live in the orchard-heavy landscape of Ojai.

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Virgin Hotels Will Strap on a Guitar and Head to Nashville in 2016

April 17, 2014 at 12:32 PM | by | Comments (0)

You can probably thank Taylor Swift for the latest announcement from Virgin Hotels. The burgeoning hotel brand has just revealed they will open a new hotel in Nashville in 2016 in a pretty prime location--One Music Row.

Virgin Hotels Nashville will have 240 guest rooms, multiple "concept" suites, along with food and beverage outlets and perhaps most necessary of all, a cutting edge recording studio.

“Based on its nonstop cultural and live events, food and beverage scene, and its ability to inspire both talented artists and TV viewers, Nashville’s time is now – and we’d like to be part of that excitement,” said Sir Richard Branson. “Virgin Hotels will be our first venture in Nashville, and we’ll look at other opportunities for our US and international customers to enjoy the southern hospitality that Nashville is known for.”

Meanwhile, Virgin Hotels Chicago is apparently just "months away from opening" according to Raul Leal, CEO of Virgin Hotels. After that, Virgin has its eyes set on NYC, Boston, Dallas, LA, Miami, San Fran, DC and London.

We don't think we need to say it again but it bears repeating, "Hurry up because we can't hardly wait."

[Photo: Nashville CVB]

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Get 30 Percent Off in NYC with Starwood's 'Suite Week'

April 17, 2014 at 10:15 AM | by | Comments (0)

Restaurant Week, Broadway Week et al are now all old hat. Courtesy of Starwood Hotels, we now have a new sweet promotion to spend our money on: Suite Week.

From now through April 29th, you can book a future stay (through March 31st, 2015) in a suite at any Starwood property in the New York City area for 30 percent off best available rate. Just book as normal through the hotels' websites.

Each hotel will also be creating its own package that comes with early check-in, late check-out, complimentary WiFi, complimentary parking and then three unique amenities that are specific to each hotel. Here's the rundown:

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Can a Crowd-Funded Hotel Actually Work? Hard Rock Palm Springs Will Find Out

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 150 South Indian Canyon Drive [map], Palm Springs, CA, United States, 92262
April 17, 2014 at 10:00 AM | by | Comment (1)

Admit, it. You've probably thought about what it's like to actually live in a hotel. The thought is totally normal, especially when you think about the daily housekeeping, trendy design and staff often responding to most every want. Well, this idea can be a reality with a trip to the desert of Palm Springs and your own little slice of the Hard Rock Hotel.

The Hard Rock is looking for people, regular people like yourself, to invest in the luxury 163-room resort in the heart of downtown Palm Springs. With a little professional help from RealtyMogul.com, interested (and cashed-up) parties will register their desire to be part of the America's first fully online crowd-funded hotels.

Benefits for signing a check with a few more decimals than a night's stay extend way beyond bragging rights. Individual investors in the hotel will receive VIP benefits ranging from free use of the hotel owner poolside cabana, 25% discounts off the best available room rates and free room upgrades. Even if you're not a regular to Coachella Valley Music Festival, this might be a good reason to get away to the desert more often.

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Yotel's New Restaurant Looks East and West

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 570 10th Avenue [map], New York, NY, United States, 10036
April 16, 2014 at 2:15 PM | by | Comments (0)

Futuristic pod hotels are dime a dozen these days, keeping brands on their toes. The Yotel New York is keeping things interesting by upping their dining offerings with a brand new restaurant.

East & West, a new dining and lounge concept from China Grill Management, opened in the hotel last week and features a menu by Executive Chef Bradley Day that features shareable small and large plates and pays homage to the best of the eastern and western worlds -- kinda like the hotel itself.

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The JW Marriott in Denver Will Have Some Incredible Art to Show Off Next Week

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  Site Where: 150 Clayton Lane [map], Denver, Colorado, United States, 80206
April 16, 2014 at 10:40 AM | by | Comments (0)

If you live in the area or plan to pass through Denver next week, the JW Marriott Cherry Creek is going to be the temporary home for an exclusive showing of Impressionist & Modern paintings, American art, 19th Century European art, and luxury timepieces on April 22rd through 24th.

It promises to be a pretty impressive exhibit, featuring more than 15 pieces that include paintings by Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Thomas Moran, Camille Pissarro, and Norman Rockwell, plus sculptures by Edgar Degas and Henry Moore.

Put on in a partnership with Christie’s Fine Art, the collection is making a stop in Denver on its way to be auctioned off in New York City later this year. Believe it or not, the painting shown below by Thomas Moran, entitled "The Grand Canyon of the Colorado," was painted in 1904 and is expected to sell for $8 million. $8 million!

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DoubleTree Hilton Boston Wraps Its $8.6 Million Facelift

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  Site Where: 821 Washington St. [map], Boston, MA, United States, 02111
April 16, 2014 at 10:38 AM | by | Comments (0)

We love hotel renovations nearly just as much as we love new hotels. But what we really love about hotel renovations is seeing the transformation that happens when an old, tired and lackluster room gets a modern makeover and transforms into new, spiffed-up, stylish guest room. Or put more simply, we love comparing the Before and After.

For a hotel located across the street from a hospital, you’d think that that the DoubleTree Hilton Boston would have had a facelift sooner. But this month the property announced the completion of an $8.6 million renovation that gave the 267 guest rooms a much needed new look. That's the "Before" picture above. Now brace yourself for the "After" shot below.

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Natural Hot Springs Are a Pretty Damn Good Hotel Amenity

April 15, 2014 at 3:30 PM | by | Comments (0)

Colorado takes its hot springs culture pretty seriously. They come in all shapes and sizes, and you can find them all over the Rocky Mountains. Some are family friendly, and some are clothing optional, as our bro Jaunted experienced.

At the tail end of the ski season, we took a swing down to Pagosa Springs in South Colorado. The area is known for getting the most snow in the state, and we made our home at the Springs Resort in the center of town. The 79-room hotel gives guests 24-hour access to 23 pools that have been built along the San Juan River which runs through the town.

There is always a risk that such development can lead to feelings of phoniness, but the Springs Resort did a good job of creating a spa-like atmosphere while retaining the scenic, natural beauty of the setting. You can see the river from almost every pool, and separate adult and family sections accommodate all. A soak in the natural sulfur water does a body good, and if you want to take it to the next level, you can get a spa treatment that incorporates the rich mineral water.

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