United States Travel Guide

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Inside The Soho House Chicago, Not Just for Members Only

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  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

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  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

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  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

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  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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Loews Hotels Will Open Yet Another New Hotel at Universal Studios in Orlando

September 9, 2014 at 10:37 AM | by | Comments (2)

Fresh off the March opening of the Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Loews Hotels of Universal Studios in Orlando has just announced they will open their fifth hotel at the theme park. (No, it is not a Harry Potter-themed hotel. Go back to your working on that spell.)

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort will open in the summer of 2016 with a "colorful Carribean atmosphere" featuring a tropical lagoon with waterfalls and 1,000 guest rooms, including 77 suites. The hotel will be located between Cabana Bay and the Loews Royal Pacific Resort. There will also be an air-conditioned covered bridge which will connect the Loews Sapphire hotel to the Loews Royal Pacific. Wahoo!

When the hotel is completed, there will be a total of 5,200 hotel rooms from Loews at Universal Studios. Surely, some of those could be transformed into Gryffindor rooms? Pretty please?

Keep reading to see a rendering of the property!

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A Look Inside Hotel Lautner, Now Open For Winter

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  Site Where: 67710 San Antonio Street [map], Desert Hot Springs, CA, United States, 92240
September 9, 2014 at 9:29 AM | by | Comment (1)

Last time we heard about Hotel Lautner, it was surrendering to the Coachella Valley heat and closing down for the summer. Now, it’s open again (actually, it opened a little early for Labor Day), and with a special September deal: $199 (plus tax) per night, with no midweek minimum stay (though there’s the standard two night minimum on weekends).

You might think this looks relatively expensive for a Palm Springs hotel, since we told you before how low prices can go there. Is a two night minimum and a $200+ room really worth it?

Yes. 100 percent worth it. A million times over. And not just because it has a kitchen so you can save on eating out. Pictures speak louder than words, so here are some photos from our stay back in 2012, when it was newly open.

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Yoo Hoo, Sultan! Did You Know How Fabulous The Plaza Once Was?

September 8, 2014 at 6:16 PM | by | Comments (0)

We've been longtime lovers of The Plaza Hotel in New York, even after the hotel was renovated and turned into a branded Fairmont Hotel with residences. But we had no idea The Plaza had such a racy side.

A reader, Tommy, wrote into us with this fabulous memory of The Plaza and one that's particularly poignant considering that the homophobic Sultan of Brunei is interested in buying the hotel:

When Donald Trump owned The Plaza Hotel from 1988 to 1995, the Polynesian restaurant in their basement briefly ran a weekly Sunday night GAY PARTY called "GAUGUIN"! I know, because I used to attend it.

I unfortunately cannot remember the exact year it operated this party but I do remember the exotic Polynesian decor & the fruit-infused tropical drinks served. This short-lived party ended after some fights broke out at closing time & the restaurant's liquor license was threatened with being revoked.

That's a fascinating description (oh, how we wish we could have been there if not for our geometry homework!) but it's not quite accurate.

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Is Ritz-Carlton Taking Over One Bal Harbour Next Month?

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  Site Where: 10295 Collins Ave [map], Miami Beach, FL, United States, 33139
September 8, 2014 at 5:28 PM | by | Comments (0)

The other day we were tipped off to a rumor that Ritz-Carlton Hotels would be taking over the swank One Bal Harbour Resort & Spa in Miami on October 1. (The hotel is currently a part of the Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels portfolio. Previously, it was a Regent Hotel.)

Before you get your La Perla and/or Hugo Boss undergarments in a bunch, nothing has been confirmed. Indeed, when you make a reservation on One Bal Harbour's website for next month, there is no mention of the RC takeover. Similarly, Marriott's Find a Hotel search function has no Ritz-Carltons listed in Bal Harbour. And combing random pages on the internet is also turning up nothing. But usually when we hear a whisper on the hotel grapevine, it turns out to be a done deal true. Now, we'll just have to wait and see.

Currently, One Bal Harbour charges no resort fee. Meanwhile, Ritz-Carlton South Beach is going to start charging a $25 fee on October 1.

[Photo: One Bal Harbour/Facebook]

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The Ritz-Carlton South Beach to Start Charging a Resort Fee on October 1

September 5, 2014 at 10:34 AM | by | Comments (3)

While we're on the topic of hotel fees, we've just learned that the Ritz-Carlton South Beach will start charging a $25 resort fee, per night on October 1. Here's what will be included with that extra $25 + tax a night.

· Complimentary 5mb wireless Internet access for up to 5 devices in guest rooms, lobby and most common areas.
· Beach chairs and umbrellas
· Beach Activities including boogie boards, skim boards, beach paddle tennis, bocce ball and corn hole court
· One hour daily fitness class
· 24-hour access to fitness center
· Use of hotel bicycles
· Unlimited local calls
· Bottled water in guest rooms
· Access to daily tour of the hotel’s art collection

Well, at least it includes internet on multiple devices.

Resort fees in South Beach are actually quite common. We stumbled across one at The Surfcomber, a Kimpton Hotel, last fall. For $20 a night, you get morning coffee, two beach chairs, poolside amenities like sunscreen and flavor-infused water and a $10 F&B credit.

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Stay Warm in One of Loews Santa Monica’s New Beachcomber Fire Pit Rooms

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  Site Where: 1700 Ocean Avenue [map], Santa Monica, California, United States, 90401
September 4, 2014 at 3:17 PM | by | Comments (0)

You can now stay warm while you chill out in front of your own personal fire pit at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel’s new Beachcomber Fire Pit Rooms and Suites, where temperatures December through February can plummet to a horrifying 50 F (that’s a shout-out to all of you tough northerners out there who can endure -20 F in January – we’re looking at you Fargo).

With direct access to the beach, these four stylin’ rooms all have terraces with private fire pits so that you can roast some wienies or pig out on s’mores in a more civilised way than backpacking with a tent in tow and searching for kindling (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

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