United States Travel Guide

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Before and After: Sixty Soho Shows Off The Sexy Sixty Style

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  Site Where: 60 Thompson Street [map], New York, NY, United States
September 30, 2014 at 6:27 PM | 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.

Sixty Soho, formerly known as 60 Thompson, is the flagship of the newly formed Sixty Hotels collective from the original Thompson Hotels founders, led by Jason Pomeranc. But now that the hotel is no longer a Thompson, it was time to change up the look.

So Sixty enlisted Tara Bernerd & Partners, a London-based interior architecture and design to six, er, sex up the 97-guestrooms as well as the lobby and lobby bar. Here's what the rooms at 60 Thompson used to look like. Keep reading to see the new and improved Sixty Soho...

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Will The TWA Flight Center at JFK Turn Into a Trump Hotel?

September 30, 2014 at 3:17 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's been rumored for several years that the iconic TWA Flight Center at JFK International Airport would one day turn into a hotel. And once again, the rumor mill is working overtime with reports that a new hotel brand will soon install themselves at the terminal.

Earlier this year, negotiations between hotelier Andre Balazs and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey fell through . Now it seems the Port Authority is out shopping for a new Sugar Daddy.

Following the release of a formal Request For Proposal last month, the word on the street— runway rather— is that interested parties may include Yotel, who made their name with their capsule concept at UK airports; developer Related Companies; Marriott International and even, Donald Trump.

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You Probably Won’t Be Able to Get a Room at the Hotel Lanai For the Next Year... Here's Why

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  Site Where: 828 Lana‘i Avenue [map], Lanai City, Hawaii, United States
September 30, 2014 at 11:57 AM | by | Comments (0)

By now, we're all up to date on the situation regarding Lanai and new-ish owner Larry Ellison. He has a plan, but no one is exactly sure what it is or how it will play out. While that's generally accurate, there are a few truths that have come to light since Ellison started pouring money into the island. We discovered one earlier this week during a visit to the Hotel Lanai: You won't be able to get a room here for the next year.

As the big plan continues to take shape, Ellison has begun work on a number of specific projects, including rebuilding community infrastructure and partially renovating the Four Seasons Manele Bay, one of the two Four Seasons properties on the island (there are three properties total on the island, the two Four Seasons and the Hotel Lanai). As you might imagine, these changes require a lot of construction, and many workers are being brought in from off the island. Due to the shortage of housing that already exists on Lanai, going forward, workers are being housed at the Hotel Lanai.

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Miami's Shore Club is Joining the Condotel Club

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  Site Where: 1901 Collins Avenue [map], Miami Beach, FL, United States, 33139
September 29, 2014 at 6:29 PM | by | Comment (1)

We don't call it Miami Hotel Mambo for nothing.

Today, we discovered that the beachfront party spot that is The Shore Club will move into a condotel operation. Yup, the dreaded condotels, once all the rage in the pre-recession era, are back. GROAN.

The Real Deal reports that the hotel's new owners, HFZ Capital Group, who acquired the property late last year, are splitting the hotel into 85 luxury residences and 100 hotel rooms. Currently, the historic hotel has 309 hotel rooms.

Word is the residences will start to go up for sale in early December, just when all the moneyed art collectors arrive in town for Art Basel. However, if you're keen to reserve a spot, limited reservations will open next month.

What's crazier than someone attempting the condotel operation again is the fact that neither HFZ Capital nor their sales agents, Douglas Elliman, have released any info on how these luxury residences are to come about. There are no renderings, no construction plans, no nada. But whenever this "transformation" happens, just know that the Shore Club will never again be the same. Fingers crossed, the condotel thing works out for them.

[Photo: Shore Club/Facebook]

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The Gift Shop at The Delano Las Vegas is No 'Automat' But It's Far From Basic

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  Site Where: 3940 Las Vegas Boulevard S [map], Las Vegas, NV, United States, 89109
September 29, 2014 at 1:00 PM | by | Comments (0)

Morgans Hotels are rather infamous for their gift shop offerings such as the kinky vending machine at the Mondrian South Beach called "Automat" which once sold (or maybe still does) 24-karat gold handcuffs from Kiki de Montparnasse. The automat also sold rentals for premium luxury cars like a Rolls Royce or a Benz.

When the machine made its debut at the Hudson Hotel in New York, it sold an $8,000 photo shoot with photographer Ben Watkins and a rental of a red Ferrari 599 GTB.

However, the gift shop offerings at the Essence shop at the new Delano Las Vegas aren't quite that risqué, although they are still rather expensive. You can get a small discount on the items if you're a member of the M Life rewards program but for the most part, be prepared to spend.

Here's what we found while admiring the wares at Essence the other week.

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Funky Friday: Inside The Helicopter Suite At Winvian

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  Site Where: 155 Alain White Road [map], Morris, CT, United States, 06763
September 26, 2014 at 3:41 PM | by | Comments (0)

Welcome to Funky Friday, a new segment we’re trying out which features one photo that we think singularly expresses a hotel’s inner psyche. We look for, and often find, a lot of wacky, wild and wondrous designs that seem to have one thing in common: a Type A personality. So why not have a bit of fun as we all wrap up our week by taking a quick look at some hotels that quite frankly, want our attention.

One of our hotel picks for leaf-peeping this season is the all-cottage, no-two-are-alike Winvian, located in northwestern Connecticut. One would never know from the idyllic setting what lies within these standout design cottages. We couldn’t help but notice one in particular, The Helicopter Suite, and we just had to have it for Funky Friday.

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Guess Who's Hiding in The Closet at The Beverly Garland Hotel?

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  Site Where: 4222 Vineland Ave [map], North Hollywood, CA, United States, 91602
September 26, 2014 at 2:14 PM | by | Comments (0)

The Beverly Garland in North Hollywood didn't quite make its intended summer opening but the hotel is pressing ahead with its $20 million, multi-phase redesign.

The hotel, first opened in 1970 by actress Beverly Garland, is in the midst of renovating its 242 guest rooms, 14 suites and public spaces with a hip new look from Forchielli Glynn. We got a glimpse of the intended room design last December but now we've got a peek inside the closet.

Since the hotel has hosted many celebrities (Kurt Cobain allegedly proposed to Courtney Love at the hotel) and has been featured in many TV shows and films, it's only fitting that the wallpaper in the closet contains some paparazzi. Here's a scene from the 1960s movie, La Dolce Vita. For once, entering the closet is going to be thrilling!

The hotel is still open during the renovations and we found a room for next weekend at $369. The following weekend was much cheaper at $279 a night. Popular Los Angeles chef, Warren Schwartz, has opened his Warren's Blackboard restaurant at the hotel but that should changeover to a sustainable dining concept called, The Front Yard, sometime later this year.

[Photo: The Beverly Garland]

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The Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach Has Officially Opened

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  Site Where: 1801 Collins Avenue [map], Miami Beach, FL, United States, 33139
September 26, 2014 at 10:41 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.

The weather is getting cooler but the hotel scene in Miami is getting hotter. We already told you about five new hotels to look for this winter but here's one you can check out as soon as next week--The Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach.

We first heard about The Shelborne closing for much-neededrenovations back in May 2013. A HotelChatter contributor had stayed at the property only months before and had this to say about the rooms:

The Shelborne's suite had last been furnished in the early 1990s, the dining chairs were broken, the mattress was so old you could feel the springs, the tables were scratched and water-damaged, the art was like that of a greasy strip mall generic Asian restaurant, the floors felt so dusty we were relieved to have brought slippers from our last hotel, and the power outlet actually shocked us as we tried to plug in our phone charger. Firetrap much?

Above is how the hotel rooms used to look. Keep reading to see the transformation!

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Inside a Penthouse Suite (or Two) at The Delano Las Vegas

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  Site Where: 3940 Las Vegas Boulevard [map], Las Vegas, NV, United States, 89109
September 25, 2014 at 5:36 PM | by | Comments (0)

The Delano Las Vegas, while strongly inspired by the original Delano in South Beach, is very much its own hotel.

We like to think of it as, "Delano Does the Desert", since much of the hotel's design and subsequent vibe, was inspired by the surrounding area. Like the towering boulders, sourced whole from the Nevada desert that now, split in half, grace the entrance to the hotel. And the long narrow carpet in the lobby that's meant to be a picture of the winding Colorado River. And just before you approach the reception desk, you're greeted by a a few hundred rocks hanging from the ceiling (an installation piece from Korean artist Jaehyo Lee.)

Up in the all-suite guest rooms, however, there's less Nevada and more New York with white leather furniture, gold accents and black and white photography. That cosmopolitan style carries up to hotel's 28 penthouse suites, which are found on floors 60-62. Each suite averages about 1,642 square feet but there are a couple of different layouts. Allow us to tell you about two of them.

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Manhattan to Get Its First Seven-Star Hotel on W. 57th Street (Eventually)

Where: W. 57th Street [map], New York, NY, United States
September 25, 2014 at 3:16 PM | by | Comments (0)

These early New York buildings will be forfeited to make way for a new hotel tower that will be over the top in luxury, if not over the top of some of the neighbors' views

Manhattan’s posh West 57th Street, commonly known as "Billionaires Row," is slated to become the address for New York’s first seven-star hotel. The yet to be flagged luxe hotel is being developed by Vornado Realty Trust and Le Frak Organization, who individually or collectively snagged the three small buildings shown above, now under demolition.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Vornado’s head honcho Steven Roth announced plans for a seven-star hotel, and that’s really all anyone has to go with at the moment. We haven’t seen any renderings yet, but we will, obviously, be tracking the hotel's progress, its design, and its seven-star attributes.

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Larry Ellison's Big Plans for Lana'i are on Hold...For Now

September 25, 2014 at 11:46 AM | by | Comments (0)

While visiting Maui in May, we often looked across the beach from Wailea where we were staying, over towards the island of Lana'i.

One time, while staring at Lana'i, a passerby told us, "Do you know who bought that island? Larry Ellison of Oracle." Wow, we thought. That's how rich he is. He can buy an island in Hawaii. An island that contains two Four Seasons Resorts. Turns out it's not that simple.

Technically, Ellison owns 97 percent of the island, not the whole thing but as the New York Times pointed out, that's still a lot. The cost to buy the island in 2012 was $300 million and Ellison, who stepped down as CEO of the Silicon Valley company last year, wants to turn the Lana'i into the "first economically viable, 100 percent green community." Ellison, under the guise of his management company, Pulama Lanai, expressed interest earlier in the year to build a fourth resort (Ellison also bought the Hotel Lanai, the other resort on the island) and hoped to extend the island's airport, along with other modern modifications to the island.

However, not all the plans that Ellison has for the island are working out, like the extended airport and the desalination plant. Also, a renovation of the Four Seasons Manele Bay was apparently downsized. Not that it has mattered to guests. The TripAdvisor reviews are still off the charts. The hotel did renovate all of its rooms and they do look rather incredible on the website. Here's how the general manager explained the renovations to the NY Times:

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Hotel Tomo in San Francisco Trades 'Joy' for 'Karma'

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  Site Where: 1800 Sutter Street [map], San Francisco, CA , United States, 94115
September 24, 2014 at 3:35 PM | by | Comments (0)

And by that we mean, the Japanimation-inspired Hotel Tomo in San Fran's Japantown has gone from a Joie de Vivre Hotel to a Kimpton Hotel. (For those not in the know, JDV's loyalty program is called Joy of Life while Kimpton's is called Kimpton Karma.)

So far, it doesn't seem like anything has changed from the JDV days (except possibly the toiletries in the bathroom which were once Japanese but are now from LATHER.) Here's a more in-depth TripAdvisor review from a Kimpton Karma member who stayed there as the changeover was happening:

I was happy to learn at check-in that Hotel Tomo is now a Kimpton Hotel as I'm a huge fan of Kimpton.

The changeover literally took place the day we arrived so there are still many, many things that need to be ironed out before Hotel Tomo satisfies Kimpton's usual standards.

The staff were very friendly and accommodating. We were given an upgrade which was nice. The room was quite large, especially by San Francisco standards. The view from our room on the eighth floor was great.

What Hotel Tomo looked like in 2010 when HotelChatter visited

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