United States Travel Guide
The Jefferson DC Hotel on the corner of 16th and M
This week, as we made our way through our Nation's Capital to check out the cherry blossoms, we stopped in to take a look at the Jefferson DC, located down the street from the White House and one of the most highly touted hotels in Washington DC. Join us as we take a walk through to see what has made the hotel so popular.
The lobby of the Jefferson DC
Formerly an apartment building, it was transformed into a hotel way back in 1955. But the biggest changes came in 2009, when the entire property underwent a two-year facelift. All 95 rooms were upgraded, suites were added, and the hotel really began to live up to its name, adding all kinds of Jefferson memorabilia to the common areas and guest rooms, including signed documents, books, and other artifacts.
Before and After / Hotel Renovations / San Francisco Hotels / Luxury Collection Hotels / Starwood Hotels / → All Tags
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.
When we think of The Palace Hotel in San Francisco, we think of its rather splendid Garden Court. What is now the Garden Court once was the Grand Court, an open air carriage entrance in the original Palace Hotel, which burned down in the 1906 earthquake that destroyed 80% of the city (for more on its long history, go here).
As much as we immediately think of the Garden Court, less of an instant image comes to mind when we think of the rest of hotel, including its guestrooms. Or at least we did, until we saw what The Palace is doing to its rooms this year, grabbing 2015 by the horns to bring them up to date in a big way. See both before and after below.
JetBlue / JetBlue Hotels / TWA Terminal / Airport Hotels / Hotel Hype / Hotel Development / → All Tags
UPDATE 2:08pm EST: A source familiar with the bid tells us this will NOT be a JetBlue-branded hotel. JetBlue is just a minority investor. Bummer. We'll still hold out some hope for cool partnerships with the airline, whose main terminal is just across the way.
Well, this is certainly an interesting twist. The old TWA terminal at JFK International Airport may turn into a JetBlue Hotel.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the airline has partnered with developer MCR Development LLC, and the duo are now in negotiations with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Even better, they've apparently emerged the "preferred bidder."
You guys. A JetBlue hotel? We can't deal.
Naturally, JetBlue must have been a bit green about the debut of Virgin Hotels earlier this year but given that JFK is JetBlue's home airport, and where the budget airline first originated, this is the perfect spot to launch their hotel business. There aren't many details on the scope of the project other than it will have 500 rooms or so.
While this is exciting for AV and Hotel Geeks alike, it could fall apart as so many other deals have with this iconic terminal, designed by architect Eero Saarinen. In the past five years or so, Marriott Hotels, Ian Schrager, Andre Balazs, Yotel and Donald Trump have all made moves to turn the terminal into a hotel but all have failed for various different reasons. So we fully expect to spend more time at the gate with this flight.
Meditation Hotels / Hotel Fitness / Hotel Spas / NYC Hotels / Trump Hotels / SoHo Hotels / → All Tags
The rooftop bar, where classes will take place
How are your chakras today? Did you eat your breakfast mindfully this morning? If you answered positively to both those questions, go forth and have a blessed day. If you didn’t, you may need a little help. And Trump SoHo wants to be the one to do it.
The hotel’s spa just launched its summer fitness program, and is starting meditation courses along with more standard classes like sunrise yoga and aqua aerobics. Craig Hunter is the man to lead the meditation – classes are 45 minutes long and will “walk participants through various forms of traditional and contemporary meditative practices”. Does that sound like a lot of faff and not much time to get deep into a meditation? Possibly, but this might be a chance to work out the style that works best for you, plus he will also include “creative cycles of breath work”.
Joie de Vivre Hotels / JDV Hotels / Hotel Hype / Miami Hotel Mambo / Top Chef Hotels / Spike Mendelsohn / → All Tags
Earlier this year, we learned West Coast born-and-raised Joie de Vivre Hotels (JDV) would be expanding its horizons to Miami and New York. We're still waiting on the full details of the NYC property, but The Hall in Miami, at 15th and Collins, is going ahead with its "late summer" opening and now they've got "Top Chef" alum, Spike Mendelsohn, to create the food and bar menus.
Sunny's will be Spike's first outpost in Miami. The spot is named after his grandfather, but is also a nod to the weather in Miami (most days.) Designed by Robert McKinley, who also did the interiors for the rest of the hotel, Sunny's will "blend rustic elements and the tropics with natural, hand-crafted wood tables, all-weather chairs made from reclaimed rebar, and a Florida keystone main countertop."
Spike plans on serving reinterpretations of his favorite dishes he's picked up while traveling. That includes a Gulf Coast Grilled Grouper “Reuben,” the Greek-inspired Lifeguard Focaccia Myrtos Beach-Style, and the Jersey Shore Pork Roll Breakfast Sandwich. (Um, it's not pork roll. It's Taylor ham. Just saying.) Spike will also create made-to-order, brick-oven pizzas for The Hall's backyard bar and outdoor lounge area.
We wonder if his former judge, Tom Colicchio, will pop in. Colicchio, after all, is opening his Beachcraft restaurant up the road at the 1 Hotel South Beach.
The recent opening of the Baccarat Hotel & Residences drew much press and many a design nerd looky-loo, this contributor included. And, after spending time inside the world's first Baccarat Hotel, we, quite simply, loved it.
In a city like New York (well, there is no city like New York), space is always a premium, even in the most over-the-top of luxury hotels. The Baccarat Hotel & Residences New York does not have palatial-sized rooms, but it does have spectacular public spaces with great ceiling heights, creating the perfect setting for art and, what else, the Baccarat chandelier.
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We went through a series of updates last week after we initially reported the new owners of the Mondrian Soho were trying to kick out operators Morgans Hotel Group (in the middle of the night, no less) and rebrand the property as the NoMo Soho Hotel.
By the end of the day, a court had ruled Morgans should remain the operator, but the hotel's owner, Alex Sapir, isn't giving up. Like, at all. Here's what the statement he put out about the struggle to get the NoMo up and running:
One of Chicago's very first trendy boutique hotels is getting a bit of a facelift as they look to celebrate their 17th birthday this year. In the heart of the theater district, Hotel Allegro is planning to unveil a bit of drama in May with renovated rooms, a completely new lobby with communal lobby bar and enhance public "chill" space.
In a grand to attempt to reconnect with the building's 91 years of history, the Kimpton property is is embracing an art deco design for all areas of the hotel. From being greeted by a glimmering flapper girl painting and original light fixtures in the lobby to a sleeker and more cosmopolitan styling for the rooms, we were giddy with excitement on a recent hard hat tour.
Vail Resorts continued its recent growth spurt in Park City with the announcement that it will dip its hand into the hotel scene. After acquiring two ski hills in Park City, Canyons and Park City Mountain Resort, Vail decided to combine the two and form the largest ski area in North America. Now, they have acquired their first off-mountain property in town, The Yarrow Resort Hotel & Conference Center.
The Yarrow, a Doubletree by Hilton in downtown Park City, completed a full interior makeover of all 182 guest rooms and public areas, adding a larger bar and coffee shop. It's 12,000 square-feet of meeting and event space is probably attractive to Vail, but no specific plans or changes have been announced.
Vail Resorts is known nationally as the country's largest ski operator, but it is no stranger to the hotel industry. This is the second partnership it has had with Hilton, first joining forces in a 2011 agreement for the DoubleTree in Breckenridge. It manages three properties at Canyons Resort - the Grand Summit Hotel, Sundial Lodge, and Silverado Lodge - and others near and far, including Half Moon in Jamaica and Grand Teton Lodge Company in Wyoming.
It’s been 25 years since a hotel last opened around Yosemite National Park. And you can feel it, too – good luck booking last minute accommodation that isn’t a tent.
But now, finally, here comes a much needed hotel: Rush Creek Lodge, a “contemporary mountain resort” and sibling property of Evergreen Lodge, opening in Spring 2016, just in time for the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.
The large, inviting common room at our unit at EagleRidge Lodge in Steamboat
Last weekend, we traveled with a group of friends to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, to enjoy some leisurely spring skiing and a few days in the mountains. As a group of 9 people, we spun the wheels on many lodging options, including multiple hotel rooms, Airbnb units, condos, and hotel suites.
Our search and ultimate decision to rent a condo at Wyndham's EagleRidge Lodge shed light on the issues surrounding the hunt for lodging for such a large, diverse group consisting of both couples and singles. Below, we take walk through our unit at EagleRidge and highlight what we liked and what we learned about choosing accommodations when traveling with friends:
Denver's hotel scene has been percolating for quite some time and while it's still nowhere near maxing out, it is becoming a well-rounded city in terms of its hotel options, whether you're looking for luxe, boutique or basic. And now here's comes another hip hotel to look forward to--Hotel Indigo Denver, the first Indigo for Colorado.
The hotel will open in Winter 2016 at 1801 Wewatta Street, adjacent to Union Station. The 203-room hotel will actually be located in the Union Tower West, a mixed-used development that will include office and retail space.
Above is a rendering of the tows but inside, as with all Hotel Indigo guest rooms, you can expect hard wood floors, spa bathrooms, locally-inspired design and artwork, fun and easygoing F&B concepts and free WiFi. Now, that's something to get high about.
[Rendering courtesy of John Portman & Associates]