United States Travel Guide
Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Parties / SLS Las Vegas / Viva Vegas / Hotel News / SLS Hotels / Sam Nazarian / → All Tags
Something lovely starts today.
SLS Las Vegas has officially completed its $400 million renovation of the iconic Sahara casino and will be opening their doors at midnight tonight to excited and skeptical guests alike.
Currently, we're in the "excited" group because it's been a hell of a ride to watch SLS grow from one boutique hotel in Los Angeles to a full-fledged casino resort in Las Vegas, with a property in South Beach opening along the way, and several more to come.
We toured the SLS back in May and even though the rooms were not ready and the casino floor was just beginning to get its finishing touches, we could envision the sort of fun playground it will be, with big names and brands installed at the restaurants, nightclubs and retail that surround the casino floor.
Yet aside from a few touches that honor the old Sahara resort, made famous by the Rat Pack, the SLS has done away with anything old and replaced it with everything new. Folks still clinging onto memories of the Sahara may enter SLS with skepticism (or perhaps, it's bitterness) but we'll go in excited--you know how we love new things--and hopefully, we'll come out excited too.
Below are our on-the-scene observations. Be sure to follow us on Twitter for some other live coverage. For even more dedicated coverage on the SLS Las Vegas, head on over to VegasChatter's own live blog.
You’re in your room in the middle of the day, taking shelter from the aggressive Palm Springs heat. There’s a knock on your door: “Housekeeping!” Urgh. What do they want?
You open the door. There is a man with a cart outside it. “Hello!” he says. “I’m part of the management team. I was wondering whether you would like anything from the cart? I have fruit, soft drinks, water and cookies.”
You look at him, suspicious. Is it a new, cookie-shaped travel scam? Is he going to murder you? Or just your wallet, once he tells you the markup he’s put on the cookies (don’t forget room service charge, service charge plus ‘optional’ gratuity)?
And then he notices your hesitancy and says a weird thing. “It’s complimentary.”
And once you ascertain that it is indeed free, and that he has not roofied the cookies, you pillage his cart as best you can and take your spoils back to bed and eat until the sheets are crackling with cookie crumbs.
This is no hotel-cookie-fetish fantasy, though. At least, it’s not if you’re staying at the Hyatt Palm Springs. Their “wow cart” (so called because that’s what most people say when they’re told it’s free) does the rounds of every room on property each afternoon, starting around 4pm (depending on how many people are in their rooms, it can take anything from 20 minutes to two hours to make the full round). It's normally staffed by management, like Josh here, who's Director of Operations. This is so they can also find out how your stay is going (this is a brilliant idea, since we had issues during our stay and chatting about them over a cookie would have been a much more pleasurable experience than having a go at the front desk staff in front of other guests).
SLS Hotels / Celebrity Scoop / Iggy Azalea / Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Parties / Hotel News / → All Tags
Yet the humble bell-ringing ceremony that we witnessed at the opening of the very first SLS Hotel in Los Angeles, at the start of a recession, has given way to a bacchanal celebration fit only for a town like Vegas.
SLS has cultivated "a guest list of over 3,000 VIPs, celebs, political figures, media and influencers" who will experience the jaw-dropping $400 million overhaul of the former Sahara casino this Friday night. The invited will sample gourmet cuisine, sip on specialty libations and scope out the guest rooms. Some folks may even decide to gamble!
Capping it all off will be a performance from Iggy Azalea, the hit maker of the summer, thanks to her song, "Fancy." Iggy Igz will perform at The Foxtail Pool stage with a special featured guest. Please dear God/Sam Nazarian, we hope it's Rita Ora.
The special grand opening concert is being put on in partnership with Pepsi. SBE, SLS Hotels parent company, hinted at future headliner events such as this, saying:
Hotel Closings / Revel Resorts / Atlantic City Hotels / Gambling Hotels / New Jersey Hotels / → All Tags
If there's any question about just how bad things are going for the Revel in Atlantic City, look no further than the fact that the casino resort has moved up its closing date from September 10th to 5 a.m. on September 2nd, right after the Labor Day weekend.
According to reports, the owners of Revel wanted to shut down even sooner - this week - but its request was denied by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. All hotel operations will cease as guests check out on Monday, September 1st.
This contributor is anxious to see the city move on from this mess, so the sooner the Revel is out of the picture, the better. Still, there are a few things to keep in mind as things shut down next weekend:
Hotel Renovations / Hotel News / Los Angeles Hotels / Marina del Rey Hotels / Doubletree Hotels / Hilton Hotels / → All Tags
$7.5 million of refreshments went into both an interior and exterior spruce-up, ranging from a new lobby and revamped pool area to refreshed guestrooms. The last stop on the renovation track has been the opening of restaurant Barbianca Local Kitchen. More shots from inside below.
Known for a hotel scene that bears a burden on the budget traveler, Santa Barbara's newest hotel, which is actually a hostel, looks to fill that void. Opened this week in the Funk Zone neighborhood, The Wayfarer is a 31-room hostel that offers both private and shared accommodations.
The opening of the Wayfarer is especially interesting given its location in the Funk Zone. An "artsy" neighborhood filled with murals, a surf museum, wine tasting rooms, breweries, a distillery, and small restaurants, it displayed a touch of grit in its early days that Santa Barbara had always lacked. But as its popularity has grown, so have the price tags on its restaurants and urban wineries.
Last year, our bro Jaunted noted that the local media was concerned that the growing gentrification of the neighborhood would ultimately be what killed it as higher-end concepts and projects, including hotels, looked to capitalize.
Hotel Technology / Park Hyatt Hotels / Hotel Openings / Central Park Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / → All Tags
We took you all around the Park Hyatt New York a few weeks ago but in honor of the luxury hotel's official opening day, we're spotlighting 5 tech touches in the guest rooms that we thought you'd like. Rooms for tonight are holding steady at $725 for a Park Deluxe King.
CLEARLY MARKED BEDSIDE BUTTONS. Turning on and off the lights with the press of a button can actually be accomplished here. (Shout-out to the extra outlets!)
NEWEST NESPRESSO MODEL. Even the pods are different!
INTELITY iPAD MINIS. Each guest will have one of these on the nightstand to use during their stay. (The iPads were not installed yet during our visit so, just imagine.)
GADGET HOOK-UP. A power/gadget hook-up strip is installed at each desk.
TOTO TOILETS. Yes, this matters.
Check out all the photos of a Studio Suite below!
That old saying, "Three's a crowd", clearly never bothered Kimpton Hotels who have had not three, but four hotels in Chicago for quite some time. And now, the boutique brand is working on their fifth hotel for the Windy City. Fifth!
Kimpton recently purchased a historic office building in the Central Loop neighborhood. Built by architect William Le Baron Jenney in 1894, the building was previously known as the LaSalle-Monroe Building and before that, The New York Life Building.
Kimpton will renovate and refurbish the property to open by early 2016. The hotel will have 281 rooms, 9,500-sq.ft. of retail space on the ground floor, a restaurant and bar and a top floor ballroom with views of LaSalle street. We're guessing that means the Starbucks and Subway, shown in the photo above, will probably move out.
New York-based architect Gensler and Los Angeles-based design firm Beleco, will work with Kimpton's senior VP of design, Ave Bradley, to create a "locally appropriate" style.
And of course, all the Kimpton amenities that we love will be in play like free WIFi for Karma members, complimentary wine hour for guests and fun animal-print bathrobes.
Meanwhile, we hear that Kimpton will make yet ANOTHER new hotel announcement very soon, regarding a new hotel in the South. Our sources say it will be in Palm Beach but a Kimpton spokesperson would not comment on that. We'll just have to wait it out then.
Hotel News / Hawaii Hotels / JW Marriott Hotels / Marriott Hotels / Four Seasons Hotels / Oahu Hotels / → All Tags
That’s right: the latest news coming out of Hawai’i is that Four Seasons might get its hands on a fifth hotel in the island state. Above the current JW Marriott Ihilani Ko Olina, which Pacific Business News is reporting will close early next year for extensive renovations and reopen “under one of the top luxury brands in the world”.
While there is no official confirmation yet from either the developer or Four Seasons, the latter has registered a business in Hawaii under the name “FS Ko Olina Inc.”, which seems to suggest something is indeed in the works.
Mama Shelter / Hollywood Hotels / Hotel Hype / Hotel Construction / Hotel News / Los Angeles Hotels / → All Tags
Mama Shelter in Bordeaux
There's been no formal announcement but there's been no secrecy surrounding it either. We're talking about the pending Mama Shelter Hotel for Los Angeles. See, it's right there on the Mama Shelter Twitter bio.
But aside from a LinkedIn job listing looking for a hotel restaurant and general manager, we were having a hard time uncovering the exact whereabouts of Mama Shelter LA. But today, we've found our Mama.
Previously, we've heard West Hollywood and Hollywood flung about as possible locations but those are two very different areas. West Hollywood is trendy and expensive. Hollywood is gritty chic and more affordable. Since the latter practically describes Philippe Starck's Mama Shelter concept to a T, we suspected that's where it would open.
We put in a request to our contact at Mama Shelter hotels on the exact location, but while waiting to hear back, our resourceful European editor uncovered this article. Even if you don't understand French, you can understand what it says.
Des négociations sont aussi en cours pour l'ouverture dans un ancien hôtel des années 1920, dans le quartier de Hollywood, à Los Angeles, «fin 2013».
So Hollywood, it is. And an old hotel from the 1920s too. But still, we wanted to know exactly where. So, we dug a little deeper.
Hotel Cocktail Week / Hotel Cocktails / Hotel Bars / Hotel Trends / New York Hotels / Atlantic City Hotels / Boutique Hotels / → All Tags
It's no secret that we love drinking in hotels here at HotelChatter. In fact, hotels might be our favorite "local." So all this week and next, we'll be pouring out some drinks for you during our second Hotel Cocktail Week(s) -- newly-expanded because there’s just so many drinks to share. We'll be posting quirky cocktails, boozy trends, unique menus and even recipes so you can recreate your favorite hotel drink at home. We expect everyone will be getting a bit tipsy over the next couple of weeks! But don't forget to tip your bartenders, in this case, us.
Tea-infused cocktails have been very “in” the past couple of years, and they still are, but now there’s something for all us coffee lovers to enjoy apart from the after-dinner Spanish Coffee: iced coffee cocktails. So kick start your day or night with one of these caffeine-spiked cocktails when your energy starts to wane.
The New York Palace’s team at their French pastry shop, Pomme Palais, teamed up with illy’s Master Barista, Giorgio Milos, to create a cold brew using illy’s single origin Mono Arabica Coffee from Brazil. In honor of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the hotel combined this exclusive cold brew with cachaça to create an idyllic summer cocktail that couldn’t be simpler to make.
The Brewzilian at Trouble’s Trust and Tavern on 51 at The New York Palace
4 oz cold brew
3 oz coconut water
1 oz cachaça
1/2 oz coconut syrup
Combine cold brew, coconut water, cachaça and coconut syrup in a shaker and pour over ice. Garnish with fresh coconut.
Cost to drink: $19
Cost to sleep it off: $493
The Soho House Chicago has been open for a week now and since we're still, um, working on our Chicago travel plans, we thought we'd do a cursory check of recent internet reactions.
The hotel surprisingly lacks a TripAdvisor page, so we're unable to find out the nitty gritty details of like quirky elevators or loud vents or issues with WiFi. But here's what we've gleamed about the new hotel from both the mainstream media and the (probably more important) social media:
New York Times: There's a custom, on-site boxing ring coming soon.
New York Post: Nine different products from Cowshed line the showers.
Eater Chicago: Go inside the Chicken Shop and Pizza East, both London-based restaurants that have spun off to Chicago.
Chicago Mag: The "ultra-indulgent" treatment from the Cowshed Spa is actually just a pedicure.