United States Travel Guide

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First Look at Mama Shelter Los Angeles, Opening on May 15

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  Site Where: 1557 Wilcox Avenue [map], Hollywood, CA, United States, 90048
March 27, 2015 at 4:29 PM | by | Comments (0)

Voilà! At last, we have a room photo of the forthcoming Mama Shelter Los Angeles located in the heart of Hollywood.

We've been tracking this hotel's progress since we first learned of its existence (and exact location) back in August. But now, you can finally begin to plan your night with Mama in LA.

Room rates will start at $139 a night on May 15. Currently, booking is not working on the hotel's website but we expect that to be in action very soon.

The ground floor of the hotel is set to be a free-flowing reception area, lobby, bar and restaurant (from chef Benjamin Bailly of LA hotspots, Petrossian and Fraiche) while upstairs there will be just 70 Thierry Gaugain-designed rooms spread out over six stories, but tricked out with king beds and 27-inch iMacs which will serve as the room TV. As you can see, the rooms are very much like other Mamas, complete with those funky nightstand lampshade masks. (Hello Burt and Ernie!)

Mama Shelter Los Angeles will also have an outdoor rooftop gym which we kinda can't wait to see in action. #workoutselfieoverload

Want to learn more about this Mama? She's already "written" you a "letter." Here it is in full below.

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The Standard Comes Through To Help Those Displaced In NYC's East Village

March 27, 2015 at 10:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

A photo posted by The Standard (@thestandard) on

New York City was jolted yesterday when a gas line exploded in the East Village, causing a massive fire and a building collapse, and leaving 19 people seriously injured and many others displaced.

But unlike Hurricane Sandy when hotels were price gouging citizens and visitors stuck in the city or displaced by the storm, at least one hotel is helping its neighbors out. The Standard East Village NYC are offering a free stay to those affected by the disaster.

Released simply with an Instagram post they are offering those displaced by the situation between 119-125 2nd Avenue a complimentary three-night stay. It doesn’t look there’s any strings attached or any other hoops to jump through, as they just ask that your swing by with a proof of address.

Neighbors helping neighbors gives us some pretty good warm and fuzzies on this Fridays, and maybe even more so with those Italian sheets and down pillows over at The Standard.

[Photo: The Standard / Instagram]

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Confessions of Hotel Bartender, Vol 7: A Cheeky Drink at Virgin Chicago

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  Site Where: 203 N. Wabash [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60601
March 26, 2015 at 3:45 PM | by | Comments (0)

A few weeks ago we stopped by Virgin Chicago to sample some food in their all-day dining outlet, Miss Ricky's and ended upstairs at the Commons Club to partake in an adult libation from the cheeky bar menu.

After bellying up to the bar, we had chance to bend the ear of the head bartender, Jon Harris about what the drinks we were sipping and his thoughts on the industry.

This Chicago native has spent some time mixing cocktails from DC to London and back to the Windy City. Shaking some of the hottest drinks in DC's first cocktail bar, The Gibson, Jon eventually landed the job at the Virgin and started putting together the back bar well before the hotel swung it's doors open to guests.

Keep reading for our Q&A with Jon Harris

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This is Exactly What You Want to See From Your San Francisco Hotel Room

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  Site Where: 750 Kearny Street [map], San Francisco, CA, United States, 94108
March 26, 2015 at 11:30 AM | by | Comment (1)

Um, yes. Do we really need to say anything more? Ok, we'll say just a little bit more about this stunning view of Coit Tower and the San Francisco Bay from the Hilton San Francisco Financial District.

This is the view from one of the Premium Bay View Rooms which are located on the 20th through 25th floors. There are city views on these floors as well that are just as interesting, especially since the hotel overlooks Chinatown ,but really, it's all about the bay here. Fingers crossed for a clear and sunny day!

All rooms at the Hilton SF FD feature 32" flat screen TVs, a long desk for working and tea and coffee makers. Best of all, you don't need Zuckerberg dollars to stay here as we found a bay view room for this weekend for just $239 a night.

[Photo: Juliana/HotelChatter]

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An Inside Look at the Newly Renovated Shelborne Wyndham Grand in Miami

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  Site Where: 1801 Collins Avenue [map], Miami, FL, United States, 33139
March 26, 2015 at 10:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

In July 2013 the Shelborne Hotel in South Beach closed down in order to renovate the entire property (which was very much needed). It opened again at the end of September 2014 as the Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach with relatively little fanfare, so we’re going to toot its horn a little bit because, during a recent stay, we quite liked this 200-room property.

Designed by two very different designers – Meg Sharpe, who did the public and commercial spaces, and Richard Mishaan, who created the rooms and meeting spaces – the hotel has a sort of Jekyll and Hyde quality that, strangely, works together to create an Art Deco beauty.

First some history to give you context on the design. The building was constructed in the 1940s and embellished in the 1950s, when the Moderne Style of Art Deco was in fashion. Think glamorous streamlined design, with shiny metallic surfaces and a focus on the new, modern transportation design in cars, airplanes and trains. Both designers have worked to bring this particular era to life, albeit each with a distinctive flair.

Richard’s rooms are bolder in both color and pattern, with deep ocean blue furniture and rugs offset against stark white or mirrored furnishings. You’d think the heavily patterned wall coverings and lamp shades would throw the whole design into chaos, but it keeps the space oddly invigorating. Rooms have 46” Interactive Smart Samsung TVs with mobile connectivity, iPhone docking stations, Frette linens and private label bath amenities in a calendula scent.

Have a look at the Photo Gallery to see an Oceanfront Balcony room as well as a Partial Ocean View King, plus all of the public spaces!

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Starwood Says the 'Suite Life' Can Be Yours and at a Discount

March 26, 2015 at 8:25 AM | by | Comments (0)

For those looking to kickoff the spring season in style look no further than Starwood, as once again it’s time for their annual Suite Week promotion over in New York City. The fun started earlier this week and runs through April 7, as room packages, discounts, and other goodies call all be yours—and at a discount.

Offers include a 30% discount on rates, complimentary WiFi, early check-in and late check-out, and plenty of other goodies depending on the property. Of course getting away now would be great, but even if you book now during the promotion you can enjoy the fun later—through March 24, 2016.

Many of the Starwood properties in New York City are getting in on the fun, so think of spots like W New York locations from Union Square to Downtown, plenty of Westin prosperities, and even The St. Regis New York—complete with that new Bentley fleet. Even properties in Hoboken and Jersey City are getting in on the fun as well.

In addition to the discount on rates those visiting the W New York can score a 30% discount on all Bliss Spa services, a Bliss welcome gift, two complimentary signature cocktails, complimentary breakfast for two, and even free parking. Other properties are offering up things like welcome drinks, discounted tickets, and free breakfasts for two.

So there you go—looking for a suite and some savings in NYC? Give a click over to your favorite Starwood property, and enter those credit card digits.

[Photo: W New York | Facebook]

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Bar Tartine Goodness Coming to The Wythe Hotel Next Month

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  Site Where: 80 Wythe Ave [map], Brooklyn, NY, United States, 11249
March 25, 2015 at 2:30 PM | by | Comments (0)

Left your heart in San Francisco and now you're somewhere in Brooklyn? Bar Tartine, one of the best restaurants (and bakery) in San Francisco at this moment, is coming to Brooklyn to the Wythe Hotel as part of the hotel's Dinner With Friends series held at the Reynard restaurant.

The first round of tickets sold out pretty fast, but the hotel is releasing a second round for the April 7 and 8 dinner dates. Guests will have the chance to feast on a four-course meal prepared by Chefs Cortney Burns and Nick Balla of Bar Tartine, and Reynard's own chef Sean Rembold. A few dishes to expect are smoked potatoes with black garlic and ramp mayonnaise and green chili fisherman’s stew with collards and mushrooms. We're keeping our fingers crossed for Tartine's insanely delicious bread too.

Seatings are at 7pm sharp and tickets cost $140 which includes the menu, wine pairings from Reynard's wine director, Lee Campbell and gratuity.

Room rates at the Wythe on April 7 and 8 start at $325 for a baby queen room and $435 for a Manhattan king room, one of the best room to book at the hotel.

[Photo: The Wythe]

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Virgin Will Reveal Its Rooftop Next Month But It Won't Stay The Night

Where: 203 N. Wabash [map], Chicago, IL, United States
March 25, 2015 at 1:30 PM | by | Comments (0)

Now that the Virgin Hotel Chicago has unveiled Miss Ricky's Diner and it's Two Zero Three coffee shop and wine bar, there are only a few more things left to take off--the hotel's killer rooftop spaces and the downstairs spa. Both of these should be unveiled next month at the Virgin's official grand opening party on April 16.

We were able to peek at the rooftop spaces during our first time with a Virgin in January and they will seriously impress you with their cool yet fun decor and their incredible city views. Remember, one of the rooftop spaces will be incredibly exclusive so fingers crossed your on the list.

As for the spa, it promises to be a "wellness lounge designed with beauty, comfort and mingling in mind."

While the rooftops and the spa will be unveiled on opening night, we hear they won't officially open to the public until the week after. Room rates for that next weekend, April 24-26, start at $249 a night for a chamber king before taxes. If you're a AAA member, rates start at just $224 a night. Whoopee!

[Photo: Virgin Hotels/Facebook

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Who's Charging Resort Fees in Miami? Pretty Much Everyone

March 25, 2015 at 8:35 AM | by | Comments (0)

Ah, Miami. Sun, fun, mojitos and...resort fees?

Yes, sadly most hotels in Miami are charging those dreaded and annoying resort fees. According to ResortFeeChecker.com, 100 hotels in Miami have resort fees and the average fee is around $20.04 a night. That's about the same as Vegas' ubiquitous resort fee average.

But Miami is also home to two resort fees that exceed $100. Yes, you read that right. Those resorts are the Provident Luxury Suites ($107 a night) and The Fisher Island Club (also $107 a night), both of which are located on the extremely ritzy Fisher Island.

We've decided to list the resort fees of some of the most chatted about Miami hotels here on HotelChatter. Hide your wallets!

These fees are per day, plus about 20 percent tax, so the final cost will be a little higher than the number you see here. These fees usually include internet access, and additional amenities and services on site like beach chairs and access to the fitness center. (At the Surfcomber it includes iced coffee!)

But not everyone is charging a resort fee. We applaud the Loews, The W South Beach and The Setai for being resort-fee-free. (Never mind that rooms are hovering at $1,000 alight right now.)

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The W Bellevue to Open in 2017, Conveniently Next to The Westin

March 24, 2015 at 7:20 PM | by | Comments (0)

Last year we gave you three top hotels to consider in Bellevue, Washington for "luxury, location and design", one of which was the Westin Bellevue. But in a couple of years, you'll be able to check out the Westin and the upcoming W Hotel in one stop.

The W Bellevue Hotel, which was announced this morning will be built on Bellevue Way between NE 4th and NE 8th Streets, and adjacent to The Westin Bellevue.

“W Bellevue is being designed with a unique narrative that represents our Eastside community,” says Kemper Freeman, Chairman and CEO, KDC, the developer behind the project. “The hotel’s cutting-edge design brings our community’s heritage into modern times with a contemporary interpretation of the joy and wonder that we all feel in a welcoming lakeside summer house. This hotel will truly represent all that we celebrate about our community and will bring an amped up W energy to Bellevue.”

Right now, the hotel is planned to have 245 guest rooms, including 25 suites and one Extreme Wow suite; FIT, a state-of-the-art workout facility; three restaurants and bars, one of which will be outside on a terrace with modern porch swings and a pool table; a library stocked with pulp fiction novels; and an oversized fireplace commonly found in traditional lodges, but with a W twist.

We can't wait to see what that twist may be. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait until 2017. Still, this is exciting news because it's the irst new W Hotel for the United States in a while. The W Philadelphia which was announced a few years ago won't open until 2018.

[Rendering: W Hotels]

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Hilton Huanying is Taking Off, Here's What Chinese Guests Can Expect

March 24, 2015 at 2:51 PM | by | Comments (0)

Back in 2011, Hilton Worldwide began welcoming the emerging class of Chinese travelers with their Hilton Huanying program, which itself means “Welcome” in Mandarin. In the nearly four years since it was introduced, the program has grown from 30 Hilton hotels to 113 in 32 countries and 65 cities. Hilton Huanying has also "huanyinged" over a million independent Chinese travelers at not just Hilton Hotels but also Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts and DoubleTree by Hilton.

Because of this popularity, and the expected growth of Chinese travelers around the world (to about 200 million travelers by 2020), the offerings of the program are expanding as well.

When it first launched, Hilton Huanying gave Chinese guests a welcome letter in simplified Chinese at check-in, tea kettles ands slippers placed in the guest rooms, dedicated Mandarin channels on the TV, along with a few traditional Chinese breakfast offerings downstairs such as congee and dim sum.

Today, guests will still get all of the above but the breakfast offerings have expanded and more importantly, Hilton will offer 24-hour translation phone service in case a Mandarin-speaking Hilton team member is not on site.

Best of all, the program is at no extra cost to the Chinese traveler. Not a bad deal.

Below are some photos of what the Huanying presentation looks like at the Hilton San Francisco Airport Bayfront Hotel and the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, a property that sees around 800 Chinese guests within a specific three-week window, and many more throughout the year. This Hilton Hotel was also one of the first Hiltons to begin offering special services for Chinese guests in 2008. These services later made up some of the official components of the Hilton Huanying program.

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Soon Keyless Entry At Fontainebleau Miami Beach Will Allow You To Phone It In

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  Site Where: 4441 Collins Ave [map], Miami Beach, FL, United States, 33140
March 24, 2015 at 12:54 PM | by | Comments (0)

The magic that is keyless entry is nothing new, but we can’t help but feel a little chill at check-in when we learn that it’s an option.

Fontainebleau Miami Beach is the latest property to get the pieces in place before flipping the switch, as they’ve partnered up with StayNTouch to enable mobile check-in among a few other tech treats.

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