United States Travel Guide

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The Virgin Hotel Chicago Will Open, At Last, on January 15 at $209 a Night

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  Site Where: 203 N. Wabash [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60601
October 8, 2014 at 12:26 AM | by | Comment (1)

We had hoped Santa Branson would deliver a Virgin Hotel by Christmas but it seems like we’ll have to wait just a tad longer. However, now we can sneak a peek at the mysterious Virgin.

Earlier tonight, Virgin Hotels, at long last, unveiled their new website with actual information, not just rumors, about their hotels. Even better, reservations are now open for the Virgin Chicago starting on January 15. Rates for a “Chamber King” start at $209 a night.

We're still undressing the Virgin Hotels site but here are the pertinent details. Before we go any further, we strongly suggest you watch the video above to get a clear sense of what the hotel has to offer and how they plan on doing it.

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Bar Boulud: A First For Boston and a Second For Mandarin Oriental

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  Site Where: 776 Boylston Street [map], Boston, MA, United States, 02199
October 7, 2014 at 4:16 PM | by | Comments (0)

Renowned chef, Daniel Boulud has just opened his 18th restaurant worldwide but his first for Boston--Bar Boulud Boston, at the Mandarin Oriental Boston.

With eight dining establishments already in New York City alone, including the two-Michelin starred DANIEL, this is great news for Bostonians, visitors, and all self-proclaimed foodies. This also marks the third Bar Boulud after New York and London and the second partnership for Boulud with Mandarin Oriental Hotels (there is also a Bar Boulud at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park.)

The design of the new Bar Boulud was handled by Adam D. Tihany of Tihany Design. From the looks of the restaurant now that it’s completed, we think it’s quite simply, spectacular.

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Inside an Even-Numbered EVEN Hotel Room

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  Site Where: 426 Main Ave [map], Norwalk, CT, United States, 06851
October 7, 2014 at 2:59 PM | by | Comment (1)

Have you ever gone to the gym and seen those guys with biceps bulging like just-fed anacondas, chests broad enough to land a small plane — and legs as thin as angel hair spaghetti?

In fitness, as with everything, it’s all about the details. Miss a spot, and “sexy” becomes “silly.” Fast. Luckily, Intercontinental Hotel Group’s newly launched brand, EVEN Hotels, sweats the small stuff.

It could have coasted on its concept: A line of properties that is designed entirely around wellness, from in-room mini-gyms to an onsite restaurant, Cork & Kale, that offers healthy meals worlds apart from the calorie-loaded grub you’ll find at most lobby bars. (The cocktails even use organic spirits.)

It’s sort of shocking that no one thought to do this already, and there’s assuredly a huge market out there for a fitness-focused hotel chain. I mean, somebody’s watching “Dr. Oz.” EVEN could have phoned it in. Thankfully for us, they worked hard to get it done right.

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Lanai Update: All Three Resorts Could Be Closed to Tourists For Parts of 2015

October 7, 2014 at 12:27 PM | by | Comments (0)

Pool at the Four Seasons Manele Bay

So much for Larry Ellison's plans being on hold. Right now, he is a permit away from closing down all three hotels on the island of Lanai for a substantial part of 2015.

We already told you last week about how the Hotel Lanai is going to be used to house construction workers for the next year, and now it appears the Lodge at Koele - one of the two Four Seasons properties - will also contribute to the cause. Multiple outlets are reporting that Ellison plans to close the 102-room Lodge to vacationers for nearly all of 2015 to accommodate workers.

What are all of these workers going to be doing? It's all about the other Four Seasons property, the Resort at Manele Bay. It's currently undergoing renovations to its restaurants and west-wing rooms, and an additional proposal introduced last week would see a new round of renovations begin in January, culminating with the resort closing completely for about five months from June to October. Pulama Lanai's spokeswoman, Lori Teranishi, gave Pacific Business News an overview of the island-wide effort:

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Branson, Baby, Hurry Down The Chimney With The Virgin Chicago This Christmas

October 6, 2014 at 3:32 PM | by | Comment (1)

Virgin Hotels have put an end to the rumors they willingly helped others spread about themselves, but there's still a while to go before the hotel actually opens to the public. Yet if you continue to be good little boys and girls, you should be able to sleep with a Virgin by Christmas.

The unofficial opening date for the Virgin Hotel Chicago is now December. And boy, do we hope Santa Branson and his elves can pull this off. Work is still obviously underway at the hotel and we've yet to see an actual website for the property. But they do have a general manager and a chef on board.

So we hope the rest is just a matter of making lists, checking them twice, finding out what's naughty and nice, and then, finally, crossing them off.

[Photo: Virgin Hotels/Facebook]

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The Waldorf Astoria To Be Sold But Will, Of Course, Remain a Hilton Hotel

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  Site Where: 301 Park Avenue [map], New York, NY, United States, 10022
October 6, 2014 at 2:50 PM | by | Comments (3)

The legendary Waldorf Astoria Hotel on Park Avenue, the hotel that spawned an entire collection of luxury hotels, is about to be sold to a Chinese insurance company for a whopping $1.95 billion.

But don't worry. It will remain a Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Hilton Worldwide, who unloaded the property, will remain in charge of the hotel's operations for the next 100 years.

Despite the property leaving Hilton's hands, the best news to come out of this sale is that THE HOTEL WILL FINALLY, AT LAST, GET RENOVATED. We've long known that the regular rooms at the hotel are total dogs. The Waldorf Tower rooms are more luxurious but still look a little stale and stuffy. No word on when the renovations will begin but we hope it's ASAP.

[Photo: HotelChatter Flickr Pool]

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Funky Friday: An Ice Cream Sundae At The Langham Chicago Will Cost More Than Your Room

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  Site Where: 330 North Wabash Avenue [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60611
October 3, 2014 at 6:22 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.

We love hearing about a hotel’s latest dessert creations – more so directly experiencing — and when chocolate’s involved, they’ve got our attention. If it’s outrageous enough, for example, the 'Chicolate Room' at the Four Seasons Milan, we give it a friendly does of Funky Friday. Equally outrageous and jaw dropping, so to speak, is the series of high-end desserts, and their high end price tags, presently offered at The Langham Chicago.

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So, How is That Boycott of The Beverly Hills Hotel Going?

October 3, 2014 at 3:36 PM | by | Comments (4)

The Dorchester Collection Boycott came in like a lion in the spring, with high-profile celebrities vowing to never step foot again in the hotels so long as the homophobic (to say the least!) Sultan of Brunei owned them. Given that most celebrities frequented The Beverly Hills Hotel, the Pink Palace became the prime target of the hotel boycott.

But now a few months on, we hardly hear much about the boycott. Could it be that it has quietly died down? Or perhaps, the celebrities have just considered the boycott a part of their every day normal (ok, not-so-normal) life. Thus, this editor decided to stop in at the hotel and see for herself.

When I pulled up to the hotel at around 12:30 on a sunshiney Monday, the entrance was just as busy as I've always known it to be, with folks hopping out of their expensive cars to walk the red carpet into the hotel while town cars were picking up departing guests and their many pieces of luggage. Dignified doormen were, as always, accompanied by studly valet boys in light pink polo shirts, as they directed the light traffic in the narrow porte cochere.

Self-parking, already quite limited, was not available so I drove my car around to the other side of the property and parked on the street. As I walked along a winding walkway along the hidden pink bungalows and amongst lush greenery (vividly green even though Californias is in a severe drought), I passed by two people. A good sign, perhaps?

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Are You Ready for Some Football? The Omni Hotel in Atlanta Certainly Is

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  Site Where: 100 CNN Center [map], Atlantic City, GA, United States, 30303
October 3, 2014 at 12:00 PM | by | Comments (0)

As the UK preps for their own football-themed hotel in Manchester (boringly called, ), The Omni Hotel at CNN Center in Atlanta is proudly showing off their devotion to the American kind of football--with their new National College Football Championship Suite, henceforth known as the NCFC suite.

The suite "opened" the other but really, it's just a regular suite at the hotel that's been gussied up with memorabilia entirely devoted to the reigning champions--the Florida State Seminoles. Inside are various team photographs, a Charlie Ward jersey and FSU-branded throw pillows, blankets towels. Heck, there's even a bleacher seat inside (from the 1993 championship game signed by Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden.) But of course, since the suite will change every time a new champion is crowned, die-hard Florida State fans will need to drive hard to book it. Er, rush fast to book it.

The NCFC suite is part of the Omni's new partnership with the College Football Hall of Fame and the Chick-fil-A Fan Experience which opened recently next to the hotel.

A stay in the suite for the die-hard Seminole football fan can be had by booking the Ultimate Fan Package which costs $4,500 and includes a two-night stay in the suite, roundtrip airport transportation, a football themed tailgate party for you and 20 guests and a private breakfast for 20 served on the College Football Hall of Fame’s indoor football field. Touchdown! (Sorry, we couldn't resist.)

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The W South Beach Just Unveiled A Hotel Wedding Package to End All Other Hotel Wedding Packages

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  Site Where: 2201 Collins Avenue [map], Miami Beach, FL, United States, 33139
October 3, 2014 at 10:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

We thought yesterday's story about the resort that wants you to take the honeymoon suite home with you was pretty insane, but the W South Beach has come up with the most ridiculuxe hotel wedding extravaganza that we have ever heard of--The Million Dollar Wedding Package.

Before we go any further, allow us to answer the question that's just about to come rushing out of your mouths--Yes, the wedding costs a million dollars. Actually, according to the hotel rep, it's a little over a million dollars. Alright, now with that out of the way, here's what a million dollar W Hotel wedding includes and how much each items costs. Emphasis is ours but if we had our way, we'd really just bold the whole darn package, all the way to the bottom.

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Openings And Demolitions: What's Going On In Palm Springs

October 3, 2014 at 9:01 AM | by | Comments (0)

As the temperature drops from “inferno” to “tannable” in the Coachella Valley, there’s lots going on in the Palm Springs hotel scene. A new restaurant? A hotel opening? A sad demolition? Here’s what’s happening:


· Here’s the first picture from the forthcoming Palm Springs Hotel. Originally slated for an August opening, it “hit a construction snag” but is now on course, with the website taking reservations from 23 November, with rooms from $139 on opening night ($119 the following week).

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The SLS Las Vegas Breaks The Uniform Monotony With These Sleek Looks

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  Site Where: 2535 Las Vegas Blvd South [map], Las Vegas, NV, United States, 89109
October 2, 2014 at 8:05 PM | by | Comments (0)

In Las Vegas, it used to be that the cocktail waitresses were the only employees in a casino, save for the headliners, who got to wear shiny, sparkly uniforms. But in case you haven't noticed, Las Vegas, isn't quite the same city it used to be and at the forefront of the town's modernization is the SLS Las Vegas with its vast array of nightlife options, encircling a rather small casino floor. Well, small for Vegas anyways.

Indeed, the slot machines and poker tables can be seen as nuisances obstructing your path to Katsuya's decadent sushi rolls, Umami's juicy burgers, Jose Andres' bizarre Bazaar meat presentations and the pulsing beats coming from the LiFE nightclub.

Upstairs, the rooms are compact but chic with playful Philippe Starck touches like a silver tree stump, a tilted desktop and giant mirrors. And if you've forgotten to pack something, you won't have to settle for a strange name label since LA's own Fred Segal stores have seven different shops downstairs.

With all these trendy "New Vegas" concepts inside the SLS, it's no wonder the employee uniforms are just as stylish. And we're not only talking about the cocktail waitresses.

SLS tapped Las Vegas designer, Barbara Bell of Bell Uniform Design, to custom-make the everyday look of SLS employees. Bell has been the preferred designer for new establishments in Vegas, including Hakkasan nightclub at MGM Grand, the Holstein's restaurant at The Cosmpolitan and the Aria Resort & Casino. Now, here's a look at some of the uniforms Bell and her team created for SLS:

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