United States Travel Guide
Donald Trump has finally scored big in the nation's capital. It's not the White House, but it's pretty damn close -- two blocks to be exact.
Last week, Trump reached a 60-year lease agreement with the U.S. government that will allow him to transform the Old Post Office Pavilion on Pennsylvania Avenue into a 260-room luxury hotel. Currently, the building is used as Federal office space and its tenants are in the process of being relocated. If all goes according to plan, construction should begin in 2014 with a target opening of 2016. The property will be called Trump International Hotel, the Old Post Office, Washington, D.C.
Aside from its beautiful appearance, the best trait of the property might be its location between the National Mall and Capitol, which will attract both business and leisure travelers. The design plan calls for in-house restaurants, spa, conference facilities, and no shortage of penthouses and presidential suites. The all-glass annex inside the building will also be redeveloped, either into new retail stores or conference space.
If there was a Guinness World Record for "fastest time from arrival in wine country to having a wine glass in-hand," the Andaz Napa would easily snag the title. Walking into the lobby, being greeted by Andaz staff, and having some complimentary local red or white poured while you set down your luggage takes all of maybe one minute. Once you've had a sip or two, the quick check-in process begins and you're upstairs stretching out fireplace-side in under ten minutes.
The Andaz Napa, formerly the AVIA Napa (Hyatt purchased the AVIA brand in 2011 and transitioned this into the Andaz) sits in a very fortunate location at the center of downtown Napa, placing the main shopping and dining (may we suggest Oenotri?) only a quick walk out the front door, while further destinations like Yountville and the entire Napa Valley spread of wineries are simply a short drive.
Just waiting for the financing to come through on your new Bentley? Aren’t we all. Well in the meantime, allow this Fantasy Friday post to guide you one step closer to being behind the wheel of this ultimate luxury car, and out on the open road. But where to take this baller-status vehicle? Well, since it belongs to St. Regis as part of their “Grand Tour Aficionado Package," we’d say wherever they allow. Lucky for you, it’s on a road trip along the gorgeous California coast!
During the next couple months, St. Regis Monarch Beach and St. Regis San Francisco are pairing up to offer a roadie adventure featuring a two-night stay at each end of the drive (in a 900+ square foot suite), a Grand Tourista Bag created by fashion designer Jason Wu, a Bentley key chain (to flash around after and convince people of your potential ownership) and of course, access to your very own 2013 Bentley GT, Bentley GTC, or Bentley Mulsanne for the 10-hour drive between destinations.
You can start your road trip at either of the two properties, with the drive winding up or down the Pacific Coast Highway through Big Sur, Surf City USA, Santa Monica, Malibu and Santa Barbara. We suggest letting Magellan ride shotgun if you’re directionally challenged.
Back in January we told you that the Topnotch Resort and Spa in Stowe, Vermont was undergoing a major reno. Shortly after that, the hotel closed up shop as it entered the final stage of its makeover. But now the hotel is nearly ready for its close-up and will re-open on June 28.
A Preferred Boutique and Preferred Pride hotel, the fruits of Topnotch's multi-million dollar refurbishment include:
• A more contemporary entryway that opens to a spacious new lobby designed to showcase soaring mountain views
• A brand spanking new bar
• Two new restaurants: The Flannel & The Roost
• 68 newly renovated rooms and suites
• New wedding & events venue
Celebrity Scoop / Sean Parker / Hotel Drama / Hotel Weddings / Lodge Hotels / Green Hotels / Big Sur Hotels / California Hotels / → All Tags
We love to watch celebs drop huge amounts of money on their weddings, especially when they're at lavish resort hotels and feature star-studded guest lists and more decimal points than any one of us can imagine. The recent nuptials of Facebook co-founder, Sean Parker was no different to any other cashed-up internet mogul.
The details are like this: he paid $10 million to reserve the entire Ventana Inn. The Big Sur luxury eco-lodge played host to his "I dos" deep in the woods of their campground section that was reclaimed back to nature in 2007. Parker's wedding planner moved in building walls, water effects and fake ruins on the old campground to create the ultimate forest-themed wedding that would go down in The Parker Family history as a fairytale day.
Sounds all magical and beautiful, right? No doubt that the massive check he signed over to get a little privacy during their day created a truly memorable experience. One problem: the folks over at Ventana broke some rules correction: laws by allowing the guest to transform the redwood forest into a wedding site all without the compulsory permits.
While Hotel Indigo has been making great strides internationally--the just-opened Hotel Indigo Hong Kong and its dragon-wrapped exterior recently won an award for best hotel architecture--the brand is still growing here in the U.S., with a third Chicago hotel coming next year and at least another 20 hotels in the pipeline. Yet there are still so many existing Hotel Indigos to explore, like the Hotel Indigo Nashville which just finished an ultra-cool renovations.
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The saying goes, "What's old is new again" but at the iconic Sportsmen's Lodge Hotel in LA's San Fernando Valley, the old has gone away for good.
The hotel is just finishing up a $4 million renovation that will bring the 190 guestrooms as well as the lobby and the pool area into the 21st century. We're talking big comfy beds, great lighting, bold colors, flat-screen TVs, poolside cabanas and best of all, free WiFi.
"We wanted to celebrate the past but make it more contemporary, more fun and more sophisticated as well," said Larry Broughton, founder and CEO of broughtonHOTELS. (broughtonHOTELS took over as operator of the hotel from Joie de Vivre and is also overseeing the hotel's renovation.)
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Did you know that famed chef Charlier Palmer is also a hotelier?
The man best known for his award-winnng Charlie Palmer steakhouses opened the boutique-style Mystic Hotel in San Francisco's Union Square 'hood last year with his Burritt Tavern, installed on the second floor of the hotel. (He's already opened the Hotel Healdsburg in Sonoma too.)
Now, the property has just completed a renovation of all 82 guest rooms (this place used to be the old Crescent Hotel) and it looks like an ideal place to rest your weary head...and your full stomach. The rooms are small but big on comfort and personal touches like fluffy white beds, exposed brick walls and carefully chosen honor bar selections from local companies such as PopChips, Oaktown Jerky from Oakland and 479 popcorn (note: the fuller-sized bottles of alcohol too.)
Courtyard by Marriott Hotels / Hotel News / Marriott Hotels / Business Travel Hotels / Millennial Hotels / Hotel Design / Hotel Renovations / → All Tags
This ain't your daddy's Courtyard by Marriott Hotel!
Back in 2008, Courtyard by Marriott rolled out an entirely new lobby concept that drew guests out of the guestrooms and lured them downstairs to hang out at the Centro bar, nosh at the Bistro cafe and socialize anywhere else there was comfortable seating, which was pretty much everywhere.
From the media pods to the GoBoards which show off news, traffic reports and other pertinent info for business travelers to the almighty free WiFi, Courtyard's lobbies are now sought out not just by business travelers but by digital nomads like ourselves in need of a place to work and a bite to eat. Ok, and maybe a glass of wine too.
But it was only a matter of time before the Courtyard guestrooms would be expected to up their ante. And that's just what happened.
According to Janis Milham, Vice President and Global Brand Manager for Courtyard, guests started to talk of a "disconnect" between the forward-thinking lobby layout and the somewhat traditional guest rooms. So while Courtyard introduces new room protoypes every six years, it became clear that the next renovation of Courtyard rooms had to match what was happening downstairs.
It also had to grab the attention of the next generation of travelers. Yup, you got it--the millennials, who everyone is courting these days including Marriott's other brands, AC Hotels by Marriott which are coming to the U.S. next year and Moxy which will open in Europe.
So what does this next generation want from a hotel room? Well, after a lengthy design and testing process, which Milham said took about a year and a half, Courtyard is ready to show off its Gen Next guestrooms. We were able to peep an actual room prototype over the weekend and here's what we learned:
NYLO NYC isn't even open yet, and already we're being blindsided with reports of a second NYLO hotel opening in New York, this time 40 minutes north of Manhattan, in the Rockland County village of Nyack.
Considered Nyack's first loft-style boutique hotel, NYLO Nyack will be walking distance from the Hudson River, making it an ideal spot for those exploring the scenic region via boat, bike*, or car. In fact, NYLO diehards might even consider a NYLO-hopping expedition, starting off in Manhattan, heading north up to Nyack, and ending up (after a substantial 3-hour car journey) at NYLO's original East Coast property, NYLO Warwick.
The hotel will have 132 rooms, as well as a full-service restaurant, bar, lounge with an outdoor patio, pool, fitness center, and library. Interestingly, the hotel will also have its own music studio flanked by a live radio broadcasting booth. This makes us wonder if the hotel is planning to start its own NYLO radio station, or could this just be a space rented out to another local station? Hmm…
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Love Vegas? Love Hyatt Hotels? Then life is about to get much sweeter for you.
Hyatt has announced a new partnership with MGM Resorts in Las Vegas which will allow members of Hyatt's loyalty program, Hyatt Gold Passport, to earn and redeem points at the 12 MGM resorts in Las Vegas. (Currently, the only Hyatt in Vegas is a Hyatt Place off the Strip.)
But the deal also works both ways.
MGM's players club, M Life can also earn M Life Tier Credits when staying at the more than 450 Hyatt hotels and resorts around the world.
“Our new relationship with MGM Resorts International underscores Hyatt’s focus on listening to guests and developing innovative strategies that set us apart and add value to loyalty program membership,” said Jeff Zidell, senior vice president, Hyatt Gold Passport. “We know The Las Vegas Strip is an important destination for our members, and now they will have the chance to earn points and redeem award nights at 12 outstanding resorts from Bellagio to MGM Grand to Mandalay Bay.”
Indeed, considering how often we go to Vegas, it looks like we're going to have to dust off our Hyatt Gold Passport card now.
The loyalty program partnership will begin on June 20 and stays at participating MGM Resorts can be booked through Hyatt.com, MLife.com or through individual MGM property websites. Below we've listed all of the participating hotels, all with links to recent stories on our sister site, VegasChatter.com, who has up-to-the moment stories on each property.
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NYC is like the Holy Grail for fitness hounds: jogging the Central Park reservoir, kayaking on the Huson, anti-gravity yoga classes. The list goes on. But for first-time visitors, the array of options can easily become overwhelming.
Luckily, this summer, hotels are going out of their way to offer unique work-outs, custom-tailored to individual guests' needs. So forget staring at a blank wall while pounding the treadmill, and consider these brand new hotel fitness amenities:
70 Park Avenue: Kimpton's swank Park Avenue abode just launched a new fitness center, and to promote it, the hotel is offering two new fitness amenities—first off, a "Power Bar" menu, which offers an a la carte list of different fitness options, from in-room personal training sessions ($100) to yoga ($65) to boot camp ($65).
Alternatively, guests can check-out a mini iPad pre-loaded with a Virtual Fitness Library of workout videos, tutorials and fitness tips.
Two more after the jump!