United States Travel Guide

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An Icy 'Iron Throne' Is Now a Real Thing In Midtown Manhattan

April 7, 2015 at 10:40 AM | by | Comments (0)

We do not have to tell fans of Game of Thrones that season five is hitting HBO this weekend, but we did figure it was worth mentioning that the Iron Throne is now a real thing ready for your visit.

It’s the latest addition inside Minus5 Ice Bar located at the Hilton Midtown New York, and it just might make a great stop before or after your season premiere viewing party.

The throne is made of around 1,000 pounds of ice, and apparently it’s even better than the ice we get here in the nifty fifty—this stuff is 100% pure Canadian ice. Of course photo opportunities are available, and visitors can even choose from white or black fur jackets that fit right in with those who would be considered royal citizens of the Seven Kingdoms.

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The Mondrian Soho is No Mo', Literally. Introducing the NoMo Soho Luxury Hotel (UPDATED)

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 9 Crosby Street [map], New York, NY, United States, 10013
April 6, 2015 at 12:45 PM | by | Comments (3)

A while back we gasped when we heard that the Mondrian Soho, due to a litany of problems, would essentially be no mo'. (Meaning, no more.) And now, thanks to its new owners, that day has come--except there's a twist we did not expect.

The Mondrian Soho has been officially rebranded into the NoMo Soho Luxury Hotel. #NotAprilFools

Here is the official announcement for the now independent luxury hotel:

A Partnership between ASRR Capital, Alex Sapir and Rotem Rosen’s publicly traded Israeli Company, and Gerard Guez has announced the launch of a new independent luxury property, NOMO SOHO. Formerly known as the Mondrian SoHo and located at 9 Crosby Street in Downtown Manhattan, NOMO SOHO, which is in the process of transitioning management, will pay homage to its historic neighborhood while bringing a distinctively modern hospitality experience to Manhattan.

As an abbreviation for “nostalgic + modern,” the term NOMO sits at the intersection of vintage and cutting edge, both associated with the style of its location. The property and its namesake celebrate the original spirit of the area—known for its artistic origins, cast iron architecture and cobblestone streets—while blending the culture and fashion of today’s digital age.

ICYMI, Gerard Guez is the founder of Buddha Bar restaurants, but he is also working hard as a hotelier, as evidenced by the Buddha Bar Hotel in Paris.

The 263-room hotel will now be a part of Preferred Hotels & Resorts new Lifestyle collection, while Graham Leslie, the hotel's chief executive and head of hospitality will oversee the relaunch of NoMo which will include new amenities, new programming, new partnerships and new restaurant and lounge menus throughout the year. But we don't think the guest rooms will be touched. At least not right away.

Room rates at the NoMo SoHo (sorry, this still kills us) start at around $609 a night.

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Viceroy Palm Springs to Transition into The Avalon Palm Springs Tomorrow

Where: 415 South Belardo Road [map], Palm Springs, CA, United States, 92262
April 6, 2015 at 11:01 AM | by | Comment (1)

Time to change up the welcome mat!

Remember last month's news that Proper Hospitality Group would be taking over Viceroy's Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills and the Viceroy Palm Springs and using them to create a new hotel brand, Avalon Hotels? No? That's ok. Here's the recap.

Anyways, tomorrow, April 7, is the day for the Palm Springs hotel to drop all Viceroy association and turn into an Avalon. Here's the note from the Viceroy Palm Springs hotel website about the change:

Effective April 7, 2015, Viceroy Palm Springs will no longer be managed by Viceroy Hotel Group. On this date, the hotel name will change to Avalon Hotel Palm Springs and Proper Hospitality will take over hotel management. As a guest of Avalon Hotel Palm Springs, you will receive the same services and amenities that you would have received under the previous management.

Indeed, considering the recent reviews on TripAdvisors are rather amazing, we doubt Avalon will change up anything. We also hear that Avalon Hotels will unveil their new brand website shortly which will be fun to look at as well.

Meanwhile, actually staying at The Avalon in Palm Springs this weekend will be an expensive stay. There are only suites available starting at around $1,700 a night. However, rates for next weekend are a bit more reasonable at $500 a night, plus a $30 resort fee per day which includes valet parking, WiFi, and coffee in the morning.

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The Paul NYC Is Open, The Gregory Is Falling Behind

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 32 West 29th Street [map], New York, NY, United States, 10001
April 6, 2015 at 8:20 AM | by | Comments (0)

2015 is the year of more manly hotel names in Manhattan. Tommie will hopefully arrive by the summer (reservations are open from October 1 for now) and The Paul NYC, which we first looked at late last year, is now open.

Paul is a NoMad, a millennial, and new to us, part of Choice Hotels’ Ascend Collection. There are 117 rooms inside, ranging from Bunk Mods (yes, with bunk beds) to Terrace Kings. We had seen some renderings, with hardwood floors and pops of red and blue, but above a real-life photo from inside a double room. We don’t see this way of lining up pillows very often anymore, but it’s always struck us as unbalanced somehow. You can’t sit against them or sleep on them like this, and it’s not visually better than in line with the bed, so what’s the point? Is that just us?

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Inside the 1 Eco-Conscious Sensation That is 1 Hotel South Beach

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 2341 Collins Ave [map], Miami Beach, FL, United States, 33139
April 3, 2015 at 6:02 PM | by | Comments (0)

The opening of 1 Hotel South Beach has been a very long time coming.

The luxury 1 Hotels brand, with its eco-friendly focus, was first announced in 2006 by Starwood Capital Group, led by Barry Sternlicht, the man largely credited with bringing boutique hotel experiences to the masses with W Hotels.

But 1 Hotels was quickly put on hold once the economic crisis hit in 2008. (As evidenced by this hole in the ground.)

Then nearly two years ago, word came that 1 Hotels would be resurrected, with their first property opening in South Beach, inside the old Gansevoort South Beach which was formerly the Roney Palace, an apartment building (many apartments still remain, although they are separate from the hotel.)

Today, after extensive, estimated $270 million renovation (not including the $230 million spent to buy the property), 1 Hotel South Beach is officially up and running, with the second 1 Hotel-- 1 Hotel Central Park--not that far behind (It's expected opening date is now mid-June.)

We were able to tour 1 Hotel South Beach, and we were wowed by the transformation from the affected Gansevoort days. 1 Hotels has filled all the empty and wasted space throughout the building with meaningful design. For instance, the guest rooms feature not just a bed, a desk and a chair, but rather a bed upon a raised platform, along with a cozy seating nook facing out the balcony, and a long (reclaimed) wood desk that runs the length of the room. The bathroom is a good-size, with a generous shower. Yes, it's peek-a-boo but there is a curtain to close in case you're shy.

You'll also notice these "filled in" spaces in the lobby where comfy white couches and armchairs take up much of the front area.

Yet while the luxury element of 1 Hotels is easy to distinguish thanks to their $700 a night room rate, there are more than a few eco-friendly initiatives you may not realize during a stay or even a visit. (This too is by design as the hotel wants to be sustainable without being preachy.)

We were seriously astounded by some of these practices, which go beyond just being LEED certified. You may have heard of small independent hotels doing some of them, but not in a beachfront hotel with 426 guest rooms, four pools, five F&B outlets, a rooftop pool and a spa and fitness center.

Allow us to list the ways.

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The Maritime Has Turned Into a Foodie with Room Service from Tao and Mario Batali on Deck

April 3, 2015 at 2:30 PM | by | Comments (0)

The North Cabanas at The Maritime Hotel is the spot where guests can kick off or wind down their day. Or both. We can't help but notice the gigantic spots on the ground, a clever nod to the nautical.

In August we shared the news that mega chef Mario Batali, along with partner Joe Bastianich, will take over all food and beverage operations at the The Maritime Hotel, located in Manhattan's hip Chelsea neighborhood. The yet-to-be-named restaurant is expected to open this summer and will be the first Batali-Bastianich collaboration in New York in almost 10 years.

In the meantime, The Maritime is making sure no one goes hungry, with complimentary day and evening receptions and a special in-room dining experience created for hotel guests only.

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Stay at Hotel Hershey for Kisses in Bed

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 100 Hotel Road [map], Hershey, PA, United States, 7033-0400
April 3, 2015 at 8:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

You already know about Hotel Hershey. You know about the chocolate martinis and edible chocolate facials.

But did you know the chocolate theme stretches as far as the sheets on the bed?

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Vivienne Westwood to Seriously Glam Up The London West Hollywood's Penthouse Suite

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 1020 San Vicente Boulevard [map], West Hollywood, CA, United States, 90069
April 2, 2015 at 7:08 PM | by | Comments (0)

Iconic fashion designer Vivienne Westwood has already lent her creative genius to Virgin Atlantic's flight attendant uniforms. Now she's set to make her mark on a hotel--The London West Hollywood.

The Vivienne Westwood-inspired penthouse suite for the luxury hotel will feature exclusive art and customized furnishings, as well as perks for the suite's guests such as--one hour of private shopping at the Vivienne Westwood store in West Hollywood and a special discount on all purchases; His and Her gift bags from Vivienne Westwood upon check-in; and Vivienne Westwood-branded amenities within the suite.

At 11,000-sq.ft., it will be the largest hotel suite in Los Angeles when it opens on May 18. Here's a bit more on the layout and style of the bi-level, two-bedroom suite, including its impressive rooftop terrace, all of which was done in collaboration with Richmond Design. There are a lot of design details to pore over, and since we don't want any of you eagle-eyed fashionistas to miss out, we've put the official suite description down below.

Alas, such a couture stay and all the Vivienne Westwood perks come at a very haute couture price--$25,000 a night. However, the hotel will also unveil three Metropolitan suites on May 18, ranging from 1,600-2,200-sq.ft. and which may be slightly more affordable.

The suites' unveiling will mark the end of the hotel's $25 million renovation, which has created a 110-seat Screening Room, along with new junket suites, new ninth floor suitesand a new 2,600-sq.ft. fitness center. We just hope those sacred Vivienne Westwood scarves are on a strict lockdown.

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SXSW May Be Over But Here are Some Hotel Tips for 2016

April 2, 2015 at 2:05 PM | by | Comments (0)

By now, everyone knows that South by Southwest Festival is one of the busiest times of the year in Austin, and that if you want to stay in a hotel while you're there (as opposed to renting a place), you need to get on your horse and book early, probably about six months in advance. And, of course, you should expect inflated rates given the high demand.

But what else should you be considering? Do all the hotels become party venues? Are there nearby resorts within a short drive? Are group options available? We asked Shilpa Bakre of the Austin CVB some commonly asked questions that will help you plan your stay next March:

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Getting Boutique-y in the Florida Keys: The Renovated Amara Cay Opens in Islamorada

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 80001 Overseas Highway [map], Islamorada, FL, United States, 33036
April 1, 2015 at 3:05 PM | by | Comments (0)

A boutique hotel, Amara Cay Resort, just hit the shores of Islamorada in the Florida Keys after a multi-million renovation and it’s lookin’ mighty stylish. The resort’s 110 guestrooms, all public spaces, meeting rooms, landscaping, retail space and restaurant are completely redesigned.

Amara Cay Resort’s guestrooms and suites feature clean designs and furnishings incorporating elements such as wood, rattan and dark tile. Each guestroom has a newly extended balcony with ocean views.

The resort also added the new Oltremare Ristorante, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. The 60-seat restaurant includes a coastal Italian-inspired menu including homemade pasta, locally caught seafood and farm-grown produce.

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Why Stroll by DC's Cherry Blossoms When You Can Segway By Them?

April 1, 2015 at 12:15 PM | by | Comments (0)

The weather in Washington, DC will eventually warm up, and with it comes all those cherry blossoms. There might be a few bloom sneaking in here and there, but this year the National Park Service is guessing that the best bloom period will be between April 11 and 14.

The Hamilton Hotel is all about the season, and they’re offering up an unusual way to take in the sights and scents of the spring season. They’re partnering up with Capital Segway to run some guided Segway tours, as the thought is you can cover a little more ground—and see more blossoms—with a pair of wheels under foot.

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No Joke, This Hilton Hotel Has Its Own Karaoke Room

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 750 Kearny Street [map], San Francisco, CA, United States
April 1, 2015 at 10:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

There are lots of April Fools jokes flying around today but this is not a joke.

The Hilton San Francisco Financial District really does have its own karaoke room on site.

Located on the lobby level near the meeting rooms, the Karaoke Room costs around $1,000 to rent out for several hours. You can have food and drink placed in the room as well, but at an extra charge.

The set-up is a groovy modern lounge, not unlike many common areas found in tech start-ups, and your gear includes four microphones, an iPad stand for reading lyrics (or playing songs not in the system), a small TV and even a semi-professional sound system. (You know, the ones that will minimize the horrible drunk singing voices.)

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