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One of The Algonquin's Greatest Legends is The 'Cats Meow'

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  Site Where: 59 West 44th Street [map], New York, NY, United States, 10036
December 22, 2014 at 6:32 PM | by | Comments (0)

The next time you check into The Algonquin Hotel, you may notice a special member of the hotel's family hanging around the front desk. Say hello to Matilda, the 10th consecutive cat to live at The Algonquin since the 1930s. Hello gorgeous.

Matilda is well-documented here at HotelChatter (cat fashion show, anyone?) but the hotel's pampering of the house cat never ceases to amaze us.

Now, Matilda has a new suite in the hotel's reception area, a tree house of finely craved wood, plush carpeting, and fancy monogramming. Matilda has her own "Chief Cat Officer"and her own business card. So if you fancy meeting her, have your people call her people. And while you're waiting, check out the amazing Blue Bar.

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Sing 'O Christmas Tree' In The Privacy Of Your Suite At The Greenwich Hotel In TriBeCa

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  Site Where: 377 Greenwich Street [map], New York, NY, United States, 10013
December 22, 2014 at 5:58 PM | by | Comments (0)

If you find yourself in New York over the holidays, The Greenwich Hotel (Robert de Niro’s TriBeCa hotel) doesn’t want you to be green with envy of those sitting around their fresh Christmas tree at home.

The 88-room hotel -- where no two rooms are alike -- will either set up a fully-decorated tree in your suite based on your ever-so-particular decorating style or, for some true down-home fun, will set up a tree-trimming party in your suite.

Once you’ve decorated the tree, head down to the cozy drawing room where the kids can have some hot chocolate from Locanda Verde and you can have a hot toddy – just to loosen up those vocal chords for carol-singing, of course.

Rates at the hotel this week start at $575 -- let's face it: this is the definition of last minute.

[Photos: The Greenwich Hotel]

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Starting in February, Hyatt Will Free the WiFi For All Guests

December 22, 2014 at 12:41 PM | by | Comments (2)

This room at the Hyatt South Beach will have free WiFi for all guests when it opens this spring

2014 is going out with a bang as far as Hotel WiFiis concerned. First came Marriott's news. Then Starwood and now, here comes Hyatt Hotels.

The giant hotel company announced that starting on February 2015, the WiFi will be free at ALL HYATT HOTELS. Previously, it was free for elite members of Hyatt Gold Passport loyalty program.

And unlike other hotels WiFi offerings, the WiFi will be free whether you are a Hyatt Gold Passport member or not, and whether you booked directly through Hyatt or not.

“Internet connectivity is no longer an amenity. It has become an integral part of travelers’ daily lives and a basic expectation,” said Kristine Rose, vice president of brands for Hyatt. “Travelers shouldn’t have to remember which brands or locations offer it for free or the strings attached to get it.”

We kinda can't believe this. Even though we've been saying WiFi is as important as air conditioning and a toilet that flushes, for several years now, it feels strange that major hotel brands are finally coming around to it. But it is good news.

Now, we'll be scrutinizing the speed and quality of this free WiFi. Oh and on that note, where Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond and Platinum tier members will receive a complimentary upgrade to a Hyatt Hotel's premium WiFi service.

So, what do you have to say, Hilton Hotels?

[Photo: HotelChatter]

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One Smart Tip on Getting an Upgrade, From Trump Hotels

December 22, 2014 at 11:05 AM | by | Comment (1)

A view from the Trump Central Park

Getting an upgrade at a hotel is never a sure thing, but there are ways to increase your chances of moving on up from a standard room category to a suite with a killer view. And now Trump Hotels is dishing out the secrets to upgrade success in this new post on Ivanka Trump's new site.

Some of the tips from Trump Hotel Collection's director, Nathan Crisp, we already knew about such as booking directly with the hotel, calling the hotel versus booking online, being a frequent guest and simply asking for it.

But there was one tip we thought was really smart. Don't book the starting room category and expect a suite. Instead, book the room just below the room you really want. Here's the full tip:

Do your research and find a hotel with a high number of suites. Just like the airlines, hotels will overbook their entry-level rooms. Don’t try to book the absolute cheapest room you can find. Book yourself into the room category directly below a suite—as the rooms fill up, guests will start getting moved into the next tier. It’s not guaranteed and yes, you might spend $100 more for a premier room as opposed to a deluxe, but that gamble could wind up saving you $300-$400 when you get bumped into a suite.

Noice. Here's hoping you'll have more upgrade success in 2015 with this tip. (And let us know if you do!)

[Photo: HotelChatter]

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The Gershwin is Dead, Long Live The Evelyn

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  Site Where: 7 East 27th Street [map], New York, NY, United States, 10016
December 22, 2014 at 9:40 AM | by | Comments (0)

Deluxe Queen

You knew it as The Gershwin. But it appears the chic little NoMad hotel has quietly undergone gender reassignment; because without letting anyone know, or closing down, it’s just come out of a $30m renovation and is celebrating by changing its name to The Evelyn.

At least, it’s just finished the first renovation phase. All 160 rooms have now been redone. Next year, they’ll be tackling the public spaces.

The new rooms have been designed by Silvia Sofio, and reference Art Nouveau (we would have guessed Deco, tbh, but what do we know). So think sweet, sinuous lines, natural materials and old-style telephones (although we’re not sure what Art Nouveau types would think of the new peekaboo bathrooms).

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Real-life Photos from Inside the Ritz-Carlton Bali, Now Open

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  Site Where: Jalan Raya Nusa Dua Selatan Lot #3, Sawangan, Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, 80363
December 22, 2014 at 9:00 AM | by | Comments (0)

Not only did a kind tipster point us to The Ritz-Carlton Bali missing from our list of hotels opening this month, he also provided us with a set of photos of the days-old hotel. We first looked at the beachfront / cliff-side hotel last summer, now we have much more detail on the return of Ritz-Carlton to the Indonesian island and can compare rendering to reality. Speaking of Ritz-Carlton, Bali, and renderings, we also have a whole bunch of new ones for Mandapa, the Ritz-Carlton Reserve that will open in Ubud next summer.

Our tipster was at the resort a day after the first guests arrived, but noted that while it looked stunning, quite a few rooms and the spa weren’t ready. The above shot is taken from the top of the cliff overlooking the majority of the resort down to the beach, and construction is still visible on the left, although in the aerial view we saw last year all there was meant to be were trees.

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Check Out the Dear Little Christmas Deer at Belgraves London

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  Site Where: 20 Chesham Place, London, United Kingdom, SW1X 8HQ
December 22, 2014 at 8:11 AM | by | Comment (1)

From tasty to tasteful – this is the Christmas display in the window at Belgraves, Thompson’s London outpost.

No blinged up trees or chocolate santas for them; this is a 3D winter woodland scene, handmade by paper cutter Terry Jackson. There are eight layers to the installation, and it’s backlit – that’s what gives it a 3D effect. Here's a close-up:

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Check-Out Folio: Sorry If We Got You Drunk This Week

December 19, 2014 at 5:45 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's our weekly wrap-up, Check-Out Folio where we round up the best (Credits in folio-speak) and worst (Charges) hotel news of the week. Got a scoop? Or just want to share a recent hotel story? Tell us all about it!

CREDITS
· STARWOOD FREES THE WIFI FOR ALL SPG MEMBERS

· VIRGIN HOTELS ARE IN THE KNOW

· BIKE DTLA WITH ACE DTLA

ALSO: Hotel Holiday Cocktail Week That Goes Beyond Eggnog Drinks

CHARGES

· SAM NAZARIAN BLOWS IT IN VEGAS

· IHG BUYS KIMPTON

· YOUR NEXT HOTEL BED MIGHT BE A HOSPITAL BED

ALSO: Hotel sob stories

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Hotel Holiday Cocktail Week 2014: San Juan Marriott’s Tropical Eggnog

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  Site Where: 1309 Ashford Avenue [map], San Juan, Puerto Rico, United States, 00907
December 19, 2014 at 4:02 PM | by | Comments (0)

‘Tis the season to celebrate and there’s no better way than with a holiday-inspired beverage. And, as we all know, a holiday cocktail a day keeps the Grinch away. For Hotel Holiday Cocktail Week, we’ve scanned the globe for some delectably delicious cocktails that will leave you humming a merry tune that doesn’t include, “You’re a Mean One, Mr Grinch.”

For those of you lucky enough to find yourselves in a tropical idyll over the holidays, way to plan ahead. For the rest of us, we’ll have to content ourselves with having this tropical version of eggnog to tide us over until we, too, find ourselves in a swinging hammock overlooking the ocean blue.

Popular in the tropics right about now is the Coquito – a traditional holiday bevvie made with evaporated and condensed milk and rum. The San Juan Marriott Resort offers lucky hammock-swinging guests complimentary glasses of the stuff during the holiday season (OK – they actually give it to guests at the property’s oceanfront restaurant, La Vista Latin Grill, but we’re sure hammocks must be close by).

If you’d like to try this creamy cocktail at home, beware: the recipe below makes a gallon of it and, because it’s seriously delectable, it’s also seriously dangerous!

San Juan Marriott Coquito

Ingredients
4 cans Evaporated Milk
4 cans Condensed Milk
2 cans Coconut Cream
1 liter White Rum (preferably Don Q)
1 cup Brandy
Vanilla to taste
Cinnamon to taste

Preparation
Mix together all the ingredients and let stand in the fridge for at least two hours before serving.

[Photo: San Juan Marriott Resort]

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Which Residence Do You 'Prefer' From The Preferred Hotel Group?

December 19, 2014 at 2:26 PM | by | Comments (0)

The Preferred Hotel Group is set to unveil their own solution to the modern traveler's dilemma of wanting a place that feels like home but which also comes with luxury hotel amenities and services.

Preferred Residences, officially launching in January, is a collection of "exceptional villas, bungalows, condominiums, and other idyllic units available at renowned luxury hotels and resorts."

About 22 residential properties at resorts and hotels that are already existing members of Preferred's hotel collection have been selected, with locations ranging from The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs (that's a townhouse pictured above) to the Essque Zalu Zanzibar in Tanzania to the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows in Maui and The Montage in Laguna Beach, Calif.

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The Hotel Bora Bora Might Be Resurrected Again Soon

December 19, 2014 at 1:38 PM | by | Comments (0)

We'll probably get coal in our stocking for this latest hotel rumor but Santa Claus already has us on the naughty list, so here it goes:

We got this cryptic email in our inbox a few weeks ago that said:

A Very wealthy Russian is in process of buying a number of Aman Hotels, including the renowned Hotel Bora Bora on the island of Bora Bora which was closed completely some 5 years ago. With plans to completely renovate or re-build.

(The emailer also wrote "Arman Hotels" but we've taken the liberty of correcting it to Aman, since surely that's what they were talking about.)

This is interesting because Aman Resorts, a collection of stunning luxury retreats, has been the victim of a nasty business dispute, and subsequent lawsuits in the UK and the US, between Russian billionaire Vladislov Doronin, and troubled financier Omar Amanat, who purchased the hotel brand together during a happier time.

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This Holiday Exhibit at The Dream Downtown Takes Us 'Through The Looking-Glass'

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  Site Where: 355 West 16th Street, New York, NY, 10011
December 19, 2014 at 12:07 PM | by | Comments (0)

We stopped in to the uber-artsy Dream Downtown this week to check out their current holiday exhibit. From the photos alone, we were admittedly a little dazed and confused - and maybe that's the point - so we had to see it for ourselves. And we're glad we did. It's creative, eye-catching (eye-popping rather) and a little mind-bending to boot.

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