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The Four Seasons Miami Used This Much Chocolate To Make Their Easter Display

April 18, 2014 at 6:00 PM | by | Comments (0)

What you're looking at is nearly two thousand pounds of chocolate. Ok, 1,700 pounds to be exact. But that's how much chocolate was used for the new "Easter Wonderland" display at the Four Seasons Miami.

Created by the hotel's new pastry chef, Keith Wallace, the display is meant to capture both the playful and colorful scenes of "Alice in Wonderland" and the playful and colorful side of Miami. Aside from the massive amounts of chocolate, the display and its 30 chocolate eggs, along with some chocolate mushrooms, took 20 hours to build.

Wallace and his team will have even more chocolates and other desserts on display at the hotel's Easter Brunch, happening on Sunday at the Edge Restaurant from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The cost is $99 for adults and $25 for children ages 5-12. Make your reservation by calling (305) 381-3190 or book online at www.edgerestaurantmiami.com.

[Photo: The Four Seasons Miami]

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Hop Over to These New England Hotel Easter Egg Hunts

April 18, 2014 at 5:47 PM | by | Comments (0)

Adults and kids will jump for joy at these festive New England outings. Unless you want angry neighbors rapping on your door all day, we don’t typically endorse indulging your kids in a sugar rush while staying at a hotel. But this weekend is Easter, after all - so if your little cottontails are going to get their paws on milk chocolate bunnies, they might as well do it somewhere nice. You know, somewhere with a spa. (That’s for you.)

To save you the trouble of hunting all over the Internet, here are a few New England properties that are hosting Easter egg hunts for kids and families. At the very least, they’ll get the children to play with something other than an iPad. The best-case scenario: Hopping all over the hotel puts them down for a nap, and that spa is all yours.

Omni Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, NH The property is hosting not one, not two – but FIVE different Easter egg hunts that are open to various age groups (and guests and locals alike). Among them: the all-ages “Great Bretton Woods Hunt,” which will scatter eggs (including a prized “golden egg”) across 464 acres of New Hampshire’s largest ski area. (“Powdery treats” are promised as you search.) There’s the “Easter Egg Extravaganza Hunt,” that will hide 600 colored eggs around the hotel itself, and there’s the “Slopeside Pub Easter Egg Hunt,” an adults-only afternoon hunt in the property’s tavern. (Other weekend activities include a “Tortoise and Hare” themed ski and snowshoe race, and story time with the Easter Bunny.”)

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Funky Friday: Your Luggage Never Looked Better Than At The Nordic Light Hotel

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  Site Where: Vasaplan 7, Stockholm, Sweden, 11120
April 18, 2014 at 3:00 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 would have to agree that the most studied, re-purposed, and re-designed space within the modern day hotel is the lobby. It’s all about social interaction, whether it be real or virtual. Typically, it is both. We need a comfortable place to relax, work, or have an informal meeting. Oh, and we want to feel welcome and unpressured. The last thing that a hotel lobby should be today, as it has been in the past, is a busy transfer station for arriving guests and their luggage.

For this week’s Funky Friday, we are featuring a hotel lobby that was intentionally designed around the concept of luggage. At the Nordic Light Hotel in Stockholm, it’s done ever so playfully and in a modern design context, so we’re going to run with it.

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Bath's Royal Crescent Gets a Refreshing Makeover

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  Site Where: 16 Royal Crescent, Bath, United Kingdom, BA1 2LS
April 18, 2014 at 1:15 PM | by | Comments (0)

This famous curvy building is so big you have to go to the next town just to take a picture of it.

This week, a rather well known resident of Bath, England, The Royal Crescent Hotel, unveiled its stylish and historically-inspired new look. The hotel has one of the best addresses in town, at No. 16 Royal Crescent, a world-recognized landmark of architecture and urban planning dating to 1767.

The renovation followed the high-profile bankruptcy and auction of the Von Essen Hotel portfolio, which included this Georgian gem. The hotel was purchased in 2012 by private investment firm Topland Group, who proceeded with the much needed upgrades.

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Chatwal Hotelier in Trouble Again (But It's Not Vikram)

April 18, 2014 at 12:05 PM | by | Comments (0)

Usually when we hear of a Chatwal hotelier in the news, it's often about Vikram Chatwal, the troubled hotelier behind The Dream Hotel brand. But today, it's Vikram's father who's in the news. And it's pretty serious.

The Daily News reports that Sant Singh Chatwal, the chairman of Hampshire Hotels & Resorts which includes his namesake, The Chatwal Hotel, pleaded guilty to "recruiting straw donors to make illegal campaign contributions to three federal candidates." He also pleaded guilty to tampering with a witness who he allegedly told to lie to the FBI and the IRS.

Chatwal stepped down as CEO of Hampshire Hotels earlier this month (probably because of the charges) but remains on as chairman. Eric Danziger, formerly CEO of Wyndham Hotel Group, took Chatwal's place. Wyndham franchises the Dream and Night hotels which were started by Chatwal.

Meanwhile, Chatwal faces up to five years in prison and a fine of $200,000 when he's sentenced on July 31. He also offered to pay the U.S. government $1 million in restitution.

This is not the first time Chatwal has been in trouble with the government. Back in 2012, it was discovered that The Chatwal Hotel pretended to be a church for several years to avoid paying taxes. (It's a long story but the hotel was previously a church and the hotel never changed that status.) Let's hope this is the last of the Chatwal crimes.

[Photo of Chatwal and Danziger via Rediff]

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First Look at Homewood Suites, Opening in NYC on June 1

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  Site Where: 312 W. 37th Street [map], New York, NY, United States, 10018
April 18, 2014 at 11:02 AM | by | Comments (0)

Last fall, we let you know that NYC would soon be getting its first Homewood Suites Hotel and now today, we've got pictures from inside the spot, opening on June 1.

Located in Times Square South at 37th Street and 8th Avenue, this Homewood has two big amenities that we love--full kitchens (with a full-sized fridge, microwave and oven) and free WiFi. It's also got all-suite accommodations, free hot breakfast every day and complimentary dinner and drinks Monday-Thursday.

We especially dig the "homey" part of this Homewood suites. The rooms look quite...well...pretty to be honest. We like the hardwood floors, the color scheme and even the wall paper that looks like flecks of light behind the bed. Much better-looking than this Homewood Suite.

Rates for opening night start at $279 for a king studio suite, which is a nonrefundable rate. A more flexible rate of $301 is also available. A one bedroom suite starts at $379 a night.

Keep reading for more photos

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Marriott Adds a 'Chat' Feature To Their Mobile App

April 18, 2014 at 10:33 AM | by | Comments (0)

Marriott Hotels officially rolled out a check-in and check-out function to their mobile app earlier this year, making it even easier for guests to get up to or get out of their rooms.

But now Marriott has gone one step further. Guests will now be able to "real-time chat" with the hotel with the Guest Service Requests function. The chat feature is available to Marriott Rewards' guests and allow for two-way text messaging, if you need an extra pillow or have issues with the WiFi. No word on if you can order up a club sandwich at 2 am, but room service is easy enough.

Right now, the text-like chat is only available at 15 properties around the country, and pending its success, will be rolled out to more cities by the end of the year. Right now you can chat with guest services at the New York Marriott Downtown, Boston Marriott Copley Place, Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile and Marriott San Diego Hotel and Marina to name a few.

[Screenshot: iTunes/Marriott]

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Park Hyatt Bangkok Is Getting Its Twist

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  Site Where: Ploenchit Road, Bangkok, Thailand
April 18, 2014 at 9:18 AM | by | Comments (0)

Having had such major openings recently as Sofitel So and W, Bangkok continues apace with new hotels over the next few years, from a Rosewood and a Capella to no less than three Hyatts (Park Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, and Hyatt Place).

The Park Hyatt will arrive first, scheduled to open next year in a mixed-use building on Ploenchit Road. While completion is still a while away, you can just about start to make out the “twisted coil” architecture that will give the building its distinctive shape. The white skeleton you see peeking out above the exterior cladding on the left swoops up into the tower element that will eventually house 173 rooms and 49 suites. Check out the rendering below to get a better sense of the end result.

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The Designers of the Upcoming W Milan May Want To Look At These 6 Hotels First

April 17, 2014 at 6:33 PM | by | Comments (0)

We recently shared the exciting news of W Milan coming in 2016 to the design capital of Milan. You’ve asked us for more information and trust us— we are working on it and will provide updates as we receive them. Yeah, we know, two years is a long time to wait and we share your pain.

We know that the new 76-room W Milan has a hot location in the artsy Brera District, within Milan's historical center. This area is a great fit for the W crowd, with its art galleries, hip boutiques, and plenty to see and do at night.

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This Inn in Ojai Seems Like it Could Belong in the Rainforest

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  Site Where: 108 Pauline St [map], Ojai, California, United States
April 17, 2014 at 1:30 PM | by | Comments (0)

The small town of Ojai often gets lost in the shadows of destinations such as Santa Barbara, Paso Robles, and Big Sur along California's central coast, but after a recent visit to the "Valley of the Moon," we began to understand what has made it a long-time getaway for those looking to escape L.A. and refresh in the powerful, healing aura that our bro Jaunted discovered.

Something that initially seems like a drawback is what turns out to be one of Ojai's best attributes: The fact that it is not located on the coast. Tourists coming to California understandably want to be near the ocean, yet same-state travelers (aka Cali locals) appreciate the change in scenery, change of pace, and the rejuvenating properties that live in the orchard-heavy landscape of Ojai.

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Virgin Hotels Will Strap on a Guitar and Head to Nashville in 2016

April 17, 2014 at 12:32 PM | by | Comments (0)

You can probably thank Taylor Swift for the latest announcement from Virgin Hotels. The burgeoning hotel brand has just revealed they will open a new hotel in Nashville in 2016 in a pretty prime location--One Music Row.

Virgin Hotels Nashville will have 240 guest rooms, multiple "concept" suites, along with food and beverage outlets and perhaps most necessary of all, a cutting edge recording studio.

“Based on its nonstop cultural and live events, food and beverage scene, and its ability to inspire both talented artists and TV viewers, Nashville’s time is now – and we’d like to be part of that excitement,” said Sir Richard Branson. “Virgin Hotels will be our first venture in Nashville, and we’ll look at other opportunities for our US and international customers to enjoy the southern hospitality that Nashville is known for.”

Meanwhile, Virgin Hotels Chicago is apparently just "months away from opening" according to Raul Leal, CEO of Virgin Hotels. After that, Virgin has its eyes set on NYC, Boston, Dallas, LA, Miami, San Fran, DC and London.

We don't think we need to say it again but it bears repeating, "Hurry up because we can't hardly wait."

[Photo: Nashville CVB]

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Get 30 Percent Off in NYC with Starwood's 'Suite Week'

April 17, 2014 at 10:15 AM | by | Comments (0)

Restaurant Week, Broadway Week et al are now all old hat. Courtesy of Starwood Hotels, we now have a new sweet promotion to spend our money on: Suite Week.

From now through April 29th, you can book a future stay (through March 31st, 2015) in a suite at any Starwood property in the New York City area for 30 percent off best available rate. Just book as normal through the hotels' websites.

Each hotel will also be creating its own package that comes with early check-in, late check-out, complimentary WiFi, complimentary parking and then three unique amenities that are specific to each hotel. Here's the rundown:

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