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Last-Minute Labor Day Deals and New Design Hotels in Vegas

August 21, 2014 at 5:04 PM | by | Comments (0)

Finding a hotel is often only one part of your trip. The other half is getting there. And our bro Jaunted does a bang-up job of covering the latest news and trends in the travel world. Out in Vegas, VegasChatter is keeping us informed on what's going down in Sin City.

JAUNTED
· Last-Minute Labor Day Deals: The Islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard
· Looking for Free Language Lessons Before Your Trip? Check Out This Website
· It's Winter in Chile, and We're Hitting the Slopes
· One Possible Explanation For Why American Only Showed One Movie on a 9-Hour Flight

VEGASCHATTER
· First Impressions Of SLS Las Vegas
· The Full Menu For Della's Kitchen At Delano Las Vegas
· It's Already Time To Start Thinking About That 2015 Trip To Vegas
· My Vegas: As Told By VegasChatter Staffers

(Photo via Jaunted)

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Keep Up With the Joneses With These Cocktail Trends 2014: Part 2

August 21, 2014 at 4:04 PM | by | Comments (0)

As Week 2 of HotelChatter Cocktail Week(s) wraps up, here's our second run-down of some of the things we see going on in the world of hotel bars and bevvies. What do you see goin’ on out there? Let us know in the comments below!

Roll Out the Barrel(aging) –
One trend that is growing stronger this year is in-house barrel-aged and private label spirits. We're envisioning cask-aged moonshine made in a mad scientist-type laboratory.


Jeff Josenhans at THE US GRANT in San Diego is producing an in-house barrel-aged Chartreuse with Wayne Geiselman, who has a PH D in Food Science. Using complex-sounding reverse engineering, food scientist Wayne created a proprietary blend of 25 local, organic ingredients including Southern California wildflower honey. Jeff then took this botanical blend and an un-aged bourbon to use as the spirit base (as opposed to traditional European brandy), and is now aging this noble experiment in 100% New Allier French Oak (never done before in the cocktail world). Six-month, 1-year, and 2-year-old bottlings will be ready to open on October 15. If you want to stay over for the big unveiling, you're looking at rates starting at $239.

The Dorchester has revived the historical recipe for Old Tom Gin to create a newer, bolder blend exclusive to the hotel. The City of London Distillery has the weight of distilling the gin under the watchful eye of the hotel’s bar manager and expert alchemist, Giuliano Morandin. This is the second time Giuliano has re-introduced Old Tom Gin to the UK drinks market, the first being in 2006 after a 30-year absence. To celebrate the re-launch, Giuliano has created the Old Tom Cobbler cocktail, made with coriander, fresh lemongrass, elderflower and, not surprisingly, Old Tom. A 700ml bottle of The Dorchester Old Tom Gin is priced at £65 ($109) and is available at The Bar at The Dorchester or by visiting shop.dorchestercollection.com. Signature cocktails including the Old Tom Cobbler start at £16 ($27). Stays start at £505 ($838).

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You Can Now Check-In to The Ritz-Carlton From Your Phone

August 21, 2014 at 3:49 PM | by | Comments (0)

We've been keeping tabs on all the Marriott International hotel brands that have been rolling out the option of checking-in via their respective apps and now, Ritz-Carlton Hotels can be added to the list.

The luxury brand's newest app includes the options of doing both check-in and check-out, as well as folio reviews, exclusive local content, special offers, food and beverage orders (at select hotels), and most interesting, real-time service requests.

Ritz-Carlton is already pioneering this function at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, in Florida where guests can make food and beverage requests while at the pool. The order is sent from the guest phone to the bar and is fulfilled right away. That means you don't have to lay in your lounge chair, meekly calling, "Miss? Miss? Sir? Sir?" while servers fly by you, unaware that you'd like another margarita.

The app will also introduce a shareable "Travel Poster" feature on October 1. In short, it will be Ritz-Carlton's own version of Instagram where guests can pretty up their photos with retro-style special filters, titles and stamps. The photo will then be shared across social media or else, saved to the phone's camera roll. Start gathering your witty Ritz-Carlton hashtags now.

Go here to find our more about Ritz-Carlton app.

[Screenshot: Ritz-Carlton Hotels]

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An Inside Look at One of Tikal's Most Picturesque Boutique Hotels

August 21, 2014 at 3:04 PM | by | Comments (0)

Travelers who go to Tikal in Guatemala from Guatemala City have to either 1) rent a car and drive the 7-8 hours themselves 2) travel 8-9 hours by bus or 3) take a one-hour flight. In that sense, unless a roundtrip flight in one day sounds appealing, most people will want to spend the night. As the experience at Tikal is extremely in touch with the outdoors, we'd like to give you a glimpse inside the Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel, located on a 200-acre private reserve between Tikal and the airport.

Opened almost two years ago now, Las Lagunas is made up of 17 suites, each separated from the lobby and situated directly lagoon-side, with beautiful views from its lobby, restaurant, and pool. Most suites have both lagoon and jungle views with in-room amenities that include hot tubs, enclosed decks, and wood-paneled rainshowers. Check out the photos below to for a virtual tour of the property:

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The Newest Thompson Hotel Will Be In...(UPDATED)

August 21, 2014 at 1:31 PM | by | Comments (0)

Nashville!

Thompson Hotels, fresh off their Seattle hotel announcement, is now heading to Nashville (but probably not with a tan because you know, Seattle.)

The Thompson Nashville will have 224 rooms, a ground floor restaurant, and an indoor/outdoor rooftop lounge when it opens in Summer 2016 in the Music City's The Gulch neighborhood. The building, which will start site work early next year, is being designed by Nashville-based Hastings Architecture Associates, LLC along with Atlanta-based design firm Reese Vanderbilt & Associates.

Parts and Labor Design, a NYC firm, will do the customized interiors to keep the look within the Thompson brand's signature look. So expect high-end design, interesting room layouts and custom furniture and lighting.

While we love the look of the building, we don't think Thompson will re-invent the wheel here as far as the interior design goes nor will they radically change up their amenities and services. But the location for Thompson is very cool, and may just be the ultimate selling point.

The Gulch is a revitalized urban area in downtown Nashville that's been steadily built up over the past 15 years, mixing in new buildings with renovated historic ones. Here's a bit more from The Gulch on their scene:

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Yes, The Hotel's Front Desk is Talking About You. Here's What They Are Saying

August 21, 2014 at 11:26 AM | by | Comments (0)

Oh, if those computers could talk.

Our former front desk guy has given valuable tips on effectively complaining to the front desk when something goes wrong. But if start a screaming match with the front desk, or any other hotel employee, you can be assured they will "make a note of this." Here's what really goes on behind the front desk.

Most hotels have a system where information about each guests’ needs are documented and further highlighted upon check-in, so that all staff are aware of the profile of the guest and anticipate all their needs. These comments are further enforced during a typical 15-minute "stand-up" (a pre-shift run through of the day’s status, events, information and VIPs). A proper handling of these comments ensures that all staff has the same information and relays a consistent level of information and service to the guest.

However, some of the comments placed on a guest account go far beyond the rudimentary drink and pillow preferences, and instead highlight details pertaining to a specific incident during their previous stay or an extreme requirement that must be attended to when a guest checks in, or an alert about unorthodox behavior or a previous complaint placed by the guest.

Below is a glimpse of some comments that have graced guests' accounts over my years as part of the front desk team, and how we handled them.

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England's Scilly Isles Just Got Some Unlikely Karma

August 21, 2014 at 9:39 AM | by | Comments (0)

Bali. Lombok. Mykonos. St Tropez. Isles of Scilly. WTF?

In what appears at first glance to be the most bizarre new opening on earth, Karma Resorts, which own three hotels on Bali, and one in each of Lombok, Mykonos and St Tropez, have just soft opened their newest property: Karma St Martin’s, in the Scilly Isles, with 30 rooms spread out in a row of little cottages, right on the beach.

If you don’t know where the Scillies are – and why should you? – they’re a tiny archipelago of islands 28 miles off the southwest tip of Cornwall – which is itself the southwest tip of England. There are 145 islands, but only five are inhabited. St Martin’s, which earned its Karma on 1 August, is the third highest populated island, with 142 people living on its two square-kilometer area. Karma is the former St Martin's on the Isle hotel, sitting plum on Tean Sound and overlooking another island, Tresco.

Of course, there are similarities with Bali – the Scillies have white sand beaches, their own microclimate, and are a bugger to get to (ferry or a tiny plane from various points in Cornwall). But Karma is gunning for the same clientele, too – according to big Karma man John Spence, who talked to Scilly Today, they’re going after “affluent adults” who backpacked their way around Bali etc a while back, but now want spectacular scenery, beaches and high standard accommodation closer to home.

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Detox Your Body (And Your Wallet) At Chateau Saint-Martin Next Month

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 2490 Avenue des Templiers, Vence, France
August 21, 2014 at 9:00 AM | by | Comments (0)

It’s the delicious pairing of two brands at the top of their game that’s exciting us this week – no, not Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Martin, but Ananda (amazing spa brand) and Château Saint-Martin, the uberlux hotel in uberlux Côte d’Azur village Vence.

From 21-29 September, Ananda will be running a pop-up spa au Château. The focus? A detox program devised especially for the hotel by yogi Sushant Pandley, and tailored to your precise needs.

You can streamline your detox with the quick five day program, take a week over it or even string it out for nine days (any excuse to stay in the chateau). Activities include meditation and yoga, “theoretical aspects of yogic tradition” (us neither) and “stimulating and purifying ayurvedic therapies” like massage and reflexology – definitely the most fun part.

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The Pool At Oberoi Udaivilas Is Calling Your Name

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: Lake Pichola, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India
August 21, 2014 at 8:34 AM | by | Comments (0)

And it’s saying: take a dip! Or at least it does to us, which we’d gladly do if we could find ourselves in Udaipur, Rajasthan by snapping our finger. Alas, we’ll lust after it from afar, its sparkling blue contrasting against the pale walls and turrets of a traditional palace Udaivilās is modeled after.

Part of Oberoi Hotels, the hotel sits on the banks of Lake Picola, with third-level up Premier Rooms allowing you to step straight off your terrace into the water. A second pool is set within a large courtyard.

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SLS Las Vegas Will Be Getting 'Fancy' for Their Grand Opening Party on Friday

Where: 2535 Las Vegas Blvd. South [map], Las Vegas, NV, United States, 89109
August 20, 2014 at 4:31 PM | by | Comments (0)

We've been counting down the days until the opening of the SLS Las Vegas since, well, the last opening party that SLS had in South Beach nearly two years ago.

Yet the humble bell-ringing ceremony that we witnessed at the opening of the very first SLS Hotel in Los Angeles, at the start of a recession, has given way to a bacchanal celebration fit only for a town like Vegas.

SLS has cultivated "a guest list of over 3,000 VIPs, celebs, political figures, media and influencers" who will experience the jaw-dropping $400 million overhaul of the former Sahara casino this Friday night. The invited will sample gourmet cuisine, sip on specialty libations and scope out the guest rooms. Some folks may even decide to gamble!

Capping it all off will be a performance from Iggy Azalea, the hit maker of the summer, thanks to her song, "Fancy." Iggy Igz will perform at The Foxtail Pool stage with a special featured guest. Please dear God/Sam Nazarian, we hope it's Rita Ora.

The special grand opening concert is being put on in partnership with Pepsi. SBE, SLS Hotels parent company, hinted at future headliner events such as this, saying:

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Bloody Marys: Your Go-To Cocktail Morning, Noon and Night

August 20, 2014 at 3:57 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's no secret that we love drinking in hotels here at HotelChatter. In fact, hotels might be our favorite "local." So all this week and next, we'll be pouring out some drinks for you during our second Hotel Cocktail Week(s) -- newly-expanded because there’s just so many drinks to share. We'll be posting quirky cocktails, boozy trends, unique menus and even recipes so you can recreate your favorite hotel drink at home. We expect everyone will be getting a bit tipsy over the next couple of weeks! But don't forget to tip your bartenders, in this case, us.

The Bloody Mary is a gregarious cocktail: it’s ready to party any time of the day and most people like it. Eggs, bacon and a Bloody Mary – yes. Burger and cheese? Prime rib and a baked potato? Yes and yes. Here, we thought we’d tell you about some of the goings-on in the Bloody Mary world so that you’re up-to-date when you fondly order your next one.

Omni Mount Washington’s Bretton Woods Bourbon Bloody Mary
Things are getting spicy at Omni Mount Washington Resort in New Hampshire with this twist on the classic Bloody Mary. Only available for a limited time due to a limited number of barrels used to make the resort’s signature Woodford Reserve bourbon, the cocktail also contains tomato juice, garden-fresh local tomatoes, cherry peppers, celery, olives and pickled cucumber creating a unique, veggie-bevvie with a smoky flavor.

1.5 oz Mount Washington Resort’s Signature Woodford Reserve Bourbon
8 large local grown red tomatoes
2 t grated Horseradish
1 pinch red pepper flakes
2 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 lime wedges
2 T Cajun seasoning
1 cherry pepper
1, 2” celery stalk
1 Queen Olive
1 house-made cucumber pickle spear

Blend all ingredients together and garnish with the cucumber pickle spear. Drink it down.

Cost for the Bloody Mary: $13
Cost to stay the night, not including all of the Bloody Marys you drank: $369

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Revel Atlantic City Now To Close on September 2

August 20, 2014 at 1:44 PM | by | Comments (0)

If there's any question about just how bad things are going for the Revel in Atlantic City, look no further than the fact that the casino resort has moved up its closing date from September 10th to 5 a.m. on September 2nd, right after the Labor Day weekend.

According to reports, the owners of Revel wanted to shut down even sooner - this week - but its request was denied by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. All hotel operations will cease as guests check out on Monday, September 1st.

This contributor is anxious to see the city move on from this mess, so the sooner the Revel is out of the picture, the better. Still, there are a few things to keep in mind as things shut down next weekend:

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