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Sydney's 1888 Hotel Looks Good Enough to Frame

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 139 Murray Street, London, NSW, Australia
April 22, 2014 at 11:55 PM | by | Comments (0)

And you can get yourself easily in the picture: just step behind the frame (or ‘Selfie’ space as the hotel calls it) that hangs from one of the wooden beams in the lobby of this wool-storage facility turned hotel in Sydney's Pyrmont district, snap away, tag it #1888Hotel and it will appear on the screens near reception.

Since we know you’d much rather look at hotels than us, we’ll let the lobby itself have its close up, which has various seating areas (including a small restaurant section), a living tree, and a set of glass elevators that take you up through the four-story atrium to one of the 90 bedrooms.

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Hotel G's Up and Will Open on May 2 in San Francisco

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 386 Geary Street [map], San Francisco, CA , United States, 94102
April 22, 2014 at 3:56 PM | by | Comments (0)

San Francisco's old Hotel Frank in Union Square will re-open as the Hotel G on May 2.

We already told you about what to expect from the hotel here but we're impressed with this latest room shot they've put up. Wow. The hotel has come along way from this.

We couldn't book a room on the hotel's website until May 12 but rooms on that date are available for 30 percent off at $160.10 a night. Regular room rates will run about $229. And of course, there is free WiFi. C'mon, this is San Francisco.

[Photo: Hotel G/Facebook]

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The Palms in Las Vegas Will Now Have a Bikini Concierge on Hand

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 4321 West Flamingo Road [map], Las Vegas, NV, United States, 89103
April 22, 2014 at 1:59 PM | by | Comments (0)

Last month we looked at a range of niche hotel butlers, from fireside butlers to tanning butlers and even camping butlers. We've also documented some of the more unusual specialty concierges out there (Spice Concierge, anyone?)

Today, The Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas tells us of another hotel service we didn't know we needed--bikini concierge.

The Palms Pool & Dayclub has partnered up with Bikini.com for the weekly pool party, Ditch Fridays, which begins again on May 2. The bikini concierge will help gals shop for bikinis at the poolside pop-up shop which will be open on Friday and Saturday afternoons. The bikini concierge also promises to deliver bikinis to guests on property within 60 minutes.

Some of the styles on display in the shop include monokinis and two-piece styles from brands like Mikoh, Luli Fama, Bettinis, MinkPink and Solkissed. As you could probably already tell, this won't be the place to shop for modest aka Mom swimsuits. This is Vegas baby, Vegas. Let it all hang out.

Rooms at The Palms are going for $239 on May 2, but they are sold-out for Saturday, May 3. Rates drop back down to $129 on Sunday, May 4.

[Photo via Palms/Facebook]

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The 2014 HotelChatter WiFi Report: Who is Still Charging for WiFi and Why?

April 22, 2014 at 11:27 AM | by | Comment (1)

It turns out that luxury hotel you've been dying to stay at doesn't actually have everything you need.

Whether you’re a frequent traveler or a once-a-year vacationer, there’s one amenity you’re probably counting on during your next hotel stay--free, working WiFi.

You're not alone. Hotels.com released a recent survey where hotel guests ranked free WiFi as the most important in-room amenity. See ya, minibar Snickers!

Fortunately, free WiFi has become more commonplace these days (at least 64 percent of hotels!) especially at hotels that caters to business travelers like Courtyard by Marriott and ones that hang with millennials like Ace Hotels. Even traditional brands have let their guard down, like Loews Hotels, who went free at all 19 hotels earlier this year.

Yet there are still a few greedy grinchy hold-outs, typically the luxury hotels and the heavily-franchised brands.

In past editions of our Annual WiFi Report, we’ve done extensive research, lists, diagrams, infographics and the like, all of which you can scroll through here. But this year, we’re taking a "Scared Straight" tactic.

Here are 10 hotels that are STILL charging for WiFi. You can make your booking decision accordingly*.

1. Marriott Hotels

2. Ritz-Carlton Hotels

3. W Hotels

4. Westin Hotels

5. Sheraton Hotels

6. Hilton Hotels

7. Waldorf Astoria Hotels

8. Hyatt Hotels

9. InterContinental Hotels

10. Wyndham Hotels

*Some of these brands offer WiFi free in the lobbies or public spaces and some individual properties even offer it free everywhere or as part of a resort fee. But more often than not, you can expect to pay for internet at these hotels. See even more brands that charge for WiFi here.

Keep reading for more on why hotels charge for WiFi and how you can get it for free.

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Are You Earning Reward Points When You Book Your Hotel Stay Online?

April 22, 2014 at 10:15 AM | by | Comments (0)

These days, most of us book our hotel stays online, either via a third party or directly through the hotel's website. If you make a habit out of doing the former, you may be interested to learn more about how you can earn points through Orbitz's rewards program.

The system revolves around accumulating Orbucks, which is a dummy currency that directly converts to the dollar. In other words, 1 Orbuck equals 1 USD. When you book a hotel through Orbitz, you can earn up to 3% of the total price back in the form of Orbucks, which can then be applied to a future hotel booking. Some hotels result in earning more Orbucks than others.

If you book through its iOS or Android apps, you'll get up to 5% of the total. So, for example, if the total cost of your booking is $500, you'd get 15 Orbucks if you book through the site and 25 if you book through the app.

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Singapore's Sentosa Island to Get Cozier with a New Sofitel Hotel

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 2 Bukit Manis Road, Sentosa, Singapore, 099891
April 22, 2014 at 10:10 AM | by | Comments (0)

One easy destination to explore near Singapore that doesn't require a trip back to Changi Airport is Sentosa Island. Just a few minutes out of the city, sun and beach lovers can wiggle their toes in the sand without the stress of overseas travel.

Aside from the beach, Sentosa is home for several golf courses as well as a Universal Studios theme park and other family-fun activities. Already there's several luxury hotels on the island, including W Sentosa Cove and Capella Resort Sentosa but soon there will be one more, Sofitel.

Currently named the Singapore Resort & Spa Sentosa, Managed by Accor, Sofitel is going to glam it up before stamping their name on the property. Over the next 18 months, the hotel's colonial, low-rise architecture will see a full refurbishment with rooms, public areas, spa, conference room and landscaping undergoing a refresh.

Once complete, the resort will be renamed Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa with 215 suites and villas and killer ocean views. Along with So Spa, their brand's signature spa, being added to the offering, guests will be able to chill beach-side since it will be one of the few hotels in the country actually located next to the beach.

[Photo: The Singapore Resort & Spa Facebook]

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East to Head South to Miami Beach in 2015

April 21, 2014 at 8:16 PM | by | Comments (0)

A year ago, we learned the excellent news that Swire Hotels' East Hotels brand would be opening in Miami. Today, we've now got a look at what the hotel will look like thanks to the South Florida Business Journal.

The 263-room hotel will open in Fall 2015 in the Brickell City Centre Project, a mixed-used development in Miami's Brickell neighborhood. Designed by Miami-based Arquitectonica, (who are also doing the Hyde Hotel in Midtown Miami), the East Miami will have two restaurants, a poolside bar and lounge, a rooftop bar, fitness center, and a banquet hall along with 89 serviced apartments known as East Residences.

Sadly, there aren't any room photos but if the hotel looks anything like the East Hotel in Hong Kong, we'll be very happy.

[Rendering via SoFla Biz Journal]

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ME Mallorca and ME Ibiza Are Getting Ready for Summer Season

April 21, 2014 at 4:04 PM | by | Comment (1)

Thinking of heading to the Spanish Balearic Islands this summer? There’s some new hotel competition coming to town on Mallorca and Ibiza, with Mélia’s lifestyle brand ME Hotels arriving on both islands.

Opening in May, ME Mallorca is located on a beach in Calvià (it's the former Beach House Hotel), and being next door to Nikki Beach you won’t have to go far to party. Poolside lounging can be done at the hotel too, at one of two pools, with SkinC spa and fitness facilities. Aura Managers – “the driver of the vibe and the leader of personalised service” – are on hand to help you with whatever you want. The vibe you’ll find in the rooms? Check it out below.

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5 New Hotel Bikes To Ride This Spring

April 21, 2014 at 2:01 PM | by | Comment (1)

What better way to celebrate the return of good weather than by hopping on a bike and exploring the city you're visiting? Thanks to these hotels, you don't need to look much further than the front desk for your new two-wheel joyride. Just be sure to return the bike to the hotel when you're done. Don't want that charge added to your check-out folio.

5 New Hotel Bikes To Ride This Spring

1. Room Mate Aitana Amsterdam: The hotel is providing guests with discounted bicycle rentals from local bike shop, Amsterbike as well as dishing out "5 Under 15", five bike rides under 15 minutes that will get guests to some of the city's notable landmarks (tulips, Vondelpark, Rijksmuseum, The Central Library and The Pancake Bakery.)

2. The Greenwich Hotel NYC: The luxury downtown hotel has partnered with Detroit-based Shinola (of watch-making fame), to offer his & her bespoke "Bixby" bicycles for guests. Conveniently, the Shinola flagship NYC store is within walking distance to the hotel so guests can head on over there after their ride to peruse the brand's handcrafted accessories.

3. The Ace Hotel London: The Shoreditch outpost of Ace Hotels now has custom-made bikes for guests from tokyobikes. The hotel has also put together a Bed and Bike package that includes £20 per person to spend at Hoi Polloi, Lovage, Bulldog Edition or the lobby bar, access to an Ace x tokyobikes for each day of your stay, and a cycling map of London.

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Hotel Indigo Downtown Atlanta to Open in 2015

Where: 230 Peachtree Street [map], Atlanta, GA, United States
April 21, 2014 at 12:52 PM | by | Comments (0)

Hotel Indigo is heading back to where it all began.

Ten years ago, the very first Hotel Indigo opened in Atlanta. Today, the hyper-local, on-trend design hotel has 55 hotels in 11 countries. But it can't get enough of A-town. The city's third Indigo, Hotel Indigo Downtown Atlanta, will open in the fall of 2015 at 230 Peachtree St. NE.

The hotel will takeover eight floors of a building first developed 50 years ago by architect John C. Portman. In a full circle move, his real estate development firm, Portman Holdings, now owns the building. And it looks like Hotel Indigo will capitalize on all the changes in the area:

“Downtown Atlanta is experiencing a surge in growth and development, and we look forward to connecting guests to the newly revitalized neighborhood,” said Mary Winslow, director, Americas Brand Management, Hotel Indigo. “The hotel will be located in the center of downtown and very close to the new Atlanta Streetcar line, making it easy to step out and explore. We are very pleased to be part of a new project in our hometown, and we’re excited about helping guests discover something new about the neighborhood every time they visit.”

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NYC's Largest Hotel Goes Minimal For Its New Look

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 1335 Avenue of the Americas [map], New York, NY, United States, 10019
April 21, 2014 at 10:49 AM | by | Comments (0)

In Midtown Manhattan, you need a break sometimes, so it's good to see New York City's largest hotel, the the 1,985-room New York Hilton Midtown has gone for a tranquil look in its multi-million dollar room renovation.

The hotel has just completed the first phase of a renovation program that is expected to last until 2016. With the help of Dallas-based interior design firm, Looney & Associates, 187 Executive level guest rooms and 41 suites now have a minimal, sophisticated new look.

Functional design features include custom dimmable lighting, oversized televisions, multiple power point options and abundant workspaces. Renovated bathrooms have new architectural finishes, vanities and illuminated mirrors, while the lobby features a new reception area, luxurious Executive Lounge, improved lighting design, and new stone flooring.

Up next is the Grand Ballroom, the city’s largest hotel ballroom. Its Foyer, Promenade Sutton Hall and Nassau ballroom complex are scheduled to be completed by end of third quarter 2014.

Alas, despite the renovations, Hilton still isn't bringing back room service or a full-service restaurant.

[Photo: Hilton Midtown New York]

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Virgin Limited Edition to Hang Its Flag In Cape Town, Really Really Soon

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: Dassenberg Road, Franschhoek, 7690
April 21, 2014 at 10:13 AM | by | Comments (0)

While we're still high from the news of a new Virgin Hotel coming to Nashville (even though there have been some "launch" issues), Virgin's luxury retreat brand, Virgin Limited Edition, is preparing to open its 8th property this August. That's right, this August. Mont Rochelle Hotel and Mountain Vineyards, located about an hour's drive from Cape Town, will be the second South African destination (the other one being Ulusaba Private Gaming Retreat) of Sir Richard Branson's exclusive luxury collection.

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