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From Jaunted +VegasChatter: Staying Safe and Chic and Mindful of Resort Fees

March 26, 2015 at 5:00 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
· Hawaiian Street Art Comes Off the Street And Heads to the Airport
· Travel Hacks: How to Avoid Beer in a Land of Beerfests
· Food Worth Flying For: The Saimin Ramen of Kauai, Hawaii
· Très Chic: Air France Debuts Their New Airline Safety Video

VEGASCHATTER
· The Plan Is For Suzanne To Sizzle At Westgate
· Venetian, Palazzo Being Sued Over Resort Fees
· Step Aside Super Bowl, First Weekend Of March Madness Best Sports Weekend In Vegas
· Will Cosmo Charge A Resort Fee On Your Comped Room? It Depends

(Photo via Jaunted

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Confessions of Hotel Bartender, Vol 7: A Cheeky Drink at Virgin Chicago

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 203 N. Wabash [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60601
March 26, 2015 at 3:45 PM | by | Comments (0)

A few weeks ago we stopped by Virgin Chicago to sample some food in their all-day dining outlet, Miss Ricky's and ended upstairs at the Commons Club to partake in an adult libation from the cheeky bar menu.

After bellying up to the bar, we had chance to bend the ear of the head bartender, Jon Harris about what the drinks we were sipping and his thoughts on the industry.

This Chicago native has spent some time mixing cocktails from DC to London and back to the Windy City. Shaking some of the hottest drinks in DC's first cocktail bar, The Gibson, Jon eventually landed the job at the Virgin and started putting together the back bar well before the hotel swung it's doors open to guests.

Keep reading for our Q&A with Jon Harris

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This is Exactly What You Want to See From Your San Francisco Hotel Room

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  Site Where: 750 Kearny Street [map], San Francisco, CA, United States, 94108
March 26, 2015 at 11:30 AM | by | Comment (1)

Um, yes. Do we really need to say anything more? Ok, we'll say just a little bit more about this stunning view of Coit Tower and the San Francisco Bay from the Hilton San Francisco Financial District.

This is the view from one of the Premium Bay View Rooms which are located on the 20th through 25th floors. There are city views on these floors as well that are just as interesting, especially since the hotel overlooks Chinatown ,but really, it's all about the bay here. Fingers crossed for a clear and sunny day!

All rooms at the Hilton SF FD feature 32" flat screen TVs, a long desk for working and tea and coffee makers. Best of all, you don't need Zuckerberg dollars to stay here as we found a bay view room for this weekend for just $239 a night.

[Photo: Juliana/HotelChatter]

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Inside a Standard Room at Hyatt Regency Kyoto

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  Site Where: 644-2 Sanjusangendo-mawari, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Japan, 605-0941
March 26, 2015 at 10:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

We’ve looked at a few Western hotel brands that have recently made or are making their way to Kyoto: the Ritz-Carlton, Starwood (by way of Luxury Collection), and Four Seasons. That changes things for the Hyatt Regency Kyoto, which for a long time was considered the high-end Western hotel in the city.

Does the Hyatt have a lot to worry about with all this fresh competition? We’d say yes and no, based on our stay. You’ll find the Hyatt a short taxi ride across the Kamogawa river to the east of Kyoto station. Conveniently, our rate for a standard room included breakfast and a one-way taxi fare. Once we had figured out where to find the taxi based on the instructions from the hotel, we pulled up to the main entrance you see above in no time.

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An Inside Look at the Newly Renovated Shelborne Wyndham Grand in Miami

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  Site Where: 1801 Collins Avenue [map], Miami, FL, United States, 33139
March 26, 2015 at 10:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

In July 2013 the Shelborne Hotel in South Beach closed down in order to renovate the entire property (which was very much needed). It opened again at the end of September 2014 as the Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach with relatively little fanfare, so we’re going to toot its horn a little bit because, during a recent stay, we quite liked this 200-room property.

Designed by two very different designers – Meg Sharpe, who did the public and commercial spaces, and Richard Mishaan, who created the rooms and meeting spaces – the hotel has a sort of Jekyll and Hyde quality that, strangely, works together to create an Art Deco beauty.

First some history to give you context on the design. The building was constructed in the 1940s and embellished in the 1950s, when the Moderne Style of Art Deco was in fashion. Think glamorous streamlined design, with shiny metallic surfaces and a focus on the new, modern transportation design in cars, airplanes and trains. Both designers have worked to bring this particular era to life, albeit each with a distinctive flair.

Richard’s rooms are bolder in both color and pattern, with deep ocean blue furniture and rugs offset against stark white or mirrored furnishings. You’d think the heavily patterned wall coverings and lamp shades would throw the whole design into chaos, but it keeps the space oddly invigorating. Rooms have 46” Interactive Smart Samsung TVs with mobile connectivity, iPhone docking stations, Frette linens and private label bath amenities in a calendula scent.

Have a look at the Photo Gallery to see an Oceanfront Balcony room as well as a Partial Ocean View King, plus all of the public spaces!

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A Killer View From a Hidden Gem: This is Where to Stay in Lake Garda

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  Site Where: Via Albarello 33, Lazise, VR, Italy, 37017
March 26, 2015 at 9:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

Welcome to a new occasional series, Hidden Gems, in which we’ll be profiling hotels you’ve never heard of – but should have. We’re talking small places without the budget for PR and marketing, and which may not have been done up by a famous interior designer, but with incredible USPs like immense history, the best homemade food, or unforgettable views. Let’s start with Classique in Lazise on Italy’s Lake Garda, which we stumbled on – literally – last year while taking a lakefront stroll, and have been dreaming of a return ever since. Two weeks ago, we finally made it!

This is the kind of room with a view that you dream of. Classique sits on the pedestrianised waterfront of Lazise, arguably the prettiest town on beautiful Lake Garda. Here, from your room – through the floor-to-ceiling windows, or from the little balcony – you can watch the sun set over the lake, behind the famous peninsula of Sirmione (a place so beautiful that the Roman poet Catullus wrote about it), go to sleep to the sound of the ducks and swans (Lazise has three ‘pet’ swans), and awake to the glassy lake waters turning pink in the light of the dawn. It is a view like no other.

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St Regis Istanbul is Finally Open, Taking You Back to the 1920s

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  Site Where: Mim Kemal Oke Cad No 35, Nisantasi Sisli, Istanbul, Turkey, 3436
March 26, 2015 at 9:00 AM | by | Comments (0)

It’s always the way. You wait for one jaw-dropping hotel to open in Istanbul, and then two come along at one.

Hot on the heels of Soho House, which opened the week before last, comes the St Regis, which has finally opened (if not with all its rooms) this month in the swanky Nisantasi neighborhood.

One new announcement – as well as the Brasserie restaurant we were expecting, there’s also a Spago – yes, a Wolfgang Puck Spago.

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Starwood Says the 'Suite Life' Can Be Yours and at a Discount

March 26, 2015 at 8:25 AM | by | Comments (0)

For those looking to kickoff the spring season in style look no further than Starwood, as once again it’s time for their annual Suite Week promotion over in New York City. The fun started earlier this week and runs through April 7, as room packages, discounts, and other goodies call all be yours—and at a discount.

Offers include a 30% discount on rates, complimentary WiFi, early check-in and late check-out, and plenty of other goodies depending on the property. Of course getting away now would be great, but even if you book now during the promotion you can enjoy the fun later—through March 24, 2016.

Many of the Starwood properties in New York City are getting in on the fun, so think of spots like W New York locations from Union Square to Downtown, plenty of Westin prosperities, and even The St. Regis New York—complete with that new Bentley fleet. Even properties in Hoboken and Jersey City are getting in on the fun as well.

In addition to the discount on rates those visiting the W New York can score a 30% discount on all Bliss Spa services, a Bliss welcome gift, two complimentary signature cocktails, complimentary breakfast for two, and even free parking. Other properties are offering up things like welcome drinks, discounted tickets, and free breakfasts for two.

So there you go—looking for a suite and some savings in NYC? Give a click over to your favorite Starwood property, and enter those credit card digits.

[Photo: W New York | Facebook]

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Before and After: The Fairmont Château Laurier Redecorates Canada's Castle

Where: Ottawa, ON, Canada
March 25, 2015 at 3:15 PM | by | Comments (0)

Tripadvisor reviews haven't been very kind to Ottawa, Canada's historic Fairmont Château Laurier in recent years. The popular sentiment seems to be "time for a major renovation" and, luckily enough, that's exactly what the hotel has in mind. Better than that actually; the Château Laurier is in the midst of such a renovation of the guest rooms, replacing the former "grandma's guest bedroom" aesthetic with something much more modern, fresh, and bright.

Redecorated rooms finally offer lots of power outlets (including a desk with built-in console and bedside table lamps with outlets), Nespresso coffee makers and a variety of Fairmont proprietary tea blends, and bathrooms are equipped with both an ultra-flattering light-up mirror and a makeup mirror, not to mention toiletries from Le Labo's Rose 31 collection.

Only a small number of the hotel's 429 guest rooms have been redecorated with the fresher look, so guests should request one during booking or, at the very latest, during check-in.

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Bar Tartine Goodness Coming to The Wythe Hotel Next Month

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  Site Where: 80 Wythe Ave [map], Brooklyn, NY, United States, 11249
March 25, 2015 at 2:30 PM | by | Comments (0)

Left your heart in San Francisco and now you're somewhere in Brooklyn? Bar Tartine, one of the best restaurants (and bakery) in San Francisco at this moment, is coming to Brooklyn to the Wythe Hotel as part of the hotel's Dinner With Friends series held at the Reynard restaurant.

The first round of tickets sold out pretty fast, but the hotel is releasing a second round for the April 7 and 8 dinner dates. Guests will have the chance to feast on a four-course meal prepared by Chefs Cortney Burns and Nick Balla of Bar Tartine, and Reynard's own chef Sean Rembold. A few dishes to expect are smoked potatoes with black garlic and ramp mayonnaise and green chili fisherman’s stew with collards and mushrooms. We're keeping our fingers crossed for Tartine's insanely delicious bread too.

Seatings are at 7pm sharp and tickets cost $140 which includes the menu, wine pairings from Reynard's wine director, Lee Campbell and gratuity.

Room rates at the Wythe on April 7 and 8 start at $325 for a baby queen room and $435 for a Manhattan king room, one of the best room to book at the hotel.

[Photo: The Wythe]

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Virgin Will Reveal Its Rooftop Next Month But It Won't Stay The Night

Where: 203 N. Wabash [map], Chicago, IL, United States
March 25, 2015 at 1:30 PM | by | Comments (0)

Now that the Virgin Hotel Chicago has unveiled Miss Ricky's Diner and it's Two Zero Three coffee shop and wine bar, there are only a few more things left to take off--the hotel's killer rooftop spaces and the downstairs spa. Both of these should be unveiled next month at the Virgin's official grand opening party on April 16.

We were able to peek at the rooftop spaces during our first time with a Virgin in January and they will seriously impress you with their cool yet fun decor and their incredible city views. Remember, one of the rooftop spaces will be incredibly exclusive so fingers crossed your on the list.

As for the spa, it promises to be a "wellness lounge designed with beauty, comfort and mingling in mind."

While the rooftops and the spa will be unveiled on opening night, we hear they won't officially open to the public until the week after. Room rates for that next weekend, April 24-26, start at $249 a night for a chamber king before taxes. If you're a AAA member, rates start at just $224 a night. Whoopee!

[Photo: Virgin Hotels/Facebook

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Mira! Thompson Hotels in Mexico Have Websites and Opening Dates

Where: Los Cabos, Mexico
March 25, 2015 at 12:35 PM | by | Comments (0)

We're still reeling with excitement over the pending October opening of tommie hotels in Manhattan but it turns out we'll have another Tom to look forward to this summer--Thompson Los Cabos. (ICYDK: both tommie and Thompson are a part of Commune Hotels.) And then just after that Thompson Playa del Carmen should open in the fall. Margs for everyone!

There is very little info on the websites and the photos are pretty much just models in skimpy bikinis on the beach admiring the view and sunsets, but here's a description of Thompson Los Cabos to get you fired up:

Imagine a side of Los Cabos you never knew existed. Where the soul willingly surrenders to el sol. Where a singular beachfront retreat commands a contour of the cape overlooking El Arco and the Bahía San Lucas horizon. From the sleek poolside lounge to the skygarden terrace, it’s a place to revel in the heat of the moment. Set to the pulse of an urban vibe by night, the warm, contemporary lines of visionary Mexico City architect Javier Sanchez draw you in, ultimately revealing a reflection of Cabo like no other.

Both Thompson Los Cabos and Playa del Carmen will be relatively small, about 125-150 rooms, and will no doubt focus on a design-driven party spaces. But hopefully, they have a few quiet spots for guests too. It's not all margs and Coronitas in Cabo, you know. #yeahright

[Photo: Thompson Los Cabos]