Yesterday, we gave you the Must-Stay Hotels for Wailea in Maui. Today, we're giving you a Must-East spot. Conveniently, it's in a hotel. Mahalo!
Chef Sheldon Simeon has done pretty well for himself after finishing in the top three of Season 10 of "Top Chef" and winning the "Fan Favorite" award. The Hawaiian native, who previously helmed Star Noodle in Maui not only opened his own restaurant, MiGRANT, at the Wailea Beach Marriott, he's also taken over the kitchen at the hotel's Mala restaurant.
So with the same chef overseeing both restaurants, what's the different? The Mala restaurant has a more formal restaurant set-up with a somewhat traditional menu while MiGRANT has a casual setting with a more creative menu. Ok. So which one should you choose? Allow us....
We stayed at the Marriott in May while celebrating a family member's big milestone, and when a dinner at Mala ended up being fraught with service issues, we were invited back to try it again, this time with Chef Simeon himself guiding us along his excellent culinary adventure.
The dishes that we had were a mixture of Mala and MiGRANT items but all were Simeon's creations, heavily influenced by local traditions and his own Filipino heritage. Here's what we sampled, and ultimately fell in love with:
The annual nerd fest that is Comic-Con kicks off on Thursday in San Diego and whether you're headed there to see Kiefer Sutherland relive Jack Bauer's greatest moments on 24 or learn some "cool" Star Wars origami tricks or celebrate the 25th anniversary of The Simpsons or pick up some new comic book collectibles, we suggest making a stop off at these hotels for some Comic-Con-themed goodness.
· The US Grant Hotel, where the first Comic-Con was held in 1970, has partnered up with The Cravory to create special Comic-Con cookies. If you were lucky enough to get a room before the hotel sold-out, on Friday, July 25, four Comic-Con inspired Cravory cookies will be placed on the guest room beds at turndown. Guests who dine at The Grant Grill will also receive a commemorative Captain Grant coaster, letter-pressed with Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist for the Union Tribune, Steve Breen's exclusive artwork, while supplies last.
· Manchester Grand Hyatt is honoring Marvel Comics with three specialty cocktails ($11). Starting tomorrow, at the hotel's rooftop bar, Top of the Hyatt, Thor's Hammer(ed) will be a fun spin on the classic Long Island Iced Tea. In the Grand Lobby Bar, The Hulkito, essentially a Mojito, will be served to honor the green superheor while in Redfield's Sports Bar, the Marvelrita, a margarita, will be served in Marvel Comics' signature red color.
· Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina has created a Captain America cocktail ($9) which tastes like a Pina Colada but instead is colored red, white and blue, just like Captain America himself.
[Photos: US Grant & Sheraton San Diego Marina]
Kimpton’s soon-to-be newest property takes us to Pittsburgh, a city we don’t hear much about in terms of its hotel scene. Like its state rival Philadelphia, the Steel City has a history of being a blue-collar town, one not exactly known for luxury and boutique properties. But Philly has certainly changed its ways, so why can’t Pittsburgh?
In October, the Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh will open as both Kimpton’s first venture into the city and will look to compete with other traditional luxury hotels in the vicinity, such as the Renaissance, Omni, and Fairmont.
To be located at 6th Avenue and William Penn Place, the Monaco plans to pair the original Beaux Arts architecture of the building with classic Steel City local flavor – think yellow, black, and white colors – throughout nine stories and 248 guestrooms. Rates will start at $219 a night.
The latest Starwood hotel to hit Miami won't open until March 19, 2015 and judging by the pictures, we're even a little skeptical of that date. Yet it is interesting to see how Aloft is updating the old Motel Arkana, keeping much of the motel's existing structure but also adding another tower adjacent to the lot. (See the rendering on the Aloft Miami Beach website to get a better idea of how it will look.)
Hotel Pools / Rancho Mirage Hotels / Family-Friendly Hotels / Hotel Amenities / Omni Hotels / Palm Springs Hotels / → All Tags
When we were writing about Palm Springs all last week, we were trying to stick to hotels in Palm Springs itself. But as well as the 10 in town that we already mentioned, there’s another desert pool that deserves a mention: that of the Omni Rancho Las Palmas in Rancho Mirage.
We say pool – but actually, it’s a waterpark. Yes, a hotel with its own waterpark. Splashtopia Water Playground is 2 acres of family-friendliness, with a sandy beach, 100-foot waterslides, a 450ft ‘lazy river’ (traversable by inner tube), a ‘cliffside’ Jacuzzi, water play zones with sprinklers and fountains, as well as an adults-only pool, Azure. As if that wasn’t enough, they also have ‘dive-in movies’ every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, featuring animated family-friendly films, like Frozen and Despicable Me 2.
Late last year we asked the question whether the Hilton London Bankside was being revived, with construction having picked up after several years of silence to the point where the multi-story hole in the ground had been filled up.
The revival question we can now answer with a resounding yes, with the hotel recently having “topped out”, i.e. reached its highest point. It also sounds like it will open mid next year, with the rather bland interior renderings we looked at previously now updated on the architect’s website to reflect a much warmer, interesting design which apparently follows “Hilton’s newly launched brand standards”. Above one of the 292 rooms, further below lobby, restaurant and bar.
One of the reasons we’ve always liked London’s Andaz Liverpool Street is that, despite it being a largely business hotel in the City of London, it’s always pushed the envelope with art projects, fashion things, Readers in Residence and so on. Another reason we’ve always liked Andaz Liverpool street is that, despite its business-ness, it’s always given a shout out to its East London roots.
So now we love it even more with the launch of Room With A View: a year-long series of “East London street art rooms” – basically, four rooms hand-painted by East London street artists.
The project starts with The Pearly Room by Chris Price: a black and white riot of pearly kings and queens amongst the spires of Shoreditch.
Introducing our newest hotel guide--HotelChatter's Must Stay Hotels--where we pick four hotels for four different types of travelers in a particular neighborhood of one major city. We started with New York, then switched it up to Palm Springs and now we're doing Maui. This is also a seasonal guide so the options may change depending on when you're going. Got a question about where to stay and when? Email us.
Looking for a hotel in Wailea, on the island of Maui? You can troll online review sites, crowdsource on Facebook and comb through endless Best Hotels” lists but why do all that when we’ve done all the work for you already?
Here are four different hotels to try in the resort nabe of Wailea, located on Maui's southwest coast. Since most of you are visiting for leisure purposes, the categories have changed ever so slightly to include families and kick out biz travelers. We've also made a note of the resort fees. Another note: It's high season for Maui right now so if the rates look a little too high, try again later in the fall but before the holiday madness.
Stay tuned this week as we'll be profiling these hotels below and more!
The Sunshine Butler's grounds
In America, they have tanning butlers. In the UK, one is fashionably pale, so one has a “sunshine butler”. Or at least, one does when there’s enough sun to merit wearing sunscreen.
Yes, hot on the heels of the biggest heatwave ever (maybe), The Club Hotel & Spa in St Helier, Jersey, has recruited a Sunshine Butler to strut the terraces of the hotel, polishing sunglasses, administering suncream of various strengths, misting one’s face and feet with mineral water, and proffering iced towels and chilled watermelon.
That leaves guests to wallow on their sunloungers by the Mediterranean-style Pool Terrace, take a dip (once adequately creamed) in the pool, or enjoy that cocktail without being irritated by one’s hot and sweaty feet. What more could one need?
Anticipation continues to mount for the debut of Baccarat Hotels. We’ve been tracking the progress of Baccarat Hotel and Residences in New York which should open in December but today, we're checking in on the second Baccarat Hotel to open-- The Baccarat Hotel, Rabat in Morocco, whose completion is simply stated as “opening 2015.”
We’ve found a few renderings of this Baccarat Hotel yet it's hard to fully grasp what Baccarat’s second installation is going to look like. Nevertheless, here's our take and so far, we like what we see.
Freehand Hotels / Freehand Hostels / Downtown LA Hotels / Sydell Group / Hotel Hype / Hotel News / → All Tags
We're loving Downtown LA these days and so are hotels. On the heels of an Ace Hotel opening with its excellent historic theater and a new hybrid Residence Inn/Courtyard by Marriott Hotel comes news that Freehand Hotels/Hostels will open in DTLA in 2016.
The LA Times reports that the site of the Freehand Hotel will be the 13-story Commercial Exchange Building at 8th and Olive streets. The former office building, built in 1924 and once home to Edgar Rice Burrough's publishing company, was recently purchasedby the Sydell Group Ltd, the same company who did
the awesome Ace Hotel in New York and (see clarification below) the excellent Line Hotel in LA's Koreatown. The LA Freehand, like the original in Miami and the upcoming one in Chicago, will be developed in partnership with Yucaipa Cos., Ron Burkle's investment company.
Hotels are feeling the need for speed--fast WiFi speed.
We've been focusing a lot on speed in our last few WiFi Reports and we've been making notes as we go along on some of the faster WiFi speeds that we encounter across the world.
The list, which includes airports and beaches, was created using WiFi speed data collected from 45 million hotspots from April 1 to June 15 of this year. And not so surprisingly, the majority of the brands in the list are budget brands who offer WiFi for free. Here's the wefi list below, including the average speeds of the hotel brand's WiFi signal and our own notes on whether the WeFi, er, WiFi is free or not: