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Another Wander-ful Hotel Is In The Works, This One’s In Sexy, Sunny Mallorca

August 26, 2014 at 4:27 PM | by | Comments (0)

Another eye-catching, dreamy creation by designer Marcel Wanders, as seen in this guest room rendering. Pay close attention to the tree-like table lamp – you will see it again.

When the new Kahema Bay Portals resort hotel opens early next year on the popular island of Mallorca, it will be tough to decide whether the best views are towards the Puerto Portals Harbor and its killer yachts, or towards the hotel itself and its interiors. Either way we look at it – and we can’t stop looking at it—this is one of the hottest holistic health resorts we’ve seen in a long time, thanks in part to Dutch master Marcel Wanders.

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Virgin Hotels are Spreading Rumors...About Virgin Hotels

August 26, 2014 at 12:19 PM | by | Comments (0)

At long last, Virgin Hotels are getting ready to strip down for guests.

Since 2011, we've been not so patiently awaiting the opening of the Virgin Hotel Chicago, which will be the first hotel for the brand. Making the wait more frustrating, aside from the repeated opening delays, is that we're still rather in the dark about what the Virgin Hotel concept is about.

We did learn 6 important things about the Virgin brand this past spring and about their 6 F&B concepts in Chicago, but largely, we've just been speculating as to what will be inside the Virgin Hotel. In true tease fashion, Virgin wants us to keep guessing.

Today, Sir Richard Branson himself is spreading rumors about the Virgin Hotel and wants you to spread some of your own too.

The Branson-sanctioned rumor-mongering is all part of a gimmick to drum up attention for the Virgin Chicago property as well as give fans an opportunity to win a two-night stay at the hotel. Here's how it works:

Branson has shared some Virgin rumors here in this video including one that says he personally tucks in every guest at night and that the hairdryers have a "beard setting."

You can submit your own Virgin rumors over the next five weeks by tweeting here on the Virgin Hotels website. Be sure to hashtag this entry with #virginrumors. Whoever submits the best rumor will be win the two night stay at Virgin Hotels, plus airfare and transport to the hotel's opening party. A rep for Virgin also cryptically said the "rumors will play out on the streets of Chicago this week" so we'll be sure to report on that as we see them.

Alas, there's no hint as to when the actual hotel opening will be but if the contest is running for five weeks, then we know the hotel won't be open before then. Ooo, did we just come up with our own entry for #virginrumors? Indeed we have.

Another sign Virgin Hotels is getting closer to opening? You can follow them now on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Groupon Now Offering Last-Minute Hotel Deals on Its App

August 26, 2014 at 11:27 AM | by | Comments (0)

We know the Hotel Tonight app is probably your go-to these days when it comes to finding last-minute hotel deals, but don't sleep on an old friend who now plays the same game: Groupon.

Once a site that catered only to local "daily deals," Groupon has since made a noticeable effort to get a piece of the travel industry pie. In 2011, it linked up with Expedia to offer hotel discounts, and while that relationship has since dissolved, Groupon debuted a "Getaway Tonight" section on its app this summer geared towards last-minute hotel deals.

When you open the Groupon app, scroll through the headers in the green bar at the top until you get to "hotels." Here, you will find a list of deals for that night, and you can search by city (if you're in route) or current location.

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What's Worse Than A Peekaboo Bathroom? A Wet, Leaky Bathroom

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  Site Where: Sheikh Khalifa St, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
August 26, 2014 at 9:21 AM | by | Comments (0)

This looks like a nice bathroom, right? Granted, the toily is a little close to the shower, and we’d prefer a proper bidet to a hose that someone else might have done who knows what with, but overall it looks good. Props for the separate tub, sexy streak of brown marble and omg-yes-gimme-dat dinnerplate showerhead.

Except the hotel left out one thing. A panel of glass.

This was the tweet that alerted us to the problem recently, from friend of HC and intrepid traveler, Jonathan Khoo.

Yes, as much as we may bitch about peekaboo bathrooms, there is a worse bathroom sin, and that is the bathroom that leaks everywhere.

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Things Are Getting Raw - And Boozy - At MyHotel Chelsea

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  Site Where: 35 Ixworth Place, London, United Kingdom, SW3 3QX
August 26, 2014 at 8:47 AM | by | Comments (0)

”Raw food” and “superfood” aren’t words that generally go well with “alcohol”, so props to MyHotel Chelsea for showing that you don’t have to be goody goody to eat well.

The hotel just opened Tanya’s Café in the conservatory, run by raw food enthusiast Tanya Alekseeva. It’s open from 7am for breakfast on weekdays (8am on weekends), and serves lunch 11.30am-3.30pm, and cocktails – woohoo – from 4pm-11pm Tuesday through Saturday. The kicker? They have vegan wine, too.

According to Tanya’s website, the menu “is designed to reflect your busy schedule and provide loving nourishment at all times of the day.”

The menu looks pretty intriguing, with a slew of juices, smoothies and shooters, along with an extensive lunch menu of everything from pad thai to tacos and a “plant-based burger” on onion bread. There are also plenty of desserts and chocolate. Because raw doesn't mean neglecting the sweet stuff.

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JW Marriott Grosvenor House London Opens New Executive Lounge

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  Site Where: 86-90 Park Lane, London, United Kingdom, W1K 7TN
August 26, 2014 at 8:28 AM | by | Comments (0)

When we think of the JW Marriott Grosvenor House, we mainly think of two things: its gigantic 60,000+ sq ft meeting facilities (a sit-down dinner for 1,200 people? No problem!), and its very Mayfair décor (think dark woods, deep reds, heavy drapes).

The latter made us take notice of the pictures of its new Executive Lounge, which goes in a very different direction design-wise, with a much lighter, more contemporary look. There’s even a ‘media wall’ near reception, which we assume is visible above on the far left with digital images of the greenery of Hyde Park. Located on the ground floor of the hotel, the revamped space was opened recently; check out a few more snaps below.

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Tonight, Reno Will Be Getting Weird

August 25, 2014 at 5:43 PM | by | Comments (0)

The opening of Burning Man, the weeklong yuppie hippie festival in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, has been cancelled due to rainstorms which have flooded the dried-up lake where the festival is usually held. "Burners" headed to the festival, some in expensive, custom RVs, are being turned away at the gate and sent back to Reno, the closest major city, until at least tomorrow morning. And boy, are the Reno hotels and casinos, happy to have them.

Here's a list of the hotels that are open to the Burners. Fortunately, all of these options are pretty affordable and there are even reports that the hotels will not be price-gouging the dejected burners, just because they can. Also, doing a quick look on Expedia, we see plenty of hotel rooms open with the most expensive one being the Peppermill Resort for about $150 a night. In short, if you're going to be in Reno tonight, it's probably going to be a little weird.

Reno is an interesting "biggest little city", with many believing that lowkey Reno is what Downtown Vegas used to be like--loose slots, good bargains, relaxed atmosphere etc--before Downtown Vegas got all Vegas-ified. But at the same time, Reno might just be a little too lowkey for the techies that frequent Burning Man.

Our sister site, VegasChatter, also explored Reno earlier this year. You can read about those adventures here and here.

[Photo: Flickr]

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Inside a Room at the Just-Opened SLS Las Vegas Hotel and Casino

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  Site Where: 2535 Las Vegas Blvd South [map], Las Vegas, NV, United States, 89109
August 25, 2014 at 3:54 PM | by | Comments (3)

Now open! Say hello to this caricature of Sam Nazarian, designed by Philippe Starck.

If you followed our live-blog on Friday, then you were privy to one of the first images from inside a room at the SLS Las Vegas, which officially opened at midnight to the public. Today, we're showing you all around that room.

This here is a superior room in The World Tower, which is standard SLS fare in terms of design and amenities. The Story Tower has smaller, budget-type rooms with bright yellow-tiled bathrooms, while the Lux Tower has larger plusher rooms and suites, with more of designer Philippe Starck's ethereal elements like mirrors on the ceilings, peekaboo bathrooms and illustrated draperies.

The decor in the World Tower is simple but with alternating soft and bold touches like a white sofa at the foot of the also white and extremely comfortable king bed, an armchair with a silver tree stump table next to it, baby pink and black wallpaper design, and giant mirrors on three walls, including one which lights up.

The minibar amenities offer up SLS Saints and Sinners goodies (including SLS's Culinary Director Jose Andres' brand of potato chips!) along with fancy cocktail glasses to use. In the bathroom are SLS's Ciel Spa toiletries which are thankfully gentle on your skin and hair. There's an open closet and an open shelf for storing your clothes as well as an ironing board and iron to crisp up for a night out.

Our favorite part, however, was the desk.

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The Night Hotel Dallas Was Only Just a Bad Dream

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  Site Where: 2645 L.B.J. Freeway [map], Dallas, TX, United States, 75234
August 25, 2014 at 2:15 PM | by | Comment (1)

A while back we had heard that Dream Hotels was dreaming about a Dream Hotel for Dallas but we had no idea that Dream's sister brand, Night Hotels, creeped into Dallas seemingly overnight.

Yet, this Night Hotel may have been more like a nightmare.

A reader tipped us off to the recent reviews on TripAdvisor and they are horrifyingly bad. Since American Airlines seems to be using this hotel as a place for displaced/delayed passengers, the reviews have come fast and furious. Here are two that are still fit to print:

Walked into the room, two of the light fixtures were non operational, room was dark and the air conditioner was so noisy that I would have needed ear plugs. Windows were beyond filthy. I turned around, walked to the front desk and tossed them my keys. I asked to be given a ride back to the airport immediately and was. The guy at the front desk asked if I was going to catch a late night flight so I told him "yeah, something like that".

I did not feel safe at this hotel. Their shuttle took forever to arrive at the airport, took 2 calls to find out where they were, and was so old and rickety I couldn't talk on my cell phone. The lobby night club attracts an unsavory crowd and people are lurking around everywhere. The halls are dark. The front desk is covered with graffiti and the staff couldn't answer basic questions. My room furniture was covered in vinyl upholstery with lights around the bed. Everything is painted black. The bathroom needs a total make-over. Somehow they thought I'd be fooled by a new shower curtain.

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Mandarin Oriental Paris Wants You To Selfie Your Way Around The City Of Light

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  Site Where: 251 Rue Saint Honoré, Paris, France, 75001
August 25, 2014 at 9:34 AM | by | Comments (0)

If you thought a designated selfie spot was as vain as things get, think again. Not to be outdone by the Athenians, the Parisians, those undisputed global masters of the pout, have come up with a “selfie package”. This has to be at somewhere millennial or ironic, right? Mama Shelter? Citizen M? Pas du tout! It’s at the Mandarin Oriental. Le selfie 'as well and truly landed.

The Selfie in Paris package nets you a room with breakfast, plus three hours in a private car – with driver and in-car WiFi. The hotel will also provide you with a list of the finest selfie backdrops in Paris, including “lesser known vantage points”, “romantic backdrops” and “other imaginative city sites that provide the perfect backdrop for self expression”.

Secretly thinking this sounds great but outwardly embarrassed about booking a package that’s all about vanity? Here’s your excuse. Any photos you upload on your journey from October to January that are taken at approved MO Selfie Spots, posted on social media and tagged appropriately (full details here) will be entered into a monthly competition to win a one night stay at the Mandarin Oriental.

So really, the Selfie in Paris package is just the cheapest way of staying, right?

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One Aldwych Is Bringing Sell-Out West End Shows To Its Screening Room

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  Site Where: 1 Aldwych, London, United Kingdom, WC2B 4BZ
August 25, 2014 at 9:04 AM | by | Comments (0)

It used to be just the Jude Laws and the Benedict Cumberbatches that sold out London theaters, but these days, sell-out shows are all over the West End. But never fear if you wanted to see Gillian Anderson in the much-acclaimed Young Vic production of A Streetcar Named Desire, or can’t make it up to Stratford-upon-Avon to catch the latest RSC production, because you can see them in the distinctly civilized setting of One Aldwych’s screening room. Yeah for hotel culture!

The Live At One series, which starts 3 September, will feature live feeds from the most sought-after productions around the UK: The Two Gentlemen Of Verona from the RSC (3 September), Streetcar Named Desire from the Young Vic (16 September), Manon from the Royal Opera House (16 October) and so on. The program includes opera and ballet, as well as plays, and you’ll have a two-course meal before the show at Axis, a glass of champagne while you watch, and dessert and coffee served in the interval. Food is billed as the best of British, with Cornish mackerel, Kentish cob nuts and loganberries amongst the ingredients (not together).

Tickets cost £49.50 (they seem to be the same price, whatever the production), which is pricey (considering National Theatre tickets start at £10) but not horrendous, if you remember that three courses and booze are included - and it's a boon for those of us who can't organize our diaries six months ahead to buy tickets, or can't make it to Stratford. Dinner starts at 5.45pm, with the screenings from 7pm.

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Not Four Seasons, But Pan Pacific Is Opening at London's Heron Plaza

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  Site Where: Bishopsgate, London, United Kingdom
August 25, 2014 at 8:33 AM | by | Comments (0)

Here is some news that will shake you out of your summer lull faster than even London’s unseasonably frigid temperatures could have: Singapore-based UOL Group Limited has acquired the site for the future Heron Plaza development on Bishopsgate and plans to open a hotel under its Pan Pacific brand inside.

Not only will that be the first Pan Pacific for Europe, and only the fifth outside Asia-Pacific (there is Seattle, Vancouver, and Whistler times two currently), it is also the end for what everyone had long accepted would be the third Four Seasons hotel in the city.

UOL paid £97 million for the land, which currently has planning permission for a 43-story tower with 109 residences, 190-room hotel, and retail. The group will “review” that configuration, so we assume that will mean room count will change.

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