AR Travel Guide
If Akansas wasn't already on your list of places to visit in 2013 (and we hate to say it, but why would it?), here's a new reason: the art-obsessed boutique hotel chain 21c Museum has just opened a new 104-room property in downtown Bentonville, AR. And yes, those penguins have made an appearance once again. 25 of them, in fact. Only this time, they're green!
Hence, the six-foot tiger sculpture, the "hairy chandelier", and the elevator mural (pictured) that turns a normally tedious moment of waiting into an opportunity to feel cultured. Walmart must feel so proud.
Now that Wal-Mart heiress, Alice Walton, has opened the Crystal Bridges Museum of Modern Art (it was her millions and her incredible art collection that got the museum off the ground), cultured visitors to the museum in Bentonville, Ark. are in need of an equally cultured place to stay.
The hotel will be located in the city's downtown arts corridor but Bentonville is a small town so the Crystal Bridges museum will still be walkable. The four-story contemporary style building will have 103 rooms, including suites, a fitness center and a sustainable restaurant. In fact, the whole building will be built and operated using green practices and sustainable materials. And of course, there will be art. Lots of it.
Another new Aloft opened yesterday in Rogers, Arkansas (population: almost 39,000 -- so not exactly Podunk Nowhere-ville) and the Arkansas folks seemed starry-eyed and enthusiastic.
The Benton County Daily Record was on hand to get guests' comments:
"This is really something," said Brig Caldwell, who spent about 20 minutes walking the main floor. "I had a chance to stop by for a preview the hotel was doing last night, and it was like I walked into a nightclub. The space. The lights. It's so much different from what a hotel is."
Maybe we're just jaded or something.
Wondering why the eff Aloft chose rando-ville, Arkansas to launch one of their first properties? Rogers is a quick 15-minute drive from Bentonville -- a.k.a. Wal-Mart HQ. Starwood ain't stupid.
While holed up at the Peabody Little Rock, we scooted out to a few other hotels in town to see how they stacked up. It's mostly a collection of chain hotels apart from the circa-1913 Legacy Hotel. (When it was built, rooms were $2 and meals were 50 cents--which shows how much cheaper food has gotten.)
One interesting trend stood out, however: nobody charges extra for Internet access. You would think a tech center like Austin or San Jose would manage this, but no, it's Little Rock Arkansas. We mentioned earlier that the best hotel in town--the Peabody--has free wired access in the rooms and free wireless in the lobby, with no annoying registration process. And you would expect to find free WiFi at the likes of Holiday Inn Select. What's impressive here is that you can also log in with no extra charges at the Doubletree Little Rock and the Hilton Little Rock. And yes, WiFi is gratis at the Legacy Hotel too (as is parking--a big plus).
Maybe none of these hotels will make a magazine "hot list" or win any design awards, but if you're traveling because you are on business, Little Rock gets a big thumbs up.
[photo Rod Murrow]
[Ed. Note: Contributing editor Tim Leffel reports from Little Rock, Arkansas.]
When a group of eight travel writers arrives at a hotel together from the airport, with reservations, it's never a good sign when there's not a bellhop to be found. Not that the writers can't fend for themselves, of course, but you'd think a hotel hosting a whole crew of influencers would schedule an extra staffer or two to juice the first impression. But this is the Peabody Little Rock, not the storied Peabody in Memphis. It's the equivalent of the high school football captain's little brother, trying hard, but no hope of matching up.
It's still going through the process, but an Arkansas woman is suing Stone Inns hotel over a bed bugs incident. The grounds for her complaint aren't pretty: she claims that during her stay in the Siloam Springs motel while undergoing cancer treatment,
She was infested by hundreds of bed bugs during a stay there and now suffers recurring nightmares of bugs feeding off her body.
The motel owner reckons the health department inspected Stone Inn's twice and the bed bugs must've come from somewhere else. The jury's out ... but the guest's trying for compensation for medical bills, pain, and embarrassment and humiliation.
· Stone Inns reviews [TripAdvisor]
· Woman Sues Motel for Bed Bugs [North West Arkansas Morning News]
Hotels are supposed to take your money but the owner of the Royal Arkansas Hotel in Pine Bluff took the credit card numbers of his guests and charged up a storm.
A police spokesperson said:
He had gone back in the records and gotten eight out of state credit card receipts where people had stayed here. Then, he charged up to 1,600 dollars on each of those cards.
But he wasn't using the cards for hookers or gambling money. Nope, he was actually trying to keep the hotel afloat and make payroll for his employees. Still, the hotel is open and it's "business as usual", said a hotel employee. Perhaps it would be wiser to pay in cash.
[Ed. Note: A few weeks ago we received an email from a woman complete with pictures of her alleged bed bug bites she received while staying at the Park Hotel of Hot Springs in Arkansas. Now, we have the other side of the story from the hotel management. We'll let you sort it out from here.]
We at the Park Hotel of Hot Springs, are astounded that you would just pick up this information about Bed Bugs in our Hotel without checking with us first. We are dealing with Trip Advisor at this time.
This person Ms. Castro has tried to shake us down and we have all the proof we need. Trip Advisor has finally responded after many calls (no one live ever answers) and our emails being rejected. They promise now to respond. Therefore you will know the truth shortly.
Did you know that anyone over 13 years old can write a review on Trip Advisor? This info is on their website.
Would you like to see a copy of the inspection reports taken after Ms Castro left? Would you like to see other reports? Are you aware this was the only complaint and that this Guest never said anything while at the Hotel. She neglected to tell eveyone about her long walk in Hot Springs National Park on a Hot Summer Night. But feels she could not get chigger bites there?!!!
This Guest waited a week later and made demands for money or she would put us all over the website.
Hotel guests and managment alike can always send us tips, just identify yourself as "Team Guest" or "Team Hotel".
Christmas freaks will be happy to know that Christmas season begins in July for the town of Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
These people just can't wait until December. The Basin Park Hotel gets in the spirit by offering a "Christmas in July Package".
The package includes:
Enjoy our "Christmas in July Package" and you will receive a Premium Room for two (at the December rate), a "Holiday Shopping Coupon Book" (good for JULY shopping), a complimentary bottle of champagne with two keepsake glasses (you gotta have champagne for "the holidays"), and two Santa hats so you will look "cool" when sitting out on our new Sundeck
Okay, never have we considered Santa hats to be cool whether it be in December or July. The champagne thing we understand, who doesn't feel a little cooler and more glamorous with a golden coupe de Champagne? But the Santa hat just adds absurdness to the ordeal.
· Basin Park Hotel Reviews [Trip Advisor]
Forget those stuffed shirts up in DC and their overpriced inauguration packages, the real party is in Little Rock, AK! Just four days until Bubba opens presidential library in Little Rock Arkansas, and local hotels are turning people away that don't have reservations. Yup, that's right, Little Rock is sold out.
Thirty thousand people are expected for the libraries open, and the hotel to stay at is the newly opened Courtyard Marriott, however, the 120 room Marriott, like other local hotels is fully booked.
We'll take Little Rock's Doritos and beer over DC's caviar and Cristal on this one, thank you very much.
Hotels have been referring people to the Clinton Library Foundation website room options.