CA Travel Guide
The quirky Danish-themed village of Solvang, California was made extremely popular by the movie, "Sideways" but visitors have long come to the town because of its proximity from Los Angeles (about two hours away) to the wineries of Santa Ynez valley. Oh and let's not forget Solvang's excellent Danish pastries, especially the aebelskievers.
The hotel scene in the town is mostly small independent spots that are often wine-inspired, like the Wine Valley Inn and the more upscale Hotel Corque or old world Danish-themed like the King Frederik Inn or the Viking Motel. (There's also a neighboring casino/resort, Chumash.) But the newcomer on the scene, The Landsby is paying homage to the town's Danish roots in a more contemproary way.
Opening on April 23, The Landsby is a 41-room boutique hotel that's been completely renovated from its old days as a "The Petersen Village Inn." (Landsby actually means "village in Danish.) The guestrooms at the hotel are bright and happy with a residential feel but most importantly, the decor is more in line with what you'd find in Denmark today, not 500 years ago.
Before and After / Hotel Renovations / San Francisco Hotels / Luxury Collection Hotels / Starwood Hotels / → All Tags
We love hotel renovations nearly just as much as we love new hotels. But what we really love about hotel renovations is seeing the transformation that happens when an old, tired and lackluster room gets a modern makeover and transforms into new, spiffed-up, stylish guest room. Or put more simply, we love comparing the Before and After.
When we think of The Palace Hotel in San Francisco, we think of its rather splendid Garden Court. What is now the Garden Court once was the Grand Court, an open air carriage entrance in the original Palace Hotel, which burned down in the 1906 earthquake that destroyed 80% of the city (for more on its long history, go here).
As much as we immediately think of the Garden Court, less of an instant image comes to mind when we think of the rest of hotel, including its guestrooms. Or at least we did, until we saw what The Palace is doing to its rooms this year, grabbing 2015 by the horns to bring them up to date in a big way. See both before and after below.
It’s been 25 years since a hotel last opened around Yosemite National Park. And you can feel it, too – good luck booking last minute accommodation that isn’t a tent.
But now, finally, here comes a much needed hotel: Rush Creek Lodge, a “contemporary mountain resort” and sibling property of Evergreen Lodge, opening in Spring 2016, just in time for the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.
Avalon Hotels / Hotel Rebrandings / Viceroy Hotels / Proper Hospitality Group / Palm Springs Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
Time to change up the welcome mat!
Remember last month's news that Proper Hospitality Group would be taking over Viceroy's Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills and the Viceroy Palm Springs and using them to create a new hotel brand, Avalon Hotels? No? That's ok. Here's the recap.
Anyways, tomorrow, April 7, is the day for the Palm Springs hotel to drop all Viceroy association and turn into an Avalon. Here's the note from the Viceroy Palm Springs hotel website about the change:
Effective April 7, 2015, Viceroy Palm Springs will no longer be managed by Viceroy Hotel Group. On this date, the hotel name will change to Avalon Hotel Palm Springs and Proper Hospitality will take over hotel management. As a guest of Avalon Hotel Palm Springs, you will receive the same services and amenities that you would have received under the previous management.
Indeed, considering the recent reviews on TripAdvisors are rather amazing, we doubt Avalon will change up anything. We also hear that Avalon Hotels will unveil their new brand website shortly which will be fun to look at as well.
Meanwhile, actually staying at The Avalon in Palm Springs this weekend will be an expensive stay. There are only suites available starting at around $1,700 a night. However, rates for next weekend are a bit more reasonable at $500 a night, plus a $30 resort fee per day which includes valet parking, WiFi, and coffee in the morning.
The Vivienne Westwood-inspired penthouse suite for the luxury hotel will feature exclusive art and customized furnishings, as well as perks for the suite's guests such as--one hour of private shopping at the Vivienne Westwood store in West Hollywood and a special discount on all purchases; His and Her gift bags from Vivienne Westwood upon check-in; and Vivienne Westwood-branded amenities within the suite.
At 11,000-sq.ft., it will be the largest hotel suite in Los Angeles when it opens on May 18. Here's a bit more on the layout and style of the bi-level, two-bedroom suite, including its impressive rooftop terrace, all of which was done in collaboration with Richmond Design. There are a lot of design details to pore over, and since we don't want any of you eagle-eyed fashionistas to miss out, we've put the official suite description down below.
Alas, such a couture stay and all the Vivienne Westwood perks come at a very haute couture price--$25,000 a night. However, the hotel will also unveil three Metropolitan suites on May 18, ranging from 1,600-2,200-sq.ft. and which may be slightly more affordable.
The suites' unveiling will mark the end of the hotel's $25 million renovation, which has created a 110-seat Screening Room, along with new junket suites, new ninth floor suitesand a new 2,600-sq.ft. fitness center. We just hope those sacred Vivienne Westwood scarves are on a strict lockdown.
Karaoke Rooms / Hilton Hotels / San Francisco Hotels / Hotel Lounges / Hotel Club Lounges / HHonors / → All Tags
There are lots of April Fools jokes flying around today but this is not a joke.
The Hilton San Francisco Financial District really does have its own karaoke room on site.
Located on the lobby level near the meeting rooms, the Karaoke Room costs around $1,000 to rent out for several hours. You can have food and drink placed in the room as well, but at an extra charge.
The set-up is a groovy modern lounge, not unlike many common areas found in tech start-ups, and your gear includes four microphones, an iPad stand for reading lyrics (or playing songs not in the system), a small TV and even a semi-professional sound system. (You know, the ones that will minimize the horrible drunk singing voices.)
Thinking about your next Andazm? We know we are and if you can “wait for it” along with us, here’s a totally spot-on location – eternally hip Palm Springs. Yep, Andaz Palm Springs is coming to the California Desert but not until late 2016.
Still, when Andaz does the desert, it will do so in the heart of the Uptown Design District, a mile-long stretch of cool boutiques and great eats, and the iconic Palm Canyon Drive.
The hotel will offer 150 rooms, 17 suites, and two outdoor pools surrounded by an elevated terrace with bar (of course,) desert-friendly gardens, and plenty of party space, a Palm Springs prerequisite.
Indoors, expect a signature restaurant and lounge, spa and fitness center, indoor/outdoor meeting space, and the Andaz Salon, a celebration of local culture through live performances, exhibits, and exclusive special events.
The rendering above features Andaz's cool urban vibe while keeping a low profile, which is the norm for mid-century dominated Palm Springs. Floor-to-ceiling windows show off the neighboring San Jacinto Mountains while deep overhangs keep things cool.
Mama Shelter / Hotel News / Mama Shelter Hotels / Hollywood Hotels / Los Angeles Hotels / Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Rates / → All Tags
Voilà! At last, we have a room photo of the forthcoming Mama Shelter Los Angeles located in the heart of Hollywood.
Room rates will start at $139 a night on May 15. Currently, booking is not working on the hotel's website but we expect that to be in action very soon.
The ground floor of the hotel is set to be a free-flowing reception area, lobby, bar and restaurant (from chef Benjamin Bailly of LA hotspots, Petrossian and Fraiche) while upstairs there will be just 70 Thierry Gaugain-designed rooms spread out over six stories, but tricked out with king beds and 27-inch iMacs which will serve as the room TV. As you can see, the rooms are very much like other Mamas, complete with those funky nightstand lampshade masks. (Hello Burt and Ernie!)
Mama Shelter Los Angeles will also have an outdoor rooftop gym which we kinda can't wait to see in action. #workoutselfieoverload
Want to learn more about this Mama? She's already "written" you a "letter." Here it is in full below.
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.
Hilton Huanying / Hilton Worldwide / Chinese Amenities / San Francisco Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
Back in 2011, Hilton Worldwide began welcoming the emerging class of Chinese travelers with their Hilton Huanying program, which itself means “Welcome” in Mandarin. In the nearly four years since it was introduced, the program has grown from 30 Hilton hotels to 113 in 32 countries and 65 cities. Hilton Huanying has also "huanyinged" over a million independent Chinese travelers at not just Hilton Hotels but also Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts and DoubleTree by Hilton.
Because of this popularity, and the expected growth of Chinese travelers around the world (to about 200 million travelers by 2020), the offerings of the program are expanding as well.
When it first launched, Hilton Huanying gave Chinese guests a welcome letter in simplified Chinese at check-in, tea kettles ands slippers placed in the guest rooms, dedicated Mandarin channels on the TV, along with a few traditional Chinese breakfast offerings downstairs such as congee and dim sum.
Today, guests will still get all of the above but the breakfast offerings have expanded and more importantly, Hilton will offer 24-hour translation phone service in case a Mandarin-speaking Hilton team member is not on site.
Best of all, the program is at no extra cost to the Chinese traveler. Not a bad deal.
Below are some photos of what the Huanying presentation looks like at the Hilton San Francisco Airport Bayfront Hotel and the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, a property that sees around 800 Chinese guests within a specific three-week window, and many more throughout the year. This Hilton Hotel was also one of the first Hiltons to begin offering special services for Chinese guests in 2008. These services later made up some of the official components of the Hilton Huanying program.
Hotel Sports / Hotel Events / Female-Friendly Hotels / Omni Hotels / Rancho Mirage Hotels / → All Tags
Wine glasses: not pictured
The Coachella Valley, home to dates, intense heat, plastic surgery, and (related) a lot of ladies who lunch. But one brave hotel is stepping up a gear, offering ladies not lunch, but afternoon golf and – to help your aim – booze.
Omni Rancho Las Palmas is starting a Women, Wine & Nine program, in which ladies can come in for a glass or two of wine and nine holes at the Rancho Las Palmas Country Club, every Thursday between 4.30pm and 7pm.
Hotel Scams / Car Services / Business Travel Hotels / San Francisco Hotels / Hotel Safety / → All Tags
Business travelers in San Francisco and other big cities, get off your phones and pay close attention when leaving your hotel.
The other day this editor had an early morning flight out of San Francisco that required me to leave the hotel at 6:30am. Thankfully, I had a car service set up so that I could get some extra sleep in the morning, rather than wake up even earlier to take public transportation.
Still, when I stepped out of the hotel that morning at 6:35am, I didn't feel entirely awake. Not helping the situation were three black cars idling in front of the Hilton San Francisco in Union Square. A driver of one of the town cars had his back to me and was on the phone while holding a sheet of paper. The bellman asked me which car service I had arranged. I mentioned the name, then he asked for my last name, and suddenly, the man on the phone piped up and said “Ah yes!” and then said into the phone, “I found the customer.” I apologized for being a few minutes late, and got into the car.
As I sat down, the hotel’s bellman said, “Are you sure this is the right car service?” I asked the driver if he had my name on the paper he was holding in his hand. He stalled in answering me. At that moment, a man in a sharp suit walked up to the car (my door was still open) and said my name. I said, “Yes?” and he said he was from the car service that was ordered. I was in the wrong car.