CA Travel Guide

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Can a Crowd-Funded Hotel Actually Work? Hard Rock Palm Springs Will Find Out

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  Site Where: 150 South Indian Canyon Drive [map], Palm Springs, CA, United States, 92262
April 17, 2014 at 10:00 AM | by | Comment (1)

Admit, it. You've probably thought about what it's like to actually live in a hotel. The thought is totally normal, especially when you think about the daily housekeeping, trendy design and staff often responding to most every want. Well, this idea can be a reality with a trip to the desert of Palm Springs and your own little slice of the Hard Rock Hotel.

The Hard Rock is looking for people, regular people like yourself, to invest in the luxury 163-room resort in the heart of downtown Palm Springs. With a little professional help from RealtyMogul.com, interested (and cashed-up) parties will register their desire to be part of the America's first fully online crowd-funded hotels.

Benefits for signing a check with a few more decimals than a night's stay extend way beyond bragging rights. Individual investors in the hotel will receive VIP benefits ranging from free use of the hotel owner poolside cabana, 25% discounts off the best available room rates and free room upgrades. Even if you're not a regular to Coachella Valley Music Festival, this might be a good reason to get away to the desert more often.

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Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills Will Be 'Ground Zero for Luxury'

April 11, 2014 at 6:31 PM | by | Comments (2)

Last night, Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts threw a glam poolside soiree at The Beverly Hilton to celebrate the long-awaited announcement of the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. While we were momentarily distracted by the offerings at the chocolate bar and the drinks bar, not to mention the appearance of the ethereal and normal-sized Christina Hendricks, we did manage to study a scale model of the planned 12-story, 170-room hotel. Like many things in Beverly Hills, it's an expensive beauty, worth about $200 million.

The hotel has been a long-time dream for developer Beny Alagem who also owns The Beverly Hilton. Plans to bring the luxury brand to the city back in 2008 didn't quite work out thanks to concerned residents and the ensuing economic crash but now, the dream is finally becoming a reality. And in case you didn't already understand, having a Waldorf Astoria in Beverly Hills is a huge deal in the luxury hotel world.

"We are steps away from Rodeo Drive. This is "Ground Zero" for luxury," said John T.A. Vanderslice, Waldorf Astoria’s Global Brand Head. "And the fact that we are opening a Waldorf Astoria in here is out of this world."

But just how will this five-star hotel set itself apart from the other five-star hotels in town, some within walking distance like the Peninsula, The Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire and The Montage?

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The Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills Hotel Will Actually Be Happening Now

April 10, 2014 at 12:46 PM | by | Comments (0)

What a difference six years can make. Back in 2008, plans for The Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills to open next to the Beverly Hilton were firmly squashed by Beverly Hills residents and to some extent, the recession. Today, we learn the project is back on again. And it's really, really, really happening this time. But there will be some changes to the Beverly Hilton.

The hotel's Oasis Court, Lanai guest room buildings and its south parking structure along with the building that once housed the Trader Vic's restaurant, will be torn down to make way for the 170-room Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills Hotel and its accompanying residences. Here's a bit more info from the LA Times on what to expect:

The new hotel will be clad in curving white stone inspired by Streamline Moderne style with bronze accents. Guest rooms will have floor-to-ceiling windows that open onto landscaped private balconies. The rooftop swimming pool deck will include greenery, cabanas and a bar and grill exclusive to hotel guests. There will be an upscale restaurant open to the public, stores including jeweler Graff Diamonds and a Waldorf Astoria Spa. The hotel will also include meeting space and a ballroom that will hold as many as 200 people.

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Before and After: The Renaissance Long Beach Goes from Grandma to Pretty Young Thing

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  Site Where: 111 East Ocean Boulevard [map], Long Beach, CA , United States, 90802
April 10, 2014 at 10:00 AM | by | Comment (1)

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.

Ok. Let's be honest. The only good thing that we can say about this old room at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Long Beach, Calif. is that we're loving the Queen Mary outside the window. Everything else though, can go. And fortunately that's exactly what happened.

The Renaissance has just finished an $8 million renovation that upgraded each of the 374 guest rooms, including the 14 suites and the presidential suite, as well as the lobby, the Club Lounge and the fitness center. Work on the pool is set to begin soon.

Well, what are you waiting for? Take a look at how the rooms look now!

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Inside The Langham Pasadena's Club Lounge

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  Site Where: 1401 South Oak Knoll Avenue [map], Pasadena, CA , United States, 91106
April 2, 2014 at 3:31 PM | by | Comments (0)

Over on Jaunted, you can get our inside looks at some of the world’s best airline lounges, so we thought we’d do something similar here and start talking about some of the hotel lounges we’ve frequented for our series on Hotel Club Lounges. Today, we're having a look inside the Club Lounge at The Langham Hotel in Pasadena, Calif.

The Langham Pasadena, a grand hotel with an old world luxury style (personally, one of our favorite kinds of hotels), features quite a bit of modern creature comforts in the guest rooms--from plush bedding to flat-screen TVs, Chuan Spa toiletries, 24-hour room service, comfortable work spaces and best of all, free WiFi. Which is why booking a club room at an extra $150 or so a night isn't exactly a necessity. But it doesn't disappoint either.

Located on the 8th floor, the club is open from 6:30am to 9pm during the week and until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays. There are five different food and beverage services throughout the day from continental breakfast to light snack to "cordials" in the evening.

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Take Off in a Tesla at Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica

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  Site Where: One Pico [map], Santa Monica, CA, United States, 90405
March 31, 2014 at 1:31 PM | by | Comments (0)

One of the perks of staying in a luxury hotel is riding in the complimentary house car, which is often a car you'd never be able to afford in real life. We're talking Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous cars like Mercedes, Rolls Royce and Bentley. But now in Santa Monica, Calif., Shutters on The Beach is offering a very 21st century type of house car, one that's quickly become the new "it" brand in luxury--a Tesla Model S.

General manager Gregory Day said the hotel changes out their house car every year but have slowly been moving towards a greener alternative.

"We've always been heavy-Mercedes house," he said, while showing off the Tesla in the hotel's porte-cochère. "We had a CLS 550 when I got here and I think our next one we got, to make it more environmentally-friendly, we got a V6 engine, and then the last car we had was a S400 hybrid Mercedes," Day said. "But the more we learned about it, hybrid isn't that green in a sense because the battery, once it's done, there's no way to recycle it."

The hotel considered electric vehicles but Day said it was hard to find one that would also appeal to their high-end guests. So when the Tesla came out, the hotel dug both its sleek look and its technology.

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The Fairmont May Want to Hire Some Ghostbusters for The Claremont Hotel

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  Site Where: 41 Tunnel Road [map], Berkeley, CA , United States, 94705
March 27, 2014 at 12:48 PM | by | Comments (2)

The other day, Fairmont Hotels made it official that they would take over the management of the historic Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, Calif. And their first order of business might be kicking out some ghosts.

According to San Antonio Spurs player, Tim Duncan, the hotel is haunted by a 6-year-old girl who died at the hotel long ago. Here's what he and teammate Jeff Ayres recently told the San Antonio Express News:

Ayres: “You get in at whatever time. I took my room key. I could hear stuff in the hallway, like people in their rooms. So I’m thinking people are watching TV or whatever. So I get to my door, and my key doesn’t work, but it sounds like there’s somebody in my room. Like I hear a little baby, not crying but making noise. I’m like, ‘What the heck?’ I keep trying my key and it doesn’t work. So I go downstairs to get a new key, and I tell them (somebody’s in the room.)

“So they call the room, and nobody answers. They’re like, ‘We can get you a new key and send you up with security and make sure nobody’s there, because there shouldn’t be anybody in there.’ Then they’re like, ‘We’ll just get you a new room.’ It was the creepiest thing. I heard a couple of other guys heard babies in the hallway, kids running down the hallway. Creepy. I really heard voices and a baby in the room, and there wasn’t anybody in there. It was crazy.”

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A Historic San Fran Hotel to Re-Emerge in May as The Scarlet Hotel

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  Site Where: 1075 California St [map], San Francisco, CA , United States, 94108
March 25, 2014 at 11:07 AM | by | Comment (1)

Another San Francisco hotel has gotten a major makeover and we expect more to follow.

The Huntington Hotel in Nob Hill, originally built in the early 1920s, will reopen in May after a rather sexy and racy renovation (to the tune of $15 million) that will also bring with it a name change--The Scarlet Huntington.

The hotel is now a part of Singapore-based hospitality group, Grace International, who have made the Huntington into a spin-off of their Scarlet Hotel in Singapore, a very sexy property which uses words like "uninhibited", "bold" and "naughty" to describe itself.

While the rooms of The Scarlet in San Francisco will have a similar boudoir look to the Scarlet in Singapore (think lots of red, gold, black and "daringly dim lighting") the staff of the hotel will be familiar to previous guests as many of the Huntington's former staffers, including the concierge who has been there for 30 years, are expected to return to the hotel.

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What's Inside The Beverly Hills Hotel's Marilyn Monroe Suite

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  Site Where: 9641 Sunset Boulevard [map], Los Angeles, CA, United States, 90210
March 21, 2014 at 10:10 AM | by | Comments (3)

As part of the ongoing celebrations of the city's centennial, five Beverly Hills hotels are particpating in a Suite 100 promotion where you can choose from five special anniversary suites reflective of different decades from the past 100 years. The Montage Beverly Hills, L'ermitage Beverly Hills, The Peninsula Beverly Hills and The Beverly Hilton are all on board, but here is an in-depth look at The Beverly Hills Hotel's The Golden Age of Hollywood Inspired by Marilyn Monroe suite.

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Should This Hotel Be Giving Free Drinks to Google Glass Owners?

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  Site Where: 905 California St [map], San Francisco, CA , United States, 94108
March 18, 2014 at 3:31 PM | by | Comments (0)

We thought it was cool that the ACME Hotel in Chicago was offering Google Glass as an amenity for guests to borrow during their stay but in San Francisco, the odds of guests already owning Google Glass are much higher. So the newly relaunched Stanford Court Hotel decided to offer a free drink to anyone who walks into the Aurea Lounge wearing Google Glass and subsequently uploads a photo to social media with the hashtag #stanfordcourt.

The new management at the hotel (you can read about the new hirings here) said they wanted to do this because, "of the recent string of negative press" against Google Glass. Hmm. So far this is the only tweet with the appropriate hashtag that we've seen. We can't tell if this person was wearing Google Glass or not. We think not.

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The Epiphany Hotel in Palo Alto is Open and Ready for Your Tech Questions

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  Site Where: 180 Hamilton Avenue [map], Palo Alto, CA, United States, 94301
March 11, 2014 at 3:41 PM | by | Comments (0)

We always love a hotel opening but we really love an earlier-than-expected hotel opening which is what happened with The Epiphany Hotel in Palo Alto, Calif. when it opened its doors yesterday, instead of on the scheduled date of April 1st. This totally makes up for the hotel not opening last summer.

Staff at the JDV Hotel greeted guests wearing super stylish Taylor Stitch custom-designed uniforms (which hardly look like uniforms considering they are dark denim jeans paired with oxford button downs) and happy faces. Not surprisingly, the first guest at the hotel was a VP of a software company based in Palo Alto.

The 86 rooms at the Epiphany Hotel, which is located a block off from University Avenue (as in Stanford University), come with complimentary high-speed internet access (obvi), Frette linens, Malin & Goetz toiletries, Illy espresso machines, honor bar and dry bar, a work desk with ergonomic chair, 47" Samsung TV and a G-link iPod docking stations which will wirelessly stream movies and video games to guest rooms TVs. There's also 24-hour room service and a turndown service too.

And the hotel is still promising the service of a Technology Concierge who will help you with all thing tech-related. But can they hook you up with a website designer or app developer for a new start-up venture? That remains to be seen.

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The Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage Has Actually Set an Opening Date

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  Site Where: 68900 Frank Sinatra Drive [map], Rancho Mirage, CA, United States, 92270
March 10, 2014 at 9:17 AM | by | Comments (0)

About a year ago we asked the question whether the Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage, hovering in hotel-limbo since the ’08 financial crisis, would ever recover to the point of having an opening date and welcoming paying guests.

Our answer is here today: the hotel will actually, finally, truly open on May 15, just over a week after fellow chronic delay case the Shangri-La at the Shard. 2014 is proving to be quite the good luck charm for these hotels.

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