CALIFORNIA Travel Guide
Hotel Exercise / Hotel News / Kimpton Hotels / Hotel Fitness / LA Hotels / Fairmont Hotels / → All Tags
Hot yoga is so last-season – not only because of the weather, but especially since the founder of the trendy hot yoga program Bikram is being accused of sexual harassment. Still, though, we’ve gotta keep those chakras flowing even while we’re on the road, so we’re loving Kimpton Hotels’ more low-key, individualized yoga program, soft-launching in April across the brand. According to our source, each Kimpton property is encouraged to do things a little bit differently, but all properties will offer an in-room yoga television channel, in-room Gaiam yoga mats, and extra towels/flavored waters/antioxidant snacks delivered to the room by request.
But it's the new aqua yoga that has us most excited. Read on to find out more details!
Next week we'll be debuting our HotelChatter 2013 Cruise Guide. It might seem like a funny time to release this as, to put it lightly, the cruise ship industry has been in the spotlight over the past year. And few flowers have been thrown on stage.
There have been some dramas. Costa Concordia sank off the coast of Italy. The disabled Carnival Triumph had its feces run down the walls. Food-related illness continues to be a problem. And now cities are starting to debate whether or not they should welcome ships, whether they do more harm than good. Charleston is having an internal debate about it currently, and it isn't pretty.
One resident described cruise ships as "sardine cans" that are "susceptible to horrific accidents that instantly can put thousands at risk for their lives.” Another saw the ships as a detriment to the city's ambiance. “I can’t believe they are doing this to Charleston,” she said. “I can hear the announcements from my house. And that black smoke. It just tumbles out of that smokestack. You should see the dust in my car.”
While a reasonable person could understand that side of the coin -- the resident's viewpoint -- we can't forget about the other side -- the business side. And also a strong consumer force that continues to love cruising.
This year will be the five-year anniversary of the big crash of 2008, a financial crisis that hit the hotel industry – like so many others – hard. All the hotel openings these days notwithstanding, many a project was scrapped as a result, long before they started breaking ground.
Yet, some others got caught in the middle, stuck in a weird kind of hotel-limbo: well on their way to completion, but without any sight of the moment when the finishing line, and paying guests just beyond, will be reached. Case in point: The Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage.
Hotel Renovations / Hotel News / California Hotels / Sierra Nevada Hotels / Mountain Hotels / → All Tags
The main complaint we've heard/read about the Sierra Nevada Lodge at Mammoth Lakes is that it's a little outdated in its decor, that the rooms are a bit old.
Well, they certainly addressed that comment card with a three-year multi-million dollar renovation, including the new construction of six chalets and 15 fireplace suites. The resort officially "re-opened" on February 1, although it never really closed, and now has a total of 149 rooms.
The chalets (pictured above) are located next door to the lodge and have full kitchens with butcher-block countertops and wood burning fireplaces. We dig the old-school snowshoe lights on the wall -- that's the good kind of "outdated" decor -- and the wood-burning fireplace is a mountain treat that's becoming less and less common thanks to liability and lawyers.
Last time we checked in on the now named "Wilshire Grand Project" back in May, Korean Air had already ditched its two-tower plan (a 60-story office tower and a 40-story hotel to be completed in 2014) in favor of a 73-story skyscraper.
We dished that the billion-dollar building would be just a tick shorter than the existing U.S. Bank Tower, but according to new reports, it will include a spire at the top that puts the total height at 1,100 feet, making it the tallest in the city, about 80 feet above the U.S. Bank Tower.
While a management brand still has yet to be announced, we now know that the L.A.-based architecture firm AC Martin Partners will design the project. Its resume includes Los Angeles City Hall and Bank of America Plaza and construction should begin later this year. Korean Air has maintained hope the hotel will open four years from now in March 2017.
We recently stopped in San Luis Obispo on the California Coast to check out Granada Hotel & Bistro. It's about a three-hour drive from Los Angeles and we just got a sunroof in our car, so we thought, 'why the heck not?'
Thankfully, the place didn't disappoint. This 17-room boutique hotel is industrial chic and quite classy at the same time, housed in an original 1920s exposed-brick building, with the only rooftop patio and lounge in town. Rooms are gussied up with hardwood floors, exposed brick walls, nickle-plate fixtures, Fili d'Oro Italian linens, goose down dive and pillows, four balcony suites and some of the showers double up as steam baths. Fancy!
Hotel News / Hotel Openings / Orient-Express Hotels / California Hotels / Santa Barbara Hotels / → All Tags
It certainly looks like Orient-Express isn’t letting that whole rejected Tata offer get in the way of its renovation and expansion plans. We’ve barely told you about the disco break the Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro enjoyed to come back in its former glory, and now reservations have started for a March opening of the historic El Encanto Resort in Santa Barbara.
One thing we already love? As part of its dedication to locally sourced produce, El Encanto will have its own cow: Ellie. Ellie’s milk will be used to make a special cheese only found at the hotel. How great is that? And it doesn’t stop there.
Hotel News / Hotel Openings / Viceroy Hotels / California Hotels / San Francisco Hotels / → All Tags
It doesn't seem to happen every often, so we're always a little more jazzed than usual when San Francisco gets a new hotel, and the Hotel Zetta will debut just after Valentine’s Day.
The 116-room hotel, at the junction of SoMa, Mid-Market, and Union Square, will attempt to create a work play balance with sustainable architecture that features technological and recycled elements to go along with ultramodern furnishings. The building where the hotel resides, was originally constructed in 1913, and will celebrate its hundred-year anniversary to go along with the opening.
Check out the photo gallery to get a sense of what to expect.
Celebrity Weddings / Reality-TV Shows / Celebrity News / Langham Hotels / California Hotels / Los Angeles Hotels / Pasadena Hotels / → All Tags
You have to feel good for Herbert, who, after failing to find the love of her life as a participant on the 15th season of "The Bachelor", was able to narrow down a large field of men to one in the 7th season of "The Bachelorette". Television host Chris Harrison officiated the recent ceremony in front of a congregation of family and friends, but mostly video cameras and former participants of the show.
From Wetpaint Entertainment:
“Their proposal was one of the most tender and romantic in television history, so it’s only fitting that the Dec. 1 nuptials of Bachelorette Season 7 stars Ashley Hebert and J.P. Rosenbaum at the Langham Hotel in Pasadena was equally personal, intimate and, above all, filled with love.”
The Hyatt Regency Century Plaza made a splash yesterday by reminding us that Los Angeles does indeed celebrate winter – sort of – with the opening of a 3,000 square-foot tech-no-logic ice rink. Yeah, it's not really an ice rink, but it's about as close as Southern California and the Golden Coast are going to get.
The hotel had a big year in 2009 upgrading its cabanas, installing an infinity pool, and dealing with a Dennis Rodman debacle. We also had a few drinks with readers at its X BAR in 2010, but it has been a bit quiet ever since, something we knew could not continue given its terrific location downtown near Rodeo Drive on Avenue of the Stars. So this rink is good news.
There might be little argument that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie make for the most interesting celebrity couple on this planet. After announcing their pending nuptials, the hearts of world-wide paparazzo may have skipped a beat, but the couple may have scored a point against the camera lens after organizing a private dinner at one of the restaurants in the Montage Beverly Hills.
Perhaps they were picking the flowers or even color schemes for their big day, either way Brangelina wanted a little privacy while dining in the hotel's £10 restaurant. Allegedly, after a little coaxing, they shut their doors to the public and other hotel guests, and no doubt waited on the power couple hand and foot. No word on what they dined on (does Angie eat?), but with a menu like aged bison tartare and mini lobster rolls, no doubt the bill was more than £10 ($16).
Hotel Restaurants / Hotel Events / California Hotels / Point Reyes Hotels / Beach Hotels / Fishing Hotels / → All Tags
We like to keep it fun but informative here at HotelChatter so our newest series, What is This?, is devoted to odd-looking items in hotel rooms that upon first glance look as if they serve only a decorative purpose. But everything happens for a reason, right? And we're here to tell you what these things really do.
Window washing pulley or ancient repelling gear? Not at Nick's Cove Restaurant, Oyster Bar & Cottages on Northern California's Tomales Bay, where you'll spy the above ropes and hooks once used to haul in crab pots and fishing nets now in the boat shack at the end of the pier. As recreational Dungeness crab season kicks off this fall, more of that crab-fetching gear will be showing up on November 11, when Nick's Cove hosts its inaugural Crab Catch competition and celebration.
Never heard of the Cottages at Nick's Cove? Tucked within the West Marin coast just 50 miles north of San Francisco, Nick's Cove may be better known for its locally sourced California cuisine than its totally charming overwater bungalows, but it's about time we right that equation. Nostalgic and nautical with down comforters and wood burning stoves, each of the 12 cottages comes with either a waterfront location or waterview and names like Nicolina and Bandit's Bungalow. Part coastal cabin and part hunting lodge, each of the cottages are unique, cozy and awesomely kitschy.
The crab catch offers a great time to check out Nick's cottages. But what the heck happens at a crab catch anyway?