FL Travel Guide
School's out for summer and in Orlando that means the crowds are a-coming. If you're heading to Disney World, Sea World or Universal Studios during peak season (now-August), you know you are going to end up paying more than you'd like for everything from park admission to food and worst of all, souvenirs. You should also be prepared to read the fine print for your hotel stay as several hotels in the area charge the dreaded resort fees.
While not as prevalent as Las Vegas, Orlando does have a fair amount of hotels that charge additonal for services that used to be "free" like pool access and in-room safes.
Below we've rounded up the hotels that charge an all-encompassing resort fee (and not just separate fees for parking or shuttle services.) Some fees include internet and some do not. All of these are also taxable.
Know of a resort fee in Orlando? Tell us in comments!
Miami Hotel Mambo / Convention Center Hotels / Rem Koolhaas / South Beach ACE / Miami Beach Square / Hotel News / → All Tags
Miami Beach's hotel scene has been hot for quite some time now but with a renovation of the old Miami Beach Convention Center on deck, it could get some serious starchitecture as well.
Here's a look at the proposed 800-room hotel for the convention center cite from Rem Koolhaas's firm, OMA and what the hotel will entail:
· All 800 rooms will have private balconies
· The hotel's placement in the center of the 52-acre convention site gives it killer views in every direction, including west to downtown Miami and east out to the ocean.
· The pool deck will be oriented to the east with views of the ocean.
· A penthouse lounge will rise 194-feet off the ground with panoramic views
· The curved design references Miami Beach's historic Art Deco style.
The renovated convention center plan will feature not just the hotel but also retail outlets, a cultural center, 28 acres of park space and residential apartments.
Yesterday we heard the news that Marriott would be importing its European-based AC Hotels by Marriott brand into the U.S. Today, we've got news of another popular international brand now making its way stateside--East Hotels.
East is actually a very small brand within theSwire Hotels portfolio with just two properties--one in Hong Kong, the other in Beijing. We didn't even know the U.S. was an option for future East Hotels but we're glad it's starting.
According to the Miami Herald, the 236-room East, Miami will open inside the mixed-use at Brickell CityCentre complex at South 8th Street and Brickell Avenue. (The property is being developed by Swire Properties, so it makes sense that a Swire Hotels affiliate would operate the hotel portion.) The East, Miami will also have 89 serviced apartments, two restaurants, meeting space and a rooftop bar. And don't forget, free WiFi.
One sure-fire way to get our attention? Post a picture of your new mobile tiki bar.
That's how Holiday Inn Club Vacations snapped us out of our post-holiday weekend haze this morning. This life-changing contraption, called The Tiki Express, is available at the Orange Lake Resort Hotel in Orlando, next door to Disney World. It motors around the 1,450-acre resort serving up adult and kid-friendly cocktails, smoothies and other tasty concoctions.
Apparently, the hotel is testing the Tiki Express on a "seasonal" basis but we're convinced this is a home-run and we think other hotels in hot weather locales should consider it too.
First off, The Redbury South Beach will open this fall. Wham, bam, thank you mam! As you can see from the Twitpic from @DeeTCL, work is already underway. (The hotel is opening out of the old Fairfax Hotel.)
Word is the design will be inspired by its Hollywood roots but will also weave in the art deco vibe of South Beach. All in all, the hotel will have 69 rooms and suites.
Restauranteurs Larry Levy and Bob Heyat are responsible for bringing in the hip food & beverage offerings including the lobby restaurant, Lorenzo, which will be helmed by James Beard Award-winning Chef Tony Mantuano who has four great restaurants in Chicago, include Spiagia and Terzo Piano at the Art Institute. As you can guess, the restaurantwill serve up authentic Italian cuisine.
[UPDATE, 5.14.13: Wyndham Hotels has given an explanation of what's going on with the hotel. Scroll down for that statement. UPDATE, 5.16.13: Menin Hotels have also given us a statement saying that would retain ownership of the hotel. Full statement is below the Wyndham statement.
Could there soon be one less hotel in Miami, a town that's been riding a recent hotel boom? Possibly.
We got a tip last week from one of our trusted South Beach spies saying that the Wyndham-operated Shelborne South Beach hotel would be closing and instead would reopen as a condo building. (Already the hotel is partially made up of condo units which are typically rented out to visiting guests.)
Sure enough, we headed to the hotel's website and found this note:
The Shelborne will have a limited number of rooms available June 1 - October 31, 2013 during its amazing transformation into South Beach’s newest lifestyle luxury resort, the Shelborne Wyndham Grand-South Beach.
Despite this "limited number of rooms" mention, we've got word that the hotel is indeed closing completely during the renovations and there are still whispers that it will reopen only as a timeshare. We're still sifting through the Shelborne shards but this is what we do know:
The hotel underwent a renovation back in 2011 so at first glance, it may seem too soon to have yet another facelift. But the reality is, some of those condo-hotel units are in bad shape as the owners were not obligated to renovate their units. HotelChatter saw how dire some of those rooms were when we stayed at the property back in December. This was our take on the place:
The Shelborne's suite had last been furnished in the early 1990s, the dining chairs were broken, the mattress was so old you could feel the springs, the tables were scratched and water-damaged, the art was like that of a greasy strip mall generic Asian restaurant, the floors felt so dusty we were relieved to have brought slippers from our last hotel, and the power outlet actually shocked us as we tried to plug in our phone charger. Firetrap much?
Need more convincing of the shifty state of the Shelborne? Just take a gander at some of the hotel's recent TripAdvisor reviews.
There's no shortage of hotel options in Miami these days but the newly-opened b2 miami downtown, across from the Bayfront Park and less than a 10-minute walk away from the American Airlines Arena, is one hotel that won't break the bank.
All 243 rooms at the b2 miami downtown offer either city or bay views and feature modern furnishings and amenities such as the B-branded Blissful Bed, interactive HD LED TVs with web capabilities, built-in docking stations with USB port and MicroSD cords and Aveda bath amenities. And don't forget the free WiFi!
The b2 hotel is the second hotel from B Hotels and Resorts. The first B Hotel opened two years ago in Fort Lauderdale while The B Hotel Disney World will open this Fall. b2, however, is the more affordable B brand, promising guests all the signature services of a B Hotel like free WiFi, in-room dining, mood-lighting and more but at more affordable prices.
This b2 also features a new eatery from restauranteur Jeffrey Chodorow of China Grill Management called Biscayne Tavern. The spot is now serving up "the next evolution of comfort food" such as grass-fed beef burgers, oyster po-boys, short-rib pot roast and truffle popovers. (Don't fret, vegetarians. The menus has array of salads and pastas too.
We found a Chic City King for tomorrow night with free parking (normally $25) for just $128.15. Un-B-lievable! Perhaps we can trust this B after all.
Daytona Beach had its heydey in the 1980s as the #1 Spring Break destination for college students rocking bad perms, Vuarnet t-shirts and too-short neon shorts. While it's still a popular (and "trashy" Spring Break spot, the town probably prefers to be known for events other than wet t-shirt contests and beer funneling like the annual Daytona 500 car race and the town's handful of museums. However, all that will change with the arrival of a beachfront Hard Rock Hotel in 2016.
Hard Rock International made the announcement late last week saying the hotel will feature 250 hotel rooms, a signature Hard Rock Cafe and all the Hard Rock brand signatures from Rock Star Suites to Vibe managers, a RockSpa, Sleep Like a Rock linens and even a recording studio for guests to use during their stay. The hotel will also feature a pool with a bar and grill, ballroom, meeting spaces and 100 condominium units (although that hasn't worked out well for Hard Rock San Diego.)
And yes, the city's totally down with the idea of a rocking hotel on their beachfront.
“The city and county have been working hand-in-hand to rejuvenate the city of Daytona Beach, and we’re thrilled Hard Rock and Bayshore Capital [the developer] have chosen ‘The World’s Most Famous Beach’ as its newest location for expansion,” said Derrick Henry, Mayor of Daytona Beach. “The synergies between Daytona Beach and Hard Rock are limitless, and we cannot wait for the brand to open the Hotel and Cafe.”
We better start training for the drinking games, then.
The Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando Studios has just finished a major renovation of its guest rooms so it's only natural that they show off the results. But The Loews isn't passing around some fancy, carefully staged, photoshopped photos. No, they've gone above and beyond the call of PR duty to create a time-lapse video that features the transformation of one guest room from start to finish.
The video is just over a minute long and it's actually super cool, especially if you're a renovation nerd like us. It's like we're watching HGTV but for a hotel room!
You see everything that went into the renovation from removal of the old outdated furniture, ripping up the dank rugs, putting new paint on the walls, laying down a new carpet, tons of electrical work and the assembling of the new furniture. (Our heart skipped a beat when we saw brand-new mattresses being unwrapped from the plastic. For real.)
Somfh. Yup, we are dropping expletives, cuz we're crazy perplexed at this new breed of twentysomethin' Hollywood Brat Packers. They all seem hella intent in being filmed with “suspicious looking cigarettes” in hand. And again, we don't judge their downtime habits, we just get tired of the damage control they feel they need to go through, when they could just say "screw it, this is what I do." Certainly worked for Willie Nelson, Snoop, Woody Harrelson and plenty of other up-front chronic smokers.
Anyhoo, our latest offender/denier would be Blondie-in-training Miley Cyrus, who decided the perfect place to light up a spliff-like cigar, would be the balcony of her Miami hotel.
Now, do celebs smoke outside because they fear a hotel's $200 in-room smoking fee? BTW, that's us being smartasses.
See, they light up these big ‘ole "cigarettes", knowing the papps are watching, then have pictures like these show up...
It's big news for the Delano Hotel South Beach, a hotel that's been a Miami institution since, well, forever-and-a-day. Their owner, NYC-based Morgans Hotel Group announced it's selling its stakes in the hotel and associates The Light Group, and would offer $100 million to help settle the current debt of $230 million to a buyer. Whoa.
The hotel group has apparently been trying to unload the Delano since 2002, and has apparently posted a financial loss since 2007, according to OTK Associates LLC, the largest shareholder of Morgans Hotel Group Co. So, no doubt they had a hand in pressuring Morgans to dump the Delano, pronto.
Morgans has signed agreements with The Yucaipa Companies, a firm owned by uber-wealthy Ron Burkle, to desist Yucaipa's interest in Morgans stock, stock warrants, and convertible notes, and instead take ownership of the Delano and the Light Group. However, Morgans would still operate the Delano thanks to a pre-agreement asking for long-standing management agreement.
Are you hella confused yet? No worries, we were too, and had to read this manifesto post-and-pre-cocktail time. So we're agree there are no plain words to explain this business. But hold on, keep still, there's more after the jump.
It's been about a year since trouble first started brewing down at Miami's famed Eden Roc Hotel. The property, which has been around since the 1950s, is managed by Marriott, but the relationship between Marriott and the hotel's owners was bad. So bad, in fact, that the hotel tried to boot Marriott from the premises during an after-dark siege. Serious drama, right?.
A judge (who happened to be a self-professed Eden Roc "fan"") declared back in November that Marriott has the legal right to remain as manager of the hotel.
Or should we say, 'had.'
Yesterday, the hotel's attorney announced that Eden Roc has won in a New York Appellate court the right to oust Marriott as manager of the property. The attorney called it "a vindication," and believes the outcome of this bitter lawsuit will help settle future disputes between hotel owners and management:
"A hotel manager is barred from commandeering a property against the owner’s wishes. Any doubts in that regard have been laid to rest."