NEW YORK Travel Guide
Sleep Ambassador / New York Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / Hotel Renovations / Hotel Services / The Benjamin / → All Tags
Meet Rebecca Robbins, The Benjamin NYC's Sleep Expert
Last year this time, we wondered whether the new trend of sleep ambassador programs was a valuable hotel amenity or just another useless marketing gimmick. During an interview with one such ambassador, we learned about the steps travelers should take to get a better night's sleep at a hotel. Basically, it was a "do this, don't do that" sort of conversation.
But one thing we failed to discuss was whether a sleep ambassador had any impact on a hotel beyond guest suggestions. Is there any concrete impact, or just a list of dos and don'ts? On a recent stay at the Benjamin NYC, we discovered that a sleep ambassador's job is not all about pleading to guests to make good bedtime decisions. During its renovation, The Benjamin actually called upon sleep expert Rebecca Robbins to help design the room.
Turns out, she helped the hotel make decisions surrounding the room's design that are aimed at getting a better night's sleep. Some, like eliminating noise, are obvious. Others, like using analog clocks, go a little under the radar. And chocolate on the pillow? To that, Dr. Robbins says no. Read on to see the complete list.
The 220-room Dream Midtown recently completed the first phase of a $20 million renovation that included a floor-to-ceiling redesign of the lobby, guest rooms, and suites. The property also changed its name from the Dream New York to the Dream Midtown.
As you can see above, the new rooms look pretty spiffy with their canopy-style headboards. But the most interesting thing about this renovation is the second phase that will be unveiled this spring: Nightlife offerings by TAO Strategic Group, they who run the massive nightclubs Tao in NYC and Las Vegas, will include the introduction of 4,000 square-foot bi-level rooftop lounge. According to the hotel, the atmosphere and vibe will mirror the current experience one can have at Dream Meatpacking, which is already big party spot. Dream Midtown will also turn its cellar into a nightlife zone, but no timetable for that has been released.
So, we don't really even have to read between the lines to get the drift of this announcement: Dream Midtown is turning itself into a party zone. Whether it's a good idea or a bad idea will simply depend on how the plan is executed, and we look forward to seeing how it turns out. Either way, we hope the new renovations include soundproofing the rooms.
[Photo: Dream Hotels]
‘Tis the season to celebrate and there’s no better way than with a holiday-inspired beverage. And, as we all know, a holiday cocktail a day keeps the Grinch away. For Hotel Holiday Cocktail Week, we’ve scanned the globe for some delectably delicious cocktails that will leave you humming a merry tune that doesn’t include, “You’re a Mean One, Mr Grinch.”
The New York Palace has gotten into the holiday spirit with its sparkly 12 Christmas trees adorned with 68,000 lights and 32,000 ornaments. The lobby also houses a 6’ x 8’ gingerbread house that is a replica of the hotel’s iconic Villard Mansion, which surrounds the hotel’s courtyard.
If you want to get into the holiday spirit too try concocting the Cranberry Garland cocktail or the Holiday Manhattan while you're trimming your own tree.
About a month ago, our bro Jaunted wondered aloud whether virtual reality could make waves in the travel industry, allowing people to be mentally transported to destinations around the globe without physically leaving their home cities. We've thought about this very same concept in the form of hotels and online virtual tours as a way to experience properties before booking.
This morning, Marriott unveiled the mother of all virtual tours, a piece of technology it calls "The Teleporter," a virtual reality machine that allows people to "tour" some of its hotels in the States. The Teleporter made its public debut at the Marriott in New York. It will remain there for five days, then take off for the rest of its eight-city tour to its properties in Boston, DC, Atlanta, Dallas, San Diego, San Jose, and San Francisco.
Judging from the early reports, Marriott didn't cut any corners when developing the technology. A journalist from Wired had great things to say about the experience, noting that "pumps embedded in the floor, misting nozzles in the walls, heater blowers in the ceiling, fans in the ceiling and floor, a scent dispenser, and a 1000-watt amplifier all deepen the feelings of immersion. When you land on the beach, the pumps in the floor create the feeling of a cushioned landing, and you feel 80-degree warmth, a sea breeze, and ocean mist."
Best Room to Book / Brooklyn Hotels / Hotel Amenities / Hotel Minibars / Williamsburg Hotels / → All Tags
Yesterday, we told you where to get the most killer view of Manhattan that's not actually in Manhattan at The Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn. Today, we're showing you more of the The Best Room to Book, which is Room 702, a Manhattan View King room.
In truth, all Manhattan Views at the Wythe will give you a view of the city but the rooms above the 6th floor rooftop bar are slightly bigger and have more windows from which to admire the view.
Other notable amenities in the Wythe rooms:
· All natural and locally made Goldie's Soap products are in the bathroom.
· The locally curated minibar has not only a bottle of Tito's vodka in the freezer and a $100 bottle of Kings County bourbon on the top shelf but also La Quercia prosciutto and Plymouth Cheddar in the refrigerator.
· The Wythe toile wallpaper which we love so much.
· A Wythe Hotel tote which you can use during your stay or buy for $20.
· Heritage G2 radios that look straight out of the 1960s but which actually have an iPod/iPhone hook up.
· Radiant floor heating, in case you were worried about the lack of an area rug.
· Free WiFi
Check out all the photos of our room below!
Hotel Cocktails / Hotel Bars / Hotel Cocktail Week / Hotel Bar Hops / New York Hotels / Boutique Hotels / Gansevoort Hotels / → All Tags
It's no secret that we love drinking in hotels here at HotelChatter. In fact, hotels might be our favorite "local." So all this week and next, we'll be pouring out some drinks for you during our second Hotel Cocktail Week(s) -- newly-expanded because there’s just so many drinks to share. We'll be posting quirky cocktails, boozy trends, unique menus and even recipes so you can recreate your favorite hotel drink at home. We expect everyone will be getting a bit tipsy over the next couple of weeks! But don't forget to tip your bartenders, in this case, us.
You can’t beat basil this year as the herb of choice in hip cocktail bars the world over, and nowhere more so than in New York. Join us on a basil bar hop as we hit some of the coolest hotel bars this side of the Atlantic.
1) We’ll start at the nautically-themed Maritime Hotel, found in the Chelsea on the edge of Meatpacking District at 363 West 16th Street. La Bottega trattoria and lounge serves the basil-rich La Primavera cocktail.
1.5 oz Tanteo Tropical tequila
5 oz Canton ginger liqueur
1 oz simple syrup
1/4 oz lime juice
3 basil leaves
Combine ingredients, shake well and pour.
Cost to imbibe at the hotel: $14
Cost to stay at the hotel because you've imbibed too much: $425
British-born, NYC-based artist Shantell Martin has designed a stream-of-consciousness-type summer tote exclusively for W New York. As an added bonus it's filled with sweet treats and summer essentials for a weekend getaway:
- Sugarfina Candy Cubes (Champagne Bubbles, Martini Olive Almonds, Peach Bellinis, Sugar Lips, Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels, and Robin’s Egg Caramels)
- Kiehl’s Super Fluid UV Defense Sunscreen
- Never Hungover hangover prevention
So how do you get ‘em? It’s remarkably simple: stop in at the W New York’s newly reno’ed Living Room on Fridays between 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., order a cocktail, and presto! A tote bag arrives. This will only last until supplies run out, but we’ve been promised that they have a goodly sum available.
[Photo: W New York]
While it is not the sexiest part of town, it makes sense that so many tourists decide to stay in Midtown, especially those visiting for the first time. Not only does it provide direct access to the major attractions of Times Square, the Empire State Building, and Madison Square Garden, but its central location makes it just as easy to go to Central Park as it does Brooklyn.
Last weekend, we swung through to check out what's happening at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel on 34th and 8th, which was rebranded as a Wyndham earlier this year and has since kicked off a 5-year renovation plan as it makes the change. (The hotel's iconic New Yorker Hotel sign will of course, remain.)
The outside is sporting the scaffolding as an exterior revamp is underway, yet most of the rejuvenation will be felt indoors. Fifty-seven guest rooms will be added by the end of the year to bring the total to 1,083, as well as a new wine bar (fall 2014), a spruced up lobby, and the introduction of the Wyndham personality.
Gurney's Inn Resort & Spa, the only ocean front hotel in the Hamptons, will reopen Memorial Day weekend and unveil a series of upgrades and renovations just in time for summer.
The main component of the revamp is the addition of 38 new rooms, shown in the photos of this post. As you can see, they look pretty sharp, very modern but maintaining that simple beachside vibe. The only thing missing (judging from the photos) is a little bit of color, which we hope the hotel will introduce with fresh flowers or perhaps some wall-hanging art.
Also included in the reopening is the addition of four new restaurant concepts that feature a seafood restaurant (Seawater Grill), sushi and raw bar (Ocean Cafe), on-beach full-service chaise lounge (The Beach Club), and a juice/smoothie/coffee bar (The Market). The spa has also been refreshed along with the addition of a seawater swimming pool.
Back in the spring, we took an in-depth look at Airbnb and its appeal to travelers. We saw how its affordability might become a threat to higher-priced hotels, and we wondered how the industry would respond to the up and coming competition. Travelers, it seems, are really liking the idea of playing house at someone else's place, especially when it costs significantly less than a hotel.
Well, it looks like the City of New York has the hotel industry's back. According to the Associated Press, the city is tired of losing what it could be gaining in lodging tax if Airbnb users stayed at hotels, and last week Attorney General Eric Schneiderman demanded the company turn over a list of residents who are using the site on the basis that they are breaking a state law by renting out their apartments. In New York, it is illegal for someone to sublet their apartment for less than 30 days if they are not also present.
Man, this one is going to get ugly, as Airbnb is a fan favorite with the general population to say the least, and has saved travelers mucho dinero across the globe. But when it comes at the expense of the government, we all know how that story ends.
Hotel Happenings / Hotel Music / W Hotels / Starwood Hotels / New York Hotels / Hotel Packages / Hotel Cocktails / Downtown Manhatten Hotels / Downtown New York Hotels / → All Tags
NYC’s W Hotels are immersed in their own version of gangland warfare with their new musical soundclash, “W Gangs of New York.”
This curated music series, inspired by the cult classic film, The Warriors, explores the progression of how New York music has evolved, and invites some of the city’s finest record labels to compete against each other by defending their respective musical turf to determine who is the ultimate (musical) Gang of New York.
“We’ve found that different genres of music, as well as various fashions and attitudes, unite people and challenge the classic idea of neighborhood gangs,” said Michaelangelo L’Acqua, W Hotels Global Music Director (BTW, how cool would that job be?). “ ‘W Gangs of NY’ will create new cultural turf to defend, grouped by musical style rather than zip code and using performance as the communicator to protect reputation.”
Each gang of DJs and live music acts will be wearing limited-edition jackets designed by 2013 CFDA Swarovski Menswear Award winners Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne in order to show their colors to the crowds.
Here’s the fierce upcoming line-up so far:
We've already given you a taste of some choice hotels and packages available for The Great Gatsby movie, which opens today. My, it seems everyone's been bitten by the Gatsby bug.
But this is Fantasy Friday and you know we like to dream a little dream, so we bring you a lavish $14,000 package on offer over at the Trump International Hotel & Tower that they've oh so creatively named The Great Gatsby Package.