NEW YORK Travel Guide
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.
Whoever came up with that little motto “It’s the thought that counts” for special-occasion gifting is a more spiritually evolved creature than we (or Kristen Stewart …or Johnny Depp’s new piece) will ever be. Loving thoughts are appreciated, but if you really want to make our next birthday memorable, please book us the VIP birthday package at the Flatiron Hotel.
Specifically, the one that comes with a private sushi chef, a classic Cadillac Deville ’65 with chauffeur, four tickets to the New York Giants, and all-day spa treatments for all the friends who are staying with us in the 4000-square-foot Toshi’s Penthouse. Plus a few more little things we haven’t detailed (full package details after the jump). It’s $8000 per person, plus tax and tip, but if you love someone, money’s a small price to pay, right?
Not quite sure who Julien Farel is? Just ask Ivanka Trump, Richard Gere, Carl Bernstein, Salma Hayek, Kate Moss, Kate Beckinsale and Rafael Nadal (see photo below), who all pay upwards of $1,000 for him to go to town on their hair. And, no, we're not kidding, you can see for yourself on his website. “It’s $650 (for a cut)," he told Departures. "If they hand me the blow-dryer, it’s another $250."
Apparently he's that good, and no, you won't be getting an appointment with him. But his staff will do you up nice for much cheaper, probably in the $95 to $120 range judging by the prices at his two other hotel salons, the Setai Fifth Avenue and the Capella Pedregal in Cabo.
Now that Cinderella, Prince Charming, and a 1,500-lb dog have all graced the New York Palace with their presence, the midtown luxury hotel will tend to a little housekeeping. And by little, we mean a royal $120 million renovation.
Set to be completed in June, the first phase has kicked off in the top 14 floors, also known as The Towers. It's where, if you can afford it, the name of the hotel begins to make sense with its 176 residential-style accommodations and skyline views.
So, yada yada, another hotel renovation... why do we care? Well, we feel that renovations give a glimpse into changing (or not changing) hotel trends, and for this one in particular, we're looking outside the box at two things: The death of the light switch and the end of the overpriced, in-room movie.
It seems this whole Crestron control unit thing a ding we told you about is catching on with hotels across the country, meaning less wandering around the room looking for the appropriate switch. In addition, the rooms at The Towers will all be equipped with television systems that can sync with computers and personal Netflix accounts. We're sure we've said it somewhere before, but let us once again wave adios to the ten-dollar in-room movie rental(that we fall asleep halfway through). Good riddance, and let's keep this trend rolling, please.
Movie Set Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / Donna Karan / Anjelica Huston / Felicity Jones / Jack Davenport / Relais & Chateaux / Celebrity Scoop / → All Tags
What are the requirement to make a memorable short film shot entirely at The Surrey in New York City? Donna Karan knows. Get Angelica Huston to direct, throw in Felicity Jones and Jack Davenport and attach your name to it. The result is one of the best hotel video promotions ever conceived. Interestingly, that wasn't the intention. It's a film about hosiery. But it still makes a great hotel promo video.
Now, we love us some Donna Karan and we love us some Surrey, so this was a collaboration just waiting to happen. Felicity Jones and Jack Davenport play strangers that meet at the bar, and thus a romantic interlude transpires. There's a lot of things going on with Felicity's legs, as you'll notice. Hosiery, remember?
We won't tell you what happens next but it involves a candle. Or maybe it doesn't. Either way, you'll most likely be paying attention to the backdrop… The Surrey has never looked so sexy!
Celebrity Scoop / Lindsay Lohan / Celebrities Behaving Badly / W Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / Celebrity Hotels / → All Tags
It's a wonder she gets a hotel in any city at this point given that trouble seems to "follow" Lindsay Lohan wherever she goes!
She did win our award for the "Biggest Celebrity Performance in 2012" and, by the looks of it, she is campaigning for a repeat title in 2013.
This time it involves copious amounts of cigarette burns totally nearly $50,000 of damage. Well, slap your momma! What in fresh hell is going on, here?
By showcasing exhibitions in untraditional spaces, Indiewalls transforms walls into galleries and redefines the white cube.
The current display features works by Allan Hasty & Joseph Grazi, Alicia Debrincat, AVone, and LJ Lindhurst, and is on view throughout different areas of Dream, from the Presidential Suite to the staircase and the ever popular PH-D nightclub. Here's a taste of what graces the walls.
Concierges / Hotel News / Cool Hotel Jobs / Food Trucks / Hotel Amenities / Thompson Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / Concierge Corner / → All Tags
We don’t know anyone not mildly obsessed with food trucks, so this bit of news made us grin with greedy pleasure. Thompson Hotels’ New York properties have a dedicated Food Truck Concierge!
Just let that one sink in for a sec...OK? You ready?
Here’s the deal, this person’s job is to help guests find their favorite food truck without the agony and wails of “For the love of Lucifer, where is the Grilled Cheese Truck today?” Because we’ve all been there, in whatever city that has these culinary mobile kingdoms. We can never find them, we’re Tweeting like a mofo looking for their location, or dammit Jim, we just missed ‘em.
That’s why we think the Thompson Food Truck Concierge is flaming genius. Let's explain the concept.
Holiday travel will soon get underway and we've been seeing some pretty hefty price tags for Manhattan hotels. Luckily there are a few options to consider, one of them is the new Hotel De Point, just three miles from LaGuardia Airport. We told you about this hotel in June, and now it's finally open and through the fall period, the hotel is touting starting rates of just $139 per night.
The 114-room hotel falls in the eco-conscious category with solar power features, energy management systems, high-efficiency showerheads, as well as 100% organic bath amenities. Still, this isn't some crunchy granola yurt operation. Italian marble floors and leather couches grace the lobby and rooms have 46-inch flat screen tv's, self-closing drawers, and come with free WiFi.
Even after the holidays are over, keep the Hotel De Point on your radar for next year, given its location near Flushing Meadows. It's a great base for those attending Mets games and the U.S. Open, and is in walking distance of restaurants, shops, and nightlife. Plus, by next year it will hopefully have its spa, fitness center and swimming pool in place.
Plus, not only are you getting a great deal on the hotel, it's part of the Ascend Hotel Collection, the membership program from Choice Hotels International, so you'll earn points for your stay. We'll call that a double hitter.
Hotel Gift Shops / Hotel Vending Machines / Morgans Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / Hotel Swag / Hotel News / → All Tags
A few months back it looked like there was a burgeoning hotel gift shop war going on between some downtown hotels. But we think that might all come to an end thanks to the Hudson Hotel, which just installed a Semi-Automatic Vending Machine in their hotel lobby.
This oversized luxury vending machine is akin to the one we wrote about at the Mondrian South Beach last year. The goodies are divided into the following categories--Basics, Media, Fashion, Beauty, and GoFish. The machine functions by a touch-operated screen and it only takes credit cards. But that's probably because this gift shop was not built for cash transactions. Instead of candy, keychains and toothpaste, you can find the following inside the Semi-Automatic Vending Machine:
Classic paperback Catcher in the Rye, a stylish toothbrush by Paul Smith, a retro Ouija Board, a luxe Dagger Rosary by renowned jewelry designer Pamela Love, an Essential Travel Kit by Malin+ Goetz, a chic black sequin mini skirt by Haute Hippie, Blueprint Cleanse, a red Ferrari 599 GTB that you can rent on a whim from Gotham Dream Cars, and a personal portrait shoot with renowned photographer Ben Watts.