NY Travel Guide

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5 In-Room Tech Touches at Park Hyatt New York, Opening Today

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  Site Where: 153 West 57th Street [map], New York, NY, United States, 10019
August 19, 2014 at 3:03 PM | by | Comment (1)

We took you all around the Park Hyatt New York a few weeks ago but in honor of the luxury hotel's official opening day, we're spotlighting 5 tech touches in the guest rooms that we thought you'd like. Rooms for tonight are holding steady at $725 for a Park Deluxe King.

CLEARLY MARKED BEDSIDE BUTTONS. Turning on and off the lights with the press of a button can actually be accomplished here. (Shout-out to the extra outlets!)

NEWEST NESPRESSO MODEL. Even the pods are different!

INTELITY iPAD MINIS. Each guest will have one of these on the nightstand to use during their stay. (The iPads were not installed yet during our visit so, just imagine.)

GADGET HOOK-UP. A power/gadget hook-up strip is installed at each desk.

TOTO TOILETS. Yes, this matters.

Check out all the photos of a Studio Suite below!

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Novotel Times Square Accepts the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, With Hotel Room Ice Buckets

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  Site Where: 226 West 52nd Street [map], New York, NY, United States, 10019
August 18, 2014 at 12:25 PM | by | Comments (0)

The ALS ice bucket challenge has gone viral. What started on Facebook as an awareness movement/double dare (#ALSIcebucketchallenge) amongst friends, then friends of friends has moved onto athletes, celebrities and even billionaires like Bill Gates. And now, it's reached the hotel world.

Using hotel room ice buckets, the staff at the Novotel Times Square dumped ice on themselves last Friday to support ALS research. And so did a couple of guests. Check out the video of the dumping, done on their rooftop terrace, here:

Of course, the hotel passed on the challenge--to their general manager Marc, and to another hotel--The Sofitel New York (that's the Novotel's sister property, FYI.)

So far the FB page for the Sofitel New York has not addressed the ALS challenge. But we hope they do--either with ice buckets or money (preferably the latter.)

[Photos and Video via Novotel Times Square]

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A Killer View of Manhattan That You Can't Get in Manhattan (But You Can at The Wythe Hotel)

August 13, 2014 at 3:27 PM | by | Comment (1)

Really, we don't need to say much more here except that this is the killer view that we found in room 702 at The Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn the other day.

While other rooms at the Williamsburg hotel have more "artistic views", only the Manhattan King rooms offer the amazing sight of the entire island of Manhattan.

Even better, the bathrooms have a little window too which overlooks the rest of the room, and the room's windows. You have to jostle yourself a little to see the Empire State Building but it's a cool feature. You'll probably end up in the shower longer than normal, too.

Don't worry. While you can see out into the room, the people in the room can't see into your shower, thanks to a mirror window.

Manhattan king rooms can go for well over $500 a night on the weekends (Williamsburg residents joke this hotel is where all the parents of the broke hipsters stay) but you can book a Brooklyn Queen size room for less and then head up to the hotel's Ides rooftop bar for completely unobstructed views.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more from The Wythe including their kick-ass minibar selections and the best room to book.

Disclosure: We paid a media rate of $200 for this room on Sunday night.

[Photos: HotelChatter]

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Another Day, Another Hyatt Hotel In New York: This Time in Herald Square

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  Site Where: 30- 32 West 31st Street [map], New York, NY, United States, 10001
August 12, 2014 at 4:04 PM | by | Comments (0)

The rooftop lounge of the Hyatt Herald Square New York offers a memorable historical perspective of Manhattan, worth the price of admission - or your cocktail

Hot on the heels of the newly opened Park Hyatt New York, work is well under way on another Hyatt branded hotel, due to open this October--the Hyatt Herald Square New York .

The Hyatt Herald Square New York has moved into the former Holiday Inn on West 31st Street, a tall, slender, 20-story building completed in 2011. Other than changing the sign on the door, the reported $6 million renovation is concentrated on the interiors and upgrades to Hyatt Hotels corporate standards. The hot new look that we're seeing so far is credited to local firm VLDG, with Paul Vega leading the process. VLDG is no stranger to Hyatt, having also designed the Hyatt Union Square. Vega's concept for this new Hyatt draws inspiration from the surrounding fashion industry and Herald Square’s publishing heritage. These are great subjects for hotel designs, especially when combined under one roof.

The interiors are looking good, featuring the warmth of natural woods, select implosions of color, and another great hotel wingback chair we haven't seen before and must add to our special photo gallery

Hyatt wants you to feel at home, and the Den really does have a comfortable vibe to it - not to mention a nicely stocked bar

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A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit City: Kingside at The Viceroy New York

August 8, 2014 at 7:10 PM | by | Comments (0)

There's been an influx of new hotels near Central Park lately such as The Quin, The Viceroy and the upcoming Park Hyatt New York and the 1 Hotel. Aside from giving visitors more choices for their overnight stays, these new hotels are also giving visitors more choices of places to eat. After all, every new hotel must have a desirable dining concept attached.

We popped into the hotel's Kingside restaurant on the ground floor The Viceroy New York last week for lunch and quite liked the lack of pretentiousness that typically comes with a boutique hotel restaurant. When we asked for a table for one, we weren't relegated to a hightop table at the front near the bar but instead given a nice spot in the corner of the main (although small) dining room. Other diners included other tourists, Real Housewives-types and work colleagues. Our server was down-to-earth friendly and there were zero service issues. The decor seemed more downtown than uptown and also appeared to be inspired by both the nautical and the rustic lifestyles.

But as soon we looked at the menu--from chef Marc Murphy, the man behind Landmarc--we could not take our eyes off the listing for a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich on an onion roll, topped with slaw and jalapeño mayo ($17.) Done and done.

That said, the menu is extensive, ranging from crudo to burgers, fritto misto and charcuterie. The vibe probably changes at night but for a drop-in, mid-day, mid-week, we thought it was just right.

Tour the rest of The Viceroy, including the guest rooms, right here.

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The Best Room to Book at The Loews Regency Hotel on Park Avenue

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  Site Where: 540 Park Avenue [map], New York, NY, United States, 10065
August 8, 2014 at 6:07 PM | by | Comments (0)

GUESS THE HOTEL REVEALED!

When we put forth the picture of the pretty room admired by rich and powerful old men the other day, we knew you true hotel nerds wouldn't have a hard time guessing which hotel the room belonged to. Now today, we're here to tell you the Best Room to Book at the Loews Regency Hotel on Park Avenue.

It came as a pleasant surprise to us but the hotel's starting room category, the Luxury King, is actually a very fine room to book. Sure, there are other bigger suites with better Park Avenue views and the upcoming Signature Suites (including one from designer Nate Berkus) are bound to blow guests away, but we really loved that a starting room category here gave you more space than most other luxury hotels in NYC.

Amenities include a generous work table, a stylish chair and ottoman, two closets, a full-length mirror on the wall in which you can clearly see yourself and your outfit (as opposed to on the back of the closet door), and modern technology like a flat-screen TV, a TV-in-mirror in the bathroom and free WiFi.

The bathrooms are tight on space but there's a shower + bath combo and we thought the sink vanity was extra good-looking. And we can't forget about the Julien Farel amenities and hairdryer. Swoon. #goodhairdayseveryday

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Calling All Childless (And Not Easily Offended) Women To The Westin New York Grand Central

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  Site Where: 212 E 42nd St [map], New York, NY, United States, 10017
August 8, 2014 at 10:29 AM | by | Comments (6)

Question: is it ever ok to ask a woman what her childbearing status is? (Answer: not unless it is particularly vital to the conversation, or if she brings it up.)

Another question: how many 21st-century women do you know who define themselves by their childbearing status? (Answer: unless they’re joking about ‘mom brain’, or write "proud mom!!" on their Twitter bio, not many, presumably because it’s the 21st century and in general society believes that women have brains and souls and vocations that don't necessarily include breeding, and the virgin/whore/mother categories were put on fade when we got the vote.)

Last question: in light of the above, just how much sense does it make for a hotel to market a new package for barren sterile heartless unfulfilled childless women?

Personally we’d say not much sense at all, but the Westin New York Grand Central seems to think barren is the new black, because they’ve just launched a package called Womanhood Redefined, aimed at women of childbearing age who – the horror! – don’t have children. It is, they claim, an ‘industry first’. Guys, sometimes there’s a reason for that.

The Womanhood Redefined package aims to “create a new definition of happiness” for women (whose happiness meter is, of course, generally contingent on the number of offspring that have swum through their birth canal). The hotel has teamed up with Melanie Notkin, author of the gloriously titled book, Otherhood: Modern Women Finding A New Kind Of Happiness. Together, they have decided that this is what childless women want from a hotel stay:
· A bed for the night (presumably unwarmed, just like your single mattress at home);
· A copy of Otherhood (to help you find happiness despite your stale loins);
· A $25 food and beverage credit towards cocktails at the bar (because SATC, woohoo!) or in-room dining (in case you are ashamed to show your single self in public);
· A personal consultation with the hotel’s executive chef, who will tell you about superfoods and growing home gardens (crucial question: is he single? MAYBE YOU CAN MARRY HIM);
· A personal consultation with the hotel’s Running Concierge (careful now, overexercise can lead to fertility issues);
· 10% discount on yoga classes at a nearby studio (bcs you childless girls looove your yoga);
· A complimentary Westin White Tea candle (clutch it to your never-lactated bosom, it smells almost as good as a baby);
· Loaned exercise gear (because nothing feels as good as working out in second-hand sneakers).

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Beyond The Guestrooms at The Park Hyatt New York

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  Site Where: 153 West 57th Street [map], New York, NY , United States, 10019
August 5, 2014 at 7:59 PM | by | Comments (0)

Last week, we gave you the most pertinent 411 on the Park Hyatt New York, opening on August 19. But there's so much more to the hotel than the "gracious glamour" of the Yabu Pushelberg-designed guest rooms.

Like the Spa Nalai which features views of Central Park from its treatment rooms and views of the Hudson river from its reception area.

Or the heated sand quartz bed where signature massages are performed.

You might also enjoy doing laps in the pool where music from Carnegie Hall is blasted through underwater speakers.

And if you're like us, upon entering the Park Hyatt Ballroom where walls are finished with white onyx, and there is LED surround lighting, you might just yell out, OH MY GOD, because it is actually quite amazing. The photo doesn't do it justice. Here's hoping you get invited to a wedding, or a really ritzy bar mitzvah, there someday.

The rest of the hotel--the entrance, the lobby lounge, reception area, and The Back Room at One57 restaurant--was still getting some finishing touches during our stay but we'll be sure to show you those images as we get them. If you want to see it all for yourself in person, room rates start at around $800 on opening night. Massages at the spa are slightly cheaper at $225 for 60 minutes.

[Photos: HotelChatter]

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Hotel Construction Check: 1 Hotels Central Park

August 4, 2014 at 8:30 PM | by | Comments (0)

1 Hotels are getting closer to opening their first-ever hotel but not close enough. We swung by the site for the upcoming 1 Hotel Central Park at the corner of 58th and 6th Avenue and well, things are coming along but not as fast as we'd like.

Above is how the property looked last week. Now, here's how it looked last August.

It looks like most of the exterior work is complete but lord knows what's on the inside. And while the 1 Hotels & Home brand has lined up their superstar chefs, they haven't announced any opening dates other than Fall 2014.

But if we had to guess, we'd say 1 Hotel Central Park is at least a few more months away from opening. Know any differently? Tip us off.

[Photos: HotelChatter]

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This Hotel Will Charge You $500 for Writing a Negative Review

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  Site Where: 345-349 Union Street [map], Hudson , NY, United States, 12534
August 4, 2014 at 10:34 AM | by | Comments (2)

UPDATE: The hotel told CNBC the policy was a joke and "It was meant to be taken down long ago and certainly was never enforced." We say, "That's convenient."

UPDATE, 8.6.14: The owner has posted this apology and update on the hotel's Facebook page. While the negative review policy may have been a joke gone wrong, the hotel still has a bunch of other ridiculous policies. Be sure to read those in our story below.

Hotels have been striking back at online guests reviews over the past few years in various ways. The most popular and most sensible way is the constant responding of management to all reviews--good and bad (so long as you aren't a dick about it.) Then, there's the requesting of really bad reviews to be removed from the site, which TripAdvisor has agreed to recently, especially if the property has been renovated since the negative note. Hotels have also gone straight to the guests, bribing them offering them perks during their stay or discounts for future stays if they write a positive review.

But this one hotel in Hudson, New York now has the audacity to charge wedding guests $500 for writing a negative review. Here's the controversial policy in place at the Union Street Guest House:

"There will be a $500 dollar fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review of USGH place on any internet site by anyone in your party and/or attending your wedding even if you stay here to attend a wedding anywhere in the area and leave us a negative review on any internet site you agree to a $500 fine for each negative review.”

The policy is in effect for wedding guests in the area and wedding parties at the Inn, not regular guests (although this a strange distinction to make.) The hotel will also refund the $500 if the review is taken down.

Um, yeah, well now that this policy is being condemned on the news, we can safely say this has back fired for the hotel.

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Sneak Peek at The Park Hyatt New York, Opening on August 19

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  Site Where: 153 West 57th Street [map], New York, NY, United States, 10019
August 1, 2014 at 1:29 PM | by | Comments (4)

Because it's Friday and because you're probably already halfway out the office, we're going to keep this sneak peek short and sweet. Well, as short as we can for one of the most important luxury hotel openings of the year.

Below are pictures of the Park Hyatt New York, opening on August 19, on 57th street between 7th and 8th avenues across from Carnegie Hall. Here's what you need to know:

· The global flagship Park Hyatt hotel occupies floors 1-25 of a 90 story building. (The floors above the hotel are extremely ritzy residential units.)
· There will be no front desk check-in. A personal attendant will greet guests at the entrance and whisk them up to the second floor lounge to do the check-in process, via a tablet.
· Yabu Pushelberg did the interiors which they have described as "gracious glamour" and that description could not be more spot-on. The rooms are modern but soft, metropolitan but relaxing, and strong but inviting. There are also several design elements that YP created exclusively for the Park Hyatt New York, like the leather trunk that doubles as a safe and slipper stash. We'll explore more of these next week.

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The Plaza Hotel Has Its Own Monopoly Game, Plaza-Opoly

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  Site Where: Fifth Avenue at Central Park [map], New York, NY, United States
July 18, 2014 at 4:20 PM | by | Comments (0)

Looking for a new board game to play during rainy days this summer? If you're a hotel nerd like us, then look no further than the Plaza-opoly from The Plaza Hotel in New York.

The iconic hotel has created its own version of the famous Monopoly game using Plaza-inspired instructions, themed board spaces, and game tokens inspired by residents and amenities of the hotel (Eloise's dog Weenie, a champagne bottle and a tea cup). Here's how the game kicks off:

After checking in at the Front Desk, players roll the dice to move around the entire board and begin their journey through the wondrous world of The Plaza via The Rose Club, The Eloise Suite, The Plaza Food Hall and even Home Alone 2-- a pop culture favorite filmed at the hotel.

Players can take their winnings straight to the bank and purchase their favorite Plaza destinations such The Champagne Bar, explore The Great Gatsby in The Fitzgerald Suite, The Grand Ballroom and The Shinn Murals. Each space has a corresponding Title Deed Card that provides a value and details of each of the location.

Gamers are further drawn into the world of The Plaza with cards such as “Order Room Service,” “Carriage Ride in Central Park,” The Grand Army Plaza and more. However, gamers have to play their cards right to avoid being sent to Hotel Security.

And whoever picks up the most expensive suites and other themed spaces, wins.

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