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Solar Eclipse Hotels / Australia Hotels / Port Douglas Hotels / Gay Hotels / Sheraton Hotels / Accor Hotels / Peppers Hotels / → All Tags
The excitement is building in Australia for next month's solar eclipse. Typically, this area is thriving when the sun is out since it is the center of all-things Great Barrier Reef. The tropical town of Cairns will be smack dab underneath the projected path of the astrological phenomenon. Neighboring towns are gearing up to welcome guests that just need to NOT see the sun and here are our picks.
Located just north of Cairns in Palm Cove, Peppers Beach Club & Spa's beach-side hotel is a perfect spot to catch a glimpse of the eclipse while splashing around in the ocean. The hotel is offering packages that start at $937 AUD ($958 US) for a room with transfers to and from an exclusive off-site viewing platform. Off-eclipse time, you can check-out the sleepy beach village or sit poolside sipping cocktails.
Also in Palm Cove, Accor's Sea Temple Resort & Spa are also enticing astronomy buffs with complimentary breakfast. Since the resort isn't in a prime location like some others, the prices are bit more affordable. King-sized rooms start at $319 AUD ($326 US) so don't let the lack of beach access deter you because the sun will be in the sky!
Hotel Reopenings / Hotel News / New Zealand Hotels / Christchurch Hotels / Ibis Hotels / Accor Hotels / Hotel Woes / Earthquake Hotels / → All Tags
Natural disasters, like earthquakes, can paralyze travel plans, sometimes months and even years later. The February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, which pretty much closed down the city to tourism, was no different. But we've got good news--things are bouncing back, including the September 4th re-opening of the Ibis Christchurch Hotel, which has been closed for two years.
The South Island city of Christchurch experienced a 6.3 magnitude quake that caused 185 deaths. Slowly, but surely, the city has been rebuilt and people are moving back to the region.
It looks like we're inching ever closer to the dream of free WiFi everywhere around the world, as Accor just announced it would be making the service free at 500 of its hotels. Now, this is both exciting and also not that big of a deal, since plenty of Accor hotels have already been doing this for a while now, and there's plenty more Accors to go.
Rio De Janeiro Hotels / World Cup Hotels / Summer Olympics Hotels / Rio Hotels / Accor Hotels / → All Tags
The 2012 Summer Olympics in London just finished two weeks ago and already the focus has shifted to the hotel scene in Rio de Janeiro for both the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament and the 2016 Summer Olympics. Fortunately, there's some good news. And yes, it will involve an explosion of hotel openings like we saw with London.
The Brazilian sports minister recently assured the sporting world at large that Rio would have enough hotel rooms to accommodate all the visitors who come into town for the World Cup and later, the Olympics. It appears a recent UN Summit back in May in Rio left folks very concerned as there were only 33,000 hotel beds in town to service over 50,000 attendees. Airbnb.com, anyone?
Hotel Deals / Summer Hotel Deals / Hotel Promo Codes / Westin Hotels / Hampton Inns / Accor Hotels / Concorde Hotels / Paris Hotels / → All Tags
Deals: you want 'em, and surprisingly, everyone has 'em. Take a look at some of the latest hotel deals going around the internet today from booking sites, social media sites, flash sale sites and more. Don't forget to scroll down to see the HotelChatter-approved deal either. Who knows? You might just find what you're looking for. (But don't forget to tell us about your stay!)
DEALS, DEALS, DEALS*
· The Hampton Inn Miami Brickell for $149 for Heat-Thunder Finals: Staying in Miami for the NBA Finals? The rather new Hampton Inn Miami Brickell is advertising rooms starting at $149 a night with ticket holders getting an extra 10 percent off. The Heat is On package also includes pre-game drink vouchers at the hotel's lobby bar, 50 percent off parking, free WiFi and On the House hot breakfast served daily. Indeed, there are rates at this price for June 17 when the Heat return to Miami. Protip: Florida residents can save an extra $18. Book via www.hamptoninnmiamibrickell.com.
· The Westin Nova Scotian for $109: Sojourning in Halifax this summer? The Westin Nova Scotian, overlooking the Halifax Harbour and with its own train station, has rates for $109 a night. The rates are good for arrivals on all days and we found them for the weekend of July 13. Upgrades to Harbour View rooms can be had for $30 extra per night. Book online using code LASTMIN1. While the rate applies for stays through September 3rd, you must book by June 18.
· Affordable Paris, Thanks to Concorde Hotels: Paris is an expensive city but staying there can be done for less with Concorde Hotels which are offering 45 percent off their rooms on Travelzoo. Rates start at just $115 a night from July 13-September 9 but beware: booking is pre-paid and non-refundable. We recommend the Hotel Lutetia where we and Dita Von Teese have stayed.
Our bed at the Novotel BKK
A couple days ago, Portfolio.com published an article that delves into the up-and-coming trend of the 24-hour hotel room. In it, the Starwood "Your24" concept takes center stagethis is when a Starwood elite member choose their own check in time, and gets the room for 24 hours from there. Alas, this isn't a totally new idea, but Starwood is the largest chain to experiment with it worldwide.
The article continues: "And, tellingly, none of Starwood's much larger competitors have matched the Your24 initiative...Not Accor of France, with 4,100 properties worldwide." Here's where we must step in to point out that Accor actually does offer 24-rooms, though we've only experienced it at the Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport.
Hotel News / Sofitel / Accor Hotels / Bangkok Hotels / Fashion Hotels / Sofitel SO Hotels / → All Tags
Every day this month has brought worse and worse news regarding the flooding of the Chao Phraya River around Bangkok. They're not out of danger yet, and we're lucky to have just returned from Thailand at the very start of the serious flooding much further out.
When this rainy season has passed and clean up is complete, focus will again turn to the progress of the massive metropolis of Bangkok. We've already discussed the nearly complete W Bangkok, due to open in 2012, but what about the other major property not very far down the streetthe Sofitel SO Bangkok?
Joining the W in a 2012 debut, the Sofitel SO Bangkok sits on the edge of Lumphini Park (green space!), and will boast a rooftop bar, something that's always popular in steamy Bangkok. This is no business-strict hotel like some Sofitels, either. The new SO brand is like the fashionable sister of the regular Sofitel, with far more design consciousness and modern tech features. The architect of the 30 stories is Thai, the interior designer of the 238 rooms is the French couture fashion designer Christian Lacroix, and each room will have a theme based on one of the five elements (water, earth, wood, metal and fire).
MGallery Hotels / London Hotels / Accor Hotels / Kristin Scott Thomas / Celebrity Scoop / Hotel Experiences / → All Tags
As we told you last week, St. Ermin's Hotel in London is Accor Hotel's first UK property belonging to its revamped MGallery Collection. At the opening, a new logo - a stylized M with "Memorable Hotels by Accor" beneath - was introduced.
The new logo is a big improvement from its predecessor , which took the "M" that we know from Mercure, Accor's mid-market brand. The new "M" fits the upscale segment and focus on individuality and design much better in our opinion.
Positioned as they are as memorable hotels, each MGallery property offers a distinct "Memorable Moment", like learning about Balinese art and cuisine at The Royal Beach Hotel Seminyak or touring Prague in a classic car at the Hotel Century Old Town. Memorable moments can be arranged through the concierge at each property with 24 hour notice; rates vary based on the experience and the number of people participating.
On Friday we asked you to guess the hotel that looked like a Kimpton but isn't and only one of you dared to try. Alas, lsuguy101 it is not the Avo Hotel but rather, St. Ermin's Hotel--the first MGallery hotel in the UK from Accor Hotels. HotelChatter was able to attend the hotel's official re-opening the other week so today we have a full room tour for you. But watch out for more details on what we saw at the hotel and learned about MGallery soon.
Originally built as mansion flats (that's apartments for American folks) in the 19th century, the St. Ermin's Hotel Westminster is a grade-II listed Victorian landmark located a few minutes from St. James's Park, in the political heart of London.
Parliament is only seven minutes away (more on why that is relevant later) and New Scotland Yard is just across the street. Victoria station, one of London's transport hubs, is within walking distance, but if you can't bear the five minute stroll, St. James's tube brings you pretty much to the front door.
Having completed a top-to-bottom renovation, the St. Ermin's reopened its doors officially earlier this month. At the same time, Accor unveiled a new logo and brand identity for their MGallery Collection, of which St. Ermin's is the first UK property.
Hotel News / Accor Hotels / A Club / LeClub Accorhotels / Ibis Hotels / All Seasons Hotels / Etap Hotels / Hotel Industry News / Loyalty Program News / → All Tags
Very big news for Accor Hotels today. The company, which holds Sofitel Hotels and other big European hotels under its umbrella, has announced a reorganization of its hotel brands, particularly in the budget spectrum, as well as a new loyalty program name. Once called the A-Club, the program is now going by the name Le Club Accorhotels. (Yes, Accorhotels is one word like that.) Hmm...we liked A-Club better but oh well.
The biggest change is actually happening with the company's ibis hotels. ibis hotels will become a "megabrand" for Accor with all seasons hotels now going by the name, "ibis styles" and with the Etap hotels going by the name, "ibis budget. Accor hopes to finish this new segmentation by early 2013 with a large-scale communication campaign happening in 2012 to let everyone know about the changes.
Hotel Amenities / Hotel Minibars / Sofitel Hotels / Accor Hotels / London Hotels / Airport Hotels / Business Hotels / → All Tags
Hmmwhat's that metal thing stuck low on the wall just inside the bathroom door of a room at the Sofitel Terminal 5 at London's Heathrow Airport? Well, this is a hotel that caters to weary travelers just off British Airways flights and this is a room designed with the frequent flying business traveler in mind, and what might both of those sorts want after a long day? Aha cold beer. Yep, that little metal thingie is a beer opener.
The Sofitel at Heathrow's T5 is one of the area's newer hotels; having opening in 2008 it boasts most of the newish amenity bells and whistles, like plug panels at the desk, flatscreen TVs and nice telephones, and even these thoughtful little extra fixtures.
Typically we're rustling around the minibar stuff or calling down to room service to score a bottle opened, but here's one right out in the open for use and its location in the bathroom means no worries about fizzing over. Love it!
Free WiFi / Hotel News / International Hotel WiFi / Accor Hotels / Marriott Hotels / Marriott Rewards / France Hotels / Australia Hotels / Asia Hotels / Hotel WiFi / → All Tags
Seen at the Novotel Gare du Lyon in Paris
UPDATE: We goofed. Accor Hotels has been providing free WiFi in all their hotels in France since July 1, 2010.
We'd like to think that this latest bit of news from Accor Hotels in France and Marriott Hotels in Australia and Asia had something to do with our Hotel WiFi Report which we released on Tuesday, but never matter, we're just happy that finding free WiFi at these hotels just got a hell of a lot easier.
First up, Accor Hotels has told HotelChatter that
starting since July 1 of 2010, all their hotels (about 1,400 total) in France will offer free WiFi. This includes the brands Hotel F1, Ibis, All Seasons, Mercure Hotels, Novotel Hotels, Pullman Hotels and Sofitel Hotels. They also have plans to roll out free WiFi progressively at their hotels in Europe. Sadly, in America, you will still have to pay at Sofitel hotels.