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UPDATE 8.15.12: Sike. The Hotel Indigo Brooklyn actually opened as initially promised on August 1st, even though when we wrote this story the hotel's website was saying October 4. Nevertheless, you can check out our in-person visit of the new spot right here.
Well, it's still going to be an Indigo but the opening date has been moved to October 4. The hotel's website is up and running and we found rates for $224 a night for a queen-sized bed. That rate also includes a 37" HDTV, free WiFi and even a microwave and refrigerator. A king room was going for $254 a night while a king suite was $324.
We couldn't see any square footage measurements and we're not sure we can trust those room photos. The first one looks like it is up to Hotel Indigo standards with that hardwood floor. But the second one is a shot of the rooms at Aloft Brooklyn. What the what? See for yourself below.
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It doesn't take much to get us excited about a new hotel opening. Back in March when we learned that Thompson (and not Ace) would be opening up a 297-room hotel at Manhattan's historic 5 Beekman Street, we thought our hotel hunger was sated for the time being. But the excitement doesn't end there—as shown by an interactive map of new downtown hotels, published yesterday by neighborhood blog Tribeca Citizen.
The map, which blows our mind a little, counts no less than nineteen new or ongoing hotel construction projects below Canal St; and that's in addition to the ten recently opened downtown hotels like W New York Downtown, Smyth Tribeca and Conrad New York.
Here's a few of the upcoming hotels that caught our eye...
The hotel scene in Chicago keeps getting hotter. Last week, we pondered the location of the upcoming SLS Chicago and we've already got our hotel spidey sense heightened for Virgin Hotels and Soho House Chicago.
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Any true Ben Folds Five fans will have already heard the news (which Mr. Folds announced himself via Twitter in January), but for the rest of you: the Ben Folds Five will be making their first album since 1999. And one of the places they'll be re-uniting onstage? The Westin Times Square.
We know what you're thinking...but before you go scratching your heads about why they would pick such a random concert venue for their reunion tour, know that this gig is actually part of a new live music program being launched by Starwood hotels all over the world. Titled "On Tour with SPG: Hear the Music, See the World," the promotion consists of notable bands either performing in, DJing at, or attending parties inside Starwood hotels—all for the enjoyment of (incredibly spoiled) SPG members.
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Spring has sprung in New York, thank goodness. And if you take a look at the CherryWatch map on the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's website, you'll see that quite a few cherry blossom trees have already begun exploding in the area. Meaning—anyone considering a trip to New York to enjoy the city at its most beautiful should act fast.
Here are a few (affordable) places that still have availability during cherry blossom season, which culminates in a Japanese culture festival, Sakura Matsuri, next month (April 28-29)...
Between Portlandia screenings at the w xyz bar, and hosting hip bands for the "video surveillance" live music series, Aloft Brooklyn certainly has settled into the scene nicely since opening last summer. Rates here stick around $240/night, and, considering the hotel is only a few subway stops from Prospect Park, traveling back and forth to the gardens should be a breeze.
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The Belgraves as seen last week.
Today is a huge day today for several hotels as it's their first (or second) day in business. Here's a quick round-up of the hotels that have just opened and what their room rates are for tonight:
· Trump Toronto: Trump took Toronto yesterday when they opened their seventh eponymous hotel. Last we checked opening rates were nearly $600 but we were relieved to see that rates tonight are down to $474 a night and that includes a deluxe king room starting at a whopping 550-sq.ft., breakfast for two, internet, local calls and a suite upgrade for an extra $50. The offer is good through February 29.
· The Belgraves: The very first Thompson Hotel has opened in London today. Last we checked room rates were a $381 night but yesterday, Jetsetter.com began offering rooms for just $275 a night. If you're thinking of staying there, you better get on it before rooms go above the 400 pound mark. Or you could wait to see what we think of the place. Wink, wink.
Aloft launches its second Latin American hotel this month with the opening of Aloft San Jose in Escazú, close to the Juan Santamaria airport. Though Aloft Bogota opened last year, this is the company's first location in Costa Rica. The budget, easy-in-easy-out appeal of Aloft must have outweighed its flashier big sister, W when it came time for Starwood to decide which brand to introduce.
A quick TripAdvisor search reveals that until now, Escazú has boasted little in the way of hotels. While Real InterContinental Costa Rica and Marriott San Jose are both viable options (and also both boast killer spa servies) $149/night rates will make Aloft very attractive to cost-conscious travelers.
And all the usual Aloft trimmings (w xyz bar, re:fuel snack station) are here. The website is also showing photos of a "backyard" space with tables and chairs—since we know how much Aloft loves its social butterfly guests...
Okay you guys. Last night was awesome. We already told ya what was up if you were near Brooklyn, and that was a sneak preview screening of Season 2 of IFC's show "Portlandia." Two of the HotelChatter team made it to scope out the place and naturally get a peek at the series, and we happened to learn something else: another hotel screening has been added, TONIGHT.
So this evening, if you're in Portland, Oregon or near the Bolingbrook suburb of Chicago, you can go see several (currently unreleased) hilarious bits from the new series, plus get free Portlandia swag (we scored Portlandia hats, a "Put a Bird on it" tee, an Aloft tote and the entire Season 1 on DVD). Swag may vary, but the awesomeness won't. Here's what's up:
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A few quick questions: Do you like hotels? Did you watch (and laugh at) any of the first season of IFC's show Portlandia? Do you like free stuff? If you answered yes to at least two of these questions and you're anywhere near Brooklyn, NY or Portland, OR this week, you should totally head to Aloft Hotels' screenings of the first episode of Portlandia Season 2.
The new season officially begins this Friday on IFC at 10pm EST, and sure you can already watch preview sketches online, but going outside your place and seeing the whole first ep (for free) while scoring drink specials and Portlandia swag while having the opportunity to meet other local hipsters beats out the internet.Here's the screening schedule:
Wednesday, January 4, 7pm: Aloft Brooklyn 216 Duffield Street
Thursday, January 5, 7pm: Aloft Portland 9920 NE Cascades Parkway
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Yesterday, the widely-read indie music blog Stereogum published a second installment of their new "Stereogum x W Hotel Suite Session" video series, which features up-and-coming bands performing at a W Hotel of their choice. No fans, no stage, not even any fancy lighting or effects. Just a regular old rock band taking over a regular old hotel room—and making you wish you could be snuggled up in bed for a front row seat.
But this isn't the first time we've seen this. Back in April, Aloft hotels were running a near identical partnership with Pitchfork called the Video Surveillance Series, where the "footage" was made to look as though it "caught" the bands in action. Same idea, different effect.
And while the trend is certainly proving a success, we have to ask: what's going on here? Is this the next generation of live music? Will bands eventually give up on the traditional venues and just embark on national chain hotel tours?
There is hope after all for Detroit! Late-breaking news today brings the excellent announcement that Starwood's Aloft chain of hotels will add a Motor City location come 2013/2014. Just as you'd suspect, they'll be utilizing one of the city's many abandoned buildings, but not one that's been left to rot; the lucky structure is the David Whitney Building, a 19-story architectural piece of pride and joy.
The plan for more than just the revitalization of the Daniel Burnham-designed building with an Aloft, but also apartments and retail. If you've ever been in downtown Chicago and looked up at some of the classic Burnham structures (many of which also house hotels) and felt the desire to live in one, it may be possible soon in Detroit, likely for cheaper than in the Windy City.
We rarely ever get such glowing reviews of a hotel (that aren't planted by a PR person) but this one from a business traveler lady is really, really, really enthusiastic. She writes about a recent stay at the Aloft Hotel by the Phoenix airport:
Omg I love this place! Had to zip in and out of Phoenix for a quick business trip and unfortunately no budget for a great hotel and had to stay close to the airport. What a pleasant surprise! A cool and comfortable hotel that far surpasses your choices in the same price range. Beautiful room layout, fluffy beds, a hip and trendy lobby bar, better than average bathrooms, not to mention wall mounted tvs...... I will definitely be checking out if there are other Alofts when I travel!
Agreed. Aloft is a nice surprise for an airport hotel especially with free WiFi and a lively social scene downstairs. It's not always in the same price range as other airport hotels (sometimes it can be higher) but we found room rates at this Aloft for $124 this weekend, which, FWIW, beats the Courtyard By Marriott by $15.
Love or hate Aloft? Sound off in comments below!