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Stay at Grace Santorini, help children in need
We already told you that Grace Hotels are one of our favorite Greece-based small hotel brands. But prepare to love them more – they’re the latest hotel chain to do good, by launching a charity initiative to help children at risk.
Under the Give with Grace initiative, Grace will donate $1 for every night a room is occupied in each of their hotels. That’s them playing their part – and they’ll ask you to do the same, inviting guests to contribute $1 per night of their stay. They’ll also donate money from the sale of certain food and drink items sold in the restaurants, as well as Give with Grace-branded things in the stores.
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Yesterday we introduced you to the Htl 9 de Julio, your former Room Mate in Buenos Aires that’s now in soft opening as an independent hotel. It offers your standard funky Room Mate design, a decent location… and impossibly low rates – just $38 is all we paid for both our stays this month. But what do you get for your $38?
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When is a Room Mate not a Room Mate? When it’s your Argentinian Room Mate.
This is the lobby of the Htl 9 de Julio (a proper millennial name, if ever there was one) in Buenos Aires. At least, that’s what the sign on the door says. But inside the building, it’s a different story. The signs in the elevators? Room Mate hotels. The floorplans? Room Mate. The emergency exit and bathroom signs? Room Mate.
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In June the Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires unveiled the first phase of its $49 million reno: a new lobby, landscaping and gardens, guestrooms, and two new dining venues—the Elena Restaurant and the Pony Line Bar. One would think that that’s the whole she-bang. But wait, there’s more.
The final phase has just been completed and it involves a new CIELO spa and Nuestro Secreto, a seasonal restaurant.
The designers of the year-long reno had the tango in mind when they re-designed the hotel, and you can see this throughout the hotel with a sinuous swirl here and a locking of limbs pattern there. We, however, can also see a few “modern gaucho meets the horsey set” design elements, leather headboards in the rooms, horse statues at the entrance and in the Elena Restaurant and Pony Line Bar.
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The Regent Montenegro
There’s tons of hotel news flying around at the moment, so we have another roundup of news bites for you today to get you up to speed on the latest from Oman to Cambodia and China to Argentina.
Starting with the Arab sultanate of Oman, its newspaper Muscat Daily (Muscat is the capital) reports that the country will have the first Aman Resort in the Middle East, in the remote coastal town of Shuwaimiya. The developer of the eco-resort has confirmed Aman Resorts will open, with the hotel group so far taking a confirm-nor-deny approach. Whether or not it will be the first in the Middle East remains to be seen, based on what we hear about an opening in Jordan.
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Polo season is in full gear in the UK and will be starting soon enough in the rest of the world. Whether it’s polo-inspired cocktail menus, training with the polo pros or exclusive access to top matches, these hotels want you to experience polo paradise.
Three of the world’s top polo matches take place in Argentina, so it’s a pretty big deal there. The new bar at Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires pays homage to the sport and to the revered Argentinean polo team, La Dolfina. However, the Pony Line Bar and Lounge may be clad in brown leather and have a riding motif throughout, but it ain’t a sports bar as you know it to be.
It’s more for the urban sophisticate who wants to try the housemade chorizo and oxtail empanadas to go along with his or her artisanal locally-produced Stallion beer than the Bud Light and wings crowd. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that—we like a good stack of salt-and-pepper wings as much as the next guy or gal. We’re just sayin’.)
If you want to get an even bigger taste of the game, as a hotel guest you can visit La Dolfina Polo Ranch to learn more about the sport and why Argentina is reputed to be so good at it. Rates start at $595 in October.
Maybe we should have said above the wine ranks, but you catch our drift. We love us some unusual hotels, and while overall the Entre Cielos Hotel in wine-centric Mendoza, Argentina, perhaps doesn’t necessarily fit in the category, its “Limited Edition” room is definitely something out of the ordinary.
Built on stilts above the hotel’s vineyard, the tube-shaped hotel room has a queen bed tucked in the corner of the open-plan living space, with skylights for stargazing at night. There is a full bathroom inside (you wouldn’t want to be traipsing back to the main hotel in the middle of the night after all) and the terrace has an outdoor bathtub so that you can soak while soaking up the views of the Andes Mountains, which look pretty spectacular in the distance.
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From Fantasy Friday polo packages in Palm Beach last week, we’re going straight to the home of polo today: Argentina. Here, the Four Seasons Buenos Aires is going through a little freshening up, to the tune of $40 million no less.
A first phase has been completed, including a redesign of the lobby, an initial set of rooms, and the addition of a courtyard restaurant. Another part of the makeover? The opening of Pony Line, a bar inspired by – you guessed it – polo.
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Nothing like finishing up the year with a little gossip: Tennis great Roger Federer got some rest in the arms of the Algodon Mansion last week, putting his feet up after a few exhibition matches and children's training camps in Buenos Aires.
We're not surprised, as the Algodon Mansion is certainly one of Argentina's more upscale properties. Here's what we know: They have the self-appointed "hottest" staff in the city, the smallest of the ten rooms will run you about $400 a night, and they throw one hell of a party so long as you have some cash to throw down.
It's a five-star hotel, but we like to think of it as a luxurious B&B, replacing the oh-so-sweet-cinnamon-bun-baking innkeeper with a 24-hour at-your-freaking-service private butler.
More on Fine Federer's stay after the jump...
Although not as popular in the US, it seems like the rest of the world goes bonkers for a little soccer. And if you're a fan of the fast paced game, you know not to call it soccer, but football. So with a rich history of football, it makes complete sense for Buenos Aires to open up the first football-themed hotel for players and fans.
Rest assured The Hotel Boca isn't a sports bar turned hotel with a few footballs hanging from the ceiling or framed jerseys adorning the walls.This is a modern and avante-garde designed property with all the luxuries we adore . Public areas and the two restaurants are themed in the blue and yellow of the hometown team, Boca Juniors, and decorated with memorabilia from the over 100 year old club.
Each of the rooms and suites are decked out with great design and comfy living space that would impress even the highest level athletes. The simple layout is complemented with pops of team color, but in a way that would make you think you'd walked into a 'superfan's' closet. Think tasteful, not gaudy.
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There's tons of hotel news flying around and we don't have time to give each and every story the love and attention it may deserve, so you will have to settle for some news briefs.
Tomorrow morning Westin Hotels is having a 5K run in New York to celebrate the launch of their exclusive New Balance gear lending program. Both Westin, New Balance associates (and now Top Chef-host, Padma Lakshmi) will run to benefit Soles4Souls, an organization that provides shoes to adults and children around the world. A majority of the donations will support Hurricane Sandy victims. The run starts and ends at the new Westin New York Grand Central where there will also be a Soles4Souls donation station the public can drop off gently used or new footwear throughout the day. After the run, Westin and New Balance will donate more than 15,000 pairs of shoes to Soles4Souls. For more info, visit westinnewbalance.com
Sandals Resorts International has purchased Grenada’s all-inclusive LaSource Resort for an undisclosed sum. This is the brand’s first property in the country. The hotel will be renamed Sandals LaSource Grenada Resort & Spa, and will add 100 more guest rooms to its current space for a total of 200 private cottages and bungalows. Many of these will be concierge- and butler-level suites, as is common in the Sandals brand, and also the famous octagonal-shaped Rondoval suites. We wonder if Sandals will keep LaSource’s former amenity of one free spa treatment a day. Sure it was only a 25-minute teaser, but it was something. A part of us believes they’ll be cut, but we’ve been pleasantly surprised before.
The travel-savvy and sun worshippers will chase the good weather and head to the southern hemisphere next month. It'll be springtime in Buenos Aires come September with temps topping out in the low 70's--the right time to take in fashion shows and wine festivals and to check out the new Buenos Aires Grand Hotel opening in the stylish Recoleta nabe.
The 90-room hotel will provide all the comforts travelers crave—free WiFi, 40" plasma TVs, and Nespresso coffeemakers. Plus, they can boast as being one of the rare B.A. hotels to have a rooftop pool (with an artificial current), so we’re anticipating quite the scene of designer-swimsuit wearing patrons come summer evenings starting in December (yep, remember it's opposite season).