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We've started a series of what’s trending in hotels these days: What’s Out, What’s In. Do we like what we see? Think it's a dud? You be the judge!
What’s Out: Hotel-branded pens and notepads as keepsakes
What’s In: Souvenirs inspired by the history and culture of the hotel
Fess up: The last time you stayed in a hotel, did you take the little pad of paper and pen with the hotel’s name on it? Everyone takes the toiletries, but if you’re a serious hotel geek, that cheap pen disappeared too. We get it. And so do hotels.
If you want a more lasting or glam souvenir though, these hotels have what you need.
The Washington School House hotel in Park City, Utah was a former school built in 1889 that even has its own motto: "Where old school is the new cool". As a playful nod and a wink to their educational roots, guests will find a notebook and pencil set waiting when they check in.
The Hyatt Regency Atlanta Downtown recently completed a $65 million transformation that included the opening of Market – a self-serve, around-the-clock stop for all your snacking needs (including a fancy-dancy touch-screen soda fountain that dispenses 126 different drinks). Food in Georgia trends towards down-home goodness, and the Executive Chef’s homemade BBQ rub, at $5 a pop in Market, lets you experience that Southern comfort all over again.
The sleek Yabu Pushelberg-designed Modern Honolulu likes to serve a little quirk with its chic. The hotel leaves complimentary sarongs and ukuleles in each guest room for you to use during your stay. But if you like them so much you can’t live without them, the sarongs and ukuleles are available for purchase so you can strum away ‘til your heart’s content.
The last time we talked about Atlanta’s Clermont Lounge, it was during our review of Anthony Bourdain’s “The Layover”. In that episode we learned about this old-school strip club establishment whose aging dancers seemed to tickle the fancy of both Bourdain, Alton Brown and countless other celebs and tourists.
But there’s another part of the Clermont that’s been ignored--the Motor Hotel, which shut down in 2009. Built in the 1920s, the brick building became a hotel in the ‘40s and over the years fell into disrepair. It was ordered to close by health inspectors because of dirty linen, bedbugs, mold and unsanitary plumbing. It has sat abandoned while the downstairs lounge continued to operate.
In comes BNA Associates LLC, a team of Nashville and New York real estate developers determined to revitalize the Ponce de Leon Avenue place into a 98-room upscale boutique hotel set to open as early as 2014.
While some welcome the revitalization, others are more concerned about the future of the Clermont Lounge and its “talented” staff. Apparently they need not worry—for now.
"The Clermont is important to the Atlanta community, and the beloved Clermont Lounge is part of our redevelopment, as we do not plan on interfering with it," said Ethan Orley of BNA Associates.
[Photo: Clermont Hotel]
One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor?
Seems like we're due for a cocktail-centered holiday, yes? Well, taking a peep at the calendar we're glad to discover we're just weeks away from Cinco de Mayo. Who else is glad? The St. Regis Atlanta, whose Food & Beverage Director, Robert Brandenberg will reveal the hotel brand's first signature tequila called The St. Regis Atlanta Herradura Private Selection Tequila at the beginning of the month.
The double barrel reposado was handcrafted in the heart of Mexico’s tequila country, Amatitán, which is home to Casa Herradura – a legendary distillery that produces custom reposado created with 100 percent blue agave roasted in clay ovens using the same traditional methods for more than 140 years.
The hotel will be using the tequila in a series of new spring-cocktails being served in the Bar & Wine Room Patio. So, far we're intrigued by the Magmargarita which is a blend of Jalapeno, Fresh Pineapple and Pink Peppercorn infused tequila, Cointreau, Fresh sour mix, and Passion fruit puree. Salute!
Hotel News / Hotel Reopenings / Hotel Renovations / Le Meridien Hotels / Atlanta Hotels / Starwood Hotels / → All Tags
After months of renovation work, costing around $20 million, Le Meridien Atlanta Perimeter has officially opened inside the former Atlanta Perimeter Hotel and Suites. Of course, you remember the back story on this place, right? It originally opened as the W Atlanta Perimeter back in 1999, then Starwood sold it off in 2012, and it became an independent hotel.
Lots of work went in to transforming the hotel—including top-to-bottom renovations of all guest rooms, suites and public spaces, as well as a new Club Lounge, two club floors, and a new restaurant and bar. Biggest of all, the hotel took away all the balconies and replaced them with floor to ceiling windows.
But the hotel is nearing the end of its metamorphosis: on Thursday, the hotel officially re-opened as Le Meridien, with four out of twelve floors now open to guests. Though the restaurant is still under construction, the Longitude Bar is open, and the rest of the property is set to be completed by early June.
Anthony Bourdain is back for another season of “The Layover”, and we like it because he names the hotels in the cities where he'll be spending his precious time. We figure, he won't be laying his salt-and-pepper head just anywhere, after all, he's big time now.
So, for entertainment and a dose of travel value, we’ll give you some details on the properties he picks, just in case you find yourself looking for a place to stay in a city that’s sanctioned by this travel personality/chef.
In the season finale, our guy heads to Seattle. He’s got 48 hours to play in a place with a thousand nicknames, and lets viewers know “people love to hate this city, ” the reasons apparently boiling down to the weather. No surprise, there. As he hops into his $100K loaner electric Tesla S which has WiFi (!), he mentions he could watch porn while he’s driving--until his faceless passenger mentions he might need two hands on the wheel while driving. Oh. Then he’s off and running around this hipster (yeah, we’ll say it) town, making tons of Dave Matthews jokes all the way.
We cross our fingers hoping he'll make his last hotel choice of the season a good 'un.
Anthony Bourdain is back for another season of “The Layover”, and we like it because he names the hotels in the cities where he'll be spending his precious time. We figure, he won't be laying his salt-and-pepper head just anywhere, after all, he's big time now. So, for entertainment and a dose of travel value, we’ll give you some details on the properties he picks, just in case you find yourself looking for a place to stay in a city that’s sanctioned by this travel personality/chef.
In this episode, our guy gets 36 hours in Atlanta, aka “The “A” the “ATL”, or if you’re truly looking to show you’re not from there “Hotlanta”. But Bourdain has thrown us a curve ball. For the first time in the series, he isn’t out and out boastful about his choice of hotel, so we were pretty much left guessing where he decided to stay, until we saw this pic and thought, "DUH!"
Though Bourdain mentions “there are a lot of hotel options in downtown and midtown” and gives us the two "official" mentions we list below, look where his ride is parked.
In Atlanta, eight luxury hotels opened in the past four years. Needless to say, tourism has been on fire in Hotlanta! Rosewood's Mansion on Peachtree's debut was promising though it ceased operation in May. Apparently, brand loyalty is especially huge in the deep south and, considering Rosewood was a relatively a newbie, the brand didn't catch on. So Mandarin Oriental Group decided to save ship, immediately taking over the property with a seamless transition.
Six months later, Mandarin is still captain of this prime piece of real estate in Buckhead (an affluent neighborhood), retaining all original structures but giving the property some major trademark MO influence. But, brand name aside, are they offering a better product?
We recently checked out Mandarin Oriental Atlanta to compare it with the former Rosewood Mansion On Peachtree.
We wanted to know, who is the fairest Southern belle of them all?
Movie Set Hotels / St Regis Hotels / Starwood Hotels / Atlanta Hotels / Denzel Washington / → All Tags
It's not all in-room movies and #HurricaneSandy mania for all hotels. Others, like the St Regis Atlanta, are celebrating their fifteen minutes of fame in what many are hailing as the next movie to sweep the Oscars.
We received word that Denzel Washington filmed scenes for the upcoming Robert Zemeckis-directed film Flight, which comes out this Friday, November 2, at the Atlanta hotel. And if initial reactions at this month's New York Film Festival are anything to go by, then this is definitely a movie we want to check out.
An insider confirms that Denzel filmed three scenes for the movie inside the hotel, including the above shot, which was taken at the hotel's Wine Room. Additionally, the film will show the actor in the St Regis Bar, as well as the lobby. Even better: Denzel actually gets to call out the hotel in one of the scenes, with a quick one-liner, "Meet me at the St. Regis." We will, Denzel, we absolutely will.
Celebrity Chefs / InterContinental Hotels / Hotel Restaurants / Atlanta Hotels / San Francisco Hotels / Miami / → All Tags
It's not often one can get inside a hotel's kitchen, much less influence what's going to be on the menu, so InterContinental Hotels' new “Kitchen Passport” program is a fun twist that lets non-cooks go behind the scenes. The program, which started this month, invites bloggers and online editors to work with some of IHG's top chefs and mixologists to create a few new food and drink specials and recipes that can be downloaded via the brand's InterContinental Kitchen Cookbook iPad app mid-October. The InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta began the experience this month and invited editor Anne Dolce of "The Daily Meal" to work with celebrated chef (and Oprah Winfrey favorite) Art Smith, head of the hotel's Southern Art restaurant. Together, they came up with a new appetizer (Southern Oysters Rockefeller), entrée and dessert. Dolce also paired up with Arianne Fielder at the Buckhead’s Bourbon Bar and helped design two specialty bourbon cocktails to go along with the new dishes.
Hotel Packages / Girlfriend Getaways / New Orleans Hotels / Atlanta Hotels / Hotel Deals / Long Island Hotels / Laguna Beach Hotels / → All Tags
Gather your girlfriends this fall, and spend some time shopping, eating, drinking, and catching up. These hotels that are offering Girlfriend Getaway packages, designed for those who like to shop, drink,and be pampered.
Manicures, pedicures, cocktails and transportation to shopping trips within three miles of the hotel are just a few of the perks included in the Pampered Girlfriends package at the Georgian Terrace Hotel in Atlanta. Designed for a group of four, two more can be included for $75 each. Rates start at $359 per night for the group of four.
For ladies who prefer not to shop, and would rather de-stress and share plenty of laughs, the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans treats the ladies to a cocktail walking tour. Unfortunately the drinks on the tour are not free, and ladies best leave their stilettoes at home for this tour. Uneven sidewalks + alcoholic beverages + girlfriends = a major embarrassing moment in public and never hearing the end of it in the future. Eliminate that nasty old tension a little more with the included 60-minute Swedish massage. The package is $139 per day with a two-night minimum stay.
Hotel Food / Hotel Restaurants / Atlantic City Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / Chicago Hotels / Atlanta Hotels / Kimpton Hotels / Thompson Hotels / InterContinental Hotels / Twitter / → All Tags
Hip hop star Azealia Banks—whose hit song "212" went viral in early 2012—took a moment on Twitter yesterday to proclaim the wonders of sitting in hotel rooms eating fried chicken and watching BBC documentaries. Which we can totally identify with.
So for her sake (and partly our own), we decided to put together a handy Top 5 list of US hotels that serve awesome fried chicken, to be enjoyed either in-room or at the restaurant. As for the BBC docs? Less of a concern.
#5. Revel in Atlantic City made a big splash at the start of the summer by opening with a Beyonce concert. Well, we got to take a look around the hotel last month, and particularly enjoyed the fried chicken with garlic mashed potatoes ($23) we sampled at Central Michel Richard. Who needs taco trucks anyway?
OpenThread / Hotel Food / Room Service / Manhattan Hotels / Atlanta Hotels / Orlando Hotels / Switzerland Hotels / London Hotels / Taiwan Hotels / Grand Cayman Hotels / → All Tags
When we posted your hotel check-in rituals, some commented on Twitter and Facebook that ordering room service is the first thing they do when settling in. We're a bit nosy, so we asked a few hoteliers and Food & Beverage folks what y'all are ordering--hoping there would be some extreme weirdness going on like anchovies on PB&J. But, bearing a little skepticism about the guest who asked for live tarantulas, you're just like us! You love a simple club sandwich. You crave a grilled cheese! Our mini-survey shows your faves.
Hyatt Regency Atlanta: Folks love to order the strawberry-stuffed French Toast, a breakfast dessert that is a Southern quiet riot made with brioche, toasted pecans, fruit, and sea salt.
Beau-Rivage Palace, Switzerland: Europe can be such a complex place, and this Lausanne, hotel shows us that their guests demands are no different! The most popular items? The pricey duck foie gras terrine at CHF 39 ($40.10) and on the complete opposite spectrum, chicken nuggets at CHF 18 ($18.50)!