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A few weeks ago, we visited the southern-most beach town of the Jersey Shore, Cape May, located at Exit Zero of the Garden State Parkway. Unfortunately, the words “Jersey Shore” have been heavily tainted in recent years, so we must first ask that you get all that bad imagery out of your head.
Cape May is far from the obnoxious Jersey boardwalk scene you’ve seen on television. It boasts great seafood, raw bars, wineries, campgrounds, beach bars, and the second-highest concentration of Victorian buildings behind only San Francisco – most of which house bed and breakfasts.
During our visit, we spent the night at the Blue Rose Inn, one of the newest B & Bs in town. We chose them not only because they recently opened at the beginning of the summer season, but because they are putting a new spin on the B & B concept, one we think other future inn owners might want to consider.
What Is This / Martha's Vineyard Hotels / Historic Hotels / Bed and Breakfasts / Relais and Chateau Hotels / Hotel Furniture / Hotel Antiques / Hotel Snapshots / → All Tags
We like to keep it fun but informative here at HotelChatter so our newest series, What is This?, is devoted to odd-looking items in hotel rooms that upon first glance look as if they serve only a decorative purpose. But everything happens for a reason, right? And we're here to tell you what these things really do.
Last year, we took a few steps around the Charlotte Inn's museum-worthy hoard of antique letterboxes, 19th century oil paintings, old medicine boxes, and stuffed pheasants in the lobby. But it turns out, the distinctive collection spreads throughout the entire hotel.
In the Coach House Suite, for example, you'll find this strange looking pulley system device hanging over one of the windows in the suite's living room.
But what does it do?
Hotel Weddings / Hotel Castles / Loire Valley Hotels / Bed and Breakfasts / France Hotels / → All Tags
Wedding season is now in full effect and it's become clear why destination weddings are so popular--because all the worry and arrangements are done by the wedding planner. All you have to do is pack your dress and your beloved.
Quite possibly one of the most romantic ways to get married is to do it at a French chateau like Chateau de Challain’s whose turreted and gleaming white stone facade was inspired by the dreams of Albert de la Rochefoucauld and his countess Ida. Interpreted by famed Parisian architect Louis Visconti, this Neo-Gothic fairytale castle's eloquent design practically begs a bride and groom to say "I Do."
Hotelchatter Reviews / Taos Hotels / New Mexico Hotels / Bed and Breakfasts / Historic Hotels / → All Tags
If you’re going to northern New Mexico and you have any kind of artistic or cultural sensibilities, you need to stay at the Mabel Dodge Luhan house. As the name would suggest, it’s the former home of Mabel Dodge Luhan – who was not only a writer, but a facilitator and gatherer of art in Taos. This is where pretty much anyone literary or artistic who’s traveled to New Mexico has stayed. DH Lawrence spent loads of time here, and even painted the windows of one of the bathrooms with bright murals (today, some rooms still have access to that bathroom). Georgia O’Keefe, Ansel Adams, Dennis Hopper, Carl Jung – the list of illustrious guests is long and varied. For more details, see the website.
Because it’s more of a museum rather than a swish hotel, we were expecting the worst when it came to rooms. When we had to be towed out of a snowbank, having skidded on ice on the approach, we were even more timorous. But we soldiered on. Here’s what we found.
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Yep, it's that bad
After discovering late last month that The Keating Hotel in San Francisco will be one of the hotels
featured ripped apart by Gordon Ramsay on Hotel Hell, we've been dying to know which other towns across the country will be getting visits from his spiky-haired highness.
Now, we can add Milford, Pennsylvania to the list. The New Jersey Herald is reporting that Ramsay will be making over the River Rock Inn, a B&B housed in a 10-bedroom Victorian-style house built in 1876.
According to the hotel's Facebook page, producers for the show have taken over all bookings, and have so far received over 1500 reservation requests, from (we're guessing) hotel geeks trying to get front row seats of Ramsay working his magic. And judging from the pictures, this place really does need some magic. Or a sledgehammer.
Spotted in New Mexico today: one of the raddest hotel rooms, view-wise, that you may ever have the pleasure of staying in.
This is the Solarium room at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House in Taos, New Mexico. It's rad for a couple of reasons - firstly, because it's the only house with three stories in Taos, so you can see for miles, and second, because it's the old sun roof when it was an actual house, so it's glass-walled on all four sides. Which makes for some truly killer views of Taos and the mountains around it - particularly when it's snowing, as it is now.
Bed and Breakfasts / Budget Hotels / Hotel Openings / Boutique Hotels / New York Hotels / Tribeca Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / → All Tags
We've been so focused on the big New York openings this year that the Canal Park Inn, a country cottage-style bed and breakfast right by the Holland Tunnel, that opened in October, would have slipped under our radar if it weren't for the eagle eyes of the Tribeca Citizen. What's happening at the four-room hideaway in the northwest corner of the nabe, that's attached to the Canal Park Playhouse (hence they market it as "bed, breakfast and theater")?
The four rooms are quite large by New York–hotel standards, and several have alcoves with sofas that fold out into secondary beds. The place is full of historical character—all rooms have claw-foot tubs, and the stairs and door frames are far from new-build. (Modernity isn’t entirely forsaken: Several rooms have either a kitchen or kitchenette; Batby has a washer/dryer; and the rooms facing Canal are incredibly quiet, thanks to triple-glazed windows.)
What is it about tiny Parisian boutique hotels? Oh, right, the privacy, charm, comfort, and living-like-a-local vibe. (Not to mention that you often get good rates, free breakfast and free wifi, too.) But now yet another property is on our radar, after Tuesday's round up, thanks to GQ which calls out the Hotel Particulier Montmartre, just a couple blocks from ever-so-wonderful rue des Abbesses and a short walk from Sacré-Coeur basilica—in other words, off the beaten tourist trail but a short walk to the tourist sights.
The theme runs through the hotel, too, owner Morgane Rousseau tells GQ:
I had a French star recently who stayed here for two months. He lived in Paris, but wanted to be isolated, and he felt he could work better here. … It's rare to find an intimate place, or find intimacy in general. And I'm not talking about VIP selectivity, velvet rope, guest list stuff, I mean places that are far from the noise and the ugliness and far from the nervousness of seeing and being seen.
Paris Hotel Scene / Paris Hotels / Bed and Breakfasts / Boutique Hotels / Budget Hotels / → All Tags
Seems the literary-minded Le Pavillon de Lettres isn't the only small hotel making a splash on the Paris hotel scene. In this month's issue of Budget Travel magazine, there's a roundup of six stays that actually deserve the boutique title. And they mean boutique - the biggest is the 39-room Hotel de la Paix, a renovated 19th-century guest house in the 14th arrondissement.
But having just spent a long weekend in the 9th, we're most fired up about BT's recommendation of A Room In Paris, a five-chambre spot near the Gare du Nord, and thus conveniently located for guests parachuting in from London or the train from Charles de Gaulle for short stays. The good eating particularly caught our eye:
Hotel Video Tours / HotelChatter Reviews / Denver Hotels / Historical Hotels / Bed and Breakfasts / → All Tags
The Snowlover Room
We loved our stay at the Holiday Inn Denver Airport but all good things must come to an end and all airports must eventually be left – so since we were there to see Denver proper, and horrified at room rates at most hotels ($200 upwards) we plumped for a B&B: The Capitol Hill Mansion. Our experiences of B&Bs in America haven’t been tip top, so we had a little trepidation as we called, but the guy on the phone sounded nice, so we took the plunge and booked the cheapest room available for $154.
Mmmm, food. You may have already had lunch, but we’ll guarantee you’ll find room for a belly gurgle once we tell you about one of the nicest breakfasts we’ve had in a long time at the Capitol Hill Mansion in Denver.
We stayed at the B&B last week, and after a superfriendly welcome, an upgraded room and a comfy night, we came down the next day to find this being cooked for us.
French toast, right? No. Crème Brulee French Toast. With bacon and maple syrup. We’re not normally into French toast, but this was the best thing we’ve tasted in a long while. The bread was fat, it was oozing flavor and the bacon was heaven.
Not that we needed anything else, but there was also a sideboard chokka with breakfast cereal, home made cake and biscuits and, joy of joys, a huge platter of fresh fruit – blueberries, melon, grapefruit, orange and the like. We had more vitamin C in one sitting than we’d had in the previous month.
Historical Hotels / Fall Hotels / Fall Foliage Hotels / Vermont Hotels / Bed and Breakfasts / Montpelier Hotels / → All Tags
As one of friends said to us when we pulled up at the vintage Inn at Montpelier on Main Street, "Montpelier's got charm coming out of its butt." Never were truer words spoken. The charm that oozes from Montpelier is especially apparent during autumn, its top tourist season, when leaf peepers from around the world descend on the state to pretty much watch grass grow, or rather, leaves die.
Said friend is a native of Montpelier, and according to him, The Inn is the place to stay as a base for forays into the foliage. Maybe it's the expansive front porch or maybe it's the fiery red trees already around the property, but we get why it's so popular. Hint: it's both. The main house and its ten fireplaces were built early in the 1800s and it remains independently owned.