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After nearly 70 years as a cornerstone of America's mid-range hotel scene, Best Western has announced that it will take a step into two new markets with two new brands, Vib (pronounced "vibe") and BW Premier.
The Premier Collection has actually been up and running for a while, and includes this recently opened eco-resort in Malaysia. In fact, last time we checked in on Premier, it was planning properties in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nairobi and Oman. Just to catch you up if you missed it, the BW Premier Collection will be a "soft brand" offering, meaning that it will consist of a variety of high-end properties in different markets (as opposed to a single hotel brand, like Vib). Hotels in the Premier Collection will be bookable through the Best Western website, and guests will be able to earn and use their Best Western reward points at any hotel in the collection.
The big announcement is the new boutique Vib concept, short for Vibrant. It is being described as a "stylish and technology-centric hotel concept created to meet the needs of today’s connected traveler," featuring "vibrant and modern design with a focus on convenience, technology and social engagement." That's about as vague as it gets, and the details are pretty scarce except for the fact that the properties will be tech-savvy and have large lobbies that incorporate local flair. You can check out the short promotional video below.
New Hotels / Best Western Hotels / Best Western Premier Hotels / Eco-Friendly Hotels / co-Resorts / Malaysia Hotels / → All Tags
Yes, you read correctly. Best Western has upped their game and opened up their first eco-resort in Malaysia, as part of the Best Western Premier Collection. It's a luxury resort that is both environmentally-friendly and the perfectly tropical for the ultimate in relaxation. And with a name like The Haven, it can't go wrong.
The 100-room resort north of Kuala Lumpur is in the middle of geological formations dating back 280 million years, surrounded by limestone hills, the Bintang and Kledang Mountains and the rivers of Perka and Kinta. As a sustainable resort, The Haven uses 100 percent renewable energy by harnessing the power of the wind and sun; one of the first hotels in Malaysia to do so.
Guests will be able to soak up a little slice of paradise at the four-level, lagoon-style pool and the private tropical gardens. This isn't your parents' Best Western since each room will serve up panoramic views of the lake while still staying tech savvy with flat-screen TVs and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Today, Best Western International officially began a partnership with Google to put together virtual tours of all 2,200 of its properties. The plan is to have Google professionally photograph the entire hotel, then string them together to create a "walk-through" experience on the hotel's website.
“Best Western’s leadership and owners acted strongly and decisively on two superior market insights: consumer decision making in the hospitality category is increasingly moving online, and the internet is becoming more of a visually-driven medium,” said Best Western’s Dorothy Dowling, senior vice president of marketing and sales.
While there's no question Dowling is correct in her assessment on a general level when it comes to the Internet, we're still wondering how consumers feel about hotel websites. When we talked about them this summer, photos were definitely something potential customers enjoyed looking at, but experienced hotel-goers also noted how misleading "professional" photos can sometimes be, showing the hotel at its absolute best and not necessarily how it looks day-to-day.
Most hotels spend lots of money to bring themselves out of the prehistoric era, but the Best Western Denver Southwest did just the opposite, throwing down $4 million to convert itself into a dinosaur-themed property.
The idea for the design came from nearby Dinosaur Ridge, an archaeological site 10 minutes from the hotel that houses the footprints of long-necked sauropods. The 112-room hotel is now all decked out with dinosaur paraphernalia, including skulls, fossil tables, classic dinosaur artwork and an on-site natural history museum dedicated to the prehistoric beasts.
The co-owners of the property said they hope the theme will draw some attention to the excavations that have taken place in the area and help bring tourists to see for themselves.
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We hoped it wasn't true when we saw the tweet below stating hotels were price gouging after the Asiana Airlines tragedy. We could say we were surprised, but as we've found out just last year during the middle of tropical storm Sandy and Hurricane Irene, these things do happen.
But we wanted to find out who would take advantage of such a horrible situation, with so many passengers delayed (many for multiple days) and needing hotels. Surely hoteliers have learned this type of behavior wouldn't go unnoticed?
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For most of us, we're just happy that our hotel room in Manhattan doesn't look out onto a brick wall. But for those of you who are particular about your views, we've rounded up the best hotels in lower Manhattan for river gazing. And no, you don't have to spend a fortune to do it, which is another reason to consider downtown versus uptown when planning your stay.
5 SCENIC WATERFRONT HOTELS IN LOWER MANHATTAN
1. It's all about the views at Ritz-Carlton Battery Park, which also took quite a beating during Hurricane Sandy (everything's back to normal now, though). The 298-room hotel often gets overshadowed by its uptown counterparts (Ritz-Carlton New York Central Park, Mandarin Oriental, Four Seasons New York), but actually this place outshines all of them put together when it comes to fresh sea breezes and plenty of open spaces around the hotel The rooms even come with telescopes!
Rates from $395/night.
Four more after the jump!
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A tragic story emerged this week about the death of an 11-year-old boy due to carbon monoxide poisoning in his Best Western Plus hotel room. Unfortunately, it was made even more tragic when authorities revealed that the same exact room had been responsible for killing another two guests—also from carbon monoxide poisoning—back in April.
(TIME magazine's 'Hotel Horror' headline was pretty spot on, if you ask us.)
Tests confirmed an "elevated level of carbon monoxide in the room," and the hotel has been shut down for the time being—but the question that keeps circling in our head is: could we be susceptible to carbon monoxide poisoning in our hotel room, too? How would we even know if the levels were high? After all, carbon monoxide is deadlier than other gases because it can't be seen or smelled.
So, to ease our anxiety, we've done a little research that ought to help us (and you) sleep peacefully next time you check into a hotel room. Here are five facts about carbon monoxide poisoning all hotel guests should know:
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Manhattan is still the place to be for hip new hotel brands. Yesterday, we mentioned how Commune Hotels would be opening not one, but two new Tommie Hotels in the Big Apple. Today, we learn that InterContinental Hotel Group's upcoming Even Hotels brand has signed an agreement to open a second hotel in NYC--this time at 321 West 35th Street.
The hotel will be an entirely new build and will feature 150 guestrooms over 25 guest room floors. The rest of the hotel will feature flexible public workspaces, dining and social areas and since this hotel brand is all about health, fitness and wellness, a state-of-the-art,t hree-zone gym. Plus the entire place will be outfitted with free WiFi. The hotel is expected to open in 2015 as will the other Even Hotel on 44th Street. The very first Even Hotel will open sometime in 2014. That location is still TBD.
Keep reading for more hotel opening news!
How many NYC hotels welcome you like this?
We’re always asked where to stay in New York City and now, more than ever, the choices are plentiful. Everyone is hyper-focused on the new builds coming to town, but there are also some that don’t get the love and attention they should. We’ve got four that fall in both these categories—new jacks and under-the-radar specialsomethins.
This new sister hotel to the St. Giles Court threw open its doors in January. Appealing to guests digging its midtown location (the Chrysler and Empire State buildings are blocks away), the 123-room 1920s landmark building was once a Doral and then a W Hotel. But they’ve dialed the clock back and discovered treasures including original raised ceilings and fireplaces. The lobby restaurant is called Audrey in homage to Ms. Hepburn who once sipped coffee there back in the day.
The hotel’s infamous “Cherry Room”, scene of boisterous soirees, will transform into a sophisticated restaurant when the right celeb chef is selected. Also high-end are spacious rooms (starting at 375 square-feet), keeping the building’s NYC resident beginnings. Red velvet chaise lounges, leather headboards, original hardwood flooring, and Molton Brown amenities help maintain a classy atmosphere.
Rates begin at $269 per night, though we've seen specials on HotelTonight as the property is in still working out kinks.
In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy and subsequent NRA backlash, two of the country's biggest hotel chains are now getting some, er, not-so-hot press for the discounts they offer to NRA members.
The defendants, Best Western (a.k.a. "The World's Biggest Hotel Family") and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, have for years offered special rates and rewards to gun owners. According to Avaaz.org, an international activist group, it just ain't okay for "mainstream companies" to "be in bed with the NRA."
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One of our favorite commercials is the Staples jingle, touting August as being the most “wonderful time of the year”. It's back-to-school time, and for parents, that means shopping for a laundry list of supplies, clothes and the like. But for those without rugrats, ‘tis the season to build a fall wardrobe! Luckily, these smart hotels are jumping on the retail bandwagon and put together Shop-Sleep packages.
Hotel Abri, San Francisco, CA
This hotel is just two blocks from Union Square and tony stores such as Saks, Neiman Marcus, Barneys New York, Macy's, as well as the nine-story Westfield San Francisco Shopping Centre, which has a three-level Nordstrom and new Bloomingdale's. Your scores will be picked up by the hotel’s shopping valet and delivered straight to your room. The package begins at $275 per night (minimum two-night stay) and includes a $100 certificate to Westfield San Francisco Centre as well as free backpack, with notebook and pencil kit.
Westin Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego, CA
The newly renovated Westin Gaslamp Quarter in the city’s downtown area offers a Back-to-School shopping package that gives a $100 Macy’s gift card for every night booked plus an 11% discount at the nearby Macy’s Horton Plaza Mall store. Package rates start at $179 per night, but with the gift card, you’re really only paying $79 per night! Use promo code CMY at www.westingaslamp.com
This morning we got an announcement that Best Western Hotels recently opened two new Best Western Premier hotels (one in Melbourne, Australia and one just outside of Moscow) and it got us wondering--have you ever stayed in a Best Western Premier hotel before?
In case you aren't familiar, BW's Premier brand offers guests upscale amenities, personalized guest services and an overall luxury hotel experience but at a value price point that folks come to expect from the Best Western name.
The Best Western folks are so gung-ho about this Premier brand they are plotting quite a busy and exotic expansion path with openings for Dominican Republic, Haiti, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nairobi and Oman expected for this year. In the next 12 months, the number of BWPs (can we call them that?) in North America will increase by 50 percent thanks to the opening of nine hotels throughout US, Canada and the Caribbean.
So if you haven't stayed in one yet, you very well may in the next year.