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Are your vacation getaways guided by the criteria of “excellent Instagram potential”? Are you a Brooklyn-based fashion blogger seeking temporary solitude to crank out your “first novel on the liberating potential of wanderlust”? Are you into road trips, but not cramped cars that smell like Interstate lunches? AKA has something amazing for you.
Well, for all of us, really – if only to behold from afar. The luxury brand of long stay accommodations just announced its first ever AKA Mobile Suite, a spacious Airsteam that has been decked out to the upscale expectations of an AKA resident: think plush bedding, a flat-panel TV and iPod docks, Bulgari bath amenities, and splashes of colorful accouterment from fashion designer Trina Turk, who will also offer “VIP discounts” on a road trip-ready wardrobe purchased from her LA showroom. (Most important: A full bathroom with shower. No sneaking into boondock YMCAs to rinse off.)
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The Sultan of Brunei--whose Brunei Investment Agency owns the luxurious Dorchester Collection of hotels--announced yesterday that the first phase of the adoption of Sharia law for his country has begun.
This first phase, which is guided by Islamic principles, will administer fines or jail terms for offenses like pregnancy out of marriage, failure to perform Friday prayers and propagating other religions. The second phase will start next year and will issue amputations and/or whippings for thefts or alcohol consumption. Later next year, the law will introduce the death penalty by stoning for adultery, sodomy and insulting the Koran or the Prophet Muhammad. While most of the tiny country is Muslim, about 15 percent of the citizens are non-Muslims yet they will still be subjected to Sharia law.
The law was supposed to go into effect a few weeks so there is speculation that the Sultan was wavering but clearly, he decided to go ahead with it.
Meanwhile, the boycott of Dorchester Hotels in Beverly Hills is heating up.
Hotel Parties / Hotel News / Waldorf Astoria Hotels / Beverly Hills Hotels / John Vanderslice / Beny Alagem / Luxury Hotels / → All Tags
Last night, Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts threw a glam poolside soiree at The Beverly Hilton to celebrate the long-awaited announcement of the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. While we were momentarily distracted by the offerings at the chocolate bar and the drinks bar, not to mention the appearance of the ethereal and normal-sized Christina Hendricks, we did manage to study a scale model of the planned 12-story, 170-room hotel. Like many things in Beverly Hills, it's an expensive beauty, worth about $200 million.
The hotel has been a long-time dream for developer Beny Alagem who also owns The Beverly Hilton. Plans to bring the luxury brand to the city back in 2008 didn't quite work out thanks to concerned residents and the ensuing economic crash but now, the dream is finally becoming a reality. And in case you didn't already understand, having a Waldorf Astoria in Beverly Hills is a huge deal in the luxury hotel world.
"We are steps away from Rodeo Drive. This is "Ground Zero" for luxury," said John T.A. Vanderslice, Waldorf Astoria’s Global Brand Head. "And the fact that we are opening a Waldorf Astoria in here is out of this world."
But just how will this five-star hotel set itself apart from the other five-star hotels in town, some within walking distance like the Peninsula, The Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire and The Montage?
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What a difference six years can make. Back in 2008, plans for The Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills to open next to the Beverly Hilton were firmly squashed by Beverly Hills residents and to some extent, the recession. Today, we learn the project is back on again. And it's really, really, really happening this time. But there will be some changes to the Beverly Hilton.
The hotel's Oasis Court, Lanai guest room buildings and its south parking structure along with the building that once housed the Trader Vic's restaurant, will be torn down to make way for the 170-room Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills Hotel and its accompanying residences. Here's a bit more info from the LA Times on what to expect:
The new hotel will be clad in curving white stone inspired by Streamline Moderne style with bronze accents. Guest rooms will have floor-to-ceiling windows that open onto landscaped private balconies. The rooftop swimming pool deck will include greenery, cabanas and a bar and grill exclusive to hotel guests. There will be an upscale restaurant open to the public, stores including jeweler Graff Diamonds and a Waldorf Astoria Spa. The hotel will also include meeting space and a ballroom that will hold as many as 200 people.
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Yes, ladies and gentlemen — April is National Grilled Cheese Month (who’s coming up with this stuff?).
Some hotels have embraced the concept as a means to reinvent this American classic, some even going so far as to create over-the-top versions of what’s, already, a delectable comfort food.
The Seagate Hotel & Spa, for instance, is celebrating the month by offering a new specialty grilled cheese available at the hotel’s Beach Club. Are you ready for it? The Lobster & Pork Belly Pimento Grilled Cheese Sandwich, created by Chef Chris Schaefer, features pickled green tomato on Texas toast.
Executive Chef Gabriel Ask of Parq Bar at Montage Beverly Hills serves up a more traditional Brioche and Aged English Cheddar Grilled Cheese Sandwich, and kids staying at Gramercy Park Hotel can try their own version with brioche by having an American or Gruyere on Brioche Grilled Cheese Sandwich with French Fries from the Room Service menu.
And then there’s the Grilled Mac ‘n Cheese at Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa, created by Sous Chef Chris Salazar, which combines homemade mac ‘n cheese, ham, grilled balsamic tomato and guacamole on grilled sourdough bread.
See what Loews Hotels are doing for National Grilled Cheese Month after the break!
When the AKA Beverly Hills opened back in 2012 in the heart of the exclusive 90210 zip code, we were loving the hotel's apartment-style accommodations along with their thoughtful amenities and services like free WiFi, bike rentals, and room service by Spago. Yet in order to enjoy all this, you had to be an extended-stay guest, spending 30 days or more at the hotel. Until now.
Starting on March 21, the AKA Beverly Hills will be accepting stays of 7 days or longer. Woot! Seven days is far more doable than 30. Not to mention, more affordable. Rates starting on March 21 begin at $389 a night for a one-bedroom deluxe suite which have about 1,000-sq.ft. of space and include full kitchens, a king-sized bed, dining table, private patio, washer and dryer, and Bulgari amenities.
Compare all this to smaller rooms at other luxe hotels in Beverly Hills, that start well over $400 a night without kitchens and washer and dryers, AKA is the best deal in town yet.
[Photo: AKA Hotels]
Hotel Renovations / Beverly Hills Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Dorchester Collection Hotels / → All Tags
The Premier Suite
All 135 rooms and suites will be completed by the end of the year and once again interior designer Adam D. Tihany is overseeing the new decor. While we're sad to see the scene of the Troop Beverly Hills camping trip (go to 4:51) get changed, it's much needed. Here's what in store for the beloved "Pink Palace":
The many new features and amenities showcased have been designed to enhance the feeling of modernity while keeping a chic residential feel. The elegant palette features soft leathers, luxurious mohair, and opulent silks in light cream and taupe shades with silvery blue, green, and yellow accents. Rich, ebonized walnut and cerused oak furnishings complement the classic color scheme. Bespoke wall coverings and light fixtures, custom artwork in all suites, and gracious lounge seating further enhance the stylish new spaces.
Just hours before the Golden Globes red carpet walk was to start at the Beverly Hilton, a sprinkler malfunctioned raining down not just water, but according to witnesses, some smelly black sewage as well. Billy Bush tweeted this about the incident:
Sewage pipe break on red carpet at #GoldenGlobes so it’s not hot as sh*t but it could smell like it today. Good times.— Billy Bush (@billybush) January 12, 2014
The hotel was quick to call the fire department and clean up the mess. They also released an official statement about the leak on Facebook which stated that it was a sprinkler malfunction. There was no mention of sewage and the carpet received "one last wash before it opened" for all the celebs. Cue new tweet from Billy Bush:
I’m hearing fire sprinkler broke. Better now than in the middle of the action. #GoldenGlobes. In a few hours it’ll smell like champagne so— Billy Bush (@billybush) January 12, 2014
Indeed, nothing seemed amassed when the red carpet walk started:
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This Sunday, the 2014 Awards Season kicks off in Los Angeles with the 71st Golden Globes Awards ceremony (hosted by lovely ladies Tina Fey and Amy Pohler.) As they have been for more than 50 years, the Golden Globes will be held at the Beverly Hilton. But the Hilton isn't the only spot in town to go for some celeb-
Popping into the Four Seasons Los Angeles, the Peninsula Beverly Hills or the Beverly Hills Hotel will also increase your chances of seeing a star (hopefully, not a reality one.)
Yet there's an even better way to enjoy awards season without appearing like an over-eager fan but while still feeling like a part of the Hollywood movie-making magic --by indulging in a tasteful viewing party at the The Beverly Wilshire, a Four Seasons Hotel.
Starting with the Golden Globes this weekend and concluding with the Oscars on March 1st, the Beverly Wilshire will be hosting soirees in their BLVD bar and have partnered with Moet & Chandon Champagne to provide the bubbly. The full schedule is below. For table reservations, call (310) 385 3901. Need a room? The hotel has rooms available on Sunday for $615 a night which is actually pretty average for a Beverly Hills hotel during awards season.
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Thinking of starting your holiday shopping? Yeah, we’re not either but, luckily, the good folks at the Dorchester Collection’s Beverly Hills Hotel have our backs.
The hotel is launching an exclusive jewelry line by Anndra Neen (Phoebe and Annette Stephens are the sisters behind the label), winner of the 2011 Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize, for the gift-buying season. Available the first week of November and only through December, you can pick up a piece of the collection at The Beverly Hills Hotel's gift shop. That's it. There's nowhere else. Pieces from Anndra Neen have accessorized Michelle Obama, Jessica Alba, Drew Barrymore, Nicole Richie and Anna Paquin so you'll be in fine company.
The first piece to launch is a distinctive bracelet inspired by the hotel's iconic design elements, from distinctive shades of pink and green to the signature banana leaves found on the wallpaper and landscaped gardens across the property. It is created by hand and features Agate stones and alpaca and brass materials. (We wanted to show you the piece but we're told it's still being perfected by the design team.) Additional pieces to debut include a necklace, choker and clutch. To give you an idea of cost, the bracelet will retail for $485. Not horrific at all.
But in this digital age where everyone with a smartphone is taking pictures and uploading them to various social media outlets--is it even possible for this rule, er, request to be enforced? We took a quick look on Instagram and found a few photos of the pool scene but nothing too stalkerish. We even saw a photo of someone posing next to this sign.
So maybe people are obeying the No Photos rule after all. (Also, whoever can tell us WTF a harp was doing in one of the guest rooms, we'd very much appreciate it.)
Of course, we had to flaunt the rules ever so slightly to snap this shot of the cute, pink, To Go boxes from the Cabana Cafe. Inside lies a McCarthy Salad...for $30. But it's still cheaper than the $500+ a night room rate.
When we used the word "intimate" to describe the spa above, we weren't just throwing around a trendy adjective. The spa is truly that, with just two treatment rooms and two private locker rooms, which are called Wet Room 1 and Wet Room 2. But don't let the small size put you off. It's actually a far more relaxing and serene experience than entering some of the super spas we see in hotels today.
When you arrive at Mr. C Spa & Beauty (just one level down from the lobby and next to the fitness center), you'll be taken to one of the Wet Rooms which feature their own shower/steam rooms, a locker complete with a robe and slippers and a vanity sink lined with Mr. C toiletries. And guess what? You're the only one in the room. No awkward exchanges with near-naked guests or long walks to find the showers.
Then once you're ready for your treatment, you can walk mere steps to the relaxation lounge, which features mosaic tile walls and a "starry ceiling" where you await your therapist.