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In a quest to raise money for charity as well as for purposes of publicity, Travelodge constructed a demo of their new room design at the summit of Britain’s highest peak, Ben Nevis (4,409 feet), at the end of June. A team of 36 made the 11-mile round trip journey, including the construction of the room, in about eight and a half hours. It was built upon the still-remaining snow and consisted of two walls, a bed, a duvet, a sheet with four pillows, a chair and a picture.
Not quite an ice hotel, but close!
The effort, while on one hand only a novelty, was able to raise almost $79,000 for charity, which we obviously applaud. Apparently this is not the first time Ben Nevis has hosted a hotel. The Temperance Hotel operated at the summit from 1894 to 1916 as a barracks for climbers during the summer months.
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Matachica in Belize is all about the chill, at a great rate...
The great thing about traveling to the Caribbean now through December is that rates are least 40%, below high season rates. Sometimes even more than that. And face it, this is the time of year when most folks are taking their vacations anyway, so you may as well go somewhere that’s inexpensive, right?
We've got 5 Caribbean hotels that are pretty easy on the budget year-round, but are an even better deal now. So, pack your strongest SPF (those sun rays are HOT) and shades and get island bound with the quickness.
This Starwood brand is new to Cancún, and opened just a week ago, so things are likely in tip-top condition. This is pretty important in hotel-glut filled Cancún, where choices can sometimes be hit or miss. We’re also happy to see the Aloft favorites such as the w xyz bar, the 24/7 pantry fuel by Aloft and re:mix lounge, where we are certain the DJ will make sure to remind you you’re in Mexico with some serious salsa beats (and don't forget to drink tequila too!) It should go without saying—but the free WiFi is a plus. Coming soon will be a rooftop pool, but for now you’ll have to walk about five minutes to the beach and the sparkling blue sea. But at these rates, it’s no problema. Rates from $99 per night.
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There are over 3,500 Marriott hotels on Earth. There could be 3.5 million and that still wouldn't be enough to satisfy the world's traveling population, and so, for your future travel pleasures, we present three small hotel chains you've probably never heard of but should totally book because they're awesome (and growing):
P.S. - they all have free WiFi!
They just rebranded with a new tagline, "come as you are," and we couldn't be more in love. 25hours have become our number one choice for a hotel when staying in the four cities where they have locations, and we've reviewed two right here on HotelChatterFrankfurt-Goldman and Hamburg-HafenCity.
Let's all say "namaste" to Tune Ahmedabad, the first-ever Tune Hotel for India. Located in the "Science City", the hotel officially welcomed its first guests but not before hosting a colorful ceremony blessing the new building with flowers and other offerings.
Keeping with the Tune model of pay-for-what-you-use, a Comfort Package is available now for about an extra $9, which gives a full 24-hours of wifi, TV, and air conditioning access. If you're looking to dive into some vindaloo to start your day, for just over $3 you can tuck into breakfast in the lobby's XO Cafe.
The hotel is perfect for travelers looking to save a few rupees and still get a full Indian experience with some shopping and sport. Along with being annexed to the city's newly developed 4D Square Shopping Mall, Tune is also a short walk to the local cricket stadium, after all this is 'cricket country'. (the sport, not the insect)
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We mean "tomorrow" as in the future.
"Back where it all began." HotelTonight founder and CEO Sam Shank reflects for a moment, and takes a bite of a kettle-cooked potato chip.
We're chilling at the bar in the far back of the bustling lobby of The Ace, where, in late 2010, Shank launched HotelTonight and which now inspires the interior design of the HT headquarters on the other side of the country.
Has it already been more than two years?! HT still seems like the hot new thing, though they've grown to a staff of over 80 and now support 5 languages and 6 currencies for properties on sale in 12 countries. Their most recent "big news" came only last week, as they welcomed hotels in Rome, Florence, Madrid and Barcelona to the app and showed off their snazzy SF digs in a episode of TechCrunch's TC Cribs. Heck, you know we're already fans; last week we booked three nights in two countries using HotelTonight.
To celebrate its first hotel above a comedy club, Travelodge has rolled out a "loo laughs" campaign at London's new 131-room Bethnal Green location in hopes of keeping its guests entertained at all times. That's right -- there are jokes and cartoons on the toilet paper.
The idea was inspired by the hotel's position on top of British comedian Lee Hurst's Backyard Comedy Club, but it was also backed up by a bit of data. Travelodge ran a survey of 2,000 Britons that revealed 49% of them like to read on the loo.
Based on what we've seen, it doesn't appear they got much professional help with the joke writing, despite its location. The two samples we've seen haven't exactly been side-splitters. For example, Why are men better than dogs? Because they have only two muddy feet to walk into the house. Or, worse: How many men does it take to change the roll of toilet paper? We don't know... it's never happened. Oh, dear.
Finally we conclude our several-week-long dilemma of where to stay in Madrid for just one night, for a first timer to the city. After settling on the Hotel de Las Letras based on your strong recommendations, we checked in (right behind another couple who had also been on our same flight from Istanbul!) and hunkered down.
We booked the lowest room category for 112 Euros, but adding 20-30 more would've bumped us up to a category with an ornate balcony overlooking the Gran Via. As it was February with near freezing temperatures, this would have been a waste. One night's stay, when we expected to spend much of the time out at museums and restaurants, doesn't call for much.
We’ve often made jokes about IKEA-type furnishings in hotel rooms, and we even talked last summer about the upcoming IKEA hotel, and now the word is out--Marriott is indeed joining with the Swedish furnishings company to create Moxy Hotels. This will be be the company’s European, three-star budget brand, with the first hotel scheduled to debut in Milan in early 2014. And we suppose if any place needs a budget hotel, it would be Milan, no?
Thinking of the young, budget traveler, Marriott turned to Inter Hospitality Holding, IKEA’s real estate division and expressed interest in working together to create rooms that will cost around €60 ($78) per night. But here's the thing, like we said before--IKEA furniture won't be used in the rooms. Huh. So then, why the partnership?
It's getting more and more expensive to visit Oahu, and, for once, it has nothing to do with the cost of coladas or airline tickets. This time, it's actually the hotel industry that's pumping up prices by turning budget-friendly accommodations into luxury lodging. Grr.
Now, don't think this is malicious -- there's a lot of good work being done -- but the fact is that budget-friendly hotels are disappearing. Smith Travel Research reports the number of budget rooms on Oahu and Waikiki has decreased by 10% over the last ten years.
In 2006, Oahu had 33 budget properties but by the end of last year there were only 27 (less than 700 budget hotel rooms in total). Because of the high cost associated with building new on Waikiki, developers are deciding to renovate older buildings, turning them into newer, nicer, and pricier properties.
Despite that trend, you can still find a cheap hotel on Oahu. For our purposes, we consider anything under $200/night in Waikiki during high season a "budget property." Here's a sampling of some of the options we found, based on guest feedback as well as our own. Keep in mind it's currently the high season in Hawaii, meaning you can get even lower prices (and less crowds) if you visit in the late spring or summer...
When was the last time you stayed at a Red Lion Hotel? It seems the hotel gets a bad rap of the Super 8 and Motel 6 variety, though we seem to see plenty of good reviews overall. A Hilton it's not, but it'll do in a pinch. Well, it looks like the company wants to up its game and add a third brand of hotels to their corporation called the Leo Hotel Collection. The second sister is Red Lion Inn & Suites.
Each Leo hotel will be an independently owned franchise property that is “unique, boutique and/or historic,” according to Red Lion HQ. At first we thought this meant they were going to roll out a bunch of funky new properties, all with a different look a la Pasadena Quality Inn—but that doesn’t seem to be the case. It appears more like an opportunity for already established hotels to join up with the brand, and slap the Leo name on their doors.
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Inside an 8-bed room
No one ever got anywhere by calling something a "revolutionary concept." That phrase is played out right along with "funky fresh." Instead let us say this: if Freehand Miami plays its cards right and doesn't get too big for its britches (double idiom sentence!), it has the real potential to be crazy awesome and quickly multiply to conquer cities beyond Miami. Oh wait, that's exactly their plan (for 10 properties!), so what you're about to read is the future, baby.
The Freehand is a hostel with some private rooms and it's not trying to hide that fact. It is, however, a fancy hostel with an interior by Roman & Williams, staff uniforms designed by Timo Weiland, artwork by local Miami artists, and cocktails by Bar Lab.
Shared bunk rooms start at $21 a night (per person), while private rooms begin at $109 (per room). Beyond the rooms (8-bunk, 4-bunk, private king) the Freehand benefits from an inviting lobby, a bar (The Broken Shaker), back garden courtyard, a lovely pool, a side garden of table tennis and other yard games and, eventually, there'll even be a restaurant.
We stayed for three nights at the beginning of Art Basel, the week of their debut, paying a total of $122 for two people in the coed 8-bed room. We were however "upgraded" to a 4-bed room as the 8-beds weren't totally ready.
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In a first for the hotel chain and for Scotland, Tune Hotels opened up their first Scottish property last week welcoming thrifty travelers in the city to check out the umpteen castles, Edinburgh has to offer. It's a first for Scotland and a first in the new design for the hotel chain.
Last summer we told you of plans to bring the discount chain to Scotland, and now everything is official. The brand brings to the city, a la carte pricing for which they have become famous. Want towels? That's £1.50 extra. Room cleaning? £7 per day. Ability to watch some TV? £3 per day.
For those that can plan in advance, you'll see the cheapest rates. Room rates start at £25, but will skyrocket as the cheap rooms sell out. On a recent search in April, we found a double room without windows for £50 ($80) and a room with a view for £80 ($128). Once you start adding any normal hotel amenities, the price is comparable to local hotels.