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There's a new kind of pay-by-the-hour hotel room in town, and this is one where you won't have to worry about suspicious stains on the bedding because there's no bedding at all!
Newly installed at Starwood's W Chicago City Center and Sydney's Sheraton on the Park are "Telepresence Suites," virtual meeting rooms that connect business travelers stationed around the world as though they were doing business in person. Because you can only do so much using the front-facing camera on a new iPhone 4.
Hotel Rants / Hotel WiFi Hell / Hotel WiFi / Frankfurt Hotels / Airport Hotels / Business Hotels / Germany Hotels / Sheraton Hotels / → All Tags
Even though many budget-friendly hotels have adopted free internet as part of the room rate, the fight for complimentary WiFi is far from over. Our latest battlefront is the Sheraton Hotel & Tower at Frankfurt Airport in Germany, which had the most appallingly bad internet policy and connection we've ever used.
Thankfully we got around paying $250 a night for this airport hotel by being a guest of Lufthansa, but we still had the pesky internet charge. And here's the policy: Guests get a free 30 minutes of internet per day in the lobby only. In the rooms, connectivity costs 8 Euro per hour, or a flat 19 Euro for 24 hours. You must create a user ID for your account.
After successfully hooking up to the free half-hour in the lobby on our iPhone at check-in, the situation looked manageable. That is, until we sat down in our room to begin the real work.
Japan Hotels / Capsule Hotels / Hotel Hell / Business Hotels / Recession Hotels / New York Times / → All Tags
Hearing about businessmen who turn their hotel room into a home-away-from-home is no new phenomenon. There may even be a wife-away-from-home involved, but that's a different story altogether.
Also nothing new are those teeny, tiny capsule hotel "rooms"—if they can even be called that—common to Japan. They're cute and quirky to us Americans, sure, but these days they're serving a different purpose. With the economy having taken a turn for the worst in 2009, some of the country's unemployed have turned to dwelling at places like the Hotel Shinjuku as they search for new jobs, reports the New York Times.
You know the scene. You open the door to your brand new hotel room, run over to the window, open the blinds and bam, you are hit with the anti-view. Maybe you are looking down a dirty alley, witnessing a drug deal, staring an air shaft in the face, or seeing a brick wall. Whatever you are viewing, it is not extremely pleasurable. Help out your fellow hotel mavens by uploading your anti-views to the HotelChatter/Flickr photo pool, or by sending the photo along to us. Remember to tell us the name of the hotel and the room number with the not-so-easy-on-the-eyes view.
This rather grim view was what greeted hotel fan uggboy during a stay at The Crowne Plaza Hotel Dublin-Northwood. We know—when you think of Ireland, you think of rolling green hills, or lovely seaside cliffs. Not, um, bland brick walls.
Chalk this hotel opening up to some of the notable ch-ch-ch-changes of hotel goliath Hilton Worldwide (née Hilton Hotels). Following news of the company's logo and name change, and overall brand rebirth, comes what they are dubbing a "historic" announced opening in Mexico City.
The Hilton Mexico City Reforma—currently a Sheraton—is scheduled to open at the end of 2009 after a series of upgrades, making it the first full-service Hilton hotel in the city. Is it a happy coincidence that it happens to be located on the aptly named Reforma Avenue?
The announcement touts the future Hilton as being ideal for business and pleasure-seeking travelers, but their description is especially suit-and-tie formal: Hilton looks forward to building its "portfolio of brands throughout Mexico and Latin America;" it will strengthen their "presence in one of the most important markets with one of the most impressive products in Mexico City." Can we get a hedge fund with room service?
Earlier this month we told you about the green spa at the coming-soon Ritz-Carlton Charlotte (set to open Oct. 1!). The latest word from the North Carolina city’s first Ritz? The hotel also claims five “business travel firsts” to help stressed-out, working travelers feel at home.
1. The Nook, located on the hotel’s executive floor, will offer fully equipped, free private offices, complete with desktop computers, printers, office supplies, teleconferencing equipment, Wi-Fi, copy/fax machine access, and even tech help. This is in addition to the hotel’s full 24-hour biz center.
Reason number one to love the City Inn chain of hotels in the UK: they have iMacs in every room. Reason number two: they’re celebrating their 10th birthday this year by offering us some pretty fine presents.
Starting today, and going on for 10 days, they’ve got a prize draw for 10 events taking place in the UK this year. Some we’ll probably pass on U2 at the Millennium Stadium, we’re talking about you some we’d probably send our male folk on (three whole cricket matches), but some we would definitely go for like the Wimbledon ladies semifinals.
Here’s the catch: you can only enter the drawing for one prize, and if we were playing the numbers game, we’d put our money on Kraftwerk at the Manchester Velodrome as being the easiest to win. But don’t forget, each present includes a VIP package of dinner, bed and breakfast, and a sprinkling of champagne. So we could even enter the U2 draw and just use it as a free night’s stay.
What we like best of all, though, is the generosity of spirit on display here. You don’t have to stay in one of their hotels to qualify, you just have to register on their website at cityinn.com/tenth-anniversary. Happy birthday.
We love us some TripAdvisor over 'round these parts. When a new hotel opens and we want to get a good look at what guests are saying about the place or we want to compare our opinions against the thoughts of the general public we head on over to trusty TA to check out what people are saying about the amenities, the romance factor, the service, etc.
But when we're traveling on business and we need to know specifics, like how close a hotel is to our meeting location and whether or not the business center provides free copies, we don't really dig having to wade through the dozens of reviews that describe how the hotel's concierge was instrumental in orchestrating a marriage proposal or how the restaurant had no food that children could eat.
So last week, TA heard our cries and launched a new "Business Travel Center": business travelers "can now specifically sort reviews written by business travelers about their business trip stays at hotels, and see rankings that display hotels that best cater to business travelers." Ooooh. So now, separate from a hotel's general Popularity Index (you know, "#1 in San Diego" and whatnot), there is now a Business Popularity Index that will rank hotels based on popularity specifically for business travel.
Wall-Street-er, Corporate Suit-y friends of ours, listen: we're certainly not suggesting that your integrity might need a bit of tweaking. But, um, maybe it does. It might. Sometimes we get a little carried away when we have our minds on our money and our money on our minds. It's okay.
So let's just say you are "an executive looking for a morale boost and a dose of ethical inspiration" (sounds a bit friendlier, right?). Author James Owen suggests you may be able to find said "ethical inspiration" by looking to cowboys you know, the dudes who used to do business with handshakes and good faith and, apparently, The Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort in Santa Ynez Valley, CA (Santa Barbara wine country) agrees: they've designed a "bootcamp" retreat to teach the "Code of the West" to anyone who needs a bit of an...integrity boost.
Yotels. Really? We get it that Yotels can have very convenient locations (that is to say, at airports), and the price is a lot cheaper than fancier hotels. But the best business hotel? In our informal street survey of a few average business people, they certainly didn't agree--sorry, company bosses, but our contacts were after bigger and quieter rooms if the company's paying.
Just the same, the Yotel concept has some real positives going for it, so we say congrats to them for picking up this award. We're looking forward to seeing a few more Yotels around, like the proposed Abu Dhabi ones, before we decide if we're lovers or haters.
Every so often we feature a hotel review from one of our readers that we feel should be shared with the rest of you dear hotel guests. These reviews are highlighted because they are timely, about cool hotels in cool places and are relatively level-headed. Think you can submit one just like this? Send it in. Now, we present you with reader J's review of the Hotel Zemaites in Vilnius, Lithuania. Enjoy.
The place is called the Zemaites, and it's a lot like Lithuania itself. Functional, but not fancy. Its mostly a hotel for LT businessmen, as its not in the center (3 km), and on the other side of the center from the snazzy shopping areas, etc.
The hotel was redone, I would guess in the last year. I chose the suite because it was only $25 more than the 'standard' room. Standard room, 97 USD, Suite $122 (I got 50% off because my company has a deal here).
HotelChatter's newest contributing editor Scarlett Lion is filing her stories from Uganda. Every now and then, she'll be sending us dispatches about the hotel scene here. Got questions? Send 'em to us and we'll get them answered. Enjoy.
People have been known to call Kampala, Uganda's capital city, a city of seven hills but it's not really true.
It's a hilly city, but the number seven doesn't correspond to all the swells of land with luxury homes at their peaks, nor are there seven valleys, flooded and filled with slum dwellers.
In fact, it's hard to count just about anything in Kampala. Estimates of population vary from 1.5 million people to 4 million. Estimates of the number of hotels that have besieged the city of late are also difficult to come by.