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Celebrity Scoop / Sean Parker / Hotel Drama / Hotel Weddings / Lodge Hotels / Green Hotels / Big Sur Hotels / California Hotels / → All Tags
We love to watch celebs drop huge amounts of money on their weddings, especially when they're at lavish resort hotels and feature star-studded guest lists and more decimal points than any one of us can imagine. The recent nuptials of Facebook co-founder, Sean Parker was no different to any other cashed-up internet mogul.
The details are like this: he paid $10 million to reserve the entire Ventana Inn. The Big Sur luxury eco-lodge played host to his "I dos" deep in the woods of their campground section that was reclaimed back to nature in 2007. Parker's wedding planner moved in building walls, water effects and fake ruins on the old campground to create the ultimate forest-themed wedding that would go down in The Parker Family history as a fairytale day.
Sounds all magical and beautiful, right? No doubt that the massive check he signed over to get a little privacy during their day created a truly memorable experience. One problem: the folks over at Ventana broke some rules correction: laws by allowing the guest to transform the redwood forest into a wedding site all without the compulsory permits.
Hotel Shopping / Beach Hotels / Hotel Trends / Hotel Packages / Starwood Hotels / Leading Hotels of the World / Chicago Hotels / Santa Monica Hotels / California Hotels / → All Tags
The sun is shining, the water’s warm and a girl needs a chi-chi bag that’ll be able to keep up with her stylin’ swimsuit. These three hotels make it easy for you to do just that and here’s how to get your hands on 'em.
If you’re a Starwood SPG member, this is your lucky day. Starwood has partnered with kate spade new york to come up with a line of beach totes inspired by four categories in the SPG Members' Favorite Resorts List: Best Spa Indulgence, Most Romantic Retreat, Best Island Paradise, and Best Golf Getaway. Each tote has its own punchy phrase, matched with its own punchy color, that represents each category. The bags are available at kate spade new york boutiques or online for $199. You can also enter the “Off We Go” contest until June 6 to win a trip to a Starwood resort along with a choice collection of kate spade goodies.
Hotel Trends / Hotel Workouts / Hotel Gyms / Dorchester Collection / London Hotels / Europe Hotels / Raffles Hotels / Westin Hotels / Starwood Hotels / Starwood / San Diego Hotels / California Hotels / Swissotels / → All Tags
We've started a series of what’s trending in hotels these days: What’s Out, What’s In. Do we like what we see? Think it's a dud? You be the judge!
What's Out: Trekking to the hotel gym
What's In: In-room workouts that rival a personal training session
The hotel gym. We know people use ‘em, but sometimes it’s hard to find that last bit of energy needed to drag yourself out of your room after a busy day of sightseeing or making deals. Or maybe you’re just jet-lagged and are up at 3 a.m. thinking, “Man – I could really go for a workout right now.” At these hotels, the gym comes to you.
Dorchester Collection’s new contemporary hotel 45 Park Lane in London offers you an exclusive in-room workout with fitness guru and trainer to the stars, Matt Roberts, through a bespoke and full-body in-room video program. The hotel committed to get fit during the London Olympics and got Matt to create five workouts, each video focusing on a different area of the body using the furniture at hand. (We’re not suggesting they’re copying us here at HC, but sort of like our Sweat-Worthy Hotel Room Exercises series we brought you about a month or so ago.)
When you leave you’ll also get a freebie Matt at 45 Park Lane Fitness Pack which includes step-by-step training techniques for beginners through pros, a healthy eating plan, and “in the know” tips from the trainer -- things only Matt Roberts and Naomi Campbell knew till now.
At Raffles Praslin Seychelles space is your friend if you want to have an in-room workout. In the privacy of your own 410 sq ft (minimum) villa, with a vast outdoor terrace looking out over the ocean, you can do as many Sun Salutations as you want without bumping into the furniture. All villas already include a yoga mat and, at your mere request, the resort will deliver a fitness kit consisting of a dumbbell set, skipping rope, stability ball, resistance band and a selection of exercise DVDs. If that’s not enough to get you going you can arrange for an in-room personal trainer to take you through your paces with a customized exercise program.
And don't forget, HotelChatter's Sweat-Worthy Workouts: Can't afford to hire a personal trainer to come to your room? Or more likely, are you staying in a property that doesn't have a gym or in-room fitness videos? We've got you covered with our five sweat-worthy workouts, all of which you can do in your hotel room. Watch the videos for instructions on the different body parts to work out. You're very welcome!
Two more fitness-crazed hotels below!
Hotel Burgers / Hotel Restaurants / Las Vegas Hotels / California Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / → All Tags
We've just discovered May is National Burger Month, which apparently is different than National Cheeseburger Day, go figure. However, we won't quibble because anything that gives us a chance to sink our teeth into a juicy beefy sandwich (or turkey, or veggie if our pants feel a bit tight) without remorse, is a-ok in our book.
Naturally we had to think what hotels are serving up stellar burgers for this special time and we've narrowed it down to these:
The $5,000 Fleur Burger by Hubert Keller, Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Las Vegas
Ok, yes, this completely ridiculous and we'll probably never taste this burger at Keller's Fleur restaurant in our lifetime, but it just sounds so completely decadent we can't help but dream about this masterpiece of wagyu beef, foie gras, and truffle served with a bottle of 1995 Chateau Petrus. Need something a bit more reasonable? Come for lunch and order the Wagyu burger with bacon, wild mushrooms, and gruyere, on a potato bun with frites for $22.
Double Brie & Fig Burger, Surf & Sand Resort, Laguna Beach, CA
Anyone can order a plain-old cheeseburger and we often do, but this version at the hotel's Splashes restaurant seems so unusual, we'd definitely give it a try. It's an Angus patty topped with double cream brie, fig marmalade, caramelized onions and Dijon mustard. It just screams "rich", right? But thank goodness the price isn't, coming in at $19.
Hotel Openings / Beverly Hills Hotels / California Hotels / Los Angeles Hotels / Boutique Hotels / → All Tags
A brand new hotel has opened in the heart of Beverly Hills, just steps from the famed Rodeo Drive. Earlier this month, Sirtaj, has opened its door in one of America's most famous zip codes. Well kinda, since, technically, this is in 90212, but who's counting?
The super trendy digs feature 32 rooms with free WiFi and creature comforts like Egyptian cotton linens. If the welcome cocktail isn't enough and you just need to raid the minibar, expect SoCal goodies as the custom mini-bars are stocked with locally-sourced treats .Oh, and java-addicts will appreciate the in-room LavAzza coffee-machines to prevent any dropping after Rodeo-Drive shopping.
We think the ketchup art, while potty-mouth language, does sum up this week in a nutshell, and yet, it makes us smile at the same time because we love the sassy!
This patron's burger from the hotel's King's Highway restaurant (an old Denny's), is accompanied by a tall can of Red Stripe beer, which we don't think we've ever seen before--upping the cool factor even more. The $12 Amigo burger comes with bacon onion marmalade, aged cheddar and butter lettuce. Foul-mouthed ketchup is free.
Hotel Chefs / Hotel Restaurants / Ritz-Carlton Hotels / San Francisco Hotels / California Hotels / → All Tags
Here's the latest happening in the luxury hotel world as told by JustLuxe's own Lena Katz. Got a question about luxury hotels, the travel biz, and where to stay? Send it in and we'll have Lena answer it.
A recent dinner at the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco’s swank Parallel 37 food-geeked us out, thanks to new chef Michael Rotondo’s tendency to incorporate the most exotic produce items in California into his tasting menu. Torpedo radish? Smoked sunchokes? Arugula blossoms? It’s all coming at ya…and it’s good.
Chef Rotondo, who recently arrived from Chicago where he cooked under Charlie Trotter for eight years, admitted when he wanders through the San Francisco area farmers markets, he often doesn't recognize some of the stranger fruits – and when that happens, he usually buys the questionable item, takes it back to the kitchen, and figures out a tasty use for it.
We asked him to identify seven awesome produce items he’s cooking with right now, and tell us what the heck to do with them
Fermented Black Garlic: Ferment whole bulbs of garlic at high temperature, and they’ll turn black and taste sweet and syrupy, with hints of licorice and balsamic. Black garlic isn’t the prettiest veggie in the drawer, but it adds a complexity to a dish that raw garlic can't match. Most Asian markets carry black garlic. We have it on the lunch menu currently - blended into a light aioli and used on our albacore tuna sandwich.
Hotel News / Autograph Collection / California Hotels / Iowa Hotels / Historic Hotels / San Francisco Hotels / → All Tags
Autograph Collection just announced its first two hotels in California, plus a second in Davenport, Iowa, all of which are set to officially debut as AC properties next month. Looks like the brand is well on track to reach its goal of 50 hotels by the end of 2013.
First up is Hotel Adagio, a 171-room historical hotel near Union Square in San Francisco. This one caught our eye back in September when we visited and loved how fresh-looking the place looked after its $7 million renovations. In fact, back then, we even wrote how Hotel Adagio had parted ways with Joie De Vivre, so "perhaps the hotel's future may be brighter."
Looks like we were right about that one!
Hotel Amenities / Hotel Tech / Hotel TVs / In-Room Movies / Tech Hotels / Aloft Hotels / California Hotels / Starwood Hotels / → All Tags
Here's one advantage to being located next to Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, CA: Aloft Cupertino, which opened yesterday, is now the first Aloft hotel to feature Apple TV devices in all 123 guest rooms. This is great news for anyone not interested in paying $15-$20 just to watch an in-room movie (ie, us, and pretty much everyone else).
The ingenious little box-shaped devices (pictured) basically allow you to stream music, TV shows and movies on iTunes, Netflix, Hulu or MBL.com straight from your Apple device onto an HD TV.
So while it's a handy thing to keep around the house, it works just as well—if not better—in a hotel. Wanna order room service while running through all the episodes of Downton Abbey? Or watch the Angels vs. Giants game in your bathtub? Or sing (loudly) along with the cast of Glee? The possibilities are endless.
And if being able to stream all your favorite media for free wasn't enough, the hotel will make things easier by resetting the boxes each time a guest checks out (that way, your account settings won't be compromised). Aloft will even go ahead and sync up iTunes to match whatever country you're from
Of course, you'll need reliable WiFi to actually access the content on your iPhone, iPad or iPod. And luckily, Aloft is one of the upstanding brands that offers it free.
Women-Friendly Hotels / Hyatt Hotels / Orange County Hotels / Irvine Hotels / California Hotels / → All Tags
Hotels catering specifically for their female guests is nothing new. Way back when in 2008, Kimpton Hotels rolled out the Women InTouch program which offered up a bunch of female-centric amenities and toiletries to use during their stay, like flat-irons and stain-removing wipes. Over at the Waldorf Astoria Chicago, the bathroom showers even have a special ledge for ladies (or men!) to use while shaving their legs.
But even so, we still got excited by the new offerings at the Hyatt Regency Irvine in Calif., home to a handful of big corporations like Taco Bell, Asics and Toshiba.
The hotel has created The Women's Experience program which includes 50 "women-specific" non-connecting guestrooms located away from exits and stairwells, as well as bigger vanity kits with make-up removers and a "convenience collection" of amenities that includes curling and flat irons, free-weight sets and yoga mats. The program will also include smaller-sized robes and slippers, which may work well for the women with size 7 shoe or smaller. But, not every woman has petite feet--sorry--so that might be our only gripe.
Next week we'll be debuting our HotelChatter 2013 Cruise Guide. It might seem like a funny time to release this as, to put it lightly, the cruise ship industry has been in the spotlight over the past year. And few flowers have been thrown on stage.
There have been some dramas. Costa Concordia sank off the coast of Italy. The disabled Carnival Triumph had its feces run down the walls. Food-related illness continues to be a problem. And now cities are starting to debate whether or not they should welcome ships, whether they do more harm than good. Charleston is having an internal debate about it currently, and it isn't pretty.
One resident described cruise ships as "sardine cans" that are "susceptible to horrific accidents that instantly can put thousands at risk for their lives.” Another saw the ships as a detriment to the city's ambiance. “I can’t believe they are doing this to Charleston,” she said. “I can hear the announcements from my house. And that black smoke. It just tumbles out of that smokestack. You should see the dust in my car.”
While a reasonable person could understand that side of the coin -- the resident's viewpoint -- we can't forget about the other side -- the business side. And also a strong consumer force that continues to love cruising.
..The Montage Beverly Hills and its view of Beverly Drive.
While the Central and East Coast are shaking in their boots wondering if/what kind of weather monstrosity is going to hit in the next few days (it's March, right?), this West Coast cutie is standing proud on the corner saying "Snow who? Snow what?"
The Montage knows not of such snowy thangs in Cali-for-ni-a. And we just love this pretty pic they posted on Intagram boasting all their hotness. Perhaps this snap it will inspire you to appreciate your warmth (if you live in such weather) or get out of the cold by taking a look-see at our Caribbean Guide.
There's a reason why Al Roker and Storm Phillips have huge followings. Weathermen have influence! Donchaknow?
[Photo: Montage Beverly Hills]