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The Ritz-Carlton news just keeps rolling in: we’ve heard about new things happening in destinations as disparate as Israel, Bali, Aruba, Japan and beyond already. Closer to home, the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel – in Orange County, Los Angeles – is marking its last year as a twenty-something with new-look guestrooms, new f&b outlets, and more.
Perched high on the cliffs above the crashing waves of the Pacific, the hotel’s location was the source of inspiration for the new design. That translates into lots of pale blues against white walls and sheets, with contrasting dark wood in the headboard and furniture. It’s the kind of beach-y modern that sits midway between the more traditional Ritz-Carlton wealthy- great-aunt look and younger urbanite style you’d find in its Georgetown, DC hotel for example.
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We loathe saying goodbye to summer before it's time, but back-to-school commercials always perform hateful Jedi mind-tricks on us. We begin to believe there's only a short time left between swimsuit and turtle neck season come end of August.
That's why we're presenting this "Last Chance Rooftop Party" guide designed to get you out there before the scene packs up and heads to warmer pastures. Those of you in warmer climates have little to worry about, but for those whose barometers are already dropping, this one's for you!
Le Bain at The Standard NYC
This bi-level roof bar and club in the Meatpacking District is as trendy as it gets. In fact, it might be a tad intimidating to those unfamiliar with The Standard's unofficial "live and let live policy". In other words--the pool area? There may be some toplessness about. The best thing to do is don your shades and focus on the choice music, indulging in wicked drinks, and chowing down on freshly made crepes--savory or sweet. And turn your attention to the glittery Hudson River if your eyes are being assaulted by the bumping and grinding of hips dancing. Join party-girl Susanne Bartsch's outlandish Tuesday soirees, groove to house music all night long (4 am on Friday's) and more. BTW, there's no cover charge to partake in all this fabulousness, but there may be a line. Hit up Facebook for guest list entry.
The SLS Hotel at South Beach
Starting at 12pm on Sunday's, the hotel's trendy Hyde Beach pool area turns into the jumping J'Adore party. Live DJs pump up the jam and bikini-and-Speedo clad party people dance the day away. In between shaking their groove thangs, serious cocktails and loads of bubbly is poured and folks dine off a special snack or Brunch menu. How does churrasco con chimichurri (grilled skirt steak with herb salad )or market ceviche prepared Peruvian style with cancha corn sound? Here's where the beautiful SoBe people show up in droves to snag a cabana or lounger, so reserve early and wear your best bathing attire.
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As the grand finale to cocktail week here's a round-up of some of the nifty things we see going on in the world of hotel bars and bevvies. What do you see goin’ on out there? Let us know!
A salad in every sip: Complementing the trend we told you about in our What’s Out, What’s In column where the drink IS the meal, we’re finding that crafty mixologists are making our drinks a wee bit healthier and sneaking veggies into them to make sure that we’re getting all of our daily recommended vitamins.
Splashes at Surf and Sand Resort in Laguna Beach has a VegGin’ on the Rocks made with Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin, agave nectar (which is said to have a low glycemic index, BTW, which means your blood sugar won’t spike), lime juice, and baby arugula–-all muddled together and topped with house made soda water. You can really taste the goodness.
The Fairmont Chicago’s Green Goose Cocktail features a trio of super foods: kale, celery and granny smith apples. The juiced greens are mixed with Grey Goose, fresh lime juice, chartreuse, and simple syrup for a nutrient-filled flavor explosion.
The appropriately-named Salad Cocktail from the Shangri-La Hotel Toronto is a heart-healthy concoction of juiced celery, spinach, beet, apple and pear combined with 1.5 oz of gin. To top it off, it’s garnished with sherry vinaigrette soaked raspberries and sous vide beets and crisp romaine leaves. We’re getting into the realm of “drink as dinner” with this one.
At Caesars Entertainment Resorts and Casinos in Atlantic City you can find the savoury Red Pepper Margarita–-a mix of red pepper juice, jalapeno rings, five-spice simple syrup and tequila with a smoked salt rimmed glass. Next trend below!
We like to keep it fun but informative here at HotelChatter so our series, What is This?, is devoted to odd-looking items in hotels that upon first glance look as if they serve only a decorative purpose. But everything happens for a reason, right? And we're here to tell you what these things really do.
We recently took a look around the recently renovated--and by golly, according to our 2011 stay, necessary overhauled-- mammoth-sized 1600-room Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego. A place this size, we agreed with our guide, the hotel was indeed a "mini city".
Therefore it's natural there's two towers for the hundreds of guests, not to mention customers coming in and out of their in-house Convention Center. So, when we took an elevator ride to check out the new and improved rooms (more on that another day), all seemed normal until we looked in the corner and saw the little sign above.
Obviously it was a medical symbol, that much we knew, but why was it there?
Take a guess, then we'll reveal after the jump.
Celebrity Scoop / Hotel Weddings / Jimmy Kimmel / Park Hyatt Hotels / California Hotels / Spain Hotels / → All Tags
Gabourey Sidibe provides the comedy for Jimmy Kimmel's wedding!
As wedding season continues (hey, how many have you been to so far?), we’re taking a look at a few celebrities who are getting hitched during this toasty summer in hotels all around the world.
Late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel tied the knot on July 13th, with his show's co-head writer, Molly McNearney at California’s Ojai Valley Inn and Spa. Over 300 friends (including Matt Damon!)came to partake in the special day. Naturally it was star-couple studded event with Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, plus Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux in attendance. But in true comedic fashion, there had to be a joke somewhere in the festivities and that came in the form of “Precious" actress Gabourey Sidibe. She donned a Cinderella-style wedding dress and veil and walked down the aisle to greet Kimmel. The prank was set up by Kimmel’s own fiancé and everyone got a kick out of it. Later, Sidibe changed into a proper red dress. Sounds like a good time!
Advertecture / Downtown LA Hotels / Twinkies / Los Angeles Hotels / Cupcakes / California Hotels / → All Tags
The 88-year-old, vintage building is now part of a central marketing ploy for the re-launch of Hostess' iconic Twinkies, CupCakes and Ding Dongs. After closing down due to a labor strike last November, today is the day America can sink their teeth again into the bakery's sinful (and processed) treats. In an interesting historical twist, the golden sponge cake of Twinkies was first introduced during the 1930s which is around the same time the building went from a YWCA to a tourist's hotel, so the advertisement seems fitting.
Two of the main components that make the Central Coast of California so unique, the combination of wine country and the ocean, are now available in one place at the Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara.
The upscale hotel, known to host big-names such as Michael Jordan and a number of celebrity weddings, recently opened a new on-site tasting room called The Experience (name needs work?), bringing many of the area's wines directly in-house. We have to say that the room looks beautiful, and the ocean-views of the property will no doubt make guests rethink whether the drive up to the Santa Ynez wine country is necessary.
The wine list includes pours from all over the world with a spotlight on local vineyards, including Firestone, Foley and Lincourt. Interestingly enough, and perhaps a bit surprising, tasting at the Bacara is not significantly more expensive than it is at the wineries themselves. Flights of four are $10 and flights of six are $15 at the Experience, while a flight of six is $10 at Firestone Winery, for example. When you factor in the 45-minute ride to wine country from the Bacara, the prices are rather reasonable.
If there was a Guinness World Record for "fastest time from arrival in wine country to having a wine glass in-hand," the Andaz Napa would easily snag the title. Walking into the lobby, being greeted by Andaz staff, and having some complimentary local red or white poured while you set down your luggage takes all of maybe one minute. Once you've had a sip or two, the quick check-in process begins and you're upstairs stretching out fireplace-side in under ten minutes.
The Andaz Napa, formerly the AVIA Napa (Hyatt purchased the AVIA brand in 2011 and transitioned this into the Andaz) sits in a very fortunate location at the center of downtown Napa, placing the main shopping and dining (may we suggest Oenotri?) only a quick walk out the front door, while further destinations like Yountville and the entire Napa Valley spread of wineries are simply a short drive.
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.
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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.
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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.