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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!
Killer View / Santa Barbara Hotels / California Hotels / Fess Parker / Doubletree Hotels / → All Tags
A few weeks ago, we showed you the before and after pics of the Fess Parker's most recent renovation. The revamp ensured that the hotel will remain one of the city's flagship hotels going forward, at least as far as aesthetics go. We love the new rooms, and one thing that hasn't changed is the beautiful ocean and mountain views they provide.
Next week, we'll poke around town and dish on all the hotel news happening around town, including other hotel renovations as well as offerings you can expect from different properties this summer.
For now, enjoy this wonderful view from the hotel's Gardenia Building, and feel free to daydream about the warm California sun as we transition into spring.
[Photo: Will McGough]
Hmmm... this was definitely a new one for us. This weekend, we stayed at the Hampton Inn in San Clemente, California, while attending a wedding on the adjacent golf course, and when we entered our room, we found this note waiting for us, pressed on the headboard.
As snotty as it sounds, our first thought was whether the hotel wanted a cookie for this typically routine service. We also wondered if sticky notes are now the new way to communicate in our technologically advanced world.
But alas, the note is actually just a marketing opportunity by Hampton Inn. (We've seen another hotel use sticky notes before as a marketing gimmick too.)
A few years ago, the brand rolled out these printed sticky notes to assure guests that the sheets on the bed are clean. Which makes sense since our #1 fear is usually that the duvet cover hasn't been washed and contains god-knows-what kind of stains.
But while we definitely appreciate clean linens, we're not sure we need a note, much less a sticky note on the headboard, to remind us. This isn't Office Space, it's a hotel room.
What do you think? Should Hampton Inn use sticky notes on the headboard to remind guests about the clean linens? Or is there another way to do this? Sound off in comments below!
Lake Tahoe Hotels / South Lake Tahoe Hotels / California Hotels / Hotel News / Hotel Renovations / → All Tags
South Lake Tahoe's newest hotel, the Landing.
Despite eight ski resorts in the greater Tahoe area, winter is actually the region's offseason and, this year, it has seen an impressive amount of renovation take place in anticipation of the busy summer season. Below, we take a look at some South Lake properties that have been brushed up of late:
It's the newest hotel in Tahoe having just opened at the end of last year, and it's also South Lake's most high-end boutique resort. We told you about the bathrooms that sport the manliest hotel amenity ever, and that novelty is just a tiny aspect of what makes the lake-front Landing impressive. Its in-house, wood-fire Greek restaurant, Jimmy's, is perhaps the best dining in town (we recommend going with the tapas), and its position on the lake results in killer views. A full-service spa, free wine tasting, valet parking, and in-room fireplaces round out the perks. Rates start at $199/night.
Before we get into breaking down the newly renovated hotels of South Lake Tahoe, we'd like to tackle an often-asked question about the region: What's the difference between the hotels on the South and North sides?
In general, North Lake Tahoe forgoes nightlife for tranquility, and as a result, most properties are spread out, self-sustaining and more full-service oriented than many found on the South side, where entertainment options are abundant and hotels are bunched together in town. Expect to find a lot of lesser quality and budget hotels sprinkled in amongst the best kept ones in South Lake (which you will learn about this week).
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The Emerson Resort is a close-by chill-out spot for New York City residents
The seasons are changing in many parts of the country, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to hibernate away. In fact, fall can be the best time to explore cities that were too hot to handle in the summer, or quaint country inns too filled with weekenders.
Whether you want to be a city or country mouse, we’ve got some great spots waiting to welcome you with open arms, a cup of hot cider or perhaps a glass of bubbly.
Now's the right time to choose your great escape.
Town: New York City
Many families heading to NYC for the holidays will be pleased by this month’s opening of the 95-room Fairfield Inn & Suites New York Manhattan Downtown. Located at 95 Henry Street in the Chinatown and the Lower East Side area, the hotel has convenient access to the Statue of Liberty, Times Square and World Trade Center Memorial/Freedom Tower. Besides the free hot breakfast and WiFi, guests will dig the in-room microwaves and mini-fridges as well as the swell price point starting at $169 per night (rates will vary).
Country: Mt Tremper, New York
The Catskills are a go-to destination for weary New Yorkers seeking refuge from their 9 to 5's. The Emerson Resort, a Kingston-area resort, has two sections—an adults-only Inn where fireplace and canopy-bed laced suites provide a serene scene, and a pet and family-friendly Adirondack-style lodge so everyone can let loose without worry. But all guests get access to the first-class restaurant, spa (pumpkin body scrub, anyone), hiking, and soon coming skiing at nearby Hunter Mountain. Plus, the price is right starting at $159 per night.
Hotel Fashion / Fashion Designers / Dorchester Collection / Luxury Hotels / California Hotels / Beverly Hills Hotels / → All Tags
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.
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It's peak harvest season for winemakers, where they're getting grapes prepared for their next vintage. Depending on the climate and part of the country, the process can begin in August, but it usually lasts right to until the end of October.
This is when wine lovers are excited to witness the magic and sheepishly live out their "I Love Lucy" fantasies and stomp some grapes. While the practice isn't really done anymore for hygiene reasons, there are a few wineries that will do it as part of a festival or kitsch.
Still, the autumn splendor, fall foliage, and rows of vines are reason enough for us to have a crush on these hotels in some of the country's top winelands.
1. The month-old Salamander Resort & Spa, just 40 minutes from Washington D.C., is lucky enough to be surrounded by almost 50 wineries. On Saturday October 12th, chef Todd Gray can pack guests a gourmet picnic basket as they head to the Fall Crush festival at the Winery at Bull Run. There, one can literally help stomp out poverty by taking part in grape stomping activities. There's also corn holes and live bands for added entertainment, all while trying local Viogniers and Meritages. 100% of the proceeds from the event will support Meant 2 Live Foundation and FACETS, which helps parents, their children, and individuals suffering the effects of poverty in Fairfax County and also Orphans of Zambia. Rates at the resort begin at $425.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month / Breast Cancer Hotel Packages / Four Seasons Hotels / California Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / San Diego Hotels / Hard Rock Hotels / Kempinski Hotels / Dubai Hotels / → All Tags
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and many hotels are "Thinking Pink", offering packages and programs to support breast cancer research. Hotel geeks, you can do your part to help the cause in the simplest ways from buying a slice of cake, getting a manicure at a hotel spa, to of course booking a stay at one of these special properties. It's a twin-win this month.
Next week we'll let you know hotels supporting this nationally recognized month with one of our favorite things--Specialty Cocktails!
Squeeze n' Sip: The Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village near Malibu is supporting Breast Cancer Awareness by inviting guests to be proactive about their health by participating in a $75 digital mammogram screening at their state-of-the-art California Health and Longevity Institute, and also their special Think Pink Pampering Package, which includes a customized 50-minute Tranquility Massage followed by a Pink Lady Mocktini which can be sipped poolside at the spa's Serenity Pool. The package is $130 per person and is available Monday to Friday through October 31, 2013. A portion of the package proceeds will be donated to The Cancer Support Community, a local non-profit organization dedicated to supporting individuals and families of those affected by cancer.
Get Pretty Feet and a Sweet Treat: The Surrey in New York City is offering a special Champagne Pedicure in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month. The 60 minute pedicure is $95 and includes two signature Cornelia cupcakes, a small bouquet of pink roses and dried lavender.
Hotel Renovations / Ritz-Carlton Hotels / California Hotels / Los Angeles Hotels / Istanbul Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Hotel Club Lounges / → All Tags
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.
Rooftop Bars / Hotel Cocktails / Hotel Bars / Miami Hotels / SLS Hotels / Shanghai Hotels / Banyan Tree Hotels / W Hotels / San Diego Hotels / California Hotels / London Hotels / → All Tags
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.
Hotel Cocktail Week / Hotel Cocktails / Hotel Bars / Hotel Trends / California Hotels / Chicago Hotels / Canada Hotels / Toronto Hotels / Atlantic City Hotels / Puerto Vallarta Hotels / Scottsdale Hoels / Los Angeles Hotels / Marriott Hotels / Fairmont Hotels / Shangri-La Hotels / Tablet Hotels / → All Tags
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!