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Butterflies on the ceiling of Bar Marmont
Cocktail culture is a different breed in Los Angeles. This is a town known for "doing lunch," after all. Aspiring screenwriters and actors usually work during the day and hit clubs late at night, and slick producers hustle deals both during afternoon meetings and after hours. Happy Hour just isn't as popular here as it is in other cities you might visit.
And what makes choosing a bar even more difficult in LA is the rate of trend turnaround; one week some place is the place to be, the next you wouldn't find a Twilight cast member caught dead there.
Recently, the erstwhile travel reporter Jen Leo tweeted @HotelChatter asking us what hotels in Los Angeles would be great for a happy hour. This inspired us to revisit some of the city's most well-known hotel bars to do libation reconnaissance. Below you'll find the results of our liquored social experiment. More after the jump...
Fashion Week Hotels / Celeb Scoop / Hotel Parties / Hotel News / Lady Gaga / Marc Jacobs / → All Tags
Fashion Week is in full force in NYC and while our Top Three Hotels for Fashion Week are seeing some consistent action, the Maritime Hotel was the scene of FW's most coveted affair, the Marc Jacobs show's after-party which took place inside the Hiro Ballroom. Hosted by V Magazine and sponsored by Belvedere Vodka, the party featured a performance from Lady Gaga who was fresh off her Best New Artist VMA and continuing the "blood look" with a blood red lace outfit.
Celebs in attendance ran the gamut from serious fashion designers like Alexander Wang to respected photographers like Mario Testino, new and old divas like Estelle, Ciara, Toni Braxton and Janet Jackson to total flame-outs like Lindsay Lohan and Courtney Love.
Jamie Gold made headlines last month for several reasons. The first being that he won the World Series of Poker championship in Vegas. The second being that he may have padded his resume as a Hollywood talent agent and the third being that he allegedly promised to split his winnings with another man, who promptly filed suit when Gold didn't pony up.
Gold recently told the NY Times that his home in Malibu is not safe due to shady characters lurking outside so he hotel hops around town and the Raffles is just one of his many haunts.
However, Gold is now visiting his parents in Paramus. While there's nothing of the Raffles caliber there, may we recommend the Crowne Plaza?
The Toronto Film Festival has caused Hollywood's hottest celebs to head to the North and rile up the paparazzi from Maple Leaf Land.
Photographers had to hold back heart attacks during Brad Pitt's conference at the Sutton Place Hotel. His star quality pushed those Northerner's to a new level of frenzy as Canada's National Post reported:
This is a real movie star we're talking about here. Rat-a-tat-a-tatta go the camera shutters every time the maler half of Brangelina makes the slightest move. It gets to the point where Henri Behar, the Toronto International Film Festival's stalwart press conference moderator, tells the photographers to "please calm down."
Penelope Cruz was at the Intercontinental Hotel while Matt Damon talked at the Fairmont Royal Park Hotel. But it was the Drake Hotel that had the Hollywood stars putting their moves on as Wyclef started out a hot concert that turned into potentially the most glamorous housekeeping act in hotel history.
Spotting a janitor with a Haitian bandana mopping up the floors, Wyclef began to converse with the man in Creole. He then -- in what I believe was done out of true sincerity as there were no cameras around -- traded his mic for the man's broom and began to help clean up.
The Haitian man took the microphone and began to shout out about Haiti, with pride beaming through his voice. The janitor seemed deeply touched by the act as Wyclef, who recently performed in front of millions at the VMA's, cleaned up before a meager crowd of shocked revelers.
The IRS might be cracking down on the infamous Swag Bags handed out at such events like the upcoming Emmy Awards but product promoters are still determined to hand off their freebies to celebs.
Starting today at the Sofitel Los Angeles Hotel, a band of swaggers, GBK productions, will be opening up their "swag suite" which will give selected celebs free stuff like Lasik eye surgery and a $22,000 Caribbean cruise. But of course, they will be abiding by the new IRS rules demanding taxed be paid on all the free goods:
Tax forms will be available at the Emmy "swag suites" too. "We'll be giving them the necessary paperwork for what it's valued at," said Gavin Keilly of GBK Productions.
Despite a positive reaction at the recent Kids' Choice Awards swag parties, it still remains to be seen whether celebs will want to pick up all the goods now that they have to pay taxes. As the LA Times pointed out, an A-list actor in the top tax bracket will have to pay $40,000 on a $100,000 worth of swag. An A-list actor might be able to manage that fee but a reality TV star or Tara Reid might have trouble making that payment. Is the $22,000 cruise really worth it?
There's a lot of hard-working men and women in the hotel industry who bust their backs for demanding guests every day. Lately, we've been curious as to what's actually going on behind-the-hotel-scenes. From crazy guest requests to itchy hotel uniforms to a sweet paycheck, we've invited some present and former hotel staffers to share their work experiences with us and of course, with you. Just remember, these experiences are straight from the emails of hotel employees to you, and are in no way the opinion of the hotel itself. That said, enjoy the stories and if you've got a hotel work experience and think the world must know--send it along.
Today's story comes from a hotel employee who has seen his fair share of celebrity hotel guests. While we expect demanding behavior from some "Don't You Know Who I Am" actors and other types of high-profile people, our informant tells us sometimes that's not always the case.
I will tell you this, the worst hotel guest is a B-list celeb or a celeb who has no actual career but is profitable for others. Example, Lindsay Lohan is actually very nice (I saw her daily for about 3-4months during that extreme weight loss, which was not as it seemed if you ask me), but it's a pain to deal with the circus that keeps her name in people's mouth even when no one should care.
Endless assistants, PR agents, managers and friends are the actual annoyance. Most hotel employees I have met prefer to deal with super celebs such as one of my favorite hotel guests Leonardo Dicaprio. He has an assistant that sometimes travels with him but he is very down to earth,likes to carry his own bags, and check himself in.
This bit of news should please the staff at the Kona-Kailua hotels where Leo, friend Tobey Maguire and entourage recently took a trip.
· Hotel Employees Talk: Club Med Doesn't Have a Hook-Up Policy [HotelChatter]
· Lindsay Lohan's Hotel Behavior [HotelChatter]
· Leonard Di Caprio takes a respectable vacation in Hawaii [Jaunted]
The beautiful Burning Shore Hotel will most likely be auctioned off. At first we thought perhaps the wax museum wanted to snatch it up to properly house the wax figures of Brad, Angelina, and baby but, turns out it will be in an open market in South Africa. The highest bidder will take the place home, or as a home, for good.
KwaZulu-Natal described the annoucenment as was seen in the South African paper:
The advertisements describe the Burning Shore lodge, situated halfway between Namibia's Walvis Bay and Swakopmund, as "the most celebrated boutique hotel in the world recently vacated by Hollywood couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie"
This place may be a little out of the way but it is full out luxury. A buyer won't just be purchasing twelve luxurious rooms and beachside views but also the birthplace of Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt. With an auction it could really end up in anyone's hands but we really would not be surprised if it did become a wax museum extension. With 12 rooms, Brad and Angelina better have a lot more kids than to fill up the museum hotel's wax displays.
· Brangelina Hotel may be auctioned [KwaZulu-Natal Tonight]
The Esperanza Auberge Resort is a hot place temp-wise to get married, especially this time of year. But that didn't stop NHL star Brett Hull from tying the knot there. According to many past guests, the hotel is pricey but well worth it and is one of the best places to take the plunge.
The wedding brought the hotel all sorts of jock stars like feisty John McEnroe, LA Kings player Sean Avery and more. Now although we didn't find "extra large (jock-approved) beds" listed in the amenities, we assume these guys were kickin' it in the luxury suites which is to say, they were far from roughing it. If you're ready to slam down a few Gs, the hotel website promises only the best:
The 3,000 square foot three-bedroom and 2,200 square foot two-bedroom suites offer sweeping ocean views plus a spacious living and dining area, fireplace, plasma TV, large bedrooms with individual baths, a private pool and whirlpool spa, 24-hour butler service, and more than 1,000 square feet of outdoor space for relaxing or entertaining.
So if you want to pretend you're the subject of MTV's next Cribs show, you can book one of these luxury suites and indulge to no end. You can also go the more humble route however, with the standard, but still oceanfront "casita". This isn't exactly the low-life though so don't feel bad. You'll still get a glamorous room and your WiFi too.
If you hadn't heard, Dustin Diamond aka Screech from "Saved by the Bell" was mugged the other day in a west Omaha hotel.
Diamond said the woman grabbed some video games, and he held her against the hotel room door until police arrived.
Deeming it a case of "He Said, She Said", Omaha police no charges have been filed. Blah, blah, blah. What we really care about is where do former child stars with trouble making their mortgage payments stay when they are on the road touring with an 18-and-older standup comedy show?
Even though Dustin detailed the incident on a Tampa radio show, he didn't say where he was staying. Nor did any other news reports we came across. (They would only say a hotel in west Omaha.)
Perhaps Dustin was staying in a low-budget motel? When we looked at TripAdvisor for some west Omaha hotels, all we found were a Holiday Inn, a Hilton Garden Inn, a Comfort Suites, a Clarion and a couple of Super 8s.
So if you are a Dustin Diamond fan and have been following him on his "tour", let us know where he stayed. Otherwise, comment below on which type of motel you think would Screech prefer.
· Dustin Diamond, aka Screech on 'Saved by the Bell,' gets into a fight [USA Today]
· West Omaha hotels [TripAdvisor]
Madonna continues her wacky touring hotel escapades by popping in on a wedding at a hotel in Rome.
Superstar Madonna surprised a bride and groom in Rome, Italy, over the weekend, when she interrupted their reception to congratulate the newlyweds.
British couple Imogen and Neil McCarthy were holding the wedding reception at the Hotel De Russie restaurant when they realized Madonna and her husband, Guy Ritchie, were also dining at the eatery.
After the DJ put Madonna's hit "Hung Up" on the turntable, the Material Girl decided to pay the happy pair a visit and wished them good luck for their future lives together."
The hotel restaurant we assume Madge and Guy ate at is the Le Jardin du Russie which features alfresco dining "in a tranquil oasis amidst the bustle of central Rome." The restaurant serves a gourmet Mediterranean cuisine created by Chef Nazzareno Menghini but presumably Madonna brings her own Kabbalah water.
· Madonna the Wedding Guest [SF Gate]
· Hotel De Russie reviews [TripAdvisor]
· Madonna Fans Flip the Bird at St. Regis Grand in Rome [HotelChatter]
The September bash coincides with the Toronto film festival which has some peeved that Clinton will "steal the thunder" with his high-profile party.
The main Toronto event is a Sept. 9 gala at the Fairmont Royal York spearheaded by Vancouver money man Frank Giustra. "This is the high-Celsius ticket," National Post columnist Shinan Govani told Page Six. "Billy Crystal doing the jokes, Sarah McLachlan providing the tears, Chelsea Clinton planting the tribute." Tim McGraw and Lenny Kravitz will also perform.
When we do our review of places to stay during the Toronto Film Festival we will probably leave this one off the list. You can't have any fun with all those dang Secret Service men around.
[Ed. Note: Hotel Maven Tim Leffel continues his summer jaunts by checking in on the hotel scene in Memphis. Enjoy.]
At the Madison Hotel in Memphis, jocks, rock stars, and us regular folk can all enjoy a dish of style with the blues and barbeque.
In the dark days of Memphis hotel history, there weren't a lot of choices for the discerning traveler. You either stayed at a faceless chain hotel or you stayed at the grand and historic Peabody. Since the Madison Hotel opened in a restored bank building at the end of 2002, however, Memphis visitors have been able to add some much-needed pizazz to their options. (And celebrities can stay somewhere that isn't designed for their grandmother's tastes.)
When you step into the lobby of The Madison, your senses get a welcome jolt: dark blue and red velvet sofas, colorful paintings, and a soundtrack that is a million miles from Muzak--real Memphis music with soul. The homage to the city's history continues with oversized photos of the blues greats, framed cymbals,and a hotel logo that's formed from two music notes. A "Smashed Brass" sculpture by the mezzanine stairway is composed of four saxophones, two trumpets, and two trombones--all run over by a truck and framed in their flattened state.
More on the hotel including its famous clientele after the jump