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Our hot chocolate at Stumptown
Despite all the weird weather of late, it's finally cold enough in New York City to warrant sitting down and ordering a hot chocolate. Luckily for you, we're kind of pros at this, as we frequently turn the cafes of NYC hotels into our makeshift drawing rooms. Here's three of our favorite hotel spots for a hot chocolate:
Ace Hotel Stumptown Coffee Roasters: Don't expect to snag a free seat in scenester lobby, but rather take your tall glass of hot chocolate (ever so perfectly whip cream-topped) to the window and stand, idly gazing out and enjoying these ten minutes of pure nothingness. Take a tiny, shiny pastry to go.
4.5ft high. Four days to make. Hundreds of sweets stuck onto it: those are the stats for the incredible gingerbread house at the Langham London.
The house has been set up in Palm Court (the tea room), in order to coincide with the Festive Afternoon Tea that the hotel is offering as well as the sconegasmic Bijoux Tea. We popped by last week and - wow. It's incredible. Little wonder everyone is queuing to get their photo taken in front of it.
But it's not just a pretty face - you can actually win an afternoon tea for two if you guess the weight of the gingerbread house. Or rather, the amount of gingerbread used in its construction.
Entries should be rounded to the nearest kg and entered on the Langham's Facebook page by 23 December - so you have a little time.
Getting in the Christmas spirit may be easy for those who love wearing kitschy knit vests, or going shopping amid crowds, or baking in general, but we pretty much rely on hotel lobbies to jolt us from our pre-winter malaise. When the trees go up and the garlands come down the staircases, it's pretty hard to resist the warm fuzzies that rise in our gut, and thus we typically go seeking out hotel lobbies with classic scenes.
A few days ago in Chicago, we popped into The Fairmont for this very reason.
The Fairmont is a hotel we tend to forget exists, since it's behind the stocky business buildings of Michigan Avenue and covered from the south by the monolithic Aon Center. Oddly it's been the presence of the new Radisson Blu Chicago that's drawn us back to the area. Guess what, thoughthe Blu doesn't have a tree! So across the street it is.
The Public Chicago may still be quite the newbie on the hotel scene in Chicago, but it's already got the Gold Coast glamor down pat, as evidenced by the classic, non-fussy look of their very first lobby Christmas tree.
It's a simple affair to compliment the low-key lobby, and it's surprisingly placed a bit off to the side. Why? Because even the tree knows that the real highlight of the lobbyduring cold Chicago winterswill be the Library Bar's fireplace and the way it beckons guests up into cozier surrounds.
Having experienced the Public and its Pump Room when it was still the old Ambassador East, we can say that the Public at least carries on the building's tradition of being the place in the neighborhood for a bit of white-gloved hot toddy service, though these days those white gloves have morphed to little black dresses.
Make it a very British holiday at the Zetter Townhouse
Those twinkling fairy lights (that's "Christmas lights" to you Yanks) around central London don't lie: the holiday season is most definitely in full swing. So much so that last Saturday, a portion of Oxford Street was shut down, leading to what can only be described as gridlock hell around some of the city's most trafficked shopping areas.
Monstrous as crowds of slow-strutting tourists and rabid holiday shoppers may be, London is still a magical place to spend a winter holiday, especially upon first snow. (Curiously, none has fallen yet.) With news of designer Christmas trees hitting swanky lobbies, we thought it an appropriate time to survey the local hotel scene: the digs, the availability, and the prices. Find out what we found after the jump.
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Just completed and lit during a tea service yesterday, the Betsey Johnson/Eloise tree is perhaps the hottest pink tree you'll ever see; it's 18 feet high and some of the ornaments are stuffed with Betsey goodies (like jewelry and underwear).
It's free to stop in and see the tree, which is not in the lobby but nearer the Palm Court, but it'll only be shining that fuchsia glow through January 4. Meanwhile if you'd like to buy a few things off the tree, the pop-up in The Plaza's downstairs shops will be open longeruntil January 9.
For a whole slew of photos of the tree's decorating and Betsey striking poses, hit up the Facebook gallery.
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It may be more foggy than chilly in London right now, but that won’t stop us getting into the Christmas spirit with some ice skating. Last night, the Somerset House rink (sponsored by Tiffany, no less) opened up with the
overexposed ubiquitous delightful P Middy christening it for the rest of us.
Turns out we’re not the only ones who like
Pippa Middleton skating, because myHotels have teamed up with the rink to offer a skating package.
Guests will also be able to choose from one of the many Club Nights available at Skate this year – including names such as Joey Negro, Winterwell Festival feat The Next Men, Ministry of Sound Radio, Time Out presents Nite Sessions and many more.
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After John Galliano effectively ousted himself from the House of Dior earlier this year, owing to an anti-semitic tirade caught on camera, the luxury label has lagged in finding a permanent replacement. WIth so much tumult at the company, it's no surprise that London hotel Claridge's has chosen a different designer to take on their annual holiday tree decor. (Dior was responsible for the tree from 2009-2010.)
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Love pink stuff? Love New York City's The Plaza Hotel? Hate the high prices ($75 headbands!) of the pink-perfect Eloise shop at The Plaza? We're with you all the way. There's some relief however, as The Plaza has just opened a Betsey Johnson holiday pop-up shop in the lower-level Shops arcade at the hotel.
We just went and roamed around it ourselves, and though it's itsy-bitsy, it definitely packs the pinkest punch. The store associates told us that Betsey wanted the shop chock-full of accessories, and that it is; her sparkly jewelry, funky watches, quilted clutches and even winter hats are everywhere. Rest assured they've got Betsey's signature clothing line as well, in all its crinolined, punky princess glory. The only thing iswhen we expressed interest in a particularly stunning necklace but in a larger sizewe were told that items are already beginning to sell out. Thankfully if you're that hard-up for something sparkly to wear to your holiday shindig, there are other Betsey shop locations around the city.
If you go, the Betsey Johnson pop-up is only open until January 9.
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Like it or not, the holiday season has officially begun. So while you're drawing up your Christmas wish lists or plotting out the best strategy for door-busting on Black Friday, don't forget to plan out your hotel stay. From now through New Year's Eve, we'll be pulling out the holiday hotel news, deals and events we think are the best (or the worst.) Got a question about booking a hotel over the holidays or what to do when staying in a hotel over the holidays? Let us know!
So you've decided to stay in a hotel over Christmas or during Hanukkah but you're worried you might be missing out on all the holiday fun up in your room. Well, if you're staying at these places below you can have the holidays delivered straight to your door.
At the Four Seasons Whistler in Canada, the hotel's "Deck the Halls" package includes a four or five-foot Christmas tree already on a stand and brought up to your room with lights, bulbs and a star for the top, along with hot chocolate, milk, freshly baked cookies, a Christmas music CD and one stocking per guest with their name embroidered on it.
Naturally, this makes the already pricey Four Seasons resort a bit pricier at $1,200 CAD a night before taxes. There's also a minimum stay of four nights. But there's a chance you could see a hunky Australian action star.
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Us Hotel Chatter-ers on the ground in London were recently unnerved at the site of boxed minced pies in our local Marks & Spencer. Holiday season: it has begun. Shudder.
Local hotels are gearing up in kind, crafting robust packages to spread a little Christmas cheer to their winter patrons (and cheer to those handling the profit-raking side of things). The Montague on the Gardens has gone over the top in conceiving of yule tide offerings, cobbling together a—wait for it—"magical winter wonderland" on their Wood Deck. And yes, there will be reindeer.
Last time we heard about the Royal Horseguards in London, it was doing its bit for charity. Now we’re delighted to report it’s doing its bit for us as well, by knocking 30 percent off its rates over the Christmas season.
Stay between December 18 – January 17 and you can get 30 percent off the best available winter room rate. Not only that, but the hotel promises to be “lavishly decorated” over the hols, with a “roaring coal fire” and a “fully trimmed Christmas tree”. Fully trimmed? We thought that was for the turkey only.
The hotel’s bang on the Thames, so you should get an eyeful of the South Bank, which is always dressed up pretty for Christmas. And of course, there’s always the chance of a festive Secret Service ghost if you like that sort of thing.
To book, use code NNN27, and be warned - you'll need to pay up front and the rooms are non-refundable.