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So much hotel news, so little time – here are a few snippets to keep you up to date with the latest news from around the world!>
· RITZ-CARLTON PHOENIX TO BECOME AN AUTOGRAPH COLLECTION HOTEL: There's one less Ritz-y place to stay in Phoenix as the Ritz-Carlton there will be rebranded into an Autograph Collection Hotel, run by Destination Hotels. Per this press release, the property will close in July and will reopen in early 2016 as an Autograph Collection hotel. Perhaps they took note of this commenter's observation on our OpenThread in October:
However, the Ritz Phoenix is startlingly dilapidated and dated. I'm surprised it still meets the chain's standards. The lobby is pleasant enough but the rooms and especially bathrooms are ancient and unpleasant.
So far, there's no message on the Ritz site about the closure and we were able to make reservations for July online so the exact closing date doesn't seem to be so set in stone. We're sure that will change soon though.
Millennials have dominated the hotel scene for at least a year, now. Will the trend burn out soon? Who knows? But in the meantime, one lot of savvy hoteliers is going for the next generation – enter the Toy Story Hotel, due to open in Shanghai next year.
Who is this company thinking of the kids? It’s Disney, natch – the hotel will form part of the Shanghai Disney Resort (Disney’s sixth on the globe). This is Toy Story full immersion: the exterior will be done up to resemble the clouds-n-sky wallpaper of Andy’s bedroom, and there will be a gigantic Pixar ball at the porte cochere.
Toy Story Hotel will have 800 rooms, and, according to Disney, will “immerse guests in a world inspired by the toys from the Disney Pixar series of Toy Story animated films”. Which could be a little creepy.
Themed Suites / Sweet Suites / Ice Hotels / Disney Hotels / Frozen / Kid-Friendly Hotels / Quebec Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
Your children are probably in the backseat singing the soundtrack to the new Disney princess movie, "Frozen" right now so whether you want to tell them about the "Frozen"-inspired hotel suite is up to you.
But should you want to treat the kids, or yourself, Quebec's Hotel de Glace, a seasonal ice hotel, has now unveiled pictures of the Frozen Suite which is inspired by the two sisters' bedroom in the movie. It was even supervised by the film's art director.
Booking a stay in the Frozen Suite will also include time in a “Frozen Activity Cave” which may also feature elements of the movie. The suite will be unveiled this weekend but alas, won't last forever. The suite and the rest of the ice hotel will close on March 23rd.
There's no option to book the Frozen suite on the hotel's website, nor is there a price, but we expect it to be unveiled this weekend. So stay tuned for the update. In the meantime, a themed room adventure package starts at $399CAD a night and also includes a room at the Four Points by Sheraton in Quebec in case it gets too cold. Which will probably happen with little kids.
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Over the summer, it came out that Disney World would be testing some new technology called Magic Bands. The electronic bracelets would essentially serve as park tickets, so you won't have to scramble in your purse, wallet or pocket for your tickets.
But the bands do a lot more than letting you into the park. If you're staying at one of the Disney Resorts you can use these bands as your hotel room key. Here's how one of the reviewers on the forum MouseChat described the process:
It is your room key. So you tap and open the door. You have to touch the mickey icon on your door precisely. So Mickey to Mickey to get the door to unlock. Same thing to get to a concierge floor with the elevator, just touch the Mickey on the elevator and the Concierge level floor button will light up. The only thing is, it can be tricky getting the band to line up exactly and we found ourselves contorting our wrists to get the door to open or the elevator to light up.
Well it looks like all our hotel WiFi bellyaching the other week paid off. In addition to getting tons of awesome feedback from you all here on the site and over on our Twitter page, another major resort brand is now in the process of switching to free wireless internet for all guests.
We're talking about Disney.
Having polled over 10,000 hotel guests over the past year on the amenities they would most like to see added to all Disney hotels, free WiFi (not surprisingly) came out at the top of the list. And while the company alleges that they had planned to install it all along (yeah, yeah), they've now committed to rewiring all the resorts stat.
Disney Hotels / Disney World Hotels / Hotel Openings / Orlando Hotels / Family-Friendly Hotels / → All Tags
While adults will be partying the Memorial Weekend away at the Revel Resort in Atlantic City, families with children will be waiting until May 31st to take their vacation at the new Disney Art of Animation Resort, full of family suites and standard rooms done up in Finding Nemo, Little Mermaid, Cars and Lion King themes.
The resort is still on track for the May 31st opening and rates are going for $395 which is also the going rate for the 2012 Summer Season from June 1-August 4 for a weekend stay. (Disney Resorts have about 11 different "seasonal" rates.) Later in the summer, aka when it's too hot in Orlando, the price drops to $249 a night.
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Yes, it's a Leap Year! An entire day added to the month, an entire extra day for some hotel-lovin'. And the hotels are pretty excited about it too! We've hunted around for the best Leap Year deals from San Antonio to New York to London. Unsurprisingly, several of them overlap with Valentine's Day festivities—but as they say, bargains make the heart grow fonder...
Grand Hyatt New York, fresh from its recent $130 million renovation, is feeling generous. So they're singling out people who are either turning 29 this year or who were born on a leap year. While the 29-year-olds actually make out with something cool (free appetizer or dessert at New York Central, pictured above), leap year babies (anyone born in 2008, 2004, 2000, 1996, etc), as usual, get the short end of the stick. That would be a "free" Dylan's Candy Bar cupcake...-shaped tin (not even an actual cupcake!) from the hotel's 24-hour convenience store, Market.
With a purchase of $9 or more. Seriously. These guys only celebrate their birthday once every four years. Can't we just give them a free cupcake and call it a day? Rates from $309.
Sorry kiddies, we hate to put a damper on the holiday spirit but there will be no more Disney Hotels for a while. The Orlando Sentinel reports that Disney's vision for standalone resorts, like their recently open Aulani Resort in Hawaii (above), has been put on hold due to some money woes, namely because the House of Mouse has been so busy spending money on its theme parks and cruise lines.
The company recently scrapped plans for a 500-room stand-alone D.C. hotel even though they already bought the property in 2009 for about $11 million. Disney said the timing wasn't right but given that the Aulani has had some missteps in its opening (the time-share hotel is not expected to reach goal occupancy levels until 2015), it's clear that Disney was just looking for an out. And besides, who's gonna wanna see Mickey randomly in D.C. without a theme park to visit?
Expect some Nemo sheets!
It seems that there can never be too many hotels at Disney World and the more thematic these hotels can get, the better.
Which is why Walt Disney World is planning its first family-suites hotel that will be centered around the animated Disney movies everyone knows and loves. It will be called Disney's Art of Animation Resort and yes, expect to find Nemo here, as well as Ariel and Simba.
The 2,000-room hotel will open in May 2012 with 866 standard rooms but also 1,120 of these family suites which can fit up to six people.
The Disney Blog has the detes on what sort of "buried" treasure the 11th floor suite holds:
The Pirates experience begins as you ring the doorbell, which plays, “Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate’s Life For Me,” and enter the living room. There you will find Old World rugs covering dark-stained hardwood floors, with wooden beams overhead. The Spanish colonial-style furnishings could be part of a pirate’s plunder, yet the room also provides landlubbers’ comforts including a wet bar, 42-inch plasma TV and surround sound stereo system.
If you're staying at the Disneyland Hotel, you expect to see some Disney figurines here and there. But the penthouse suite is all tricked out with Mickey, with those famous mouse ears found on everything from the ceiling lighting fixture to the carpeting.
The mouse pad is done up in the colors Mickey usually sport—black, white, red and yellow—and you'll find rare photos and sketches from the Disney library adorning the walls. On display in the master bedroom are maquettes—collectible 3-D models used by animators to create a 2-D character—from Mickey's most notable roles.
Even though it won't open until August 29, 2011, Disney's newest resort in Hawaii, The Aulani will start taking reservations on August 2. Yup, that's more than a year away. And: this is the first Disney hotel that's not positioned next to one of its theme parks.
Which got us thinking: would you book a hotel room 12 months in advance? Do you like careful forward planning, or do you prefer to travel spontaneously? Of course, Disney is all about families, and it can take military precision to plan a kid-friendly vacation. So perhaps advance planning makes sense here.
But then: do you know when you can take your vacation days next August? Will you even have a job?