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There’s nothing quite like seeing a celeb mix with the hoi polloi, and when it’s a celeb like Donald Trump making beds, scrubbing basins and carrying people’s luggage to their rooms, in his own hotel, it makes us go a little bit squeegy.
Yup, the Donald is interviewed on Oprah today, and, as part of the deal, he was sent to work the most menial jobs at a Trump hotel (which from the snatches on the video we’re fairly sure is Chicago).
In the preview, we see the Donald taking a dog for a walk, plumping pillows, delivering room service and putting some elbow grease into cleaning that sink.
Our very own hotel Agent Zero returns with yet another review. Her not-real name is Myra Ellen and she's our version of Alex Goran who travels once a week for business, usually along the Eastern seaboard. Every so often, she'll be dropping in with her latest hotel and travel observations. In this episode, she loses her virginity to Donald Trump.
I was a Trump Hotel virgin. I admit that I’d always purposely stayed away, not interested in what the brand represents. So it’s a sort of long story about how I ended up there during a recent, one-night stay. But my experience is a shorter story: it was practically perfect.
There’s something wonderful about a new, luxurious, immaculate hotel. And Trump SoHo exemplifies this.
We couldn't help it! This hotel is, in typical Trump fashion, massive and showy, not to mention the sixth-tallest building in the world. It nearly dominates the skyline, especially with that spire on top. Coincidentally, we learned today that the hotel's spire will be lit up tonight for the first time.
Chicago Tribune's CityScapes blog reports:
Shortly after sunset at 8:29 p.m., newly-installed, energy-efficient LED lights will illuminate the spire atop the riverfront hotel and condominium tower, which is Chicago’s second-tallest building. They will color the 227-foot-tall spire in red, white and blue, honoring Independence Day. The color scheme will continue through July 11.
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The first phase of the hotel's $30-million renovation is complete, with the new-look rooms now open for business. The remaining half of the rooms will start getting their overhaul this weekend.
Like Trump Soho, the look is clean, classic but modern, and has been driven more by Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric than the man everyone calls Mr. Trump himself. (He did, however, insist on a few specific amenities. You can see which ones in our photo gallery...)
We couldn't make the Trump Soho ribbon-cutting this morning which was attended by the family Trump (Donald, Donny Jr, Ivanka, and Eric) but we did have a hotel spy who just happened to be walking near the hotel about an hour before the 11am opening ceremony. Here is what he had to say:
The lobby is crawling with gussied up hotel employees who all seem to be nervously anticipating the 11 AM ribbon cutting. Donald Trump Jr. is in the house and appears to be hard a work strategically plotting the opening.
So many people and so much anticipation in the lobby we headed down stairs to the lower lobby and rest area in order to find some quiet.
The lower lobby restrooms (photo above) are pristine and ready to go, as are all the employees up stairs. Time to hand out key cards and cut the ribbon.
Interested in spending the night? We found rooms next weekend starting at $409 a night. Check out all the glorious room pics and photos here.
In New York, the Trump Organization is preparing for a big opening party for Trump SoHo—but down in Florida, things aren't looking nearly as sunny for the Trump Fort Lauderdale. Trouble for the beachfront condo-hotel project began with the real-estate slump and credit crisis, but worsened in March, with a mortgage holder filing for foreclosure against the developers, SB Associates LLC.
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He's won the gold medal in figure skating, he's got the girl (fellow gold medalist Natsia Liuken) and he's rumored to do a stint on "Dancing with the Stars" but what does Evan Lysacek really want to do? According to Entertainment Weekly, he may get involved with hotels.
I have a lot of other interests…. Movies, design, other sports, literature, photography, fashion, travel, music, etc. But I am the kind of person that likes to sit down and formulate a plan and a course of action before I take my first step in a new direction. I need to find something that gives me the perfect balance of discipline and creativity. I’ve always admired hotel moguls like Andre Balazs, Steve Wynn, and Donald Trump (more real estate than hotel).
If you're a discerning traveler who only enjoys spending the night at Trump Hotels, then you can finally start booking your Hawaii vacation as Trump Waikiki has finally opened its doors to real live guests yesterday. The AP reports:
The 38-story, 463-unit tower is located steps from the sand and Fort DeRussy Park. It features a library, wine cellar and a spa, along with 24-hour room, valet and concierge services. The fully furnished suites, which have views of the Pacific and the Honolulu skyline, feature everything from high-end appliances to Italian marble counters.
Oh and let's not forget about the hotel's very kid-friendly services!
With all the breathless anticipation over the February opening of the Trump SoHo, we almost forgot that the Don and the kids had other properties. (Almost but not quite—after all, how can you miss those towers cutting off your access to the sun?) But you don't expect the Trumps to let their flagship baby languish while the cool kid downtown gets all the attention, do you? Of course not!
So it will come as no surprise, then, that the Trump International Hotel & Tower New York (that big sucker at the bottom of Central Park) is getting a multimillion-dollar spit and polish come January.
While the Forbes (formerly Mobil) Five-Star Hotel has always been stately and posh, the renovations will, according to Donald J. Trump Jr, put it in step with the "elegant, classic-contemporary feel of the other Trump Hotel Collection properties." It was Don Jr. himself who approved the model room displaying the proposed renos. So, what can all those tween stars expect when their tours bring them back to NYC in 2010?
The certificates start at $50 and go up to $5,000 and they are only good for one property. So there's no hopping from New York to Vegas, unless you gift your special someone with two gift certificates.
Since we're not so keen on the Trump Las Vegas, we say you might be best either at the Trump Chicago, which just opened last year or bide your time for Trump Soho, opening February 1st. (Trump Waikiki is not available for a gift card just yet.)
Uh-oh! Remember how we told you that Trump Fort Lauderdale was having some sorta-bigtime issues and may not have the Trump name on it after all? The condo-hotel development's "opening date" of late 2009 was a little bit ambitious, and developers had sent a letter out to condo buyers to notify them that the folks behind the project were in default of a licensing agreement that allowed use of Trump's name on the project and then, when buyers heard that there was a pretty decent possibility that Trump's name was going to be yanked from the building altogether, they wanted nothing to do with the place and sued developers for misleading them into thinking Trump was definitely going to be in on the project. Whoops!
And then we told you that Trump Waikiki was having no such issue, and was moving along just fine. But: not so!
Pacific Business News reports today:
Buyers of 11 of the units at the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Waikiki filed a lawsuit Monday against the developer seeking to cancel their purchase contracts because use of Donald Trump’s name on the luxury condominium project is not guaranteed.
Sounds mighty familiar.
With all this doom and gloom talk about Hawaii ("Nobody's going there! Nobody wants to go there!" Etc, etc, etc.), it comes as a welcome surprise to read an article in Pacific Business News that condo buyers at the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Waikiki are stickin' to their word and not canceling which, unfortunately, is more than the Trump building in Ft. Lauderdale can say (but that's a whole other mess with different issues).
According to the article:
Once the building is finished, it will operate as a Trump International Hotel, the 20-month-old brand from mogul Donald J. Trump’s Trump Organization. Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, executive vice president of development and acquisitions, is overseeing the Waikiki project.
[...] Room rates will be competitive with some of the other luxury properties in Waikiki, including the neighboring oceanfront Halekulani, the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and the Kahala Hotel & Resort, which charge $300-$395 and $650-$670 for standard and oceanfront rooms, and up to $1,440 for two-bedroom suites.
Kinda steep, no? Hopefully this all gets finished on schedule and everything works out as planned, though we're not going to hold our breath for the 2009 opening that the website promises.
Update! A hotel rep says the hotel is "very much on track for a late 2009 opening." Huh! Go figure.