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As Week 2 of HotelChatter Cocktail Week(s) wraps up, here's our second run-down of some of the things we see going on in the world of hotel bars and bevvies. What do you see goin’ on out there? Let us know in the comments below!
Roll Out the Barrel(aging) –
One trend that is growing stronger this year is in-house barrel-aged and private label spirits. We're envisioning cask-aged moonshine made in a mad scientist-type laboratory.
Jeff Josenhans at THE US GRANT in San Diego is producing an in-house barrel-aged Chartreuse with Wayne Geiselman, who has a PH D in Food Science. Using complex-sounding reverse engineering, food scientist Wayne created a proprietary blend of 25 local, organic ingredients including Southern California wildflower honey. Jeff then took this botanical blend and an un-aged bourbon to use as the spirit base (as opposed to traditional European brandy), and is now aging this noble experiment in 100% New Allier French Oak (never done before in the cocktail world). Six-month, 1-year, and 2-year-old bottlings will be ready to open on October 15. If you want to stay over for the big unveiling, you're looking at rates starting at $239.
The Dorchester has revived the historical recipe for Old Tom Gin to create a newer, bolder blend exclusive to the hotel. The City of London Distillery has the weight of distilling the gin under the watchful eye of the hotel’s bar manager and expert alchemist, Giuliano Morandin. This is the second time Giuliano has re-introduced Old Tom Gin to the UK drinks market, the first being in 2006 after a 30-year absence. To celebrate the re-launch, Giuliano has created the Old Tom Cobbler cocktail, made with coriander, fresh lemongrass, elderflower and, not surprisingly, Old Tom. A 700ml bottle of The Dorchester Old Tom Gin is priced at £65 ($109) and is available at The Bar at The Dorchester or by visiting shop.dorchestercollection.com. Signature cocktails including the Old Tom Cobbler start at £16 ($27). Stays start at £505 ($838).
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It's no secret that we love drinking in hotels here at HotelChatter. In fact, hotels might be our favorite "local." So all this week and next, we'll be pouring out some drinks for you during our second Hotel Cocktail Week(s) -- newly-expanded because there’s just so many drinks to share. We'll be posting quirky cocktails, boozy trends, unique menus and even recipes so you can recreate your favorite hotel drink at home. We expect everyone will be getting a bit tipsy over the next couple of weeks! But don't forget to tip your bartenders, in this case, us.
The Bloody Mary is a gregarious cocktail: it’s ready to party any time of the day and most people like it. Eggs, bacon and a Bloody Mary – yes. Burger and cheese? Prime rib and a baked potato? Yes and yes. Here, we thought we’d tell you about some of the goings-on in the Bloody Mary world so that you’re up-to-date when you fondly order your next one.
Omni Mount Washington’s Bretton Woods Bourbon Bloody Mary
Things are getting spicy at Omni Mount Washington Resort in New Hampshire with this twist on the classic Bloody Mary. Only available for a limited time due to a limited number of barrels used to make the resort’s signature Woodford Reserve bourbon, the cocktail also contains tomato juice, garden-fresh local tomatoes, cherry peppers, celery, olives and pickled cucumber creating a unique, veggie-bevvie with a smoky flavor.
1.5 oz Mount Washington Resort’s Signature Woodford Reserve Bourbon
8 large local grown red tomatoes
2 t grated Horseradish
1 pinch red pepper flakes
2 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 lime wedges
2 T Cajun seasoning
1 cherry pepper
1, 2” celery stalk
1 Queen Olive
1 house-made cucumber pickle spear
Blend all ingredients together and garnish with the cucumber pickle spear. Drink it down.
Cost for the Bloody Mary: $13
Cost to stay the night, not including all of the Bloody Marys you drank: $369
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August 1 will be a big day in Paris: not only is Peninsula Hotels finally opening its rather grand entry into Europe, the Plaza Athénée will start welcoming guests again after a closure of just under a year.
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The next time you’re checking into The Dorchester and they ask you to state your name, you could just say, “Bond. James Bond.”
With the release of William Boyd’s new 007 novel, Solo, a few short weeks back, you can—quite literally—insert yourself in the story at The Dorchester. The London hotel is the setting for the opening scene of Boyd’s new Bond book, in which 007 is described as treating himself to a 45th birthday breakfast in 1969. In the book, Bond’s breakfast at The Dorchester consists of “four eggs, scrambled with pepper sprinkled on top, half a dozen rashers of unsmoked bacon, well done, on the side and a long draught of strong black coffee.”
If you order Bond’s birthday breakfast, the hotel will help set the scene by offering you an iPod loaded with hits from the 60s, giving you an extract from a national newspaper and the menu from 1969, and serving your breakfast silver service-style in keeping with the 60s. Once a week, a table will be chosen at random to be charged The Grill's 1969 price, a sum just short of £2 ($2.70).
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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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Here’s an interesting titbit we picked up last week: the Dorchester Collection is trying to make a move on the Eternal City, having entered into discussions to acquire the Hotel Eden in Rome, currently branded under Starwood’s Le Méridien flag.
It would be the second Italian property for the group, joining the Principe di Savoia in Milan. The deal isn’t signed, sealed, delivered quite yet; the official line is that it is “currently in discussions with Starman, owner of the Hotel Eden in Rome, concerning the purchase of the hotel” with “an official statement [to follow] once the transaction is completed”. Given that the Sultan of Brunei is behind the Dorchester Collection and that the company is hoping to have 15 hotels in their portfolio by 2015 (currently they have 9), we’re sure they can work out something on the financial side.
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While The Dorchester London is tempting cognac connoisseurs with its rare Louis XIII flights, sister hotel and neighbor 45 Park Lane has a suggestion for car aficionados, particularly those with a penchant for the luxury Rolls-Royce kind. And lest you be concerned, there are cocktails involved too.
Book yourself into the Penthouse Suite at the 45-room hotel and you’re handed the keys to a brand new Rolls-Royce Wraith for the afternoon, the latest model carrying the illustrious British RR badge (we’ll forget about that whole German ownership thing for a second). After tooling around town, two specially made Wraith cocktails await in Bar 45, which are also made with Rémy Martin Cognac, with a choice of VSOP, Coeur de Cognac and XO.
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Polo season is in full gear in the UK and will be starting soon enough in the rest of the world. Whether it’s polo-inspired cocktail menus, training with the polo pros or exclusive access to top matches, these hotels want you to experience polo paradise.
Three of the world’s top polo matches take place in Argentina, so it’s a pretty big deal there. The new bar at Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires pays homage to the sport and to the revered Argentinean polo team, La Dolfina. However, the Pony Line Bar and Lounge may be clad in brown leather and have a riding motif throughout, but it ain’t a sports bar as you know it to be.
It’s more for the urban sophisticate who wants to try the housemade chorizo and oxtail empanadas to go along with his or her artisanal locally-produced Stallion beer than the Bud Light and wings crowd. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that—we like a good stack of salt-and-pepper wings as much as the next guy or gal. We’re just sayin’.)
If you want to get an even bigger taste of the game, as a hotel guest you can visit La Dolfina Polo Ranch to learn more about the sport and why Argentina is reputed to be so good at it. Rates start at $595 in October.
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Last week we told you about LA’s Four Seasons offering up a ½ oz shot of the revered Louis XIII Rare Cask 42,6 cognac for a healthy $1,000 a pop. Now we’ve found out that The Bar at The Dorchester in London has fired a shot over their bow, so to speak, thereby upping the cognac war ante.
To celebrate the launch of the Louis XIII Rare Cask 42, 6, the house of Rémy Martin asked this Dorchester Collection hotel to create the ultimate “Louis XIII Dorchester Experience.” For the first time ever, you can taste all four Louis XIII ‘expressions’ side by side: Louis XIII, Louis XIII Black Pearl, Louis XIII Rare Cask 43,8 and the recently launched Louis XIII Rare Cask 42,6. With only 20 flights available and most of the Louis XIII Rare Cask and Black Pearl now sold-out worldwide, there’s no time to lose.
And it gets even better.
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Plaza Athénée Paris may have celebrated its 100th anniversary earlier this year (April 20, to be exact), but specialty cocktails, a 10-metre anniversary cake, and 100 trees at Versailles aren’t going to be the only things marking the hotel’s centennial. On October 1, the hotel will close its doors for a partial renovation, which will expand its footprint into three surrounding buildings, adding six new guest rooms, eight suites, a ballroom, and two event spaces.
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We've started a series of what’s trending in hotels these days: What’s Out, What’s In. Do we like what we see? Think it's a dud? You be the judge!
What's Out: Trekking to the hotel gym
What's In: In-room workouts that rival a personal training session
The hotel gym. We know people use ‘em, but sometimes it’s hard to find that last bit of energy needed to drag yourself out of your room after a busy day of sightseeing or making deals. Or maybe you’re just jet-lagged and are up at 3 a.m. thinking, “Man – I could really go for a workout right now.” At these hotels, the gym comes to you.
Dorchester Collection’s new contemporary hotel 45 Park Lane in London offers you an exclusive in-room workout with fitness guru and trainer to the stars, Matt Roberts, through a bespoke and full-body in-room video program. The hotel committed to get fit during the London Olympics and got Matt to create five workouts, each video focusing on a different area of the body using the furniture at hand. (We’re not suggesting they’re copying us here at HC, but sort of like our Sweat-Worthy Hotel Room Exercises series we brought you about a month or so ago.)
When you leave you’ll also get a freebie Matt at 45 Park Lane Fitness Pack which includes step-by-step training techniques for beginners through pros, a healthy eating plan, and “in the know” tips from the trainer -- things only Matt Roberts and Naomi Campbell knew till now.
At Raffles Praslin Seychelles space is your friend if you want to have an in-room workout. In the privacy of your own 410 sq ft (minimum) villa, with a vast outdoor terrace looking out over the ocean, you can do as many Sun Salutations as you want without bumping into the furniture. All villas already include a yoga mat and, at your mere request, the resort will deliver a fitness kit consisting of a dumbbell set, skipping rope, stability ball, resistance band and a selection of exercise DVDs. If that’s not enough to get you going you can arrange for an in-room personal trainer to take you through your paces with a customized exercise program.
And don't forget, HotelChatter's Sweat-Worthy Workouts: Can't afford to hire a personal trainer to come to your room? Or more likely, are you staying in a property that doesn't have a gym or in-room fitness videos? We've got you covered with our five sweat-worthy workouts, all of which you can do in your hotel room. Watch the videos for instructions on the different body parts to work out. You're very welcome!
Two more fitness-crazed hotels below!
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Tomorrow, April 20, is a big day for Plaza Athénée Paris, when it will be one hundred years ago it first opened its doors on that same day in 1913. A major party is set to take place in the hotel’s courtyard, with over 600 guests expected, who among other things will be able to snack on a 10-meter anniversary cake.
Don’t be disappointed though if your invite got lost in the mail, as there are various ways throughout the year to join in on the fun, including a dedicated celebratory cocktail “Harcourt Baccarat”. Naturally, we had to venture over to the hotel and try this baby out.