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We know, we’ve kind of been obsessed with HotelTonight lately, but we promise it’s for the greater good of all! Call us the Rebels of Hotel Rates, but there’s just something about getting kick-ass deals on normally outside-your-budget hotels.
Case in point: Last Thursday we needed to stay in New York City for a night but weren’t sure what hotel rates would be. Rock bottom because of the impending Labor Day weekend, or sky high because of just that? That morning we checked the usual suspects, Quikbook, SniqueAway, and Jetsetter and everything seemed to be around $250 a night and more. ‘Not bad, for NYC!’ you might think. Well, we just didn’t/couldn’t/wouldn’t PAY those rates. Something in our gut told us things would get better if we just waited until noon.
When the clock struck 12, we opened our Hotel Tonight app and the gold was there. Dream New York for $155 a night! . With a rate that's been more than $269, we knew we had a winner.
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Despite the whispers of a possible sale, the Dream Downtown remains a hot place to be. Why just the other night, Kanye West was at the hotel's PH-D nightclub where he unleashed some previously unreleased tunes (so says Page Six.)
Now comes word that the hotel's shuttered Romera restaurant downstairs will be replaced with a BondSt sushi spot. Word is BondSt partner Jonathan Morr is teaming up with Republic and Studio Gaia to redesign the spot.
Well, we guess that answers our question about the sayings from neuroscientist-turned-chef Miguel Romera that were etched into the bathrooms and staircases, like "I am a doctor who cooks, and not a cook who doctors food."
Once the redesign's complete, the restaurant will then serve up its signature tasty version of Japanese fare which includes not only sushi and sashimi but also entrees such as the kabocha "gnocchi", squid ink pasta and a New York strip steak.
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Update: We just want to reiterate that the Dream Downtown's possible sale to the Sahara Group is just speculation at this point. Now get back to your regularly scheduled Dreaming.
Everyone's going down, down, down downtown, including some deep-pocketed Indian investors who recently fronted $570 million for a controlling stake in the Plaza.
The Sahara Group, who also picked up the JW Marriott Grosvenor House in late 2010, is reportedly on a spending spree, and New York hotels are hot, so hot right now. The NY Times reports that Sahara Group may be about to acquire Chatwal's Dream Downtown.
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Oh, Dream Downtown. In a perfect world, we'd love you all the way. But you sure don't make yourself easy to get to!
Back a few weeks ago, we thought we were doing y'all a favor by posting our list of which hotel rooftop bars to hit up on which days of the week, but since we've gotten some flack on the feasibility of actually getting past the door and up to some of those places, we thought we'd offer some advice on entering one in particular, PhD at Dream Downtown.
Starting on June 1, Miami visitors can try out a King room at Dream South Beach, which is now in its second year, for $199/night, which is slightly higher than last year's opening rate of $149/night. But we're going to assume that after a year, they've had time to tidy up the edges and can get away with charging more.
As a bonus to the $199/night rate, the hotel is also throwing in continental breakfast for two, a bottle of Perrier Jouet champagne, and chocolate-covered strawberries for an additional $50 fee. Which is another way of saying the room is actually $250/night, but with some light nibbles thrown in that still won't really fill you up so you'll just end up heading to Tudor House for dinner and drinks anyway.
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Yes, there are plenty of places to do it in NYC—by "it," we mean enjoy a cocktail in the open air from a hotel rooftop or terrace. But some places are more exclusive than others, some have better nibbles to munch on, and not all killer views are created equal. So to help you find the best hotel rooftop to suit your mood, we've broken down the top seven venues by each day of the week. Starting with...
We've already taken a gander inside the monumental lobby, but this summer we'll be riding the elevators straight to the top of Conrad New York to hang out at Loopy Doopy (above). The new rooftop bar, located on the 16th floor, is set to open in May with a full menu of cocktails and nibbles from Atrio downstairs. Oh, and in addition to the cool name (Loopy Doopy references the Sol LeWitt wall mural in the lobby), this summer the bar will be offering the perfect end-of-weekend hangover cure: boozy popsicles!
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[UPDATE 10:37am: Though Jelsomino is located inside the Dream New York, sources at the hotel have told us that the bar is actually a separate entity, owned by (and imported from) Russian hospitality and nightlife company, Ginza Project]
Our friends at Condé Nast Traveler have picked up on a new venue that recently opened inside The Dream New York: a Broadway-themed underground karaoke bar called Jelsomino. And, as we've seen with other NYC hotel venues under the Chatwal empire (we're thinking of high-concept hotspots like Romera at Dream Downtown and the all-red Lambs Club inside The Chatwal), there's nothing subtle about the place.
The Dream doesn't just 'open a karaoke bar' and that's that. No, it sets up eight VIP tables with bottle service, astronomically-priced cocktails, iPad song menus, and even a troupe of backup singers and dancers on stage. Golly, our dreams really have come true.
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Now, a new retail space, named Safira, is being added to the giant lobby, and it will function as the hotel's go-to spot for a whole slew of fancy thingamajigs and what's-its like silky dresses, perfumes, art books and sunglasses. Dream is referring to the shop as an "inventory of must-have brands from around the globe." Well, "must" is a relative concept, but we doubt they'll have any trouble luring guests in. The fact that Safira is located right next to the elevators doesn't hurt, either.
Well, judging from how many of them it takes to babysit him while he eats dinner, we're guessing: a lot.
The Biebs was spotted at New York's Dream Downtown on Saturday night, dining at Marble Lane with his pal Usher. According to Page Six, the pair stopped in for a late dinner, and were taken to a corner booth of the ground-floor restaurant. Surrounding them throughout the entire meal were four bodyguards, plus an extra "lookout guy" to make sure no one came close enough to swipe their bread sticks.
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Romera is located in the Dream Downtown's basement, and its chef Miguel Sanchez Romera, is a former neurologist who decided to show the world how he thought molecular gastronomy should be done. But judging from Pete Wells' recent review for the New York Times, the various tasting menus, (6-course, $125 ; 9-course, $185; 12-course, $245) sound more like a tutorial in how to make very pretty food art.
Disappointing—and kind of ironic—for the Dream Downtown, which until now had proven to be an exceptionally pretty addition to the NYC hotel scene. A "Romerian mosaic" (the pattern of brightly colored spices and powdered vegetables seen above, and on many of the dishes) would be great to look at in a museum. But for dinner? Folks wanna munch, not ponder!
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Last we heard, Hampshire Hotels & Resorts, which manages all the Chatwal properties, was being taken over by Wyndham (yeah, it all gets a little confusing after a while, doesn't it?), which was going to help take the brands "to the next level." The way we see it, Chatwal was so pleased with the success of Dream Downtown, he just couldn't wait to bring a little (or a lot) of that same sexiness to Indian hotel guests. Aiming to pump out 52 new hotels over the next five years (40 Nights, 12 Dreams), now Hampshire/Wyndham just have to convince Indian investors and franchisees to share the 'dream' (get it?).
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Looks like Hampshire Hotels will be "hopping off the plane at LAX with a dream and their cardigan." Ok, well maybe not the cardigan but definitely a dream...a Dream Hotel, that is.
The LA Times reports that construction on the 148-room hotel will begin in the spring at Selma Avenue and Cahuenga Boulevard, right in the middle of Hollywood (and closest to the W Hollywood and The Redbury.)
Not many more details have been released but the hotel will have a rooftop swimming pool, a restaurant and a lounge. It should open in the fall of 2013. Is it us or does that just seem like forever away? Let's hope we don't forget about this dream in the meantime. But considering how long we waited for the Dream Downtown in NYC, we guess we'll be able to tough it out.
[Photo rendering: LA Times]