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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" bar. So all this week, we'll be pouring out some drinks for you during our first-ever Hotel Cocktail Week. All this week, we'll be posting specialty drinks, booze trends, mixology tips and most importantly, drinks recipes so you can recreate your favorite hotel drink at home. Everyone will be getting tipsy this week! But don't forget to tip your bartenders, in this case, us.
Raffles Singapore, the place where the famed Singapore Sling was created, has launched a cocktail menu designed to take you around the world while you still remain seated and sipping in their Long Bar, god bless ‘em.
Resident mixologist, Randolph Velasco, has come up with eight spiritus drinks inspired by a Raffles hotel destination, so come join us as we embark on our virtual journey through time and space. First stop? Seychelles.
The Seychelles conjures images of an island paradise with deep blue skies, sultry breezes and emerald seas. No surprise, then, that the Raffles Seychelles cocktail is an emerald green beauty created by combining Smirnoff Vodka with melon-flavored Midori and tangy Apple Sourz, then topped off with apple juice. Garnished with slices of star fruit and a lemon wedge, this is a sipper meant to be sipped in a rattan chair with one of those tropical ceiling fans swooshing slowly overhead.
Next, we go to Raffles Cambodia –- specifically, Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Phnom Penh and Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor. Using the Kingdom’s national fruit, the five finger banana (who knew?), this golden concoction consists of rum, banana and pineapple juice, but it’s the finishing touch of zesty kaffir and fresh, green pandan leaves (a herbaceous tropical plant) that gives this drink its aromatic and mysterious character.
The Raffles Philippines takes you to the newly-opened Raffles Makati in the heart of Manila’s financial district. A mix of Bacardi rum, juicy mango and pineapple are enhanced by a mere suggestion of basil and the tart, citrus flavor of calamansi, a wee fruit that bears a resemblance to a lime but is about the size of a kumquat. Calamansi is supposed to have some health benefits, so drink up.
Raffles Istanbul anticipates the opening of Raffles Istanbul Zorlu Center in late 2013 (no date as of yet) with a cocktail that evokes the complex flavors of Turkish coffee. Rich Kahlua is layered with potent Pisco, fresh lime juice and anise to create a boozy drink not quite appropriate for the morning but it does kinda taste like coffee, so we’ll leave it up to you. (Recipe below!)
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There's tons of hotel news flying around this week and we don't have time to give each and every story the love and attention it may deserve, so you will have to settle for some news briefs.
· Oberoi Dubai Is Now Open: We were so busy making popcorn in preparation for the opening of Dubai's first movie-themed resort that we almost forgot about Oberoi Dubai, the 252-room luxury resort that opened last week in downtown Dubai. Guest can expect all the usual Oberoi touches, like in-room check-in, 24-hour butlers, and two Presidential Suites that come with their own 1.5-meter plunge pools. In addition to that, there will be four restaurants—including Nine7One, which sources different cuisines from all seven (7) continents—and a 24-hour spa with Ayurvedic treatments. Rates from $272/night.
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A few months ago, we told you about the new Paramount Pictures movie-themed hotel coming to Dubai. And now, we have a few more details on that project thanks to a recent interview in Hotelier Middle East.
In it, the CEO of Paramount Hotels & Resorts (keep in mind, this will be the company's first-ever hotel) explains that while Paramount Pictures is one of the biggest movie studios around, and its films are very well-known, people usually aren't able to connect the actual movies to the company (Grease, The Godfather, Titanic, Saving Private Ryan, and Forrest Gump were all Paramount movies, in case you were wondering).
Thus, the hotel will attempt to kill two birds with one stone: create the ultimate movie-lover's hotel experience, and by doing so, educate people on the impressive Paramount Pictures back catalog.
The CEO told HME:
"In-room entertainment will be home theatre surround systems inside the guestrooms as a minimum because I’m convinced that this will be a top expectation from all our guests.
We’ll look at themes for the entertainment throughout the year; give each month a theme, so in February with Valentine’s Day it could be love films. The hotels will also have a screening room; a high-end luxury theatre with lounge seating, a multi-functional environment."
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The answer is: of course not! But this is The Burj Al Arab and whatever their high-paying guests want, or think they might want, they will get. Hence the new 24 carat gold iPads that are now available in all guestrooms. (No doubt, these will show the Emirates Palace just how silly their gold Christmas tree was!)
The iPad will be loaded with the Burj Al Arab's own virtual concierge software, enabling guests to order up whatever they wish through the iPad. The glittering iPad is just one of the latest high tech amenity additions to the Burj which already has iMacs in each room, plasma TVs and private butler service. Fortunately, the WiFi is free.
But as Business Insider points out--the starting room rate is $1,500 so perhaps offering up gold iPads is the least the Burj could do.
Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi generally gets most of the attention when it comes to Viceroy hotels in the Middle East. But that's all about to change, as word got out last week that Viceroy is planning to build a 481-room beachfront resort on the Palm Jumeirah.
We kinda figured one 1,500-room mega-resort would be enough, but we guess we were wrong.
Set to open in 2017, Viceroy Dubai Palm Jumeirah will be a mixed-use development, with an adjoining 220 pre-furnished luxury residences, a spa, private beach club, 3 outdoor swimming pools, and the hotel itself. Of course, plenty of this already exists in Dubai, but this is a city practically founded on the concept of one-upmanship, so there's always room for something bigger, better, and more bombastic.
Raffles Dubai put the world's most expensive dress on display last fall, and leave it to them to outdo themselves in a matter of months (who else could, really?). This spring Raffles is introducing what they call the Middle East's most luxurious floor - a 21,500 square-foot "space" that takes up most of the 14th level of the hotel. That's right, a private floor with six rooms, a spa, hair salon, majlis (that's meeting room, in basic terms), three private kitchens and a cinema that seats nine. Damn! (but watch your language if you see it, ok?)
Not impressed, you snort? Pfft. Fine. How about access via a private elevator, 24-hour check in, a private limousine service and chauffeur, customized linens, a private chef, and a dedicated butler? Sound good? Sounds like another case of Dubai being as flossy as they wanna be. Don't hate!
"A lot of the hotel guests travel with a big entourage and sometimes book half a floor," a hotel employee has said. "The Dubai Floor is perfect for this type of guest as they'll have a whole floor for themselves and privacy. This what makes it unique."
You bet your
as bippy it does.
So we wonder why celebrity DJ David Guetta received such a shock when he checked into his suite at the hotel recently. He griped to 7 Days In Dubai:
"My room is so crazy I’ve never seen anything like it. They gave me a room where the bedroom is under the aquarium. I’m sleeping with sharks and stingrays and I had to close the curtains because I couldn’t sleep, it was freaking me out."
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Last month, the 500-room Radisson Blu Mall of America became the second Radisson Blu to open in the US (after Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago). But one thing that sets this place apart from Chicago (and all other subsequent Rad Blus) is that it directly connects to the Mall of America, with its 530 shops, 5 major department stores, multiple food courts, indoor theme park, and 14-screen movie theater. If they want, hotel guests can even arrange for a personal shopper and bag pick-up to maximize the experience. Rates from $174/night.
For more mall hotel awesome-ness in Hong Kong, Dubai, and Houston, read on!
Though we had initially reported that Paramount Pictures' first batch of movie-themed hotels would pop up in places like Brazil, the UK, Russia, and Qatar, it looks like the brand's premier hotel will actually be in Dubai.
The city is hardly in need of yet another flashy, Western-themed resort, but Dubai is also exactly the kind of place where something like this would take off. And we're not just saying that. Last week, when the first phase of residences went on sale (the 540-room tower will include both a hotel and luxury residences), they sold out within hours, according to Arabian Business.
Paramount Hotel & Residences is set to open around the end of 2015, and will be part of a complex featuring four 820ft-tall towers. In the center of the complex will be a multi-level plaza featuring restaurants, meeting and event facilities, a screening room, a fitness center, pool, kids club, and retail outlets.
A Paramount Pictures merchandise shop will be a necessary part of this equation too, so if it's Raiders of the Lost Ark* t-shirts you're after, then you're in luck.
It's a known fact that Kempinski likes to do things big. Who got chosen as management for North Korea's most-famous-hotel-that's-never-opened, the Ryugyong Hotel? Kempinski. Whose property opened last month with the Dalai Lama's blessing? Kempinski.
Even when their employees are extorting money from guests' credit cards, they still manage to do it in style.
So it kinda makes sense that one of the brand's most iconic hotels, Kempinski Dubai Mall of the Emirates has decided to cement their renegade status by installing an 18 foot high "snow wall" along one side of Aspen, the hotel's cafe. As you can see in the above photo, the surface looks like it could be the lower strata of the iceberg that sank the Titanic, or possibly just some beautifully textured abstract wall art.
Not that the hotel is short on conversation pieces. The Middle East's first and largest indoor ski resort, Ski Dubai, is attached to the hotel; hence the 'snow' theme of the brand new installation. In fact, the snow wall's designers, London-based Solomon&Wu, built the shimmery wall out of glass-reinforced plastic in order to simulate "snow drifts and rock formations." Looks like they pulled it off.
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By now an inseparable fixture of the Dubai skyline, the 77-story twin tower JW Marriott Marquis Dubai is gradually introducing itself into the city. After an initial November opening, this month, the hotel begins service at its nine restaurants and five bars, including Vault, a cigar lounge and bar occupying the 71st and 72nd floors of the hotel.
Think that's too many restaurants and bars for one hotel? Think again. Guiness Book of World Records officially recognized the JW Marriott Marquis as the world's tallest hotel, with a current total of 804 rooms.
And don't forget: that's still only half of the hotel. Though we expected the final unveiling sometime this year, the second tower isn't expected to open until late 2014.
That will bring the hotel's total room count to a whopping 1,600, allowing major conventions and meeting groups to house their attendees all under one roof. Like a giant slumber party, only instead of making popcorn and watching Sixteen Candles, guests will be gobbling steak at Prime 68 and whiling away their evenings soaking in the tub overlooking the twinkling lights of Business Bay.
Rates start at $217/night.
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We're only one month into 2013 but already there's drama brewing in the form of a hotel takeover, this time in Dubai. Hotelier Middle East reports that Pullman (which falls under the Accor brand) has been ousted as the management for Pullman Dubai Mall of the Emirates, which henceforth is to be known as the Sheraton Dubai Mall of the Emirates.
'So what?' you're thinking, 'hotels change management all the time.' True.
What's interesting about this re-branding, though, is the method in which the owners will implement the new changes. According to a tipster in Dubai, the switch will take place during the night, meaning guests will go to sleep in one hotel and, for all intents and purposes, wake up in a new one.
The basic structure will remain exactly the same, but with all new signage, branding—not to mention new staff—it might feel a little Twilight Zone-y coming down to breakfast in a different hotel than the one you had dinner in the night before.
Two for the price of one! Not that we'd expect anything less from a hotel inside a mall...