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When it comes to knowing what’s going on in a city, hotels pretty-much have the inside scoop. Raffles Hotels & Resorts, with its swanky hotels across the globe, has put together a list of where to go, when and why for every month of the year.
Here’s what they recommend for the next few months to get you prepped to travel.
Dubai in April – For the Dubai Camel Racing Festival
Forget April in Paris when there’s the Dubai Camel Racing Festival (April 6-17, 2014). A major fixture on the Dubai social calendar, this is the Middle East’s version of “the season.” Over the twelve day festival, thousands of meticulously trained camels compete in rounds to win their owners jaw-dropping cash prizes. Stays at Raffles Dubai from 1314 AED ($358).
Keep going for more What to Do's!
ME by Melia Hotels / Zaha Hadid / Melia Hotels / Dubai Hotels / Hotel Design / Hotel Architecture / → All Tags
There ain’t nothing like a dame – or a hotel that is designed by Dame Zaha Hadid, one of the most influential architects of our time. It should come as no surprise that the design-focused brand ME, by Melia Hotels has hired Zaha Hadid Architects as the sole design firm -- both interior and exterior -- for their new hotel, ME Dubai, set for a 2016 opening.
Cancun, Cabo, Madrid ... and, er, Vienna ... ME Hotels sure do love to set up shop in the party places, so we are not surprised to hear where they will be making their next move: the Balearic Islands. Rave on!
ME will be bringing their super-cool vibe, minimalist design, Aura Managers and, we hope, 4AM DJ's to Ibiza in June 2014 and to Mallorca in May. The 200-room Ibiza property will be situated bayside in Santa Eulalia and will have direct access from boat to the hotel. There will be 21 ME+ Suites, which usually means a dedicated host looking after you and a complimentary spa treatment, and the hotel will have two pools, Bali beds, an on-site fitness centre and roof top Skinc spa. Don't expect to sleep because DJs at the rooftop cocktail bar will be playing Ibizan classics deep into the night. Rates start at £200 ($320).
Breast Cancer Awareness Month / Breast Cancer Hotel Packages / Four Seasons Hotels / California Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / San Diego Hotels / Hard Rock Hotels / Kempinski Hotels / Dubai Hotels / → All Tags
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and many hotels are "Thinking Pink", offering packages and programs to support breast cancer research. Hotel geeks, you can do your part to help the cause in the simplest ways from buying a slice of cake, getting a manicure at a hotel spa, to of course booking a stay at one of these special properties. It's a twin-win this month.
Next week we'll let you know hotels supporting this nationally recognized month with one of our favorite things--Specialty Cocktails!
Squeeze n' Sip: The Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village near Malibu is supporting Breast Cancer Awareness by inviting guests to be proactive about their health by participating in a $75 digital mammogram screening at their state-of-the-art California Health and Longevity Institute, and also their special Think Pink Pampering Package, which includes a customized 50-minute Tranquility Massage followed by a Pink Lady Mocktini which can be sipped poolside at the spa's Serenity Pool. The package is $130 per person and is available Monday to Friday through October 31, 2013. A portion of the package proceeds will be donated to The Cancer Support Community, a local non-profit organization dedicated to supporting individuals and families of those affected by cancer.
Get Pretty Feet and a Sweet Treat: The Surrey in New York City is offering a special Champagne Pedicure in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month. The 60 minute pedicure is $95 and includes two signature Cornelia cupcakes, a small bouquet of pink roses and dried lavender.
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Dreams do come true...in Dubai, where Vikram Chatwal's Dream Hotels will open in late 2014. But this won't be some regular old hotel on a city block. No, this is Dubai, where everything is done not just bigger and better, but biggest and bestest.
So in following that logic, the Dream Dubai will be housed in the Marina 101, which is on track to be one of the largest super towers in Dubai and which will make the Dream Hotel the tallest hotel tower in the world when it opens. (Sorry, JDubs. You've got competition.)
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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."
Luxury Hotels / Hotels with iPads / Dubai Hotels / Hotel Amenities / Hotel iPads / Hotel News / → All Tags
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."