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British Airways announced today its "Big British Invite," a promotion that offers two nights free accommodation in select UK hotels when you purchase a roundtrip ticket between the US and the UK.
You can book this deal through March 31, 2013, and the free hotel stay is valid for travel from January 9 through May 31, 2013. In other words, you must book the airline tickets by March 31st for travel between now and the end of May.
There are participating hotels in London, Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester, and Edinburgh, and while there are an abundance of Holiday Inns on the list, you'd be silly to pass up the extra nights. Hotels in London include the Royal National, President, Aloft London ExCel and Rembrandt.
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Just before the summer, we looked at the many things Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts has up its sleeve, with places as far and wide as Jerusalem, Panama, and Berlin welcoming this luxury brand of the Hilton group in the next few years.
This month however it’s time for Edinburgh, where the historic Caledonian hotel reopened its doors after a £24 million ($39 million) overhaul, and officially became The Caledonian, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
With over a hundred years of history, the restoration seeks to bring back the origins of The Caledonian as a luxury railway hotel. Marble flooring, a sweeping staircase, and the vast chandelier you can see in the picture above dominate the reception and lobby. In a nod to its famous New York sibling, the Peacock Alley is the central meeting place of the hotel and the spot to have a drink or meet for afternoon tea.
She's a grand old dame, and she's still full of swagger.
We've known for a while that Starwood has been spending a ton of money upgrading all of the properties under its most iconic brand, Sheraton. $6 billion, to be exact. Now, with the centerpiece of that renovation project completed, we're starting to get a sense of where the brand is heading.
Starwood is telling everyone to pay attention to the Sheraton Grand Edinburgh's new look, as it will become the "blueprint" for all future Sheraton hotels to come. In fact, Starwood Senior VP Michael Wale told Scotsman: "The Sheraton Grand in Edinburgh will definitely become the flagship for the brand and will act as a template for what the brand will look like."
Ooh, lucky Edinburgh!
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Room service is usually a solitary affair for us—either we don't know anyone in the city to go out to dinner with, or we're just feeling a bit low-key and prefer an in-room meal in front of the TV to going out and talking to people.
But the newly opened Hotel Indigo Edinburgh is the first place we've heard of to let guests have it both ways. In other words, you get the comfort of eating in your own room and the added bonus of a live comedian, who shows up with your meal and does a 10-minute stand-up act right in front of you. Yes, the potential for awkwardness is pretty high, but we'll let that go, for the sake of sheer novelty. The setup is by nature a little ridiculous, but since hotel rooms are often ripe subjects for joke-making, there's bound to be at least a few laughs in there.
The Hotel Indigo Edinburgh is set for an April 14 opening with just 60 rooms set inside an early 1800 historic building which has preserved many of the original features such as decorative interior staircases and a unique cupola.
The Indigo brand's room standards of free WiFi, hardwood floors and spa-style bathrooms are in place, as well as vibrant decor (we're liking the orange) but one thing does appear to be missing--the photography wallpaper. But perhaps it's just this room shown on the hotel's website.
Downstairs, guests can dine and drink at the Turquoise Thistle, the hotel's all-day dining restaurant and cocktail lounge which will serve "classic and modern Scottish dishes with a contemporary twist, using a predominance of locally sourced produce."
Best of all, the price is oh so very right here. We found a non-smoking room for an "Ace Opening Rate" of just £109 a night. That includes complimentary breakfast, VAT and a late check-out. Full payment is required at booking but never fear, regular room rates are the same amount as well.
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The Sun Palace, Cancun
We at HotelChatter know Spring Break exists even though our school days are long gone. March and April seems to be the months when kids from elementary to college age are let loose upon the world, meaning vacation time for some lucky adults too. So you know what? We decided we want in, too. There’s still enough time to book a getaway, so with that in mind, here are some vernal equinox escapes, in case you want to get on the bandwagon.
If there’s one place we’d love to have a blowout on New Year’s Eve, it’d be Edinburgh. Which is unfortunate, because it means we’re sorely tempted by the deal that the George Hotel has going for Hogmanay right now.
It’s auctioning off its massive Panorama suite – which comes with a roof terrace looking over Edinburgh Castle and across as far as Fife – for the 31st. And, even more winningly, it’s in aid of charity, too.
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While on a recent trip to Edinburgh, we spent our last night gorging ourselves at 21212, a restaurant opened in 2009 by Chef Paul Kitching and his partner, Katie O’Brien, and staying in one of the four upstairs bedrooms in the Georgian house that they renovated.
Whatever you do, though, don’t call 21212 a “bed and breakfast.” That just gets their kilts all a-ruffle. We were told, quite strictly, that 21212 is a “restaurant with rooms.” Hmm...we wish all boutique hotels stateside could be so honest. It would safe us a lot of trouble!
Upon arrival, we checked on our dinner reservation at the Michelin-starred restaurant, and made our way upstairs to the four bedrooms to have a look around. This is a former house, so all the rooms are different.
Welcome to our regular feature, Pitch Your Hotel, where we let hoteliers, general managers and other hotel execs tell us on-camera what makes their hotels so different from all the rest. And believe us, the competition is fierce these days. So sit back, relax and listen to them explain why their hotels are worthy of your hard-earned dollars or rewards points.
Between the scotch sipping and nighttime ghosts and ghouls tours in Edinburgh last week, we holed up at the stylish Hotel Missoni, right in the heart of the Royal Mile.
Since we’ve already brought you an inside look at the fabulous guest rooms and the swinging lobby and bar, this time we found the coolest kilted doorman at the hotel and asked him to to make a video for our regular Pitch Your Hotel series.
The lobby at the relaunched Chicago Mart Plaza Holiday Inn
Not only is the huge Holiday Inn chain in the midst of renovating and "relaunching" their hotels, but they're also getting their act together to be the official hotels of the 2012 Olympics in London. For this reason, we're not super surprised that the honor of being Holiday Inn's 2,000th relaunched hotel goes to a UK property: the Holiday Inn Express at Edinburgh Waterfront.
It's a huge milestone for a such a small hotel, and now that the chain has reached 2,000, they're two-thirds of the way through the massive chain facelift, which began back in 2007.
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Mal Edinburgh - the original Malmaison
We’re fans of the British Malmaison chain for decent value in interesting locations (all their hotels used to be some kind of cool old building) so we’d be up for trying their latest package – a Tale of Two Scottish Cities.
It’s no quicky break –you’ll spend a whole week between Glasgow and Edinburgh – but you won’t be stuck for things to do in either of those places. Split seven nights either way (we suggest three in Edinburgh and four in Glasgow, for ease of reaching the Highlands in the day time), and for £500 per person, you’ll get one Brasserie meal at each hotel, a bottle of whisky at one, and champagne at the other.
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We've already taken you on a tour of our room inside of the first (and currently only) Missoni Hotel in Edinburgh, but a look at a hotel with this much detail and vibrancy wouldn't be complete without a tour of the public spaces.
Although we opted not to add the breakfast onto our room bill, we still explored the hotel's Cucina Restaurant, the lobby bar/lounge, and we even made it to the small gym on the hotel's second floor, which is called the first floor in Europe. We were thrilled to see that the Missoni touch was not lost on anything, and even the gym featured brightly-painted walls, Missoni towels, and the quirky addition of a mini Smeg refrigerator. You'll only find our tour of reception and the bar in the video above, but after the jump, we've got a full gallery of all the public spaces inside of the Missoni Hotel Edinburgh.