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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.
· Mandarin Oriental Milan is coming in 2013: The luxury brand, Mandarin Oriental have long had their eyes set on Italy but now we've got word that the MO Milano will open in 2013. The hotel will have 104 guestrooms including 34 suites set throughout three 19th century buildings on Via Monte de Pieta, a rather swank address. A GM has just been appointed for the property which is a good sign that the 2013 opening date will stick.
· Trump Lands in Miami: It's finally happened. Trump Hotels have officially assumed management of the Doral Golf Resort & Spa outside Miami. Over the next 18 months, Trump will put in about $200 million in renovating the almost-800-acre resort. The place will be fully re-branded when the new look is complete.
But Starwood is reminding us today that New Jersey is also a perfectly nice place to stay when you're looking for a quiet, efficient, clean hotel near Manhattan but not actually located in the belly of the beast. Element, which already has a hotel in Ewing, near Princeton, has announced it will open a second NJ hotel in the suburb of Harrison, which lies between Jersey City and Newark—a less than 30 minute train ride to central Manhattan.
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It feels like ever since Even Hotels announced their new brand of health-conscious, fitness-oriented hotels, we've been seeing similar amenities start to pop up in other places. Now, Element Hotels, known for healthy breakfast wraps, 24-hour fitness centers, rentable bikes and en suite kitchens, are installing bike charging stationsUnlike Even Hotels and Tryp's fitness rooms, these stationary bikes will be placed in the actual fitness centers, not next to your bed. Because, really, plugging your laptop into the wall is much less exciting when you're doing it in your room.
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When the inevitable happens and you're delayed at Miami International Airport, you will now have a respectable place to wait it out--and even cook up a little dinner. Yes, it's here at last: welcome to the hotel jungle, Element Miami!
Last time we checked, there were no rooms until March 11 but today when we dropped by the website, the opening date banner was gone and lo and behold, there are rooms available tonight, from $169 a night or 4,000 Starpoints.
To mark the long-awaited arrival of the hotel, Starwood is hosting a ribbon-cutting for Element Miami next week--and we hear that Starwood CEO Frits van Paasschen and other execs will be using bikes to create 'pedal power' electricity to show off the brand's commitment to green living (though we'd rather be hiking up a volcano to get in our cardio for the day).
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If there's one thing that Miami and hotel openings have in common it's that they both make you wait longer than you'd like. Especially when you need to get permits from City officials to open your doors.
The hotel's website is saying Opening February 16--but taking reservations from March 1. A rep for Element tells us it's safe to say it will be open in 'late February.' And the earliest night we could find a room is March 11, for $159 a night.
It's been a while since we checked in on the hotel habits of the POTUS but yesterday we we were psyched to see that Barack Obama stayed at a hotel that we've actually stayed at before...twice!
When visiting Las Vegas on the campaign trail, Obama eschewed the hotel casinos on the Strip and instead took over the entire Element Las Vegas hotel in Summerlin, about 15 minutes from the Strip. 8newsnow.com reports:
Onlookers were curious as to why President Obama chose to stay farther away from the bright lights of the Las Vegas Strip. "This Element is earth friendly, and I think he's trying to promote that on his visit," Carol Bieganowski said.
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Yes, the hotel news keeps a-coming.
After several delays (about four), the Element Miami will open for real in a few short weeks. Just in time for all those winter storms which no doubt will leave travelers stranded at MIA!
While the date on the website says January 26, we couldn't actually book a room online until February 1. There we found rooms for $169 a night for 373-sq.ft. non-smoking room with a king bed. For a studio room with a full kitchen and about 100-sq.ft more space, that will cost you only $179 a night.
One-bedroom suites with even more space and a pull-out queen sofa are just $189 a night. And remember those room rates include WiFi and a hot breakfast everyday.
While those rates are great for a new hotel in Miami during peak season, remember, this property is closer to the airport than the thong bikinis of South Beach so plan accordingly.
[Photo: Miami Herald]
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It's slow season in Miami, so we were starting to get excited about a brand new hotel opening to cheer us up. But, well, what do you think happened? That's right--the hotel got pushed back. We're looking at you, Element Miami International Airport.
Apart from being a not-surprising-but-bummer-all-the-same moment, this news is a lesson in paying attention to the fine print. For while, the words "Opening December 8, 2011" run in big letters across the hotel's website, there is some more sobering news to be found when you click through to the announcements section.
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Did you even think you'd find Fiddleheads on the menu at your urban hotel? Fiddleheads are the coiled leaves of a fern, and not only are they tasty but they are rare, with a short season that happens to be right now. Thanks to a new partnership between The Element Hotel Times Square and Vermont's Holton Farms CSA, more such local and organically grown produce will be on offer at the hotel soon.
CSAs are growing in popularity, especially in NYC where fresh produce is at a premium and farm-grown is desirable. CSA stands for "community-supported agriculture," and it's essentially a subscription service. You send your money to the farm for a subscription, and they send you the latest seasonal fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses right off their land. Holton Farms is one of the most popular CSAs that serve NYC, and they'll even be expanding beyond the Element partnership to start up a food truck serving the High Line park this summer!
So, when you reach to pick out an apricot or notice a rhubarb tart in the free breakfast spread at the Element, just think about the fact that only a few days ago, those yummy things were hanging out in the crisp Vermont air, just waiting to ripen up enough to meet your mouth in New York.
[Photo of a Holton Farms Fiddlehead dish: HotelChatter]
Stop us if you've heard this one: We get totes excited about a new outpost of Westin's Element Hotels brand, await the opening eagerly, but wind up having our hopes dashed, again and again, as the hotel is delayed month after month.
Yes, we played this sad, wait by the phone game with Element Times Square West in NYC, and now it looks like we're being forced to wait a little longer for the new Element Miami International Airport.
When we first heard about this outpost last summer, the opening was slated for May. Then, it was listed on our Master List of Worldwide Hotel Openings for June. Now, the website is claiming the hotel will open in August.
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Yesterday, we took you inside the guestrooms at the brand-new Element Times Square. While we are super excited to have the Element brand in NYC, the rooms aren't as quite as big as they are at other Elements and the prices are definitely big city prices (around $350 a night.) But what you do get for the money is a lot.
Today, we're showing you everything else from the Rise Breakfast Bar area (sadly, we visited after breakfast was over), the multi-functional lobby area where you can eat, work, relax and socialize, the Restore Gourmet Pantry where you can grab quick snacks to go or shop for groceries to cook in your rooms, the Recharge fitness center and even the hotel's rooftop space.
All of these are free to the hotel guests (well, except the grocery and snack purchases of course) so if you do stay at Element, be sure to take advantage of all of this.
Now get clicking below to see what else is in store at the Element Times Square.
Wow. We threatened to take away the GTH privileges if no one commented on last week's guessing game and you guys came out in full force with your guesses! We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Now, congrats to msnyela, Derek Spisak and andres ortacastro for correctly guessing the hotel that lets you socialize while you work as the brand-new Element Times Square.
The hotel stealthily opened early on Thursday, November 18 (we thought December 9 was the new date) but we were able to get a tour of the entire hotel last week from the general manager, Peter McNamee, and the director of sales, Jeffrey Reich-Hale.
There's actually quite a lot to see here so we are gonna break it down for you. Today, we'll go inside the guestrooms. Tomorrow, we'll see everything else.
We have to be upfront, we kinda have a major crush on the Element brand, thanks to a four-day stay at the Element Las Vegas last year where we had a spacious one-bedroom suite, glorious free WiFi and a scrumpdillyumptious free breakfast each morning. So we walked into the Element Times Square full of excitement. And predictably, since we're so high on Element, the place did not disappoint. Well, mostly.