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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.
While we're a little bit bummed that the Element Times Square won't be opening until December, we've got something that will hold us over in the meantime--Element Omaha (sing it now, "Somewhere in middle America, get right to the heart of matters...") which will open on November 4.
Built green from the ground up, the property will pursue LEED certification and offer sustainable practices and eco chic amenities. Each of Element’s 132 guest rooms has a fully-equipped kitchenette and guests will have access to the complimentary healthy Rise breakfast each morning, Motion, the 24-hour state-of-the-art fitness center and complimentary bikes to borrow.
Element Omaha, in the city's Midtown district, will actually be the first Element hotel in the Midwest and if you're in the area, we highly recommend you try it out. We spent four days at the Element Las Vegas last year and it still ranks as one of our top hotel stays.
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It may not be the coolest thing to say but after a summer of non-stop hot hotel openings in NYC, we're starting to hanker for the simple life. Which is why we were psyched for the October 14 opening of Element New York Times Square West.
They promised a soothing environment and healthy food options--in Times Square! But alas, we won't be getting our Element on until the time of year when health is the furthest thing from our minds: the holidays.
That's right: Element Times Square is now opening on December 18.
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Element Las Vegas
Now that budget/limited-services hotels aimed at business travelers and roadtrippers have nearly surpassed luxury hotels in terms of amenities (free WiFi, flat-screens, free delicious breakfasts) and services (again, free WiFi, mobile phone check-in/check-out, Wii games in the lobby etc.), we're finding it hard to recommend anything but these brands for our friends.
In fact, a friend recently spent the night near the Chicago airport and was debating between an Aloft Hotel or a Courtyard By Marriott, which had one of those updated new lobby layouts. In the end, our friend went for Courtyard because it was just a tad cheaper. But we found ourselves wishing that there was an Element Hotel (by Westin) nearby.
Indeed Element has long been our favorite hotel brand in this segment, especially after spending four nights at the Las Vegas property. These rooms are built more for the extended-stay travelers (most have kitchenettes and separate seating areas) and while the brand is a sister brand to Aloft, the properties feel more grown-up and less cartoonish than Alofts. They truly do feel like a little oasis away from your business travel hell.
The only problem is, in our opinion, there aren't enough Elements to go around. Currently, there's only seven Element hotels open but in the next year, there are two big markets that will be getting the kind of Element we like.
We loved our stay at Element Las Vegas so much last December (thanks to free WiFi, green practices and spacioius rooms) that we're keen on staying there again soon. We figured our next chance would be try out the Element Times Square West in New York come September 16.
But alas, like so many Starwood Hotels in NYC (Aloft, W, Sheraton), the opening date has been pushed back yet again to October 14.
When the Element Times Square does open it will be located on West 39th Street at 8th Avenue, just a block from the Lincoln Tunnel. Like other Element Hotels, the rooms will have fully equipped kitchens and downstairs the public areas will be built for guests and guests of guests to both work and play.
There aren't many photos on the site and we have no word on pricing but the bedrooms do look a little more upscale than the Vegas property, specifically those leather (faux-leather?) headboards.
We just hope there will be some excellent breakfast options as well.