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As spring continues to elude a lot of us, you might be mind escaping by leaving on a jet plane to far-off destinations. To feed your fantasy, we thought we’d share with you this flight of fancy offered by Four Seasons: A $69,000 backstage pass package to some of Europe’s most iconic cultural kicks.
This 16-day Backstage with the arts package includes the use of a fully kitted out 757 private jet that’ll whisk you from European capital to European capital: Lisbon, Milan, Istanbul, St. Petersburg, Paris and Prague, complete with a Four Seasons Global Guest Services Manager to help make all of your arts and culture dreams come true along the way.
To further whet your appetite for this OTT fantastic fantasy, here are some of the behind-the-scenes treats for the 52 people who will be able to book the package.
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Three words come to mind when viewing the newly-reno’ed rooms and public spaces at the Hotel Barcelona Princess, re-done by Barcelona-based clothing designers Desigual: “kooky,” “quirky” and “vivid.” These are not rooms for lovers of cool minimalism but, rather, for hipster bohos looking for an eccentric room to call their own.
The 363-room Barcelona Princess Hotel, a member of London-based Great Hotels of the World, is located at the foot of Avenida Diagonal, about a 10-minute walk to the beach and next to the International Congress Centre. It was designed by Oscar Tusquets Blanca and opened in 2004.
Now, eighteen of the hotel’s rooms and two of their junior suites on the 23rd and 24th floors have been taken over and redecorated by Desigual to launch the Desigual Living Collection, created to fulfill the company's goal of bombarding homes with outrageous patterns and over-the-top color — the antithesis of neutral purity.
More pics below!
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Summer was a busy one for this HotelChatter editor as I traveled up the Baltic coast and finally found myself in the cobbled medieval marvel that is Tallinn. There I popped into the Savoy Boutique Hotel to have a look around. What I found was a 44-room property that can best be described as "romantic" (and I don’t use that word lightly).
The lobby is full of sumptuous textured fabrics and comfy seating areas, making you feel as if you're visiting a wealthy family friend’s 17th-century estate. Walls are sienna-colored painted plaster complementing the floral bouquets in the lobby. When you arrive to check-in, you’re handed a house cocktail made with cucumber juice, sparkling wine, lime, and a touch of sugar for sweetness.
Get a peek inside after the break!
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Polo season is in full gear in the UK and will be starting soon enough in the rest of the world. Whether it’s polo-inspired cocktail menus, training with the polo pros or exclusive access to top matches, these hotels want you to experience polo paradise.
Three of the world’s top polo matches take place in Argentina, so it’s a pretty big deal there. The new bar at Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires pays homage to the sport and to the revered Argentinean polo team, La Dolfina. However, the Pony Line Bar and Lounge may be clad in brown leather and have a riding motif throughout, but it ain’t a sports bar as you know it to be.
It’s more for the urban sophisticate who wants to try the housemade chorizo and oxtail empanadas to go along with his or her artisanal locally-produced Stallion beer than the Bud Light and wings crowd. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that—we like a good stack of salt-and-pepper wings as much as the next guy or gal. We’re just sayin’.)
If you want to get an even bigger taste of the game, as a hotel guest you can visit La Dolfina Polo Ranch to learn more about the sport and why Argentina is reputed to be so good at it. Rates start at $595 in October.
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Last week we told you about LA’s Four Seasons offering up a ½ oz shot of the revered Louis XIII Rare Cask 42,6 cognac for a healthy $1,000 a pop. Now we’ve found out that The Bar at The Dorchester in London has fired a shot over their bow, so to speak, thereby upping the cognac war ante.
To celebrate the launch of the Louis XIII Rare Cask 42, 6, the house of Rémy Martin asked this Dorchester Collection hotel to create the ultimate “Louis XIII Dorchester Experience.” For the first time ever, you can taste all four Louis XIII ‘expressions’ side by side: Louis XIII, Louis XIII Black Pearl, Louis XIII Rare Cask 43,8 and the recently launched Louis XIII Rare Cask 42,6. With only 20 flights available and most of the Louis XIII Rare Cask and Black Pearl now sold-out worldwide, there’s no time to lose.
And it gets even better.
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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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Jacobsen's Room 606
Few can deny that Danish architect Arne Jacobsen, creator of the Egg, the Swan and the Series 7 chairs, was one of the most iconic architects and designers of the modernist era. Could the Radisson Blu Royal Copenhagen be his finest achievement? We went on an exploratory mission to check out what was said to be the “landmark of the jet age.”
The hotel opened in 1960 and was originally built by SAS to accommodate both its first airport terminal and its passengers who needed to stay overnight to catch a flight out of Copenhagen. After a night at the hotel, passengers would check in for their flight in the terminal building attached, and wait for the airline's shuttle bus to take them to the airport.
Today, the hotel still has the same clean lines and simple detail that it had back then. The famous Jacobsen Egg and Swan chairs, originally designed for the hotel, are still found throughout the very large black-and-white-marbled lobby and in the rooms. The elegantly curved white lobby staircase pushed the limits of technology in the late 50s and looks like it could be found in a loft from 2013. Other original details include the dark wenge wood found on the main floor of the hotel. Jacobsen designed everything from the cutlery and plates, bathroom fittings and door handles to the chairs and lighting fixtures.
(There are plenty of pics for you to see in the photo gallery!)
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During our recent trip to Copenhagen we stopped in at, what looked to be, a Moroccan palace but in reality turned out to be the swanky Nimb Hotel.
Nimb is located in Tivoli Gardens (don’t be fooled – Tivoli is swarming with great restaurants and bars, not just kids and candy floss). From the outside the hotel looks like it’s a theme park ride: You expect cars with little kids and unhappy parents will emerge from within and the faint strains of “It’s A Small Palace After All” can be heard. However, once you enter the sanctity of the lobby, you find that it is, indeed, a theme park of sorts – one made for design-loving hotel geeks.
When Nimb Hotel first opened in 1909 it wasn’t a hotel at all, but a building that first housed a bazaar and a restaurant. In 2008 it was decided that a hotel should be created and Nimb Hotel was born.
There are plenty of pics for you in the photo gallery!
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What's It Like Inside a Nordic "Palace"? A HotelChatter Review
If you've not been to the Nordic city of Copenhagen , we gotta tell ya, their hotel scene is hopping with some real beauts! We've just returned and we're eager to share our hotel observations with you. First up is our take on the Palace Hotel Copenhagen. (Stay tuned for other Copenhagen Hotel Scene stories in the coming weeks!)
The 169-room Palace Hotel Copenhagen (formerly a Le Méridien and now owned by Scandic Hotels and part of the Preferred Hotel Group) originally opened in 1910 by a butcher who had a dream to own an “international” hotel. Anders Jensen hired young architect Anton Rosen to design the hotel, both inside and out, from the furniture to buttons on uniforms. Rosen’s Art Nouveau aesthetic still carries on today because subsequent designers hired to update and modernize the hotel from top-to-bottom in 2008 were insightful enough to ensure that the Palace Hotel nodded “hey” to its roots.
So let’s get to it. Plenty of pics below!
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While researching hotels in the Hungarian capital this past January, we came across the usual brands (InterContinental, Four Seasons, Autograph Collection). But amidst all the grand palaces and five-star spas, there was one small boutique hotel we simply couldn't pass over: the Casati Budapest Hotel.
The 25-room hotel is housed in an 18th century building in the center of the city, right near the Opera metro stop, making it perfect for tourists. In fact, the address is so central that, after arriving from the airport via taxi on our first night, we did most of our sightseeing on foot directly from the hotel.
But location and a cool name aren't all this hotel has to offer. You see, the rooms here are divided into four different themes, ranging from Classic to Cool to Natural to Heaven. Naturally, we chose 'Cool.'
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We've started a series of what’s trending in hotels these days: What’s Out, What’s In. Do we like what we see? Think it's a dud? You be the judge!
What's Out: Trekking to the hotel gym
What's In: In-room workouts that rival a personal training session
The hotel gym. We know people use ‘em, but sometimes it’s hard to find that last bit of energy needed to drag yourself out of your room after a busy day of sightseeing or making deals. Or maybe you’re just jet-lagged and are up at 3 a.m. thinking, “Man – I could really go for a workout right now.” At these hotels, the gym comes to you.
Dorchester Collection’s new contemporary hotel 45 Park Lane in London offers you an exclusive in-room workout with fitness guru and trainer to the stars, Matt Roberts, through a bespoke and full-body in-room video program. The hotel committed to get fit during the London Olympics and got Matt to create five workouts, each video focusing on a different area of the body using the furniture at hand. (We’re not suggesting they’re copying us here at HC, but sort of like our Sweat-Worthy Hotel Room Exercises series we brought you about a month or so ago.)
When you leave you’ll also get a freebie Matt at 45 Park Lane Fitness Pack which includes step-by-step training techniques for beginners through pros, a healthy eating plan, and “in the know” tips from the trainer -- things only Matt Roberts and Naomi Campbell knew till now.
At Raffles Praslin Seychelles space is your friend if you want to have an in-room workout. In the privacy of your own 410 sq ft (minimum) villa, with a vast outdoor terrace looking out over the ocean, you can do as many Sun Salutations as you want without bumping into the furniture. All villas already include a yoga mat and, at your mere request, the resort will deliver a fitness kit consisting of a dumbbell set, skipping rope, stability ball, resistance band and a selection of exercise DVDs. If that’s not enough to get you going you can arrange for an in-room personal trainer to take you through your paces with a customized exercise program.
And don't forget, HotelChatter's Sweat-Worthy Workouts: Can't afford to hire a personal trainer to come to your room? Or more likely, are you staying in a property that doesn't have a gym or in-room fitness videos? We've got you covered with our five sweat-worthy workouts, all of which you can do in your hotel room. Watch the videos for instructions on the different body parts to work out. You're very welcome!
Two more fitness-crazed hotels below!
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With the launch this week of Dan Brown’s next magnum opus, Inferno, the Ferragamo (as in Salvatore) family-owned Lungarno Collection of hotels has come up with an Inferno Package that lets you follow in the footsteps of our intrepid hero, Robert Langdon, as he searches the hidden passageways of Florence to learn the hidden secrets to Dante’s Divine Comedy.
The Uffizi Gallery, Palazzo Vecchio and the house of Dante are just three of the places on this three-hour special access tour you'll go to before the film crews arrive and take them over to shoot the next Robert Langdon AKA Tom Hanks movie.
But that ain’t all, folks. You’ll also get: