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Don't Try to Stay Dry at the DRY Bar in Madrid’s Gran Meliá Fénix

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  Site Where: Calle de Hermosilla, 2, Madrid, Spain, 28001
September 5, 2014 at 4:10 PM | by | Comments (0)

We just love a good play on words because while “staying dry” at Gran Meliá Fénix’s DRY Bar is possible, with an 84-page bar menu, it’s probably not the time or the place.

The bar, whose full name is the lengthy DRY Cosmopolitan Bar by Javier de las Muelas, has a tantalizing selection of bevvies that fall into categories such as DRY & Tonics, Exotiks, Sensory, and a full page of Beer Cocktails (remember we saw this as a trend during Cocktail Week?). But it’s really the Classics, as in martini classics, that the bar most wants you to try, because when you do, you join a select group.

Each person who orders the Extra Dry Martini (€13 or $17) officially becomes a—as in you get a certificate and everything—proud supporter of the “Javier de las Muelas Dry Foundation, created for the development of the cocktail world.” Your certificate states your martini order number, as does the martini counter above the Bar’s bar.

You’ll be drinking your lip-smacking, mouth-drying martini (gin is certainly the thing here with 60 varieties available) in a clubby, woody type of bar where you feel you can stay and sink into the furniture for a while.

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Keep Up With the Joneses With These Cocktail Trends 2014: Part 1

August 15, 2014 at 4:34 PM | by | Comments (0)

As Week 1 of HotelChatter Cocktail Week(s) wraps up, here's a run-down of some of the nifty things we see going on in the world of hotel bars and bevvies. What do you see goin’ on out there? Let us know in the comments below!

There’s so Much More to Syrup Than Maple –
If you’re into cocktails there’s a pretty good chance you’ve made your own simple syrup but these hotels are going beyond the norm and creating some pretty exotic specialty syrups.

At Fifteen Beacon’s Mooo (a Preferred Hotel) they make all of their syrup’s in-house, but we particularly liked the sound of the House made Celery Lemongrass Syrup that they use in their Celery 75 cocktail, made with Berkshire Greylock gin, Prosecco, strawberry, and the syrup, of course.

Cost to imbibe: $14
Cost to stay at the hotel 'cause you've imbibed: Starts at $479

And here’s an exotic beauty from the W Bangkok: the Chor Muang cocktail. You have absolutely no hope of making this drink at home since it’s made with Butterfly Pea Flower House Made Syrup – a flower that has become so rare that it’s difficult to find it in Thai markets. This elusive ingredient, however, makes it popular with guests who want something authentically Thai, and with locals who want the same. Other ingredients in this cocktail include Butterfly Flower-infused raspberry vodka, lime juice, and it’s garnished with – here we go – a 24-carat gold dust-dipped Butterfly Flower.

Cost to imbibe: THB $275 ($9)
Cost to stay at the hotel 'cause you've imbibed: Starts at THB 4,788 ($150)

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Quirky Cocktails That (Can Make You) Go the Distance

August 14, 2014 at 7:13 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's no secret that we love drinking in hotels here at HotelChatter. In fact, hotels might be our favorite "local." So all this week and next, we'll be pouring out some drinks for you during our second Hotel Cocktail Week(s) -- newly-expanded because there’s just so many drinks to share. We'll be posting quirky cocktails, boozy trends, unique menus and even recipes so you can recreate your favorite hotel drink at home. We expect everyone will be getting a bit tipsy over the next couple of weeks! But don't forget to tip your bartenders, in this case, us.

There are some cocktails in this world that make you go, “Really?” Here are a few that fall into this category, proving that some things are best left for the experts to come up with.


This savory concoction comes from Shangri-La, At The Shard’s GŎNG. It contains Scotch – good; sherry – OK; blue cheese – what the?; and chocolate bitters. Really? All we can say is that we’re going to London soon and you can bet we’re making a pit stop here to see if it can actually be done.

Black and Blue Swizzle

Ingredients:
1.5 oz Talisker 10 Years
1/2 oz Pedro Ximinez Sherry
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
3/4 oz honey-blue cheese mix (method below)
1 drop Mozart Chocolate Bitter

Method:
To make the honey-blue cheese mix:
Add 2:1* honey syrup and 200g crumbled blue Stilton into a saucepan over medium heat and let the syrup simmer for a while (do not let it boil). Use a blender to make sure the cheese and honey are combined. It’s recommended to fine strain the syrup before usage.

Pour all of the ingredients into a copper mug and add crushed ice. Use a swizzle stick to blend the drink and crushed ice until the outside of the mug is frosted. A spoon can be used if you can't get hold of a swizzle stick.

Top up with fresh crushed ice and garnish with mint leaves, orange peel and cinnamon crumbles.

*A 2:1 (sugar/honey to water) is often referred to as rich simple syrup. The 2:1 ratio often gives the cocktail a better mouth feel and less is needed since it’s richer. It also lasts longer before spoiling.

Cost to imbibe at the hotel: £17 ($28)
Cost to stay at the hotel because you've imbibed too much: £500 ($834)

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HotelChatter's Hotel Cocktail Week(s) Begins with These Lazy-Hazy End Of Summer Cocktails

August 11, 2014 at 5:09 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's no secret that we love drinking in hotels here at HotelChatter. In fact, hotels might be our favorite "local." So all this week and next, we'll be pouring out some drinks for you during our second Hotel Cocktail Week(s) -- newly-expanded because there’s just so many drinks to share. We'll be posting quirky cocktails, boozy trends, unique menus and even recipes so you can recreate your favorite hotel drink at home. We expect everyone will be getting a bit tipsy over the next couple of weeks! But don't forget to tip your bartenders, in this case, us.

Although this may depress a few of you, it’s time to face reality: there are only a few short weeks remaining of good ‘ol summertime. But carpe diem everyone! It’s not too late to get these hotel cocktails and maybe grab some rays at a rooftop bar at the same time.


Sugar Snap Pea and Mint Cocktail at W New York–-Downtown’s Living Room Bar & Terrace

Created by mixologist Eben Klemm, the Sugar Snap Pea and Mint cocktail at W Downtown combines aquavit, simple syrup and muddled mint, lemon and sugar snap peas. Topped with ginger beer and garnished with a snap pea and mint sprigs, it’s one last fleeting summery sight for guests to behold. Plus the vegie makes it good for you. No need to explore that further.


The Farmers Tan Martini at Hotel Vermont’s Juniper

This drink is a twist on the classic dirty martini and combines the pickled vegetable of the day (most recently it was pickled fiddleheads), Vermont Barr Hill vodka or gin, pickling juice and a vegetable salt rim. Since it sounds like a pickle in a glass, we recommend a hearty beef burger to complement this bevvie.

If you want to give it a go at home, here’s what you do:

Combine 2.5 oz Green Mountain Vodka or Gin and .5 oz pickling brine
Shake ‘er up and put in a Martini glass with a Vegetable Salt Rim
Garnish with seasonal pickled vegetable

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6 European Hotel Chains That Should Be On Your Radar

Where: Europe
August 7, 2014 at 10:28 AM | by | Comments (2)

It’s summer, and wherever you live, that means a trip to Europe. New to the continent? Keen to try something other than your major chains, but nervous about going independent? Here are six of the best European chains. NB: These are all also suitable for anti-chain snobs.

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Inside Suite 335 at Four Seasons George V in Paris

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  Site Where: 31, avenue George V, Paris, France, 75008
July 10, 2014 at 5:05 PM | by | Comments (3)

Last week, we gave you ideas for things you can do at Four Seasons George V if you can’t afford the pretty penny it costs to stay there, but still want a piece of that luxury pie. Now we’re going deeper inside to give you a peek at one of the coveted suites at the hotel – Suite 335.

Suite 335 is a Four Seasons Suite, the lowest rung on the suites ladder at George V. After it comes the Deluxe, Premier, Duplex, and Empire Suites, and all the way up to the Penthouse Suite. The Four Seasons Suites are not to be scoffed at, however, as runts of the litter, for they range in size from 650-750 sq ft and have the old-world elegance found throughout George V plus all of the mod-cons you need to carry on with your daily life.

Plenty of pics below!

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A Magical Mystery Tour of Buddha-Bar Hotel Paris

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  Site Where: 4 rue d'Anjou, Paris, France, 75008
June 25, 2014 at 2:17 PM | by | Comments (0)

Now that the word is out regarding the sale of the Mondrian Soho to the Buddha-Bar Hotel Collection owner, Gerard Guez, we thought you might like to have a peek at the fairly-new Buddha-Bar Hotel Paris (opened as a Preferred Boutique Hotel in June 2013) to get an idea of what all the brouhaha is about regarding these properties in Paris, Prague and Budapest.

The 56-room Buddha-Bar Hotel Paris is located right in the fashion heart of the 8th arrondissement (and is often used in fashion shoots), just off Faubourg Saint-Honoré but, when you enter, you feel as if you’re not in Kansas (or Paris) anymore. All looks standard-issue Paris on the outside of the 1734 building, but step inside to face the 120 red-glass lanterns hanging at the entrance, and you imagine that you’ve been thrown into the movie classic, “Shanghai Express.”

With just a hint of opium-den design, the hotel and its rooms are full of mahogany wood, red or black lacquered doors and tabletops, golden brown or yellow walls and carpets, and grey or red sofas and chairs. Greeting you in the lobby, besides the Buddha-like black cat, is the Chinese Dragon woven into the carpet – a motif you’ll find throughout the hotel – as the official protector of travelers to this, and other, foreign lands.

Have a look at the photo gallery!

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What You Should Be Sipping On This Summer at Hotel Fouquet's Barrière

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  Site Where: 46 avenue George , Paris, France, 75008
June 5, 2014 at 4:02 PM | by | Comments (0)

Summer in Paris. Sounds delightful, doesn’t it? Well if your travels take you there, make a pit stop at the outdoor terrace at Le Lucien Bar at Fouquet's Barrière and order the Bombay Fouquet’s cocktail.

And here's why: For the (rather expensive) price of 27 EUR ($36) for a cocktail you're also getting a taste of the true Parisian luxury lifestyle without going the distance and spending the (very expensive) price of 690 Euros ($940) for a room. And there's no time limit. We sipped on that cocktail and munched on the addictive cashews with fresh truffles for a good two hours before we decided to get up and go about our day.

But back to the fancy pants drink itself. Concocted by head bartender Stéphane Ginouvès, voted France’s Best Barman in 2011, the cocktail consists of Bombay Sapphire gin, Martini Bianco, fresh lemon juice, raspberry puree, passion fruit juice and for that French “je ne sais quoi” kick: fresh basil. It was juicy and refreshing, rosy-hued and frothy, and just screamed summer.

Recipe below!

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The Brenners Park Hotel Takes Their Detox Programs Very Seriously

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  Site Where: Schillerstrasse 4/6, Baden-Baden, Germany, 76530
May 9, 2014 at 9:19 AM | by | Comments (0)

Remember hearing of the days when people traveled to European hotels and spas to “take the cure?” Well Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa in Baden-Baden (part of the Oetker Collection and Leading Hotels of the World) has set up three seven-day detox programs that harken back to those days of yore.

Brenners Vitality Detox – This is considered to be the starter package for detox virgins. As with all of the detox programs you get an interview with the Detox Specialist, a personalized menu plan and full board prepared in the Detox Vitalizing Kitchen, daily detoxifying tea and a green smoothie, daily yoga, and a five-course Gourmet Detox Dinner in the Michelin-starred restaurant.

The Vitality Detox package also includes spa goodies such as a De-acidifying Alkaline Bath to “support corporeal removal” and a body scrub with bio-virgin coconut oil and fleur de sel.

The Vitality Detox program starts at $3,430 Euros ($4,773) for seven days including accommodation in a Classic Single Room.

Brenners Organic Detox – This package combines spa treatments with a fitness program, and here’s where things start to get a wee bit funky. Along with innocuous sounding treatments like the sea mud compress with alkaline Epsom salts, we have the Flush-out Body Scrub with supporting Belly Button Massage. This makes us a little squirmy. You?

The Organic Detox program starts at $4,095 Euros ($5,698) for seven days including accommodation in a Classic Single Room.

And then we have their big gun: the Brenners Medical Detox. This ain’t for no sissy-baby spa goer (see below for more!)

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Four Seasons Hotels in Europe are Offering a $69,000 'Backstage Pass'

March 14, 2014 at 10:02 AM | by | Comments (0)

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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Barcelona Princess Has Brighter Brights After Rooms Revamped by Designer Desigual

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  Site Where: Avenida Diagonal, 1, Barcelona, Spain, 08019
October 24, 2013 at 9:22 AM | by | Comments (0)

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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Tallinn's Got Its Own Savoy Hotel and We Got a Look Inside

Where: Suur-Karja 17/19, Tallinn, Estonia, 10148
October 10, 2013 at 1:18 PM | by | Comments (0)

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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