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While the New York Times may have been a bit late to the boutique hotels party, they also managed to totally overlook the fact that boutique hotel chains have utilized the web to market their brands in new and innovative ways.
The latest boutique chain to impress us with their web-savviness? Kimpton. The Kimpton Flickr page features cool tags, descriptive captions with links to each property's homepage and excellent photos of different aspects of all of their properties. Some of the photos even have rollover notes to explain the different features of the pic you're checking out.
Hotel chains (and Bill Marriott) that cater to Flickr geeks like us will always have a special place in our hearts. Cute dog, too.
Since we learned that sometimes booking a breakfast-inclusive package can be cheaper, we've paid a lot more attention to the morning meals on offer around the hotel world. So when Flickr photographer MildlyDiverting posted this pic of breakfast at the Malmaison Oxford Hotel we were a bit more than mildly diverted.
This attractive-looking basket is home to the breakfast-in-bed option at the Malmaison and it rather looks like something we'd like to souvenir, if we had a suitcase big enough. But since the Malmaison is housed in a former prison building, we're not actually recommending this course of action. To get this great breakfast there's a deal going there at the moment:
From £255 per night you can enjoy one of our glorious suites or super suites, champagne on ice, chocolate dipped strawberries, aromatic oils and candles, a chilled Mal CD and that all important champagne breakfast in your room.
Looks like our Flickr tipster got through the champagne before they took the picture!
· Newest Malmaison Opening in Oxford [HotelChatter]
· When Breakfast Included Is Cheaper Than a Standard Room Rate [HotelChatter]
· Meaningful Rice Dumplings Served for Breakfast at Grand Hotel Taipei [HotelChatter]
This version vaguely resembles a Western breakfast--in so far as there's tea, juice and some food--but then the similarities end, and the interesting cultural influences we go on holidays for begin. Some of the less-easily-identified components include the cucumber gelatin concoction (bottom left of the plate) and in the second cup from the left, the Thousand-Year-Old Egg (which we hope is not too accurately named).
Then there's a few versions of rice, starting with the congee in the far left cup (a kind of porridge), the fairly standard riceball and the Zong-zi (rice dumpling), which comes complete with a nice story:
Qu Yuan, a well-loved poet, drowned himself in the river and to prevent the fish from eating his body, people made rice dumplings (zong-zi) and threw them into the river.
All this learning, and you haven't even left the hotel yet, or even finished breakfast. Just for the record, recent visitors to Taipei's Grand Hotel have left incredibly mixed reviews, from those who loved it and considered it fantastic value, through those who appreciate the architecture but not the service, right down to some who think it's faded and past it (perhaps like the thousand-year-old-egg). All we know for certain is the breakfast looks pretty cool.
· Grand Hotel Taipei reviews [TripAdvisor]
· Taiwan Airport's New Name (And Nickname) [Jaunted]
· Taiwan's Lantern Festival Goes Porcine [Jaunted]
Sometimes you can score amazing deals booking through online travel sites but sometimes those "star ratings" that hotels have aren't always telling the truth.
Take for instance this man's experience at the Great Western Inn in Carlsbad, New Mexcio.
According to Hotels.com [this] is a three-star hotel. I've never seen a three-star hotel with a crack in the door that one can see street lights through. The room also didn't have hot water. It was only luke warm, and there were hairs on the pillows. Three-star hotel my ass.
In fairness to Hotels.com, we saw that they now have a one-star rating for the place. But either way, you should avoid this one.
We also happen to agree with the comment posted below this Flickr photo.
Each room in the hotel has a unique theme, falling under a different Dewey Decimal category such as Religion, Math and Sciene, History, and Technology. The room's decor is then built around the theme/category. Of course, the hotel has books--6,000 of them throughout, all arranged according to the Dewey Decimal System.
If you don't know what this system is, then you obviously weren't paying attention in middle school.
We said it before and we'll say it again, be careful when you go to Mexico.
Jcumberland's photostream of a Mexican Hotel of Horrors (with notes!) shows brown spots on bedsheets, water heaters under the sink, missing batteries in a smoke detector and mold in the bathroom.
Unless it's a celeb resort in Cabo, just say no.
· Jcumberland's photostream [Flickr]
Check-in was simple, the staff friendly and helpful (some knew more than others.) The best feature is the 70' exquisite heated rooftop pool and jacuzzi, with a lightshow every night at 8pm.
Light shows make everything more fun!
This Friday, the hotel yet again makes news because someone updated cool new photos of the place to the HotelChatter Flickr Pool. (Thanks to AJBelongia.) Might we add it looks like the Watergate is showing her age. A face-lift might be in order.
If you want to be cool too, upload your own hotel photos to our pool and if they are good enough we'll post 'em for the world wide web to check out.
Or if you prefer to hand-deliver your precious shots, we actually
check our email at least once a day.
The lesson here is probably don't cheat on your girlfriend (or boyfriend) while staying at a hotel. Cuz she'll throw your stuff into the hallway and lock you out. Then every guest passing by will have a good look at your man cosmetics bag and your navy blue underwear with gray trim.
· JLovely's Photostream [Flickr]
Finally, some insight as to how those mechanical toilets found in Japanese Love Hotels work.
UPDATE: This picture is actually of the Hotel Riad Bab Firdaus. We apologize for the mistake, but still this Flickr photo is better than the ones on the hotel web site.
This is the Hotel Riad Zina in Morocco, all lit up. Actually, this Flickr photo is better than any of the ones on the hotel web site. We can't really understand why some hotels use such lifeless photos of their rooms and public areas on their web sites. True, you don't want to show hotel flaws--bad lighting, bland decor, flowered comforters--but photos that are very old or very staged are not informative or appealing.
Warning: The site also uses some loud Moroccan music on its home page so be sure to turn down your volume.
· Hindolbittern's photostream [Flickr]
There were no towels in the room when we arrived at 7pm and we had to request some. The receptionist let us have the only ones available...2 old blue beach towels. Despite requests we did not receive a full set of white towels for the whole stay.
Yikes, we didn't know how important white towels were to some people.