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Ok, so technically, Mickey didn’t make an appearance in this video of the under-construction Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World, but we would have appreciated the reference (if slightly on-the-nose) had the iconic character popped up.
Rather, it is Thomas Steinhauer, Regional Vice President and General Manager of the hotel, who dons his hard hat and walks you through the 434-room resort – the largest Four Seasons resort in the world – as it progresses towards a summer 2014 opening.
For many Winter Park Florida doesn't ring a bell on the Google map meter. In the publishing industry, it's home to the well-known Bonnier Company and as of a week ago, the new Alfond Inn, a 112-room property part of the Preferred Boutique Hotel portfolio.
In all honesty, the Alfond Inn is aware it may be a bit of a hard-sell for those who are Orlando bound, especially those who have plans on hitting the theme parks. But they are counting on attracting a primarily adult market content with their location 15 minutes from downtown Orlando and 30 minutes from Walt Disney World and Orlando International Airport. Anyone who has driven in this area knows it's a hop-skip to anywhere you want to go.
This isn't some towering, overwhelming kiddified resort, so keep that in mind. Instead, you'll find that this Spanish Mediterranean revival style inn built with a $12.5 million grant procured by the owners of the co-ed liberal arts Rollins College, fosters an environment of rest and relaxation--welcome after a day at SeaWorld, perhaps? It's a 20th-Century throwback to the Old South with arches, columns, wrought iron and flowering trellises.
Despite the fact that the new wind turbines being installed on the roof of the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort will produce a very small percentage of the hotel's power, Randy Gaines, Hilton's VP of Engineering, Housekeeping and Laundry Operations, thinks it's a huge step in the right direction.
“The turbines will help us visualize the hotel as a place to be conscious of energy use,” Gaines told the South Florida Business Journal. “It’s not going to be a big percentage of the hotel power, but it will help to highlight the importance of conserving electricity, and to start dialogue.”
The symbolism of the six turbines is definitely a welcome sight for the hotel industry, a move that speaks volumes in terms of Hilton's determination to be environmentally friendly. Considering the appearance of the turbines has always been a source of conflict when it comes to wind energy, the fact that Hilton is putting them on its roof sends a strong message. Not to be overly dramatic, but it shows the industry is capable of making decisions based on something a little less shallow.
It's the name of the game--one hotel closes, and another opens. That's the case with the Venezuelan-based EuroBuilding Hotels Group which has entered the North American market with its first U.S. property, the new EB Hotel Miami. With a modest $38 million bankroll, they quietly opened in June.
Just five minutes from Miami International Airport, the 133-room boutique spot is primarily targeting the upscale business traveler, whom they'll pick up (and return) to MIA via a courtesy van.
Most of the bells and whistles at the EB are of the tech variety, with a 24-hour business center and three private conference rooms, each with video-conferencing capabilities. One can get ready for any meeting by using the center's free copier, printer, scanner and fax machines (yes, people still fax documents, folks). Need to send out a package? There's shipping and receiving services too. And if you've got computer issues, the on-site Information Technology Concierge can help you out. Of course, the hi-speed WiFi is free throughout the hotel.
Rooms are sleek and soundproofed, with double-glazed windows to keep the noise from the nearby runway to a minimum, and to ensure a good nights sleep, since this is hardly in a party-central part of town. But #avgeeks will love the views as many rooms will give you front-and-center look at the planes taking off into the sky.
Should you have some down time there's a 24-hour fitness center, but most guests will take the opportunity to head to South Beach, which is less than 20 minutes away by taxi, for some surf and sand.
Rates begin at $138 per night until August 31st as part of the grand opening special.
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Well, color us surprised. Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World might still be a year away from opening, but hot on the heels of its GM appointment, the apparent interest in the 434-room resort is already so significant that a first series of rates for meetings and groups has been released. Talk about planning ahead.
We’ll get to those rates in a second, but alongside there’s an indication what us normal people will be paying to live it up with Mickey. Unfortunately, the same seems to hold true here as it does for Disney itself these days: bring your wallet. Rooms will start at $595 in September 2014, going up to $645 from October onwards. Family packages aside, with a room and one-day admission for four, you’re looking at a grand a day just like that. Eeeek.
Now that we know rooftop and terrace season is alive and pippin', we'd be remiss if we didn't address one thing--these booze-fueled outdoor antics can get pricey. It seems the higher the floor the bar's located, the more expensive the drink!
That's why we decided to head south to that delicious city called Miami where you can find a variety of hotspots showcasing happy hours for a song. Some are rooftop situations, others aren't. The point is you can have a good time without breaking the bank.
We urge other hoteliers to figure out a way to emulate these four fantastic bars.
This Biscayne Blvd hotel's Area 51 rooftop terrace has a nightly "Veuve on the Clock" Happy Hour beginning at 5pm with $5 champagne by the glass until 6pm. The flute cost raises by just one dollar until 8pm. There's also a new menu of small bites, grilled fare, and curated cocktails to celebrate summer. To make those bubbles even more fun to sip, there's a DJ mixing for the crowd from Wednesdays through Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Great for the afterwork crowd and those who can't manage to hang until midnight when most Miami clubs get started.
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All right, so here we go: Apple TV is digging its heels in the hotel industry.
When The Pearl, a 55-room luxury resort, opens in July on Rosemary Beach Florida, it will offer Apple TV in all its rooms. Is it ironic that an establishment on a beautiful stretch of beach is upgrading your television-watching ability? Totally!
We've hashed out our torn opinions about the value of in-room technology and its effects on the art of travel, especially when it drives up the room rate, but we do know that there are many travelers who will be quite pleased by this news (some of us included!). For those who've just come out of hibernation, Apple TV will allow you to stream shows and movies from iTunes and Netflix right to your hotel room.
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A small part of us chuckles that the world's largest Econo Lodge will humbly boast under 300 rooms, but we suppose it's a nice step for the typically small motel chain as far as novelty goes. Perhaps more important than the size of the property is the extra perks that are not normally seen at Econo Lodges such as an on-site delicatessen and free in-room Wi-Fi, coffee makers, refrigerators, and ironing boards. It will also have a partnership with the adjacent YMCA Aquatic Center, allowing guests free access to its three indoor pools, fitness center, and indoor racquetball courts.
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Deals: you want 'em, and surprisingly, everyone has 'em. Take a look at some of the latest hotel deals going around the internet today from booking sites, social media sites, flash sale sites and more. Don't forget to scroll down to see the HotelChatter-approved deal either. Who knows? You might just find what you're looking for. (But don't forget to tell us about your stay!)
DEALS, DEALS, DEALS*
· One-Day Sale for the Hotel Valley Ho: Shake off your Cinco de Mayo hangover and get ready for Hotel Valley Ho's annual one day sale on Monday, May 6. Rooms start at $89 every Sunday through Friday and $109 on Saturdays from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The deal also includes two drinks upon arrival, upgraded internet, $20 nightly resort credit and some other discounted services. There's really no catch to the low rates other than it's summer in the desert so it will be HOTT and that all reservations require a non-refundable deposit of one night’s room and tax at time of booking. Go here on Monday, May 6, to book. You can even set up a reminder email too.
· Marriott's "Suntastic Savings" at 30 Hotels in Florida: Once again, 30 JW Marriott, Renassaince, Marriott and Gaylord Hotels and Resorts in Florida are discounting their rates and throwing in perks like free meals for kids and complimentary internet. (Normally, you have to pay for that.) The offers are good for travel from May 15 to Sept 30 and vary depending on the region. For 25 percent off rates on three or more nights in the Northwest Coast of Fla., use promo code ZZ1. For Florida's playground resorts, use code F8L which will get you 15 percent off, free meals for kids and a $25 resort credit. Heading to South Florida? Then use code SUM which will get you 15 percent off rates, free meals for kids and free internet or other welcome amenity. Rates start around $99 a night. Go to Summer Suntastic Savings to start planning your stay.
· Hot Time, Summer in The Crescent City: New Orleans may be sizzling in the summer time thanks to events like the New Orleans Food and Wine Experience (May 21-May 25 and the Essence Music Festival (July 4-7) but the Courtyard New Orleans Downtown/Iberville in the French Quarter is keeping it cool with rates starting at just $109 a night from May 12-Sept. 30. To make your rezzie, go here and use promo code WBZ.
· Why Stay In When You Could Go To The Out?: Just in time for Pride Season next month, The Out NYC has dropped the rate for it's Shared Luxury Accommodations to just $99 a night. That also includes a daily spa pass (a $50 value) which give access to the hotel's full-service spa and three courtyards. Of course the term "shared" should alert you to the fact that you will be sharing a room with up to four people but there are full-sized beds, personal TVs, a bathroom and shower and best of all, privacy curtains. Go here to book your stay.
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Now that's what we call a hearty piece of meat!
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: Grass-fed beef and local poultry
What's In: Local wild game dishes
With the meteoric rise of culinary tourism and the fact that pretty much everyone wants a good meal, hotel restaurants have had to increase their game (we’re so funny...) and look for new ways to impress you gourmands out there.
Sorrel River Ranch near Moab, UT, is wedged between Arches and Canyonlands National Parks on the banks of the Colorado River. The ranch has a – get this -- Garden Manager who tends to two acres of organic produce (fantastic!) which finds its way into the hands of the chef, along with local wild game. The chef’s newest creation? Rabbit and Rattlesnake Sausage with Utah Peach Preserves and Baby Greens.
For more gamey goodness, read on!
For an indie flick, the hyper-raunchy Spring Breakers did pretty well at the box office over opening weekend. Not that we're too surprised—with two former Disney stars in bikinis and James Franco playing a cornrowed rapper called 'Alien,' the movie was bound to pique a fair amount of curiosity.
Tampa Bay natives will recognize the local ice cream parlor, liquor store and police station that make cameos in the film, but for Spring Breakers' most iconic scene, director Harmony Korine rounded up a bunch of real life spring breakers drinking real life booze to stage a real life pool party. The venue of choice? An abandoned hotel located on the grounds of the Coral Reef Resort.
According to multiple TripAdvisor reviews, the "abandoned pink building" located in the front of the resort is something of an eyesore for actual guests, but for Korine's purposes, the crumbling edifice worked just fine.
He told Ain't It Cool:
"The party scenes were chaos. There were thousands of kids in abandoned hotels just destroying things...and that’s the thing about chaos, it’s chaos. It’s almost impossible to control. So that was pretty intense."
Phew. We're glad it wasn't us down in St Pete last spring. These guys make Justin Bieber antics seem almost civilized.
Poor Pompano Beach must feel like the ignored older sibling sometimes in the shadow of attention-greedy Miami. After all, it's Miami where flashy new hotels like SLS, The James, and Freehand are opening, and it's Miami that attracts all the celebs.
But Pompano Beach is getting tired of playing second fiddle. So it's taking affirmative action with a buzzy new hotel opening in July: the 219-room Ft Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Oceanfront will be the area's first hotel in over a decade.