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The reason we were all "meh" about Marriott Hotels' wireless phone chargers a few weeks ago was simply because Marriott is still charging for WiFi up in the guest rooms. But it looks like they've had a change of heart because...
Marriott International will be giving all members of its Marriott Rewards program free WiF at all Marriott brands (about 3,800 hotels) starting on January 15, 2015. #stunned #flabbergasted #theendishere
Here's the official Marriott statement:
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It’s been open a full two weeks now, and although we haven’t quite found the $1000 to stay at Peninsula Paris (give us another week or 500), others have – and a newspaper has checked it out too. Here’s what they say about the $999,000,000 project.
The 26 TripAdvisor reviews are mixed, leaning towards the negative – though a good tranche are from people who’ve just eaten, rather than stayed at the hotel.
Photo Gallery / Mama Shelter / Boutique Hotels / Hotel Design / Bordeaux Hotels / France Hotels / Free WiFi / Philippe Starck / → All Tags
Last week we gave you a peek at the hip Seeko’o Hotel in Bordeaux and now it’s Mama Shelter’s turn. If you know other Mama Shelters, then you know that the hipness tap stayed on during the making of this little gem.
Located right in the heart of things at Place Saint Christoly, this 97-room hotel opened in October of 2013. Like all of the Mama Shelters the concept is simple: Give the people what they need and charge ‘em extra for the stuff that they might want. That, plus a Philippe Starck design concept that’s stark (or Starck! yuk-yuk) white minimalism in the rooms and wild and wacky design in the public areas.
(Plenty of pics in the photo gallery!)
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We spent some time in Bordeaux this summer and we have one question: When did Bordeaux get to be so hip? To prove this point, we give you the 45-room Seeko’o Hotel, in the up-and-coming Chartrons district.
Formerly a wine shipping area, this warehouse neighborhood had fallen into a state of decrepitude before the current mayor thought that enough was enough and government and businesses started investing in the buildings. Now you’ll find trendy shops, galleries and restaurants all along the river in these cool reno’ed warehouses.
Across the street from one of the quays is the Seeko’o Hotel – a modern vision in white – angular and austere. “Seeko’o” is the Inuit word for “iceberg” and it’s a fitting name. King Kong Architecture designed the building and clad the outside in white Corian. Standing taller than the buildings surrounding it, it doesn’t feel obtrusive but, rather, takes command of its space.
(Since pictures speak a thousand words, be sure to have a look at the pics in the photo gallery!)
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We’ve all had those days while traveling overseas when you can’t quite get the gumption to leave your cozy hotel world and explore the greater world outside. We recently had one of those days while staying at the celeb hangout, Fouquet’s Barrière in Paris (a Luxury Hotels of the World property), and have put together a list of things to do if agoraphobia hits you too.
1) Food glorious food: Fouquet’s has five restaurants and three bars, not too shabby considering the hotel has only 81 rooms. Our favorite places to hang out were at Le Bar Marta, with its black and white 1930s Hollywood glam design and La Petite Maison de Nicole because, heck, if it’s good enough for Jay-Z and Beyoncé, it’s good enough for us. The food at La Petite Maison is best-described as gourmet southern France comfort food. That means Macaroni with Truffles and Provençal Ratatouille. If you go on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday evening you can groove with one of the resident DJs.
2) Shop at the front desk: There is no reason you can’t still shop if you don’t leave the hotel. If you’d like to buy the monogrammed robe you can certainly do that, but you’ll also find five proprietary perfumes, yo-yos, aprons, pencil sets and Panama hats. Some products are on display throughout the lobby, some in your room, and some are found at the front desk.
Three more tips below!
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To get online at a Marriott Hotel, typically you have to hang out in the lobby where the flagship brand of Marriott International has free WiFi for all, across all their hotels. Marriott has done this for its other brands too, including JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton. But unless you're an elite member of Marriott Rewards you still have to pay for WiFi in your hotel room.
This is frustrating for sure, but even more so when Marriott International's select service brands----Courtyard by Marriott, Fairfield Inn and Suites, Springhill Suites, Residence Inn and TownPlace Suites--have free WiFi for all guests, everywhere in the hotel. And they aren't just offering free WiFi, they're making sure it's really good WiFi.
In the past year, these brands have been pushing hard to improve the quality of their WiFi speeds for guests through a variety of strategies. For example, the newest Courtyard by Marriott which opened in NYC earlier this year, has "1.25 gigabytes of bandwidth with horizontal and vertical fiber optical cable network that allows for fast, extensive use on multiple devices at one time." Marriott has also introduced a tiered structure where basic WiFi is free and where faster WiFi can be bought. (The tiered WiFi structure is also in place the brands that charge for basic WiFi.)
While we can only hope that all of Marriott International's hotel brands will soon have free WiFi in the guest rooms, we do have to commend this special group for making free and working WiFi a priority.
To that end we asked Violeta Seidell, Vice President, Project Services for Marriott International a few questions (via email) about Marriott's recent WiFi strategies. While her answers focus mainly on the select service brands, a Marriott rep tell us the answers also apply to the full-service brands.
Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts has decided to save the planet in their own small way by introducing environmentally-friendly digital newspapers rather than offering daily delivery of the real thing to each guest’s room. Considering the digital service replaces approximately two million print newspapers annually, there are a pretty significant number of trees that are all breathing a sigh of relief.
They’ve partnered with PressReader, a digital newspaper and magazine service, to do the deed. Hotel and restaurant guests can connect through each hotel’s complimentary WiFi via their laptops, tablets or smartphones and read to their heart’s content over 2,000 local, regional and international publications from 100 countries in 60 languages. That’s a lot of words.
The service can be found across all Shangri-La and Kerry Hotel properties in any and all WiFi enabled areas of the properties, including — yes — hotel cars.
For those of us who still prefer the smooth feel of the newsprint and black, inky fingers in the morning, Shangri-La Hotels are offering a limited number of print newspaper editions by request.
[Photo: Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts]
UPDATE: The free WiFi is in effect at all Loews Hotels. "Prompt, reliable Internet access has become a necessary and expected hotel amenity. We're delighted to be one of the first hotel brands in our category to offer complimentary Wi-Fi access to each and every one of our guests," said Paul Whetsell, President & CEO of Loews Hotels & Resorts." AMEN.
Ladies and gentlemen and kids of all ages, start your laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc.,: Free Wi-Fi is available at Loews Hotels beginning January 22, 2014.Has hell frozen over? It feels like it with recent weather we're having and with this little bit of news that we just got--Loews Hotels is now offering FREE WIFI in all of its 18 hotels. Yes, that even includes the Orlando hotels.
There's a big announcement on the home page of LoewsHotels.com today and we hear a press release with the full info will be coming soon.
What we want to know is if the WiFi will be outright free or if you have to be a member of the YouFirst loyalty program. Not that it matters. All that matter is that WiFi is free. Our years of pleading for free WiFi are finally starting to pay off. A round of drinks on us!
[Screengrab: Loews Hotels]
While Hard Rock Hotels might be the perfect place to party, it's not a brand that we usually associate with free WiFi. Typically, it's an additional charge or folded into a resort fee.
But lo and behold, when we signed on to the network at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida, this is what greeted us:
Hard Rock Unplugged: Free Wireless Internet Access for Our Guests
Party on! For us, working nerds anyways.
In the mood for a quickie tonight at the Seminole Hard Rock? The property is actually sold out this weekend (weekends are typically sold-out at this resort.) But a deluxe room is available on Monday for $189 a night and there's no resort fee. Rocking.
We'll have more on the other rock star touches at the Seminole Hard Rock for you next week.
Design Thursdays / Hotel Design / Hotel Renovations / Boutique Hotels / Great Hotels of the World / Barcelona Hotels / Spain Hotels / Europe Hotels / Free WiFi / → All Tags
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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The landscape of Aussie hotels will be changed for the better this month when the newest brand of hotels opens its doors. If you're planning a trip down under and don't want to smash your piggy bank doing so, then remember this name: Atura Hotels.
The newest option comes to us from a group called Amalgamated Holding Limited, but you might know them better by the work they've been doing with QT Hotels and Rydges Hotels. But instead of resting on their laurels with the cool edginess of QT and the family-resort of Rydges, they've gone a created a new concept that will be appealing to business travelers and those that don't want to miss out on cool hotel design to save a few bucks. (Which is like, everyone everywhere.)
Atura's first property is already checking in guests in Sydney's inner-suburb of Blacktown. Aside from cool design, guests will get free in-room movies, coffee machines and a business center completely outfitted with iMacs. But if you'd rather stay connected on the go, there is free WiFi throughout the hotel and in every guestroom. If you've ever been to Australia, you know this is a big deal since hotels charge a pretty penny for some connectivity.
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This summer we nipped into Helsinki’s Klaus K hotel, part of Design Hotels, for a look at this delightfully well-designed hotel.
To best describe the hotel, we’ll start with the ethereal premise on which the hotel’s design is based. Do your best to try to stay with us.
Klaus K is inspired by Finland’s national epic, the Kalevala--a 19th-century work of epic poetry compiled from Finnish and Karelian oral folklore and mythology. Each of the 139 guestrooms represents a theme from the myth’s primary emotional elements: namely desire, passion, mysticism and envy. The room categories are broken down by these themes, so when you book a room, you book a Desire room, a Passion room and so on and so on. You can also book specialty rooms including the Passion for Mini room, art rooms and the Urban Nature rooms, all designed in collaboration with creative-type partners.
While you’re digesting that, here are some of the hotel’s other deets. It opened in 2004 in a late-19th-century building, and is the only Design Hotel in Helsinki. Located in the city’s hip Design District, it’s close to the Design Museum and plenty of great shops and cafes. Next door to the hotel (which you can enter directly from Klaus K) is the city’s first urban day spa, with various beautifying treatments, a gym and a sauna.
Don't miss the pics below!