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Welcome to our regular Monday feature, Pitch Your Hotel, where we let hoteliers, general managers and other hotel execs tell us on-camera what makes their hotels so different from all the rest. And believe us, the competition is fierce these days. So sit back, relax and listen to them explain why their hotels are worthy of your hard-earned dollars or rewards points.
GEM Hotels is a fairly new collection of independent boutique hotels that have opened up in NYC. The collection has only three locations--Chelsea, Soho/LES and Midtown West. These are small hotels with small rooms but at budget-friendly prices and with lots of perks.
What the rooms lack in size, they make up for in comforts like complimentary Wolfgang Puck coffee in the rooms, turndown service, free WiFi, flatscreen TVs, bathrobes and Gilchrist and Soames toiletries.
And even outside the rooms, the hotel continues to offer guests perks and useful services that don't require a lengthy consultation with a concierge or an added fee.
The GEM Hotel Chelsea
Though they only opened less than a year ago, the three boutique GEM Hotels in Manhattan have been busy with promotions. So far, the brand has three properties in Manhattan: Chelsea, Soho, and Midtown West, with a fourth property to open off Union Square in 2011.
Back in June, we hit up the hotel's GEM Hotel Chelsea which we liked very much. What the hotel room lacked up in size, it definitely made up for in amenities and free perks. Haven't checked out a GEM Hotel yet? Amuse yourself with the chain’s very…musical…web site.
GEM Hotels — that fun little offshoot of Choice Hotels’ Ascend Collection, with three boutique NYC hotels — recently launched their very own brand platform, complete with a shiny new website. Who says we never bring you exciting news?
First, the website. Pervasive elevator music aside — with a different tune for each hotel, eep! — the site has clean design and is easy to navigate, which, really, is all that matters. Beyond the looping pillow fight on the home page, the overall aesthetic is a little generic though, which doesn’t bode well for its memorability, especially for a hotel that was apparently “born out of necessity in 2007,” according to the website, “to provide excellent hospitality service in an unpretentious, accessible and sustainable manner.”
But! Via the website we did learn that GEM Union Square is coming in 2011, which we will definitely be tracking. Also worth noting: GEM Hotels are incorporating a few unique brand hallmarks, in addition to their legendary amenities. We already told you they’re searching for local rockstars to showcase via lobby playlist, but they’re also taking their name quite seriously with the GEMstone program — a collection of small rocks each engraved with a “word reflective of the brand” (from “relax” to “GEMtastic”). Guests who want their sheets laundered can plop a GEMstone on their pillow instead of scratching a note on paper. A little forced, sure, but it’s still a nice touch.
Sizzling Summer rates are discounted 15 percent and start as low as $135.
For those of you who didn't know, the GEM Hotels in New York (there's one in Soho and two on the West Side) are part of Choice Hotel's Ascend Collection and while the rooms aren't exactly budget prices (the standard queen room can push $199 a night), it's what the hotel doesn't charge for that really made us happy here.
Got a band and dreams of fame and grandeur? Are you looking forward to the day you can walk into a hotel lobby and hear the sweet sound of your own voice and the twang of your buddy's guitar echoing softly off the walls? Hanson gets played in Aloft lobbies (well, one Aloft lobby anyway) isn't it time that local NYC band you've been playing in for a couple years got its moment in the sun? Yes. It is. It's time.
Get this: the GEM Hotels in NYC want to check out your band's demo (or your solo demo!). Since GEM's brand philosophy is all about reflecting the individuality of the neighborhoods surrounding each property, the hotels want local music playing in the lobbies.
To make it all happen, they've launched their "Rooms for Tunes" program, a sort of open casting call for NYC bands and solo artists who live or regularly perform in either Chelsea, Midtown and SoHo to drop off their CDs at the closest GEM property. Staffers will judge the jams through March 31, 2009, and if they like what they hear, your music will be featured on a rotating playlist in the hotel lobby and you'll score a free room night.
Drop off your CD at GEM Chelsea, GEM SoHo or GEM Midtown and sit back and wait for the fan mail come pouring in. Or maybe wait for the hotel to call you and tell you whether you got a free room or not.
Hotel rates in NYC are pretty low right now (well, if you're comparing 'em to the holiday seasons of yesteryear, anyway), but if you're looking to score a mega bargain in Manhattan and you also prefer your carpets new and your beds barely slept-in, we'd like to remind you that you've got a new Manhattan option that is offering an excellent opening rate: the GEM Hotel Chelsea.
The GEM, which first opened back in November, is still offering opening rates that start at $159 until February 28th. This is actually down a bit from the initial opening rate of $189 a night.
The lowdown on GEM: it's a Choice Hotels Ascend Collection branded property located on 22nd Street and it boasts a pretty hefty roster of free amenities (for the price), including nightly turndown, iPod docking stations, free Internet and paraban-free Gilchrist & Soames toiletries. It's bright, clean, happy and cheap (although maybe a tad cramped). Check it out here.
A few weeks ago one of the first Ascend Hotels opened in New York City--the Gem Hotel in Chelsea. If you remember, Ascend is the new Clarion Collection from Choice Hotels. And today we also walked by another Gem Hotel--this time in the Lower East Side.
Despite the hotel's location on Houston Street and Eldridge (which is clearly LES turf), the hotel's name is listed as Soho. Hmm...not quite. But you are just two short blocks away from the massive Whole Foods store.
Just like the Chelsea location, rooms here look small with nothing in it aside from a massive white fluffy-looking bed and a flat-screen TV. Sometimes, that's all you need. Rates were going for tonight at $189 a night which is not bad. Except we paid $170 a night for our room at Thompson LES.