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If you're feeling wistful this weekend, a good way to kick back and set out on a magical hotel journey—without ever leaving your home—is to flip through Assouline's new 160-page Luxury Collection book, which is part of their Hotel Stories series.
The Luxury Collection: Hotel Stories devotes a mini-chapter to each of the 80+ hotels under Starwood's chi-chi Luxury Collection brand. There's history, and celebrity interviews, and design details—but you can technically find those things anywhere on the internet. What really makes the book stand out are the photos. Rich, full-color, splashy images of ITC Mughal, Gritti Palace, Al Maha and tons more.
While drooling over the images, we managed to scan a bit of text too. Here are five takeaway facts about Luxury Collection we didn't previously know:
Our Twitter follower @TanerKay showed the above pic to us with a very poignant question: “I would love to stay here but how do you go to the bathroom at night?”
We were stumped. All we could manage was a “Whoa”. We’re not used to being so speechless. Then we did some digging on this doozy of a place.
Where is it? Apparently, it’s an adventure resort called Waldseilgarten Hoellschluch located in the Bavaria region near Munich. From May 1st this year, guests can come and get their thrills from climbing trees, doing ropes courses, hiking, and all types of adrenaline-pumping activities before retiring at night to platform beds in the trees (for more sedate types) or the higher “portaledge” tents shown.
Know up front this is not for the dainty sort.
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Germany just became a little more appealing to Marriott Rewards members, as the brand announced yesterday it will be adding Berlin's Hotel Am Steinplatz to the Autograph Collection later this summer. That's even more reason to get excited about Berlin right now (aside from the fact that it's a kick-ass city), as Waldorf-Astoria just popped up there in January.
The Hotel Am Steinplatz building originally opened in 1907 with a design by August Endell (also responsible for Berlin's Hackesche Hoefe), though it didn't become a hotel until 1913. Which makes 2013 its one hundredth hotel-iversary. Herzlichen Glückwunsch!
To mark the occasion, Marriott's spruced the place up with an "extensive renovation," and the result is an 87-room property with 3 luxury suites, a restaurant, and a spa.
Knowing what we know about Autograph Collection (and having stayed at one in Budapest), we fully trust that the brand's German debut will be a stunner. The hotel is described as having once been "an exclusive meeting point for artists, writers, philosophers and even aristocratcy." Well. We'd expect nothing less.
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Not to state the obvious, but it’s winter and you’re in need of some TLC to bring you out of your dark-day doldrums. We get it. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the most authentic local spa treatments to kick-start your spring recovery.
Fairmont Mayakoba -- Riviera Maya, Mexico Well the world didn’t end on December 21, 2012 as the Mayans predicted, but don’t give up on them yet. They still got game. In a private canopy overlooking the mangrove forest, guests of the Willow Stream Spa can enjoy treatments that utilize Mayan ingredients such as Conchera, fossil stone and wood from the local Zapote tree. For a bliss-out treatment, try the Mayan Clay Purification which incorporates local Mayan clay and involves a massage using sage oil and Mexican obsidian stones.
Four more blissful, all-natural spa treatments after the jump!
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Think about the adjectives typically associated with Frankfurt, Germany. They're not exactly the most pleasant, are they? Perhaps that's why the Goldman 25Hours Hotel shakes up the scene with confident use of colors and whimsical design touches. In any case, our stay (1 night, paying a standard prepaid rate of 92 Euros) blessedly brightened what had been a dreary, sleep-deprived week
Never heard of the 25Hours boutique chain? Well neither had we until last year, when we found their Hamburg HafenCity location and promptly fell head over heels. Their Goldman Frankfurt property is not as new or large as Hamburg, but the brand's bravery with design and affordable rates are very much in house at all locations.
There’s been so much activity on the hotel app front this past year that we named it the Must-Have Hotel Amenity in our HotelChatter 2012 Awards. From booking stays and checking in, to ordering room service and finding things to do and see at your destination, it’s all a click away. There is of course the front desk or traditional concierge you can prod for more personal recommendations, but what to do when you are looking to get the true insider track on the city you’re visiting based on your own interests?
Enter the concept created by Plus One Berlin, which allows you to book time with one of over 30 locals and be their “plus one” when getting to know the city. Here’s how it all works.
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While more and more hotels realize that perhaps their guests prefer a fitness experience other than a musty gym, we see more and more yoga mats in closets and jogging maps on desks. Recently, during a stay at the Goldman 25Hours in Frankfurt, Germany, we checked in at reception next to this little "Jogging Corner" cart.
The Jogging Corner is all the basics you'd need to have an enjoyable run, while traveling light. That means they provide the water bottles, the small sweat towels, wristlet keychains or branded sweatbands, all complimentary to guests.
We went for the sweatbands, since we quickly figured out that these serve more than the function of storing the tiny specially made jogging map of the area; we wore the sweatband and stored our bus and tram coins in it. Perfect! No fumbling in a wallet while trying to board public transportation.
When we took an early look at the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam last week, we promised we’d follow up with more details on its sister hotel in Berlin, which is now officially open. Set within the brilliantly named Zoofenster skyscraper in West Berlin, the Waldorf Astoria Berlin first popped up on our radar four years ago this month.
We won’t spend much time dwelling on their missed 2011 opening and move right on to what you can expect at the 232-room hotel.
Remember all the hype when Starwood introduced its Aloft brand? They had us waiting and waiting for Lexington (MA) to be the first ever Aloft destination, and then Canada got the scoop. That was only four years ago, and believe it or not, there are now over 60 Alofts worldwide. On this side of the pond, we’ve so far had to make do with Aloft London ExCel (where we witnessed some Photoshop battling), and more recently Aloft Brussels Schuman.
That’s set to change with the announcement of two new hotels in Germany, Aloft Munich and Aloft Stuttgart, both scheduled to open in 2015.
According to TMZ, the story goes a little something like this. A German tabloid YAWN reports a maid from the Meliá Düsseldorf claims to have been fired for politely knocking on the room door and asking the pop-star for an autograph.
"Jenny From the Block" struck back against the news by taking to Twitter as pop-stars do defending her reputation and crying foul. "C'mon thought you knew me better than this.. Would never get anyone fired over an autograph. 1st I heard of this was on twitter. #hurtful". Yet, Lopez' camp confirms an 'incident' involving a maid. So here we go, another somebody done somebody wrong song.
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Is Europe ready to balance itself out?
This week it was announced that Element, the brand that once gave out free rooms to guests who showed up with recyclable plastic bottles, is finally making the move across the pond. Starting with...Frankfurt, Germany. Though from the sound of it, Starwood is just scratching the surface, as it plans to embark on a full-blown European expansion of the eco-conscious brand.
Hope those Germans have a soft spot for smoothie stations and healthy breakfast wraps!
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Sling leather chairs. Old shipping containers turned conference rooms. Complimentary bike and BMW Mini rental. Atari. We're dangerously close to declaring the 25Hours Hamburg HafenCity our own personal vision of hotel heaven.
We've already discussed our room, the semi-secret video game booth and even the nautical wallpaper, but the best comes last with this reveal of all the 25Hours HafenCity's public spaces, from funky restaurant to chill vinyl lounge.
A final thought on the design, which sees "elements and materials from the shipbuilding industry interpreted with a little wink, and spun together with some seaman's yarns." It's almost like the hotel has combined all the best bits of the various Ace Hotels, infused it with a clever continentality and then, somehow, managed to also make it a joy (instead of a scene-y thing) to sleep over.