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About a month ago, we expressed how excited we were by Hilton's plans to open their first hotel in Macedonia. Now, Hilton will mark another first with a new 202-room Hilton Tallinn property in the Baltic state of Estonia, set to open in 2016, located just outside the walls of the Old Town.
As was the case with Macedonia, this announcement goes well beyond the addition of a new hotel to the area. Rather, it signals a growing confidence that the region can/will draw a steady stream of visitors going forward.
We recently paid a visit to Tallinn back in the spring, and the hotel scene is really starting to shape up. Old Town Tallinn, which looks as if it belongs on the top of a wedding cake, boasts many small hotels along its cobblestone streets (such as the recently renovated Hotel St. Petersbourg and the Hotel Telegraaf), and we gave you the scoop on the Sokos Hotel Viru, where the KGB literally bugged the hell out of guests back in the day (the view from which can be seen in the photo above).
The Hilton New York on Sixth Avenue did away with room service last month (much to the horror of the hotel world) but it looks like they want to make it up to us by opening a Minus 5 Ice Bar in their lobby instead. File this under: Things That Make You Go Hmm....
The joint just opened yesterday and like the other Minus 5 locations in Las Vegas, this bar lets guests down their cocktails in freezing temperatures. Which actually doesn't sound too bad now that the summer heat is on. Admission to the Minus 5 bar includes Eskimo-style gloves, parkas and boots because you will certainly need them.
Everything inside minus5° is made of ice; the walls, the bar, the sculptures, the seats and even the glasses that you enjoy our famous vodka-based cocktails in. Our focus at minus5° is the art of ice. We have our own ice carver who changes the bar and sculptures every 6-8 weeks, continually re-inventing the experience. Sculptures can reflect the season, location, wildlife, or even corporate logos and products for private functions. The possibilities are endless.
The Minus 5 ice bar is open daily from 2pm-1am. We'll see how this ice joint does in the dead of winter. If it doesn't do so well, how about we bring back room service, mmkay?
[Photo: Minus 5/Facebook]
Hampton Hotels, which include the Hampton Inns, Hampton Inn and Suites and the Hampton by Hilton brands, have been talking up their "Hamptonality" in advertisements and social media outreach for over a year now. Hamptonality is an obviously made-up buzz word that defines the friendly Hampton experience. It also is meant to imply free WiFi, free, hot breakfast, the Clean & Fresh Hampton Bed and 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. Hospitality meets Hampton and becomes...Hamptonality.
Yet lately, we've been seeing the Hamptonality ads everywhere. Why, just the other day we were placing our shoes in a bin at the airport security checkpoint and the bin was plastered in a Hampton Inn ad with the hashtag, #hamptonality.
As it turns out, Hampton is giving Hamptonality an extra push this summer and its geared specifically towards the most important hotel guest generation of all time, The Millenials (ok, we're exaggerating but not by much!)
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The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS if you will) has just smacked down the Defense of Marriage Act, saying the 1996 law which denies federal benefits to married same-sex couples is unconstitutional. That means the U.S. can now "immediately" extend some federal benefits to same-sex couples. Woot!
While this doesn't change any state laws regarding same sex marriage, it still is a major victory for gay rights. And what better way to celebrate than with a hotel stay? :) Here are four getaways to consider:
· RITZ-CARLTON, WASHINGTON DC: Celebrate the landmark decision in our nation's capitol at the Ritz-Carlton with their OUT in DC Pride Package. It includes: overnight deluxe room accommodations, a donation made in your honor to the Human Rights Campaign, two welcome cocktails, a Pride Weekend "Survival Kit", American breakfast for two, overnight valet parking, complimentary internet and access to Sports Club/LA fitness center connected to the hotel. Rates start at $354 a night and the package is available through August 31st.
Earlier this month, Hilton announced it is planning to build a DoubleTree in Skopje, Macedonia. It might not seem like anything to write home about on the surface, but those who are aware of the steep uphill climb the country's capital has endured since it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1963 might understand why this is an especially big deal.
Most interestingly, the announcement comes during what is supposed to be the final chapter of the highly controversial Skopje 2014 endeavor, a multi-year government effort to restore the city's identity and, among other things, begin attracting tourists.
Quick backstory: The 1963 quake destroyed about 80 percent of the city, and most of the construction right after was, in a word, boring, lacking the personality it once had and evoking a socialist feel. In 2010, the city announced it would rebuild via the Skopje 2014 project, which was centered around the construction of new infrastructure along the Vardar River - think pedestrian bridges, historic statues, and the remodeling of town squares.
Ever hear that old wive's tale about the 10-year-old boy who peeked inside a hotel room drawer and found $10,000? Oh, wait, that was a real thing that happened last week to a father and son staying at a Hilton in Kansas City.
Upon checking into the hotel, 10-year-old Cody Schaefer (whom his dad describes as "very observant") was performing a routine inspection of the room when he uncovered a wad of bills stashed inside a dresser.
According to the Washington Post, the good Samaritan dad told his son they couldn't keep the money, and he promptly turned it over to the police. We can't say we would have been quite so magnanimous…
However, the story got us thinking: what are some weird things you've found in your hotel room?
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Jaws dropped this weekend when Hilton New York it announced it would be doing away with room service completely. Instead of ordering up to their rooms, guests will have to trek down to the lobby, where a new grab-and-go restaurant is slated to open this summer.
Regarding the announcement, a spokesperson for Hilton said they've seen "a decline in traditional room service requests over the last several years." Though we wonder if that says more about the quality of Hilton's cooking than people's attitude towards the concept of room service.
Thankfully, there are plenty of other hotels in NYC that not only offer 24-hour room service, but when the food arrives, gives us mini food-gasms. For example…
On our first time staying at the Andaz Fifth Avenue, we went gaga over the complimentary snacks offered in every room for guests. But be sure to pick up the phone and actually order something next time you're there, as the French Toast (pictured above) we had for breakfast on our last visit totally rocked our world.
Four more picks after the jump!
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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: Farm-to-table concepts at restaurants
What's In: Farm-to-table concepts at spas
With “natural” and “local” now part of the modern lexicon for restaurants, hotels have decided that it’s not just your tummy that should get all that organic goodness. We present to you... (drumroll please) farm-to-face.
A Relais & Chateaux Resort, the Hotel Caesar Augustus is perched on a cliff on the languid isle of Capri. In this idyllic setting you can find an equally idyllic spa garden. The goods from the garden - infusions made with the oils from basil, sage, rosemary, and marjoram as well as lemons and oranges - can be used in various massage treatments they offer at the hotel. The truly wonderful thing is that the massages can take place in the midst of all of those blooming orange and lemon blossoms.
The Guerlain Spa at the Waldorf Astoria New York is launching a “Milk, Honey and Herb” Mani and Pedi using its own “Top of the Waldorf Rooftop Honey” from six beehives installed on the 20th floor roof. The unguents and creams also include herbs grown from the hotel’s newly-installed rooftop garden and, while you’re waxing poetic about the treatment, you can sip on the hotel’s signature Wax Poetic cocktail featuring the house-made honey.
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Manhattan is still the place to be for hip new hotel brands. Yesterday, we mentioned how Commune Hotels would be opening not one, but two new Tommie Hotels in the Big Apple. Today, we learn that InterContinental Hotel Group's upcoming Even Hotels brand has signed an agreement to open a second hotel in NYC--this time at 321 West 35th Street.
The hotel will be an entirely new build and will feature 150 guestrooms over 25 guest room floors. The rest of the hotel will feature flexible public workspaces, dining and social areas and since this hotel brand is all about health, fitness and wellness, a state-of-the-art,t hree-zone gym. Plus the entire place will be outfitted with free WiFi. The hotel is expected to open in 2015 as will the other Even Hotel on 44th Street. The very first Even Hotel will open sometime in 2014. That location is still TBD.
Keep reading for more hotel opening news!
Well, that move was apparently so successful, Hilton has now decided to make CB&TL the official coffee and tea provider for all Hilton properties in North America, South America and Central America, starting this summer. Which doesn't mean there will be fancy new cafes built in every hotel offering those delicious ice blended drinks, but the little coffee and tea packets found in guest rooms will all be exclusively sourced from the coffee chain (rather than Starbucks or Tazo.)
Hilton Executive VP Jim Holthouser told the LA Times:
"'One reason for the agreement is that Hilton will save money buying in bulk.'
Holthouser wouldn’t say how much the hotel chain would save but he noted that guests at the three major hotel brands drink more than 100,000 cups of in-room coffee per day."
Airport hotels are part of every traveler’s experience at one point or another, which is why we recently listed some of our favorites around the world for you. Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport – voted best European airport and number 3 in the world at the 2013 Skytrax awards – is getting a brand new hotel in 2015, when the Hilton Schiphol Airport (round two) will open.
It will replace the current Hilton, which has been around since 1972 (check out the gold reflective windows, very avant-garde at the time) and was the airport’s first proper hotel. Now, especially with competition from the likes of citizenM, it’s time to come back with a new 433-room, atrium-style hotel, which will be connected to the terminal via a covered walkway.
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Over in Manhattan, New York Hilton Midtown is celebrating the big 5-0 by launching a new website that fills people in on the hotel's colorful history (did you know this was the first hotel to replace keys with keycards? Yeah, neither did we!).
But there's more happening here than just reminiscing over old black-and-white photos (see above).
Another component of the birthday celebrations are what the hotel is calling 50 Random Acts of Hospitality, which calls for New York Hilton Midtown employees to "engage in random acts of hospitality". In case you're wondering just what that means, the acts will include: offering complimentary room upgrades, handing out umbrellas on rainy days and helping guests score tickets to local attractions and events.
In other words, everything a hotel is supposed to do anyway.