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Forever in search of Christmas cheer (even with only two days to go!), we poked our heads inside the Dream Downtown to see what they had cooked up. And boy were we not disappointed! The entire lobby has been transformed into a winter wonderland. From the snow white peacock greeting visitors at the front door, to the giant polar bear towering over by the back windows, you feel like Santa's about to walk in at any moment. The friendly-looking reindeer peeking out from behind a cluster of evergreen trees (above) certainly doesn't detract from the illusion either!
As it turns, the hotel enlisted the services of an upstate New York taxidermist, who, apparently, did such a great job that Dream is now considering making the as-yet-unnamed polar bear a permanent member of the space. Unsurprisingly, the feedback from guests has been extremely positive. What bad things are there to say about a polar bear?
...the Raffles Grand Hotel D'Angkor in Siem Reap, Cambodia! We got sent a photo yesterday of their colorful, bright, silk-adorned tree, which manages to make our tree at home look about as elegant as a bundle of twigs with a star on top.
But then again, we don't normally hire a Paris-educated couturier to design our tree, now do we?
Internationally-acclaimed designer Eric Raisina, who relocated to Siam Reap because of the region's native silk, and who has created textiles for the likes of Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Lacroix, decided to use the lotus flower as his inspiration for the tree, citing its associations with "purity." Hats off to him, because this is definitely one of the coolest trees we've seen yet, with its bright blossoms and irregular shape, looking like it sprouted straight out of the hotel lobby floor.
While we're rather partial to Monte Carlo's Hotel Hermitage for its quiet elegance, and dig the water views and amenities over at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel, all of the big names who visit Monaco stay at the Hotel de Paris.
That includes the gamblers. As the closest hotel to the Casino Monte-Carlo, and with rates that warrant a turn at the blackjack table, Hotel de Paris is a natural choice for anyone keen for a flutter. What we learned when popping into the Hotel De Paris for dinner recently, was that it is tradition upon entering the hotel's lobby to rub the knee of Louis XIV's horse.
You won't have any trouble remembering which knee of the statue to caress, either--as you can see from our snapshot, the many years of lucky rubs have left their mark on the ol' steed.
If you've seen the latest iPhone ad, you know that Santa is using Siri to navigate his way around the globe this Christmas. One place we know he'll be hitting up is the pretty Hotel Hermitage in Monte Carlo.
The posh hotel, the more subdued sister of the famous Hotel de Paris, is offering a special Christmas package partly inspired by the growing number of families who have to choose sides when it comes to where to spend Christmas. And they're throwing in an appearance by Père Noël aka Santa.
We already told you about the hotel's Christmas package here but if you're in need of a very, very last-minute stay in MC for Xmas, here's what the Hermitage is offering:
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This month, guests at the gold-loving hotel won't be blindsided by a tree that's wearing more expensive jewelry than they are. Adorning the tree instead are custom-made Christmas balls from the Netherlands, and gold and silver foil ribbons. For good measure, the hotel also threw in some Christmas carolers. Who sang from gold-plated manuscripts atop gold podiums with gold plates on their teeth. A modest affair, really.
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Thanks to the Shangri-La, Paris can add more reserves to its romantic cache. If strolling the City of Lights' snowy streets this holiday isn't enough to sate your taste for the maudlin, guests of the hotel can book a horse drawn carriage ride from December 23-27.
The tour will take you and your S.O. to the Trocadero, located across the Seine and providing prime views of the Eiffel Tower for you and your sweetheart to "ooh" and "aah" over with delight. Shangri-La's old-fashioned carriage—a white stunner complete with top hat-clad driver—is perhaps the closest some may get to feeling like Cinderella, without fear of the equine-led ride turning into a pumpkin at midnight.
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This is the kind of Christmas tree that you do not want to have around the house—because if you did, you'd just end up eating it.
Luckily, this 10-foot-tall beauty, made entirely of chocolate (white, dark, milk, fondant, you name it, it's on there), is on view inside the Jumeirah Essex House, which luckily isn't a place we frequent very often.
The chocolate theme is continued into the rest of the lobby with a weekend-only Chocolate Bar. Boy, this hotel is pressing allll the right buttons. Included in the mouth-watering buffet are a chocolate fountain, assorted truffles and house-made hot chocolate. Tickets go for $35 a head, but if you bump it up to $49, they'll throw in a glass of champagne.
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Hotel gift shops often offer a dire selection of wares: chintzy city memorabilia and chocolates of questionable quality, for instance, and maybe a plush monogrammed robe if you're lucky. There are exceptions of course, usually on the higher end of the spectrum (see: offerings from Ritz-Carlton properties and The Beverly Hills Hotel, for instance).
Ace properties, however, have done a stand up job in reversing the middling retail reputation of hotels. (Partnering with bourgeoise hipster boutique Opening Ceremony added some definite street cred). Currently offering a few Holiday Bundles, these pre-packaged and branded designer goods include a themed New York pack with an Ace New York x Pendleton plaid throw, Ace x Wings + Horns hooded bathrobe, and Ace Hotel Tee ($390.00).
If you're in need of a desperate escape from the holiday season but can't exactly afford to just get up and go, then consider spilling your heart out to the Custom Hotel in Los Angeles.
The hotel is currently giving $12 rooms to the "most deflated of Christmas spirits." People who write in with their holiday sob stories of how they just can't handle their relatives or how they got yet another crappy year-end bonus or how their grandma actually got run over by a reindeer will get to escape to the hotel for just $12.
Considering that rooms at the hotel are over $100, that should be a nice little stocking stuffer. Blackout dates for the sad Christmas spirit winner do apply and the voucher must be used by March 31, 2012. But hey, a room in LA for $12 is quite a nice treat.
Wanna see what you will be getting for $12? Take a look at the Custom Hotel's new airport-inspired look right here!
Four years into the game, Andaz London is still keeping things interesting, and the holidays are no exception. The hotel has commissioned London-based designer Eyal Burnstein to create not an advent calendar, but an advent table to count down the days until Christmas!
Each day in December, a new delicious treat will appear on the octagonal table, which has been scattered with flea-market-scavenged teacups, teapots, plate, saucers and more. Simply match the date to a numbered tag placed next to each item, and behold! A daily dose of sugary, holiday goodness. As long as you're staying or dining at the hotel, the treats are free, and come served with a hot drink—plus the excitement of trying to figure out what's going to pop up the following day!
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All this week we'll be rocking around the Hotel Christmas Tree near and far to see how hotels are ringing in the holidays. So grab your eggnog, put on the Mariah Carey Christmas album (you know you own it) and come virtually admire these hotel Christmas trees with us!
The Beverly Hills Hotel, being a traditional luxury hotel, has opted for a traditional luxury Christmas tree with glittering gold and crimson bows, pine corn ornaments, golden balls of various sizes and tipped with what looks like golden banana leaf.
But of course, one Christmas tree is not enough. Aside from the tree that greets guest in the middle of the lobby, theres another one just a mere few feet away that is slightly smaller but features the same trimmings and a few boxed presents underneath. The hotel also features a menorah in the lobby for those celebrating "8 crAzy nights."
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There is one particular trend @HotelChatter happens to quite enjoy: candid hotel photos. These pics range from stunning views to anti-views to celebrity tomfoolery and everything in between. And we can't get enough of 'em! Every Monday, we commemorate our favorite hotel-themed snapshot du semaine. Got a favorite of your own? Want to show off your sweet suite? Send it in!
We don't know quite what to make of this photo @ConanOBrien tweeted from his DC hotel room yesterday. On the one hand, we're happy that he was greeted by such a thoughtful, though slightly bizarre, gesture. On the other, we're a little jealous. Seriously, a phallic cookie? With frosting? Normally, we count ourselves lucky just to get a few apples when we check in. Ah, life at the top...