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There's no doubt that the Chinese New Year is one of the most auspicious times of the year in most parts of Asia so it makes perfect sense for Peninsula Hotels, a hotel brand that originated in Hong Kong, to have some special celebrations to welcome in the Year of the Horse. And here's how they are doing it:
The nine luxury properties are hosting "Ten Perfect Treats" to help Chinese New Year first-timers and veterans of the celebration get into the mood of the happiest cultural season. Treats involve decor, food, arts, activities and packages amongst other events.
The Peninsula Hong Kong will be the center of good fortune, happiness, wealth and longevity. This Saturday, the flagship property will host a Sun Terrace party with free champagne to watch the fireworks over Victoria Harbour. Once the show is over, you can fill your belly with traditional new year treats at one of the hotel's seven restaurants.
After the jump, see how some of the other Peninsulas are getting festive.
With the holiday season just a month or so away (sorry to be the bearer of bad news), Shangri-La is giving members of its Golden Circle rewards program the opportunity to help out two Hong Kong based charities, Oxfam Hong Kong (which aids poverty and disaster relief) and MedArt (which brings care to those in long-term confinement, such as prisons, psychiatric institutions, hospices, homes for the elderly, etc).
For every 1,000 points given by a member, Golden Circle will donate $20 to one of the charities on the member’s behalf. The minimum donation starts at 2,000 points and can be increased by increments of 1,000 up until a maximum of 10,000, equivalent to a $200 cash donation. Members may donate by visiting the “Redeem Points” section on Golden Circle's website.
The donated points are forfeited from your account in exchange for the donation made by Golden Circle. How much these points are actually worth varies. For example, at a Shangri-La "collection A" hotel, a standard room is worth 1,000 points/night. At the highest tier of hotels, "collection G," a standard room is worth 20,000 points. So, a guest who donates 2,000 points sacrifices a two-night stay and the hotel donates $40 to charity.
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Deals: you want 'em, and surprisingly, everyone has 'em. Take a look at some of the latest hotel deals going around the internet today from booking sites, social media sites, flash sale sites and more. Don't forget to scroll down to see the HotelChatter-approved deal either. Who knows? You might just find what you're looking for. (But don't forget to tell us about your stay!)
DEALS, DEALS, DEALS*
· Kimpton's Mid-Atlantic Hotels Will Be Home for The Holidays: 12 of Kimpton's Mid-Atlantic Hotels are offering special "Early Bird" rates for stays from November 22 – December 1 in a special flash 72-hour flash sale beginning on September 24. Rates will start at $95 a night. Go here to book and enter the promo code TURKEY. The sale will kick off promptly at 12:00am on 9/24 and will end at 11:59 p.m. EST on 9/26. Participating hotels include the Donovan House and the Palomar in DC, along with the Monaco Alexandria in Virginia and the Monaco Baltimore.
· Love Thy Neighbor (and Thyself) at the Eau Palm Beach: Eau Palm Beach, the former Ritz-Carlton, has just introduced a new “Love thy Neighbor” package exclusively for Florida residents with rooms starting at $199 and an add-on spa package with $200 worth of spa credit for just $100. The deal is good through December 13th (before the out-of-towners start to arrive) and includes a Champagne welcome, high speed internet access and complimentary newspaper. Go here to book. The spa should be booked separately by calling 1.855.580.3933 with the code word LOVE. Guests must show Florida identification upon arrival.
· Marriott Hotels Rates Fall for Fall in NYC: Travelzoo has a deal for up to 45 percent off for Marriott Hotels in the pricey Big Apple. The Renaissance Times Square is usually going for $449 but if you book on Sept. 29 and Oct. 6 and 27, you can get it for just $233 a night. Two other Marriott hotels in Manhattan are also discounted but again, only for certain dates so make sure to cross-check those with your travel plans.
· Passport to Bourbon Country from 21c Museum Hotel Louisville: The funky museum hotel is offering a "Just Add Bourbon" package for National Bourbon Month that includes overnight accommodations, two cocktails at the Proof on Main hotel bar, two passports to the Urban Bourbon Trail in Louisville, breakfast for two at Proof on Main hotel restaurant and a Whiskey Lovers Kit from the hotel shop to take home. Rates start at $291 a night. Go here to book. (The package is also available at the 21c Museum Hotels in Bentonville, Ark. and Cincinnati as well.)
The Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong sent us a sweet summer reminder that it’s celebrating its 50th birthday all year long – and everyone’s invited, as long as your “splurge travel” budget can handle it. With special spa treatments and commemorative cognac, dining promotions in all 10 F&B venues and champagne flowing from every direction, the hotel is wooing travelers on every front.
The list of “50 Fantastic Years” promotions goes on and on, so here’s the Cliff Notes verision of the MO, HK Glorious Excess.
We've long been suspicious of the in-room hotel safe after personally encountering safes that simply didn't work and after hearing several tales of the safe getting robbed, like this one. But if you were still trusting the hotel safe to keep your valuables protected, this story may really cause you to think again.
At the posh Peninsula Hong Kong, one of the most high-tech hotels in the world, a man wearing hotel slippers tricked the staff into thinking he was a guest, not only gaining access to a hotel room but also getting the password to the in-room safe. Here's how he did it:
"Speaking in English, he told hotel staff that he had lost his room key and demanded another one," the [South China Morning Post] cited a Hong Kong police officer as saying, adding that the man provided details of the 47-year-old male occupant including name and birthdate, without saying how he had obtained such information.
After entering the room, the man "telephoned the front desk from the room saying he had forgotten the password of the safe and asked for assistance to open it", the officer was quoted by the SCMP as saying.
The thief managed to walk away with about $4,900 in cash, a computer, a wallet and a piece of luggage. So far, no arrests have been made but we're pretty sure that couple will never, ever, ever, use the hotel safe again. Or maybe, Hong Kong just needs to beef up their hotel security. After all, a HotelChatter tipster was able to uncover where NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was hiding out, thanks to a very nice hotel operator.
Traveling with some pretty nice stuff but don't want to use the hotel safe? Read our tips after the jump!
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What’s Out: Chocolates on your pillow
What’s In: Over the top, fun and experiential turn-down services
Everyone loves coming back to their room after a nice dinner out to find that little chocolate sitting on their pillow, right? If you like that, though, you’re going to love this. Some hotels are going out of their way to make sure that you have really sweet dreams with these OTT nighty-night rituals.
Hotel Vermont offers a special “bedtime menu” that includes such delights as a selection of Vermont flannel pyjamas to snuggle up in on a brisk night, local Lunaroma aromatherapy products from which you can choose, a Vermont teddy bear (your choice of six) to sleep with or take home, a selection of bedtime stories for the little ones, a locally-inspired Hot Toddy selection, and 10-15 minute in-room meditation sessions via TV or download.
In Fairmont Gold rooms at Boston’s Fairmont Battery Wharf, you get a message in a bottle with top things to do in Boston during that particular time of the year.
Four Points by Sheraton Los Angeles International Airport is more than an ordinary airport hotel. It’s known by some to be the original beer hotel and has an enormous beer selection featuring over 100 beers, a poolside bar dedicated solely to local beers, monthly beer appreciation nights and it even has a Beer Advisory Board and a Director of Brewer Relations. If all of that beer surrounding you has made you thirsty for more, you can order a Beer Club Package that includes stocking the in-room mini fridge with your choice of three of your favorite beers and a nightly beer turndown with souvenir glass.
Three more hotels with bedtime treats follow!
If you ever need to track down someone in a hotel, it helps to put someone who works in a hotel on the job. When we guessed the whereabouts of the PRISM whistleblower, Edward Snowden, this morning, we threw out a couple of not-so-serious hotel guesses. But someone reading our story took it very seriously.
Our own Macau Deepthroat, as we call him, noticed the interview setting that Snowden did for the Guardian UK looked very similar to the rooms at The Mira Hong Kong in Kowloon Park. A quick Google image search confirmed this for him. Then MD went to the next level. Here's what he did:
With this bit of information I called to the hotel and claimed that I had sent a fax to Mr Snowden but it had never reached his room. The friendly operator confirmed then that Mr Edward Snowden had checked out at 12:30 pm and explained that this may have been the reason why he never received my fax message. I thanked her and ended the call.
I then called a second time to the hotel, this time I asked for the reservations department and pretended to be interested in extending Mr Edward Snowden's stay as he had to remain in Hong Kong due to unforeseen circumstances. I only provide the name and the fact that he had checked out of a Parkview Room today and a second later the reservations agent happily provides me the room number (on 10th floor) and quotes the rates for an extension of stay...
As I work in hotels, I know how to play the game and get the information one wants...
Where Snowden has gone is anyone's guess but we're sure the CIA and the NSA are on it. Meanwhile, the Mira might need to have a conversation with their "friendly" operators.
UPDATE: Our own Macau Deepthroat has uncovered Snowden's hotel. Alas, he has already checked out.
Yesterday, the Guardian UK published (with his permission) the identity of the 29-year-old man responsible for leaking the National Security Administrations's classified surveillance program, PRISM to the public. His name is Edward Snowden and he is currently hiding in a hotel in Hong Kong, fearful of the repercussions yet convinced he has done the right thing.
As you can imagine, he's pretty paranoid. But at least he's making good of the hotel's room service, something he can't do at the Hilton New York. The Guardian reports:
In the three weeks since he arrived, he has been ensconced in a hotel room. "I've left the room maybe a total of three times during my entire stay," he said. It is a plush hotel and, what with eating meals in his room too, he has run up big bills.
He is deeply worried about being spied on. He lines the door of his hotel room with pillows to prevent eavesdropping. He puts a large red hood over his head and laptop when entering his passwords to prevent any hidden cameras from detecting them.
With the identity of the leak revealed, now the new mystery iswhere is Snowden spending his (limited) days?
We like to keep it fun but informative here at HotelChatter so our series, What is This?, is devoted to odd-looking items in hotels that upon first glance look as if they serve only a decorative purpose. But everything happens for a reason, right? And we're here to tell you what these things really do.
There's quite a bit to explore at any Peninsula hotel, from bedside digital control panels to butler boxes, but the flagship property in Hong Kong has a few extra secrets waiting to be discovered. Take, for instance, this small slit of a window found not in a guest room or restaurant, but in The Peninsula Hong Kong's shopping arcade.
Pass the Goyard boutique (the only one in HK!), beyond Chanel and other big brands with guarded doors lies this peekaboo spot to tickle your curiosity.
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Last month, the 500-room Radisson Blu Mall of America became the second Radisson Blu to open in the US (after Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago). But one thing that sets this place apart from Chicago (and all other subsequent Rad Blus) is that it directly connects to the Mall of America, with its 530 shops, 5 major department stores, multiple food courts, indoor theme park, and 14-screen movie theater. If they want, hotel guests can even arrange for a personal shopper and bag pick-up to maximize the experience. Rates from $174/night.
For more mall hotel awesome-ness in Hong Kong, Dubai, and Houston, read on!
The Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong gets into the Easter spirit by asking the age old question--which comes first--the chicken or the egg?
To be honest, we prefer not to get into such debates. Instead, we'll focus on the cute as hell eye candy brought to you front-and-center from the hotel's delectable Mandarin Cake Shop.
Sing it now, "rubber ducky, your the one..." What, you don't know this song? Gah! To the corner with ya!
[Photo: Instagram/Mandarin Oriental Hotels]
Happy New Year from Shangri-La Hotels!
Of course, a Hong Kong-based hotel portfolio would get a little loud about the Chinese New Year. It's the most important holiday in, not only the Chinese culture, but also a good portion of Asia. And with the number of hotels Shangri-La has opened in China, it's pretty fitting.
Shangri-La has welcomed the 'Year of the Snake' via their Instagram account. While the name sounds vicious, there's nothing poisonous about this serpent—he's made of flowers coiled around a tree in one of their properties.
Officially, Hong Kong celebrates the holiday starting today, the 11th, but many other Asian countries take part in the holiday from the 9th to the 13th. With a wealth of customs that accompany the special time of year, we can only hope for the traditional red envelope filled with monatary gifts when checking into our hotel on the New Year.
[Photo: Shangri-La Instagram]