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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]
The boutique brand will feature a burnished bronze "dragon" that will wrap around the facade of the new building acting as a screen for shielding the interior from heat and harnessing solar power.
Each of the 138 rooms is individually designed to reflect the flare of the historic Wan Chai neighborhood. Keeping with Hong Kong's colonial heritage, the rooms will marry both Asian and European influences with a modern touch. Along with the unique design, the entire property will offer complimentary WiFi throughout.
Mandarin Oriental is in a serious party-mood these days. We’ve already talked about the $60,000 New Year’s Eve package that lets you ring in 2013 baller-style in Las Vegas, but next year will bring a whole range of celebrations on the other side of the world when Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong turns the big five-o.
Difficult as it may be to imagine, given the maze of skyscrapers in the city today, but when the hotel opened in 1963, its 27 floors made it the tallest building on Hong Kong Island, and the first in Asia with bathtubs in every room.
A Grand Deluxe Harbour View Suite
Six months or so later, the first phase, covering all rooms in the Peninsula Tower, is complete. We love the warm colors and the artwork on the wall in the Harbour View room; inspired by Chinese ink paintings, these are three-dimensional branches, leaves, and blossoms made of laser-cut bronze-lacquered stainless steel. Flora and fauna inspired details show up throughout, with a Grand Deluxe Suite having a similar design woven into the carpet.
Changes in décor may be the first thing you notice, but in-room technology is where the hotel has gotten serious with its upgrades.
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Airport hotels get a pretty bad rap. Sure, there are the greasy, grimy ones, but we like to think that for every one of those, there's a perfectly clean business-friendly oneor, even better, an airport hotel with the luxury of an airport view.
All this week we've looked at a few of our favorite hotels for plane spotting.
Here's our final pick:
The Regal Hotel at Hong Kong International Airport.
If, for some reason, you can only give yourself to one airport hotel, then by god let it be the Regal at HKG. All of the previous hotels for plane spotting have nothing on the Regal, which sits right alongside one of the major runways. All that separates you from planes of exotic airlines taking off and landing is a street and a low, thin building.
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If you are planning a trip to Hong Kong this month, make sure you pack your appetite for fine food. The Langham Hong Kong and Langham Place will be hosting a massive Food & Wine Festival featuring world-class chefs, award winning wineries, and famous industry enthusiasts. The city will become a foodies dream with this culinary journey.
Both Langham properties are playing host to a culinary experience designed for guests that love food, wine and lots of laughter. The chefs from the Hong Kong and Shanghai hotels will work side-by-side with a grocery list of highly-acclaimed chefs such as Benjamin Bayly and Claude Bosi.
Male or female, everyone can admit to doing a doubletake after passing the front of an Abercrombie & Fitch store, though it's not always for the reason the company would like. Forget the stupid A&F-branded clothes that are nothing more than an international symbol for douche and forget the fact that they spray their nasty cologne out onto the streets; the doubletake is all about the abs on the men who stand sentry at the store entrances...and now even Hong Kong has them.
This month, HK gears up to welcome its very first Abercrombie as 110 A&F male models wander the city, manning promo events and otherwise just touristing around, posing for photos.