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You know the scenario. You’re going for it at the breakfast buffet, possibly trip number 3. If you’re with someone else, they stay while you go up. If you’re not, there’s a moment of anxiety as you’re away. What if they clear my stuff away while I’m gone? Oh, the humiliation of realizing they thought I’d already eaten enough! Let me just leave my phone there, so they realize I’m coming back. Cross fingers nobody steals it.
For some hotel properties, bidding fond adieu to the minibar is part of the new and improved way of operating efficiently. For others, they've gone different routes--like Kimpton and Andaz, who include certain minibar items in the room rate. But as for the cream of the crop, some luxury hotels are going overboard and stocking some of the coolest stuff and, subsequently, charging out the nose for them.
Take for instance a recent stay of ours at the Trump National Doral just outside Miami. After exploring the comfy Ivanka Trump-designed interiors accented with lots of signature gold trim, we opened up the minibar drawer and almost had to catch our jaw from smashing down into the immense selection of gourmet treats that rolled out of the cabinet.
Hotel Newspapers / Hotel News / New York Times / Financial Times / Hotel Amenities / Hotel Services / → All Tags
The complimentary newspaper that used to come with a hotel stay has pretty much vanished, thanks to the advent of WiFi and smartphones But now, there's a way to get "all the news that's fit to print" when staying in a hotel, thanks to a new digital access program from the New York Times and Financial Times that launched today.
The first-of-its-kind offering will provide hotel guests in the U.S. with free unlimited access to more than 25 sections on the NYTimes.com and FT.com on any device that's connected to the hotel’s WiFi network. Currently, unlimited digital access to the NY Times is only available with a monthly subscription. Otherwise, users are restricted to 10 free articles a month.
“The New York Times has been available in select hotels for years, starting with the print newspaper and more recently with digital access,” Hannah Yang, executive director, Education and Corporate Marketing, The New York Times, said in a statement. “Teaming up with a premier brand like the FT enhances the guest experience, allowing them to explore and discover the vast amount of digital content available on FT.com and NYTimes.com, which normally require a subscription for full access.”
Hotel Packages / Hotel Experiences / Hotel Amenities / London Hotels / Marylebone Hotels / → All Tags
It’s not enough to provide a decent hotel room these days; you’ve got to give an “experience” as well. Recently we’ve seen unforgettable service, a house jet instead of a house car and excursions from private dinners on the Ponte Vecchio to naming your own star.
Now it’s the Landmark London’s turn to take “experience” literally with five Landmark London Experiences.
New York is always at the front of the line get all kinds of stuff, but their latest first might just be the best yet. It’s a pop up mini golf course at The Hudson Hotel, and we want to go to there right now.
They’re calling it Putt Putt Park, and it opened up for the season just last week. Visitors—and golfers—can expect a nine-hole course in partnership with the folks over at Recess New York, and it’s all outside within the hotel’s courtyard. From what we’ve seen they’ve gone all in with this creation, so of course there’s a windmill and a loop-de-loop to ensure golfers are up for the challenge.
Hotel Spas / Sexy Hotels / Hotel Amenities / Glasgow Hotels / Scotland Hotels / UK Hotels / Town House Company Hotels / → All Tags
If you think a spa is a spa is a spa, book yourself in at the Blythswood Square hotel’s Thermal Spa in Glasgow. We expect to see something like this in, say, Bath, but Glasgow? Who knew.
This is a full-meal-deal thermal spa treatment with an ice fountain, saunarium and the whole shebang, but here’s the other thing it has going for it: It’s sexy. Full-stop. And it’s not a private treatment so you can go with your loved one. And you’re already in a hotel. (Don’t make us spell it out.)
If you want to do it right, the recommended three-hour rotation goes like this. Start with the Laconium – a black-tiled room where the floors, walls and benches are all heated to a mild(ish) temperature of around 131-140°F. Stay in here for about 15 minutes to get prepped for the hotter stuff to follow (there's no hidden meaning here, well... maybe).
Then stop the slow burn and turn up the heat in the Sauna, significantly more steamy but without steam. That's later. If you can make it to five minutes count yourself among the few. We couldn’t do it.
If you’re anything like us (and if you are, you have our sympathy), you will have a tiny fear of hotel toiletries. Of course, they smell delicious. Of course, they might even do wonderful things to your body and your hair. But how can you be sure they’re really hygienic?
It’s a subject we discussed in the comments a couple of weeks ago, but this week, we were pleased to find a potential solution. This is how the Starhotels brand in Italy deals with toiletries. They’ve invented a genius bottle where the lid is also the safety cap:
Hotel Amenities / Hotel Chocolate / Hotel Stores / Hotel Rebrandings / Hotel News / NH Hotels / Best Western Hotels / Brussels Hotels / → All Tags
Chocolates at turndown are all well and good, but here’s a hotel that’s going a step further – a chocolate store and workshop. This could only be in Belgium, of course – and it’s at the new NH Brussels Carrefour de l’Europe.
The hotel was previously a Best Western, but was taken over by NH this month. It’s in the Grasmarkt – a pretty square of medievalish buildings in the old town (though it’s very touristed, quite noisy, and even a little bit drunky – and most of those old buildings are now hotels). You’re right at the foot of the hill that leads to the Royal Palace, and a quick walk across from the Grand Place.
OpenThread / Hotel Amenities / Hotel Toiletries / Hotel Gifts / Hotel Theft / Hotel Shame / Hotel Behavior / → All Tags
(Some of) the toiletries in question
Last week, I stayed in an extremely exclusive hotel in Italy – one of the old-school, iconic ones. It was beautiful – totally over the top, ridiculous décor, old masters in the bar, and hushed, reverent service. The bathroom was an explosion of marble, with large-sized toiletries – Acqua di Parma, should you care to know – by the bath, the shower, and the sink.
Naturally, when it came to check out, I did my usual whipround, collecting notepaper and envelopes, one of the notepads and pens, and most of the toiletries. That’s par for the course, right? It keeps your cupboards fully stocked and helps keep fond memories of the hotel going. Everyone wins.
I checked out, went for a wander, and came back half an hour later. I asked the concierge – who were in charge of the keys – to order me a taxi. He did so, but not before the other concierge had asked him quietly, “Il luogo è apposto?” Is the place ok? “Si, tutt’apposto,” said the other, and gave a slightly embarrassed smile.
And obviously I immediately assumed that the only possible thing they could be talking about in such a covert way was me and the fact that I had filched the stationery and the shampoo, and that they were wondering whether to confront me over it.
Pre-stay questionnaires: yay or nay? Yay because it implies some kind of effort on the part of the hotel; nay because it’s a hassle to fill them in. Right?
One form was for breakfast – what flavor jam did we prefer? How do we like our eggs? Cheese, cold cuts? Cappuccino with whole milk or skimmed? Would you prefer it served on “Old England”, “modern” or “fashion” crockery? Argh! #toomuchchoice.
The other questionnaire was a general one. Preferred hardness of mattress. Pillow type. Beverage preference. Preferred fruits. Bread or Tuscan schiacciata. Favorite flowers. Favorite essential oils. Favorite “hobbies and passions”… Wait, what?
Hotel Bars / Hotel Beers / Brussels Hotels / Boutique Hotels / Affordable Hotels / Hotel Amenities / Hotel Shops / → All Tags
Last time we checked in on Brussels, we were all about the beer bar at the new Zoom Hotel in Ixelles (up the hill from the medieval bit, but where all
we the cool kids go). 50 Belgian beers, selected by a top Belgian sommelier? Oui, s’il vous plait.
So obviously, when we were in Brussels last week, there was only one place we were going to stay. More on the hotel another time, but for now, here is the beer bar.
Yeah, it’s not what we were expecting either. Discreet. Grown up. Who knew boozing could be like this?
Hotel Cars / Hotel Amenities / Hotel Services / Bentley / St Regis Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / → All Tags
And then there are the Bentleys that go out of date and get replaced by a new fleet of Bentleys, so swish is the hotel that they work for. The hotel in question? The St Regis New York.
Running a little later than the year, the St Regis has just unveiled its “2015 Bentley fleet” (because the 2014 Bentley fleet is over). It’s not just any Bentley fleet, either; this is one with a separate car for day and night (the only Bentley house car service in the world to do this, although if you have enough money to buy a fleet of Bentleys, why wouldn’t you switch them up when night falls?).