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Welsh cakes. Welsh flags. Welsh rarebit. Welsh… lessons?
That’s the new addition to the menu at Chateau Rhianfa, a French-inspired castle in Anglesey (Wales, if that wasn’t already clear). They’re not just any lessons, though – there’s a two-night package planned all around them, and it really is the best of
You’ll arrive in time for a traditional Welsh afternoon tea, including Welsh cakes and Bara Brith as well as your standard sandwiches, scones and cakes. After that, you’ll get on a RIB (rigid inflatable boat) for a whip round the Menai Strait; then it’s back to the hotel to get changed and get dinner – three courses and wine is included.
The 90-minute Welsh lesson starts after dinner – just as well, since you'll have to be suitably lubricated to make your way around those vowels.
On day two, you’ll have a locally sourced breakfast, a tour of Snowdonia, and a second Welsh lesson in the afternoon, before dinner, a cocktail-making class and wine and local cheese tasting in the wine cave.
An ocean tower suite
We're all about bringing the FUN! back into a hotel stay but sometimes, it's hard to motivate to leave the hotel room, especially after a long day of
shopping travel, partying meetings or Instagramming your feet on the beach exploring.
Eden Roc Miami Beach totally understands how tired you are, which is why they are now offering to bring the fun up to your room, cleverly pairing traditional board games with decadent room service items. Here are the six new additions to the room service menu:
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What says, “Let’s snuggle in from the cold” better than a cup of hot chocolate? The hot choco cups coming from these three hotels should give Hershey's Cocoa Powder an inferiority complex.
The Mark Hotel in New York (a Preferred Hotel) has opened up their Mark Cocoa Kiosk just outside the hotel’s doors. The festive Kiosk has their signature Jacques Grange black and white stripe and serves The Mark Glazed Gingerbread to go along with their decadent, over-flowing with whipping cream, Jean-Georges Cocoa concoction. If you’re in the neighborhood and need a break from shopping on Madison, stop in and enjoy: the price is $8 for the cocoa and $4 for a two-pack of the cookies (guests enjoy them at no cost). Open daily throughout the holidays.
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We've been teasing you about the items in the minibar at the Miami Beach Edition but you won't have to wait any longer.
Here's a look at some of our favorite items from the minibar tray that's stashed in the closet of the guest rooms (the closet also has gorgeous banana leaf wallpaper.) The goodies are separate from the mini-fridge filled with just as interesting drinks (Cafe Bustelo forever!) so don't be alarmed if you can't find them right away.
Forgot underwear? You can buy that from the minibar. Need a backpack to tote your beach gear around? You can find that here in the minibar too, along with Sun Bum sunscreen, Joe's Kettle chips, Joe & Seph's popcorn, Dang coconut flakes, Sir Richard condoms, Urbanears ear buds, Japanese facial masks, lip balm, the "Where Chefs Eat" book and even, Illesteva sunglasses. All at an additional charge, of course.
Since the Edition London carried a jar of bacon jam we shouldn't have been that surprised by this minibar extravaganza but still, it seemed way more exciting than we had anticipated. Just when everyone thought minibars were nearly extinct, Edition finds a way to bring them back to life. (For what it's worth, the minibar was overseen by someone on the Marriott side, not Schrager's side. #innnteresting.)
Oh, and don't worry, there's a Snickers in there for old times sake.
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On the first day of Christmas, Andaz Liverpool Street gave to me… a giant box that looked gorgeous on the outside but was ultimately empty, perhaps as a representation of the hollow emotional void of consumerism.
Nah, as if – this is the Festive Folly in the Andaz lobby, and it’s no damning take on modern society; rather, it’s an East London art installation. As you walk through the folly, its comforting glow will warm the cockles of your heart, and its festive scent – there’s a Fornasetti candle inside, plus it’s made of birch– will arouse your scent glands into a Christmas frenzy. Buy buy buy!
The other week we showed off a funky hotel bed, shaped like a wine cask. Today, we're here to tell you that you can now shower with wine during your next hotel stay.
Ok, technically, it's not an actual bottle of wine but rather, a line of hotel toiletries made with anti-oxidant grape extracts. Still, being winos that we are, we're going to latch onto the idea of lathering up with some vino.
The toiletries come from Spanish brand, VIÑALI, which is an organic, vino-cosmetic company and are being distributed by Groupe GM. The line includes shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, bath gel and bar soap. Here's what makes them so classy, like a glass of fine wine:
The products in the VIÑALI amenities range are enriched with organic grape water and organic grape extracts and will give hotel guests an experience as refreshing and detoxifying as it is luxurious. Across the product line, water has been substituted by 100% organic grape water extract rich in resveratrol, VIÑALI’s flagship ingredient, which carries detoxifying properties, essential oils, minerals and trace elements found in the plant which actively promote healthy skin and are environmentally friendly.
In short, you won't get a buzz but you should feel a little more relaxed.
Since the product is brand-new, it's not clear if hotels have picked this item up yet. We'll let you know when someone uncorks it.
One of the more aloof members of Atlanta staff
Yesterday we introduced you to the Atlanta Hotel in Bangkok and its militant anti-sex tourist policy. The Atlanta is a budget hotel – rooms start from 800THB ($24) and go up to 1950THB ($59). But despite its low prices, it’s run with a rod of iron – it opened in the 1950s and checking in today is like stepping back in time a few decades. And its attention to detail is certainly better than plenty of five star places we’ve stayed in. Why? These 10 reasons why, for starters:
We've long been a fan of Kimpton Hotels' Forgot it? We've got it!" amenity program, which sends up, on request, any toiletries that guests may have forgotten to pack from contact lens solution to straightening irons. But now at The EPIC Hotel in Miami, the amenity program extends to Halloween costumes.
That's right, if you've forgotten to pack your sexy ladybug costume, or just decided on a whim to go trick or treating, the EPIC Hotel can lend you a costume to wear for the night.
We inquired about the Halloween costume choices and they include the following:
· Clown make up
· Clown noses
· Rainbow bow tie
· Child & adult cat costume
· Bunny ears
· Various mustaches
· Venetian masks
And if you stay at the hotel on Halloween, you can indulge in special pumpkin oil aroma therapies and massages from the hotel's Exhale Spa during the hotel's complimentary wine hour. A Halloween candy buffet will also be on display. Over at the hotel's bars and lounges--LILT, Area31 and a the rooftop pool deck, speciality Halloween cocktails will be served too.
Rooms at the EPIC start at $249 a night.
Getting picked-up from the airport or dropped off for your dinner reservation by your hotel is a luxury that many hotels offer for either an extra charge or as part of the room rate. More often than not, hotels will whisk you away in some sort of luxury sedan like a BMW, Mercedes or Porsche but occasionally, you just have to hide your face when they pull up in an 8-person van or mini-bus.
However, there are a few hotels that totally nail the idea of cool wheels for a courtesy cars. This is a smart move for a few good reasons. One, it shows the hotel has some personality by choosing an interesting or historic car over some predictable corporate whip. Two, it's good advertising around town and three, it gets guests talking about it well after they check-out.
Now, here are some of our favorite rides from around the world.
Not exactly a desk, but totally sexy – the map of Singapore on the coffee table at Sofitel So Singapore
One thing we’ve noticed over recent coverage of millennial hotel brands and trendifying revamps – hotels think the way to pull in punters is to focus on design. And to focus on design, plenty of hotels are considering doing away with what most people take for granted in a hotel room: the steadfast hotel desk.
There’s just one problem: people like desks. They need them, too, if they’re grownups. First case in point: our room at Moxy Milan a couple of weeks back. Instead of a desk, there was a shallow glass plate poking out of the wall, just big enough to balance a laptop on. Instead of a chair, there was a stool – as in a footstool – under the glass shelf. It was an impossible set up, if you were planning to work – uncomfortable on the back, and with no space for anything like papers. (There was also a giant, sexy swivel armchair by the bed – great for Instagram, but impossible, again, for work.)
Second case in point: the current Le Méridien refresh program with slimmer, stand-up desks.
Third and final case in point: the Westin redesign, which has shrunk desks. Westin says its research shows that people are abandoning desks. If our comments this time, and last time we discussed this, are anything to go by, there’s a sizeable group of us that isn’t. So while hotels are rushing to court millennials, they risk alienating their already loyal customers.
Problem is, other than the general downsizing of rooms, this move seems to be based on the premise that hotel desks are ugly. But they don’t have to be! Hotel designers, here are some ideas for how to have trendy rooms, but keep the desks. We present:
The Ultimate HotelChatter Compendium Of Sexy Desks
Last week, Marriott International was fined $600,000 by the FCC for jamming up guests mobile WiFi hotspots at the Gayord Hotel in Nashville (a Marriott entity), thus forcing guests to join the hotel's network and pay the ridiculous WiFi fees. This week, Marriott wants to win back some love by announcing that a whopping 29 Marriott hotels will sport wireless charging stations for guests to charge their devices on.
We heard the news the other day and we were just like, well, this:
The gesture is appreciated, especially since it came about from a survey of real travelers on Marriott's TravelBrilliantly.com platform, meaning that Marriott is really listening to what guests want. And we've all been there when we roll up into a hotel and our phone dies. Or we forget our charger completely.
We can also respect the type of charging stations being used--a KS Portable from Kube Systems which uses the Qi wireless charging technology. Simply place your device, whether it be an iPhone or a Galaxy so long as it's equipped for wireless charging, on one of these black cubes and voila! You're charging. Up to six devices are allowed too.
But let's be real, it's hard for us to get excited about charging our devices in a hotel that is charging us for WiFi.
UPDATE: A publicist for Marriott Hotels wanted to clarify that WiFi is free in the lobbies at Marriott Hotels.
[Photo: Marriott Hotels; GIF: Giphy.com]
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Rolls Royce Phantom
Here's one way for a hotel to drum publicity before opening: Place the world's single-largest order for Rolls-Royces ever.
There were no figures released on how much the cars were purchased for, but given that the hotel recently raised another $135 million in funding, we're guessing money was no issue. The total cost of the hotel, shown in rendering format below, will be about $1 billion.