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As summer nears, hotels are going to start up with the usual warm-weather offerings: rooftop bars, poolside cabanas, and those awkward tanning concierges. But as far as we're concerned, it all boils down to one question: where can we ride a bike for free?
Unless otherwise noted, all of the below hotels offer free bike rentals on a first-come, first-served basis (that means no reserving the night before!), and all bikes come with a helmet and a lock.
We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves on the public bikes at Public Chicago, and we recommend you do the same! Guests can grab a Trek Bicycle and take out for a spin down to Lake Shore and cruise along the beach's bike path—which are just three blocks from the hotel. Oh, and did we mention it's free?
In time for the first shoots of spring in London, £1-favorite Hoxton Hotel is now offering guests four custom UK-made Mango Bikes in the hotel’s colors to tool around town in. Both Sanderson and St. Martin’s Lane counter with equipment from the home of cycling, with Dutch bikes by Public J7.
Santa Barbara's El Encanto Resort has something special for adventuresome guests: electric bikes! The electric component can be turned on or off, so if you don't feel like cheating, you can pump all the way to the beach and back. But when it comes time to head back to the hotel (which sits in the Santa Barbara hills), that motor is going to come in pretty handy.
Sofitel So Bangkok offers three bikes for rent—a number suitable for the cast of Three's Company, but hey, free is free! Head across the road and pedal your heart out around Lumpini Park, the city's answer to Central Park, where you can ride along the Komodo Dragons basking in the sun on the banks of the lake.
For 12 more hotels (and hotel brands) with free bike rentals, read on!
Family-Friendly Hotels / Hotel Amenities / Manhattan Hotels / Upper East Side Hotels / Hotel Strollers / → All Tags
Don't pretend you haven't noticed. There are pregnant women and babies everywhere you look. It's like a walking advertisement of "I know what YOU DID LAST FALL!". We pretend to coo and smile at your love bugs and belly, but we're really smirking, you nasty thangs, you!
Still, for those of us who have babies and toddlers to schlepp around, the number one pain-in-the-ass is the stroller. (The car seat gets a close second). It's all, folding, un-folding, lugging, latching, and then the folding again. And that's for a basic model. We're counting down the days until we never have to travel with a stroller again. (We've got about 600 or so to go.)
Mercifully, hotels are starting to come to our rescue by offering strollers for guests to use during their stay.
And in Manhattan, The Mark on the Upper East Side has upped the ante by pairing up with high-end stroller brand, MacLaren, to create a super stylish Mark Hotel Baby Stroller that's done up in the Mark's signature black and white stripes. This stroller is Bergdorf and Madison Avenue shopping ready.
Hotel Snapshots / Historic Hotels / Hotel Lobbies / Hotel Amenities / Denver Hotels / Marriott Hotels / Autograph Collection / Hotel Water / → All Tags
Ask anyone in Denver about the city's oldest hotel, and they'll either point you towards the Oxford Hotel or the Brown Palace (technically, the Oxford opened a year earlier, in 1891, but in our eyes, they're both pretty special). However, in terms of star power, we think the Brown Palace wins out.
The hotel, which recently became an Autograph Collection property in September, has hosted every president since Teddy Roosevelt, with the exception of Calvin Coolidge and Barack Obama. And on the ground floor, the room that Henry C. Brown (the hotel's founder) used as his office is now a kick-ass cigar lounge named Churchill, with a customized humidor of over 60 cigars.
But our favorite feature about the hotel is the thing you see above. It's a water fountain, yes, but the story goes deeper than that.
Hotel Amenities / Hotel Packages / Luxury Hotels / Shangri-La Hotels / Beach Hotels / Maldives Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
We’ve seen some pretty nice amenities offered by hotels -- luxury car service, designer robes, a concierge for everything –- but this one from Shangri-La's Villingili Resort and Spa in the Maldives may be the most OTT one yet.
It’s a Thursday afternoon and you’re thinking to yourself, “What should I do this weekend?” Maybe you should think about fueling up that jet of yours and taking off to the Shangri-La in the Maldives. With the resort’s new private air terminal located just five minutes by speedboat from the resort, AKA "paradise," your beach weekend starts NOW.
Hotel News / Fairfield Inn & Suites / Hotel Breakfasts / Hotel Amenities / Manhattan Hotels / → All Tags
No hotel breakfast can (or should) ever compete with a proper home-cooked meal in the comfort of your own kitchen, but it certainly helps when the breakfast is free. And that's what Fairfield Inn & Suites is planning to do at every one of their hotels, starting tomorrow.
On Friday April 5, the Marriott-owned brand will join the ranks of competitors like Hampton Inn and Hyatt Place by offering complimentary hot breakfasts for all guests. On the menu will be freshly scrambled eggs, bacon, biscuits, gravy, sausage patties, turkey bacon, Belgian waffles, and Quaker oatmeal (all, of course, in addition to the regular cold spread of yogurts, cereal, fresh fruit, muffins, bagels and pastries). Mmm…we're getting hungry just thinking about it.
And speaking of hungry: if you live in Manhattan, you'll get to celebrate the launch by claiming a free breakfast burrito at a food truck that will be parked outside Penn Station, on the corner of 33rd and Seventh Avenue.
The free meals will be handed out to the first 2,500 morning commuters who pass by. Though, if you happen to be an actual Fairfield guest, then you don't need to worry, as the complimentary hot breakfast menu kicks in at all of Fairfield's 700 properties throughout the US, Canada and Mexico on the same day.
Hotel Amenities / Hotel Design / Hotel News / India Hotels / Hotel Minibars / Hotel Bars / → All Tags
An India-based company that specializes in designing bars for high-end hotels throughout New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore (including ITC Maurya, where Obama stayed during a visit in 2010) has come up with a new concept that's sure to catch people's attention: a fully-equipped personal bar for hotel suites.
The nifty "BarTrender Pro" basically whittles down all the elements of a high-end hotel bar—cocktail mixing station, built-in refrigeration, dual zone wine preservation, separate storage for glasses and bottles—into one compact, fully integrated unit.
Just looking at it, we get the sense that even ignoramuses like us who have never bartended a day in our lives (save for once, during college, which was a failure on all accounts) would be able to slap together a half-decent beverage. With the bar's attractive smooth surfaces and backlit shelves, at the very least, we'd look good doing it!
The bar has been on display at multiple showrooms in Jasola and Mumbai, and plenty of folks have expressed interest in buying a unit for themselves, but the company's chief designer said that production is still being limited to two hundred per year. He went on:
"These are prized possessions, and we plan sell limited numbers each year per region. Luxury hotel chains have considered the bar for their suites."
What do you think? Is this something you would use if it showed up in your hotel room? Or would you rather just head downstairs and order a drink the good old-fashioned way? Let us know your thoughts below!
If this is Yotel's idea of an April Fools, then we gotta say…we're impressed. The hotel sent out an e-blast early Friday morning announcing their plans to launch the first ever zip-line into the heart of Times Square. Umm…really?
A few things come to mind when we read this. First off, it's not like you can just "drop into" one of the world's busiest pedestrian intersections. Times Square is a big, teeming place populated by skyscrapers, giant LED screens, gawking tourists, naked singing cowboys, and other maddening obstacles. To attempt to cruise into such an area suspended from a steel cable would be both impractical and incredibly stupid.
Second, the hotel is calling the zip line a way for guests to "save time and avoid busy streets." Well, we can't argue with that. But if it's a question of walking an extra few blocks, or putting our lives at risk, we'd gladly choose to walk.
Third and finally, how do you build a zip line into Times Square anyway? With safety nets along traffic-congested 42nd St? With tunnels carved through office buildings to create a more direct route? Will the TKTS booth magically transform into a landing station? Though Yotel has been known to pull some pretty whacky stunts before, we're going to assume the answers to these questions are no, no, and no.
According to Yotel, the zip line launches today, April 1. Also known as April Fools Day. Did we just get punked?
Hotel Amenities / Hotel Tech / Hotel TVs / In-Room Movies / Tech Hotels / Aloft Hotels / California Hotels / Starwood Hotels / → All Tags
Here's one advantage to being located next to Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, CA: Aloft Cupertino, which opened yesterday, is now the first Aloft hotel to feature Apple TV devices in all 123 guest rooms. This is great news for anyone not interested in paying $15-$20 just to watch an in-room movie (ie, us, and pretty much everyone else).
The ingenious little box-shaped devices (pictured) basically allow you to stream music, TV shows and movies on iTunes, Netflix, Hulu or MBL.com straight from your Apple device onto an HD TV.
So while it's a handy thing to keep around the house, it works just as well—if not better—in a hotel. Wanna order room service while running through all the episodes of Downton Abbey? Or watch the Angels vs. Giants game in your bathtub? Or sing (loudly) along with the cast of Glee? The possibilities are endless.
And if being able to stream all your favorite media for free wasn't enough, the hotel will make things easier by resetting the boxes each time a guest checks out (that way, your account settings won't be compromised). Aloft will even go ahead and sync up iTunes to match whatever country you're from
Of course, you'll need reliable WiFi to actually access the content on your iPhone, iPad or iPod. And luckily, Aloft is one of the upstanding brands that offers it free.
Looks like we’re in the midst of another specialty holiday time, this time it’s called >National Sleep Awareness Week, which runs through March 10th. This is in conjunction with the return to Daylight Savings Time, when clocks move ahead and hour and most people lose an hour of sleep (but gain an hour of sunlight!).
Still, many people have trouble adjusting, especially those who travel a good deal. So, if you happen to have business in NYC, it might be worth it to stay at The Benjamin. Not only is this the place with a dedicated Sleep Concierge, but now they’ve instituted a “Work-Down Call”. The only way to describe it is that’s it’s the reverse of a wake-up call, they actually give you a ring and tell you when it’s time to call it a night.
That’s right, they know you’re still up in your room alone sending just one last email, making one more call, or, or…and the next thing you know it’s the wee hours and you've got to be up soon, walking into a meeting bleary eyed, despite sleeping on a cushy bed with 500-thread count sheets!
Hotel Trends / Hotel Amenities / Hotel Toiletries / Istanbul Hotels / Turkey Hotels / Vermont Hotels / Zurich Hotels / Switzerland Hotels / Italy Hotels / Rome Hotels / Florence Hotels / → All Tags
Today we start a new weekly series of what’s trending in hotels these days: What’s Out, What’s In. Do we like what we see? Think it's a dud? You be the judge!
What’s Out: Generic flower aromas
What’s In: Bespoke signature scents
Hotels are getting personal with their smelly goods. More and more they’re looking to give you a local scent experience as soon as you walk in the door or when you’re executing your nightly ablutions. Capitalizing on the strength of olfactory memories, they’re partnering with local scent companies to choose unique aromas that embody the spirit of the hotel and give it a sense of place.
Here are just a few examples:
If these floors could talk...
Today, CNN reports on a rather inventive "hotel room of the future" model that's been dreamed up in Spain by the SerranoBrothers design studio in conjunction with the Instituto Tecnologico Hotelero. Unsurprisingly, the room is full of gadgets like Bang & Olufsen audio equipment, Microsoft tablets, Roca radio mirrors, touch-sensitive transparent screens, and best, of all, walls that actually talk back to you.
Yes, that's right. The hotel rooms of the future will not only provide us with beds to sleep in and bathrooms to wash, but will also greet us in the morning, and remind us of our appointments for the day. Kind of like that 1980s TV show Knight Rider but without any of David Hasselhoff's witty comebacks and cool leather jackets.
Read on to find out what else the "ITH Room Xperience" offers!
Remember your first retail or fast food job you were told part of your wages would go to your unattractive polyester uniform? Remember the collective "Oh, hell naw!" heard around the world? We know. BTDT. But perhaps the drama wouldn't have been that wide, if you'd been working for Washington School House?
See, the Park City, UT hotel just announced their staff will now wear designer winter uniforms by J Crew, including blingy jewelry and Ariat or Aquatalia riding boots, an outfit all said to be worth $500 (which they get to keep!).
Hmph, Burger King sure never put out that kindness into our threads. No, sir!