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We've told you about some hotels that want to send you exploring their city on a free bike and now we have a property that has the need for a bit more speed. Mandarin Oriental Pudong Shanghai has bypassed the bicycle and gone straight for guided tours of the area via the futuristic Segway.
The new hotel is perfectly located on the banks of Shanghai's Huangpu River and is an ideal location to catch some great photos ops of the towers financial district or the historic Bund across the waterway. These personal transporters make seeing the vast city a whole lot easier while reducing sore feet and the need for rest breaks; although, if your 'dogs' start barking, a trip to the hotel's garden-themed spa wouldn't disappoint.
Each 30-minute tour will kick-off as the heat begins to wane at 3:30 with the last tour leaving the hotel at 6:30pm, just in time for some stunning snaps of the setting sun making the city sparkle with colored lights. If your confidence on the two-wheeler isn't as great as you'd like, don't worry because there is free practice riding lessons at the start of the day's tours, giving even the least tech-savvy riders the ability to scoot down the promenade safely.
We’re not saying that we don’t appreciate a mint on the pillow or a single chocolate on the side table at turndown when we are staying in a hotel. Not at all: it’s just that sometimes we’re tired and grumpy after traveling and could really use a little something extra to help us unwind at the end of a travel day.
With this in mind, we are loving the idea of JW Marriott’s new turndown service, the Nightly Refresh Program, which features a rotation of complimentary amenities designed to help guests relax and rejuvenate.
The program, which is available at participating JW Marriott properties worldwide this summer, includes a nutritious snack bar filled with serotonin-releasing organic oats and skin-replenishing antioxidant-filled blueberries; as well as an essential oil featuring a blend of pink grapefruit, rosemary, and juniper berry that was created in partnership with Marriott partner, Aromatherapy Associates.
The healthy snack and essential oils sound lovely, but don’t mind us if we go straight for the wine samples from Treasury Wine Estates, and chocolates by Astor Chocolates. Hey, we’ve probably earned it.
[Photo of the JW Marriott Essex House in NYC by Chanize for HotelChatter]
The Woodlands Resort & Conference Center is typically known for being just that--a resort and conference center thirty minutes away from Houston in The Woodlands of Texas. Yet after a recent customer service story went viral, the hotel is now known for accommodating the strangest of guest requests.
Here's how it all began. A dude booked his room online and when he came across the service requests box, instead of typing in "Hypoallergenic pillows" or "A room away from elevator" or "A room with a view" or any other usual hotel room request, he wrote this:
Three red M&Ms on the counter. Not packages, just three single M&Ms. One for me, one for my girlfriend and one to split if we get hungry late at night. And a picture of bacon set on the bed. I love pics of bacon.
According to the dude, he totally forgot about writing this request. So when he checked into the hotel a month later, he was confused by the red M&Ms on the counter. But it "clicked" when he saw the picture of bacon on the bed.
Earlier this week we gave you 7 reasons not to leave the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas, one of those reasons being the amenities that fill the room. We were especially giddy to see Shanghai Tang toiletries in the bathroom as that is one of the first times we've seen Shanghai Tang in a hotel room.
If you feel the same way as we do (and we know there are a lot of you toiletry snobs out there!), then here's a short list of other Mandarin Oriental hotels in the U.S. where you can steal, er, use Shanghai Tang toiletries during your stay:
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The Breidenbacher Hof is the closest luxury hotel to the Old Town of Dusseldorf, literally a two block walk to what is commonly referred to as "the longest bar in the world," a series of pubs and restaurants that pour out onto the pedestrian promenade (our sister site Jaunted gave us the scoop on it). Dusseldorf is a beer-drinkers paradise, specializing in a unique style called Altbier, and it's one of those towns where you go out for one drink and end up coming back at sunrise (which this contributor experienced firsthand a few day ago).
But the town is not all beer drinking and belching. It's also home to Germany's largest Japanese population and well known for its luxury shopping, including the Königsallee, which is regarded as the most exclusive kilometer in Germany due to its top designers and exclusive jewelry, perfume, porcelain and antiques shops.
The 95-room Breidenbacher definitely fits in with the latter luxe crowd, having hosted celebrity guests that include Pink and AC/DC. It didn't take us long to notice the flair as we were escorted to the room during check-in by an associate from the front desk, who showed us how all the gadgets work. The room was gorgeous, but what made us crack a smile was when we entered the bathroom and saw the television embedded in the mirror. Upscale hotel, or man's dream bathroom?
While the bath amenities may vary amongst Four Seasons Hotels, they are always top-notch skincare lines. For example, the Four Seasons Los Angeles features Bulgari products while the Four Seasons Costa Rica uses L'Occitane. And now in Hawaii, the Four Seasons Hualalai in Hawaii, is offering a custom line of toiletries, made exclusively for the resort and called Kāwili Project.
The word Kāwili means "to blend" and the products are made with base formulations of Hawaiian oils, salts, sugars, and land and sea botanicals. The products include shampoo, conditioner, hand soap, after-sun lotion and body soap and all are free of sulfates, parabens, synthetic colour and synthetic fragrance.
But perhaps what's the bigger eco story here is that Four Seasons Hualali has done away with toiletry bottles, choosing instead to put the new amenities in large refillable bottles which they estimate will result in the elimination of more than 100,000 disposable plastic bottles annually.
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Whenever we eat at a Thai restaurant, we tend to stick to our staples of pad see ew, green curry with chicken, or the occasional mango sticky rice. Sometimes, we notice the names of various spices listed on the menu—lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal—but since we're neither chefs nor from Thailand, we just shrug our shoulders and continue reading.
But if the day ever comes where we decide we want to know more about Thailand's rich array of indigenous spices, we now know where to go.
Ritz-Carlton Reserve Phulay Bay, one of the brand's most exclusive properties, has just introduced their (and the world's) first-ever spice concierge.
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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!
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The hotel brand has teamed up with GlossyBox, a luxury beauty product line, to make a limited edition goodie
bag box full of environmentally-friendly, unisex—and, yes, travel-size—beauty products. The entire kit retails for $35 on the GlossyBox website, but to make things easier for guests, it will also be available for purchase in select suites at the hotels.
Read on to find out what's inside!
We’ve become accustomed to NYC's The Mark hotel going above and beyond when it comes to offering deluxe amenities to its guests, whether that be their Airport Concierge service or even loaning out fab MacLaren strollers so you don’t have to lug your own.
Now they’ve taken it a step further. We’ll preface this by saying since we’ve introduced our Fantasy Friday section, we realize there’s a whole lotta travelers out there with deep pockets and a love for special service. We’re trying to get there. Lord knows, we are.
So, that’s why we can now appreciate The Mark’s new collaboration with Bergdorf Goodman. The program is designed for the traveler with luggage mishaps (stop checking bags, people!) or in need for a last minute outfit for an event (example--we needed a ballgown in the 11th hour while at another hotel and had to fend for ourselves).
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The back of a sample Aloft Smart Check-In keycard
It turns out that the number of people who check-out of hotels the old-fashioned way is shrinking at an alarming rate. But what about checking in? Are people in such a hurry these days that they can't bear the thought of waiting in line to get their keycard and be told which room is theirs?
In a word, yes. Judging from the popularity of Aloft's smart check-in program, people seriously value convenience over a face-to-face welcome. And the numbers speak for themselves: last month, the program reached 10,000 users, even though only a limited number of Aloft hotels are equipped to use it.
This year, Smart Check-In is set to expand to even more properties all over the world. In case you're considering signing up, here are some fast facts on how the whole thing works.
Hotel Fitness / Manhattan Hotels / Kimpton Hotels / Queens Hotels / Indigo Hotels / Hotel Gyms / Hotel Rooftops / Hotel Amenities / → All Tags
NYC is like the Holy Grail for fitness hounds: jogging the Central Park reservoir, kayaking on the Huson, anti-gravity yoga classes. The list goes on. But for first-time visitors, the array of options can easily become overwhelming.
Luckily, this summer, hotels are going out of their way to offer unique work-outs, custom-tailored to individual guests' needs. So forget staring at a blank wall while pounding the treadmill, and consider these brand new hotel fitness amenities:
70 Park Avenue: Kimpton's swank Park Avenue abode just launched a new fitness center, and to promote it, the hotel is offering two new fitness amenities—first off, a "Power Bar" menu, which offers an a la carte list of different fitness options, from in-room personal training sessions ($100) to yoga ($65) to boot camp ($65).
Alternatively, guests can check-out a mini iPad pre-loaded with a Virtual Fitness Library of workout videos, tutorials and fitness tips.
Two more after the jump!