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Service charges – a topic that’s been in our minds on HC recently. The ethics of room service charges got us all wound up the other week, but what about normal service charges – the type that get added automatically to your bill, before you can say whether or not you wanted to leave a tip?
Automatic gratuities are becoming the norm in London now, with 12.5% the normal whack (apart from our funny little friends at Belgraves who automatically add 15%, thank you very much). For reference, 10% is what one would normally tip in London.
But here is the genteel way to present your service charge:
Hotel Restaurants / Hotel Bars / Hotel Renovations / DTLA Hotels / Koreatown Hotels / Los Angeles Hotels / → All Tags
One of the things we most like about the Downtown LA renaissance is the redevelopment of old buildings into sexy modern hotels (unless, that is, you’re talking about the Fig, which we cannot conscience in anything but its old, Moroccan incarnation).
The Hotel Normandie was already pretty sexy – a Renaissance Revival-style building done 1920s by Walker & Eisen, who also did the Beverly Wilshire and the United Artists Theater (aka the Ace DTLA), and now a 94-room boutique hotel (although with the old style preserved rather than gutted).
But now it’s stepped up the ante with some food and drink offerings that, rather like the hotel, combine the best of old and new LA.
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?
Hotels reaching out beyond their walls – this could be a thing. Hot (literally) on the heels of the James NYC turning its outside wall into a mural, the Dupont Circle Hotel in Washington, DC, has opened a new bar – on the street.
The pop-up “snow bar” is to warm you up as you pass through the snowy city, with cocktails created by the hotel’s mixologists. Hot cocktails, of course – they’ve invented one called the Nutty Van Gogh, which takes Nutella-brewed hot chocolate and adds Frangelico and caramel Van Gogh vodka. Too sweet? Try a coffee infused with Bailey’s or Kahlua. Too sickly? Go old school with some mulled wine.
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The 3D TV
Anyone who loves hanging out in hotels* will know that the downside of gorgeous spaces, people-watching and nice bathrooms is usually the premium price. £15 for an entry level cocktail in a nice London hotel? Yeah, we’ll reluctantly swallow that, it’s par for the course.
Not so at the Eccleston Square Hotel, though. Until the end of March, it’s offering £4.95 cocktails from 5pm-8pm Monday to Saturday.
Yes, cocktails for under a fiver. In London. In a nice hotel. And not at an hour where drinking incurs funny looks.
The W London Lounge
Last week, I found myself in central London with a colleague, with an hour to spare between meetings. It was lunchtime. We both had work to do. We’d been out and about all morning.
We were near Covent Garden. My colleague suggested a restaurant. I mooted the Lounge at the W London. I won.
But when we got there, he was shocked. It was so fancy! All the staff were so beautiful! Everyone around us was so… rich looking! “Do you have to be Scandinavian to work here?” he asked me. He called his wife to marvel at the “eurotrash” and the “too beautiful” people surrounding us. He brought it up in the meeting we went to afterwards. The other meetingees were equally baffled and entranced by the idea of going to this insane, snazzy, eurotrashy hotel, when we could have gone to Starbucks.
It has Fabergé eggs. It has King Henry VIII. And it has Tudor-inspired cocktails. That’s quite something for a hotel venue.
Welcome to New York, and to BonBonnière, the new nightclub in the basement of the Hotel Chantelle. A London import – the first one opened in Soho last year – it’s “inspired by the Fabergé egg” and all the European opulence that goes with it.
What does that mean in the 21st century? Mirrored walls, LED-lit ceilings, and a giant Fabergé egg as the DJ booth. Now that is something.
Wowie zowie! We thought we had exhausted our hand-picked list of hotels worthy of a little friendly poke on Funky Friday. Well, lo and behold, a new supply may be surfacing as 2015 gets under way. We love it so bring it on. But for now, we’ll keep things informal with an occasional visit to Funky Friday.
For our first unofficial poke of 2015, we’re taking a (virtual) visit, more like a trip, inside the psychedelic fantasy of the Razzmatazz Cocktail Bar & Lounge at JW Marriott Abershon Baku in Azerbaijan.
The inspiration behind the design of Razzmatazz stems from the beautiful Persian rugs of Azerbaijan and the stories these rugs tell. Whether or not this bar clearly tells a story, or needs to, it sure speaks volumes in its amped up display. Floors, walls and ceilings play mind games with guests in kaleidoscope-friendly patterns in neon purple, hot pink, and red. If these are rug patterns then they could have been designed by Jimi Hendrix.
Last week, we brought you a sneak peek of the Sixty SoHo’s new look and mentioned the recent opening of its new bar, The Gordon Bar. Here, now, are the details on Manhattan’s newest watering hole.
The Gordon Bar is just off the second-floor lobby and reception area of the hotel. Like the lobby, the feel here is cozy but swank. The focal point on one end of the room is a fireplace bookended by glass shelves with knickknacks and potted plants. In front of that is a small glass coffee table with art books, around which are clustered armchairs and a plush loveseat in nice communal seating area.
Happy New Year! Is one of your new year's resolutions to test your hotel knowledge?
Probably not, no one is that nerdy If so, you've come to the right place as we've got an excellent edition of Guess the Hotel lined up for you.
The game remains the same---we give out some hints, you drop your guesses in comments below. People who guess correctly will receive invisible scratch n' sniff stickers in the mail from us, sent by hologram service. Now get guessing!
W Paris – Opéra, the W brand’s one and only property in France, has opened their new cocktail bar focused on American whiskeys, Bar Brûlé. This Thursday-Saturday soon-to-be hotspot is tucked away on the first floor of the hotel and overlooks the grand Garnier Opera house.
Bar Brûlé, which the hotel is dubbing the “embassy of American whiskeys,” takes its name from the French word for burnt, which was sparked by the entire hotel’s creative concept of "a spark triggered by the fusion of the energy of New York and the city of light."
Headed up by chief barman Emeric Aguilar, the bar menu features over forty rare American whiskeys from micro-distilleries and cocktails that are divided into three categories: Old-Fashioned, Modern Classics and Originals.
Sure, enjoying a luxury hotel is easy if you’ve got the $$$ to burn that it takes to stay the night. But let’s face it, that’s not always the case, so we love to find ways to sample a hotel for a fraction of the cost of checking in. Who said you needed to be an overnight guest anyway?
We found the perfect alternative at Hotel de Russie in Rome, where rooms will easily go for $800 a night and up, and if you’re lucky, you’ll spot a Hollywood star or two (Pitt, Clooney, they’ve all stayed here). Just off of Piazza del Popolo, on designer store-lined Via del Babuino, the de Russie hides a beautiful – and particularly tranquil – courtyard and garden behind its façade, where you can take a quiet break from the hours of strolling through the Eternal (and sometimes frenetic) City.
Yes, the food prices on the menu of Stravinsky Bar will make you look twice (hello €35/$43 sandwich!), and even a latte set us back €8 ($10), but that did come with free WiFi, for two hours, which worked across three devices. We caught up on email sitting close to a terrace heater (it was out of season) and listening to the jazz music coming from the bar.