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If you’ve been to Tokyo, you know it’s possible to go from historic serenity in one of its temples to futuristic frenzy among its skyscrapers in a split-second. That proximity of the traditional and modern comes through at the Peninsula Tokyo as well; pick the right aspect and you can gaze out from your technology-filled room over the Imperial Palace, and when it’s time for a ride in the house car, your options range from a restored 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II to a very 21st century Audi R8 sports car.
Hotel Cars / Hotel House Cars / Luxury Hotels / Santa Monica Hotels / ETC Hotels / Hotel Technology / Hotel News / → All Tags
One of the perks of staying in a luxury hotel is riding in the complimentary house car, which is often a car you'd never be able to afford in real life. We're talking Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous cars like Mercedes, Rolls Royce and Bentley. But now in Santa Monica, Calif., Shutters on The Beach is offering a very 21st century type of house car, one that's quickly become the new "it" brand in luxury--a Tesla Model S.
General manager Gregory Day said the hotel changes out their house car every year but have slowly been moving towards a greener alternative.
"We've always been heavy-Mercedes house," he said, while showing off the Tesla in the hotel's porte-cochère. "We had a CLS 550 when I got here and I think our next one we got, to make it more environmentally-friendly, we got a V6 engine, and then the last car we had was a S400 hybrid Mercedes," Day said. "But the more we learned about it, hybrid isn't that green in a sense because the battery, once it's done, there's no way to recycle it."
The hotel considered electric vehicles but Day said it was hard to find one that would also appeal to their high-end guests. So when the Tesla came out, the hotel dug both its sleek look and its technology.
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Select Loews properties have revved up a partnership with super-cool car brand, FIAT.
Five Loews Hotels & Resorts across the U.S.—Loews Madison Hotel in Washington, D.C., Loews Regency Hotel in NYC, Loews Hollywood Hotel, Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel and Loews Miami Beach Hotel—will ensure you keep your very important appointment in a chauffeured 2014 FIAT 500L.
Plus, three of the properties—Loews Miami Beach, Loews Hollywood and Loews Santa Monica Beach—really go the distance by offering two complimentary FIAT loaner vehicles (the Fiat 500L and either the Fiat Cabrio or the all-electric Fiat 500e depending on location)—for you to tootle around town on your own for up to three hours a day.
Rooms at Loews Hotels & Resorts go for approximately $209 per night depending on the individual property.
[Photo: Loews Hotels & Resorts]
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While The Dorchester London is tempting cognac connoisseurs with its rare Louis XIII flights, sister hotel and neighbor 45 Park Lane has a suggestion for car aficionados, particularly those with a penchant for the luxury Rolls-Royce kind. And lest you be concerned, there are cocktails involved too.
Book yourself into the Penthouse Suite at the 45-room hotel and you’re handed the keys to a brand new Rolls-Royce Wraith for the afternoon, the latest model carrying the illustrious British RR badge (we’ll forget about that whole German ownership thing for a second). After tooling around town, two specially made Wraith cocktails await in Bar 45, which are also made with Rémy Martin Cognac, with a choice of VSOP, Coeur de Cognac and XO.
The hotel bike might be the ubiquitous amenity these days for tooling around town or the resort grounds, but in certain climates – and hilly terrains – a less strenuous alternative might be preferable.
We came across the perfect solution recently at Amanpuri – the original Aman Resort – in blisteringly hot Phuket, where getting around is both a breeze and breezy, courtesy of a fleet of semi-open buggies fashioned out of ripped up Nissans. Available any time at the main entrance or just a call away, you can be whisked to your room, back to the lobby and the main pool, down to the beach club, up to the spa, or to the top-of-the-hill gym with endless views over the surrounding area.
Sorry, horses. You're not needed anymore, not even for those nostalgic horse-drawn carriage rides.
The Peninsula Beverly Hills, a hotel brand known for their cutting-edge technology and high-flying modes of transportation, is now ferrying their guests around town in these souped up motorcycle-drawn carriages from 7 Wheel Wonders. The hog portion of the vehicle usually resembles a classic car, while the coach part resembles the old coaches of Jane Austen and Cinderella's time. That's the '57 Chevy above and the Old Hollywood in red below. Each ride comes with two "coach concierges" along with drinks and hors d'oeuvres.
Right now, the rides are currently offered to guests partaking in the hotel's treasure hunt, i.e. mostly families, but there's a possibility the rides will be offered to all hotel guests who want to experience an old-timey mode of transportation with a little flair...and an engine roar. Rates at the hotel start around $450 a night.
Members of Fairmont's President's Club can now ride in style as the hotel chain has expanded its partnership with BMW to all US properties and will offer complimentary shuttle service in a BMW 750i Sedan.
Whether you're traveling for business and want to make a flashy arrival at a lunch meeting or just going down the street for a hot dog, it sure beats the hell out of traditional shuttles and taxis. While many hotels now use spacious SUVs to transport guests, this takes the level of comfort (and image) one step further.
Fairmont and BMW seem to be getting along quite well the past few years. This latest roll out is an extension of a program that was initially launched in Canada in 2009, and Fairmont began offering free BMW bicycles to their guests worldwide in 2011.
Membership in Fairmont's Presidents Club is complimentary, so be sure to sign up to take advantage of the swanky shuttle service during your next stay.
It's hard to believe that in 2013, there are hotels that charge for WiFi. We're not talking the budget places, either: while several wallet-friendly chains actually do provide comp internet access, it's the luxury brands that typically nickel-and-dime you for connecting fees, sometimes as much as 20 Euros a day (we're looking at you, Rocco Forte.)
In 2009, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts took a bold move and became the first international five-star brand to drop WiFi charges at all of their hotels, and later did the same for many of their Kerry and Traders brand properties. To keep up with technology—and their tech-savvy guests—Shangri-La last week announced that they are taking connectivity even further by offering free WiFi access in all their hotel cars by the end of 2013.
It's that time of year again: the 2012 HotelChatter Awards! Between last Friday and today, we're showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to..
We admit, we’re a touch spoiled with some hotels who look askance at tired taxi service and have brought in their own high-class cars to whisk guests to and fro to their desired destination(and for free!).
Do you drive a fast car? Well, they do at New York’s Gansevoort hotels where Porsche Panamera’s transport customers from the midtown Park Avenue South location to the bumping Meatpacking district outpost in seemingly seconds.
Then there’s the Accura's, that will graciously schlep those staying at the W Union Square to any location within a 2-mile radius, gratis. It’s a very popular service though (top-notch shopping is in the vicinity) so make sure you book fast. Oh, and you can find this service at many of the W's across the country, including the W Fort Lauderdale.
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If you happen to enjoy getting your car stolen by delinquent 21-year-old valets, then, boy, do we have a hotel for you. This weekend, Gunner Belcher (what a name!), a valet employed at the Westin Indianapolis, was pulled over at 2am on Sunday morning by cops who suspected he might be drunk driving.
Well, he was.
But what cops also found out was that Belcher, "with glassy eyes and slurred speech," was behind the wheel of a 2007 Bentley belonging to Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne. Wayne had dropped the car off at the Westin just a few hours earlier, and, around 9pm, Belcher decided it was time to take her for a spin.
To make a bad situation worse, Belcher then lied to cops and told them he was "Wayne's cousin by marriage," which is completely absurd, yet exactly the kind of quick-thinking logic we'd expect from someone on a mindless, drunken joyride through the streets of Indianapolis at 2am on a Sunday.
Without a seatbelt, no less.
With plenty of subway lines still down in NYC, we decided to take a ride around Brooklyn yesterday afternoon on our bike. Lo and behold, cruising down a small side street in Greenpoint, what do we find, but an adorable little boutique hotel tucked away under the Pulaski Bridge, the northernmost section of Brooklyn.
Though we've never heard of it, the Box House Hotel has in fact been open for a year and a half, and is just now starting to get some attention. For starters: the shout-out they got in this weekend's travel section of the NY Times. The Brooklyn hotel scene, says the Times, is blowing up, with certain places (ahem, King & Grove Williamsburg) charging about as much as the average Manhattan hotel.
Our first question, therefore, was how much does a standard room here go for during the off-peak: $159/night. Not bad!
So what's it like inside?
Another month, another celebrity car accident outside a hotel. This time, x17online reports that P Diddy and his chauffeur were cruising near the entrance to the Beverly Hills Hotel yesterday afternoon when another driver swerved in front of him, causing Diddy's SUV to slam into the other vehicle.
Unsurprisingly, several photographers were on the scene lickety split, and caught shots of Diddy looking slightly dazed and confused, laying down on the Bev Hills' lawn.
The front of his Cadillac Escalade was pretty smashed up, and as of now it is unconfirmed whether Diddy, his driver, or the other party, sustained any injuries. (Though for the sake of future hotel bathtub music video hilarity, we hope he's ok!)