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So much hotel news, so little time – here are a few snippets to keep you up to date with the latest news from around the world!
HOTEL TOMO TO TURN INTO HOTEL BUCHANAN, A KIMPTON HOTEL: Back in September, we told you how the Japanimation-themed Hotel Tomo in San Francisco would turn into a Kimpton Hotel but we had no idea the place would get a full-on rebranding. It will now open in June as the Hotel Buchanan, and it looks completely different. Gone is all the kitschy decor, replaced with more masculine yet stylish furniture and amenities.The only nod to the hotel's former history is a light-weight, Shibori-print Kimono, which will be placed in the guestrooms instead of the usual Kimpton animal print robes. No exact opening date is set but we'll be sure to let you know when we have it.
Hotel Gifts / Hotel Heaven / Concierges / Hotel Concierges / Strange Requests / Florence Hotels / → All Tags
Cast aside all thoughts of Nicolas Cage photos by your bedside. Here is a concierge story to end all concierge stories.
The questions translated fairly clearly into action, and it soon became clear just why they’d asked so many questions – because this is a hotel that showers you with gifts from the moment you check in.
Things I received over a two-night stay:
Last month we looked at a range of niche hotel butlers, from fireside butlers to tanning butlers and even camping butlers. We've also documented some of the more unusual specialty concierges out there (Spice Concierge, anyone?)
Today, The Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas tells us of another hotel service we didn't know we needed--bikini concierge.
The Palms Pool & Dayclub has partnered up with Bikini.com for the weekly pool party, Ditch Fridays, which begins again on May 2. The bikini concierge will help gals shop for bikinis at the poolside pop-up shop which will be open on Friday and Saturday afternoons. The bikini concierge also promises to deliver bikinis to guests on property within 60 minutes.
Some of the styles on display in the shop include monokinis and two-piece styles from brands like Mikoh, Luli Fama, Bettinis, MinkPink and Solkissed. As you could probably already tell, this won't be the place to shop for modest aka Mom swimsuits. This is Vegas baby, Vegas. Let it all hang out.
Rooms at The Palms are going for $239 on May 2, but they are sold-out for Saturday, May 3. Rates drop back down to $129 on Sunday, May 4.
[Photo via Palms/Facebook]
Hotel Happenings / Hotel Art / Miami Beach Hotels / Hotel Concierges / Art Basel Hotels / Ritz-Carlton Hotels / → All Tags
Art Basel, one of the top art shows in all the world bringing international modern masters and emerging talent together, is now on in one of the hottest cool capitals in the world, Miami. And of course, the city's vibrant hotel scene is getting in on the party. Here's a shortlist of what's happening at which hotels this week. Stay tuned tomorrow when we round-up some last-minute hotel options:
The Gale Hotel believes in starting early with their "Brunch Before You Basel" special featuring a make-your-own Bloody Mary bar. The party can start as early as 10 a.m. by calling 786-975-2550 to make a reservation.
Irish-born, London-based street artist Fin DAC will be making a splash at the Lord Balfour Hotel during Baselpalooza (yep, that's ours). Early last week the artist started working on a mural of a modern-day geisha on the hotel's interior courtyard wall. Visitors can watch art being created and may even get spray painted if they stand too close.
Miami Beach's Hotel Astor is launching the pop-up lounge Drinking Room on December 3. It will be run by the Food Network winner of Chopped, Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli and, aside from such intriguing cocktails as the "Grow a Pear" and small plates including "Carbonara Croquetas," during Art Basel famed chef Janice Wong of Singapore will partner with Rapicavoli to create edible art installations that will hang on the walls. Oooh... gooey. If patrons get involved it could quickly turn into Performance Art. For a reservation, call 305-531-8081. '
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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.
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).
We’ve been pretty vocal about our growing displeasure for packages and offerings designed more to gain publicity than they are to attract and benefit guests. These, for example. And now some say the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek’s new “sleep ambassador” program is right up there with the best of them.
Us? We’re skeptical by nature at this point. But that’s not fair – everyone deserves their day in court. So we tracked down the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek’s Sleep Ambassador herself, Nancy Rothstein, for some pillow talk.
HC: Let’s get right to it. Your campaign with Park Hyatt Beaver Creek claims hotels are in “the business of sleep.” Do you really believe that? As world travelers, we must say, rarely do we choose a hotel based on its sleep-inducing powers. And some destinations just don’t let you sleep. Vegas, for example.
While we're still swooning over Conrad's new Seoul property that opened last month, the luxury hotel chain recently premiered its free Conrad Concierge App for Apple and Android smartphones and tablets. Needless to say, it's on fire!
In order to launch the perfect app for the luxury traveler, Conrad conducted a national survey and came to these results:
69% value a hotel that can customize their experience to reflect their personal preferences.
60% are more likely to obtain suggestions of local attractions or activities via their digital device over speaking with a hotel employee.
74% say they frequently use their smart phone, tablet or computer when booking elements of their business or leisure travel.
So, what does this app do?
In this world of instant gratification, Sivi.com (not to be confused with Apple's Siri) is a new 24/7 "concierge" platform that promises to text or e-mail back answers to your pressing questions within minutes, from an actual hotel-based concierge.
It's sorta like Ask.com, only real humans respond with their database of knowledge. But at $5 a pop for your first question ($4 thereafter up to ten questions, then $3 for 20, etc), is it worth it?
We decided to give it a test drive. Due to the fact we just got a puppy, we had to ask what airlines do not charge fees to bring a small dog onboard with you, to which Sivi responded with a link to pet policies for major airlines. We then asked for a list of über-pampering, pet-friendly US hotels, and we received a breakdown of four hotel groups (Kimpton, Loews, Trump and W) with the hotel fees and amenities included. It was a great start, and you can continue the conversation by hitting "reply" if you need more information (like continuing the conversation with a real concierge by simply firing away more questions).
So, it's not a bad tool considering it takes the grunt work out self-research. But how is it any different from just hitting up Google?
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It's coming up on Father's Day, and once again, we're here to make your gift-giving experience go as smoothly as possible. How, you ask? By providing a range of perfect hotel experiences to suit all dad types! From smoking lounges to motorcycles to "sports" manicures (if you want to make a spa treatment guy-friendly, then that prefix is compulsory), we've rounded up six hotels with the best man-centric activities.
So, what are you waiting for? Read on! You've only got six days to book!
Though it's home to three championship golf courses, a shooting school and one of the best father-and-son fishing getaway spots, The Cloister at Sea Island off the coast of southern Georgia has one other man-centric feature that helps it stand out from the rest of the resorts: a Smoking Lounge. The wood-paneled room helped win the hotel a coveted spot on T+L's "World's Best Resorts" in 2006, and provides the ultimate man-cation hangout spot, with cozy leather armchairs, a fireplace, and an on-site Cigar Sommelier to help dad pick out his smoke of choice.
Hotel Toiletries / Bathroom Tuesdays / Hotel Bathrooms / London Hotels / Hotel Concierges / Bath Menus / Olympics Hotels / → All Tags
Remember when we learned about Andaz Liverpool Street's plans to launch a World Food Marathon menu next month to coincide with the Olympics? Well, it turns out The Goring (aka Kate Middleton's hotel of choice) is preparing a 'global menu' of its own—except you'll find this menu in the bathroom, not the dining room.
The NY Daily News reports that a bath menu wil be available this summer, in order to let guests take "a trip around the world" through different bathroom scents.
But wait, it gets better. The toiletry company that The Goring has tapped for the bath menu program is none other than Molton Brown, one of our personal favorites. We'll take two of everything, please!
Domoina De Brantes holds a Masters Degree from the Sorbonne in Conception and Production of Cultural Projects and will take hotel guests anywhere in the city to learn about the art scene.
Favor the urban vibe and grit of graffiti? View street art and meet the artists. Want to know more about the treasures of the Louvre? Bien sûr, she will accompany you providing illumination and insight. Her complementary guest service is becoming known, so make arrangements with her at the time you book your room.
Ms. De Brantes is part of the fulfillment of Le Monceau's wish to be known as a Parisian domicile infused with an artistic soul. The hotel, a recent Philippe Starck remake in elegant detail includes an art collection, private state-of-the-art cinema and an art gallery that is open to the public. The Arts District Gallery, 90 square meters of space within the hotel is currently showing “HYPERPHOTO,” Jean-François Rauzier's art photography. It is open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 8pm, and Sunday 11.30am to 7pm (free entrance).