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Happy St Patrick’s Day! To celebrate, we’re going to Dublin. Not to tell you which hotel bars to drink in – that would be far too easy. Rather, let’s talk about the most genteel way to soak up the booze.
The scene: one of the lounges in which afternoon tea is served.
The protagonist: you, keen to experience the Merrion, less keen on the idea of afternoon tea for €48 ($51).
The courtyard at Rosewood London sure is pretty; we’ve known that since the group opened its first European hotel in the 1914 Edwardian Belle Epoque Building on High Holborn back in October 2013. Since then, it’s become home to the terrace of Holborn Dining Room (around the corner on the left in the above photo), but as of March 1, there will be more food – slow food – appearing every Sunday.
Between 10.30am and 3pm, rain or shine, the “Slow Food & Living Market” will “recreate the traditional marketplace shopping experience in Holborn and celebrate good, clean and fair produce from local growers and artisans”.
Last week, we stayed at a hotel that shall remain nameless. We checked in after a 13-hour flight to a room stocked with a free minibar. A few minutes later, we were brought a welcome gift: orange juice, a packet of cheese cookies, a chocolate bar, and a box of marshmallows. Perfect! A little graze of that, and we wouldn’t need to venture out while zombie-fied.
As it happened, we drank the juice, had one cookie and one marshmallow, and realized we didn’t want to add a sugar coma to the jetlag one, so we ordered room service. No worries! We closed the marshmallow box, put the lid on the cookies, and left the chocolate in its wrapper. The rest of those goodies could wait for tomorrow.
The next morning, we stumbled down to breakfast. By the time we stumbled back up, our room had been cleaned. And the entire tray had been taken away.
Why, housekeeping, why? Why would you think that an airtight plastic pot of cookies that had been opened, deprived of one cookie, carefully closed again and set neatly on our desk, was finished? Why would you think that a box of marshmallows that had been dipped into and taped back up was to be thrown away? Why would you think that an unopened chocolate bar was repellent to us? Why?
Fall is around the corner for London: the air is crisp and leaves have started to color. Sofitel St. James is using the change of seasons to make sure you eat your vegetables (better be healthy for when temperatures inevitably drop), drink some of them (because anything goes into cocktails these days) and while you’re at it, look at some outsized, shiny sculpture versions by French artist Patrick Laroche too.
Above is a shot from the hotel’s lobby off of Waterloo Place, around which you’ll find a number of Laroche’s art displayed as part of an exhibit called, as expected, “Vegetables”. Brightly colored and very shiny, they are at the hotel until the end of October.
While its tipping envelope initiative continues to dominate the headlines, Marriott's introduction of a healthy vending machine at its Chicago O'Hare airport location has been much less controversial. Earlier this month, it jumped on the bandwagon of a Chicago start-up called Farmer's Fridge, which creates healthy options using local ingredients, puts them in a jar, and delivers them to vending machines throughout the city.
Yep, healthy food in jars, which can be recycled back into the vending machine after the meal. There's approximately 12 of them in Chicago, and Marriott plans to test out the concept for the next five months at O'Hare. It seems like a great fit for an airport hotel, with plenty of guests on the go, many arriving late at night and departing early in the morning when hotel restaurants may not be open. This, in theory, gives them an option that's healthier than a fast food restaurant or a candy bar from a typical vending machine. We've certainly been there.
We haven't swung through to try it for ourselves, but are very curious to see how travelers respond to it. We're also interested to know if the food's any good, so drop us a line if you've tried it. As for what's on the menu, here's the full list of the items inside, which range from $3 to $12 dollars in price:
”Raw food” and “superfood” aren’t words that generally go well with “alcohol”, so props to MyHotel Chelsea for showing that you don’t have to be goody goody to eat well.
The hotel just opened Tanya’s Café in the conservatory, run by raw food enthusiast Tanya Alekseeva. It’s open from 7am for breakfast on weekdays (8am on weekends), and serves lunch 11.30am-3.30pm, and cocktails – woohoo – from 4pm-11pm Tuesday through Saturday. The kicker? They have vegan wine, too.
According to Tanya’s website, the menu “is designed to reflect your busy schedule and provide loving nourishment at all times of the day.”
The menu looks pretty intriguing, with a slew of juices, smoothies and shooters, along with an extensive lunch menu of everything from pad thai to tacos and a “plant-based burger” on onion bread. There are also plenty of desserts and chocolate. Because raw doesn't mean neglecting the sweet stuff.
Hope you packed your fat pants. Sunday, June 22 is National Chocolate Éclair Day.
And because it would be a travesty to let such a day go uncelebrated, the Le Méridien hotel brand will roll out its new culinary treat: a global éclair program developed in partnership with Johnny Iuzzini, the James Beard award-winning pastry chef also known for his stint as head judge of Top Chef: Just Desserts, tattoos, and rockabilly sideburns. Meow.
This month guests at all the brand’s properties will find four éclair varieties available at each Le Méridien Hub, the space previously known as “lobby.” (They’re increasingly tricked-out social spots now.) There will be three staple flavors: Milk chocolate, coffee, and vanilla. And each property will also have a special treat inspired by its unique location. For instance, the Texas Honey Pecan Éclair at Le Méridien Dallas by the Galleria, a coconut-infused éclair at Le Méridien Panama, and at Le Méridien Munich a savory éclair with goat cheese, cranberry and pumpernickel crumbs — which sort of sounds like something that would be used to lure Hansel and Gretel to a deceptively innocent penthouse suite. But we digress.
In conjunction with the new program, chef Iuzzini will ride a motorcycle around several global cities to gain inspiration for eight additional varieties that Le Méridien properties can add at their discretion. (Also, because nothing melts hearts more than a man who rides a hog and can bake you a dainty French pastry.) Dubbed “The Éclair Diaries,” the tour kicks off in San Francisco on Thursday, July 10 and has already been approved by sexually frustrated housewives everywhere. Stops to develop additional recipes will continue throughout 2014 and 2015, and you can keep track of various éclair-related info on social media via hashtag #LMeclairs.
Think grabbing a quick bite in a hotel is limited to a club sandwich or a burger? Think again because Mövenpick Hotels have completely overhauled their menus to consider those health-conscious and calorie-counting guests. The healthy eating initiative, "Go Healthy", was such a success when trailed in the Middle East and Asia, it's being rolled out to the entire portfolio.
A nice sampling from the menus sees guests in Europe treated to seasonal asparagus, fresh perch and apricot cake with almonds where hotels in Jordan will have 90 percent the menu purchased from local markets including local honey. Any combination of appetizer, main and dessert from the special Go Healhty menu will not only be full in flavor but light on calories with a full meal totaling to under 1,000 calories.
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Yes, ladies and gentlemen — April is National Grilled Cheese Month (who’s coming up with this stuff?).
Some hotels have embraced the concept as a means to reinvent this American classic, some even going so far as to create over-the-top versions of what’s, already, a delectable comfort food.
The Seagate Hotel & Spa, for instance, is celebrating the month by offering a new specialty grilled cheese available at the hotel’s Beach Club. Are you ready for it? The Lobster & Pork Belly Pimento Grilled Cheese Sandwich, created by Chef Chris Schaefer, features pickled green tomato on Texas toast.
Executive Chef Gabriel Ask of Parq Bar at Montage Beverly Hills serves up a more traditional Brioche and Aged English Cheddar Grilled Cheese Sandwich, and kids staying at Gramercy Park Hotel can try their own version with brioche by having an American or Gruyere on Brioche Grilled Cheese Sandwich with French Fries from the Room Service menu.
And then there’s the Grilled Mac ‘n Cheese at Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa, created by Sous Chef Chris Salazar, which combines homemade mac ‘n cheese, ham, grilled balsamic tomato and guacamole on grilled sourdough bread.
See what Loews Hotels are doing for National Grilled Cheese Month after the break!
We all know that ordering gourmet fare directly to your hotel room door comes with a cost. One that some of us will gladly pay for, especially if it truly is on par with fine dining and we get to enjoy a small feast in our pajamas. Plus, there is something fun and a little reckless about not caring one iota how much the apple pie à la mode will wind up costing when you go to check out. It’s either a vacation or going on the company card anyway, right?
In most cases this might be true, but allow us to suggest paying a bit more attention the next time you peruse the all-day dining pages. Because while the average luxury traveler has no qualms about spending $30 on a cheeseburger (à la carte of course), we have found a few room service items that will have every one of you thinking twice before ordering. Although, if you are in the mood to splurge, some of these might just be worth every penny.
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Summer was a busy one for this HotelChatter editor as I traveled up the Baltic coast and finally found myself in the cobbled medieval marvel that is Tallinn. There I popped into the Savoy Boutique Hotel to have a look around. What I found was a 44-room property that can best be described as "romantic" (and I don’t use that word lightly).
The lobby is full of sumptuous textured fabrics and comfy seating areas, making you feel as if you're visiting a wealthy family friend’s 17th-century estate. Walls are sienna-colored painted plaster complementing the floral bouquets in the lobby. When you arrive to check-in, you’re handed a house cocktail made with cucumber juice, sparkling wine, lime, and a touch of sugar for sweetness.
Get a peek inside after the break!
The program originally started at the Affinia Dumont, but the in-room program proved so popular, the brand's other four Manhattan hotels will follow suit by the end of the month.
The reason the joint venture works especially well with the brand is because Affinia hotels have fully-equipped kitchens and many rooms with separate dining areas, furnished outdoor patios and terraces--which make cooking and en-suite dining more affordable than room service, daily eating out, and mini-bar pillaging. Plus, it's a boon for extended-stay guests, which make up a good deal of Affinia's clientele.