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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.
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Jacobsen's Room 606
Few can deny that Danish architect Arne Jacobsen, creator of the Egg, the Swan and the Series 7 chairs, was one of the most iconic architects and designers of the modernist era. Could the Radisson Blu Royal Copenhagen be his finest achievement? We went on an exploratory mission to check out what was said to be the “landmark of the jet age.”
The hotel opened in 1960 and was originally built by SAS to accommodate both its first airport terminal and its passengers who needed to stay overnight to catch a flight out of Copenhagen. After a night at the hotel, passengers would check in for their flight in the terminal building attached, and wait for the airline's shuttle bus to take them to the airport.
Today, the hotel still has the same clean lines and simple detail that it had back then. The famous Jacobsen Egg and Swan chairs, originally designed for the hotel, are still found throughout the very large black-and-white-marbled lobby and in the rooms. The elegantly curved white lobby staircase pushed the limits of technology in the late 50s and looks like it could be found in a loft from 2013. Other original details include the dark wenge wood found on the main floor of the hotel. Jacobsen designed everything from the cutlery and plates, bathroom fittings and door handles to the chairs and lighting fixtures.
(There are plenty of pics for you to see in the photo gallery!)
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What's the likelihood that you haven't heard the word "cronut" like every day it seems for the past two months? We have and finally had to figure out just what in fresh hell did it mean. Every reference seemed to accompany photos of people waiting in extraordinary lines forming at dawn (with some folks sleeping on the ground) waiting for…something. Well, that something is apparently the newest pastry sensation to hit this side of the Atlantic. The "cronut" is a cross between a donut and a croissant and was invented by New York pastry shop owner Dominique Ansel.
Sugar freaks went wild over the things and soon Ansel found himself with a cult following, so he quickly trademarked the name and began serving just 300 of the delicacies a day to the masses. Hence the crazy lines for a treat that changes flavor each month. Coming up in August? It's a toss up between coconut and passion fruit. Mr. Ansel hasn't made up his mind, yet.
Naturally copycats came out the woodwork, but found they couldn't exactly use the word "cronut". But that didn't stop them from capitalizing on the concept. Now there's "doughssants" at the West Town Bakery in Chicago's Acme Hotel. Chris Teixeira, owner of the bakery and former pastry chef de partie at Sixteen at Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago, began making his pastries just a few weeks ago with a few flavors, chocolate-raspberry, blueberry-lavender and coffee-cream cheese and he has plans to roll out more blends. They cost just $3.50 each, compared to the $5 New York cronut.
But like everything else, eventually a bit of a pastry war started, with other chefs challenging the cronut creator! So who's got the best baked good now?
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Food has been one of the main attractions over at Eventi Hotel since 2010, when they opened a fancy-pants food court called FoodParc next to the lobby. So it's kind of fitting that the hotel will be hosting a July 4th hot dog eating contest, next month featuring none other than Takeru Kobayashi, the world's greatest hot dog eater.
This is great news for Kobayashi fans who usually have to trek all the way out to Coney Island to watch their hero scarf down wieners (his personal record is 69 hot dogs in 10 minutes).
The event will be hosted at the outdoor plaza in the back of the hotel, where Kobayashi will compete with seven other "acclaimed competitive eaters." We still can't believe that some people make a living in this world as "competitive eaters," but hey, if it pays the bills…
Over the past few years, we've heard all about Traverse City and the rest of Northern Michigan as being a great lakeside summer destination, but few are aware of the peninsula that sits directly west across Lake Michigan in Wisconsin known as Door County. Right, we know what you're thinking. The first thing that comes to mind when someone says "Wisconsin" is winter, and you can get cheese in any supermarket, thank you very much.
This mentality is precisely what makes Door County so enjoyable to visit, the fact that it crushes all your preconceived notions of what Wisconsin is as a state and travel destination. What you'll find during the summer months is a bed-and-breakfast paced community on a peninsula that is comprised of a series of small towns tucked in between dairy farms, wineries, and cherry orchards.
While there are a few bigger properties, small inns and B&Bs are the way to go to soak up the area's personality. One that we can recommend firsthand is the White Gull Inn in Fish Creek, which hosts traditional fish boils four nights a week throughout the summer months. As you can see from the photos, the cooking process is quite a show.
You know that time of day when your blood-sugar level starts dipping and you could kill for sumthin’ sweet? Well from now until May 4th you can satisfy your sweet-tooth in a major way at The Standard, High Line. The hours of 12-3 is when the hotel will sell the popular Doughnut Plant’s limited edition Kenny Scharf flavors.
In collaboration with the Kenny Scharf Kolors exhibition at the Paul Kasmin Gallery, the Lower East Side company created edible versions of artist Scharf's glow-in-the-dark doughnut paintings. The delectable flavors ($5 each) are: Coconut Donut in Space, Cosmic Donut Vanilla, Chocolate Glazed with Sprinkles in Space, Pink Donut with Sprinkles in Space, Frosty Pink Donut in Outer Space, Pink Frosted Donut with Chocolate Sprinkles Over a Desert Landscape, Chocolate Chocolate!
Yet another reason to visit The Standard (or The Hotel Chelsea where a Doughnut Plant shop list located as well)!
[Photo: Kenny Scharf/The Doughnut Plant]
You may not want your children to read this, but it's for their own good, so keep it a secret, if you know what's best for you. In keeping with the well-intended goal of some hotels to provide healthier food choices for the smaller set, JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts partnered with nutritionist and author Keri Glassman to create a new JW Kids Menu, helping the 'tween set try to build better eating habits that can be continued at home.
The idea is to present an interactive menu, which will debut in JW hotels this spring with kids favorites, but with a healthy twist. In other words--nix the fake chicken nuggets in favor of grilled organic chicken tenders and say "peace" to processed meatballs and instead, offer the fresh, turkey-made variety.
We like anything that will keep our kids away from The Colonel, but will it go over well when the little ones want to let their hair down (just like parents do), while on vacation?
“With kids’ food choices becoming increasingly diverse, we are looking to create dining options that are fresh, healthy and imaginatively tasty,” said Mitzi Gaskins, vice president & global brand manager for JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts. “These items will not only delight kids from a culinary standpoint, but will also let parents know the JW Marriott brand cares about the well-being of their entire family.”
As parents, we love the idea of organic foods nd no doubt we'll try this out with our little ones, not yet jaded by BK and McDs ads. But we can't help feel hesitant that our older kids will go for the whole "locally-sourced" spiel. Has JW met a 12-year old growing boy? We've rarely seen a carrot or celery stick win in any food choice with this set--ranch dressing dip or not, without a buffalo wing on the side.
This week couldn't end without discussing a new Shangri-La hotel, could it? Of course not!
So, besides gushing about the über-plush and attentive service the hotel chain will bring to their newest property debuting in March in Qufu, East-central China, we'll detail their elaborate and unique opening celebration.
The 502-room behemoth will be the first international hotel chain for the city that's better known as Confucius' hometown. While the folks at Shangri-La will be wowing guests with luxury amenities and comfy guestrooms, we like the the events surrounding the ribbon cutting because it involves beautiful food, and, in this case, a food roadshow!
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Hey LA peeps, got any plans for the weekend? Whaddya say to baking a birthday cake for The Shore Hotel's one year anniversary? What's that—you're actually a pretty dab hand in the kitchen? Well then, this might interest you, as the Santa Monica hotel is giving away a $1/night room to the person who bakes them the best birthday cake*, no singing required.
Meanwhile, here's a (not so) small consolation prize for those of you who like food and like hotels but don't want to do any of the work: Eater LA reports that the Shore's highly-anticipated restaurant, Blue Plate Taco—which we've been drooling over for, oh, about a year now—has finally opened.
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Hip hop star Azealia Banks—whose hit song "212" went viral in early 2012—took a moment on Twitter yesterday to proclaim the wonders of sitting in hotel rooms eating fried chicken and watching BBC documentaries. Which we can totally identify with.
So for her sake (and partly our own), we decided to put together a handy Top 5 list of US hotels that serve awesome fried chicken, to be enjoyed either in-room or at the restaurant. As for the BBC docs? Less of a concern.
#5. Revel in Atlantic City made a big splash at the start of the summer by opening with a Beyonce concert. Well, we got to take a look around the hotel last month, and particularly enjoyed the fried chicken with garlic mashed potatoes ($23) we sampled at Central Michel Richard. Who needs taco trucks anyway?
If you can't bear the fact that NY Fashion Week is drawing to a close, then how about distracting yourself with some couture-inspired nosh over at The Strand? The fashion-loving hotel (framed, vintage Vogue prints hang on the wall)—which we also know is a fish-loving hotel too—has created a prix fixe Fashion Week 2012 dinner menu, and there's still plenty of time to enjoy it.
Each item on the menu (a choice of two appetizers, two entrees, two desserts) celebrates a different designer's individual collection, so for example, the butternut squash risotto is paired with the Hermes Fall 2012 collection.
No clue as to how they decided which designer went with which menu item, but it's kind of fun to put a name (Valentino, Christopher Kane, Dolce & Gabbana) to the dish. Oh, and the food itself? Really, really yummy.