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Just when you thought the cult of selfie sticks had reached critical mass… not only is a hotel advocating a selfie stick package, but it’s stocking the bloody minibars with the things.
The hotel in question is the Conrad London St James, a place that is no stranger to well thought out marketing strategies. But this time it’s gone too far, placing hotel-branded selfie sticks in the minibar for when the ego strikes. The retail price? £12. At least it’s cheaper than getting a therapist to diagnose a severe case of narcissism.
For some hotel properties, bidding fond adieu to the minibar is part of the new and improved way of operating efficiently. For others, they've gone different routes--like Kimpton and Andaz, who include certain minibar items in the room rate. But as for the cream of the crop, some luxury hotels are going overboard and stocking some of the coolest stuff and, subsequently, charging out the nose for them.
Take for instance a recent stay of ours at the Trump National Doral just outside Miami. After exploring the comfy Ivanka Trump-designed interiors accented with lots of signature gold trim, we opened up the minibar drawer and almost had to catch our jaw from smashing down into the immense selection of gourmet treats that rolled out of the cabinet.
Miami Edition Opening / Edition Hotels / Hotel Minibars / Miami Beach Hotels / Hotel Amenities / Hotel Fun / Hotel Goodies / → All Tags
We've been teasing you about the items in the minibar at the Miami Beach Edition but you won't have to wait any longer.
Here's a look at some of our favorite items from the minibar tray that's stashed in the closet of the guest rooms (the closet also has gorgeous banana leaf wallpaper.) The goodies are separate from the mini-fridge filled with just as interesting drinks (Cafe Bustelo forever!) so don't be alarmed if you can't find them right away.
Forgot underwear? You can buy that from the minibar. Need a backpack to tote your beach gear around? You can find that here in the minibar too, along with Sun Bum sunscreen, Joe's Kettle chips, Joe & Seph's popcorn, Dang coconut flakes, Sir Richard condoms, Urbanears ear buds, Japanese facial masks, lip balm, the "Where Chefs Eat" book and even, Illesteva sunglasses. All at an additional charge, of course.
Since the Edition London carried a jar of bacon jam we shouldn't have been that surprised by this minibar extravaganza but still, it seemed way more exciting than we had anticipated. Just when everyone thought minibars were nearly extinct, Edition finds a way to bring them back to life. (For what it's worth, the minibar was overseen by someone on the Marriott side, not Schrager's side. #innnteresting.)
Oh, and don't worry, there's a Snickers in there for old times sake.
Charges for keeping your own stuff in the hotel minibar – that’s so Vegas. Our sister site VegasChatter spotted a $50 “restocking fee” at MGM Grand last year, and the story went round again last month at MGM’s sister property Mandalay Bay.
But a “corkage fee” for merely having a bottle of water in your room? Now that’s a new one.
This was a note we saw in the info book at the Fairmont Monte Carlo when we stayed earlier this year. The Fairmont is one of Monaco’s iconic hotels, right on the Mediterranean. At check in, we were impressed that staff went out of their way to tell us that we should sign up for the President’s Club in order to get free WiFi (if you can’t be bothered to do it now, do it at some point during your stay and we’ll take the charge off at check out, they said, which was awesome).
And then we stumbled upon this note. This penny-pinching, parsimonious note. “A corkage fee will be charged on an item purchased outside and consumed at the hotel”, it said. €15 for champagne and spirits. €10 for wine. €5 for soft drinks and water – water! Not bottles illicitly stored in the minibar, remember – bottles merely kept in the room.
There are so many problems with this. For starters, the sign wasn’t prominent – it was buried in the info guide, which is only read properly by geeks like us. Not a peep on the minibar, not a squeak on the bedside table.
For another, how can the hotel distinguish between drinks consumed in-room and bottles from drinks you bought earlier and didn’t bother to throw away? Chuck out that empty bottle of water in your bag you’ve been carrying around all day, and suddenly it’s chargeable.
Best Room to Book / Brooklyn Hotels / Hotel Amenities / Hotel Minibars / Williamsburg Hotels / → All Tags
Yesterday, we told you where to get the most killer view of Manhattan that's not actually in Manhattan at The Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn. Today, we're showing you more of the The Best Room to Book, which is Room 702, a Manhattan View King room.
In truth, all Manhattan Views at the Wythe will give you a view of the city but the rooms above the 6th floor rooftop bar are slightly bigger and have more windows from which to admire the view.
Other notable amenities in the Wythe rooms:
· All natural and locally made Goldie's Soap products are in the bathroom.
· The locally curated minibar has not only a bottle of Tito's vodka in the freezer and a $100 bottle of Kings County bourbon on the top shelf but also La Quercia prosciutto and Plymouth Cheddar in the refrigerator.
· The Wythe toile wallpaper which we love so much.
· A Wythe Hotel tote which you can use during your stay or buy for $20.
· Heritage G2 radios that look straight out of the 1960s but which actually have an iPod/iPhone hook up.
· Radiant floor heating, in case you were worried about the lack of an area rug.
· Free WiFi
Check out all the photos of our room below!
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Ah, the hotel mini bar: source of $5 candy bars and regret. We predicted last year that this amenity was on its last legs and bid it a hearty good riddance, but now The Loews Regency Hotel has just introduced a twist on the normally overpriced service that we can get on board with.
For an additional $30 per night, guests of Loews Regency Hotel will have free reign over the entire contents of the in-room mini bar, including sweet treats like Dylan's gummy bears and M&Ms; salty snacks, beverages including fruit juice, soda, and Red Bull, beers that include Brooklyn Lager; even Champagne and hard liquor (vodka, tequila, rum and Scotch).
There is a catch, though
There is a catch, though-- and it's a big one -- the mini-bar is not replenished during your stay, and the offer requires a two-night minimum. Still, with 25 items on offer, that adds up to just a little over $1 each. A fair deal for someone hungry, accompanied, and planning an evening in.
The Milk the Mini Bar offer ends August 31st. Early April rates start at $449.
[Photo: Facebook/Loews Regency Hotel]
Nope, it's not a Snickers bar or a can of Coke. It's actually hand sanitizer.
The Hotel Sorella, a 255-room luxury hotel in Houston, discovered that the 25-count box of single-use, b4 antibacterial hand sanitizer disposable gel outsells nearly every other item in the minibar. The only two things people take more are, funnily enough, vodka and water.
The $6 product is obviously a good thing to grab for when guests leave the hotel room and hit the city streets (Just so you know, there is soap in the bathrooms too. Lol.) But the hotel says it's actually the bigger purpose of the b4 sanitizer that gets people to buy. b4 donates half the profits from the sales to children-focused charities of The Midway Foundation. And that's one minibar purchase we can't feel guilty about.
Rates at Hotel Sorella start at $169 next weekend for a traditional king room.
[Photo: Hotel Sorella]
It's time for yet another rousing rendition of GUESS THE HOTEL! Here's how it works--we put up a picture of a hotel we recently visited along with a few hints below. You drop your guesses in the comments section and we'll reveal the hotel later in the week.
For this edition of Guess the Hotel, we head across the pond where we found BACON JAM in the minibar. Quite unusual. Here are some other funky things we noticed and loved about the hotel:
· There is a portrait of a woman wearing toilet paper on her head in the room.
· The toiletries were very masculine-smelling which was actually quite nice.
· The WiFi was totally free.
· The restaurant downstairs might just be THE place to eat these days. If you can't snag a reservation, no worries there are three other places to hang out and have a drink.
Think you might know what hotel we're hinting at? Well, we'll give you one last hint. We may have mentioned the hotel in the copy above. Just sayin'. Drop your guesses in comments below!
This is a first aid kit with two bandages, two Tylenol, two decongestants, 2 antacid relief tablets and one antiseptic towelette from In-Room Plus, a company that provides hotels with minibar products.
We've seen kits with Tylenol or Advil before but we like the additions of the decongestants and the antacid tablets. Because that's totally happened before when we've come down with a sinus headache or an upset stomach late at night. So this kit saves us from making the trip (or paying someone else to make it for us.)
This thoughtful touch all goes back to our argument of making the minibar accessible and affordable, rather than just eliminating it entirely. We could do without the full-sized bottles of alcohol and the overpriced nuts but a little first aid kit like this can really come in handy.
For the first time since its introduction decades ago, we saw the consumer push back against the minibar in 2013. Chalk it up to nostalgia, but a small part of us was surprised to see such a staple of the hotel industry begin to crumble. But nostalgia is all the minibar could hold onto, because the logical part of our brain was not surprised at all.
When the news first broke, we told you how we thought the hotel industry had gone about minibars all wrong with its decision making, jacking up the prices, installing electronic sensors that botched up billing (over a $2 can of soda, no less), and charging a fee to convert it to fridge space when guests decided they’d rather bring their own snacks as an alternative.
That said, explained, and accepted, it is hard to feel bad for hotels. What did they think was going to happen? Did they really think guests would flock to the fridge for $5 candy bars? An all-out focus on profit margins turned what could have been a useful, convenient amenity into a useless, don’t-even-look-at-that-thing waste of space.
In a move that is most certainly a reason to jump on the next hotel bed you come across, properties around the world have begun to pull the plug on the overpriced, in-room vending machines we call mini-bars. Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt are all onboard with the change, and while not all brands will follow along, we expect to see a major decline in numbers over the next couple years.
Now, the concept of the mini-bar is really great in theory. It's nice to have a beer or quick snack at your disposal in the room, but hotels really took the wrong turn with their approach, jacking up the prices, billing guests if they merely removed an item to inspect it, and charging for the "privilege" to have the mini-bar emptied for fridge space. They also ran into problems of billing, relying on a site inspection by staff to add the charges to the room. Guest honesty also came into play in a variety of ways. You could get out of a mini-bar bill pretty easily by refilling a vodka bottle with water or simply insisting you didn't have anything upon check out. Most hotels, if you push it enough, are not going to lose your business over a bag of M & Ms.
With that, we offer a hearty good riddance to the mini bar, and we applaud the big brands for beginning to make this much-needed change. According to reports, the decision came at the hand of guest complaints of high prices and, we're assuming, the resulting loss of income the hotel suffered.
Our standards for hotel minibars may have permanently shifted following a recent visit to London’s Café Royal. Not a feature we usually pay a lot of attention to, the luxurious, leather-encased cabinet housing a selection of premium liquors and fine glassware inside its Empire Suite was a stand out in an already pretty impressive 2,000+ square foot space.
When we last spoke about Café Royal (our pick for Best Hotel Renovation in 2012), the historic Grill Room and Domino Room – haunts of Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf, and George Bernard Shaw – had been restored to their original splendor. Now, just over half a year later, six Historic Suites (of which the Empire Suite is the largest) are being added to the range of hyper-modern rooms the hotel already offers.