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Hotel Emergencies / Hotel News / Hotel Woes / Cabo Hotels / Cabo San Lucas Hotels / Hurricane Odile / → All Tags
Yikes. Hurricane Odile tore through Cabo San Lucas last night and since the area is mostly made up of hotels and resorts, we're seeing nothing but frightening scenes of destruction, from the resort corridor down into the marina.
On Instagram, MPWilli910 has been posting videos of the storm and its subsequent damage and it's heartbreaking. She posted a video of the aftermath which left the tennis courts at the Hilton Los Cabos in sandy shambles.
Here's how the Melia resort looks today.
MPWilli910 also captured the storm in action last night.
And here's what she had to say on Instagram about heading for the hotel's safety shelter:
Our ridiculous late-night run through the halls of the hotel to get to a safe location. This is scarier than Hurricane Sandy. Our room on the second highest floor has flooded. It sounds like a freight train outside and the building is shaking. The windows on several floors are blown out. We had to evacuate through the open-air hallway, through flooding, torrential rain and whipping winds, dodging debris. Now, we're here in the hotel's shelter, sleeping on the carpet with hundreds of others, sweating bullets. Biggest weirdest slumber party everrr! Happy anniversary
In a comment on one of her other photos, she mentioned the Hilton is without electricity and is not letting folks back to their rooms because the damage is so great. Ugh, we sincerely hope everything turns out ok.
Keep reading for more on the hotels and resorts in Cabo after Hurricane Odile!
Joie de Vivre Hotels is the latest hotel brand to debut a new, friendlier website that goes way beyond looking at room photos and making a reservation.
Instead of being a cold-hearted point of transaction, JDV's new site wants to take you on a "joy ride" with their "Explore" tool which seeks to match up an ideal hotel for you based on where you want to go and what your interests are. (This is pretty much Yvette, JDV's friendly matchmaker, for the millennial generation.)
Speaking of millennials, the site has "enriched social integrations", meaning Instagram feeds show up, and there's even a new Joy Ride" travel blog, chronicling all aspects of life in cities where JDV hotels can be found.
The design, done by NYC-based digital advertising and marketing agency, Sideways, is top-notch and the site is also "optimized for all devices," meaning it's easy to read from your phone and tablet. But it's not exactly the high-stakes adventure you think of when you hear the words "joy ride." That said, the photos are big and pretty so you can see up close what's in a room. And that's still the most important function we want from a hotel's website.
Hotel News / Hotel Housekeeping / Marriott Hotels / Maria Shriver / The Envelope Please / → All Tags
When we spied a tip envelope for the housekeeping staff in our guest room at The Ace Hotel Los Angeles, we thought it was a genius idea. The envelope served as a both a gentle reminder to tip and as a designated spot to put the tip, saving us the trouble of worrying about where to tuck a couple of dollars so that the housekeeper would see it.
Now, it looks like Marriott International thinks tip envelopes are genius as well.
The hotel company has partnered up with Maria Shriver and her "A Woman's Nation" organization to put envelopes in 160,000 Marriott hotel rooms, across all brands from Ritz-Carlton to JW Marriott and Residence Inn. The envelope will list the name of the housekeeper along with this little note:
"Our caring room attendants enjoyed making your stay warm and comfortable. Please feel free to leave a gratuity to express your appreciation for their efforts."
We're behind this initiative 100 percent but we do realize it may cause some more anxiety amongst guests who aren't used to tipping the housekeeper, especially if they don't have any extra cash on them. While Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson says it's customary to tip $1 to $5 a night, we say anything you can hand over during your stay will be appreciated. Most housekeepers are only paid minimum wage and most of the time, they don't receive tips. (Hence this campaign.)
Of course, that leads to another argument that Marriott and other hotel companies should pay housekeepers more per hour, instead of relying on tips from guests but sadly, that won't change any time soon. (Our contributor, Will McGough, actually thinks the envelopes are tasteless and tacky because of that reason.) In the meantime, we expect tip envelopes to be found in more and more hotels, not just Marriott ones.
What do you think about tip envelopes--helpful or annoying? Sound off in comments below!
[Photo: Marriott Hotels]
Double departure this summer from Indian group Taj Hotels: as of last week, it has said goodbye and farewell to the Taj Palace Hotel in Marrakech, which you’ll perhaps remember was conveniently located in Abu Dhabi for the purpose of Sex and the City 2 (when in real life it was meant to be a Mandarin Oriental).
A very short statement has replaced the former hotel website, and as of now we can’t see what name the hotel will carry going forward. We’re curious what caused the breakup of this marriage though; perhaps it’s the overcapacity of luxury hotels in the Moroccan city?
The exit in Marrakech comes after a change on the other side of the world in July, when Taj sold Blue Sydney (what once was the W) to the Ovolo Group. While it’s still operating as Blue Sydney at the moment, the hotel will officially become an Ovolo by the end of October.
[Photo: Taj Hotels]
Hello Kitty Hotels / The Line Hotels / Koreatown Hotels / Los Angeles Hotels / Hotel News / Hello Kitty Con / → All Tags
If you're a huge Hello Kitty lover (as if there is any other kind), then you should book your room at The Line Hotel in Koreatown, STAT. The hotel, which is the official Hello Kitty Con Hotel, has put together a "Hello Kitty Sweet Stay" Package which includes an exclusive Hello Kitty 40th Anniversary Welcome Kit at check-in, and lots of "super cute" Hello Kitty themed surprises throughout the hotel like HK limited edition items at the hotel's Poketo gift shop and Hello Kitty food. Yes, food. There will even be Hello Kitty-styled theme rooms, although we're not quite sure what those will look like. We do know that LA-based designer Sean Knibb will be designing a special Hello Kitty Suite that will be open to the public.
The Line is also hosting a Hello Kitty Birthday Party on Saturday, November 1 with the Hello Kitty suite serving as the VIP room. Tickets were available through the package but the hotel is now sold-out on Saturday night. Saddies. Rates are still available for Thursday and Friday nights at $344 and $229 respectively. At least you can still get that welcome kitty. Er, we mean, welcome kit.
[Screengrab: The Line Hotel]
It didn’t take Hotel Hugo New York nearly as long to open as was expected after its name change earlier this year: rather than winter 2014, the hotel soft-launched in April, and today the hotel is officially saying “we’re here, come on in!”.
Located on Greenwich Street in Hudson Square, the hotel has 124 rooms with gleaming walnut headboards and lots of design features, but there are interesting amenities to be found outside too. We’re not just talking about the city and river views either: you can get your hands on a Vespa to tool around Manhattan with.
As expected it is full of "Mama" jokes. Well, actually, the skincare line itself is full of organic goodness made by Absolution Cosmetics like aloe, almond and sesame. The products are also without paraben, PE, phthalates, fragrance, synthetic dye, and aggressive surfactants. And they are made in France, to boot. (A 200ml bottle costs 14 Euros.)
But what really catches our eye are the names of the products. There are actually only three products--an all-in-one cleansing wash for face, body and hair; a body cream; and soap, but with the exception of the body cream, they all have different mama sayings..
Mama Loves You From Head to Toe
Mama Likes to Keep It Pure
Mama Wants To Cream You Up (Face and body cream)
Mama Loves You From Top to Bottom
Mama Only Wants What's Best for You
Mama Says Its Totally Natural
Getting clean has never felt so dirty.
Hotel Closings / Atlantic City Hotels / Hotel News / Trump Entertainment Resorts / Hotel Woes / → All Tags
Ugh. Another round of bad news for Atlantic City and its employees. Trump Entertainment Resorts filed for bankruptcy protection yesterday and said that if it could not make "significant expense reductions", the casino will close on November 13. Nearly 3,000 employees will then be out of a job.
The odds of Trump Taj Mahal closing are very, very good. Trump Entertainment Resorts, which is a separate entity from the Trump Hotels company as using the Trump name is simply a licensing deal, did not pay property taxes on the Taj Mahal last month and cannot pay off $285 million in bonds. Not even a strip club could save the Taj.
Trump is hoping to cut labor costs but the unions are strongly opposing it, saying even if the workers accepted minimum wage with no benefits, there wouldn't be enough money to save the Taj Mahal. This is some dire stuff. You can read more of the nitty gritty here on this NY Times article.
Hopefully, this will be the last closing in Atlantic City for a while. At least until 2015.
And behind that black velvet curtain lies the fumed-oak interior of Antony Gormley’s ROOM, the sculpture-meets-bedroom inside The Beaumont, opening on London’s Brown Hart Gardens within the next month. With nothing but the bed inside and a single window with shutters, you are sleeping in pure darkness, with the walls and roof pieced together like a wooden puzzle around you. It’s certainly unlike anything we’ve seen recently.
Aside from the one-bedroom suite ROOM is part of, we got a preview of some of the other accommodation as well as the public spaces in the 73-room hotel. We were impressed with how atmospheric restaurant the Colony Grill Room was – and this was on an early morning while the finishing touches were still being done. Perhaps not a surprise given the famous restaurateurs behind it, but we cannot wait to see the end result and try it out, along with the rest of London that will be filing through the doors as soon as reservations open up.
Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Rates / Killer View / Fez Hotels / Fes Hotels / Morocco Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
A five star property, locally owned (huzzah!) and designed by architect Christophe Pillet, it’s a clever cross between a riad and a resort: 50 rooms, two restaurants (one French, one Moroccan), a rooftop bar, Givenchy spa (the first in North Africa) and hammam and gym – but in a very beautiful, entirely Moroccan building. Oh, and since it’s perched on a hillside, it also has panoramic views from its rooftop terrace over the medina, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
At the start of the year, we were raving about how Starwood Hotels was piloting a program for Starwood Preferred Guests members to use their smartphones to open hotel room doors. Recently, we heard that Marriott International, which already allows its guests to check-in and check-out via smartphone, was working on smartphone room entry as well.
But all that effort just got a little more complicated now that Apple has unveiled the Apple Watch, which will do the exact same thing.
During Apple's keynote today, it was revealed that the watch is partnering with Starwood's app to open room doors. Surely, the technology won't be limited to just Starwood, so we fully expect this to branch out to other hotel brands.
As with the smartphone room entry, two things need to happen in order for the doors to actually open. First, the doors themselves need to equipped with
RFID technology the technology that Apple Watch will be using which is NFC/Bluetooth (which was actually in place in a hotel in Sweden in 2010.) Most new hotels are built with RFID technology so that you simply hold your key card up to the door and it unlocks. (Here's what it looks like.)
But a lot of older hotels, even ones from a few years ago, will need to updated. And that costs money.
Second, the hotels need to create their app which is also a big investment. And because not everyone will fork out $350 for the Apple Watch when it hits stores later this spring, hotels will still need to keep up with their smartphone apps. Oh and don't forget the masses of people who still love the old room keys. (For another reason why the technology won't be universal, read the second comment below.)
We're not saying watch and smartphone entry are impossible. We truly believe it's going to happen and will happen quickly but it won't be universal.
Will you open your hotel room door with the AppleWatch? Sound off in comments below!
[Photos: Gizmodo and HotelChatter]
Hotel Hype / W Hotels / Phuket Hotels / Thailand Hotels / Starwood Hotels / New Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
This will be the third W Hotel in Thailand and fortunately, it does seem a bit different from the other W hotels out there, at least in terms of layout. The interior offerings are W all the way.
Here's how the property is described:
W Retreat Phuket will be located on Koh Yao Noi, one of the largest islands in the Phang Nga Bay archipelago between the eastern coast of Phuket and western coast of Krabi on the mainland. The W Retreat will provide an integrated lifestyle experience with 79 standalone villas, starting from 155 square meters in space. All villas will feature private outdoor areas and plunge pools as well as superlative views of the limestone cliffs that dot Phang Nga Bay.
W Retreat Phuket - Phang Nga Bay will also offer a lobby lounge, an all-day dining restaurant and a specialty restaurant and bar. It will feature 120 square metres of modern meeting and event space; FIT, a well-equipped workout facility and swimming pool; and a contemporary spa with six treatment rooms. The W Retreat will be accessible from both Phuket International Airport (HKT) and Krabi Airport (KBV), with a fleet of high speed sea vessels, a private jetty and helicopter landing pad for ease of guests transfers.
And don't forget about Whatever/Whenever service! We'll circle back with more news on this property...in 2017.