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A few months ago, we wondered whether hotels were abusing TripAdvisor. We’ve done a couple articles about how hotels can be annoying in their attempts to get us to review them online. Managers have asked their employees to post phony positive reviews, and we've personally been offered a free upgrade/cash for a positive review post-stay. Shady business? You betcha. But you know what? It brings a smile to our face.
Correct us if you disagree, but the silver lining in all of this review warfare is the amount of power held by the consumer. According to Market Metrix, 93% of global travelers say their booking decisions are influenced by online reviews. Hotels are clearly desperate to get good feedback published online, and problems that were once able to be swept under the rug are no longer limited to shouting distance. "Word of mouth," good or bad, has never been such an understatement as online reviews reach the eyes of thousands. In this, we certainly take great pleasure. Today, every ordinary Joe possesses the power of the press.
That said, we want to go on the record and note that all the aforementioned desperation is really, truly, starting to annoy us. Why not just let it all happen organically? We (customers) know TripAdvisor exists, and it is our choice whether we want to post our thoughts publically or not. Hotels should focus on providing a pleasant experience, and the rest will take care of itself -- there's no need for the constant begging. Honestly, it comes off rather pathetic in our eyes. We'll write what we want, when we want, if we want -- thank you very much.
With all of the sleek and modern design we've seen in hotels lately, there are few places that have us longing for the romance of vintage travel from the days of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Luckily, M Gallery's Hotel Muse hits the spot.
The memorable hotel brings back the mystery of retro travel and plops it right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, where it's not uncommon to see buildings from yesteryear neighboring towers from tommorow-land. The hotel is a little different in that it's housed in a new building made to look vintage, with a whole lot of turn-of-the-century flair.
Walking into the lobby were were greeted by dark wood panels, sexy lighting and iron work that would make a Paris Metro stop blush. The theme doesn't stop in the elevator. It extends onto the floor and into the room, where we felt like we stepped back to a time when alcohol was illegal and people dressed up to fly the friendly skies.
Walking into the hotel from rue St. Honoré, you’ll enter the main lobby, which is dominated by deep grey marble and a gold leaf ceiling. Reception is to your left, with the hotel courtyard straight ahead. During the warmer months there's outdoor seating, but the catwalk that runs through the middle was dominated by, in fact, cats when we were there, with red, black, and polished aluminium panthers as a temporary art display.
Last week, we gave you a sneak peek into Bangkok's shiny new W Bangkokand now we'll pull back the bejeweled curtain and show you the glam rooms. Being in a world-class city, you can expect a new hotel to have all glitz and shine; the W Bangkok doesn't fail the 'come to the party' test with its rooms fit for a jewel smuggler.
From the moment we stepped foot in the door, we knew we were somewhere special. Not only did we notice that 'new hotel' smell--it welcomed guests just 2 months ago--we may have been blinded by the shimmer and sparkle of the rhinestones, like everywhere. We will admit, we like a hotel that can successfully use lots of bling and, in true W style, this hotel has pushed the envelope.
What could be better than sexy design, familiar, yet thoughtful amenities, all the pizazz you can imagine and that new-hotel smell? Not much and that's why we are absolutely loving everything about recently opened W Bangkok.
Here's a little peek into the glam that is one of the city's newest hotels hotspot. Everything you expect from the edgy brand and more featuring glass block room dividers, rich jewel tones and more sparkles than any hotel room we've stayed in, these are the digs that inspire home renovations that fail to hit the mark.
There is a little part of us that feels like we'd been teleported from Southeast Asia to a jewelry gallery mixed with a prize fighters house. Stay tuned for a full review and pics of all of the little touches and pieces of sparkle from the lobby to the room. In the meantime, just simmer in these sexy snaps.
[Photos: Rayme Gorniak for HotelChatter]
It’s clear that dogs may be living large at Mandarin Oriental Paris, but what can a guest of the non-canine variety expect? How does the Asian luxury brand translate in this most French of settings, a block or so away from the Tuileries and the Louvre museum?
We’ll start by taking you inside a Deluxe Room, which is the step-up category from an entry-level Superior, and after which there is a range of options among the 99 rooms and 39 suites until you get to the Royale Mandarin Suite. The latter, a sprawling 2,700 sq ft, two-story affair, we saw in the midst of some pretty serious construction to insert, of all things, an elevator. Because really, when staying in the most expensive suite in the hotel, who wants to take the stairs?
We've all walked into a hotel room and our excitement for a creative and unique experience is shot down when we find a boring old room. On a recent trip to Sydney we laid our head at Park8 Hotel and even after the swipe of our keycard, the smile was never wiped off our face. We felt like we had our own little loft apartment in the middle of the city, just steps away from Hyde Park and the shopping district.
This little gem of a boutique hotel from 8 Hotels is quirky and fun, but still maintained what we expect when we stay at a hotel. We were fortunate enough to score a one-bedroom loft that was more like we were couch surfing in New York than staying in a hotel chain. The suite has two-stories of windows flooding the rooms with natural light and showcasing brag-worthy views of the inner city and the park's giant figs trees.
With the bedroom on the second floor, the rooms have ample living space allowing for a late night television session on the couch without messing up the bed. A kitchenette stocked with full-size bottles of Aussie wine, a few craft ciders and cold-pressed juices kind of mimicked our own refrigerator at home.
Step inside the iron gates of Diamant Hotel in Brisbane as they unveil newly renovated rooms of their 84 room boutique property in the CBD. Where the city is lacking in edgy and on-style accommodation, this 8 Hotels property fills the void for trendy digs.
Housed in a modern building in the city's Springhill inner-suburb, the building kept some elements we thought were reminiscent of times gone-by. Reception is behind iron gates that you'd normally think Addams Family-esque, all to then walk in to a modern, yet sleek lobby. To brighten up the dark colors, fresh Gerbera daisies and pops of metallic hues helped lift us up. Each floor has a similar, yet different design theme with the fresh flowers and a few magazines in case the elevator takes too long.
The rooms are heavily, but not negatively, monochromatic with a textured wallpaper to accent smaller details. The Diamant Suite had a muted lavender that was very calming and nice touch with an awesome bathroom featuring a double sinks, a full tub and a glass enclosed shower. The attention to detail from the metallic elements in the rest of the hotel were brought in with a wall tile that we would love to walk into our own bathroom and experience.
Having shown you the hotel’s top-end Prince of Wales Suite, we’re following up today with the details on our stay at The Ritz London, including, lo and behold: free WiFi. At the Ritz. Who would have thought that?
Check In & Room Reaction
We walked the few steps from Green Park tube station to the Ritz and were checked in and personally shown to our room within minutes. We’ve seen almost the entire spectrum of room categories at the Ritz, from cozy entry-level Superior Queens to the top-end suites. Layouts vary, as do color schemes (pink, yellow, peach, and blue). Bathrooms are where you're most likely to see evidence of the hotel being constructed over a century ago, when having a private bath was a novelty, so you may want to inquire, depending on your preferences, for a bathtub or a separate shower.
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The other day, we were meeting friends for brunch and settled on a restaurant in a Brooklyn hotel which shall remain unnamed*. We'd heard nice things, and having popped inside the lobby once or twice, we figured it would be an opportunity to soak up the vibe, relax, and eat good food.
It all started when the hostess refused to seat us until the rest of our party had arrived, even though we could see plenty of open tables. Fine. We told them we'd wait in the lobby and order some tea. Well, we had to elbow our way to the bar to get that done. And after one barista impatiently took our order, we lingered for ten minutes waiting for the tea to materialize (how hard can it be? You fill a pot with water and stick a teabag in it) before giving up and heading back to the lobby.
Five minutes later, another grouchy barista tracked us down in the lobby to inform us our tea was sitting at the bar—in other words, he could have brought it out to us, but didn't. OK, we said, we'll come get it. On the way back to the bar, we requested that the tea just be added to our brunch bill since we'd already put our names down for a table.
"Fine," he said, as if we'd just asked him to commit adultery.
Evidently, this was not off to a good start.
Singapore-based GHM hotels oversees some pretty cool properties (the elephant-themed Chedi Club outside of Ubud, Bali is a particular favorite), and The Setai has long been considered the brand's flagship. It's a serene, Asian-inspired sanctuary amid the hub-bub of Miami's South Beach. (Side note: Did you know the word "Setai" is actually a made-up combo of the Balinese words for "south" and "beach", or SoBe? It's the Brangelina of hotel names...)
So as fans, it was with some trepidation we took the news that The Setai had left the GHM roster for the management of Dallas-based Trevi Luxury Hospitality Group. (Especially given the way it all went down.) With all the hotel buzz in Miami—including the arrival of instant-hotspot The James—was The Setai looking to pump up the volume? Were DJs going to appear in its mellow courtyard—or worse, would it make like its neighbors and start charging for beach chairs?
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Welcome to Palm Springs. We hope you like bright colors and sunshine, because that's the specialty of the The Saguaro Palm Springs. This is only the second Saguaro, after the The Saguaro Scottsdale, but it comes from a company with a very large collection of hotels: Joie de Vivre.
The Saguaro Palm Springs opened in February 2012 and used to be a Holiday Inn, a fact immediately evident from the classic, motel-style architecture. Still, one can't help but imagine how Holiday Inn execs would think of the place nowthey'd probably regret having lost it! The Saguaro is a cheerful hotel that fills a gap in the Palm Springs hotel scene, for new family- and pet-friendly accommodations of modern design and amenities at a reasonable price.