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Now that the Virgin Hotel Chicago has unveiled Miss Ricky's Diner and it's Two Zero Three coffee shop and wine bar, there are only a few more things left to take off--the hotel's killer rooftop spaces and the downstairs spa. Both of these should be unveiled next month at the Virgin's official grand opening party on April 16.
We were able to peek at the rooftop spaces during our first time with a Virgin in January and they will seriously impress you with their cool yet fun decor and their incredible city views. Remember, one of the rooftop spaces will be incredibly exclusive so fingers crossed your on the list.
As for the spa, it promises to be a "wellness lounge designed with beauty, comfort and mingling in mind."
While the rooftops and the spa will be unveiled on opening night, we hear they won't officially open to the public until the week after. Room rates for that next weekend, April 24-26, start at $249 a night for a chamber king before taxes. If you're a AAA member, rates start at just $224 a night. Whoopee!
[Photo: Virgin Hotels/Facebook
Hotel Pets / Hotel Animals / Hotel Rooftops / Bauer Hotels / Venice Hotels / Killer View / → All Tags
If you stay at the Bauer Il Palazzo, one of the four Bauer hotels (owned by a local family) in Venice, you’ll have breakfast at Settimo Cielo, a seventh floor rooftop terrace with sweeping, weep-inducing views of La Serenissima taking in everything from St Mark’s Square, the Doge’s Palace and the Riva degli Schiavoni to the Grand Canal, the Santa Maria della Salute church on Dorsoduro, the island of Giudecca, the islands of the forthcoming St Regis and JW Marriott, and the Lido, stretching out in the distance.
Yes, we did say inside two of the top suites at The Peninsula Paris, and we will take you on a full tour, but we had to start with this: a shot from the private rooftop garden of La Suite Katara, a vast outdoor space with knee-buckling views of Paris, including the replica of l’Oiseau Blanc (the French bi-plane that disappeared during its attempt to complete the first transatlantic flight) suspended next to the restaurant of the same name and the Eiffel Tower in the distance.
Part of a trio (the third being the Historic Suite), La Suite Katara and La Suite Peninsula are the latest addition that round out the total of 200 rooms and suites in the 1908 grand hotel on Avenue Kléber. Ready to see what $22,000 and up a night gets you in the City of Light? Here we go.
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Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires. You can see it from the ground, a little dirty, a little noisy from the traffic, and sometimes even a little alarming, thanks to the anti-Falklands/pro-Malvinas encampment in there. You can hold onto your bag like there’s no tomorrow, and take a photo of the Casa Rosada through the metal barriers that may or may not be up.
Or you can see it from on high, in your swimsuit.
Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Rates / Madrid Hotels / Spain Hotels / Hotel Rooftops / Design Hotels / Unico Hotels / Rooftop Pools / → All Tags
It’s also the latest addition to the Design Hotels portfolio, and part of the Spanish Unico hotel group, which has two other hotels – one in Barcelona, one in Madrid – so you know it already has cred. Add to that that it’s the first five star hotel on the Gran Via (for reals) in an equally grand building from 1917, and it’s an appealing prospect.
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Ignore the Simpsons-style clouds, and have a look at the architecture. Pretty nice, right? Even nicer when you consider where this is: the Ciudad Vieja of Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay.
There aren’t many hotels in the Ciudad Vieja, and there are even fewer with rooftop terraces. But this is the view from the Alma Historica Boutique Hotel, which opened a month ago in a historical mansion on Plaza Zabala, the tranquil, second square of the old town.
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We love hotel renovations nearly just as much as we love new hotels. But what we really love about hotel renovations is seeing the transformation that happens when an old, tired and lackluster room gets a modern makeover and transforms into new, spiffed-up, stylish guest room. Or put more simply, we love comparing the Before and After.
Almost immediately since it opened in 2010, the Gansevoort Park Avenue attracted the glam crowd of both film and fashion. The Gansevoort has had it all from the get go--seductive interiors, a close-to-everything Midtown location with killer city views, and a nightlife that starts and ends on the rooftop. But maybe the rooftop was getting a little too much play as the hotel has now totally revamped their top floor space.
Here's how the rooftop looked before the renovation. Keep reading to see what it looks like now!
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Mingalabar! All this week we've been focusing on one of the fastest changing hotel scenes on the globe: Burma, or Myanmar. (For Burma or Myanmar, see here - as fence-sitters, we'll be using the two interchangeably throughout the week.) We’ve already covered your hotel basics, and looked at Yangon: its most expensive hotel, its most historic hotel and its weirdest. Today, we're moving north, on the road to Mandalay.
This looks like a river, but it isn’t just any river. This is the Irrawaddy River, one of the most evocative names in the world (the Mississippi, the Danube, the Nile, the Irrawaddy, etc etc) thanks to the likes of Rudyard Kipling, who referred to it as the Road to Mandalay.
This is the view from the rooftop bar and restaurant at the Ayarwaddy River View Hotel in Mandalay, Burma (the river bisects the country; Ayarwaddy is the current government's spelling). Myanmar’s second city, Mandalay is far more frenetic and modern than Yangon. Stay in the city center, as we did our first night, and you’ll probably wish you hadn’t come. Staying on the Irrawaddy, however, is like sleeping in a different city.
From the rooftop – and from the river-facing rooms – you can see fishing boats, trawlers, and the little cruisers going up and down to Bagan. You can see people washing in the mornings, and the sun setting over the hills in the afternoon. In the evening, look out the other side at the city – there’s a lively temple right behind the hotel.
This is an instance when you’re really paying for location – our entry level room was $100, with a city view (a river view would have been $20 more). The room itself was basic, three star standard – definitely not on a par with other $100 we stayed at in Myanmar. But the location was everything, and hey, they throw in a free ‘traditional’ puppet show on the roof every evening.
Unlike New York, the list of rooftop bars in London isn’t that long, and even fewer can boast floor-to-ceiling windows with river views and outdoor space for al-fresco lounging and drinking, but Rumpus Room has both.
It doesn’t feel this long, and yet it feels like forever – the Berlin Wall fell 25 years ago in November, and the city is marking the anniversary on November 9 by lining up 8000 helium balloons along a 7.5 mile stretch of the old border between east and west.
Obviously no hotel wants to be seen to be taking advantage of an event of such historical importance, but the Hotel de Rome has drawn up a pretty sober package, valid November 7-10.
The Fall of the Berlin Wall package includes three nights accommodation and breakfast, a three hour private guided tour of Wall-related sites, a trip to the Asisi Panorama near Checkpoint Charlie, and a two hour Trabi tour (in an iconic East German Trabant car). They’ll also throw in champagne and currywurst as you watch the balloons on the 9th from the hotel rooftop terrace.
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If there’s one thing that’ll get us on a plane to Athens, it’s a designated selfie spot. We jest, of course – but the idea of a designated selfie spot was so
horrifying compelling that during an afternoon in Athens last week, we had to go and see it for ourselves.
The selfie spot is at the Grande Bretagne in Syntagma Square (Athens' main square), though to our relief, when we asked at the concierge desk where to find it, they had absolutely no idea what we were talking about. To save you the mortification of trying to explain the concept of a selfie spot to an Athenian - right there in the cradle of democracy, literature, philosophy and everything else that selfies run in the face of - just head to the rooftop bar and restaurant.
The selfie spot, it has to be said, is incredible in the flesh. Of course, an Acropolis view in Athens is no big deal - the majority of hotels have them from rooftop terraces, if not from the rooms themselves. But most Acropolis views are not like this (the only one that comes close, we reckon, is the Hilton, which is a little further out of the city center). The Grande Bretagne not only dominates the skyline around it, meaning you’re looking straight at the Parthenon, but glance to your left and you’re looking straight at the Greek Parliament, with the Evzones soldiers trooping around the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier every hour.
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Selfies. You either love them or you hate them but no matter how you feel about them, you are taking them. Just admit it. You’re taking them in the car, at the club, at concerts, at sporting events, at the playground, the beach, the rooftop bar, and even from your bed. Especially from your bed.
But at the Hotel Grand Bretagne in Athens, you’re gonna want to get out of your bed for that selfie because the hotel has a designated “Selfie Spot" on the GB Roof Garden Restaurant. The spot marked with a selfie icon is actually the best spot on the terrace to take a selfie so that you can show off your newly acquired Grecian glow with a precise view of the Acropolis in the background. For Millennials, we'll put it in terms that you can understand--The Acropolis will photobomb your selfie.
The hotel is a Luxury Collection Hotel from Starwood in Syntagma Square but rates aren't crazy out of control. We found a prepaid rate for next weekend for 278 Euros. That's for a classic room with two beds. A king bed with butler service was also available for 303 Euros. Fortunately, you can get your selfie on without booking a room as the GB Roof Garden Restaurant is open for lunch and breakfast. Now, let me take a selfie.
[Photo: SPG Greece]