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Business travelers in San Francisco and other big cities, get off your phones and pay close attention when leaving your hotel.
The other day this editor had an early morning flight out of San Francisco that required me to leave the hotel at 6:30am. Thankfully, I had a car service set up so that I could get some extra sleep in the morning, rather than wake up even earlier to take public transportation.
Still, when I stepped out of the hotel that morning at 6:35am, I didn't feel entirely awake. Not helping the situation were three black cars idling in front of the Hilton San Francisco in Union Square. A driver of one of the town cars had his back to me and was on the phone while holding a sheet of paper. The bellman asked me which car service I had arranged. I mentioned the name, then he asked for my last name, and suddenly, the man on the phone piped up and said “Ah yes!” and then said into the phone, “I found the customer.” I apologized for being a few minutes late, and got into the car.
As I sat down, the hotel’s bellman said, “Are you sure this is the right car service?” I asked the driver if he had my name on the paper he was holding in his hand. He stalled in answering me. At that moment, a man in a sharp suit walked up to the car (my door was still open) and said my name. I said, “Yes?” and he said he was from the car service that was ordered. I was in the wrong car.
We often gripe about housekeeping barging in on us, even though we've put out the Do Not Disturb sign. We've also been concerned about intruders breaking down our door (the likelihood is low but still) so when we saw this on the back of the door at The Bellagio we got excited. You know, in a hotel nerd way.
The hotel door has both a door lock (turn the handle up like in the photo) as well as a latch. Double the protection. It's especially useful when you're stalling in the room after check-out time. Not that we've ever done that or anything. Nooooooo. Not us.
A few months ago, we talked about how hotel phones seemed unnecessary as most everyone has cell phones these days. But the story behind this Change.org petition has us seeing the hotel phone in a whole new light.
According to the petition, Kari Renee Hunt was staying in a motel with her three children when her estranged husband barged in, ambushed her while she was in the restroom and killed her. During the struggle, her 9-year-old tried to call 911 but was repeatedly thwarted by the hotel's "Dial 9" function which requires uses to dial a 9 to get an outside line. While Kari's daughter knew how to call 911, she didn't understand that she needed to dial 9 in the motel room.
Every hotel has different phone systems, some which include an emergency button like the Hard Rock Seminole's phone, pictured above. We've seen other phones advertise that guests dial "0" for the operator or the front desk in case of emergency. But in smaller hotels or motels like the Baymont Inn and Suites where Kari was staying, the phones don't have these emergency options. And that's what the petition is hoping to change.
Titled "Kari's Law", the petition is asking Congress to make it a requirement for all hotel and motels to be updated to E911 systems which would allow a 911 call to connect to a 911 operator without having to dial 9. You can go here to sign the petition. So while no one is ready to throw out the hotel telephone just yet, it's clear that if a hotel does do this, they need to have an emergency option available.
There's a good chance this has happened to you before: you've gotten off a long flight, checked into your hotel and, ready to explore your destination, you go to lock up your personal effects and notice your phone, laptop or tablet are pretty drained for power. Now, the dilemma: do you run the risk of leaving your electronics to charge out in the open or lock them in the safe?
On a recent visit to Hong Kong we stayed at the city's ultra-hip W Hong Kong. Upon checking in and exploring the room, we had this same situation where we needed some juice, but wanted to tuck all of our stuff away in the in-room safe. Once we popped opened the safe, we found the holy grail of hotel safes: it had its very own power-point! Problem solved.
Now, we're aware that not all hotels have this little perk, but we also know that some hoteliers have thought about their guest's battery power. Let us know in the comments below if you've come across something similar elsewhere and we'll make sure that those hotels get mad props for considering the 'little things'.
We've all been there with our jobs--so annoyed and frustrated and sick of the same damn BS that we've wanted to set it on fire and walk away. Ok, maybe we all haven't had that last thought but a hotel security director at the YOTEL in Times Square did and he acted on it too.
Fire marshals arrested Mariano Barbosa, Jr., over the weekend for setting fires at the Yotel in "an attempt to make the hotels less popular and his job more manageable." The NY Times reports further saying:
It appeared to fire marshals that Mr. Barbosa had grown tired of patrons at the hotels’ bars and parties, said a fire official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the continuing investigation. “He desired that the incidents would be blamed on the clientele, and if that was the case maybe they would curtail the parties, and the venues would be more manageable,” the official said.
Hotel Emergencies / Hotel News / Hotel Woes / Best Western Hotels / North Carolina Hotels / Hotel Deaths / Hotel Safety / → All Tags
A tragic story emerged this week about the death of an 11-year-old boy due to carbon monoxide poisoning in his Best Western Plus hotel room. Unfortunately, it was made even more tragic when authorities revealed that the same exact room had been responsible for killing another two guests—also from carbon monoxide poisoning—back in April.
(TIME magazine's 'Hotel Horror' headline was pretty spot on, if you ask us.)
Tests confirmed an "elevated level of carbon monoxide in the room," and the hotel has been shut down for the time being—but the question that keeps circling in our head is: could we be susceptible to carbon monoxide poisoning in our hotel room, too? How would we even know if the levels were high? After all, carbon monoxide is deadlier than other gases because it can't be seen or smelled.
So, to ease our anxiety, we've done a little research that ought to help us (and you) sleep peacefully next time you check into a hotel room. Here are five facts about carbon monoxide poisoning all hotel guests should know:
Hotel Safety / Hotel Woes / Hotel Doors / Hotel Security / Hotel Locks / Hotel Keycards / → All Tags
Back in July, we wrote about how a certain Cody Brocious had figured out a way to pick the locks on any hotel room door manufactured by Onity. And since Onity has installed somewhere between four and five million hotel room doors all over the world, that was kind of worrying.
Now, Brocious' idea has been taken one step further by another dastardly hacker, this time by the name of Matthew Jakubowski. NBCNews reports that Jakubowski has managed to fit all the parts of the lock-picking device into a single dry erase marker.
What's more, he went and posted a YouTube video to show the marker in action, and even wrote out instructions on his blog, giving everyone and their mothers the means to assemble a lock-picking dry erase marker of their very own.
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New this May, JW Marriott Chicago's chlorine-less pool touted a UV-light filtration process
Here’s what we know so far: an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease has been connected to 10 guests who visited or stayed at the JW Marriot Chicago between mid-July and mid-August. As of this past Friday, three of those guests died from the disease. The same strain of legionella bacteria found in the ill guests was also found in JW Marriott Chicago's pool, whirlpool, and decorative fountain in the main lobby, all of which have since been drained. The bacteria was also found in the men's and women's lockers rooms.
The Chicago Department of Public Health reported last week that the JW Marriott was fully cooperating with the ongoing investigation and had taken the recommended measures to reduce the risk of exposure. They now believe there is no ongoing health threat at the hotel.
It's heavy hotel news, but sadly, legionnaires' happens in the hotel (hot-tubing, cruise-shipping and hospital-going) world. Last year alone, it sickened two guests and claimed the life of another at Luxor, and sickened six at Aria, both in Vegas.
Essentially a severe pneumonia, legionnaires’ is caused by high concentrations of legionella bacteria that show up in water. It can survive for many months in that wet environment, especially in warm water. Transmission isn’t totally understood, but the gist of it is that it’s not spread by person-to-person contact but by inhaling or ingesting the legionella microbes (read: drinking the water, breathing in the vapor above and around the water). Once contracted, legionnaires’ can take anywhere from two to eight days to show up.
Deep in the hotel trenches, we also know that the new-in-May pool at JW Marriott was very unique in its UV filtration process—an important fact absent from the majority of news on the outbreak. Dubbed a high-tech pool by the hotel, the 11.2 meter chlorine-less pool was instead filtered by UV-light. According to the hotel’s original press release on the pool, “the water flows through UV-light chambers to eliminate 99% of all toxins and bacteria resulting in less chlorine in the pool than in average drinking water.” The release continues, “The absence of chlorine eliminates allergies and irritations and offers the feeling of swimming in a fresh water lake.”
It seems like once a year we hear about some nefarious new way for thieves to break into hotel rooms using both sophisticated and not-so-sophisticated gadgets to do so. (Metal hangers anyone?)
This year's hack comes courtesy of a software developer and security researcher named Cody Brocious who recently told Forbes.com that his less than $50 invention can break the locks installed on hotel room doors by lock manufacturer, Onity. Onity has done about four and five million hotel room doors around the world. Yikes, right? However, don't write off staying in hotels forever just yet.
Hotel Openings / Conrad Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / Hotel Safety / Hotel Security / Hotel Amenities / → All Tags
We found rooms for Monday night (yes, this Monday!) at a whopping $479 a night for a king superior suite with a river view. (Remember, all rooms are suites here.) Rates for $499 a night include breakfast. Not feeling that flush? You can book a room with double beds for slightly less at $439 a night.
While we're loving the extensive list of room perks that include our fave techie goodies like flat-screeen TVs, espresso machines, sleeper sofas and even an art brochure that details all the art throughout the hotel, we're also impressed with the hotel's For Your Confidence list of security and safety features like automatic door closers, controlled access corridors, double-locking doors, emergency call buttons on the phone and wide angle door viewers.
We're not saying you should leave your expensive jewelry, watches and handbags out in plain sight but all these safety features should make you relax a little in the "big bad city."
It turns out aging boy banders are just like us! They, too, have stuff, allegedly, stolen from their hotel rooms.
In the case of Brian Littrell of the Backstreet Boys, he claims his wife's $110,000 wedding ring was stolen off the nightstand of the Evergreen Marriott Resort at Stone Mountain in Georgia over the weekend:
He said after they checked out and were leaving the park, his wife, Leighanne, realized she didn't have any of her jewelry. The couple immediately returned to the hotel, but said by the time they got to the room, all $120,000 worth of jewelry was missing.
"It was just kind of weird how it happened and how fast," Brian Littrell said. "I kept my rings on the bedside table, we left the room and 15 minutes I came back , they're gone." Leighanne Littrell said.
What Is This / Hotel Furniture / Hotel Views / Omni Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / Hotel Windows / Hotel Safety / → All Tags
We like to keep it fun but informative here at HotelChatter so our newest series, What is This? is devoted to odd-looking items in hotel rooms that upon first glance look as if they serve only a decorative purpose. But everything happens for a reason, right? And we're here to tell you what these things really do.
It took us a while to figure out what the heck this miniature doodad was, though several factors in the room (a malfunctioning safe, for one) distracted us from the mystery at hand. And anyway, the Omni Berkshire Place is a pretty classy joint, so we weren't about to throw a tantrum when we had delicious cocktails and pink-accented bathrooms to enjoy.
But it turns out it's not so much what this thing does than what it stops from happening.
Too cryptic? Click below to see what we mean.