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The world is officially in "Countdown to Christmas" mode and now, so are we. Every day until Christmas we'll be featuring a hotel that's in a holiday mood--whether it be with gigantic gingerbread houses, over-the-top Christmas decorations, thrilling lighting displays and best of all, Santa appearances. But of course, any hotel can assemble a fake tree, put on some lights and declare themselves "festive." Which is why we're looking at hotels that are really going ALL OUT. Know of a hotel that's super excited for Christmas? Let us know!
With a name like The Grand America Hotel, you can be sure the hotel is going to go all out for the holidays. And indeed the five diamond hotel in Salt Lake City has done just that.
For starters, the hotel itself is lit up with red and green Christmas lights (Thankfully, it's on the exterior of the building and not something that they string up on every guest room window) Then outside in their 2 1/2 acre courtyard, there's a giant Christmas tree that's surrounded by lighted trees and bushes (pretty much everything has some lights strung on it.) Inside, there's a giant Victorian gingerbread house while the Shops at The Grand have created old-school retail window designs for guests to admire. (We especially love the Paint Department.)
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Since 2011, Andaz Hotels has worked with Women for Women International (WfWI) to provide women in war-torn countries with economic opportunities and be positive catalysts for change. Through these efforts, the Andaz Holiday Bazaar was born.
The Andaz Holiday Bazaar is a virtual pop-up shop offering locally inspired, unique gifts with proceeds donated to WfWI. The hotel brand collaborated with its Cultural Insiders from around the globe to curate the bespoke online Holiday Bazaar available through e-retailer, Joyus.
With everything from custom created home décor to one-of-a-kind artwork and artisanal food, here are a couple of our favorites:
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The sun is shining, the water’s warm and a girl needs a chi-chi bag that’ll be able to keep up with her stylin’ swimsuit. These three hotels make it easy for you to do just that and here’s how to get your hands on 'em.
If you’re a Starwood SPG member, this is your lucky day. Starwood has partnered with kate spade new york to come up with a line of beach totes inspired by four categories in the SPG Members' Favorite Resorts List: Best Spa Indulgence, Most Romantic Retreat, Best Island Paradise, and Best Golf Getaway. Each tote has its own punchy phrase, matched with its own punchy color, that represents each category. The bags are available at kate spade new york boutiques or online for $199. You can also enter the “Off We Go” contest until June 6 to win a trip to a Starwood resort along with a choice collection of kate spade goodies.
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Not being accustomed to buying antique barber chairs, we can't say for sure whether $1,600 (about the cost of 50 haircuts) is actually a deal or not. But at an auction, which took place on Saturday at Balsams Grand Resort in New Hampshire, the century-and-a-half-old hotel certainly succeeded in cleaning itself out to make way for a major renovation project.
Set to re-open in mid-2013, the new Balsams first had to get rid of its ties to the past. Plates, towels, sheets, a ski lift—pretty much the entire contents of guest rooms and other public spaces—were put on the block. And the buyers didn't disappoint!
Alright so you've just got a layover at the awesome Hong Kong International Airport and you're desperate for a little taste of Hong Kong without having to go outside. OR maybe you're at the airport, leaving Hong Kong, but ran out of time to visit The Peninsula Hotel. It's all good, because, as we found out while zipping through HKG last week, the hotel has its own boutique right in Terminal 1.
The Peninsula Boutique specializes in little edible treats, perfectly packaged, ready to tote home as gifts. This means boxed chocolates and truffles of all varieties, including mix-your-own, containers of cookies and macarons, and a healthy selections of tins of tea.
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Now, a new retail space, named Safira, is being added to the giant lobby, and it will function as the hotel's go-to spot for a whole slew of fancy thingamajigs and what's-its like silky dresses, perfumes, art books and sunglasses. Dream is referring to the shop as an "inventory of must-have brands from around the globe." Well, "must" is a relative concept, but we doubt they'll have any trouble luring guests in. The fact that Safira is located right next to the elevators doesn't hurt, either.
A new 70-room inn has gone up next to the Fifth Street Public Market in Eugene, OR, and its name? Inn at Fifth. Gotta love those Pacific Northwesterners and their upfront, uncomplicated way of doing things.
The hotel, which opened in February, has seamlessly integrated the locally-owned businesses from the neighboring market into a long list of guest perks; and that's not surprising, as the owner of the hotel is the same guy who owns the Fifth Street Public Market.
OregonLive took a look at the place recently, and in addition to the lobby and rooms themselves (simple, sparse, and modern with iPad docks, Kuerig coffeemakers and gas fireplaces), we're digging all the services offered to guests from the market next door. Luggage, kitchenware, home decor, and toys within spitting distance from your room? Check. Spa accessed from the lobby? Check. Wine and cheese sent up in a basket the courtyard? Yup, that too.
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It's that time of year, kids. SPRING BREAK! We know, because South Beach is full of the young and the restless right now, all of them on the prowl.
But if you haven't found that perfect bikini for your beach break just yet, you can always wait until you check into your hotel. We popped into the new GuyandGirl Boutique at Shelborne South Beach recently and found a coolly curated collection of hats, sunglasses, bags, summer fashion, sunscreen, accessories--and yes, bikinis.
Not surprisingly, the swimsuits with the most animal appeal caught our eye. Like this number...
Everyone knows that the first stop for fashionistas on a jaunt through Italy is Milan. It's got designers. It's got Fashion Week. And it's got the man himself, Giorgio Armani.
A man, who, as much as he's making a name for himself now in the hospitality biz, first got introduced to the world as a fashion person. Clothes, retail, couture: those are his roots, not necessarily beautiful hotels. But the new Milan property, with all its 95 textured monochrome guest rooms and eighth floor "hat" lobby, actually manages to contain both those worlds under the same roof—the hotel is built right on top of an Armani store. How convenient!
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The plush, dark rooms feel more like your rich, moody uncle's place than your typical hotel room and they are full of lovely little details, including the Allure magazine-editor-curated toiletries--a mix of best-of-the-best products rather than all items from the one brand.
And now, you can take a whole lot of the hotel home with you. For a price. You see, the rooms at GPH are designed for you to shop til you drop. Everything in the collage above—from the pretty tassels right down to the tray that the bathroom toiletries are sitting on—is for sale.
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Usually, when fashion designers get inspired by fancy hotels and resorts, it's bikinis they churn out. But in the case of designer Stephanie Johnson, what we get is a new range of travel accessories. And the hotel that took Johnson's fancy? The Fairmont Mayakoba, on Mexico's Riviera Maya.
We haven't stayed at this property but we've stayed at one next door that's on the same Mayakoba development of lush jungle rolling down to the ocean. Can't say we blame Johnson for getting inspired--it is indeed very pretty!
So is the new line of bags, which includes an iPad case and a few small cosmetics bags that double as cute clutches for a night out on the town—or on the beach at the resort's bar.
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Dropping off portfolios, sitting down to meetings, providing references—sooo old-fashioned. These days, all it takes to get your foot in the door is quick glance at your prospective employer's Facebook wall.
Yesterday afternoon, the Hotel Murano Tacoma posted that their lobby retail space is currently available for lease, and that interested parties should get in touch with the GM, Stan. Of course, a more traditional interviewing process would likely follow, but we're still fascinated by the way social media has managed to tap into every single aspect of hotel life. And why shouldn't it? If you want a late check-out, check in on Foursquare. If you've accidentally locked yourself in the hotel bathroom, tweet about it.
And if you feel like owning your own hotel gift shop, hie thee to Facebook!