Tag: Hotel Spies

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Just So You Know, Hotels Are Probably Stalking You

January 29, 2014 at 6:08 PM | by | Comments (0)

Is that our Facebook page you keep looking at?

Last week, we let you know that hotels want to text us. If that seemed a little intrusive to you, then look away now.

We've heard a few times recently that hotels are Googling you and checking out your social media profiles before your stay. Hmmm....on the one hand, we don't think that's too bad. The hotel is just trying to get a good idea of who we are, what we like and what we look like. Not every hotel can have a dedicated personal assistant so this is a good way to fill in that hole.

On the other hand, most of the time sometimes we like the anonymity of hotels that provide. Sure, the front desk will always know our name and our address after we check-in as well as our room number but at least they won't know where we work, went to school, who our friends are or that we spent an hour watching One Direction videos on YouTube yesterday. (Um, for "research.")

Then again, this is the world we live in today--where anyone can find out a reasonable amount about your life with a few quick clicks. So if you're wary of hotels stalking looking you up, then be careful about what you put out there.

What do you think--should hotels be researching who you are before your stay or should they just aim to be "pleasantly surprised" by you? Sound off in comments below!

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A Sneak Peek at The Gotham Hotel, Now Starting at $295 a Night

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  Site Where: 16 East 46th Street [map], New york, NY, United States, 10017
October 28, 2010 at 1:01 PM | by | Comment (1)

Things are moving fast for the The Gotham Hotel on East 46th Street in Manhattan. Less than three weeks ago, we didn't even know if this hotel was gonna be completed, let alone get a real name, a proper website and open to real guests. But things have moved fast and now our very own Myra Ellen has crashed through the gates.

Here are her reactions of the room she stayed in this week. We'll have more observations from her in the next few days. But Myra's a busy gal so if any of you have your own reviews of The Gotham, send 'em to us!

Meanwhile, opening rates have already increased to $295 a night on their website. The online booking system is still not open so you will have to email your request but the Gotham folk are quick to reply.

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The Brand-New And Verbose W New York Downtown

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  Site Where: 123 Washington Street [map], New York, NY, United States, 10006
August 16, 2010 at 4:09 PM | by | Comment (1)

Our very own hotel Agent Zero returns with yet another review. Her not-real name is Myra Ellen and she's our version of Alex Goran who travels once a week for business, usually along the Eastern seaboard. Every so often, she'll be dropping in with her latest hotel and travel observations. In this episode, she's going all Gordon Gekko on us.

In the time that it will take a Hotelchatterer to read this review, the staff at the new W New York Downtown will still be reciting their W-mandated greeting, that run-on greeting/question filled with queries about your wishes and their ability to do whatever. It is perhaps the single most annoying thing about the hotel.

Here's some advice to the Starwood folks: frequent guests of W Hotels should have a live-action option of "press * to skip this greeting". It would save many from the embarrassment of repeatedly being on either the giving or receiving end of that monologue.

The brand-new 58-story property is located as equidistant to Ground Zero as the political football Park51 project (aka Cordoba House, aka Ground Zero Mosque, aka former Burlington Coat Factory), a fact worth noting if only to highlight that the area is being decidedly developed.

The hotel is also located on a short, hard to find block just south of Ground Zero. Its entrance is actually on a different street (Albany Street) than its listed address (Washington Street). Calling the hotel to clarify the directions takes five times longer than it should, for the reason mentioned in the above paragraph.

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The Waldorf-Astoria is Worlds Away from Its Newer, Flashier Siblings

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  Site Where: 301 Park Avenue [map], New York, NY, United States, 10022
July 26, 2010 at 12:57 PM | by | Comments (5)

Our very own hotel Agent Zero returns with yet another review. Her not-real name is Myra Ellen and she's our version of Alex Goran who travels once a week for business, usually along the Eastern seaboard. Every so often, she'll be dropping in with her latest hotel and travel observations. In this episode, she's saddened by the flagship Waldorf-Astoria, which seems to be stuck in a time from long, long ago while newer better spin-offs keep popping up all over the world.

I checked in to The Waldorf Astoria in New York recently. I was there to meet an old friend in town for a conference; we had planned to share a room at a $299/night event rate. Sitting on the check-in desk was a small sign, advertising "Historic Tours of the Hotel, $50 per person." Throughout my stay, I kept wondering, "Who does that?"

Our upgraded room was in the main hotel and not the fresher, somewhat nicer Towers. It was comfortable and spacious with an entry hallway and our favorite feature: an enormous dressing room with a chaise, mirrored dressing table and French doors leading up one step up into the large bathroom. (We did have to make a special request for bathrobes.)

That dressing room felt like a movie set from another era and inspired multiple conversations about favorite classic movies, glamorous stars, satin mules, peignoir sets, train cases.

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Saying a Prayer for Trump SoHo

Where: 246 Spring Street [map], New York, NY, United States, 10013
July 12, 2010 at 3:58 PM | by | Comment (1)

GUESS THE HOTEL (FINALLY) REVEALED!

Our very own hotel Agent Zero returns with yet another review. Her not-real name is Myra Ellen and she's our version of Alex Goran who travels once a week for business, usually along the Eastern seaboard. Every so often, she'll be dropping in with her latest hotel and travel observations. In this episode, she loses her virginity to Donald Trump.

I was a Trump Hotel virgin. I admit that Iíd always purposely stayed away, not interested in what the brand represents. So itís a sort of long story about how I ended up there during a recent, one-night stay. But my experience is a shorter story: it was practically perfect.

Thereís something wonderful about a new, luxurious, immaculate hotel. And Trump SoHo exemplifies this.

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No Work, All Play, And The Best-Ever Porch

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  Site Where: 131 N. Water Street [map], Edgartown, MA, United States, 02539
June 22, 2010 at 3:25 PM | by | Comment (1)

Our very own hotel Agent Zero returns with yet another review. Her not-real name is Myra Ellen and she's our version of Alex Goran who travels once a week for business, usually along the Eastern seaboard. Every so often, she'll be dropping in with her latest hotel and travel observations. In this episode, she goes on vacation.

On an island of vacation homes and secluded estates, the Harbor View Hotelin Edgartown, Massachusetts is a stately oasis at the end of North Water Street. Visiting for a recent wedding, I was among a few dozen guests who opted to stay in this 100-plus year-old hotel during a long, lovely weekend.

The Harbor View has the regality of a seaside estate and the wraparound porch on the main building is a particularly beautiful spot. (And it's a popular spot, where an Oscar-winning actor posed for photos with a group one morning.) Lined with pretty white rocking chairs, the patio faces Chappaquiddick Island and the Edgartown light house is easily accessible down a short, picturesque path.

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Trying to Go Budget and Failing

June 3, 2010 at 2:21 PM | by | Comments (2)

No wine for Myra!

Our very own hotel Agent Zero returns with yet another review. Her not-real name is Myra Ellen and she's our version of Alex Goran who travels once a week for business, usually along the Eastern seaboard. Every so often, she'll be dropping in with her latest hotel and travel observations. In this episode, she tries to go budget.

For about an hour, I was proud of myself. Proud that, with trips to two smaller cities in quick succession, I booked two nights in two budget chain hotels. (Granted, these particular towns didnít have much else to offer in terms of upscale hotels. But I digress.) I even bragged about my frugality to Hotelchatter.

Hereís how I went wrong:

The first hotel, Courtyard by Marriot, didnít have room service, but instead a lobby bar filled with businessmen buried in their USA Todays and a "pantry." My day-ending glass of wine was not to be had because my day ended too late by their standards. At 11:05pm, the bar was closed and the lobby empty.

Blessedly, the second hotel, an old-school Marriott Hotel, had room service, which felt inherently risky but inevitable after another long day. When an odd seafood dish arrived instead of "Shiraz", I had a sad. (And then waited for half an hour for the switch.)

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Beyond The Tabloid Mentions at The Bowery Hotel

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  Site Where: 335 Bowery [map], New York City, NY, United States, 10003
May 26, 2010 at 11:59 AM | by | Comments (0)

Our very own hotel Agent Zero returns with yet another review. Her not-real name is Myra Ellen and she's our version of Alex Goran who travels once a week for business, usually along the Eastern seaboard. Every so often, she'll be dropping in with her latest hotel and travel observations. In this episode, she revisits a hot hotel in NYC.

I hadn't been to The Bowery Hotel since it first opened in 2007. Then, some described the hotel as carefully broken-in like a pair of very expensive jeans. Now, a few years and scores of tabloid mentions later, that look and feel remains true.

However, arriving and departing in the bright light of day, the hotel did feel a degree less glamorous and the decor in the lobby and the narrow hallways slightly dingy. But at dusk and into the night, the cozy intimacy of my room was unbeatable.

In a deluxe king room that was more guest house than hotel room, I worked comfortably from the bistro table with the heavy-paned windows cracked open to a view of the secret half-block-long stretch of green behind the hotel.

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Things Are Not So Pretti at The Eventi

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  Site Where: 851 Avenue of the Americas [map], New York, NY, United States, 10001
May 24, 2010 at 9:55 AM | by | Comments (0)

Last week, we were a little let down by the lobby space at the new Eventi Hotel in New York but we had high hopes for the guest rooms. Consider those hopes dashed. One of our hotel spies recently stayed there over opening weekend and has sent us this report (sadly, it's without room photos. You can send us yours if you have 'em or check out Conde Nast Traveler)

I was really excited to stay at The Eventi. Somehow, I got swayed by the swanky site, so much so that I canceled reservations at the Andaz Wall Street to try out this new property. Well, let me just say that the whole experience left me flat and that the Eventi won't likely be at the top of my list of hotels to stay at in NYC.

Checking In I understand that I stayed there for four days opening weekend and that there would be some hiccups, but it's a problem for me when you walk into a hotel at 10.30pm and find four people behind the front counter, not really paying you any attention. It's like they were seeing who would get stuck checking me in.

There also seemed to be a "manager" type person there looking over the shoulder of the front desk employee. This "manager" said nothing to me during check in, I found that odd. I told the woman checking me in that I recently joined In Touch (the Kimpton loyalty program) and she just said "Oh, ok, that'll be added to your account." Um, ok.

She walked around the desk, handed us our keys, and told us to enjoy our night, not bothering to tell us where the elevators were. Granted, it's a small lobby, but still, it was off-putting.

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Gracious Grandparental Living at The Plaza Athenee

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  Site Where: 37 East 64th Street [map], New York, NY, United States, 10065
April 23, 2010 at 4:32 PM | by | Comments (0)

Our very own hotel Agent Zero returns with yet another review. Her not-real name is Myra Ellen and she's our version of Alex Goran who travels once a week for business, usually along the Eastern seaboard. Every so often, she'll be dropping in with her latest hotel and travel observations. In this episode, she tries out a new hotel in Manhattan.

Sometimes in life, a night at your grandparents' house can make everything better. And if your grandparents' house happens to be the Plaza Athenee on the Upper East Side, you'd be extra lucky.

The hotel has nearly-completed an expansive renovation. (It looked like the last remaining construction is with the hotel spa, not that I had time for that on this trip, or seemingly ever.) It is a small-but-stately, gracious hotel that is as opposite of trendy as I can imagine. And on this occasion that was both good and welcome.

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Drill, Baby, Drill: A Night at The Distrikt Hotel

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  Site Where: 342 W. 40th Street [map], New York City, NY, United States, 10018
April 13, 2010 at 9:25 AM | by | Comments (0)

See The Distrikt Hotel's Response to This Review Here

Our very own hotel Agent Zero returns with yet another review. Her not-real name is Myra Ellen and she's our version of Alex Goran who travels once a week for business, usually along the Eastern seaboard. Every so often, she'll be dropping in with her latest hotel and travel observations. In this episode, she tries out a new hotel in Manhattan.

The scaffolding obscuring the entrance should have been my first ominous clue as I arrived at the new Distrikt Hotel, on a dark block and an easy walk from Penn Station.

The doorman ignores me when I enter. I'm happy for one less polite but pointless exchange in my day, but when I overhear a desk clerk tell someone else who's checking-in about their breakfast options, while my desk clerk says nary a word about it to me, I realize what's going on: this is not my kind of place.

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Sleeping in Lower East Side Peace at Thompson LES

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  Site Where: 190 Allen Street [map], New York City, NY, United States, 10002
March 29, 2010 at 4:03 PM | by | Comments (0)

Today, we welcome our very own hotel Agent Zero, the first in what we hope to be a larger network of hotel spies. Her not-real name is Myra Ellen and she's our version of Alex Goran who travels once a week for business, usually along the Eastern seaboard. Every so often, she'll be dropping in with her latest hotel and travel observations. And awwaaaaay we go!

I stayed at the Thompson LES recently and experienced a Manhattan nighttime first: silence.

True silence from about 11pm until maybe 7:30am. No street noise, no doors slamming or hallway clatter, no ruckus of any kind. I'm still bewildered by that and wonder if perhaps I was actually in a coma. It's hard to explain how rare this phenomenon is for me.

Where, I wondered, were the trucks? The sirens? The garbage trucks? And since this is a Thompson hotel, where was the thud-thud-thud of the lounge music? The answer: if it was there, we didn't hear it.

Ed. Note: Maybe the hotel really took the neighbors' complaints to heart.

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