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The investigation continues into Monday's horrific explosions at the Boston Marathon with no clear answer as to who did this and why. Yet the "how" has been uncovered as Boston authorities say two pressure cookers were placed in backpacks along Boylston Street and loaded with nails, ball bearings and black powder and triggered by egg-timers.
Hundreds of victims are recovering in area hospitals while the mourning process has begun for the friends and families of the three killed by the blasts, including 8-year-old Martin Richard.
As for the hotels near the blasts, since the FBI investigation is still ongoing, they aren't allowed to resume operating until that's complete. Right now, The Lenox is still closed through tomorrow. The Mandarin Oriental has reopened but with limited services.
We've also learned that The Charlesmark Hotel has been shuttered as well with the Boston Globe reporting that its lobby is "splattered with blood." The hotel was hosting a Marathon viewing party when the blasts occurred. From The Globe:
Mark Hagopian, Charlesmark’s operating partner, said he was on the hotel’s patio when the first explosion occurred about 35 feet away. “It was like a cannon,” he said. “We knew something was wrong."
A report in the Daily Mail also showed that a piece of one of the pressure cookers was found on the roof of the Charlesmark.
Over at The Taj, a guard was spotted holding a submachine gun in an example of extremely beefed up security at hotels and other public places. A Twitterer posted this photo from another Boston hotel:
Sadly, this is probably going to be the "norm" in Boston over the next few weeks.
If you were in Boston and staying at a hotel on Monday, send us your story. (Anonymity assured if you'd like.) Similarly, if you work at a hotel in Boston and want to share how your property handled the crisis and the chaos, please let us know!
[Photo: Dan Suslavich/Facebook]
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A terrible scene unfolded at the Boston Marathon today after explosions were reported near the finish line, injuring multiple people. The news is ricocheting all over social media (as of 3:26pm) including FourSquare founder Dennis Crowley who is tweeting from mile 26 but there is not much to go on right now as to why this happened and exactly how many people were injured.
We did, however, see a tweet from @AmelieBenjamin a sports writer for the Boston Globe which said the media hotel is on lockdown. That would be the Fairmont Copley Plaza which is on St. James just a few blocks from the finish line and the explosions. Benjamin tweeted that no one is allowed to leave and reporters are stuck in a hotel ballroom watching news coverage of a scene that's unfolding a block away from them.
The Fairmont has also updated its Twitter feed with the following message: "Explosions reported on Boylston Street. Only hotel guests and colleagues allowed into the building at this time." We've also seen a tweet saying the Lenox Hotel was being evacuated as well.
We'll be updating this story as it unfolds but keep Boston in your thoughts today.
UPDATE 4:08PM: CNN tweeted that indeed the Lenox Hotel has been evacuated. We're trying to track down more info. Also, a HotelChatter contributor is currently at The Ames Hotel where they are checking everyone's room numbers before they can get into the hotel. He says sirens are still going off around the area.
4:31pm: Time reporter Andrew Katz tweeted that another "device" had been found in front of the Mandarin Oriental hotel (Below.) Lots of hotels are reported to be on lockdown.
Boston scanner: "EMS is reporting another device" in front of Mandarin Hotel— Andrew Katz (@katz) April 15, 2013
4:52pm: The Fairmont Copley has expanded their statement on Facebook:
An explosion was reported at the finish line of The Boston Marathon, two blocks away from the hotel. At this time, only guests and colleagues are being allowed into the hotel, and per the direction of the Boston Police those already in the building are encouraged to stay inside. The St. James Room has been set up for people to relax and get in touch with loved ones. All hotel colleagues are safe and our thoughts are with those affected by this tragic incident.
5:01pm: Conde Nast Traveler just ran this update with statements from New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo about "stepping up security." CNT also reports that NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said security at hotels and other "prominent locations" was also being increased.
5:14pm: The Lenox Hotel have tweeted a statement. Does not give details about evacuation but they are doing ok.
Thank you for the outpouring support and well wishes. It is times like these that unite a community and bring us together.— The Lenox Hotel (@LenoxHotel) April 15, 2013
5:27pm: USA Today Hotel reporter Barb DeLollis tweeted that many Boston hotels are no longer taking reservations.
Some Boston hotels tell me they've stopped taking reservations.Stay tuned for my story later. Email me with tips: firstname.lastname@example.org— barbara delollis (@barbdelollis) April 15, 2013
The blasts killed two people and wounded more than two dozen, according to the NY Times.
6:35pm: The Mandarin Oriental has tweeted back at us saying everyone at their property is ok.
Meanwhile, President Obama addressed the nation saying, ""We still do not know who did this or why, but make no mistake, we will get to the bottom of this, and we will find out who did this, we'll find out why they did this."
6:53pm: Guests are still unable to return to the Lenox Hotel which is across the street from where one of the devices exploded. Many of the guests are leaving questions about their rooms on the hotel's Facebook page but the hotel tweeted these statements this evening. It looks like their Twitter feed to go for more updated info.
We will be updating everyone every 2 hours and appreciate everyone's understanding and patience during this horrific time.— The Lenox Hotel (@LenoxHotel) April 15, 2013
To all of our guests asking about when they can return, luggage or future stays- We will let you know as soon as we know.— The Lenox Hotel (@LenoxHotel) April 15, 2013
7:14pm Just found this Twitpic from @LeahBoston who snapped it while at the Mandarin Oriental Boston a few hours before the explosions.
8:01pm: We've confirmed that the Mandarin Oriental was evacuated as a precaution. A third device had been found outside the hotel. We will update when we hear when guests can return to their rooms.
Last week was not a good week for New York hotels and now it looks like the bad luck has shifted to Chicago after a 22-year-old woman was found killed in her hotel room at the Whitehall Hotel in the city's Gold Coast neighborhood.
The victim was found dead yesterday morning with a gunshot wound to her head. The homicide investigation is continuing but polices sources told the Chicago Sun-Times that the woman was arrested for prostitution just five days earlier. She also had a prior prostitution arrest in Texas back in April.
While murders and other horrifying deaths happen in hotels somewhat frequently, it doesn't mean that hotel guests are totally cool with staying there afterwards. In this case, the Sun-Times found a couple who had booked a week-long anniversary stay at the Whitehall but who promptly turned around at check-in and left in search of a new place after learning about the murder.
Another family told the Sun-Times they were thankful they were checking out the next day, after having dealt with police taking over the seventh floor for the investigation. We take that to mean the Whitehall wasn't issuing any refunds for the disruption. And that's actually a very common practice.
This is just the kind of awful news you don't want to wake up to on any morning let alone a Halloween Monday morning--a US Airways flight attendant was found dead in his hotel room at the Mexico City Airport Hilton.
The AP reports that Phoenix-based crew member Nick Aaronson, 33, was found early Saturday morning naked in his hotel bed with his hands tied behind his back. His body showed signs of a beating and the Daily Mail reported his luggage was scattered throughout the room. Mexico City police are investigating the incident, which they are treating as a homicide and there have been reports that Aaronson's mother said an arrest has already been made.
Meanwhile, AFA 66 flight attendants' union put a statement on their website saying they did not believe a security breach had happened yet they have moved their crews to another hotel for layovers until the matter is resolved.
Yesterday's tragic death at the Soho House may turn into a homicide investigation.
The NY Times reports that the dead woman found in an overflowing bathtub in room 20 was Soho House member and swimsuit designer, Sylvie Cachay. She had checked in with her boyfriend, Nicholas Brooks, just after midnight. The hotel was later alerted that water was leaking from room 20 into the room below it at around 3am.
Brooks is still being questioned by police and the NY Post reports that the duo were fighting when they checked into the hotel.
Cachay and Brooks arrived together at the Soho House at around 12:30 a.m. Sources said Cachay accused her beau of accidentally setting fire earlier in the night to her West 10th Street apartment by leaving lit candles behind her bed. "He's a stoner," she told the front-desk clerk, according to police. "He's always stoned. Who puts candles behind the bed?"