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"Traditional luxury belongs to the past." This is the epiphany that led Serge Dive and Sarah Ball (both of travel media company Beyond Luxury) to launch a trade show that would shake up the luxury travel market. Their vision for LE Miami was that it would be ‘more than just a trade show;’ an annual forum that would "literally define the contemporary travel industry ... your year-round source for the contemporary travel evolution."
The show's inaugural event took place over four days in June. In between the awards, the parties and the meetings, a couple of key events stood out: the "Ministry of Ideas," which featured speakers including Seth Godin and Ian Schrager talking on the theme 'Be Creative, Create', "and the Leadership Lab a conversation between 11 key influencers, including Claus Sendlinger of Design Hotels; Grupo Habita's Carlos Couturier, Priya Paul of Park Hotels and Ace Hotel president Brad Wilson, that discussed the topics bringing about the shift in luxury and the heightened influence of the "creative class. The results were recorded and you can now read the full report here.
Hotels have always used different methods for naming their properties--perhaps they were inspired by the view out the window, or wanted to convey a feeling the hotel will give guests or they want to use something practical like the hotel's address. And of course, some naming methods aren't very inspiring or practical. Hotels often take the last name of the owner and slap it on the building (Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, etc.)
But in the past decade, boutique and budget hotels have gone much the same way of nightclubs and restaurants by using only one word to name their property. Ace, Andaz, Edition, Aloft, Element, Public, Tune, Mondrian, Indigo, Even, etc. And now we're noticing another new trend amongst boutique hotels--manly names. Case in point:
· The Roger in NYC, complete with a bow tie logo and shaving essentials in the toiletry kits.
· The Godfrey (opening in Chicago next year)
· The William (opening in NYC soon)
· The Archer (opening in NYC early next year)
· The Marlton in NYC
̭ The Alexander in Indianapolis
· Tomie Hotels (the new spin-off brand to Thompson Hotels)
Know of more manly hotel names that are en vogue for hotels? Contribute them in comments below!
One thing we've noticed over the past few years of travel is how the hotel bathroom is becoming more and more like a mini-spa at certain locations, going beyond the white bar of soap and terse wash rags to offer plush amenities, such as spa benches in the shower and fancy designer toiletries.
And it's not just about soap and cream. Bathrobes, flowers, candles, rainshowers, jacuzzi tubs, televisons... we've seen the whole deal, and guess what? We like it! Hell, we even know that it is possible to create a steam room/shower combination, so the sky is the limit. In our mind, a "personal spa" is a great way for hotels without spas to gain some ground on those that have in-house spa facilities.
Obviously, we don't expect this type of treatment from Motel 6, but would it be wrong to suggest that most mid-range to luxury hotels should focus on making the bathroom more than just a place to brush your teeth? Even business travelers would probably appreciate it after a long day of meetings, no?
If you're feeling a little, um, gross after last week's Hotel Cocktail Week, we've got just the remedy for you--juicing..
Yes, juicing is the latest health craze and these Los Angeles hotels are already on top of it. Here's where you can cleanse out your system from last night's binge.
· Greens 2 – Kale, spinach, romaine, Parsley, Cucumber, Celery, Apple and Lemon
· Roots 3 – Beet, apple, lemon and ginger
· Roots 4 – Carrot, Apple and ginger
· Citrus 4 – Cucumber, Pineapple, Lemon, Coconut water, and Aloe vera
· Watermelon Mint
· 8 oz Almond Vanilla milk
MONDRIAN WEST HOLLYWOOD: The chic Sunset hotel has introduced a new Grab N Go menu with freshly squeezed juices on it like the Caribbean Zinger, made with carrot, orange, lemon and ginger. The menu is also serving smoothies like the Singapore Burst made with fresh whole berries, banana, almond nut milk, and a little agave nectar. Juices cost $9 while smoothies are $12 and can be ordered from the new lobby bar or from room service.
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As the grand finale to cocktail week here's a round-up of some of the nifty things we see going on in the world of hotel bars and bevvies. What do you see goin’ on out there? Let us know!
A salad in every sip: Complementing the trend we told you about in our What’s Out, What’s In column where the drink IS the meal, we’re finding that crafty mixologists are making our drinks a wee bit healthier and sneaking veggies into them to make sure that we’re getting all of our daily recommended vitamins.
Splashes at Surf and Sand Resort in Laguna Beach has a VegGin’ on the Rocks made with Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin, agave nectar (which is said to have a low glycemic index, BTW, which means your blood sugar won’t spike), lime juice, and baby arugula–-all muddled together and topped with house made soda water. You can really taste the goodness.
The Fairmont Chicago’s Green Goose Cocktail features a trio of super foods: kale, celery and granny smith apples. The juiced greens are mixed with Grey Goose, fresh lime juice, chartreuse, and simple syrup for a nutrient-filled flavor explosion.
The appropriately-named Salad Cocktail from the Shangri-La Hotel Toronto is a heart-healthy concoction of juiced celery, spinach, beet, apple and pear combined with 1.5 oz of gin. To top it off, it’s garnished with sherry vinaigrette soaked raspberries and sous vide beets and crisp romaine leaves. We’re getting into the realm of “drink as dinner” with this one.
At Caesars Entertainment Resorts and Casinos in Atlantic City you can find the savoury Red Pepper Margarita–-a mix of red pepper juice, jalapeno rings, five-spice simple syrup and tequila with a smoked salt rimmed glass. Next trend below!
Renovations and openings are always fun to follow when it comes to the hotel industry, but it's the hotel news in regards to policies, trends, offerings and services that have the lasting impact beyond basic eye candy. This summer, we've seen some surprising changes begin to take place, the culmination of a few years of consumer feedback brewing behind the scenes.
The industry was shocked when properties in New York announced they would discontinue room service, and the idea of doing away with overpriced mini bars has been met with mixed emotions. We’ve also seen hotels begin to entertain the idea of 24-hour stays, allowing guests a full day’s access to the room from the time they check in.
Like packing before a trip, dismantling your suitcase upon arrival at the hotel is a mixed bag of emotions. On one hand, it's exciting. On the other, it's a pain in the ass and delays the start of your vacation. Which is exactly why it's becoming less common. When we dished about how the hotel rooms of the future might change, the usefulness of a closet was one of the first things called into question.
But what would you say if we told you someone could take care of it for you? That someone unpacking and re-packing your bags was a perk of the hotel? This isn't a mainstream concept (yet?), but we do find it offered at upscale hotels from time to time. We must admit: it seems foreign to us. Do luxury travelers really let someone else unpack and pack their bags?
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While Marriott Hotels is hiring their own teen concierges, one hotel in Scotland is offering hotel rooms, especially for teens.
As everyone can probably remember, traveling with your family as a teenager was an interesting experience. If you're anything like this contributor, you loved traveling and all the things that came along with a parentally-funded vacation, except maybe having to bunk up with them in the same room for a couple days. By the time you're 13, sharing a bed with your 8-year-old sister has long lost whatever shine it could have possibly once had.
Well, the Glenagles Hotel in Scotland is wondering if it just might have found the solution to appease such troubled teens with their new concept of "teen rooms" -- rooms designed to accommodate a teenager traveling with this family.
The hotel said that they have launched the teen rooms in response to the steady stream of teen-oriented families that frequent the hotel. The room are "separate but near" the parent's room and are hooked up with the latest teen technology, including Playstations, iPod docks, etc. As you can see in the photo below, they don't look like anything flashy, just a simple "attic-like" space for the teens to crawl into.
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What's the likelihood that you haven't heard the word "cronut" like every day it seems for the past two months? We have and finally had to figure out just what in fresh hell did it mean. Every reference seemed to accompany photos of people waiting in extraordinary lines forming at dawn (with some folks sleeping on the ground) waiting for…something. Well, that something is apparently the newest pastry sensation to hit this side of the Atlantic. The "cronut" is a cross between a donut and a croissant and was invented by New York pastry shop owner Dominique Ansel.
Sugar freaks went wild over the things and soon Ansel found himself with a cult following, so he quickly trademarked the name and began serving just 300 of the delicacies a day to the masses. Hence the crazy lines for a treat that changes flavor each month. Coming up in August? It's a toss up between coconut and passion fruit. Mr. Ansel hasn't made up his mind, yet.
Naturally copycats came out the woodwork, but found they couldn't exactly use the word "cronut". But that didn't stop them from capitalizing on the concept. Now there's "doughssants" at the West Town Bakery in Chicago's Acme Hotel. Chris Teixeira, owner of the bakery and former pastry chef de partie at Sixteen at Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago, began making his pastries just a few weeks ago with a few flavors, chocolate-raspberry, blueberry-lavender and coffee-cream cheese and he has plans to roll out more blends. They cost just $3.50 each, compared to the $5 New York cronut.
But like everything else, eventually a bit of a pastry war started, with other chefs challenging the cronut creator! So who's got the best baked good now?
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A few weeks ago, we visited the southern-most beach town of the Jersey Shore, Cape May, located at Exit Zero of the Garden State Parkway. Unfortunately, the words “Jersey Shore” have been heavily tainted in recent years, so we must first ask that you get all that bad imagery out of your head.
Cape May is far from the obnoxious Jersey boardwalk scene you’ve seen on television. It boasts great seafood, raw bars, wineries, campgrounds, beach bars, and the second-highest concentration of Victorian buildings behind only San Francisco – most of which house bed and breakfasts.
During our visit, we spent the night at the Blue Rose Inn, one of the newest B & Bs in town. We chose them not only because they recently opened at the beginning of the summer season, but because they are putting a new spin on the B & B concept, one we think other future inn owners might want to consider.
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What’s Out: Chocolates on your pillow
What’s In: Over the top, fun and experiential turn-down services
Everyone loves coming back to their room after a nice dinner out to find that little chocolate sitting on their pillow, right? If you like that, though, you’re going to love this. Some hotels are going out of their way to make sure that you have really sweet dreams with these OTT nighty-night rituals.
Hotel Vermont offers a special “bedtime menu” that includes such delights as a selection of Vermont flannel pyjamas to snuggle up in on a brisk night, local Lunaroma aromatherapy products from which you can choose, a Vermont teddy bear (your choice of six) to sleep with or take home, a selection of bedtime stories for the little ones, a locally-inspired Hot Toddy selection, and 10-15 minute in-room meditation sessions via TV or download.
In Fairmont Gold rooms at Boston’s Fairmont Battery Wharf, you get a message in a bottle with top things to do in Boston during that particular time of the year.
Four Points by Sheraton Los Angeles International Airport is more than an ordinary airport hotel. It’s known by some to be the original beer hotel and has an enormous beer selection featuring over 100 beers, a poolside bar dedicated solely to local beers, monthly beer appreciation nights and it even has a Beer Advisory Board and a Director of Brewer Relations. If all of that beer surrounding you has made you thirsty for more, you can order a Beer Club Package that includes stocking the in-room mini fridge with your choice of three of your favorite beers and a nightly beer turndown with souvenir glass.
Three more hotels with bedtime treats follow!
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And we thought the mere possibility of hotels using our internet connections to advertise was scary. It could be way more offensive than that. Imagine waking up in the morning to brush your teeth and an ad greets you from that bathroom mirror? According to Arthur Frommer Online, that's what happened to one guest at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites in downtown Los Angeles. Frommer editor Jason Cochran writes;
L.A. is currently hosting E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, a huge trade conference in which all the major gaming systems jockey for attention. Apparently Microsoft's XBox thought it would pay Starwood Hotels' Westin to make sure its ads couldn't possibly be missed by its guests — and Westin agreed to sell mirror space to advertisers.
Is this a frontier too far for a hotel chain? I'd say yes. Perhaps the hotels have forgotten that we already pay them for rooms. This week standard rooms at the Westin Bonaventure are going for $350.
We have to agree, especially when you're paying upwards of $300 for a room. It actually feels criminal.