Tag: HotelChatter 2013 Awards

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HotelChatter 2013 Awards Epilogue

December 31, 2013 at 5:07 PM | by | Comments (0)

Thanks for joining us on the last workday of 2013 for our 2013 HotelChatter Year-End Awards. A big, big shout-out to all the Hotel Mavens out there who have contributed to our site with their reviews, photos and comments this year. We couldn't have done it all without you. Keep it up in 2014!

As always, there are at least six ways you can contribute:

· Become a HotelChatter member and submit stories, releasing your inner travel writer
· Become a HotelChatter member to comment on stories and review hotels
· Send us snapshots of your favorite and least favorite hotels
· Shoot us an email tip.
· Follow us via various social mediums.

Now for your viewing enjoyment, here is our complete list of winners. We will be back in full effect on Wednesday to kick-off a brand new year of stories.

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People's Choice Award: The Quin Hotel

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 101 W. 57th Street [map], New York, NY, United States, 10019
December 31, 2013 at 4:02 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's that time of year again: the 2013 HotelChatter Awards! Today and tomorrow, we'll be showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to...

It was back in April 2012 when we learned that the old Buckingham Hotel on 57th and 6th, near Central Park, closed down to begin its transformation into The Quin. We followed the hotel's renovations every step of the way and apparently, you did too as The Quin was the hotel you most enjoyed reading about in 2013 (in other words, it was the most-trafficked hotel page.)

The hotel finally opened in November (after a few delays) but before it did, we gave you the lowdown on the Best Room to Book--the Premier Suite. Then we toured the hotel on opening day and peeped around some more guest rooms. We also coveted the items in the Bergdorf Goodman Vitrine in the lobby; an in-room menu of luxury items available to buy in the hotel from the famed department store.

While the spectacular 15-foot digital art wall went live a few days after opening, we're still waiting on The Quin's restaurant--The Wayfarer, which is promising a "fresh seafood-focused menu in an inviting setting."

In the meantime, rates at The Quin start at $379 a night this weekend for a superior room with a king bed. That includes a Duxiana bed clad in Sferra linens, a Nespresso machine, Evolve Guest Controls for lighting, temperature and music, Fresh toiletries in the bathroom and Samsung LED HD televisions. Oh and free WiFi too. That's a real people pleaser right there.

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Hotelier of the Year: Play It Again, Sam Nazarian

December 31, 2013 at 3:02 PM | by | Comments (5)

It's that time of year again: the 2013 HotelChatter Awards! Today and tomorrow, we'll be showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to...

It was pretty clear from the start of 2013 that Sam Nazarian would win the Hotelier of the Year for the second year in a row.

When we gave Nazarian this distinction in 2012, we hinted that 2013 would be an even bigger year for him. And he didn't wait long.

In February, SLS Hotels not only announced the SLS Las Vegas would open in fall 2014 but they also announced a new SLS Hotel for Seattle. Then in March, SLS released plans for a second hotel for Miami in the Brickell neighborhood (this hotel would also have SLS-branded residences attached.) The company laid low for a few months but then put forth some major expansion plans in July by announcing their intent to take the SLS brand to China by 2015.

Yet things really heated up at the end of the year. SLS and its parent company, sbe (also founded by Nazarian) opened their second Redbury Hotel in Miami Beach, just in time for Art Basel. (Remember, they also run The Raleigh in Miami Beach too.) Then the day before Thanksgiving, they dropped the news that they would be spinning off their Hyde nightclub into a hotel brand called Hyde Hotels. Two locations are already in the works in South Florida. And lastly, just a few weeks ago, the SLS International Hotel in Philadelphia was officially announced.

Amidst all this, the original SLS Hotel in Los Angeles celebrated its 5th birthday.

2014 will obviously be a hugely important year for Nazarian (and SLS and Hyde and Redbury) as many of these announcements and developments finally come to fruition (VEGAS BABY.) But will there be even more up Nazarian's sleeve in 2014? We kinda think it must be getting crowded up there but we guess, make hay while the sun shines. This hotel boom clearly won't last forever.

More importantly, will we see a three-peat next year? Possibly, but if Sir Richard Branson and his Virgin Hotels finally gets going and if Ian Schrager ramps up the Public Hotels expansion, that could make this race interesting.

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Best List of 2013: The Master List of Worldwide Hotel Openings

December 31, 2013 at 2:02 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's that time of year again: the 2013 HotelChatter Awards! Today and tomorrow, we'll be showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to...

You may have noticed that Lists are kind of a big deal on the internet. Apparently, humans are only able to linger on a web page process information if it comes in a list format anchored by giant photos. And the more inane the topic, the more people will want to read it.

Admittedly, we love lists here at HotelChatter because there are so many you can write about the hotel experience. Yet we like to keep our lists relevant for hotel guests and filled with actual useful tips. So it's no surprise here that Master List of Worldwide Hotel Openings was the most popular HotelChatter list of 2013. (Stay tuned for 2014's list coming soon!)

Following that was the entertaining 10 Things Everyone Does in a Hotel Room But Won't Admit list. (Ok, that one wasn't so much informative but we bet it made you feel good knowing you weren't the only one who walks around naked in your hotel room while eating a $4 Snickers bar.) Other top lists of the year were 13 Things You Wish Didn't Happen in Hotel Rooms (But They Do), 5 Wedding Elopement Packages For Low-Key Couples, Some Helpful Advice: What NOT To Do in a Hotel, and 5 Hotel Booking Sites You Should Know About and Use. (See? Keeping it useful.)

We'll be rolling out some more lists in 2014 but don't worry, we won't be turning HotelChatter into a site full of nothing but random lists. After all, that wouldn't go well. Would it?

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Best Hotel Scene of 2013: Philadelphia (Yes, Philadelphia)

December 31, 2013 at 1:12 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's that time of year again: the 2013 HotelChatter Awards! Today and tomorrow, we'll be showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to...

With so much great hotel news to choose from, narrowing the entire year down to one city was by no means easy. The Big Apple is forever in the running with all its hotel activity year in and year out, and Denver made an awful lot of noise out west as this year came to a close, projecting large growth and several big projects for 2014. And we can't forget London and Paris too where there were not just new hotels opening, but plenty of renovations (several of which will be revealed next year.) Even Down Under in Sydney we saw a bit more activity than we have in past years.

But this year's shocking big winner is Philadelphia. The city's hotel scene sometimes gets lost in the mix behind busier cities like New York and Chicago, but Philly has really impressed us from all angles this year, from its line of luxury hotels (that all sport iconic views) to the way it spruced up Old City with a Kimpton property that overlooks the Liberty Bell.

While the newly-opened Rad Blu lived up to the hype, we are most pleased with how the city's plans are falling into place on a whole, and we feel it is now reaping the rewards of its good decisions the past two years.

We really applaud the work being done in the City of Brotherly Love, and look forward to another big year in 2014 as plans for two new Center City Starwood hotels and an SLS are already underway.

[Photo: Visit Philly]

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Best New Hotel Service of 2013: 24-Hour Hotel Stays

December 31, 2013 at 11:02 AM | by | Comments (2)

The Clarendon Hotel in Phoenix which is now offering 24-hour hotel stays.

It's that time of year again: the 2013 HotelChatter Awards! Today and tomorrow, we'll be showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to...

2013 was an extremely confrontational year as a changing consumer preference clashed head on with traditional hotel services, and what came out of the scrum was a realization that service amenities such as minibars and in-room dining were no longer high amongst travelers' priorities. It showed a changing mentality on a larger scale: We value practical amenities, too.

Nothing proved that more than the emergence of 24-hour hotel stays over the past year. Granted, it was rolled out with a separate cost over the normal room rate, but it allowed guests to rent the room for a full 24-hours, not simply 3 p.m. to 11 a.m. If you checked in at 3 p.m., the room was yours until the same time the following day.

The extra hours were nice, but we were most happy about the fact that if we checked in late, at say, 7 p.m., we didn't have to be out the next day by 11 a.m. -- we had it until 7 p.m. the next night. That's an incredible increase in flexibility and a good bang for your buck, considering you are losing value by checking in late with the traditional policies.

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Best Hotel Renovation of 2013: The Four Seasons Las Vegas

December 31, 2013 at 10:10 AM | by | Comments (0)

It's that time of year again: the 2013 HotelChatter Awards! Today and tomorrow, we'll be showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to...

What's the next best thing after new hotels? Newly renovated hotels! And in 2013, we saw so many hotels getting drastic new looks. So many, it was kinda hard to choose one winner.

For instance, the Novotel Times Square which went from 80s decor to a super cool futuristic style. Across the pond in London, Rosewood Hotels transformed the old Chancery Court Hotel into a dazzling design hotel with an elegant Mirror Room where the ceiling is made entirely of mirrors. Down in Florida, the Loews Portofino Bay upgraded their look from an average-looking hotel room with depressing dark wood furniture to a posh neutral palette with luxe furnishings we'd like for our own home, especially the carpeting. (And how often do we say that about a hotel room?) You can even watch the transformation from dud to stud in a cool time-lapse video put out by the hotel.

But out in Vegas, we thought the transformation at Four Seasons (inside Mandalay Bay) was the most impressive (Just FYI: The renovations were completed in December 2012.) The rooms went from 80s gold-digger lover with sparse furnishings to glamorous Art Deco habitations, each with dozens of decor accents like eye-catching artwork, giant wall mirrors, detailed patterns and plush seating. Don't believe us? This is how the rooms used to look. Egads!

Feel like getting lucky in Vegas at the Four Seasons? Rates start at $234 a night this weekend. And don't forget, the hottest hotel chef in the world is downstairs!

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2013's Most Provocative OpenThread: Can an Unfriendly Waiter Ruin Your Stay?

December 31, 2013 at 9:11 AM | by | Comment (1)

It's that time of year again: the 2013 HotelChatter Awards! Today and tomorrow, we'll be showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to...

OpenThreads are our way of handing over the microphone to you dear readers. We put forth a topic, a dilemma, a question, a preference, or an opinion and you let us know how you really feel.

Past provocative OpenThread discussions have usually involved something found inside the guest rooms (toiletry dispensers, bibles, tipping the housekeeper, etc. but this year's thread involved the waiters and waitresses working downstairs in the hotel restaurant.

Here's how it all went down for ASchecter in a Brooklyn hotel:

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Best Celebrity Performance: Amanda Bynes

December 30, 2013 at 3:17 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's that time of year again: the 2013 HotelChatter Awards! Today and tomorrow, we'll be showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to...

Before we get into this award, the good news here is that Amanda Bynes is doing way better than she was back in July when she trashed a room at the Ritz-Carlton Central Park. Still, the damage that she did to the suite was commendable, by Charlie Sheen standards.

According to TMZ, Bynes was mean to hotel staff (she told one employee she was "too ugly"), smoked way too much weed, littered the room with bottles of Diet Coke, destroyed the desk by rolling joints on it and disgraced the bathroom with crazy amounts of face and make-up products. To top it all off, she disabled a smoke detector. Her total hotel bill was about $9,000 for nine days but she probably paid an additional amount for all this damage. Eventually, the hotel kicked her out and not long after that, Bynes fled to California and was placed in a 5150 psychiatric hold after she set a fire in someone's driveway and doused her dog with gasoline. Ay.

Bynes also had some other memorable hotel moments this year--hot-tubbing with a wig on at the Revel Resort in Atlantic City and going pants-less at the W Times Square. Fortunately for all luxury hotel employees everywhere, these crazy escapades of hers have finally come to an end.

Other notable celeb performances? DMX streaking a Detroit hotel, Sean Penn throwing a lobby tantrum and Angelina Jolie booking Jen Aniston's favorite Sunset Tower suite. But we won't even mention the pop star whose last name rhymes with "cleaver."

That concludes Day 1 of the HotelChatter 2013 Awards! Stay tuned tomorrow for more, including Best Hotel Scene, Best New Service and Hotelier of the Year!

[Photo composite: HotelChatter; Ritz-Carlton Photo: Flickr]

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Worst Anti-View: It's a Tie

December 30, 2013 at 2:02 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's that time of year again: the 2013 HotelChatter Awards! Today and tomorrow, we'll be showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to...

Usually, picking the year's Anti-View "winner" is not that hard. The room's view is so clearly awful, that it stands out amongst the rest. But this year, we had a tough time deciding which was worse, so we called it a tie. Here are the views that have us so torn (and also so relieved we don't have to revisit them in person):

At Caesars in Atlantic City, we were given this room in the Temple Tower which had a lone window that looked out over the casino hotel's lobby and atrium. Worse, we had to keep the shade down while we were getting dressed as other rooms across the way could totally see into our room. We also had to keep the shade down at night if we wanted a decent sleep which left us a little disoriented when we woke up at 9am and it was pitch-black. Meanwhile, rooms across the hall had real views with sunlight and everything.

Down in Miami at The Surfcomber, we were impressed with everything at the hotel, from the last-minute wallet-friendly room rate to the morning iced coffee and the friendly service from the staff. But our room had this depressing anti-view. Here we are just steps from the beach, and we're looking out onto another building. Then again, this room will let the sunshine in (barely, but it's something.)

And that's why we couldn't decide which was worse--a room view of an atrium with absolutely no sunlight or privacy but lots of people-watching or a room view of the building next door with some sunlight and some privacy? Tell us which view you think is the worst in comments below!

[Photos: Juliana for HotelChatter]

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Best Killer View: Fiji's Tokoriki Island Resort

December 30, 2013 at 1:07 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's that time of year again: the 2013 HotelChatter Awards! Today and tomorrow, we'll be showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to...

2013 was kind of strange year. There was some good, quite a bit of bad, and a lot of just plain weird stuff happening (globally and personally.) Which is why when we were flipping through the year's Killer Views, we found ourselves drawn to the views that were far, far, away. Like this one and this one.

But it was Jetflyboy's shot from the Tokoriki Island Resort in Fiji that had us saying the popular phrase--"I want to go to there."

You can read Jetflyboy's full report on Tokoriki Island Resort here or you can just drool over more of his photos from the resort below. Say it all together now, "We want to go to there."

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Worst Hotel Hell: A Rat In The Room

December 30, 2013 at 12:02 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's that time of year again: the 2013 HotelChatter Awards! Today and tomorrow, we'll be showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to...

Really, if you've found any of the 13 things of this list in your hotel room this year, then they could be a contender for the Worst Hotel Hell award. Yet, we forgot to add "Vermin" to that list. More specifically, "Vermin who chew through your take-out box while you are sleeping." So when a reader submitted this story to us recently, we knew right away this was the winner.

Here's how it went down. The HC reader checked into a new hotel in NYC this past fall and went out to dinner. He took some food to-go, kept it on the dresser in his hotel room and awoke to this scene the next morning. In his own words, he wrote us:

Here is take out container from Cookshop the night before. Found it in the morning with a little hole in the container with shredded bits. Sadly no picture of the mouse. Saw this, packed up and left right away. Hoping that no rat poop in my open luggage set beside the table. Will have to check later.

Eeeee!

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