Tag: HotelChatter InterviewsView All Tags
Hotel Booking Apps / HotelTonight / HotelChatter Interviews / Europe Hotels / Budget Hotels / Hotel Deals / Hotel News / Sam Shank / → All Tags
We mean "tomorrow" as in the future.
"Back where it all began." HotelTonight founder and CEO Sam Shank reflects for a moment, and takes a bite of a kettle-cooked potato chip.
We're chilling at the bar in the far back of the bustling lobby of The Ace, where, in late 2010, Shank launched HotelTonight and which now inspires the interior design of the HT headquarters on the other side of the country.
Has it already been more than two years?! HT still seems like the hot new thing, though they've grown to a staff of over 80 and now support 5 languages and 6 currencies for properties on sale in 12 countries. Their most recent "big news" came only last week, as they welcomed hotels in Rome, Florence, Madrid and Barcelona to the app and showed off their snazzy SF digs in a episode of TechCrunch's TC Cribs. Heck, you know we're already fans; last week we booked three nights in two countries using HotelTonight.
Keeping with our series of bending the ear of our favorite barkeeps, we recently had the opportunity to find out what bartender, Nicholas James, from Stingray Lounge at QT Gold Coast in Surfers Paradise thinks about the industry's preferred poisons.
HotelChatter: How many years have you been in the industry and time at Stingray?
Nicholas James: 5 years in the industry, and coming up to nearly one year at Stingray.
HC: What type of formal training do you have?
NJ: I have studied and worked alongside some of Australia’s most recognized and award winning industry professionals in and around Sydney’s small bars, pubs and restaurants.
HC: With such an extensive list of creative cocktails, what is your least favorite to make; the one you go 'really? I have to make that?' but still do it with a smile?
We recently saddled up to Cava 15 at the Trump Ocean Club in Panama. While sipping on a (what else?) Panama beer, we struck up a conversation with the bartender, who went by Jack the Ripper. Out chat went something like this…
HotelChatter: So, being a hotel bartender and all, we're guessing you like to drink?
Jack the Ripper: Yes, but I don't like to overdo it. I only drink to enjoy.
HC: That's very wise. When did you decide that?
JTR: Well, I used to work on cruise ships, quite far from Panama, far from my country. I'd be gone eight months at a time, and when I came home, I discovered that after two or three drinks, I didn't want anymore. My body rejected it, you know? So I said, 'No more. I feel disgusting, I feel heavy.' Two or three drinks, and that's it.
HC: Which cruise line did you work for?
JTR: Costa. It's an Italian cruise line
HC: Isn't that the one that capsized near Tuscany last year?
Continue reading after the jump!
HotelChatter Interviews / Edition Hotels / Ian Schrager / Ben Pundole / London Hotels / Hotel Openings / Hotel Brands / → All Tags
But what about the actual Edition brand as a whole? In the four years since it was first announced, we've only gotten to see two properties: the Edition Istanbul, and the now ex-Edition Modern Honolulu. And we have it on good authority that Edition London is being hailed as the brand's big re-launch, rather than just hotel number three.
Whose authority, you ask? Why, Edition's new VP of Brand Experience, Ben Pundole. (If that name sounds familiar, then you're right: Pundole was one of the original founders of King & Grove Hotels, though he left the company in June. Now, he works full time for Edition Hotels under the man himself, Ian Schrager).
Read on to hear from Pundole himself about Edition's new direction!
Celebrity Scoop / HotelChatter Interviews / Ben Folds Five / Starwood Hotels / SPG / Westin Hotels / Hotel Openings / Hotel Music / Hotel Parties / Manhattan Hotels / Motels / Red Roof Inns / Howard Johnson Hotels / London Hotels / → All Tags
About a dozen Westin heavenly beds were hauled up to the hotel's third floor ballroom, where select SPG members got cozy and settled in for a private performance by indie trio Ben Folds Five. It's not every day you get to watch a live concert in bed!
But that wasn't the only exciting thing about the grand opening. Earlier in the day, HotelChatter got to sit down for an exclusive interview with the band and quiz them on their early days in the 90s as motel-hopping road warriors. Sure enough, they had plenty of stories to share...
HotelChatter: When you guys were just starting out and traveling to different cities each night, what was it like? Where would you stay?
Ben Folds: The Knight's Inn. Usually, one of us would book the room as if it was just for one person, and the others would hide out in the van and wait. The reason being, if there was more than one of us, the price would go up. So then we'd get into the room; someone would share a bed, I usually blew up a mattress and slept on the floor.
HC:: And how much did you have to pay?
BF: $39.95 usually. We would use whatever cash we'd gotten from the night before.
Historic Hotels / HotelChatter Interviews / Hotel Restaurants / Sheraton Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / DSK / Hotel Breakfast / → All Tags
Back in May, our resident hotel archivist JetSetCD posted scans of the very 1960s-looking Hotel Americana, which these days we all know as the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers. And while plenty about the hotel has changed over the years, one thing that's remained constant is a particular server that's worked for the hotel since it opened in 1962.
Tilla Soeder came to the US from Germany in 1959 when she was 21 years old, and, on the advice from her aunt and uncle's neighbor, she applied for a job as a server at the soon-to-open Americana Hotel. The rest, as they say, is history...
HotelChatter: Do you still work here?
Tilla: I still work here. But right now I'm on sick leave, unfortunately.
HC: What is your favorite part about working here?
Tilla: My favorite part is the atmosphere, the connections we make with guests; it's just a big family. Yes, things get hectic, but that comes with the job. At least we don't get bored!
HC: How different was the hotel back in the 1950s?
Tilla: When I came, we had the Colombian Coffee House downstairs. That was such a popular restaurant, we seated 350 people each day. People would be waiting on the stairs when we opened in the morning: the line never stopped!
HC: Who used to have breakfast there?
Tilla: Business men would come and have breakfast down there because we had a public announcement system. They'd show up, put their name down, and every other second you would hear, for example, "Mr. Goldstein, would you come to the desk, please?" They just wanted to get their name called out in public—the business men loved it!
For more of the interview, read on below!
Celebrity Scoop / Jon Hodgman / Historical Hotels / Hotel Renovations / HotelChatter Interviews / Manhattan Hotels / Autograph Collection / → All Tags
Who is Jon Hodgman? Well, aside from being an actor, author, humorist and the personification of a PC in the Mac vs PC commercials, Jon is also a bit of a hotel aficionado. This we found out recently, during a lengthy chat with the man at the reopening party for NYC's historic Algonquin Hotel.
Hodgman, pictured here with SNL alum and fellow Penguin-published author Rachel Dratch (whom we interviewed yesterday), carefully considers his words before speaking. As a result, Hodgman's thoughts come slowly but deliberately; he is erudite and perfectly quotable. Nonetheless, there is one question for which he has a short, direct answer: does he have any qualities he specifically looks for in a hotel?
"I do. Is it the Chateau Marmont?"
Celebrity Scoop / Rachel Dratch / Historical Hotels / Hotel Renovations / HotelChatter Interviews / Manhattan Hotels / Autograph Collection / → All Tags
Jon Hodgman and Rachel Dratch at The Algonquin last night
Tear your eyes away from this oddly creepy image of Jon Hodgman for a moment, and refocus instead to the right, where comedian and actress Rachel Dratch perches with a tiny smile. What was Rachel Dratch, of SNL and 30 Rock fame (and more), doing hanging out last night with bespectacled literary types in the lobby of the newly renovated and reopened Algonquin Hotel? Well, Rachel has a book on the shelf as wellGirl Walks Into a Barand though she nearly tells all in the memoir, we decided to delve a little deeper.
Oh yes, we're talking finding out the deepest, most secret and personal aspects of Rachel Dratch's life: her hotel preferences.
Concierge Interviews / Hotel Concierges / Manhattan Hotels / Hotel Amenities / HotelChatter Interviews / → All Tags
The Sanctuary Hotel S.T.A.R. Experience Manager, Brandon McMillen
Have you ever flirted with a hotel concierge? In our series, Concierge Interviews, HotelChatter goes behind the Front Desk and gets chummy with the men—and women—whose job it is to never say no. Filmed inside various lobbies, courtyards, and bar lounges, each video will offer a glimpse into the world of hotels from the people who know them best. Got a burning question you'd like us to ask? Or have someone in mind for us to interview? Email us your requests!
Today, we've got an exclusive chat with one of The Sanctuary Hotel's concierges—or as they call them, "S.T.A.R. Experience Managers," a team of individuals who are in touch with guests from the moment they actually book their room. From schmoozing during breakfast to helping guests check off everything on their NYC to do lists, the S.T.A.R. experience is like having your own personal, human Siri. Minus all the witty comebacks.
HotelChatter Interviews / Hotel Toiletries / Lather / Loews Hotels / Canyon Ranch Hotels / Wynn / Encore / Borgata / → All Tags
You already know how much we love stashing LATHER toiletries into our bag whenever we encounter them. But how exactly did those delicious-smelling formulas wind up in hotels in the first place? We talked to LATHER founder and president Emilie Hoyt to find out.
HC: When did LATHER start working with hotels?
Emilie Hoyt: As they became familiar with our retail stores, hotels began reaching out to us in 2000, looking to offer a unique, authentic brand that could offer a cohesive guest experience through room, spa, and retail. We saw it as a great opportunity.
Hotel Chefs / Hotel Restaurants / Andaz Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / HotelChatter Interviews / → All Tags
The Andaz food scene has pretty much always been a source of pleasure for us. Whether we were plotting how to sneak those North Fork potato chips into our bag without anyone noticing, or salivating over cinnamon donuts at the Andaz Wall Street farmer's market—we generally know we're going to get well-fed.
When Andaz 5th Ave told us they were appointing a new Executive Chef, we were curious to learn a little more about the guy. So we asked Chef Vincent Muraco, who started in 1993 as Chef Tournant at Park Hyatt San Francisco, all the relevant questions, starting with:
HC: What is it that you love about cooking in hotels?
Chef Muraco: Hotels are really exciting for me because every day is different. There is so much going on in all the different outlets, it never gets boring or repetitive. I love to travel, and the travel benefits with Hyatt are great!
A HotelChatter Exclusive
Last we heard of Peck he was "out" at Cooper Square and that his partnership with developer, and old high school friend, Matt Moss had crumbled. But Peck tried to set the record straight for this week, affirming that he is definitely part of the Cooper Square project.
"Matt and I are completely together on this project," Peck said. "We will be there to present it when it opens, and we'll do everything we can to make it successful. We're equal partners. Of course on a day to day basis, we'll be doing different things because we have different skills."
Despite the glimpses of a struggle in the Peck-Moss relationship that we noticed, Cooper Square is rapidly rising and we were anxious to find out the details of what's expected inside for hotel guests. Thus, much of our time was spent quizzing Peck about the amenities, services and public spaces of this upcoming hotel.
The details after the jump.