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HotelChatter Reviews / Europe Hotels / Budapest Hotels / Hotel Art / Art Hotels / Photo Gallery / → All Tags
While researching hotels in the Hungarian capital this past January, we came across the usual brands (InterContinental, Four Seasons, Autograph Collection). But amidst all the grand palaces and five-star spas, there was one small boutique hotel we simply couldn't pass over: the Casati Budapest Hotel.
The 25-room hotel is housed in an 18th century building in the center of the city, right near the Opera metro stop, making it perfect for tourists. In fact, the address is so central that, after arriving from the airport via taxi on our first night, we did most of our sightseeing on foot directly from the hotel.
But location and a cool name aren't all this hotel has to offer. You see, the rooms here are divided into four different themes, ranging from Classic to Cool to Natural to Heaven. Naturally, we chose 'Cool.'
When The Shore Hotel opened in Santa Monica, Calif. over a year ago, we were excited that (finally!) a new, hip and eco-friendly hotel had opened just a mere two blocks from the Santa Monica Pier along Ocean Avenue. But we were equally, maybe more, excited for the Blue Plate Taco restaurant to open adjacent to the hotel.
The taco joint would be the third restaurant from the Blue Plate people who also have well-reviewed Blue Plate Oysterette further north on Ocean Avenue as well as popular breakfast spot, Blue Plate Kitchen inland on Montana Avenue. It took a while, but BPT finally opened last Fall, giving hotel guests a fun spot to grab margaritas, ceviches chips and guac, grilled corn and of course tacos. And we finally got to hit up the spot on Saturday night.
Finally we conclude our several-week-long dilemma of where to stay in Madrid for just one night, for a first timer to the city. After settling on the Hotel de Las Letras based on your strong recommendations, we checked in (right behind another couple who had also been on our same flight from Istanbul!) and hunkered down.
We booked the lowest room category for 112 Euros, but adding 20-30 more would've bumped us up to a category with an ornate balcony overlooking the Gran Via. As it was February with near freezing temperatures, this would have been a waste. One night's stay, when we expected to spend much of the time out at museums and restaurants, doesn't call for much.
Photo Gallery / HotelChatter Reviews / Island Hotels / St. Maarten Hotels / Sonesta Hotels / All-Inclusive Hotels / Caribbean Hotels / → All Tags
For travelers who seek to scratch the Caribbean island of St. Maarten off their bucket list, and see the planes flying over the beach for which the island is most famous, there's only one hotel option. This is the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino, an all-inclusive property with the distinction of being the only large hotel within walking distance of Maho Beach; the other buildings around all all time-shares or private condos.
The Sonesta towers over the small town of Maho, and the 537-room property is one of the first things visitors see as their plane touches down to the tarmac at SXM, St. Maarten's Airport which sits just off of Maho. As it's all-inclusive, nightly rates during winter peak season aren't cheap ($450 is average), but having everything taken care of and being on Maho Beach is a huge perk to justify the rate. If you're just on St. Maarten for the excellent plane spotting, you wouldn't even need to rent a car; just take a taxi to the hotel and all necessities are within walking distance.
HotelChatter Reviews / Budapest Hotels / Hungary Hotels / Autograph Collection / Sweet Suites / → All Tags
A stone bust carved into the facade of Boscolo Budapest.
It used to be called the New York Palace, and its most famous venue is still the New York Cafe. Then it became the Boscolo Budapest. Then in 2011, Marriott swooped in and annexed it to their Autograph Collection. Call it what you will—it doesn't really matter because once you walk inside, you start to realize why so many people have been making a fuss about this place for years.
We checked into the Boscolo Budapest at the tail end of our mini-trek through Eastern Europe last month, and boy, was it a welcome respite. Immediately upon arrival (and we got there pretty early, around 11am), the staff were totally welcoming, not only allowing us up to our room ahead of normal check-in time, but also upgrading us to a Junior Suite on the fourth floor. Like always, we were planning to request an upgrade anyway (it was Budapest, in the middle of January, after all), but they were one step ahead of us!
Of course, we were dazzled by the atrium-style lobby, which is encircled by five floors of gleaming portico arches stacked on top of each other, leading all the way up to a glorious skylit roof. But more on that later. First, our initial room reaction...
So far, we've reviewed two of the hotels featured in our "6 Miami Hotels Under $200" guide. And while we enjoyed our time at Cadet Hotel slightly more than Clinton South Beach, we also got to take a look at the new Hampton Inn & Suites Miami Brickell, a simple but tasteful mid-range joint right in the heart of downtown Miami.
Hampton Inn & Suites officially opened in October 2011, but it's still making waves as the city's first LEED-certified hotel, and ranks pretty high on TripAdvisor. And though there about a billion eco-friendly reasons to like the hotel (35,000 gallon rainwater cistern, electric vehicle charging stations, low-flow water fixtures, biodegradable cups and plates), what we found most appealing was the hotel's cool art collection (see above) and its efficient use of space.
Check-in: The hotel is incredibly easy to get to. Though it's not recommended, we relied solely on public transportation getting there from Miami Airport, and we walked from the Brickell Metromover station to the hotel in two minutes.
After showing up around 7pm, the hotel was helpful, professional, and very welcoming. As usual, we made sure to request a high-up floor, and the Front Desk clerk offered room 1405, a Standard King near the top of the building. And after informing us about the complimentary breakfast the next morning (wahoo!), they handed over our key and sent us on our way.
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On a recent quickie trip through Miami, we checked into the Cadet Hotel in Miami Beach. Though our eyes got big as we walked by iconic buildings like the Delano, The Raleigh and SLS South Beach, we stuck to our original plan of doing Miami on a budget, and tried not to be tempted by anything fancy.
But as soon as we walked into our room, we knew we had made the right choice. The hotel was quiet, clean, and elegant. What's more, its location was unbeatable. Plenty of Miami first-timers will be drawn to all the landmark hotels listed above—not to mention the beach—but that's all super easy to get to from the Cadet, since the Collins Ave hub sits just one block away.
First impression: Walking into the hotel, we were greeted by a small lobby with obvious Art Deco accents like a giant circular mirror, baby grand piano, and an inlaid floor with a compass rose mosaic. A small liquor bar with espresso machine sat at one end of the room, and the Front Desk was at the other.
The staff was friendly, and even let us check into our room early—a huge help since we were running ahead of schedule and needed a place to drop our bags.
Read on to see the rest of the review!
Photo Gallery / HotelChatter Reviews / Cusco Hotels / Peru Hotels / Orient-Express Hotels / Historic Hotels / → All Tags
If you've made it as far as Cusco, Peru, chances are you want to feel like you're in Cusco, Peru. That's where the Hotel Monasterio comes into play, as it not only calls a well preserved 15th century monastery home (hence the name), but keeps the furnishings and food as locally sources as possible. It's not all so foreign, however; the toiletries are L'Occitane, the staff speaks excellent English and its membership in the Orient-Express Collection ensures a certain level of service.
Yesterday we showed you all around the property and made mention of the fact that it was the first Cusco hotel to introduce the option of oxygen enriching guest rooms to counter the effects of Cusco's high altitude. Luckily we didn't suffer from "soroche," or altitude sickness, and thus didn't need to add the additional service.
HotelChatter Reviews / Photo Gallery / Santiago Hotels / Boutique Hotels / Chile Hotels / → All Tags
Now that we've already shown you inside one of the Loft Rooms at The Aubrey, it's time to venture back downstairs to the guest lounges and out onto the patio for the restaurant, bar and pool. For having only 15 guest rooms, the amount of amenities may be surprising, but then the English-Australian owner has managed to make The Aubrey feel more like an expansive private home than a hotel with requisite extras.
For example, the complimentary afternoon tea time is not formal; table service is eliminated in favor of imparting the feeling that you're just grabbing a cup and some sweets from your own pantry and heading out to sun on the pool terrace. It's a quiet place, almost like a retreat, save for the fact that stepping outside and into the Barrio Bellavista ratchets your pulse back up to party level (in a good way).
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Santiago, Chile is just awesome. We would like to say it's the "up and coming" South American capital to hit, though to say that would be to have Santiaguinos argue that they've up and been there; it's just the US is late to figuring this out. And they'd be right, with one exception: the hotel scene. The vast majority of hotels in Santiago are bland 2-star tourist class or large-and-in-charge chain hotels in the least zesty neighborhoods. There's one major exception: The Aubrey.
Claiming the title of "Santiago's first boutique hotel," The Aubrey sits pretty with the double appeal of having an excellent location in the lively quarter of Barrio Bellavista and occupying a stunning piece of the city's architectural history. Even better: there's only 15 rooms, they begin at $240 per night, WiFi is fast and free, the breakfast spread is included as is afternoon tea, and the hotel boasts a pool, alfresco terrace, restaurant and evening bar/lounge.
Guess The Hotel / Manhattan Hotels / Thompson Hotels / Quikbook / Hotel Deals / HotelChatter Reviews / → All Tags
We clearly need to be more obscure with our Guess The Hotel hints: it only took an hour for the hotel to be named, and all four comments got it right! The hotel we were hinting at was Thompson’s Gild Hall on Gold Street all the way down in Manhattan's Financial District.
Our first Quikbook Secret Sale
We ended up at Gild Hall following our first experience with Quikbook and its Secret Sale, scoring a room for $159/night, excluding taxes. A fantastic rate for New York, but the caveat is that the name of a Secret Sale hotel is not revealed until after you've made a reservation, and rates are non-changeable and non-refundable.
Following a bit of research to determine as best we could which hotel we were going to end up with, and being fairly confident we were going to need a place to stay, we took the plunge and booked. Just a few hours later, the confirmation arrived in our inbox: Gild Hall it was indeed. Given the prices we were coming across everywhere else, we were pretty psyched with this deal.
HotelChatter Reviews / Singapore Hotels / Hilton Hotels / Photo Gallery / Hotel Amenities / → All Tags
Ahh, Singapore, the not-so little City-State that is synonymous with uber-luxury hotels and over extravagance. In a city that seems as if buildings of a certain age a quickly replaced with ultra modern structures that are bigger and better than the last, it seems odd when certain buildings remain. Our stay at the Hilton Singapore located in the shoppers heaven of Orchard Road begged the question: What is this building still doing here?
Not the newest construction, it actually stands out from the rest of the glass and steel behemoths, the Hilton had to be hiding something special on the inside to keep it competing against the refurbished buildings up and down the high street shopping paradise. To our surprise it was, a very important intangible that many hotels don't always nail. Service.