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HotelChatter Reviews / EVEN Hotels / IHG Hotels / Connecticut Hotels / Hotel Wellness / Hotel Fitness / → All Tags
Have you ever gone to the gym and seen those guys with biceps bulging like just-fed anacondas, chests broad enough to land a small plane — and legs as thin as angel hair spaghetti?
In fitness, as with everything, it’s all about the details. Miss a spot, and “sexy” becomes “silly.” Fast. Luckily, Intercontinental Hotel Group’s newly launched brand, EVEN Hotels, sweats the small stuff.
It could have coasted on its concept: A line of properties that is designed entirely around wellness, from in-room mini-gyms to an onsite restaurant, Cork & Kale, that offers healthy meals worlds apart from the calorie-loaded grub you’ll find at most lobby bars. (The cocktails even use organic spirits.)
It’s sort of shocking that no one thought to do this already, and there’s assuredly a huge market out there for a fitness-focused hotel chain. I mean, somebody’s watching “Dr. Oz.” EVEN could have phoned it in. Thankfully for us, they worked hard to get it done right.
Looking at the above photograph of the front yard and entrance to Hotel Skeppsholmen, you’d be forgiven to think it’s somewhere in the scenic Scandinavian countryside rather than a 20-minute walk from Stockholm’s Old Town.
Its split personality is a result of its setting on the tiny island from which the hotel takes its name, which is almost entirely parkland, and the 18th century buildings that have been converted into the hotel. We spent an overnight at Skeppsholmen on a short visit to the Swedish capital – read on to see what we found.
Check-In: we arrived at the hotel by taxi, having taken the Arlanda Express from the airport to the city’s central station. Big mistake: it cost us $35 for the short journey, and bus no65 does the same journey for a few dollars. Given that a return on Arlanda Express alone is $65, we made sure to save the cab fare on the way back. Check-in was quick and easy, and we were on our way to our room in a few minutes.
When we chatted about the opening Renaissance Santiago in Chile this past April, we were excited by the hotel's "sleek and luxe look" and by the design influence of Santiago-based MC Studio, whose principals Raimundo Morales and Atilio Cosmelli worked on the fashionable W Santiago while working at Tony Chi.
The other week, we checked out the Renaissance in person and while the reality didn't include everything we saw in the renderings, the hotel lived up to its promise of bringing meaningful design into both the guest rooms and the social spaces.
If this is the new direction for the Renaissance brand, and from what we've heard from those in the know, it is, then we might just be staying at Renaissance more often.
Below are a few snapshots from around the hotel and inside the guest rooms. Keep reading for our quick list of what we liked and didn't like!
HotelChatter Reviews / Hotel Indigo Hotels / Hong Kong Hotels / InterContinental Hotels Group / Guess the Hotel / → All Tags
Does the Hotel Indigo make us covet its guestrooms and manage to stand out in the Hong Kong hotel crowd? A HotelChatter Review
Guess the Hotel revealed! The blue staircase and blue pool did indeed belong to the Hotel Indigo Hong Kong, which is where we laid our head during a short stopover in the city. Hong Kong has an impressive hotel game, and our expectations were high given what Indigo pulled off further north in Shanghai. Read on to find out what we thought.
1888 Shakes Things Up With a "Cozy Industrial Vibe"
Focusing on being Instagram-worthy as it does (and handing out free nights if you have 10,000 followers or more), Sydney’s 1888 Hotel better be bringing it in the looks department. We showed you how to get the lobby (or yourself) into the frame, and are following up today with a closer look at how the rest of the hotel measures up.
1888’s Pyrmont location puts you just on the "other" side of Darling Harbour, to the west of Sydney’s CBD. A stroll across the pedestrian bridge will take you into the city’s core in 15 minutes, or you can take the scenic ferry route and sail underneath the Harbour Bridge before you dock at Circular Quay.
Getting to the hotel from the airport is easy enough: hop on the express train to the city’s Central Station and change to the monorail, get off at Convention Centre (you buy the monorail ticket on the train), enter the parking garage and take the lift up to the fourth floor, exit on the other side, and 1888 is right in front of you. The red brick building (formerly a wool-storage facility) certainly looked pretty against the backdrop of bright blue Sydney skies when we arrived.
HotelChatter Reviews / Hotel Reviews / National Park Hotels / Zion National Park Hotels / Utah Hotels / → All Tags
Serene mountain views and the rush of a Virgin River at Driftwood Lodge; a HotelChatter Review
When visiting Zion National Park, many choose to experience this majestic slice of the Great Outdoors, well, outdoors. There are three campgrounds to choose from and, during the height of the summer, reservations are typically a must. Even the "off" season can get quite crowded given the right circumstances.
If your idea of roughing it, however, is staying in a budget motel, there are many to choose from in the adjacent town of Springdale, Utah. Dubbed "The Gateway to Zion," the town's main road, which leads straight to the national park, is dotted with name-brand motel chains, independent lodges and quaint inns. Many are located one right after the other. A bit of Internet sleuthing caused us to choose the Driftwood Lodge for a two-night weekend getaway.
Arriving on a Friday evening as the sun set, the Driftwood Lodge made a postcard-worthy first impression. The lodge, actually a collection of newer and older stand-alone buildings, was aglow in the last rays of light as a majestic mountain ridge and endless blue sky towered in the background.
The main building, right on Zion Park Boulevard, serves as the lobby and check-in was effortless. Renovated in 2013, it fit within the lodge theme, however, a very sanitized version. Wood floors, brick walls, brightly colored area rugs were all present but lacked a lived-in rustic appeal. A completely nit-picky observation, we know, and nothing a few throws and some random chotskies couldn't overcome.
A cheerful representative greeted us promptly and quickly imparted the lay of the land (how to get to our room, where to find the passcode for the free WiFi and a reminder to turn in our room keys at the end of the stay or face a $5 per card fee) before sending us on our way. No bell service was offered, but none was needed. It should also be pointed out that the front desk isn't staffed round-the-clock, however, someone is always available via telephone for emergencies.
Hotel Complaints / Four Points by Sheraton / Starwood Hotels / Australia Hotels / Brisbane Hotels / HotelChatter Reviews / Business Traveler Hotels / Hotel Openings / → All Tags
Our stay wasn't perfect. When we highlighted our minor issues, it caused quite a stir amongst our readers. We later opted to let the property know, via an email survey, what we usually expect from Starwood Hotels and other international hotel chains and why this stay fell short.
Since then, we've been in contact with the Four Points' general manager (who also saw our story on HotelChatter.) In true form of a good hotelier, he not only took the feedback on to ensure it doesn't happen again, but also explained why we experienced the hiccups. Here are the responses:
HotelChatter Reviews / Four Points by Sheraton / Brisbane Hotels / Hotel Openings / Australia Hotels / Business Traveler Hotels / Hotel Complaints / → All Tags
Last week, Brisbane scored their first new international hotel in 16 years with the opening of Four Points by Sheraton. Because we're not ones to miss the chance to check-out a new hotel, we booked a stay and checked-in only five days after opening day.
Here's the set-up: the 32-story building is in the heart of Brisbane, overlooking the cityscape on one side and the namesake river on the other. Each of the 246 rooms offer sleek, downtown-inspired decor with a nod to utility and productivity along with simple, yet effective amenities. The entire property aims to be as sustainable as possible with energy-saving lights in the hallways and reflective glass to reflect the hot sub-tropical sun; a nice touch.
Catering to a corporate guest, the property offers a second floor bar for drinks and a marketplace-style restaurant for fueling before and after meetings. A rooftop gym is surrounded by a 180-degree outdoor terrace which is perfect for private parties and or simply for chilling out after a long day. In true Four Points form, there's also plenty of meeting space for... well, meetings.
Edition Hotels / London Hotels / HotelChatter Reviews / Ian Schrager / Hotel Bars / Hotel Nightclubs / → All Tags
We were one of the first people inside the London Edition when it opened back in September (an award-winning opening, we might add) and while HotelChatter contributor JasonD got to chat with hotelier Ian Schrager as well as peep the presidential suite, we never got to properly spend the night.
Thus when this editor found herself across the pond last month and in need of a hotel room, the choice was clear. How could I not stay at an Edition Hotel, after years (three) of obsessively following the brand?
So, using a combination of American Express points and pounds, I booked a superior room. At check-in, I was then upgraded to a deluxe room (no, the hotel was not aware I was coming.) My room was located at the end of a twisty, maze-like hallway that had me confused a few times later on when walking back to my room. But once inside room 229, the Edition was everything I hoped it would be.
Lest I bore you with long, overwrought paragraphs, allow me to present 6 Reasons Why The London Edition Is All That. If the list is too much for you to get through, then just scroll through the photos. You'll get the same idea anyways.
Hot hotelier Klaus Ortlieb brings his magic to Iceland. A HotelChatter Review
Iceland in the winter? Sure, why not? Unlike, say East Coast U.S.A, Reykjavik can be surprisingly temperate at this time of year (high 30s to low 40s while we were there). Windy? Yes. Chilly? A bit. But the chance of weather mayhem of snowpocalypse proportions is slim. Plus, the Northern Lights are at highest activity in a decade, so now might be your best chance to spot them.
Since learning that Klaus Ortlieb had resurfaced in Reykjavik last spring, we knew we had to check out the new hostel/hotel hybrid Hlemmur Square. Funnily enough, we came across Klaus himself chatting with friends in the hotel lobby in the morning. There's an endorsement! We didn't interrupt but we sure did eavesdrop: the hostel rooms "need some work" he says, "they need a splash of color."
The FlyBus from Keflavik International Airport drops off in front of the hotel. The hotel lobby was quiet when we checked in around 5 p.m., with just a handful of guests/bar drinkers hanging around; two of which were asleep, one of which was asleep on the floor. Well, we are all a little tired after the new year, no? Our receptionist was very friendly and even walked us up to our room herself. We already were getting a very laid back vibe. "Check out time is around 11, " we were told, "but if you're later than that, it's OK". We like.
HotelChatter Reviews / Hotel Reviews / Auckland Hotels / New Zealand Hotels / Sofitel Hotels / → All Tags
Harbor-side rooms and plush rooms at Sofitel Viaduct Harbour; a HotelChatter Review
Spending a few days in Auckland sounds like a dream, but once you start to look at hotel options, you might get a little discouraged since the city doesn't have much selection. With limited international hotel brands that we can trust, we settled on Sofitel Viaduct Harbour but didn't expect some harbor living during our visit.
After a winding trip through the sleepy streets of the city's entertainment district, we finally make it to a mid-rise building situated directly on the inner-harbour surrounded by yachts and sailboat masts. With a sleek, tiled lobby that featured a handful of reflection pools, we struggled to be anything but awed by the framed view of the private mooring docks beyond the lobby. Then after a speedy check-in process, we were off to our room.
HotelChatter Reviews / Manhattan Hotels / Sean MacPherson / New Hotels / Historic Hotels / → All Tags
How does Jack Kerouac's old pad hold up under the Sean MacPherson treatment? A HotelChatter Review
We've been patiently awaiting Sean MacPherson's new The Marlton Hotel (built out of a former SRO where some long-standing tenants have been in residence since the 1960s) for a while now. With still no confirmed official opening date on the horizon, we gave up waiting and went in to check out its soft opening.
We walked to the hotel from West 4th Street station, which was just about a five minute walk. We had to do a double take to make sure we were at the right place as there is no sign outside yet. With just a couple of guests milling around the book-lined and eclectic furniture-filled lobby, our front desk person wasn't rushed so check in was quick and easy. We were given a small black key fob emblazoned with the same lightning strike graphic you'll see on The Marlton's website and a business card scribbled with our room number on, then we were into the single elevator and up to our fifth-floor room.