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Here’s why you should stay at Alila Manggis:
Puerto Morelos Hotels / Cancun Hotels / HotelChatter Reviews / Mexico Hotels / Beach Hotels / → All Tags
View from oceanfront master suite at Grand Residences Riviera Cancun
The Grand Residences Riviera Cancun in Puerto Morelos, Mexico has one of those lobbies that have you at hello. Its wow factor includes a historic bar from the United Kingdom circa 1860, vibrant Mexican accent pieces, an airy feel and stained glass structures representing the mangrove prevalent throughout the Yucatan. Those features coupled with views of the ocean in the distance make for a grand entrance:
There was a time not so long ago that hotels in Rome were divided into two categories. There were the sumptuous ones – they were ridiculously expensive, and often faded glory. And then there were the affordable ones. But these were generally gross and located around Termini train station, the one area of Rome that isn’t spectacularly lovely #holdontoyourpurse #worsethanthecolosseum.
But in the last few years, a new breed of Rome hotels has emerged. They’re relatively affordable, wonderfully stylish, and scattered through the city center. They cost the same – or a little more – than a scuzzhole near Termini, but are infinitely nicer. And one of the latest of these affordable boutique places is The Corner, which opened last summer.
The Corner isn’t the most central of hotels – it’s at the foot of the Aventine Hill, between Circo Massimo and Piramide (all three are B list Rome sights). The last two have metro stops, though, and there are plenty of buses into the center. It’s walkable, too – 15-20 minutes to the Colosseum, or 10 to the Circus Maximus, and beyond that the Bocca della Verità.
It’s small – a "townhouse" hotel of just 11 rooms – and it’s on the main road, so there’s traffic noise outside (though it's not noticeable from the rooms). So we were a little worried at just how good a deal we scored: €106 ($119) on a flash sale site. Here’s what we found.
The other week, we gave you the gossip on the G-Rough, Rome’s newest design hotel (and Design Hotel), which opened on March 23 – or rather, on its intriguing location in Piazza di Pasquino. But enough gossip; today it’s time to go inside.
Like many other Rome hotels, G-Rough started out as a house – a 16th-century palazzo, to be precise, that was a family home for generations before being converted into apartments.
Unlike many other Rome hotels, though, it has cleaved to its original function. The 10 rooms take up the space of the 10 apartments (the bathroom’s where the kitchen used to be in each apartment, for example, and the doors on each floor are intact). And instead of either tarting up the premises to “hotel standard” or meticulously degrading it to “shabby chic”, the G-Rough has stripped it back to its origins. “Rough luxe”, they like to call it, but we don’t think that quite explains it. Totally original and historically fascinating is more to the point. But no, that doesn’t sound as good.
See, this is how they designed it: G-Rough held a “demolition party” one night, and invited local designers, artists and trendy locals (the owner is a seventh-generation Roman, he knows them) to do what they wanted with the hotel. Wallpapers and paints were stripped, leaving behind only pallid traces of original color from the 1940s on the walls (each room has a different color scheme, and some mix it).
Tiled floors were left untouched (the palazzo’s protected status demands this), but ceilings had faces painted on the beams, other walls had pencil drawings done, and one even has its hallway decorated with hundreds of adhesive nail files (which probably seemed like a good idea at the demolition party, a couple of proseccos down).
Over on Jaunted, you can get our inside looks at some of the world’s best airline lounges, so we thought we’d do something similar here and start talking about some of the hotel lounges we’ve frequented for our series on Hotel Club Lounges. Today, we're having a look inside the Executive Club Lounge at the Conrad St James in London.
This hotel originally opened in 2012 as an InterContinental but Conrad Hotels, Hilton's luxury brand, took over management in September 2014.
Because the hotel is still rather new, not much has changed in the guest rooms since HotelChatter last looked at them in December 2012. (The cheeky Do Not Disturb signs, which depicted parliament snoozing, have been replaced.)
The beds are incredibly comfortable, there are showers and separate bathtubs in all rooms, free WiFi, a comprehensive plug panel at the desk and complimentary Nespresso coffee. We especially liked the futuristic screen that housed the TV. It looked like a giant tablet but the TV screen inside was normal-sized.
In short, the hotel checks off every box when you are looking for a modern luxury hotel--it's central (The St. James' tube stop is across the street), it's comfortable (we laid in bed for an entire day, not kidding), and there are several restaurant and bar options on-site (such as the Blue Boar Bar where they will celebrate Royal Baby #2 with free bubbly. But what puts Conrad over the top here is their Executive Lounge.
Ibis Styles Hotels / Liverpool Hotels / Millennial Hotels / Ibis Hotels / HotelChatter Reviews / → All Tags
We've already told you how Ibis Styles is the millennial hotel brand to end all millennial hotel brands, at least in Europe, but during a recent stay at the new-ish Ibis Styles in Liverpool, we were impressed by few other things than the hotel's functional, millennial-friendly room design (and its multiple design shout-outs for The Beatles, of course.)
Online Check-In: A few days before the stay, Ibis emailed to say that we could check-in online so that when we arrived all we needed to do was pick-up a key from the front desk. And, that's exactly what we did. It took a few minutes as the front desk needed to make sure our room was ready, but it was a very efficient check-in. Later, Ibis emailed us an express check-out, as well as the usual follow-up survey.
HotelChatter Reviews / Montevideo Hotels / Uruguay Hotels / Boutique Hotels / Historic Hotels / → All Tags
Last month – was it really so long ago? – we showed you the view from the rooftop terrace of the Alma Historica, Montevideo’s newest hotel (it opened in January), and its first luxury boutique property. Appetites whetted? Hopefully so, because we promised to go inside. Let’s do it.
The Alma Historica is a restoration of a centuries-old palazzo with a couple of new floors (and that roof terrace) tacked onto the top. Where most hotels in Montevideo seem to be either new and slightly boring, or old and on the road to decay – if, admittedly, often in a rather beautiful way – Alma Historica is different. It’s embraced its roots, and its location on one of the historic core’s central squares, so the vibe is old school, with a hint of Victoriana – but adds an injection of very modern luxury. And it works beautifully.
The feel may be that of stepping into a posh house 100 years ago, but the theme is Uruguayan pride. All rooms are named after homegrown heroes, from artists to footballers. All the furniture was sourced locally. Even the bathroom soaps are made in Montevideo – and filled with local ingredients, like eucalyptus, lemon and yerba mate (which makes the national tea-ish drink), and red berries with seeds.
Last week, we told you about the best hotel gift ever – the individualized presents that the Grand Amore Hotel & Spa in Florence gives to every guest upon departure. For us, it was a set of stamps featuring our favorite Italian author; for you, it could be… well, it depends on what you tell them your hobbies are on the pre-arrival questionnaire.
Compared to that, the rooms themselves are going to pale in comparison, right?
HotelChatter Reviews / Santa Barbara Hotels / California Hotels / Motels / Affordable Hotels / → All Tags
When you think Santa Barbara hotels, you probably imagine luxurious appointments. And, dollar signs.
The region's top hotels can command rates of several hundred a night at minimum while others, like the Four Seasons, can clock in at the four-digit range. But, that doesn't mean the beachside community is too pricey for those on a budget or those who'd rather indulge in other areas. In fact, some may be surprised to learn the very first Motel 6 was founded here.
If you look beyond the posh, you'll find dollar-saving possibilities in the form of a respectable inns with rates under $100 midweek and around $200 on the weekend. And, yes, Motel 6 remains an option. Among your choices is the family-friendly, and family operated, Franciscan Inn.
Depending on which way you approach the Franciscan, you'll turn into one of its two parking lots. Exclusively for guests (they'll ask you for your license plate number to know who to tow), either lot is accessible to the lobby. Check-in was smooth and effortless on our visit, taking only minutes to complete. The only slight inconvenience was parking in the wrong lot when it came to proximity to our room. A quick 30 second drive out of one lot and into the other quickly solved that problem.
HotelChatter Reviews / Buenos Aires Hotels / Budget Hotels / Affordable Hotels / Argentina Hotels / Room Mate Hotels / → All Tags
Yesterday we introduced you to the Htl 9 de Julio, your former Room Mate in Buenos Aires that’s now in soft opening as an independent hotel. It offers your standard funky Room Mate design, a decent location… and impossibly low rates – just $38 is all we paid for both our stays this month. But what do you get for your $38?
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.