Tag: Hotelchatter Reviews

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This Could Be a Game-Changer: Inside Montevideo's Alma Historica Hotel

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  Site Where: Solís 1433, Montevideo, Uruguay
March 27, 2015 at 10:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

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.

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The Ups and Downs of a Quick Fling with the Grand Amore in Florence

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  Site Where: Via dei Servi 38/A, Florence, Italy, 50122
March 18, 2015 at 9:40 AM | by | Comments (0)

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?

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Santa Barbara's Revamped Franciscan Inn Is Fine But Not Fancy

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  Site Where: 109 Bath Street [map], Santa Barbara, CA, United States, 93101
March 5, 2015 at 11:00 AM | by | Comments (0)

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.

Check-In

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.

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Getting to Grips with Your Former Argentinian Room Mate

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  Site Where: Avenida 9 de Julio y Adolfo Alsina, Buenos Aires, Argentina
February 18, 2015 at 8:53 AM | by | Comments (0)

The lobby

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?

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Inside an Even-Numbered EVEN Hotel Room

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  Site Where: 426 Main Ave [map], Norwalk, CT, United States, 06851
October 7, 2014 at 2:59 PM | by | Comment (1)

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.

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Hotel Skeppsholmen Stockholm Is a Country Hotel Hiding in the City

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  Site Where: Gröna gången 1, Box 1616, Stockholm, Sweden, 111 86
July 9, 2014 at 8:25 AM | by | Comments (0)

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.

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Sleeping and Socializing in Style at The Renaissance Hotel in Santiago

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  Site Where: Avenida Kennedy 4700, Santiago, Chile, 7630454
July 7, 2014 at 4:15 PM | by | Comments (0)

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!

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Does Hotel Indigo Hong Kong Deliver on Pretty Guestrooms and More?

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  Site Where: 246 Queen's Road East, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
May 9, 2014 at 11:23 AM | by | Comments (0)

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.

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Inside The 1888 Hotel, An Alternative to Sydney's Corporate Hotel Scene

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  Site Where: 139 Murray Street, Sydney, NSW, Australia
May 8, 2014 at 2:41 PM | by | Comment (1)

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.

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Set Adrift on Budget Bliss at the Driftwood Lodge at Zion National Park

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  Site Where: 1515 Zion Park Blvd. [map], Springdale, UT, United States, 84767
April 11, 2014 at 2:47 PM | by | Comment (1)

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.

Check-In

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.

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The Hotel's Response to Our Less-Than-Stellar Stay in Brisbane

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  Site Where: 99 Mary Street, Brisbane, QLD, Australia, 4000
March 21, 2014 at 1:37 PM | by | Comments (0)

Last week we shared our experience checking out Brisbane's newest hotel, the Four Points by Sheraton.

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:

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How Would You Handle a Less-Than-Stellar Hotel Stay?

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  Site Where: 99 Mary Street, Brisbane, QLD, Australia, 4000
March 14, 2014 at 11:32 AM | by | Comments (13)

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.

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