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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.
Can a historic hotel still make for a comfortable hotel stay? A HotelChatter Review
Now that the Adelphi Hotel has closed its doors for at least another year of renovations, the Gideon Putnam Resort is the last one standing of Saratoga Springs' grand old hotels. We spent a few nights there to see how it was holding up.
The resort's own shuttle bus was waiting for us at the train station and zipped us to the check-in desk in about five minutes. We loved the vintage-style key cabinet behind the front desk -- keys do come in a modern plastic card style, however. The old Otis elevator is just off the lobby opposite a retro twin phone booth.
HotelChatter Reviews / Sofitel Hotels / Accor Hotels / Los Angeles Hotels / Hotel Restaurants / Hotel Bars / → All Tags
Does The Sofitel LA still have that certain je ne sais quoi we've come to love about Sofitels? A HotelChatter Review
We noticed earlier this year that some changes were afoot at Sofitel Los Angeles, with both a new restaurant and bar coming to the Beverly Hills outpost of the French brand, replacing SimonLA and Rande Gerber’s Stone Rose. Just this past weekend, we had a chance to check it out in more detail, spending the night here while in town.
Check-In: We drove to the Sofitel from LAX, which takes about 45 minutes if traffic isn’t too bad. Valet parking is $34 a day (with in and out privileges), which adds up quickly. Reception is to your left as you enter the black marble lobby, with a beautiful black and white drawing of Los Angeles behind the desk, contrasting with deep purple flower arrangements. After the typical bonjour-greeting, we were on our way to our third-floor room in minutes.
HotelChatter Reviews / Washington DC Hotels / Hotel Renovations / Hotel Lobbies / Hotel Reviews / → All Tags
Is the Melrose Georgetown as sweet as it sounds? A HotelChatter Review
We hadn't had a chance to check in on the Melrose Georgetown Hotel (formerly The Melrose Hotel) since its multi-million dollar renovation was completed in April this year, so when we needed a room in DC and the Melrose showed up on HotelTonight for $149, we grabbed it.
The hotel is a couple of blocks from Foggy Bottom - GWU Metro station, on the blue and orange lines. If you are coming from Union Station you have to change once, at Metro Center, from the red line. But once we arrived, check-in was quick and easy. Within two minutes of walking through the lobby, we were in our room.
HotelChatter Reviews / London Hotels / Ace Hotels / Shoreditch Hotels / Hotel News / Photo Gallery / → All Tags
Does the first international venture of Ace Hotels deliver? A HotelChatter Review
We didn’t waste any time waiting to check out what Ace Hotels was cooking up in London’s Shoreditch neighborhood, showing up earlier this week on the very first day guests were allowed through its doors. Over four years after Ace New York made its debut, how did its British – and first international - sibling stack up? Read on to find out.
Check-In: we walked to the hotel from Liverpool Street Station, which is an easy ten-minute stroll. Part of the façade is still covered by scaffolding, but most has come out from underneath, showing the basics of what was there before, with key changes being a darker coat of paint and alterations to the ground and top floors.
A number of guests were being checked in by the enthusiastic staff, who seemed psyched to finally have real-life customers coming through the door. We liked the laid-back attitude, which included being addressed by our first name. Each of the guests on the first night received a voucher for another night’s stay once all the hotel’s facilities are fully operational; we’re not sure how long that will continue for, but it’s a nice touch.
Earlier this year, we proclaimed that if we found ourselves in Phoenix for a spell, we'd be staying at the Clarendon Hotel and Suites. It had a knockout Mexican restaurant, a fresh, young vibe and a cool pool scene we were keen to explore.
Fast forward seven months and we've kept our promise with two stays, one just last week. Aside from being a magnet for locals, the Clarendon is handy for visitors, too. It's conveniently located in the Midtown-Downtown area of Phoenix, a short light-rail ride, drive or bike ride away from museums, bars and more laidback southwestern restaurants. (The hotel has loaner bikes, but we'd caution that you should take it easy in the summer.) It's also close to one of the city's major hospitals, St. Joseph's, and offers a rate for patients.
But aside from the food, location and the 24-Hour Hotel Stays we told you about recently, what's so good about this independent little desert gem? Read on...
Can W Paris Opéra live up to the hype? A HotelChatter Review
After winning our hotly-contested Worst Hotel Hype award all the way back in 2011 for not just missing its July 1 opening date, but failing to open that year altogether, W Paris Opéra flung open its doors late February 2012 in the end. Countless fashionistas click-clacked their Manolos through the stone-tiled entrance and swooshed up the elevator to spend the night in this former Parisian bank, but we only coveted it from afar. None of that matters anymore now, because 2013 goes down as the year we finally did sleep with W Paris Opéra. Read on to find out how it was.
Check-In: we arrived after midnight in a taxi from Gare du Nord train station, wanting to get to sleep as soon as possible. We were happily surprised by the complete lack of attitude our cynical side was expecting from the staff; the guys checking us in were unfailingly friendly, offering to walk us to our room and show us around. We foolishly declined, thinking we’d find our own way. That turned out to be a bad idea once we got to our room.
HotelChatter Reviews / Paris Hotels / Affordable Paris Hotels / Bastille Day Hotels / Boutique Hotels / → All Tags
Does Hotel Verneuil Offer Affordable Parisian Charm? A HotelChatter Review
We teased you last week with a shot of the cozy living room at Hotel Verneuil Paris, looking ahead at that most French of holidays, Bastille Day, this past weekend. Today we have the full review of this intimate, 26-room Left Bank hotel, to see whether it should be on your list of affordable Parisian hotels – a list that can never be too long on good options, right?
Check-In: we walked to the hotel from the metro at Rue du Bac, which is minutes away, as are a number of other public transport options (more on location later). Being such a small hotel, check-in happens in the reception area just to the left of entrance, while comfortably sat at a vast wooden desk. There is someone available 24 hours a day, also to let you into the hotel after hours, so you can leave the traditional heavy key behind when you leave the hotel. There is a tiny lift, but it only starts from the first floor, so people with reduced mobility will want to consider this and potentially opt for the room on the ground floor (but as always we’d recommend discussing your needs directly with the hotel).
We first stayed at Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas in late 2009 when it first opened. Back then, we said the service was "some of the best we've ever experienced." And after a recent trip to the non-gaming hotel, the same holds true.
The service was impeccable (shout out to Henry!), especially for a town like Vegas where there are thousands upon thousands of hotel rooms and not every staffer can fake their excitement at having you stay at their hotel. But the Mandarin Oriental employees are willing to make this the best hotel stay in Vegas. And now we're not so sure we can stay anywhere else.
We could go on for a while about all the reasons to stay here but let's keep it to the reasons why you won't want to leave. And they are:
· Killer Strip Views: Being adjacent to CityCenter, the hotel offers some spectacular views of the "new" Vegas. But don't worry, we could still spy the Eiffel Tower from our room on the 11th floor. And of course, the hotel has blackout shades.
· The Amenities: The rooms at Mandarin Oriental are still filled up with tons of amenities like the Technology Box with various cables and wires (sorry, no iPhone 5 chargers) to the Shanghai Tang toiletries in the bathroom and the Dean & DeLuca minibar items. Don't forget about the flat-iron, the loofah sponge, the bath salts, the yoga mats, the high-tech bedside control panels and the bottles of water on the nightstand. (Those are included in the $25 resort fee. So is the internet.)
· The Pillows: Each bed at the Mandarin Oriental comes equipped with two big pillows that were nearly the length of our own bodies. We hugged that pillow each night we
passed out came home and didn't let go until morning. As another married friend put it, "It's like sleeping with someone...without the guilt."
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What's It Like Inside a Nordic "Palace"? A HotelChatter Review
If you've not been to the Nordic city of Copenhagen , we gotta tell ya, their hotel scene is hopping with some real beauts! We've just returned and we're eager to share our hotel observations with you. First up is our take on the Palace Hotel Copenhagen. (Stay tuned for other Copenhagen Hotel Scene stories in the coming weeks!)
The 169-room Palace Hotel Copenhagen (formerly a Le Méridien and now owned by Scandic Hotels and part of the Preferred Hotel Group) originally opened in 1910 by a butcher who had a dream to own an “international” hotel. Anders Jensen hired young architect Anton Rosen to design the hotel, both inside and out, from the furniture to buttons on uniforms. Rosen’s Art Nouveau aesthetic still carries on today because subsequent designers hired to update and modernize the hotel from top-to-bottom in 2008 were insightful enough to ensure that the Palace Hotel nodded “hey” to its roots.
So let’s get to it. Plenty of pics below!