Tag: Hotelchatter Reviews

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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 | Comments (0)

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 (12)

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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6 Reasons Why The London Edition is All That

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  Site Where: 10 Berners Street, London, United Kingdom, W1T 3NP
March 13, 2014 at 4:28 PM | by | Comments (0)

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.

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Inside Hlemmur Square, Klaus Ortlieb's New Icelandic Outpost

Where: Laugavegur 105, Reykjavik, Iceland, 101
January 6, 2014 at 10:27 AM | by | Comments (0)

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."

Check In
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.

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Spending Some Time With Auckland's Sofitel Viaduct Harbour

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  Site Where: 21 Viaduct Harbour Avenue, Auckland, New Zealand, 1010
November 26, 2013 at 2:04 PM | by | Comments (0)

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.

Check-In
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.

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The Marlton is Still in a Soft Opening Phase, But We Stayed There Anyway

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  Site Where: 5 West 8th Street [map], New York, NY, United States, 10011
October 10, 2013 at 11:11 AM | by | Comments (0)

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.

Check In
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.

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Healing Springs and History at the Gideon Putnam Resort, Saratoga Springs

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  Site Where: 24 Gideon Putnam Road [map], Saratoga Springs, NY, United States, 12866
October 3, 2013 at 9:04 AM | by | Comments (0)

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.

Check-In
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.

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The Sofitel Los Angeles Has a Few New Things, But The French Flair Remains

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  Site Where: 8555 Beverly Blvd [map], Los Angeles, CA, United States, 90048
September 26, 2013 at 3:28 PM | by | Comments (0)

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 Gerberís 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 isnít 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.

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One Night in DC at The Melrose Georgetown

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  Site Where: 2430 Pennsylvania Avenue NW [map], Washington, DC, United States, 20037
September 20, 2013 at 11:03 AM | by | Comment (1)

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.

Check in
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.

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We Spent a Night at The Ace Hotel in London; Should You?

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  Site Where: 100 Shoreditch High Street, London, United Kingdom, E1 6JQ
September 12, 2013 at 12:19 PM | by | Comment (1)

Does the first international venture of Ace Hotels deliver? A HotelChatter Review

We didnít waste any time waiting to check out what Ace Hotels was cooking up in Londonís 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 Ė 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 faÁade 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 nightís stay once all the hotelís facilities are fully operational; weíre not sure how long that will continue for, but itís a nice touch.

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Why The Clarendon Hotel Is Our Go To Hotel in Phoenix

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  Site Where: 401 W. Clarendon [map], Phoenix, AZ, United States, 85013
August 12, 2013 at 11:55 AM | by | Comments (2)

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...

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