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We know how hard it can be getting out of bed sometimes. We normally use our iPhone alarm to jolt us awake (followed by a big cup of strong black tea), but we're aware there are other more soothing ways to get the job done. Like...a wake-up call from Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson when you stay at The Strand in New York City.
Sound crazy? Here's a little background: 50 Cent, along with entrepreneur Chris Clarke, founded a line of all-natural energy drinks known as SK Energy Shots back in 2011 (actually, the product name was originally Street King, but in 2012 it got abbreviated to the less confrontational "SK".) Better yet, the SK Energy brand has a philanthropic mission, with every energy shot sold providing a meal to a hungry child through the United Nations World Food Programme.
Now, the Strand has partnered with SK to offer the energy shots in all 176 guest rooms. But to really help raise awareness, the hotel is offering the option of a (pre-recorded, duh) wake-up call from Mr. P-I-M-P himself. No further details have been released, though we're wondering, if it happens to be your birthday, do you get your name called out in a special rendition of In Da Club?
As it's now been over three weeks since Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast, you could be easily fooled into thinking everything is pretty much back to normal. And, in some ways, that would be true: power is back to Manhattan, the subways are running between boroughs again, and NYC & Co has declared that 98% of the city's hotels have all re-opened.
But there is still plenty of work to be done. Many homes in places like Red Hook, Far Rockaway, Staten Island and parts of New Jersey were demolished or declared uninhabitable by FEMA, and volunteers from the Red Cross have been working around the clock to bring relief to those still left struggling to cope with the storm's aftermath.
For obvious reasons, hotels have played a major role in this post-Sandy relief effort by organizing charity drives, housing relief workers, and giving shelter to homeless Sandy victims. The Daily Mail is reporting that the Red Cross has spent $181,000 alone on rooms at the Soho Grand.
Now, here are a few ways you, the philanthropic hotel guest, can pitch in too:
Eco-Friendly Hotels / Hotels Doing Good / Manhattan Hotes / InterContinental Hotels / Hotel Toys / → All Tags
Sustainable hotel initiatives come and go. But one that we hope sticks around for good is the new bee mascot at InterContinental New York Barclay.
The tiny black-and-yellow fellow is being placed in all guest rooms starting this month as a way to help guests communicate how often they require linen changing. Obviously, the hotel is hoping you opt for every other day, so they can cut down on water waste and save the planet. But they can't force you to do anything, so instead they're simply asking you to play with a little bee-shaped cardboard cut-out. How fun!
What happens when you combine food- and water-deprived cab drivers with a well-stocked hotel kitchen eager for some good PR? Mayhem, most likely. But that's not stopping Starwood from going ahead, for the third year in a row, with its "Iftar For Cabs" program, which offers free packaged meals at sundown to any cab drivers who have been fasting for Ramadan.
30 Starwood hotels across the Middle East will be dispensing the prepared packs of iftar, which is traditionally the first meal eaten at sundown after a long day of fasting. Understandably, things might get a little frantic around the lobbies of these participating hotels—you might want to play it safe and stagger your dinner reservation accordingly. Or simply order room service.
In a roundabout way, some residents of Newark, NJ who can't afford to stay in a hotel will get to sleep on premium hotel linens after all.
The Newark-Liberty International Airport Marriott has just donated 200 sets of (used) bed linens to the Apostle's Houses of Newark, and this isn't just a one-time deal. Apostle's Houses offer services to men, women and families who can't spare even a cent, and the Marriott periodically changes their linens...so why not recycle them into the community that needs and would appreciate the aid?
Now we know the Newark Marriott isn't exactly a 500-thread-count place, but a clean, crisp and cool sheet is a simple pleasure in life. Think about that the next time you lay your head on a pillow in a room you've only purchased for a few nights.
Holiday Hotels / Holiday Hotel Decorations / Hotels Doing Good / Shangri-La Hotels / Shanghai Hotels / → All Tags
Like it or not, the holiday season has officially begun. And no one enjoys the holiday season more than hotels. From now through New Year's Eve, we'll be featuring all the holiday hotel news, deals, events and over the top decorations, we think are the best (or the worst.) Got a question about booking a hotel over the holidays or what to do when staying in a hotel over the holidays? Let us know!
The holidays make hotels do crazy things. Like erecting Christmas trees adorned with money or oversized gingerbread houses or life-sized chocolate Santas (nom, nom.) So it comes as little surprise that the Shangri-La Pudong Hotel in Shanghai, China attempted yesterday to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest yule log cake.
For the first time in a long time, the people of Haiti, and in particularly the city of Port-au-Prince, have something to be excited about. After the devastating 7.0 earthquake of January 2010 which killed 316,000 people, left a million homeless and all but decimated the country's economy, Marriott Hotels has announced they will operate a new 173-room hotel in Port-au-Prince (which currently only has 500 hotels room in total), adding 175 new jobs to the economy.
The project is being developed by Digicel Group Ltd. but both Marriott and The Clinton Foundation worked together to bring the hotel to fruition. In fact, President Bill Clinton made the announcement himself last night.
“This new hotel project will stand as a symbol of Haiti’s recovery, providing much needed jobs to the Haitian people and encouraging foreigners to visit, invest and work in Port-au-Prince," said President Clinton. "My Foundation has worked with both Marriott and Digicel, and encouraged them to form this partnership. Their investment proves that Haiti is open for business and on the path to economic recovery."
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Anthony Bourdain and other devil-may-care foodies might not be happy about this news but we respect Peninsula Hotels' attempt to do the right eco-thing by banning the Chinese delicacy of shark fin soup from their menus.
After California governor Jerry Brown passed an act banning the from possession, sale and distribution of imported shark fins in the state, Peninsula decided to launch their own ban at all their hotels, even the ones in Asia, starting on January 1.
Clement K.M. Kwok, CEO of Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited (HSH) which is the parent company of Peninsula said in a statement:
“By removing shark fin from our menus, we hope that our decision can contribute to preserving the marine ecosystem for the world’s future generations. As Asia’s oldest hotel company, we also hope that our decision will inspire other hospitality companies to do the same and that our industry will play a role in helping to preserve the bio-diversity of our oceans.
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Stuart Johnson of Brown's and Willy Bauer, owner of The Arch. Doing good in the seat of British power.
We’re not the types to need much of an excuse to book a hotel stay, but if you are, here’s a pretty unbeatable one – you can stay in a nice hotel and do your bit for charity at the same time.
Yesterday saw the return of the UK-based SleepSmart initiative. A spin off of the wildly successful restaurant scheme, StreetSmart, if you stay at a participating hotel from now until 31 December, you’ll be offered the opportunity to add £1 to your bill.
That £1 goes directly to the StreetSmart homeless charity. And we mean directly – sponsors Deutsche Bank cover the admin costs, so every penny gets to the people who need it.
There’s a great little roster of hotels taking part this year – the full list is here, but they include myhotels, Brown’s, The Arch, The Landmark, and the Avo in London, with myhotel Brighton, Park Plaza Nottingham and the Lowry covering outside the capital. All very good, but we’re actually surprised/disappointed that there aren’t more. It’s not like it’s much to ask of your guests, right? Still, all the more incentive to book with the ones that support it.
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Once again, hotels are going PINK this October for Breast Cancer Awareness which means that staying in hotels is going to feel even better knowing that proceeds from these special packages and spa treatments listed below are going to a good cause.
Hotel Zaza : The Hotel Zazas in Dallas and Houston are going crazy with pink this month! The hotel chandeliers are pink, the employee ties are pink, manicures are pink and best of all, guys are rocking Pink Chucks! (See above.) Plus for every room booked under the code PINK this month, the hotels will donate $5 to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
Peninsula New York: The hotel's ESPA is offering pink-themed treatments to raise funds for the American Cancer Society as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Pink Power Package includes a massage with an optional personal training session for a day of pampering and fitness. Then there's the Peninsula Pink Ceremony, a two-hour treatment that includes a rejuvenating body scrub, cleansing facial, and full-body massage. Doesn't it feel good to do good while um, also feeling good?
We've got a whole gang of superheroes coming this summer, including Thor, Green Lantern, Captain America and the X-Men, who will undoubtedly save the world with their super-human strength and special powers. Fairmont is unleashing its own team of green superheroes who will save the planet too, but through recycling and converting grease into biodiesel.
Meet a couple of Fairmont's team of green crusaders after the jump.
While some people raise money with bikini car washes, like Octomom and some fame-hungry celebrity mistresses, Grand Wailea's Managing Director Matt Bailey really gave something of himself for charity—his hair.
To inspire the Maui resort workers to donate money to the annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk, which aids Hawaii nonprofits, he vowed in the beginning of the year to shave his hair if they hit a fund-raising goal of $32,000. Not only did they raise the money, they exceeded it, with donations totaling $50,000—the most raised in the state.