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We've started a series of what’s trending in hotels these days: What’s Out, What’s In. Do we like what we see? Think it's a dud? You be the judge!
What’s Out: Hotel-branded pens and notepads as keepsakes
What’s In: Souvenirs inspired by the history and culture of the hotel
Fess up: The last time you stayed in a hotel, did you take the little pad of paper and pen with the hotel’s name on it? Everyone takes the toiletries, but if you’re a serious hotel geek, that cheap pen disappeared too. We get it. And so do hotels.
If you want a more lasting or glam souvenir though, these hotels have what you need.
The Washington School House hotel in Park City, Utah was a former school built in 1889 that even has its own motto: "Where old school is the new cool". As a playful nod and a wink to their educational roots, guests will find a notebook and pencil set waiting when they check in.
The Hyatt Regency Atlanta Downtown recently completed a $65 million transformation that included the opening of Market – a self-serve, around-the-clock stop for all your snacking needs (including a fancy-dancy touch-screen soda fountain that dispenses 126 different drinks). Food in Georgia trends towards down-home goodness, and the Executive Chef’s homemade BBQ rub, at $5 a pop in Market, lets you experience that Southern comfort all over again.
The sleek Yabu Pushelberg-designed Modern Honolulu likes to serve a little quirk with its chic. The hotel leaves complimentary sarongs and ukuleles in each guest room for you to use during your stay. But if you like them so much you can’t live without them, the sarongs and ukuleles are available for purchase so you can strum away ‘til your heart’s content.
Hotel Openings / Hotel News / Hotel Lobbies / Guess the Hotel / Hotel Design / Hyatt Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / → All Tags
It's Guess The Hotel revealed!
Better late than never, as they say. And we will go ahead and say it about the Hyatt Union Square, which (finally) made its big debut last week in lower Manhattan—about, oh, twenty months behind schedule.
But that's okay, because after taking a quick look inside, we're happy to report that locals (and guests) seem to have already taken kindly to the new hotel. Just days after opening, the lobby scene was abuzz with guests spread out on the white sofas, bartenders pouring drinks, and the healthy 'ding' of elevator doors sliding open.
Though it's not open yet, we could spy the hotel's South American-inspired restaurant, which officially opens May 15, and which will feature a dramatic wooden art installation, made of discarded bed frames, hanging from the ceiling (the sculpture is visible from the lobby).
And speaking of weird art hanging from the ceiling, in case you haven't already guessed, the mystery hotel we showed you yesterday with the strange turd-looking objects hanging over the bar is in fact the Hyatt Union Square.
Read on to see another photo from the lobby!
Hotel Weddings / Hotel Contests / Viceroy Hotels / Santa Monica Hotels / Proposal Packages / Wedding Packages / Hyatt Hotels / Key West Hotels / → All Tags
Fly over the Pacific Ocean just before popping the question, thanks to The Shore Hotel in Santa Monica.
June is just a month and a half away and you know what that means--wedding season kicks off once again! (Yay! Boo! Uggggh.) But for hotels, the wedding season is practically a year-round thing. So if you're looking for the right way to propose, or if you're in the midst of planning a destination wedding or even if you're just looking for the chance to get a free wedding, start with these three hotels right here:
· The Shore Hotel Santa Monica: The Ocean Avenue hotel, practically an aisle march away from the Santa Monica pier and beach, has put together the Proposal By The Shore package which gives lovebirds a private helicopter ride over iconic LA landmarks with a special landing at a private and secluded spot overlooking Malibu beach. Once that's over a gourmet dinner will be provided on the beach at sunset with a personal beach butler, where presumably the question should be popped. (Sorry, ring not included.) The next morning, guests are treated to a massage at the holistic Tikkun spa nearby. Starting at $1,399, the package also includes overnight accommodations (of course) and a bottle of champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries. The package must be booked at least 72 hours in advance. Call the hotel at 800-599-1515.
Exterior of the new High Line Hotel, opening May 1
The Quin (mid-June 2013): Just two blocks from Central Park, future guests at The Quin will certainly benefit from its awesome location (Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, MoMA, and Bergdorf Goodman are all within walking distance, too). But there's more to it than that—the 205 guest rooms will be super luxe, with Swedish-made DUX by Duxiana beds, Sferra Venetian linens, and Fresh toiletries in every bathroom (the Quin will be the first hotel in NYC to offer such an amenity). Rates from $599/night.
Refinery (May 1): When we first learned last June that a 197-room hotel was set to open inside a former 1920s hat factory (complete with sewing machine-inspired desks and a Prohibition-era cocktails served in teacups), we had a sense this would one to look forward to. Now, just weeks away from the official opening, we can't wait to get inside and inspect the industrial chic decor (12' ceilings, distressed hardwood floors, mosaic tiled bathrooms, custom-made steel and leather headboards). Not to mention that 3,500 sq ft rooftop bar!. Rates from $399/night.
High Line Hotel (May 2013): Hot off the presses, this new 60-room hotel was only announced last week—so far, we like what we hear. The hotel is housed in a gorgeous red brick building in Chelsea (directly across the street from the High Line, hence the name), and boasts its own private cloistered gardens. Interestingly, the High Line Hotel will be attached to the still-functioning General Theological Seminary, whose campus was designed after Oxford and Cambridge Universities. Coffee lovers will also dig this place too: the lobby will house the first-ever east coast outpost of Intelligentsia Coffee. Rates still unconfirmed.
Two more after the jump!
Celebrity Scoop / Ellen DeGeneres / Australia Hotels / Sydney Hotels / Melbourne Hotels / InterContinental Hotels / Hyatt Hotels / → All Tags
If you haven't heard Ellen DeGeneres and wife, Portia de Rossi, headed Down Under, to Portia's motherland. It was a trip hugely publicized on Ellen's show and by Qantas Airways, one of the sponsors.
We got the scoop on which Aussie hotels got the chance to show one of TV's funniest females their hottest digs on their visit to both Sydney and Melbourne. It seems like the couple likes to stay in the lap of luxury and we can't blame them.
First stop was Sydney, and after getting their respective passports stamped, the pair headed to the historic InterContinental Sydney perched over Circular Quay with views of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. Let's hope they had time to check out that awesome pool on the 31st floor overlooking the harbor; it couldn't get more 'Sydneysider' than that!
Hotel News / Hotel Openings / Mexico Hotels / La Paz Hotels / Hyatt Place / Hyatt Hotels / → All Tags
2013 has been quite the year for Hyatt Place so far, with two major openings in Austin and New York within weeks of each other (we recently stayed at the latter, and wrote our thoughts about it here).
Now, the brand has us all worked up again thanks to an announcement about a 151-room hotel built on a 550-acre luxury resort in La Paz, Mexico. Opening in 2014, the hotel will be just a few minutes from downtown La Paz, and only 30 minutes from Manuel Marquez de Leon Int'l Airport (that's good news if your schedule only allows for quickie long weekend jaunts).
Now, don't go thinking that Hyatt Place gets all those 550 acres to itself: the hotel will be part of a luxury resort complex known as "CostaBaja." And as such, guests of the future hotel will get to enjoy all the resort's amenities, like a 250-slip double-basin marina, La Paz' first-ever spa, two pools, two restaurants, and an 18-hole golf course. Oh, and white sandy beaches along the Sea of Cortez.
It almost snuck past us with its March 14th opening, but we managed to get in the highly anticipated Hyatt Place Midtown. Originally scheduled to accept reservations last November (which then got bumped to March 15th), it got the typical pushback until it was juuuust right for a crowd who took advantage of a new hotel debuting in time for St. Patrick's Day weekend. Ballsy!
From our one-night midweek stay observations, the 185-room hotel is already hopping (probably from that in-house Starbucks coffee they serve) and operating at full capacity.
The reason appears fairly simple--it's a good deal for the location as we've mentioned in our pre-opening stories. Other biggies are the large rooms with doubles or kings, many with pull-out sofas (great for families) free WiFi, desk, and complimentary hot breakfast spread. That's why at 9 a.m. on a Friday morning, the dining room was absolutely packed with patrons. Once we saw the plates, we said, screw the cereal and yogurt and grabbed a cheesy frittata with pesto sauce that was ridiculously delish. At first the breakfast scene appeared overwhelming and a little mobbish, but the Hyatt staff kept the food coming and plates cleared quickly, so it wasn't quite as chaotic as it looked, and by 10 a.m., all was quiet again.
We also learned Hyatt Place offers a few other services we think are just dandy and may give comparable hotels something to think about.
Women-Friendly Hotels / Hyatt Hotels / Orange County Hotels / Irvine Hotels / California Hotels / → All Tags
Hotels catering specifically for their female guests is nothing new. Way back when in 2008, Kimpton Hotels rolled out the Women InTouch program which offered up a bunch of female-centric amenities and toiletries to use during their stay, like flat-irons and stain-removing wipes. Over at the Waldorf Astoria Chicago, the bathroom showers even have a special ledge for ladies (or men!) to use while shaving their legs.
But even so, we still got excited by the new offerings at the Hyatt Regency Irvine in Calif., home to a handful of big corporations like Taco Bell, Asics and Toshiba.
The hotel has created The Women's Experience program which includes 50 "women-specific" non-connecting guestrooms located away from exits and stairwells, as well as bigger vanity kits with make-up removers and a "convenience collection" of amenities that includes curling and flat irons, free-weight sets and yoga mats. The program will also include smaller-sized robes and slippers, which may work well for the women with size 7 shoe or smaller. But, not every woman has petite feet--sorry--so that might be our only gripe.
St Patrick's Day Hotels / Hilton Hotels / Hotel Woes / Manhattan Hotels / Los Angeles Hotels / Hyatt Hotels / Marriott Hotels / Chicago Hotels / Amsterdam Hotels / W Hotels / Austin Hotels / Hurricane Sandy / → All Tags
In honor of St Patrick's Day coming up this Sunday, we thought we'd take a look back at a few hotels that just can't seem to catch a break. If any leprechauns are reading this right now, take note. You've got your work cut out for you!
#7: Le Parker Meridien.
We thought it was bad enough when a random construction accident managed to flood the entire Knave Cafe at LPM. But it turned out the hotel had more bad luck coming, when Hurricane Sandy tore through Manhattan, toppling a nearby crane, and causing Le Parker Meridien to be evacuated. Here's to a cheerier 2013.
#6: JW Marriott Chicago.
The JW Marriott Chicago made plenty of headlines (though not the good kind) this past fall when an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease claimed the lives of three guests who stayed there over the sumer. The Chicago Dept of Public Health reported that the hotel "fully cooperated with the ongoing investigation," and concluded by saying there was no further health threat at the hotel. Still, we're probably going to lay off those hot tub parties for a while.
#5: Revel Resort.
This $2.6 billion resort was supposed to be the saving grace of Atlantic City, but after barely a year of being open, it announced it was planning to file for bankruptcy. Ouch! Hurricane Sandy couldn't have helped things either. We feel like they need a lucky charm or something to bring them back from the dark side, but then again, if a four-night Beyonce run during opening weekend didn't manage to do it, we're not sure what will.
Four more unlucky hotels after the jump!
Will Hyatt Hotels get new lobby "Smartboards" and other tech toys like these?
It looks like Hyatt Hotels is finally getting serious about their technology offerings. Late yesterday, the hotel group appointed Alex Zoghlin as their first-ever Global Head of Technology. You may know Zoghlin from another job he held--as founder and first employee of Orbitz.com, the online travel agency.
Now at Hyatt Zoghlin will be in charge of "all aspects of Hyatt’s technology platform and systems" and will be responsible for "rapidly deploying innovative technology solutions to enable superior guest experiences."
While we're picturing a James Bond-ish role like Peninsula Hotel's version of Q, where new in-room technology gets pioneered in a secret lab outside of Hong Kong, the reality is the job will probably deal with Hyatt's reservations systems and possibly new smartphone and tablet apps. We will also probably see more tech offerings like the ones recently installed at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago which now has 106 plasma TV monitors in the lobby and 800 wireless access points throughout the hotel.
Still, we won't give up hope there could be some newfangled tech gadgets at Hyatt Hotels in the near future. Perhaps one to ensure that housekeeping does not bust in on you while you're half-naked?
[Photo: Chanize Thorpe for HotelChatter]
Hotel News / Austin Hotels / Historic Hotels / SXSW Hotels / Hyatt Hotels / Hotel Rebrandings / → All Tags
As many people already know, Austin, TX is currently in the midst of the South By Southwest festival, in which music venues, event spaces, and, yes, hotels, are overrun with artists, musicians, filmmakers, tech start-up hopefuls, and pretty much anyone with a bent towards modern-day media culture.
Which makes this a pretty good time for Hyatt to announce their recent acquisition of the city's historic Driskill Hotel. The Statesman reports that Hyatt bought the iconic hotel (and classic SXSW celeb hangout) for $85 million, and plans to spend another $8 million renovating the place over the next two years.
Comprised of 189 rooms, and originally built in 1886, the Driskill occupies a bustling corner of downtown Austin and remains the city's most beloved historic hotel.
According to hotel lore, the original structure was named after Jesse Driskill, a cattleman who wanted to build the "finest hotel south of St. Louis." Looks like he had the right idea, as 126 years later, the hotel is not only thriving, but also incorporates its colorful past into its current identity (case in point: the Cattle Baron Suite).
Signing over a check for $168 millions dollars to refresh their rooms, the Hyatt Regency Chicago has created a haven for the most tech-savvy travelers. The hefty cost is not just for new coats of paint and a few new pillows, it creates an oasis for those that need to stay connected from check-in to check-out.
Mimicking the check-in hall of the world's largest airports, Hyatt's lobby with offer guests plenty of ways to collect room keys and start the unpacking process. In addition to the traditional face-to-face check-in, the hotel will offer iPads to track your arrival. If you prefer to be a little less futuristic, self-service check-in kiosks will be available too. Of course, we just discussed whether customers want this kind of non-personalized service.