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The days of Holiday Inns with generic lobbies, business centers packed with fax machines and only regular or decaf coffee with breakfast are almost over. Get ready for Holiday Inns with cappuccino machines, an "e-desk," and a lobby that's more like a living area complete with gaming zone; it's called the "Social Hub," another humongous advance by Holiday Inn after their $1 billion rebranding.
There's a lot of information and details to discuss with regard to the new "Social Hub," but what you really need to know is that you'll be able to experience all of the new stuff as early as June, when the Atlanta area's Holiday Inn Gwinnett Center launches it for real. A second, yet-to-be named property will also get a social hub later this year but the roll-out plan for the rest of Holiday Inns worldwide is still being fleshed out.
So what's exactly in a "Social Hub" aside from good eats? Let's see...
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When was the last time you ate at a Holiday Inn? Wait...wait, we mean besides a breakfast of generic omelet. Chances are, you can't remember the last time you went to a Holiday Inn to eat, let alone hang out, but Holiday Inn is hoping to change that fact...and fast.
Please welcome the concept of the Holiday Inn "Social Hub." Following their rebranding, Holiday Inn is now gearing up to tear up their 3,000+ hotels around the world to introduce a more modern and welcoming public area, where guests (and non-guests!) can feel free to chill out, grab some food, some drinks and maybe futz around on their iPads or laptops without having to be confined to their hotel rooms. Oh, there will be modern seating, there will be free WiFi and outlets aplenty, and there will be food you drool for.
Macaroni & cheese waffle sandwich, anyone?
If there was ever a hotel prom, India would be the hottest girl to take this year. After Starwood and Marriott both announced their intentions to open more hotels in India (W and Fairfield Inn respectively), now comes news that the Intercontinental Hotel Group will build 19 Holiday Inn Express hotels in India over the next five years.
The WSJ has the breakdown:
The new hotels, which will add approximately 3,300 rooms to IHG's current India development pipeline of more than 10,000 rooms in 46 hotels, will be primarily located in India's major and secondary cities including New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore and are expected to open by 2016. IHG currently has 12 hotels open in India, comprising 2191 rooms.
There's supposedly been a big change to the InterContinental Hotels loyalty program, Priority Club Rewards in that they are giving members newer ways to redeem their hotel points for non-travel items. But as far as we can tell, the only truly new thing is the logo.
As you know, the Priority Club is the loyalty program for not just the InterContinental flagship hotels but also for the Holiday Inns and Holiday Inn Expresses as well as boutiquey brand, Hotel Indigo. All in all Priority Club Rewards covers about 4,400 hotels worldwide. That's a lotta hotels. But the "overhaul" in their program is not really game-changing.
It's not easy to find a last-minute hotel along the route of New York City's famous St. Patrick's Day Parade. The Irish (and wannabes) are serious about the parade and festivities, filling all of the nearby hotels to make it easy to drunkenly stumble home after a nonstop party.
But for you procrastinators, the Holiday Inn Express New York Midtown, right off the Fifth Avenue parade route, still has rooms available on the holiday starting at $344 a night.
We really, really like the new-ish Hotel Indigo brand from InterContinental Hotels. For starters, free WiFi. Secondly, the rooms are different from property to property and lastly, the brand loves to haiku.
But now there's another reason to book at Hotel Indigo.
As part of IHG's Check It Free promotion, guests who book at IHG Hotels will now get up to $100 back for checked luggage fees. Groovy! Of course, it's not quite that simple.
You must stay two nights at either a Hotel Indigo, InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suite or a Candlewood Suite (all 4,500 hotels worldwide are participating), pay with a Visa card and provide proof of a checked bag on a roundtrip flight.
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This doesn't have to be you this year. Make the right choice.
It's that time of the year when bargain hunters start getting itchy for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If you're looking to save some money this holiday, or heck, if you just love a good deal, we can help. We rounded up some Black Friday and Cyber Monday hotel discounts, and a number of them are in the Caribbean, in case you want a cold-weather escape.
Check out our list of 11 Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals after the jump.
HHonors members who stay at any Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Doubletree, Embassy Suites or other Hilton hotel through December 30 will earn double points. If you extend your stay over a Sunday, you can score quadruple points.
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· Las Vegas Sands, which owns the Venetian and Palazzo, has entered into a 10-year agreement with IHG.
· The Venetian and Palazzo will be bookable on IHG websites and guests can earn/use points through IHG's Priority Club Rewards.
· Hotel industry reporter Adam Kirby reports there will be a special check-in for Priority Club members, but otherwise on-property signage will be minimal.
There's no word on the date that this partnership goes into effect but LV Sands chairman, Sheldon Adelson, said it would be in the "very near future."
We'll keep you updated on exactly when you can start to use the Priority Club perks here but for now, we're rather excited about this partnership as the real clincher here is the ability to utilize the Priority Club.
From September 1 to December 30, IHG is giving guests up to $50 toward their first checked bag on any airline when they spend a weekend at any IHG hotel in the U.S. The promotion can be booked now but there are some details to be aware of. Actually, it's a bit of process so here's what you need to know:
· You must spend two consecutive weekend nights (Friday/Saturday/Sunday) and it has to be at an IHG Hotel in the U.S. Familiarize yourself with IHG brands here.
· You have to pay for your stay with a Visa card.
· After your stay you must fill out a rebate form. The form must include a copy of your hotel folio and a copy of your receipt for checked airline baggage fees and travel dates. Then after filling out a rebate form, you can get a pre-paid Visa card up to $50.
· It's only for U.S. residents.
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Visit Hotel Indigo's lobby to score some Priority Club points.
Priority Club members have another way to rack up loyalty points: sign up for TopGuest. When you check into an InterContinental Hotels Group property using a location-based service like Foursquare, you will receive 50 Priority Club points. So you can take in points without even staying overnight at a hotel.
TopGuest syncs location-based services like Foursquare, Twitter and Gowalla, so that when you do a GPS check-in into a partner hotel, you can easily collect points for free stays and other perks.
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We're still waiting on room pics so enjoy this shot of dual Wall Street signage for now.
As of today, we have a new and more affordable (but less sexy) alternative to the W New York Downtown and Andaz Wall Street---The Holiday Inn Express Wall Street New York. The 112-room hotel, part of InterContinental Hotel Group's relaunched Holiday Inn brand, is located at 124-126 Water St., just two blocks from the New York Stock Exchange.
Rooms feature 32" flat-panel HDTVs, SimplySmart™ showers, triple-sheeted bedding, desks with ergonomic chairs and that amazing free WiFi. Onsite there's also a fitness center, a full business center and the complimentary hot and cold Express Start breakfast for all guests.