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Crowne Plaza may not scream luxury in the West, but IHG is hoping that Crowne Plaza in China will find a new crop of loyal, monied guests. The 520-room Crowne Plaza Resort Xishuangbanna straddles the Mekong River, surrounded by Xishuangbanna's lush forests. The hotel's overarching theme is that of a Dai palace--the Dai are one of China's 55 ethnic minority groups--and while we wouldn't say it's subtle, neither is it over-the-top...unless you count the two 1,600 sqm. Presidential Villas and the hotel's very own temple.
Most travelers come to Yunnan for its stunning nature, but given all the offerings at the hotel, we could see it being tough to leave the grounds. There are six food and beverage venues, an enormous outdoor pool and, should you find yourself down south for work, MICE spaces galore. Take advantage of the free kids' club by dropping off your offspring and heading out for an elephant trek. Rates for a superior room start at around $140 a night.
Back in March, we were psyched to hear that InterContinental Hotel Group would be making major changes to their loyalty program, starting with a name change from Priority Rewards to IHG Rewards Club. But best of all, the program would start offering free WiFi to all members by July 2014.
Starting today, the program has officially made the name change and right now, elite members of the program will get free WIFi at any IHG hotel. IHG Rewards Club will also give members the ability to fast track their elite status by staying in three or more of IHG's hotel brands. Additionally, reward nights will count towards earning elite status and platinum elite members "extra" nights will roll over to next year so they can keep that coveted status.
This is all extremely good news for current IHG members and we wouldn't be surprised if it attracted a whole new crop of members either. Also not hurting is that IHG has over 4,600 hotels in nearly 100 countries and territories. Then again, we recently took a chance on Holiday Inn Express and we're not sure it was worth the double points we got for the stay. We'll stick with Hotel Indigo and InterContinental flagships in the future.
For more on the program changes and what each level of status gets you, go here.
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UPDATE: Ok, the NYC hotel will be the flagship for the brand. But it won't be the first one to open. Where that first hotel will be is still a mystery.
It's been over a year now since we first heard about the new "wellness" brand from InterContinental Hotel Group, Even Hotels. Since then, the brand has announced not one, but two hotels for New York City. Yet despite an intial belief that one of these Evens would be the flagship for the brand, we've since been told otherwise by folks at IHG. Strike that. This will be a flagship hotel but it won't be the first to open.
So where could this new
flagship first Even hotel open? San Francisco? Los Angeles? Chicago? Miami? The first two would make sense for a fitness and health-oriented brand but Chicago's hotel scene is on fire, with so many new hotels and brands heading there. And who doesn't love Miami? Or maybe Even will stay close to home, IHG's home that is, somewhere in the Atlanta area. We've been digging and digging and so far, nothing has come up. If you happen to have a line in on Even's development plans, feel free to tip us off!
Meanwhile, construction has not even begun on the planned first Even Hotel for NYC which is expected to open in
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Manhattan is still the place to be for hip new hotel brands. Yesterday, we mentioned how Commune Hotels would be opening not one, but two new Tommie Hotels in the Big Apple. Today, we learn that InterContinental Hotel Group's upcoming Even Hotels brand has signed an agreement to open a second hotel in NYC--this time at 321 West 35th Street.
The hotel will be an entirely new build and will feature 150 guestrooms over 25 guest room floors. The rest of the hotel will feature flexible public workspaces, dining and social areas and since this hotel brand is all about health, fitness and wellness, a state-of-the-art,t hree-zone gym. Plus the entire place will be outfitted with free WiFi. The hotel is expected to open in 2015 as will the other Even Hotel on 44th Street. The very first Even Hotel will open sometime in 2014. That location is still TBD.
Keep reading for more hotel opening news!
Chicago can now brag about being one of the few cities around the world to play host to three Hotel Indigos. These bragging rights can't officially start until the hotel opens after the winter thaw in 2014, though.
The Windy City will welcome the new hipster hotel that will take over the former Atlantic Bank Building along Chicago's most famous street, Michigan Avenue. The 101-year old building will be transformed into a 156-room hotel that, in true Hotel Indigo fashion, pays great attention to design while incorporating pieces of local flair. We would be surprised if being across from Millennium Park doesn't play a major role in design; the 'bean' is too cool not to.
This is no normal $30 million renovation since four additional floors will be added to the building creating a new, happening rooftop bar, and a restaurant managed by celebrity chef David Burke. With the bar on the top, the restaurant will take over the former bank vaults in the basement to provide a private dining experience. Just think of those killer views while enjoying a cocktail!
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The Holiday Inn Express at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia is now officially open for business after a four-million dollar renovation converted the property over from a Comfort Inn. All 184 guest rooms were retouched while the lobby was completely remodeled. A business center and exercise room were also added.
We told you before how we were a little disappointed that the area didn't draw a sexier hotel, but that all said, it doesn't change how good the location is. In addition to the views of the Ben Franklin Bridge, guests of the Holiday Inn Express will be in good shape when it comes to visiting Independence Mall, Old City, and Penn's Landing -- all are within walking distance or a short cab ride. The area is also prime lodging during the summer when concerts are held at Festival Pier or across the river in Camden (you can take a ferry right to the venue).
Here's what the new hotel looks like now according to its website, but we'll try to swing by soon and check it out for ourselves.
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For all you avid gamers out there, London's just unleashed a tricked-out hotel suite that we think will be to your liking. It's called the GAME Pad and it's located inside a Staybridge Suites in Stratford, overlooking Olympic Park.
The Pad is the result of a partnership between Staybridge Suites and GAME, a UK-based video games retailer, who's clearly going above and beyond their call of duty by turning every gamer's fantasy into a reality. Inside, the room contains not just a Nintendo Wii U, not just a Playstation 3, and not just an Xbox 360—but all three, each with their own separate 40" plasma TVs (plus another two screens just for watching regular TV). Add to that a full kitchen with microwavable snacks, bean bag chairs, lava lamps, and, of course, a bed, and you've basically eliminated any reason to ever have to go outside again.
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There's tons of New York hotel news flying around this week and we don't have time to give each and every story the love and attention it may deserve, so you will have to settle for some news briefs.
· The Carlyle's Got Bono Under Its Skin: Remember back in September when Mariah Carey dropped in at The Carlyle to do an impromptu performance of Lullaby of BIrdland? Well, it must be something in the water there, because just a few nights ago, Bono went and did the exact same thing.
According to the Huffington Post, singer Jim Caruso and pianist Bily Stritch were performing standards from The Great American Songbook at Bemelmans Bar, when Bono suddenly rushed up to the stage and started belting right along with 'em (the song was "I've Got You Under My Skin," in case you were wondering.) Apparently, right after singing the last note, Bono waved to the crowd, hopped off stage, and took off into the night.
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UPDATE 3:41pm: Even Hotels informs us that while the 44th St property is the first one they've announced, it won't actually be the first Even Hotel to open. Keep an eye out for more Even news in the coming months!
Considering how much love NYC's been getting from various hotel brands, we're not too surprised to hear Even will be marking its territory there too.
IHG first announced the new healthy, fitness-oriented brand back in February. And though we learned a ton about what to expect inside the hotels (free WiFi, sparse furniture, peppy slogans written on the bathroom walls, extra-healthy food), we still didn't know where—or when—we would get to see one.
TravelPulse reports that the first Even Hotel in New York will open in 2014 at 219 E 44th St, which strikes us as a bit of an odd location, since it's practically on the East River, and nowhere near the subway. But unless that's the point? To compel guests to do even more exercise getting to and from the hotel? As if the in-room yoga mats and weight benches weren't enough?
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Indigo fans, get ready to say 'Hola,' 'Shalom,' and....er, how do people greet each other in Wales? Anyway, what we mean to say is that the budget boutique brand, which is spreading like wildfire around the European continent and beyond, has just announced Hotel Indigo Barcelona-Plaza Catalunya, which, along with the upcoming Indigo Tel Aviv and Indigo Cardiff, will mark Indigo's first properties in each of those countries.
Financial tells us that Hotel Indigo Barcelona-Plaza Catalunya will be located in Barcelona's center, a few blocks away from Paseo de Gracia, and will offer 77 rooms.
Deals: you want 'em, and surprisingly, everyone has 'em. Take a look at some of the latest hotel deals going around the internet today from booking sites, social media sites, flash sale sites and more. Don't forget to scroll down to see the HotelChatter-approved deal either. Who knows? You might just find what you're looking for. (But don't forget to tell us about your stay!)
DEALS, DEALS, DEALS*
· Jetsetter: Head to Canada and spend a weekend at the Sparkling Hill Resort with views over Okanagan Lake and the Monashee range, a 40,000-sq.ft. KurSpa featuring North America's only cold sauna and interiors filled with about 3.5 million Swarovski Crystals. There are only three days left to nab a rate of $180 a night, down from $315 on the flash sale site. We are like 95 percent certain this hotel was featured on an episode of "Millionaire Matchmaker", if that helps you make a decision. (No, the match was not successful.)
Now today, we have all the details on that brand called Hualuxe Hotels and Resorts.
Hualuxe is a mash-up from the word Hua which means "majestic China" and luxe, which obvs means luxury. And it shows in these pics. The guestrooms look, dare we say, gorgeous? But Hualuxe will be more than just a pretty bedroom. The four tenets of the Hualuxe brand were created based on the priorities that Chinese travelers (of which there is expected to be 3.3 billion of in China by 2015) want from their hotels: