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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.
Hotel News Briefs / Bono / Manhattan Hotels / Hotel Music / Hurricane Sandy / Westin Hotels / Starwood Hotels / InterContinental Hotels / IHG Hotels / Four Seasons Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
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.
Hotel News / Even Hotels / IHG Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / Hotel Openings / Hotel Fitness / → All Tags
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:
Even Hotels / IHG Hotels / InterContinental Hotel Group / Hotel Fitness / Hotel News / Hotel Industry News / Hotel Hype / → All Tags
The mid-market brand is aimed at "travelers who want guest rooms with space to exercise and amenities such as hypoallergenic linens and healthier food options." Even Hotels will feature in-room fitness equipment, workout tips from the staff, LED dimmers in the guest room, natural lighting, coat racks that double as pull-up bars and oddly enough, anti-bacterial wipes. We guess even those with OCD can stay at Even Hotels.
The Wall Street Journal has even (heh) more scoop on the fitness-oriented hotel room amenities like exercise mats and benches at the foot of the bed that double as workout benches. The fitness centers on-site at the hotel will be right next to the lobby and will be three to four times bigger than most hotel fitness centers. The cafe menu will also feature health-conscious options on their menu.
It sounds good but boy, you REALLY have to be dedicated to your workout routine to stay in a hotel that is pretty much all about working out. Can you imagine staying here on your "cheat day"? You will probably want to check-out fast. And forget about walking into the lobby with a Mickey D's bag in your hand.
Last week as we strolled through the InterContinental Hotel Group's Annual Investors and Leadership Conference in Las Vegas, we saw tons of hotel vendors hawking their wares from electronics to furniture, lighting fixtures, bed linens and even fugly carpeting. But what caught our eye was this--The Lending Locker.
The locker, or loan closet, stocks items that you may have forgotten during your stay or couldn't bring with you in the first place. The way it works is fairly simple. If you see something in the locker that you want to use, you fill out a slip at the front desk stating what you are borrowing and your room number. And voila, you can now have a George Forman grill simmering away in your hotel room.
Speaking of grills, given that there are some pretty big items inside the locker like appliances and coolers, the locker works better in extended-stay hotels where guests are staying in large suites with kitchens. Indeed, IHG's Candlewood Suites brand is testing out the Lending Locker in some of their hotels.
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) would appreciate it if you didn't find any lower rates on third-party booking sites for any of their eight hotel brands (InterContinental Hotels, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Staybridge Suites, and Candlewood Suites). But if you do, according to their new Best Price Guarantee (BPG) initiative, you will earn yourself a free night.
Why are they so confident? Well, the multinational hotel mega-group has put some serious time and money into making it more appealing for guests to book directly on the IHG brand website. So for example, if you are normally an Expedia booker (and why wouldn't you be?), and you want to book yourself three nights at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins, you have two options: either pay slightly more than what's available directly on the hotel's website, or find a lower rate, and get your first night free (plus the other two nights at the lower rate)!
Apparently, IHG's Vice President, Michael Menis, "understands how much price influences a guest's booking decision." Well, thank goodness for that.
If you've always dreamed of marrying your special someone inside a Crowne Plaza, then this is without a doubt the promotion for you.
And just in case you didn't know: the address of Crowne Plaza Times Square 1605 Broadway. That's 1-6-0-5. As in, 16 minus 5 is—oh my gosh!—ELEVEN! This auspicious mini-mass-wedding will almost certainly open a powerful energy vortex into other Crowne Plaza dimensions, where no mortal has ever ventured. Needless to say, our RSVP is already in the mail.
Photo Gallery / Holiday Inns / Holiday Inn Social Hubs / Holiday Inn 2.0 / InterContinental Hotel Group / IHG Hotels / Hotel WiFi / → All Tags
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...