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The boutique hotel scene in the Chinese city of Tianjin has been officially been reshaped with the addition of a Hotel Indigo. Bringing the brands design and stellar service we've been going on about for some time, the new property, which opens Saturday, is a bit special in that it is steeped in history.
Located in the former German Concession, a pre-World War I settlement, Indigo has transformed the former German Consulate land into a hotel with 96 guestrooms spread across nine villas all designed in three distinctive styles: Old Cinema, Haihe Maritime Riverfront, and European Luxury.
All rooms offer the extensive range of amenities we've come to love at Indigo, including high-tech entertainment systems, free WiFi, and spa-style bathrooms. What makes you remember you're in China is the local artwork.
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We’ve previously gone so far to say that we coveted the furniture in some of the rooms at Hotel Indigo enough to want it for our own apartment (that was in Shanghai, and public spaces do not disappoint either). So when we had a chance to peek into a room that relatives were staying in at Hotel Indigo Tower Hill London, we were eager to check out if it lived up to our expectations.
On the exterior and the public spaces we can be brief: they’re not particularly inspiring. Architecturally, the hotel is nothing to write home about, and the small lobby with its red-granite tiles feels a little clinical. A single elevator serves the 6 floors, which only have a total of 46 rooms.
On August 1, as planned, downtown Brooklyn benefitted from the addition of 128 new hotel rooms with the opening of Hotel Indigo Brooklyn. And it couldn't come at a better time: the much-hyped Barclays Center is set to open on September 28, just one mile away from the hotel.
With all the new business that venue will bring to the neighborhood, Indigo Brooklyn should have no problem filling up its rooms.
So let's take a look inside and see what the rooms are like!
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Finding a good deal on a room can be stressful enough—but when all you need is to duck into the hotel lobby to fire off a string of emails, or upload photos onto Flickr, or write up a hotel story, (as is often the case with us), the last thing you want to feel is rushed. Here are a few trusty hotspots we like to keep on our radar when roaming the Big Apple, looking for a chilled-out place to turn into our office for a quick hour or two:
1. Indigo Chelsea: Our buddies at Indigo Chelsea like to keep things simple in their ground-floor lobby on 28th St. They even did away (for the most part) with those floppy white plastic tubes that had us all scratching our heads for a while.
But with a new dining concept (Blu) that replaced the previous Bice Italian restaurant last year, and free WiFi all over the hotel, this midtown gem is a clean, friendly, reliable place you can go and get a bit of work done for a while. Which we do often, with a side of sweet potato fries ($8) to keep our appetite at bay.
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Room service is usually a solitary affair for us—either we don't know anyone in the city to go out to dinner with, or we're just feeling a bit low-key and prefer an in-room meal in front of the TV to going out and talking to people.
But the newly opened Hotel Indigo Edinburgh is the first place we've heard of to let guests have it both ways. In other words, you get the comfort of eating in your own room and the added bonus of a live comedian, who shows up with your meal and does a 10-minute stand-up act right in front of you. Yes, the potential for awkwardness is pretty high, but we'll let that go, for the sake of sheer novelty. The setup is by nature a little ridiculous, but since hotel rooms are often ripe subjects for joke-making, there's bound to be at least a few laughs in there.
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Nevermind what the bees are up to on hotel rooftops, we're here to remind you that New York has an abundance (literally) of rooftop spaces built for recreational human endeavors like eating, drinking and sunbathing.
One of our favorites, perhaps, is the sun terrace on top of the Peninsula New York. Mainly because we can do all three of those things at once, and then cool down afterwards with a relaxing 60-minute holistic massage. But if lounging on a fancy-shmance sun deck isn't your cup of tea, you've got plenty of other options around the city...
Technically, we should have been reporting on these March 1 openings yesterday, but since today is a Leap Day, we get to suspend the pleasure just a little longer. And yes, there is a little pleasure to be derived from these two hotels opening on opposite coasts tomorrow.
Between the Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara and The Out NYC, visitors to California and New York will have one new place to choose from when booking their cheap, fun hotel stays. And since both of these hotels are so fresh, rates are reasonably low compared to other hotels in the area (in Times Square, for example, a typical hotel room won't go below $275, even in the dead of winter).
We loved The Out NYC's opening rate, which was offering some rooms for as low as $150/night; of course, you're likely to be sleeping in the midst of a big, gay party, but for some, that's more of an incentive than a deterrent. Meanwhile, Indigo Santa Barbara is starting out with rooms as low as $143/night—and though you shouldn't expect bathtubs at this hotel, the "living wall of plants" here has certainly got us intrigued.
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Stone enjoying some Risotto Milanese, catered by Cafe B inside the Hotel Indigo Chelsea
In another life, we might have rolled our eyes at the thought of interviewing some pretty boy celebrity chef who makes a living cooking (and eating) gourmet food on national TV. But in the case of Curtis Stone, who showed up at the Hotel Indigo Chelsea on Friday to promote a local food campaign ("Locals Know Best"), we sat up to listen.
During our chat, the well-traveled chef name-drops a few of his fave NYC spots, professes his love for English Afternoon Tea, and explains why The Standard requires a certain "mood."
How did this partnership with Indigo come about?
I'm a huge advocate of local food, local produce, local chefs, local restaurants, so we decided to do a "Locals Know Best" campaign, which is just an extension of sourcing local ingredients. But it's also trying to bring in a bunch of local knowledge to each of the [Indigo] properties. I think the most important thing when you travel is to get a local flavor when you're there. Otherwise, there's no point in traveling, for both business and pleasure.
It's still several years away from completion, but the new 124-room tower going up on Greenwich Street has hopes of becoming one of the hottest nightlife and dining destinations in the downtown area, set to compete directly with the Trump Soho and Tribeca Grand.
But is that such a daunting task? Maybe not for the man who claims to have pushed the Indigo brand "into a higher gear" with the opening of Hotel Indigo Chelsea, which he owns.
Remember these things?
Back in July, these white "plastic bamboo" things outside the Indigo Chelsea
scared delighted confused us. What exactly were they? How did they manage to stay up without falling over? Who thought they actually looked good? All of our questions remained unanswered.
What we know for sure: the hotel has gone and removed them—at least the ones on the sidewalk outside. Which is a relief for innocent passers-by, though actual hotel guests will still have to put up with the nonsense. But for how long? We asked the hotel's assistant GM to set the record straight.
Back in June, word got around about a 50,000 square foot lot on Greenwich Street, which had been scooped up by Fortuna Realty for a reported $12.7 million. The developer's plan? Naturally, a hotel.
This week, HotelChatter got an exclusive look at a rendering for the 124-room tower, which is slated to include at least one major restaurant concept. Nearby behemoths like Trump Soho and The Greenwich Hotel have basically had a monopoly on this highly lucrative section of the city, but now it's time for new blood. So who's the man behind the money?
While enjoying a stroll through Chelsea yesterday, we decided to stop by the newly-renovated public spaces inside Hotel Indigo Chelsea, which include a street-level Italian restaurant and rooftop bar. But lo and behold, what did we find? A bunch of weird, white tubes sprouting up everywhere! Installed throughout the front courtyard and lobby, the collective tube total could easily have numbered in the thousands (and we weren't about to take the time to count).
We're reminded of the "giant white tentacles" included in the design of HGI Times Square's rooftop bar, XVI. We weren't crazy about the idea of tentacles back then, and we sure aren't now either. But Bill Mehalco, an Assistant General Manager for the hotel, assured us that that these Italian-imported plastic bamboo shoots will eventually be reinforced by the addition of tiny LED lights—though he couldn't say exactly when. More rooftop renovation photos after the jump!