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Must-Stay Hotels / Toronto Hotels / Canada Hotels / Hotel Guides / Luxury Hotels / Boutique Hotels / Shangri-La Hotels / Le Germain Hotels / Intercontinental Hotel Group / Intercontinental Hotels / → All Tags
Introducing our newest hotel guide--HotelChatter's Must-Stay Hotels--where we pick four hotels for four different types of travelers in a particular neighborhood of one major city. This is also a seasonal guide so the options may change depending on when you're going. Got a question about where to stay and when? Email us.
Looking for a hotel in Toronto? You can troll online review sites, crowdsource on Facebook and comb through endless Best Hotels” lists but why do all that when we’ve done all the work for you already?
Here are four different hotels to try when you head south of the border to one of Canada’s largest metropolises, all located in Toronto's downtown area. Whether you’re going for pleasure or work and whether you’ve got cash to throw around or have pennies to count, these hotels will fulfill your wants, needs and desires.
China Hotels / Hotel News / Hotel Openings / Chinese Hotels / IHG China / IHG Hotels / Intercontinental Hotel Group / Regalia Hotels / → All Tags
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.
Even Hotels / Hotel Hype / Hotel Construction / IHG Hotels / InterContinental Hotel Group / Hotel Fitness / → All Tags
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
Hotel Toiletries / InterContinental Hotels / Hotel Bathrooms / InterContinental Hotel Group / → All Tags
There’s just something about those little (and sometimes big!) bottles of shampoo, shower gels and lotions that we adore and can take back home without feeling guilty. Lately, some hotels are getting even fancier with their offerings (no more boring Aveda!) by partnering with interesting boutique brands.
The latest to tickle our fancy is InterContinental Hotels' new Agraria line. It’s actually one of the oldest and largest American luxury home fragrance company, which makes us smile that the company appreciates a boutique classic. The products made their way into rooms this month and will be in all 169 properties by January 2013.
Lemon verbena, Agraria’s number one scent, has been chosen for the hotels. The brand, which was born in San Francisco in the ‘70s, uses natural ingredients, plus its packaging uses recycled paper and is 100% biodegradable.
Bonus: If you’re a InterContinental VIP guest, you’ll get a special “Sweet Dreams” Agraria evening turndown service with a gift of either homemade lemon verbena cookies to a take-home lemon verbena TasselAire, unique perfumed tassels that can be used as room fresheners.
Even Hotels / Hotel Fitness / Christian Hempell / InterContinental Hotels / InterContinental Hotel Group / Hotel News / → All Tags
We teased you a little bit yesterday with some scoop on the new, health-oriented Even Hotels from InterContinental Hotel Group (namely that there will be free WiFi in the rooms and burgers and wine downstairs). So today, let's dig a little deeper. You can do it, just five more! Push! Think of the end result! Don't give up! You can do it! Er, sorry, we got a little carried away with the fitness theme here.
Our biggest question for IHG's Christian Hempell, vice president of new brand development, was can a regular traveler feel comfortable at an Even Hotel? You know, not one of the 17 million healthy-minded main stream travelers that IHG estimates are out there?
Hempell admitted that "the brand is not for everyone. It's for folks who like healthier travel." Yet, he said that doesn't mean the Even brand is "health-obsessed." Instead, Even will be offering different options for people so they choose their own specific formula for a healthy balance. For some, Hempell said, that might mean working out so that they can enjoy a burger and wine downstairs (albeit healthier versions of such revered hotel comfort foods)
For others, it could just mean eating right and at Even, guests will have access to healthier foods and snacks. Even will even offer more vegetarian and vegan fare in their restaurants.
The other day the hotel world was abuzz with news of InterContinental Hotel Group's newest hotel brand, Even Hotels, designed for the "healthy-minded mainstream traveler."
We got the chance to speak with IHG's Christian Hempell, vice president of new business development and delivery, and he gave us a ton more insight into what Even is about and what it will be offering to guests.
We'll have the full story on that tomorrow but we wanted you to know upfront that Even Hotels will have even offer guests free WiFi. Woot. And we're guessing you can probably access the free internet while you're on the treadmill too since Even is all about healthy living.
As for the hotel guests who aren't crazy about working out while traveling (or at all), Hempell said there are options for everyone. And if you were worried the food at Even Hotel would be wheatgrass juice and alfafa sprouts, Hempell let us know there will be burgers and wine available downstairs, just healthier kinds.
Stayed tuned for our full interview with Hempell on Even Hotels, coming tomorrow!
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.
The Forbidden City, Beijing
A new year and a new hotel brand is coming to the masses! Well, the masses of one particular country, that is. InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) is working on rolling out a new hotel brand but this one will only be found in China.
News reports today say IHG will launch the upscale brand in the country within the next six months and will eventually expand the brand across Asia Pacific. And it apparently doesn't matter that IHG already has 160 hotels in China with 140 more in the works (like the Hotel Indigo Hong Kong.) Instead, IHG is placing their bets on the idea that the Chinese want a domestically-grown brand to call their own. (Even though, technically, the IHG corporate HQ is based in London.)
Holiday Inn Social Hubs / Holiday Inns / Sneak Peek / Hotel News / Photogallery / InterContinental Hotel Group / → All Tags
Last October, Holiday Inn announced their new Social Hub concept for all their lobbies which they followed up on in April with some renderings of the spaces as well as a food taste test. (See all the yummy goodness contributor JetsetCD got to taste right here.)
Currently, the Social Hub can only be found at The Holiday Inn Gwinnett City in Atlanta but yesterday at the InterContinental Hotel Group's Annual Investors and Leadership Conference in Las Vegas, we got to see what the HUB (capitalized like that) will look like in person.
Crowne Plaza Hotels / Hotel Renovations / Hotel Industry News / InterContinental Hotel Group / → All Tags
Crowne Plaza Birmingham, UK
Have you stayed in a Crowne Plaza Hotel lately? Yeah, neither have we. But this bit of news from InterContinental Hotel Group's Annual Investors & Leadership Conference today has us thinking a CP could be in our very near future.
IHG has announced that Crowne Plaza is will undergo a three-phase repositioning strategy, starting with a new brand identity and a modern look and feel for its U.S. properties (Crowne Plaza is way savvier abroad.)
This first phase, also known as the "Freshen Up", will also expand the brand's Sleep Advantage program which offers guests rooms in designated Quiet Zones and lots of pillows to get comfy with. As we type, Crowne Plazas are already getting freshened up and the makeover should last through 2012.
A few months ago, we posed the question--Have you ever booked a hotel room using a mobile app? And not many of you answered, save for an old "friend" from China, Spammy. We even tried to get Travelocity to cough up their mobile booking numbers but no dice.
But today, with the announcement of InterContinental Hotel Group's iPhone apps for each of its seven hotel brands, we learn that IHG is making $10 million in monthly booking revenue from mobile bookings alone (previously, IHG just had a Priority Club Rewards app for both Android and iPhone.) IHG also reports that 65 percent of consumers who download IHG’s mobile apps become guests the same night or within 24 hours.
So to answer our question--yes, you are booking reservations through mobile apps.