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As spring continues to elude a lot of us, you might be mind escaping by leaving on a jet plane to far-off destinations. To feed your fantasy, we thought we’d share with you this flight of fancy offered by Four Seasons: A $69,000 backstage pass package to some of Europe’s most iconic cultural kicks.
This 16-day Backstage with the arts package includes the use of a fully kitted out 757 private jet that’ll whisk you from European capital to European capital: Lisbon, Milan, Istanbul, St. Petersburg, Paris and Prague, complete with a Four Seasons Global Guest Services Manager to help make all of your arts and culture dreams come true along the way.
To further whet your appetite for this OTT fantastic fantasy, here are some of the behind-the-scenes treats for the 52 people who will be able to book the package.
Welcome to Funky Friday, a new segment we’re trying out which features one photo that we think singularly expresses a hotel’s inner psyche. We look for – and find a lot of – wacky, wild and wondrous designs that seem to have one thing in common: a Type A personality. So why not have a bit of fun as we all wrap up our week by taking a quick look at some hotels that quite frankly, want our attention.
We kick off Funky Friday in the lobby of Le Méridien Istanbul Etiler. It’s kind of hard not to notice the larger-than-life starburst patterns, created by artist Mustafa Hulusi. While we cannot say for certain what the meaning is behind this stroll down psychedelic lane, one clue may lie in that Hulusi himself couldn’t come up with a name for his work (“Untitled”).
Whatever the artist’s intentions may be, Le Méridien Istanbul Etiler clearly want modern art of be a part of the guest experience. The hotel has partnered with Istanbul Museum of Modern Art in their "UnlockArt" program and offer free entrance to guests who present their room key. (This program is actually in effect at all Le Méridien hotels.)
Now, stare straight into the center of any starburst and repeat to yourself, “I love HotelChatter.com and recommend it to everyone I meet …I love HotelChatter.com and recommend it to everyone I meet.” Feel better?
[Photo: Le Méridien Istanbul/Facebook]
The answer to our question when Philippe Starck’s yoo Hotels would make its debut is here: January 2014. Just last week, yoo2 Taksim Square opened the doors to its 59 rooms and suites in the heart of Istanbul, across from Gezi Park.
Yoo2 is the more affordable of two yoo Hotel brands, with yoo Collection aimed at the luxury market. While we heard last year that Acqua Boracay in the Philippines would be the first yoo Collection hotel to open (in 2015), it is not listed in the directory of upcoming hotels, though a separate website is very much up and running. Additional projects include will include yoo Collection Lepang, Bali, yoo Collection in the British Cotswolds, and yoo2 Sinapati, Jakarta - all scheduled for 2016.
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Since its beginning as a members-only club in London that you probably couldn't get into, Soho House has come a long way -- from New York to Miami, Toronto, Berlin and more -- becoming a touch more welcoming in the process.
It was just a couple of weeks ago that we heard rumors of Soho House opening up a new hotel in what used to be the BBC Center in London. Now we hear that there are confirmed plans for a different hotel in another part of the city: in, well, the City (that's London's financial district).
Time for a quick round-up of Soho House's heady expansion plans, we think.
Hotel Renovations / Ritz-Carlton Hotels / California Hotels / Los Angeles Hotels / Istanbul Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Hotel Club Lounges / → All Tags
The Ritz-Carlton news just keeps rolling in: we’ve heard about new things happening in destinations as disparate as Israel, Bali, Aruba, Japan and beyond already. Closer to home, the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel – in Orange County, Los Angeles – is marking its last year as a twenty-something with new-look guestrooms, new f&b outlets, and more.
Perched high on the cliffs above the crashing waves of the Pacific, the hotel’s location was the source of inspiration for the new design. That translates into lots of pale blues against white walls and sheets, with contrasting dark wood in the headboard and furniture. It’s the kind of beach-y modern that sits midway between the more traditional Ritz-Carlton wealthy- great-aunt look and younger urbanite style you’d find in its Georgetown, DC hotel for example.
Hotel Cocktails / Hotel Bars / Raffles Hotels / Singapore Hotels / Seychelles Hotels / Cambodia Hotels / Philippines Hotels / Paris Hotels / Europe Hotels / Dubai Hotels / Istanbul Hotels / Indonesia Hotels / China Hotels / → All Tags
It's no secret that we love drinking in hotels here at HotelChatter. In fact, hotels might be our favorite "local" bar. So all this week, we'll be pouring out some drinks for you during our first-ever Hotel Cocktail Week. All this week, we'll be posting specialty drinks, booze trends, mixology tips and most importantly, drinks recipes so you can recreate your favorite hotel drink at home. Everyone will be getting tipsy this week! But don't forget to tip your bartenders, in this case, us.
Raffles Singapore, the place where the famed Singapore Sling was created, has launched a cocktail menu designed to take you around the world while you still remain seated and sipping in their Long Bar, god bless ‘em.
Resident mixologist, Randolph Velasco, has come up with eight spiritus drinks inspired by a Raffles hotel destination, so come join us as we embark on our virtual journey through time and space. First stop? Seychelles.
The Seychelles conjures images of an island paradise with deep blue skies, sultry breezes and emerald seas. No surprise, then, that the Raffles Seychelles cocktail is an emerald green beauty created by combining Smirnoff Vodka with melon-flavored Midori and tangy Apple Sourz, then topped off with apple juice. Garnished with slices of star fruit and a lemon wedge, this is a sipper meant to be sipped in a rattan chair with one of those tropical ceiling fans swooshing slowly overhead.
Next, we go to Raffles Cambodia –- specifically, Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Phnom Penh and Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor. Using the Kingdom’s national fruit, the five finger banana (who knew?), this golden concoction consists of rum, banana and pineapple juice, but it’s the finishing touch of zesty kaffir and fresh, green pandan leaves (a herbaceous tropical plant) that gives this drink its aromatic and mysterious character.
The Raffles Philippines takes you to the newly-opened Raffles Makati in the heart of Manila’s financial district. A mix of Bacardi rum, juicy mango and pineapple are enhanced by a mere suggestion of basil and the tart, citrus flavor of calamansi, a wee fruit that bears a resemblance to a lime but is about the size of a kumquat. Calamansi is supposed to have some health benefits, so drink up.
Raffles Istanbul anticipates the opening of Raffles Istanbul Zorlu Center in late 2013 (no date as of yet) with a cocktail that evokes the complex flavors of Turkish coffee. Rich Kahlua is layered with potent Pisco, fresh lime juice and anise to create a boozy drink not quite appropriate for the morning but it does kinda taste like coffee, so we’ll leave it up to you. (Recipe below!)
Hotel Openings / Turkey Hotels / Hotel News / Hotel Spas / Shangri-La Hotels / Istanbul Hotels / → All Tags
With plenty of new hotels heating up the scene in Turkey (Fairmont, Nikki Beach Resort, Four Seasons, to name but a few), it's no surprise that Shangri-La's shrewd crew of hotel planners wanted to plant their flag as well.
Over the weekend, the gorgeous Shangri-La Bosphorus officially opened its doors, with 186 guest rooms, a spa, and a three-story dome-shaped atrium capped with a skylight as well as a "massive Bohemian chandelier that rains crystals for two storeys." Oh, those Turks.
Fairmont announced this week that its first location in Istanbul, the Fairmont Quasar, will open in 2016 as part of a mixed development complex in the Sisli District (near the Trump Towers). Two 41-story towers will house the 210-room hotel along with leisure, commercial, and residential units, including four stories of office space and luxury retail at the base of the complex.
Both the hotel and the residences will be managed by Fairmont Hotel and Resorts, and the owners will be awarded VIP status and privileges at Fairmont properties around the world as an extra perk of ownership. For leisure guests, the hotel will feature a Fairmont Gold club level, several restaurants, 2,000 square meters of function space, and a Willow Stream Spa.
The Fairmont Quasar is the most recent project to be announced by the brand in the Black Sea region, joining the recently opened Fairmont Kyiv in Ukraine, the Fairmont Baku in Azerbaijan (opening spring 2013) and the Fairmont Pekin in Moscow (opening 2016).
Hotel Trends / Hotel Scents / Hotel Amenities / Hotel Toiletries / Istanbul Hotels / Turkey Hotels / Vermont Hotels / Zurich Hotels / Switzerland Hotels / Italy Hotels / Rome Hotels / Florence Hotels / → All Tags
Today we start a new weekly series of what’s trending in hotels these days: What’s Out, What’s In. Do we like what we see? Think it's a dud? You be the judge!
What’s Out: Generic flower aromas
What’s In: Bespoke signature scents
Hotels are getting personal with their smelly goods. More and more they’re looking to give you a local scent experience as soon as you walk in the door or when you’re executing your nightly ablutions. Capitalizing on the strength of olfactory memories, they’re partnering with local scent companies to choose unique aromas that embody the spirit of the hotel and give it a sense of place.
Here are just a few examples:
Hotel Spas / Istanbul Hotels / Turkey Hotels / Europe Hotels / Dresden Hotels / Germany Hotels / Mexican Hotels / Mayan Riviera Hotels / Caribbean Hotels / Turks and Caicos Hotels / Thailand Hotels / → All Tags
Not to state the obvious, but it’s winter and you’re in need of some TLC to bring you out of your dark-day doldrums. We get it. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the most authentic local spa treatments to kick-start your spring recovery.
Fairmont Mayakoba -- Riviera Maya, Mexico Well the world didn’t end on December 21, 2012 as the Mayans predicted, but don’t give up on them yet. They still got game. In a private canopy overlooking the mangrove forest, guests of the Willow Stream Spa can enjoy treatments that utilize Mayan ingredients such as Conchera, fossil stone and wood from the local Zapote tree. For a bliss-out treatment, try the Mayan Clay Purification which incorporates local Mayan clay and involves a massage using sage oil and Mexican obsidian stones.
Four more blissful, all-natural spa treatments after the jump!
There's a new spot for stylish digs in Turkey's happenin' metropolis with the new Marti Istanbul Hotel. After a soft opening in the middle of last year, the hotel is ready to show travelers what makes them tick in their entirety with every space open and ready to wow guests behind every corner.
Tucked away in the heart of Istanbul, the Marti showcases the local Taksim culture. Considered the cultural and commercial area of the city, the sleek 11-story property is located within walking distance of dozens of galleries, boutiques, restaurants and bars.
Each of the 270 rooms are designed by famed Turkish eye-for-style, Zeynep Fadillioglu, and play with both Ottoman design and contemporary design. Cast in either a purple or blue hue, the rooms create a comfy living space for those that prefer a calming feel. Meanwhile, suites feature a hammam-style marble basin surrounded by richly textured mosaics to really get the true Turkish experience.
The bulk of Shangri-La’s proliferating hotel portfolio might be in China (54 locations and counting), but this year will see two major openings in Europe, tripling the group’s presence on the continent, which currently is limited to Paris. A lot of the attention is going to the much-hyped Shangri-La at the Shard, but if all goes as planned, Istanbul will beat London to the punch with the arrival of the Shangri-La Bosphorus in May .
Right on the edge of the Bosphorus strait, on the European side of the city, the hotel is housed in a former tobacco factory and warehouse from the 1930s. How do you fit 186 of the city’s most spacious guest rooms and all the luxury facilities of a Shangri-La hotel into an historic seven-story building while protecting its landmark facade? You go underground, digging a hole seven stories deep (or six, depending on where you look on the hotel’s website; we hope they’re not still figuring that one out).