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It's that time of year again: the 2014 HotelChatter Awards! Today and tomorrow, we'll be showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to...
With so much great hotel news to choose from, narrowing the entire year down to one city was by no means easy. London had an amazing year with too many hotels to mention – from the affordable Motel One, with its English debut, to the glorious Ham Yard Hotel. Istanbul, too, was well up there, with Room Mate Kerem and Vault Karakoy and its killer views both opening, and more on the cards.
We first heard of the grand hotel aspirations for Los Angeles' iconic Sunset Boulevard way back in 2010 when the news came out that the House of Blues would be replaced by a crazy hotel condo complex. Two years later, we learned an Edition Hotel was opening up at Sunset and Doheny. And now, it looks like both of these projects are coming to fruition, along with a few others.
Bloomberg News reports that the House of Blues will close down in the near future and make way for a 149-room hotel which will open sometime in 2017. The property will also have residences attached.
But the House of Blues is not the only spot to lose their presence on the Sunset Strip. Larry Flynt's erotic Hustler Store will also be closed up and replaced by a luxury hotel. Meanwhile, Ian Schrager and Marriott are still working on plans for their Edition Hotel at Sunset and Doheny. And a James Hotel is set to open at the corner of Sunset and La Cienega some time in 2016. Also opening near the Hustler store is yet another luxury hotel hotel with about 190 rooms.
We're not so good at math but to us, that looks like 5 new hotels for West Hollywood within the next three to four years. Way back when in 2010 we wondered if West Hollywood could even sustain two new hotels. But now with the area's hotels reporting 82 percent occupancy, we guess we have our answer.
For a better understanding of our Sunset Strip is being colonized by hotels, head over to Curbed LA which put together a nifty map.
Hotel Cocktail Week / Hotel Cocktails / Hotel Bars / Las Vegas Hotels / Fairmont Hotels / San Francisco Hotels / Boston Hotels / Seattle Hotels / Toronto Hotels / Canada Hotels / San Diego Hotels / Miami Hotels / LEading Hotels of the World / LHW Hotels / Melia Hotels / Mexico Hotels / Los Cabos Hotels / Sheraton Hotels / Starwood Hotels / LA Hotels / → All Tags
As the grand finale to cocktail week here's Part 2 of our round-up of some of the nifty things we see going on in the world of hotel bars and bevvies. Don't forget to let us know what’s going on in your section of the world!
Beer is the new wine: Before some of you get stressed out, we’re not saying that wine’s going away, but we have noticed that beer is getting more attention these days. Some hotel bars are making beer their “thing,” some are making their own and some are getting it made for them.
Most of us tend to only hang out at airport hotels when we’re going to and from a place, but the Four Points by Sheraton LAX has a 100-beer beererie called Brewster’s that includes an ever-changing tap list of craft and microbrews. They have an on-staff Director of Brewer Relations who ensures the beer list is fresh and filled with rare brews, monthly beer appreciation nights, beer pairings such as Smoked Stone Porter with smoked salmon, beer turndown service that includes a beer-stocked minibar, and a recently-launched Hoppily Ever After package that lets the happy couple-to-be create their very own custom, brewed-to-taste beer for their big day—isn’t that just so romantic?
National Tequila Day / Hotel Cocktails / Hotel Bars / Tucson Resorts / Chicago Hotels / Kimpton Hotels / JW Marriott Hotels / LA Hotels / Miami Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / → All Tags
Oh, how we love made up holidays that give us an excuse to pig out (see National Burger Month), bliss out (check July's National Ice Cream Month details) or…and this is our favorite by far, get out-and-out liquified. Yes, it's National Tequila Day folks, and that means you have permission, nay, an obligation, to celebrate the fruits of the beloved agave plant. Oh, and if you get this confused with National Margarita Day, it's OK, no one will get mad.
Where to honor this day? Good question. The following hotel bars pay tribute to this sanctified holiday in their own special way, or they just happen to pour a damn good marg, in our humble opinion. And while we know tequila comes from Mexico, if you're not there already, you'll need an alternative locale to indulge (or..like everyday). So, pull up a barstool and place your order. It's 5pm EVERYWHERE today.
Can't make it to a bar midweek (aw, you poor thang), we've got some recipes here so you can get to sippin' at home.
Tanque Verde Ranch, Tucson, AZ
This working dude ranch is truly legit. You'll learn how to properly ride a horse, wield a lasso, hike trails, and even mountain bike in the desert. So after all that, you'll want a beverage, and you'll get it in the Doghouse Saloon. It sounds like you're in trouble, and you might be after a few of the Prickly Pear margaritas. Interestingly enough, the prickly pear used is harvested right on site, so it's the real thing. They even use it in syrup for pancakes! But guess what, we loved the Red-Neck Margarita even more, which subbed the tequila for Jack Daniels! Whoa. But that's a story for another holiday.
Hotel Palomar, Chicago
The "Enemy of the State" tequila cocktail was created by bartender, Alex Renshaw and includes Milagro Reposado, Lustau PX sherry, Dark Matter cold brewed coffee and Angostura bitters. Perfect for those who anticipate needing a dose of caffeine and some liquid courage to handle Chi-Town's sassy attitude.
The Bowery Hotel, NYC
An agave accented take on the traditional vodka Moscow version, the Mexican Mule combines tequila with ginger and bitters to create one knock-your-socks-off cocktail. The mixologist at the hotel makes it with Qui Platinum Extra-Añejo tequila, 3 oz of fresh ginger, 3 dashes of Angostura bitters, and tops of the glass with an orange twist.
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What’s Out: Chocolates on your pillow
What’s In: Over the top, fun and experiential turn-down services
Everyone loves coming back to their room after a nice dinner out to find that little chocolate sitting on their pillow, right? If you like that, though, you’re going to love this. Some hotels are going out of their way to make sure that you have really sweet dreams with these OTT nighty-night rituals.
Hotel Vermont offers a special “bedtime menu” that includes such delights as a selection of Vermont flannel pyjamas to snuggle up in on a brisk night, local Lunaroma aromatherapy products from which you can choose, a Vermont teddy bear (your choice of six) to sleep with or take home, a selection of bedtime stories for the little ones, a locally-inspired Hot Toddy selection, and 10-15 minute in-room meditation sessions via TV or download.
In Fairmont Gold rooms at Boston’s Fairmont Battery Wharf, you get a message in a bottle with top things to do in Boston during that particular time of the year.
Four Points by Sheraton Los Angeles International Airport is more than an ordinary airport hotel. It’s known by some to be the original beer hotel and has an enormous beer selection featuring over 100 beers, a poolside bar dedicated solely to local beers, monthly beer appreciation nights and it even has a Beer Advisory Board and a Director of Brewer Relations. If all of that beer surrounding you has made you thirsty for more, you can order a Beer Club Package that includes stocking the in-room mini fridge with your choice of three of your favorite beers and a nightly beer turndown with souvenir glass.
Three more hotels with bedtime treats follow!
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Hot yoga is so last-season – not only because of the weather, but especially since the founder of the trendy hot yoga program Bikram is being accused of sexual harassment. Still, though, we’ve gotta keep those chakras flowing even while we’re on the road, so we’re loving Kimpton Hotels’ more low-key, individualized yoga program, soft-launching in April across the brand. According to our source, each Kimpton property is encouraged to do things a little bit differently, but all properties will offer an in-room yoga television channel, in-room Gaiam yoga mats, and extra towels/flavored waters/antioxidant snacks delivered to the room by request.
But it's the new aqua yoga that has us most excited. Read on to find out more details!
It’s almost our favorite time of the year, where we get to laze by the pool, sipping on umbrella-topped cocktails. But really, that seems so 1990s, right? Today's bartenders are getting super creative with their libations. We’re already hearing about yummy mixes that have us begging Mother Nature to hurry up with summer already.
It looks like the West Coast has a jump on these tasty treats, so we'll just lust over the pics until they make the rounds Stateside.
From boozy shakes and sorbets, and other goodies, it looks like poolside fun has an alcoholic accent like never before.
Here are some we’re looking forward to trying:
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It's been a longtime coming but it looks like Downtown Los Angeles is about to get the hotel renaissance it so desperately needs. With the exception of the awful tragedy last month, the chatter about the downtown LA hotel scene has us tremendously excited. Here are updates on the hotels we look forward to seeing:
ACE HOTEL DOWNTOWN LA: So far things are still very much a go for the Ace Hotel and its website promises a 2013 opening. Yay! We can't wait to see what they do with the landmarked United Artists building, a former movie theater built in 1927. We're guessing the vibe will be film noir heavy but don't forget, this Ace will also have a pool.
We've all kind of figured out the "glamping concept", but this one that rolled across our desk seemed pretty cool. It's called "Urban Camping" and it's a special experience being offered at the 72-room historic Hotel at the Los Angeles Athletic Club (LAAC).
From now until August 31st, you have the opportunity to stay in the downtown LA hotel's themed suite--namely an indoor campsite. The room has a luxury teepee with an ornate tented bed, and lot of camping-type decorations like leather saddle bags, animal pelts, and more.
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Los Angeles may be glitz and glam but it's also energy, wellness and all things "New Age". And when it comes to hotels, these two concepts merge. Seriously! According to Aiden Chase, a notable psychic and healer, LA has special "centers" whether vortexes or energy fields like Stonehenge, the Pyramids, Hawaii and Sedona. It's a powerful place, y'all, and no one knows best like Chase, who People magazine touts as "Hollywood's Healer."
"There's an energy field in the land here that supports wishes and dreams," says Chase. "LA’s natural “good vibe” energy from the Hollywood hills to the ocean has supported the fulfillment of people's dreams from the actor to the entrepreneur for over 100 years." So where does the highbrow and spiritual merge? Believe it or not, at some of the finest of luxury hotels. "The energy is great at many of the top hotels because they are maintained with loving care, with an intention for good energy, success and well-being and honor of each property’s history."
Here's Chase's list of hotels with the best energy in Los Angeles and surrounding areas.
To stay at a hotel that's literally across the street from CAA (one of the biggest talent agencies in the world), you're going to want to look good. This means fighting off Cinnabon (and french fries and pizza and bagel sandwiches). The easiest solution is simply walking downstairs to the Breeze restaurant.
Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles just launched the Perfectly Portioned menu with meals that are 500 calories or less. And the options look delicious, like seared ahi salad and vegan mushroom risotto. Guests can also create their own meal with "my menu" options. Here, they choose a meat/fish/poultry and have it prepared whatever way they want with whatever sauce. They then add a pasta, a vegetable and a starch (these meal options are not all 500 calories or less, but hey, it's good enough for us).
While we're on the subject of health-minded food, the Hyatt Regency is also known for their stellar vegan options, and the chef even has aspirations of going full GMO free. Watch him speak about all the health-minded goods here. Oh, and did we mention the gym at Hyatt Regency Century Plaza is an Equinox? Talk about upscale urban detox resort. We feel fat just by thinking about it!
Room rates from $275.
[Photo: Hyatt Regency Century Plaza]
We’ve talked about our favorite dishes to order from room service (FTR—grilled cheese rocks the casbah every time), but we’re recognizing that more and more in-room dining offerings are the vision of the world’s top chefs who have restaurants inside the hotels we’re patronizing.
The room service option may even be a second choice if you aren’t able to score a reservation in the chef's signature restaurant, but are in town and dying to get a taste of, say, Bobby Flay's latest creation.
So the next time you peruse your hotel’s room service menu, think about if you should go for the everyday cheeseburger or the yellowfin tuna tartare, whose recipe is courtesy of Gordon Ramsay, Daniel Boulud, or Matsuhisa Nobu's vision.
Here are a five hotels HC thinks has exceptional room service menus, which include choices from celebrity chefs.