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There's no doubt that Chicago has become quite the hotbed for new hotel action in the past few years. From trendy boutique hotels with a definite artsy edge to names that are synonymous with luxury. Fortunately, we got to lay our very own eyes on a new property that fits into the latter category; the Langham Chicago.
Langham opened in July in a 'soft opening' that elicited lots of "oohs" and "ahhs", including our own when we got a glimpse of what's inside the former IBM building along the Chicago River. To the untrained eye, many people wouldn't take note of the building itself, but design junkies will know the building to be the last of famed architect, Mies van der Rohe. It should also be known that the inside pays as much homage to the designer and his building and we couldn't be more wowed.
Full of little details from hanging Czech glass globes in the lobby, designed by London-based Richmond Group, hand-picked art pieces and the subtle tech-y nod to the building's former glory in Travelle, the upscale restaurant on the lobby level; it would be hard to check-in to this hotel and be underwhelmed. Each of the 316 rooms are so well thought out featuring high-end furniture, plush fabrics and sleek marble, in even the basic of rooms.
Celebrity Scoop / Justin Bieber / Langham Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / Hotel Restaurants / Room Service / Hotel News / → All Tags
Justin Bieber has been acting like a fool lately--walking around with no shirt on, spitting from balconies, peeing in buckets, dissing Bill Clinton, wearing a Guy Fawkes mask and trying to get into nightclubs, even though he's only 19. We've also been annoyed that he's staying at all the primo hotels on his world tour from Le Meurice in Paris to the Langham in London and to the Peninsula in Chicago.
But yesterday he redeemed himself somewhat. The pop star had checked into the new Langham Place Hotel on Fifth Avenue (formerly the Setai) earlier this week and as usual, hoards of screaming girls immediately camped outside the hotel trying to get a glimpse of the Biebs. So Biebs had some pizzas sent down from the hotel's Measure restaurant to the girls. A hotel source tells us the pizza is what Bieber has been ordering every night and he thought his fans would like it too. So if you were lucky enough to get a piece of pizza, you were basically eating Justin Bieber. OMG. OMG. OMG. (Not)
And if Twitter is to be believed, Bieber not only spent $2,000 on 80 pizzas for his fans but also gave him the WIFi password to the hotel's free WiFi network!
Justin used $2000 on 80 pizzas and gave his wifi password to fans outside his hotel. dont tell me he doesn't care. #mtvhottest Justin Bieber— иσтнιиg ℓιкє υѕ ∞ (@bieberscolour) August 2, 2013
We've been chronicling the story of The Langham Chicago since it was first announced in early 2011. But now that the big opening day is just a little over two weeks away, we thought it best to chat up general manager Bob Schofield about The Best Room to Book.
Fortunately, all 316 rooms at the Langham are good rooms to book. That's because the hotel's Grand rooms start at 516-sq.ft. and feature king or double beds, 55-inch flat-screen TVs (the largest in the city, Schofield said), master lighting controls, both a shower and a tub and a "reveal wall", a glass partition that separates the bathroom from the bedroom but goes opaque at the touch of a button. The rooms also include complimentary amenities such as internet, Nespresso machines, and free overnight pressing for up to three clothing items.
Still, Schofield told us best rooms to book are the Langham Grand River View Rooms, specifically the ones that end in 02 (502, 602, etc.) As you can guess, these rooms have views of the Chicago River but also the lake as well, thanks to their position in the southwest corner of the hotel.
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While we countdown the days until we can sip on cocktails on the roof of the Virgin Chicago, there's three more hotels opening up in the city, all in the next few weeks. Here's what on deck for the Chicago hotel scene:
· Hyatt Place River North Hotel: Opening on June 20, this new Hyatt just north of the Looop will feature a bi-level lobby, rooms with views of the river and all the amenities that come with a Hyatt Place including free WiFi, free breakfast, cozy sofa sleepers in each room and a 24/7 Grab n' Go case and Bakery cafe in the lobby. Rates start at $218 a night for an advanced purchase rate.
· Aloft City Center: Also opening the exact same day is the first Aloft for Chicago proper (there's already one by O'Hare Airport.) And again, all the Aloft amenities will be here as well including the W XYZ River North Bar, the re: mix lounge, the re:fuel pantry and even Arf, Aloft's pet-friendly travel program. Rates start at $239 a night for a prepaid rate.
UPDATE, 6.25.13: Turned out three hotels actually opened on the same block--Aloft, Hyatt Place and Fairfield Inn and Suites. Read ChicagoMag's report (by our own Nina K. Hahn) for more info.
· Langham Chicago: At long last, the Langham Chicago will open on July 10 and we're nearly giddy over the room amenities which include a 55 in. television, a deep soaking tub and La Bottega Dell Albergo toiletries.There's also a swimming pool in the hotel's Chuan Spa and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine served downstairs at the new Travelle restaurant. Rates start at $356 a night on opening night.
[Photos: Hyatt Place; Aloft and Langham Hotels]
Hat tip to Tony for the reminder!
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Hotels are always trying to create memorable experiences that cause us to go home and tell all of our friends how great the stay was or even take to social media and get some free advertising. We've heard about the intimate relationship between smell and memory, so it makes sense to incorporate pleasant smells to jog the memory taking you back to how fantastic your time was at Hotel X.
We've told you before how this trend is taking off, so here is a new list of six hotels that have taken thoughtful consideration of your olfactory glands. Not only during your stay, but sometimes after you have recovered from your post-vacation blues:
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In April we told you about Toronto’s Delta Chelsea becoming an Eaton-branded hotel on July 1 – the first Langham property in Canada and the first Eaton Hotel in North America. If you've been waiting with bated breath for more details, now's the time to exhale.
Langham Hotels has been pouring millions into transforming the soon-to-be Eaton Chelsea hotel. The renos to the lobby and Market Garden Restaurant (which, when we were there many, many years ago, seemed to be the biggest buffet restaurant on the planet) will be the first of a few changes to the hotel.
Aside from the restaurant and lobby renovations, the hotel is also replacing the former Elm Street Lounge with the more modern T|Bar (an Eaton brand signature feature). The hotel is expecting that one of the things that will make this one of TO’s go-to spots will be their take on that most famous of Canadian cocktails: the Caesar. (For you Americans, it's a clam-infused version of the Bloody Mary.)
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Summer is almost upon us, and along with all the regular seasonal delights (rooftop cocktails, long weekends in Cape Cod, ice creeeaaam), one thing we hate, hate, hate about summer in the city is the exorbitant hotel rates.
We've seen numbers climbing to $600, $650, and even $700/night for a standard room, and we feel someone needs to take a stand against such preposterousness. So that someone may as well be us.
At a glance, we found several hotels overstepping the line with $700+ rates on a weeknight in June. Sheraton Times Square must be really raking it in, as they claim their "lowest available rate" is $749/night. Meanwhile, less than three miles away, the Sheraton Lincoln Harbor is offering a room on the same night for $289. For the difference in price, we could treat ourselves to a steak dinner at Peter Luger's and still wind up saving money.
Our question is: considering that hotels can justify these kinds of rates because it's the summer season, would you pay $700/night to stay at a Sheraton? Or would you look elsewhere? Let us know your thoughts below!
Hotel Rebrandings / Hotel Openings / Langham Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / Hotel Bars / Hotel Restaurants / Hotel News / → All Tags
Though we gave you a heads up about the change last fall, Langham sent out a formal announcement late last week, confirming that tomorrow, May 7, the former Setai Fifth Avenue will become Langham Place, Fifth Avenue. The announcement mostly tells us what we already knew, except for a few minor details. It turns out the hotel will indeed undergo some cosmetic changes—including new permanent artworks, updated decor, a Chuan spa, and a new lounge/bar concept.
And good news for folks visiting NYC this week: the opening of the new lounge, featuring a menu by former Maialino chef Jeffrey Seizer, coincides with the re-branding of the hotel tomorrow. So come hungry!
(For those of you wondering about the fate of the hotel's celebrated restaurant, Ai Fiori, rest assured. It's staying put for now.)
We called it one of our hotel openings to get psyched about back in February, and yet while The Langham Chicago will not open in May as expected, a July date is now on the books. And to whet our appetite while we wait, the hotel's Facebook page has been giving us plenty of photos to ogle.
Set within the Mies van der Rohe building - the famous architect’s last work - The Langham Chicago is right on the riverfront, and as we’ve pointed out, cozily next to Trump. Known locally as the IBM Building, it has been a Chicago Landmark since 2008. So what can we expect inside?
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The brand has decided to take over the Delta Chelsea in Toronto, which, at 1,590 rooms, is Canada's largest hotel.
As of July 1, the hotel will officially be known as Eaton Chelsea, thus becoming the first Eaton hotel to open in North America. (For those of you unfamiliar with the name, Eaton is an offshoot brand under the Langham umbrella, with several properties throughout Asia, including Eaton Hong Kong and Eaton Smart New Delhi Airport.)
Langham's parent company has owned the
Delta Chelsea Eaton Chelsea for nearly two decades, but has finally decided to take over management duties as well. This is most likely due to Langham's steadily growing presence in the US, with The Langham Chicago one of the most anticipated openings of 2013 (and not just because of the free WiFi!).
Similar in many ways to Langham, Eaton is known for its "smart, modern and uncomplicated interiors and an enthusiastic 'can do' service culture," as explained by Eaton Chelsea Regional VP Josef Ebner. The hotel itself will undergo major renovations to the exterior, lobby, Market Garden restaurant, and meeting facilities.
One of its main attractions is the "Corkscrew," downtown Toronto's only indoor waterslide.
Rates from $131/night.
[Photo: Eaton Chelsea]
Even though Langham Hotels is prepping to open in Chicago and have recently taken over the Setai Hotel in NYC and the Observatory Hotel in Sydney, they've actually closed the door on the Langham Yangtze in Shanghai.
Sophie Friedman, a Conde Nast Traveler contributor based in China, emailed us last week to say the hotel, a place we once called "practically perfect", parted ways with Langham (i.e. the management contract was not renewed.) Instead, the building's owners are doing their own thing and the hotel has been renamed Yangtze Boutique Hotel.
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Tea is a big thing. Really big, especially at hotels. Just last week, Shangri-La Sydney announced the introduction of a very special tea blend that is exclusive to their property and will brighten up even the perkiest of high tea services. The hand-picked single origin 100% pure Dilmah Ceylon tea is available in all 563 rooms and can be sipped in any of the restaurants including their new signature high-tea service. The special tea bags will also be found in all Shangri-La properties around the world.
The folks at the Shangri-La aren't the only tea connoisseurs. There are plenty of other exclusive brews at hotels around the world. Here's a sampling of what you can sample while staying or playing at these properties:
· The Langham: As the creators of the original English high-tea service, you could have imagine they would stake claim to one variety. In fact, the pink-hued hotels have four different house blends to tempt guests' taste-buds. The aptly named Langham Blend, Silk Road Blend, English Flower Blend and Palm Court Exotic Blend are all offered on their own or accompanying some freshly baked scones.