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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?
This is what greeted us in the bathroom at Aria Las Vegas when we returned to the room in the afternoon--our toiletries, hairbrush and glass all lined up in perfect order. Gorgeous! It really is those little things that win us over.
This also made up for the fact that the next day, housekeeping busted in on us, while changing clothes, completely ignoring our calls of "no, please don't open the door." And as we were reaching desperately for the hotel robe, the housekeeper peeked her head around the door just to remind us that we had to check-out that day. It was only 9:15am and check-out was not until 11am. Alrighty then. At least our toiletries were easy to pack up.
The Four Seasons Las Vegas located atop the Mandalay Bay Hotel (floors 35-39) finished its much-needed room renovations back in December and we're happy to report, they look incredible. And maybe more importantly, they look true to the website photos.
Here's how the rooms at the Four Seasons Las Vegas used to look. Eeek! You can see more from the rooms here, if you dare.
And here's a pic from the Four Seasons website of a renovated standard room.
And now, here's our pic of a one-bedroom suite with a strip view that we toured last week.
Hardly any difference. In fact, we think our picture looks better.
The renovations went for an Art Deco vibe but has a cool contemporary feel with eye-catching artwork and furniture. Nearly every piece in the rooms from the dressers to the mirrors, the floor lamps and even the wallpaper carry a detailed pattern or intricate finish. And of course, all the modern technological conveniences we've come to expect from hotel rooms are included, such as giant flat-screen TVs, TVs in the bathrooms mirrors and the all-important deskside plug panel where you can hook up your gadgets. For those of you concerned about the toiletries (and we know you are) the Four Seasons Las Vegas uses Ecro toiletries.
We first stayed at Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas in late 2009 when it first opened. Back then, we said the service was "some of the best we've ever experienced." And after a recent trip to the non-gaming hotel, the same holds true.
The service was impeccable (shout out to Henry!), especially for a town like Vegas where there are thousands upon thousands of hotel rooms and not every staffer can fake their excitement at having you stay at their hotel. But the Mandarin Oriental employees are willing to make this the best hotel stay in Vegas. And now we're not so sure we can stay anywhere else.
We could go on for a while about all the reasons to stay here but let's keep it to the reasons why you won't want to leave. And they are:
· Killer Strip Views: Being adjacent to CityCenter, the hotel offers some spectacular views of the "new" Vegas. But don't worry, we could still spy the Eiffel Tower from our room on the 11th floor. And of course, the hotel has blackout shades.
· The Amenities: The rooms at Mandarin Oriental are still filled up with tons of amenities like the Technology Box with various cables and wires (sorry, no iPhone 5 chargers) to the Shanghai Tang toiletries in the bathroom and the Dean & DeLuca minibar items. Don't forget about the flat-iron, the loofah sponge, the bath salts, the yoga mats, the high-tech bedside control panels and the bottles of water on the nightstand. (Those are included in the $25 resort fee. So is the internet.)
· The Pillows: Each bed at the Mandarin Oriental comes equipped with two big pillows that were nearly the length of our own bodies. We hugged that pillow each night we
passed out came home and didn't let go until morning. As another married friend put it, "It's like sleeping with someone...without the guilt."
Finally, there's something to be jubilant bout at Bally's Las Vegas.
The resort casino just announced they will renovate the rooms in the South Tower, which will now go by the name The Jubilee Tower, in honor of the long-running Jubilee show at Bally's. The renovations will span all 756 guestrooms and suites and they will be ready for guests in the fall. Here's what to expect:
The fresh, new Jubilee Tower accommodations will encompass 450 square feet of living space with chic lounge furniture yielding a stylistic and welcoming atmosphere. Juxtaposed geometric patterns will create a contemporary feel, set with neutral tones and striking pops of red visible throughout decorative accents and fashionable wall coverings. Dark wood furnishings, a work desk and a 37-inch flat screen television will complete the space. Each room will also come equipped with a refrigerator and redesigned bathrooms that will feature spacious glass-enclosed showers.
Hallelujah! We and our sibling site, VegasChatter, have long though the rooms at Bally's were in desperate need of an upgrade. Especially the suites. Fortunately, we won't have very long to wait to check out the new look. VegasChatter reports that they should be ready by November 1. If you're antsy, you can even book one of these rooms right now. Rates will start at $99 a night (not including the $18 resort fee. )
[Hilariously Photoshopped Photo Rendering: Bally's]
Loyalty Program News / Hyatt Gold Passport / MGM Resorts / M Life / Hotel News / Viva Vegas / Hyatt Hotels / Las Vegas Hotels / → All Tags
Love Vegas? Love Hyatt Hotels? Then life is about to get much sweeter for you.
Hyatt has announced a new partnership with MGM Resorts in Las Vegas which will allow members of Hyatt's loyalty program, Hyatt Gold Passport, to earn and redeem points at the 12 MGM resorts in Las Vegas. (Currently, the only Hyatt in Vegas is a Hyatt Place off the Strip.)
But the deal also works both ways.
MGM's players club, M Life can also earn M Life Tier Credits when staying at the more than 450 Hyatt hotels and resorts around the world.
“Our new relationship with MGM Resorts International underscores Hyatt’s focus on listening to guests and developing innovative strategies that set us apart and add value to loyalty program membership,” said Jeff Zidell, senior vice president, Hyatt Gold Passport. “We know The Las Vegas Strip is an important destination for our members, and now they will have the chance to earn points and redeem award nights at 12 outstanding resorts from Bellagio to MGM Grand to Mandalay Bay.”
Indeed, considering how often we go to Vegas, it looks like we're going to have to dust off our Hyatt Gold Passport card now.
The loyalty program partnership will begin on June 20 and stays at participating MGM Resorts can be booked through Hyatt.com, MLife.com or through individual MGM property websites. Below we've listed all of the participating hotels, all with links to recent stories on our sister site, VegasChatter.com, who has up-to-the moment stories on each property.
But it's only scary because we can catch the folks riding up one of the roller coaster peaks right before it dips back down. Luckily, these windows are noise-proof so we can't hear the people screaming. Other than that, we're quite pleased with the view especially since once we look down we can spy on the pool scene.
As for the rooms at New York, New York, we're staying in a "Park Avenue Room" but let's be clear here--it's a long ways from Park Avenue in the real NYC. The furniture is new as are the bedding, pillows, curtains and such but the bathroom is showing its age, the shower in particular. Also, we're bummed by the bland toiletries that are offered.
The rest of the hotel tower is also a little beat-down with old hallway rugs and room doors and not-so-clean elevators. Then again, we nabbed the room for $75 a night on Tingo.com so we can't complain too much (And no, we didn't get any money back from Tingo.)
However, the WiFi is rather slow. So slow, we can't even upload the rest of the room photos. The WiFi is part of the $18 plus tax room rate but still, this is unacceptable. We posted the screenshot over here where we are keeping tabs on hotel speeds but let's just say the grade begins with F.
Hotel Burgers / Hotel Restaurants / Las Vegas Hotels / California Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / → All Tags
We've just discovered May is National Burger Month, which apparently is different than National Cheeseburger Day, go figure. However, we won't quibble because anything that gives us a chance to sink our teeth into a juicy beefy sandwich (or turkey, or veggie if our pants feel a bit tight) without remorse, is a-ok in our book.
Naturally we had to think what hotels are serving up stellar burgers for this special time and we've narrowed it down to these:
The $5,000 Fleur Burger by Hubert Keller, Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Las Vegas
Ok, yes, this completely ridiculous and we'll probably never taste this burger at Keller's Fleur restaurant in our lifetime, but it just sounds so completely decadent we can't help but dream about this masterpiece of wagyu beef, foie gras, and truffle served with a bottle of 1995 Chateau Petrus. Need something a bit more reasonable? Come for lunch and order the Wagyu burger with bacon, wild mushrooms, and gruyere, on a potato bun with frites for $22.
Double Brie & Fig Burger, Surf & Sand Resort, Laguna Beach, CA
Anyone can order a plain-old cheeseburger and we often do, but this version at the hotel's Splashes restaurant seems so unusual, we'd definitely give it a try. It's an Angus patty topped with double cream brie, fig marmalade, caramelized onions and Dijon mustard. It just screams "rich", right? But thank goodness the price isn't, coming in at $19.
Fantasy Friday / Bachelor Party Hotels / Hotel Weddings / Rosewood Hotels / Mexico Hotels / Golf Hotels / Rhode Island Hotels / Las Vegas Hotels / Hard Rock Hotels / → All Tags
We recently listed 5 Elopement Packages for those wanting a low-fuss wedding, but that doesn't mean one has to skip out on the time-honored tradition of The Bachelor Party. Of course, today is Fantasy Friday, so we've got to go a little over-the-top with the options, and boy have we found some. But don't worry, we've got some sensible back-up plans as well.
For Golf Lovers
Rosewood Mayakoba's $175,000 Ultimate Golf Experience is completely insane!During the week of November 11-17, 2013, the resort's El Camaleón Golf Club will host the OHL Classic, when the world’s top PGA Tour players will compete on the Greg Norman designed, 7,000-yard, 18-hole championship course. To celebrate this high profile tournament (and golf-nuts everywhere) the resort created an extravagant package that's a bachelor's ultimate last-hurrah.The groom and two of his besties will get a private lesson with world famous golf instructor Jim McLean, a round of golf with legend Greg Norman at Playa Mujeres (you'll take a private helicopter to and fro) as well as receive three positions in the OHL Classic at Mayakoba Pro-Am. Oh, and though this is already an all-suite resort, you'll stay in the 6,272 square-foot Presidential Lagoon Suite. Evenings mean sipping cocktails with the PGA Tour players (!), an invite to a private BBQ on the beach, and a tequila tasting of some of the country's best labels. This package is only available for November 12-19, 2013. Book via Rosewood.com
Not In Your Price Range?
Alternative: Head to Ponte Vedra and The Sawgrass Marriott Resort & Spa where from May 6 to 12, they'll be the host hotel for annual THE PLAYERS Championship at the world-famous TPC Sawgrass. Your group of guys can bask in the Florida sun in the place where some of PGA's greats like Vijay Singh, Fred Couples, and Matt Kuchar have played. This spring you'll see who'll be battling it out for a beaucoup cash purse ($9 million!) on the 18-hole, Pete Dye-designed course. Tickets start at just $15! When you're not playing yourself, feel free to spend time in the ornate Club House (we recommend indulging in the ridiculous brunch spread) where you can see Tiger Woods' 2001 tournament locker, have a few post-play cocktails, and generally feel like royalty before settling into the domestic life. Packages start at $349 per night, which includes daily breakfast, a round on THE PLAYERS Course, and other perks. In this special season and you'll generally feel like royalty before settling into the domestic life. Book through Sawgrass Marriott's special page.
Hotel Weddings / Lists / Destination Wedding Hotels / Las Vegas Hotels / Mexico Hotels / Secrets Hotels / All-Inclusive Hotels / St. Croix Hotels / USVI Hotels / → All Tags
The amazing view from The Buccaneer is just short of competing with a brides beauty
May usually kicks off "wedding season" and from our experience, betrothed couples usually fall into two camps--the calm and collected or the completely overwhelmed. We believe these 5 Elopement Packages are perfect for the anti-bride, and those looking for an elegant, but easy-to-manage affair.
These hotels' wedding offerings are downright affordable, quite important after the seriously extravagant ceremony packages we've seen lately. Whether it's a ring exchange for 2 in Vegas or a Caribbean island soiree for 20, we think you'll appreciate a simpler way to walk down the aisle.
Aria Resort and Casino, Las Vegas
Who says all Vegas weddings have to be kitschy and doomed to an Elvis-impersonator-slash-drive-through affair? Nope. It's getting classier by the moment, and as of April 23, there will be a new Wedding Chapel at the ARIA, one of the town's hottest hotels. Instead of some velvet-laden, dank "church", this place promises to be completely chic. Designed in conjunction with MGM Resorts International Design, expect a modern and sophisticated set-up with chrome and mahogany wood doors, and a color scheme centered around warm chocolate tones and creamy whites. Pops of floral color and metallics soften up the look and lend a romantic feel. Seating is available for up to 60 guests, and the front foyer will double as a space for small post-ceremony gatherings. There's a dedicated ladies’ dressing lounge, and even a groom’s game lounge with a pool table and wet bar. It will feel more penthouse than house of the Lord, though, so keep that in mind. After all, it's still Vegas! On-site wedding coordinators are available to help the Big Day go smoothly, as well. The Wedding Chapel at ARIA will offer a variety of nuptial packages, ranging from $1,500 to $21,000. They all include photography, flowers, limo transportation to and from the Clark County Marriage Bureau and an officiant to perform the ceremony. Some packages even include accommodations at the hotel--honeymoon suite, anyone? And for those who can't attend your wedding, the Chapel can broadcast your ceremony online. For more info, visit arialasvegas.com/weddings or call the Chapel at (877) 371-2742.
Time for a little bit of Thursday fun as we check in on some unique events taking place at hotels around the world. We're used to seeing properties offer special events including concerts, conferences, and cocktails, but now and then we come across happenings that truly capture our attention.
Today, we've rounded up some gladiators, Scottish marksmen, and dogs without a home. Our gut tells us the dogs will fly off the shelves, but the three-day hunting spree? We're a wee bit skeptical.
Sometimes hotels create events and offers purely for publicity rather than profit, and we're curious to see how much interest these events gather.
Have no idea what we're on about? Read on for details!
Caledonian Macnab, The Caledonian: This classic Edinburgh hotel is offering a package that allows "competitors," aka you, to take part in a Scottish sporting contest they call the Caledonian Macnab. There are three stages to the contest that takes place over the course of three days amidst Scottish landscape. Participants are challenged to catch a salmon (day 1), shoot a brace of grouse (day 2), and "stalk a red" deer (day 3). Fishing, shooting, and stalking sounds like a mancation if we've ever heard one, but is the Caley really a bachelor party type of crash pad? We think not!
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: