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As Week 1 of HotelChatter Cocktail Week(s) wraps up, here's a run-down of some of the nifty things we see going on in the world of hotel bars and bevvies. What do you see goin’ on out there? Let us know in the comments below!
There’s so Much More to Syrup Than Maple –
If you’re into cocktails there’s a pretty good chance you’ve made your own simple syrup but these hotels are going beyond the norm and creating some pretty exotic specialty syrups.
At Fifteen Beacon’s Mooo (a Preferred Hotel) they make all of their syrup’s in-house, but we particularly liked the sound of the House made Celery Lemongrass Syrup that they use in their Celery 75 cocktail, made with Berkshire Greylock gin, Prosecco, strawberry, and the syrup, of course.
Cost to imbibe: $14
Cost to stay at the hotel 'cause you've imbibed: Starts at $479
And here’s an exotic beauty from the W Bangkok: the Chor Muang cocktail. You have absolutely no hope of making this drink at home since it’s made with Butterfly Pea Flower House Made Syrup – a flower that has become so rare that it’s difficult to find it in Thai markets. This elusive ingredient, however, makes it popular with guests who want something authentically Thai, and with locals who want the same. Other ingredients in this cocktail include Butterfly Flower-infused raspberry vodka, lime juice, and it’s garnished with – here we go – a 24-carat gold dust-dipped Butterfly Flower.
Cost to imbibe: THB $275 ($9)
Cost to stay at the hotel 'cause you've imbibed: Starts at THB 4,788 ($150)
Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Rates / SLS Hotels / Las Vegas Hotels / Viva Vegas / Hotel News / → All Tags
Hotel delays don't faze us. But hotels that open earlier than expected do, which is why today we're doing a little happy dance after hearing that the SLS Las Vegas will open at midnight on August 23, and not August 25 as we last heard and not September 1 as was originally planned.
The casino resort put out a press release, stating something completely unheard of in the hotel world: "construction on The Strip’s newest resort is wrapping ahead of schedule." Translation: SLS Las Vegas is a unicorn.
According to the release, rooms will be open for reservations on August 23 yet all we're seeing on the website is availability for August 25. We also couldn't pull up a room rate as the site was having issues. Perhaps too many people trying to ride the unicorn? However, last we checked room rates for that date we found a World Tower room for $149 a night. You can also book a room through HHonors, thanks to SLS's new partnership with Hilton Hotels' Curio Collection. All the restaurants will also be open on August 23, including Bazaar Meat by José Andrés, Cleo, Katsuya, Ku Noodle and The Griddle Cafe.
[Photo: Greg Clarke/VegasChatter]
Bitcoin / Bitcoin Hotels / Geek Hotels / Viva Vegas / Las Vegas Hotels / Downtown Vegas Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
We thought Bitcoin, the open-source internet currency, was over…as far as using it to pay for hotel stays. Indeed, the Howard Johnson hotel in Fullerton, Calif. that we spoke to back in 2011 stopped using it after the Bitcoin market crashed.
But today Bitcoin is back and is now accepted in the one city where money talks--Las Vegas.
Two Downtown Vegas hotels--the D Las Vegas and the Golden Gate Hotel & Casino will begin taking Bitcoins starting tomorrow, including the front desk for each hotel and the D's gift shop. You can even use Bitcoin to pay for Coney Dogs at American Coney Island and steaks at Joe Vicari’s Andiamo Italian Steakhouse. Here's how it will work:
Bitcoin purchases at the casino hotels will be processed through BitPay, a service that streamlines transactions using tablet and mobile interfaces. Tablets programmed with BitPay will be installed at each cashier, allowing Bitcoin users to easily pay for services using their mobile wallets.
Derek Stevens, CEO of the D and Golden Gate, said the hotels began accepting Bitcoin due to "guest demand." Hmm…while we like how Stevens took initiative, guest demands sounds unlikely. After all, do you know someone using Bitcoin? Seriously, do you? Ok, maybe some of you do. But most of us just know about Bitcoin from its Wikipedia page.
Nonetheless, one Bitcoin equals roughly about $822 and considering that rooms at the D start at $22 tomorrow night, if you're in possession of just one Bitcoin, then you can go wild in Vegas.
It's that time of year again: the 2013 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...
What's the next best thing after new hotels? Newly renovated hotels! And in 2013, we saw so many hotels getting drastic new looks. So many, it was kinda hard to choose one winner.
For instance, the Novotel Times Square which went from 80s decor to a super cool futuristic style. Across the pond in London, Rosewood Hotels transformed the old Chancery Court Hotel into a dazzling design hotel with an elegant Mirror Room where the ceiling is made entirely of mirrors. Down in Florida, the Loews Portofino Bay upgraded their look from an average-looking hotel room with depressing dark wood furniture to a posh neutral palette with luxe furnishings we'd like for our own home, especially the carpeting. (And how often do we say that about a hotel room?) You can even watch the transformation from dud to stud in a cool time-lapse video put out by the hotel.
But out in Vegas, we thought the transformation at Four Seasons (inside Mandalay Bay) was the most impressive (Just FYI: The renovations were completed in December 2012.) The rooms went from 80s gold-
digger lover with sparse furnishings to glamorous Art Deco habitations, each with dozens of decor accents like eye-catching artwork, giant wall mirrors, detailed patterns and plush seating. Don't believe us? This is how the rooms used to look. Egads!
Feel like getting lucky in Vegas at the Four Seasons? Rates start at $234 a night this weekend. And don't forget, the hottest hotel chef in the world is downstairs!
Not long after we wondered if anyone was still checking-out of hotels, we come across a sign in a hotel room offering a video check-out. "For your convenience."
On the bright side, the WiFi was included in the $18 (!) resort fee and it was blazing fast. So there's that. Needless to say, we didn't do a video check-out this morning.
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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.