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Where Can You Use Your Smartphone to Open Your Hotel Room Door?

November 10, 2014 at 5:30 PM | by | Comments (0)

Thanks to smartphones, everything you want is literally in the palm of your hand. Need new boots? Order them from the Amazon.com app. Want to make a dinner reservation? Book one on OpenTable. Need a bad ass mix to work out to? Create one on Spotify. Miss your parents? FaceTime with them. (After you tell them how to get on the WiFi network and accept the incoming call, of course.) Can't find your hotel room key? Just wave your phone in front of the room door.

Yup, the future is practically here.

Starwood Hotels announced last week that 10 of their hotels would start allowing smartphones as room keys through the Starwood Preferred Guest app, with more Starwood hotels are expected to join the SPG Keyless tech initiative by the end of this year.

Right after that announcement, Hilton Worldwide said they will let members of their HHonors loyalty program start using mobile room keys in the spring at four Hilton brands-- Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts and Canopy by Hilton.

And Marriott International has been talking about their smartphone-as-a-key program for a while. Since you can already check-in and check-out via the Marriott app, using your phone as a room key is the next logical step. No doubt that program will come out soon.

We'll be keeping a running list of where you can use a smartphone to open the room, starting with the 10 Starwood hotels announced last week. Got another hotel we should add to the list? Let us know!

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6 European Hotel Chains That Should Be On Your Radar

Where: Europe
August 7, 2014 at 10:28 AM | by | Comments (2)

It’s summer, and wherever you live, that means a trip to Europe. New to the continent? Keen to try something other than your major chains, but nervous about going independent? Here are six of the best European chains. NB: These are all also suitable for anti-chain snobs.

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5 Things Everyone Does in the Hotel Lobby But Won't Admit

July 14, 2014 at 12:35 PM | by | Comments (2)

You've all copped to doing at least a few of these scandalous things in your hotel room but staying in a hotel room is only one part of your stay. Your shenanigans also extend downstairs into the hotel lobby. So here are 5 Things People Do in a Hotel Lobby But Won't Admit.

1. Flirt With Escorts: You may not have known they were working women/men (or maybe you did) but if your story starts with something like this, "I couldn't believe it but the hottest girl/guy came up to me at the hotel bar and started flirting with me!" then you've just been seduced by a professional.

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7 Cool New Things We've Seen at Hotels This Year (So Far)

May 20, 2014 at 1:14 PM | by | Comments (0)

We're pretty jaded folk here at HotelChatter. There's not much that we haven't seen already when it comes to amenities and services. But lately, hotels have been killing it, rolling out novel or useful or just plain fun goodies that hotel guests of all tax brackets can enjoy. Naturally, we thought it was worth a round-up. Now presenting...

7 Cool New Things We've Seen at Hotels This Year (So Far)

1. A Light in the Toilet Bowl

We called this the "manliest bathroom amenity ever" when we spotted it at The Landing Hotel in South Lake Tahoe, because it ensures that men will always have the correct aim in the middle of the night.

2. Drone Room Service

High-paying guests at The Casa Madrona in Sausalito, Calif. can (and should) have their pricey picks of champagne delivered by state of the art, remote-controlled, octo-copter drones from the hotel's wine cellar to an outdoor deck of the hotel's exclusive Mansion suite.

3. USB Ports in The Room Telephone

We've seen USB ports near the bed or on the nightstand but never have we've seen them IN THE PHONE until we took a tour of the Delano Las Vegas, opening in September. Now you don't have to get out of bed to drunk sext check your email.

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Raffles Hotels Tells You Where to Go When and Why

April 2, 2014 at 10:46 AM | by | Comments (0)

When it comes to knowing what’s going on in a city, hotels pretty-much have the inside scoop. Raffles Hotels & Resorts, with its swanky hotels across the globe, has put together a list of where to go, when and why for every month of the year.

Here’s what they recommend for the next few months to get you prepped to travel.

Dubai in April – For the Dubai Camel Racing Festival

Forget April in Paris when there’s the Dubai Camel Racing Festival (April 6-17, 2014). A major fixture on the Dubai social calendar, this is the Middle East’s version of “the season.” Over the twelve day festival, thousands of meticulously trained camels compete in rounds to win their owners jaw-dropping cash prizes. Stays at Raffles Dubai from 1314 AED ($358).

Keep going for more What to Do's!

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8 of The Best Hotel Pillows in New England

March 28, 2014 at 12:43 PM | by | Comments (0)

Not all pillows are created the same. Here are some of the comfiest sleep aids around.

How would you like your good night's sleep? With a side of spritzed fragrance? Extra plush panels? Headache-reducing magnets? Whatever you want, there's probably a pillow menu that has it. We found eight New England hotels with some of our favorite feather (and rubber, and foam…) filled treats.

1. Chebeague Island Inn. Relaxing: laying down your head on a peaceful island 10 miles off the coast of Portland, Maine. More relaxing: laying it on a pillow made by CuddleDown, a local company out of Freeport. Chebeague (pictured) outfits its accommodations with CuddleDown’s 800-Fill Power European White Goose Down Pillows. (That’s a mouthful.) Made with 450-thread count cotton and boasting high fill power, the pillows are spritzed with L’Occitane lavender pillow mist at turndown for an extra olfactory lullaby.
Rates start at $220 a night.

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Where to Find The Next New Kempinski Hotel in 2014

March 24, 2014 at 2:37 PM | by | Comment (1)

Burj Rafal Hotel Kempinski Riyadh

Yet another list of hotel openings to get excited about. Today, we have a short list of Kempinski Hotels opening this year. Actually, it's kind of a long list when you look at it. Kempinski is Europe's oldest independent luxury hotel group which now operates 75 hotels in 32 countries. They'll be adding 11 new hotels across Africa, China and The Middle East (along with one serviced residences property in Switzerland) by the end of 2014. Starting with...

Kempinski Hotel Fleuve Congo Kinshasa (Republic of Congo)
Opening Date: Opened on March 01, 2014
Highlights: 237 rooms and suites, views of the Congo River, three restaurants, three bars, outdoor tennis courts, swimming pool and billiard and snooker rooms.

Burj Rafal Kempinski Riyadh (Saudi Arabia)
Opening Date: Opened on March 02, 2014
Highlights: First hotel in Saudi Arabia for Kempsinski, closest luxury hotel to King Khalid International Airport, 349 rooms nd suites, a cigar lounge, three cafes, two restaurants, and a Resense spa with separate wellness centers for ladies and gentlemen.

Hôtel des Mille Collines managed by Kempinski, Kigali (Rwanda)
Opening Date: Q2 2014
Highlights: Made famous in the movie, "Hotel Rwanda", the Hôtel des Mille Collines will be managed by Kempinski; 112 rome and suites, an outdoor swimming pool, six boutiques and a fitness center Located in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, and made famous in the movie “Hotel Rwanda”, Hôtel des Mille Collines managed by Kempinski features 112 rooms and suites, meeting and conference facilities, including a conference room for 120 people, an outdoor swimming pool, six boutiques and a fitness centre.

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9 Kinds of Hotel Butlers You Probably Never Knew Existed

March 12, 2014 at 1:28 PM | by | Comments (0)

The official definition of a butler is, according to Google, this: "the chief manservant of a house." In other words, Carson from "Downtown Abbey." But in the hotel world, a butler means so much more.

A Hotel Butler, usually found at a luxury hotel, does whatever a guest wants. The butlers go beyond the concierge service and step into personal assistant realm, doings mundane tasks such as unpacking suitcases, arranging car services, ordering room service, and picking clothes up for laundry or dry-cleaning. Alas, hotel butlers are really expensive. Not everyone can have one during their stay, unless they are willing to pay top dollar for the biggest suite in the house.

So luxury hotels came up with a genius way to let everyone experience having a butler on call--by creating specialized butler services. We've rounded up 9 Kinds of Hotel Butlers You Probably Didn't Even Know Existed. And yes, some of these butlers are really reaching. Know of another niche butler service? Tell us in comments below!

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8 Côte d’Azur Hotel Pools That Will Make You Wish For Summer

February 18, 2014 at 9:34 AM | by | Comments (0)

Our recent reminiscing about a French Riviera killer view, combined with the – quite literally – cold reality of winter in large parts of North America and Europe, has us dreaming of long summer days, bright blue skies, fragrant air, and a lot of lazy pool-side lounging, Côte d’Azur-style.

Join us for a few minutes of escapism as we look at 8 Côte d’Azur hotel pools that will make you seriously wish summer was here – and that you’ve won the lottery to fund a few weeks of leisurely living in the Mediterranean sun.

1. Cap Estel: a small hotel (just 28 rooms and suites) between Monaco and Cap Ferrat on its own private peninsula, with right at the tip a gorgeous pool for swimming while surrounded by the sea on three sides.

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Generation Next In Airport Hotels: The Grand Winnipeg

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 1979 Wellington Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, R3H 1H5
February 4, 2014 at 4:59 PM | by | Comment (1)

While times, they are a-changing, the vast majority of airport hotels are still conservatively-designed chain hotels. The Grand Hotel Winnipeg Airport, part of Preferred Hotel Group, could be the next generation of stylin’ airport boutique hotels that have it all goin’ on.

To prove our point here are 10 things that we loved:

1. It brings back the golden age of flying – We’ve all heard tales of a time when one wore their Sunday best to fly and martinis were copious. We’ll never get those days back, but with The Grand’s design scheme we can still pretend. Colours in the hotel are tarmac grey paired with sky and Robin’s egg blues. The addition of whites makes the hotel feel crisp and laundered. It feels like optimism, all shiny and new.

2. Artwork – The hotel doesn’t bill itself as an art hotel, but it should. All of the artwork in the hotel—the rotating images behind reception, in the rooms and throughout the public areas—are photographs taken by the hotel's owner, Keith Levit.

3. The Room – Spacious and well-thought out, full of flat spaces and cubby holes for our stuff. We had a Deluxe Runway View room (620 sq ft) and—calling all location scouts—it looked directly out onto the apron and runways.

4. Local food done really well – Fresh ingredients including the kitchen’s homegrown micro greens made for a great dinner, and you should see that walk-in wine cellar!

Not ones to apologize for noticing and appreciating the minutiae of a hotel because we do sweat the small stuff, some small but important deets are below:

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10 Treats To Try at Trump Toronto

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 325 Bay Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5H 4G3
February 3, 2014 at 5:18 PM | by | Comments (0)

We recently took a couple of days to check out what’s going on in the Toronto hotel scene and, diggin’ what Trump has been doing lately (their Trump Attaché service and Trump Wellness Program, for instance), here’s an insider’s guide on the treats to be found at Trump Toronto.

1. Glam ‘n glitz: No surprise that the design aesthetic is pure glam, and we had heard going in that “champagne and caviar” was the theme. We have to admit that we were more than a little skeptical; it sounded very “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous with Robin Leach.” But, you know, it works. Dramatic blacks and whites are softened by greys and purples. There’s lots of crystal thrown in for good measure and displays are voluptuous with flowers. Our favorite “caviar dream” piece is the pure black Louis XIV chairs found in STOCK Restaurant and Bar.

2. Trump-toiletries: They lean towards the masculine (consider where you are) in what we would describe as a woody citrus, but what was surprising was the bounty! In addition to the regulars—shampoo, conditioner, soap, shower gel and lotion—there was a salt scrub, bath salts and a body balm, all in easy-to-take-home sizes.

3. House-made chocolates: ’Nuff said.

4. Room reaction: They’re huuuge, some of the largest in T.O., and the one-bedroom suite we were in had a fireplace, wet bar, and two bathrooms. If we had some of The Donald’s cash, we’d redo our home to look this this. Have a look at the photo gallery for the full reveal!

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The 2014 Definitive Guide to Canadian Hotel Openings

Where: Canada
January 29, 2014 at 11:03 AM | by | Comment (1)

Drake Devonshire Inn, opening this summer.

When we released our Master List of Worldwide Hotel Openings in 2014, our Canadian hotel section was sparse. Sorry. BUT, news has been coming in from our neighbo(u)r to the north about 2014 hotel openings so we've been able to expand on that section. We'll add this to the Master List soon (sorry again) but here's a dedicated look at what's in store for Canada. Looks like we need to make a trip up there soon, eh?

NEWFOUNDLAND

St. John’s
· JAG Hotel: Spring

NEW BRUNSWICK
· Atlantica Hotel Halifax (reopening): March
· Hampton Inn by Hilton: Spring

QUEBEC

Montreal
· ALT Hotel Montreal Griffintown: Spring

Quebec City
· Fairmont Le Château Frontenac (reopening): June

The rest of the country below!

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