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Everyone knows that your New Year's Resolutions don't actually start until Monday so if you're a hotel and you are still wondering what you can change about yourself in 2014, we've got a few resolutions for you to choose from. We know, we're too kind! But also, we'll be checking on you to make sure you're sticking to these. No need to thank us for our kindness! We do it out of the goodness of our heart. XOXOXO.
1. Free WiFi at Luxury Hotels: The budget and boutique brands have done an excellent job with making WiFi a part of the hotel experience. Luxury hotels, however, are still nickel and diming their guests for this amenity and it's clearly a money grab.
2. Real Savings in All Those Packaged "Deals": We'll talk more about this tomorrow but hotel packages are going to need to start offering actual dollar bill savings in their deals. We won't be swayed by a complimentary cocktail anymore.
3. Reasonable Minibar Prices: We touched on this topic this morning but the promise of a $3 beer has us hoping that hotels really make a change when it comes to the minibar.
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...
You may have noticed that Lists are kind of a big deal on the internet. Apparently, humans are only able to
linger on a web page process information if it comes in a list format anchored by giant photos. And the more inane the topic, the more people will want to read it.
Admittedly, we love lists here at HotelChatter because there are so many you can write about the hotel experience. Yet we like to keep our lists relevant for hotel guests and filled with actual useful tips. So it's no surprise here that Master List of Worldwide Hotel Openings was the most popular HotelChatter list of 2013. (Stay tuned for 2014's list coming soon!)
Following that was the entertaining 10 Things Everyone Does in a Hotel Room But Won't Admit list. (Ok, that one wasn't so much informative but we bet it made you feel good knowing you weren't the only one who walks around naked in your hotel room while eating a $4 Snickers bar.) Other top lists of the year were 13 Things You Wish Didn't Happen in Hotel Rooms (But They Do), 5 Wedding Elopement Packages For Low-Key Couples, Some Helpful Advice: What NOT To Do in a Hotel, and 5 Hotel Booking Sites You Should Know About and Use. (See? Keeping it useful.)
We'll be rolling out some more lists in 2014 but don't worry, we won't be turning HotelChatter into a site full of nothing but random lists. After all, that wouldn't go well. Would it?
True, sometimes you need to pack three friends and all your gear into a budget hotel to make ski trips feasible. With gear rentals, lift tickets, and apres beer prices by no means on the cheap end of the scale, cutting costs on lodging is often the only option. But, if you've been saving your pennies and plan on treating yourself right, here are five things you should look for in a hotel that will make your trip that much more pleasant:
Slope-Side Hot Tub/Heated Pool
File this one under "OBVIOUS" and "OF COURSE."
One of the most inconvenient aspects of skiing is lugging around all the gear. Hotel rooms are small enough already - no reason to clog up your corners with boots and poles. Look for a hotel that has a ski shop on-site or a ski concierge, an in-house, full-service team that stores your skis overnight, usually on the ground level right where you come off the slopes. Some hotels that are not located slope-side will partner with local shops to provide guests with ski storage, so be sure to inquire before booking. Last thing you want after a day on the mountain is to be stuffing your skis into an elevator.
We've already told you about one big rock star touch at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Fla.--the free WiFi. But during a recent stay in this sprawling casino hotel just outside of Fort Lauderdale, we discovered a few more rock star amenities that got us amped up.
Of course, these room items shouldn't come as a surprise from a Hard Rock Hotel, where the entire guest experience revolves around music. Yet after a few not-so-good experiences at the Hard Rock in Vegas, the Seminole Hard Rock has restored our faith in the entire rock n' roll hotel concept. And best of all, none of these rock star touches involve loud music or wild parties. Well, not if you don't want them to.
Keep reading to see how the room is a-rocking at the Seminole Hard Rock
It used to be that ice skating rinks at hotels were a holiday novelty. When we made this list back in 2009, those five hotels were rather, for lack of a better phrase, cutting edge. Fast forward to 2013 and it seems like everyone has an ice skating rink in their hotel backyard, even hotels in the desert. Especially hotels in the desert.
So, in case you feel the need for speed...on skates, here are 13 hotel ice skating rinks to glide on this winter season.
1. THE STANDARD HIGH LINE
The Standard Plaza's Ice Rink is now open from 12pm to 12am during the week and 9am to 1am during the weekends. The cost is $12 to skate plus a $3 skate rental. Kids can skate for $6 and a Standard Skater will be available to help you get your footing. Hot ciders, hot toddys, hot chocolate, donuts and waffles will all be served rinkside.
2. CHARLES HOTEL IN BOSTON
The 2,900 square foot ice Rink at The Charles Hotel†will open this Sunday, December 15th at 12pm. The rink will be open to hotel guests and the public and the opening event this weekend is free.. Skate rentals, season passes,†and lessons will also be available this season.
3. BOSTON HARBOR HOTEL
The new 2,500-sq.ft Rotunda Rink will open on December 14 and will be open until February 28th. While opening day is complimentary, rates will be $10 for adults and $5 for kiddos going forward.
4. FOXWOODS RESORT CASINO, Connecticut
The Foxwoods Resort Casino just opened its Rink & Winter Patio last week with Nancy Kerrigan christening it with a special performance. The rink will stay open from now through the end of February. The cost is $10 for adults aged 13 and up and $6 for kids 12 and younger. Skate rentals are $ but Rewards Card Holders and a guests can skate for $8 a person and for free on Tuesdays.
There are plenty of hotels out there that are finally "getting it" when it comes to the luxury hotel experience. When we are paying up to several hundred dollars per night (and sometimes over a couple of thousand on occasion), there are certain touches that are expected and then there are little things that are just plain thoughtful on the part of the property, ultimately making for an especially memorable stay. As frequent travelers we really appreciate all of those little details. Plus, it's nice to feel like we really got our money's worth. Here's a look at a few luxury hotels going out of their way to throw in complimentary extras that make us like them even more:
We told you about this a while ago when it was first announced and frankly it's a really nice little upgrade. Even those sitting pretty in the upper crust may not ever step foot in a car with this level of prestige, even if they can afford to own one (some people are much too practical). C'mon. We don't care what your income level is, can you really tell us you don't want to roll up to the hotel in a Maserati? Don't lie.
We all know that ordering gourmet fare directly to your hotel room door comes with a cost. One that some of us will gladly pay for, especially if it truly is on par with fine dining and we get to enjoy a small feast in our pajamas. Plus, there is something fun and a little reckless about not caring one iota how much the apple pie à la mode will wind up costing when you go to check out. Itís either a vacation or going on the company card anyway, right?
In most cases this might be true, but allow us to suggest paying a bit more attention the next time you peruse the all-day dining pages. Because while the average luxury traveler has no qualms about spending $30 on a cheeseburger (à la carte of course), we have found a few room service items that will have every one of you thinking twice before ordering. Although, if you are in the mood to splurge, some of these might just be worth every penny.
Let's be honest, luxury hotels are pretty great. You are well taken care of, always addressed with a professional, caring attitude and usually, there is some fantastic food involved.
After experiencing the level of service and amenities that five-star brands like Ritz-Carlton and the Four Seasons have set the bar on, one can become rather, well, jaded. Perhaps even, dare we say, expectant of certain details we have grown used to having while traveling.
So here's a look at what may come as a
shock disappointment to everyone out there that has grown far too accustomed to the lavish life. Just a few things that (whether you want to admit it or not), you will be sorely upset about should you accidentally book less-than-stellar accommodations.
Hotels, How Do We Love Thee? Help Us Count the Ways
This recent story on CNN was a bit like preaching to choir for us. Of course hotels are way better than our apartments/homes/friends' couches. If they weren't, we wouldn't be staying in them.
While we agreed with the author's list of things she loves about hotels, we've got even more to add. Here are 5 more reasons why we love hotels better than our everyday existence. Hopefully, this list will get your mind off this one.
· 1. Design. We can't afford fancy artwork and we swore we wouldn't buy new couches until our toddlers grow up and stop spilling milk on them. But in hotels, we can admire all kinds of interesting art and design from the lobby to the guestroom to the restaurant and bar. And it only costs us a couple hundred bucks versus a couple thousand.
· 2. Spas. If there's a spa on site at a hotel, it's going to be hard for us to say no. We'll try our best not to walk around the lobby with our robe on though.
· 3. Fast Internet. It doesn't happen often but a few times this year we have stayed at hotels with crazy fast internet speeds. So we can catch up on "Breaking Bad" while emailing and uploading photos without frustration or guilt.
Hotel Hell / Hotel Woes / Lists / → All Tags
It's not always fresh towels, room service and chocolates on the pillows at hotels. No, there's a darker side of hotels you don't want to think about when you hand over your credit card at the front desk. But in the spirit of all things spooky this month, here's our list of 13 Things You Wish Didnít Happen in Hotel Rooms (But They Do) .
1. Sex: No surprise here. People have been trysting in hotel rooms since hotels were invented. Business men, business women, politicians, actors, athletes, marrieds, not marrieds, married but not to each other, prostitutes, gigolos, gay, straight, bondage enthusiasts, bronies, furries, plushies. Really, everyone is having sex in hotel rooms. Everyone. Oh and let's not forget about sex with yourself. That's what all those on-demand movies are for. The best you can hope for is that housekeeping manages to clean up anything, um, left behind.
2. Drugs: Not only are people taking booze from the minibar but they are also smoking, snorting and yes, even shooting drugs all over the hotel room. Heck, some people even use hotel rooms as meth labs. And it doesnít matter the class of hotel. We wouldnít be surprised to hear that more people do heroin in a luxury hotel where rooms cost $600 a night rather than a motel by the highway.
3. Guns: You often hear of passengers getting stopped at TSA for attempting to bring guns on board but there arenít any metal detectors in hotels (that we know of anyways) so guests and their visitors are free to roam the lobby and the hallways carrying their firearms, unbeknownst to the rest of us. And as we learned from Walter White in season 4 of Breaking Bad, black market gun dealers sometimes make their transactions in hotel rooms. For ďdefenseĒ purpose. Right.
4. Smoking: We understand that some folks need to light up and donít want to have to go all the way downstairs to do it. But please, keep the smoking to a smoking room. Thereís nothing worse than walking into a supposedly non-smoking room that smells as if someone has been chain-smoking in there for a month.
5. Murder: Itís bad enough when someone kicks the bucket in a hotel room due to natural causes, but itís way worse when someone is stabbed, shot or suffocated in a hotel room. Sadly, this happens regularly at hotels. We just hope whichever unfortunate hotel employee who found the body got some extra vacation time and a nice bonus.
Still brave enough to plow through the rest of the list? Keep reading after the jump. It gets better. Ok, not really.
On Sunday, it will be more than ok to have a few cups of coffee in honor of International Coffee Day. In fact, you're more likely to drink coffee than have sex, according to a new global survey done by Le Meridien Hotels.
The survey revealed that more than half of the global respondents preferred coffee to sex as the ideal wake-up call. Slightly more than half said they could go longer without sex than without coffee. (Um, yes, that's us raising our hands here.) As far as hotel coffee habits, 73 percent of respondents said they would give up TV and internet in a hotel for the perfect cup of coffee. Sixty-three percent said they would give up alcohol over coffee while staying in a hotel. (Hmmm....) And 53 percent said that if they were going to post a picture of a beverage while traveling, it would probably be coffee.
Le Meridien is concerned about your hotel coffee habits because they just launched their new Master Baristas program, which will put a "dedicated coffee expert" in every Le Meridien hotel by the end of the year. We'll drink to that!
Meanwhile, here are some of our favorite Hotel Coffee stories from the past:
For some of you, checking out of a hotel may merely involve packing your suitcase, ordering up an Uber ride to the airport and then slipping out the front door without anyone noticing, except perhaps the doorman who will tell you to "stay with us again next time."
Other folks might take a little longer to get ready for check-out, often staying past the designated check-out hour only finally exiting after housekeeping (and sometimes, security) have told them that it's time to go.
But no matter what kind of checker-outer you are, here are 5 Things You Should Do Before You Check-Out.
1. Do a sweep of the room. Lift the blankets, look under the bed, pull out the drawers, check the bathroom (even in the shower) and peep in the closets (don't forget the safe too!) Our experience has been if you leave it behind, you will likely never see it again.
2. Grab your chargers. While you may sweep the room for obvious belongings--toiletries, clothing, jewelry, books--don't forget to check the outlets for all your chargers whether it be for a phone, tablet or computer. Fortunately, more and more hotels are putting outlets above desks and next to the nightstand so we no longer have to unplug a random floor lamp in the corner just to charge our phone. And having more visible outlets will mean we're less likely of leaving behind our chargers.