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Valentine's Day is a mere three weeks away and hotels--from luxury to boutique--are nearly tripping over themselves in attempt to win your money for the night with "romantic" themed packages. Yet no matter the hotel, the location or the star-rating, we keep seeing the same amenities in these Love Your Lover packages...over and over.
If you're about to book a hotel for Valentine's Day, here are 5 Predictable Amenites The Hotel Will Offer.
1. Chocolate. Whether it's a box of fancy chocolates or chocolate-covered strawberries, hotels will have this sweet stuff on hand. Just don't eat them in the bed. That could get...interesting. (And what will housekeeping think?)
2. Bubbly. Luxury hotels will have actual champagne from France while the rest may have bubbles from Napa. Either way, you'll be swigging some of this when you check-in. Bur remember, one glass, only!
Yesterday, we took you inside a guest room at the just-opened Ace Hotel in Dowtown Los Angeles. Today, we're showing you 14 Things we liked about the hotel, most of them are outside of the guest rooms. We especially like #1, #7, #11 and #13. What about you?
1. Hot Doorman: Definitely a good first impression.
2. Photo Booth Near the Check-In Desk: Your room not ready yet? Amuse yourselves in the photo booth for a while.
It might take you a few days to peruse our Master List of Worldwide Hotel Openings, especially since we keep updating it, so allow us to give you some "cliff notes". Here are 5 Hotel Openings That We're Really Excited For in 2014.
1. ANDAZ TOKYO: Andaz is one of our favorite hotel brands out there, thanks to their cool, design-forward hotels, their friendly staff, their free WiFi and their complimentary mini-bar snacks and drinks. (Seriously, that last amenity alone will make us love you forever.) So we're crazy excited for the Andaz to open in urban wonderland of Tokyo this summer. The hotel will be located in Toranomon, a business and embassy district, inside one of the tallest high-rises in the city. There will be 164 rooms, a pastry shop and café at street level, an all-day restaurant on the 51st floor, a spa and fitness center with an indoor pool on the 37th floor and a penthouse bar on the 52nd floor with killer views of the city.
Once again, we've scoured the
globe internet to bring together the The Master List of Worldwide Hotel Openings for the new year.
As we predicted last year, 2014 is going to be a busy, busy, busy year for hotels. The NYC area alone is expecting at least 19 new hotels, one of which will be the tallest hotel in North America (more on that later today.) Miami Beach will see at least seven new hotel openings while Chicago is expecting five. Out in Vegas, all eyes will be on the SLS which should open in the fall, consisting of not just hotel rooms and trendy nightlife options but a casino as well.
Internationally, as it has been for the past few years, China, India and the Middle East are getting a ton of new hotels (mostly from Starwood who cannot get enough of those areas) but we were also excited to see Australia and New Zealand getting a few new hotels as well as Japan which will welcome the Andaz Tokyo and the Ritz-Carlton Kyoto which will open next month.
As always, our list is merely a starting point. Throughout the year, the hotels below will either open when they say they will or, and this is more likely, get pushed back a few weeks or months. (In some dire cases, a few years.) But it's not all delays. Some new hotels surprise us out of the blue.
Still, we've done our part, now it's time for you to do yours. Tip us off to more hotel openings in comments below!
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. It’s 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.