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You know how much we love cool hotel technology here on HotelChatter but today we're spotlighting some hotels that go far beyond offering giant flat-screen TVs, bedside control panels, TVs in the bathroom mirrors and even gold iPads. While we've yet to find a hotel that allows guests to borrow a pair of Google Glasses during their stay, these hotels are truly forward-thinking in their amenities and their experiences,except for the one that offers a cassette tape player in the room. But we had to include that one. We had to!
THE SCI FI HOTEL
Whatever sci-fi fantasy tickles your pickleperhaps plugged into the grid like in "The Matrix," abducted and organ-farmed by aliensthe 9hours Hotel in Kyoto, Japan is about as close to it in real life as you can get. The property is a simple, nearly windowless building in an alley near Kyoto's Kawaramachi Station and, like other Japanese capsule hotels, it specializes in giving the weary worker or traveler one solid night of bare-bones rest in a sparkling clean, sex-segregated environment.
Unlike other Japanese capsule hotels, however, it's prime focus is on good living through good design. Alarms are soundless; ambient lighting gradually awakens the sleeper without disturbing other capsules. Pajamas and basic toiletries are provided, and the WiFi is free (but kept out of sleeping quarters). We paid 4,900 JPY ($48) just a few days ago and would do it again, sci-fi fantasies or no.
THE AV GEEK HOTEL
Speaking of capsule hotels, Japan has actually expanded upon the concept to create a small chain of sleeping pod rooms called The First Cabin. Modeled after the semi-private quarters of airplane first-class suites, each guest is assigned one room identical to the rest. Inside is a large Sony flatscreen TV (only watchable by using the provided noise-cancelling headphones so as not to disturb others), pajamas, basic toiletries, a lockable storage drawer and several power outlets and free WiFi.
Since it's a chain, we chose the Osaka location as the geekiest owing to its libraries of manga novels and its location near Dotonbori, a mecca for foodies. Even better is they're growing; First Cabin currently has branches in Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo's Haneda Airport, but this June they'll debut in central Tokyo's Akihabara district, a name synonymous with "otaku" or geek culture. Rates start at 3,300 JPY ($32) in Osaka and only 2,800 ($27) in Kyoto.
Let's just get it all out there in the open today. Here are 10 Things Everyone Does in a Hotel Room But Won’t Admit. Confessing our sins to one another will cleanse us from all unrighteousness, right? Eh, whatever. You paid for the room, go wild!
1. Steals the toiletries, even the no-name ones: Because what if you run out of shampoo or conditioner at home and can't get to the drugstore before your next shower? Also, because deep down you're a hoarder.
2. Pays $4 for a candy bar: Especially after long flights. Damn you, Snickers. And Kit Kat, too.
3. Walks around naked: Why not? So long as we're not doing sex acts in front of the High Line, it's more than ok to walk around naked in our room. And so long as the curtains are closed.
Hotel Chains / Lists / 25Hours Hotels / First Cabin / Grandmas Hotels / Germany Hotels / Bali Hotels / Budget Hotels / Japan Hotels / Kyoto Hotels / → All Tags
There are over 3,500 Marriott hotels on Earth. There could be 3.5 million and that still wouldn't be enough to satisfy the world's traveling population, and so, for your future travel pleasures, we present three small hotel chains you've probably never heard of but should totally book because they're awesome (and growing):
P.S. - they all have free WiFi!
They just rebranded with a new tagline, "come as you are," and we couldn't be more in love. 25hours have become our number one choice for a hotel when staying in the four cities where they have locations, and we've reviewed two right here on HotelChatterFrankfurt-Goldman and Hamburg-HafenCity.
Wahoo! After a long rough winter, the unofficial kick-off of summer has finally arrived. Wherever you're headed this Memorial Day Weekend*--the Shore, the Hamptons, Las Vegas, Nowhere, etc.--we're sure you're bound to encounter a swimming pool or two. And as it turns out, we've got swimming pools on our mind too. Here are 7 of our favorite American Hotel swimming pools. Perhaps you will end up at one of them this weekend?
If you've been to Amsterdam, then you know it's a city of canals, waffles, bicyclists and historical architecture. If you're a tourist in Amsterdam, then you also know that it's the center of the historical architecture where you find the best hotels, but they weren't always there.
Skyscrapers aren't welcome alongside the still canal waters and, when a hotel wants to open up, it often has to first find a building to repurpose, instead of constructing something brand new. As a result, nearly every hotel in the center of Amsterdam lives on a site with a history, one which may range from something as innocent as a convent to as sad as a jail for the Resistance movement during World War II.
Here's six such notable hotels:
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In addition to the resort fees that have been a topic of late, more often we’re seeing little charges on our hotel bills or hearing of people being nickel-and-dimed for services they feel should be included in the hotel rate. The Federal Trade Commission has recently sent a letter to some hotels, warning them to disclose all fees in the total hotel price.
Here’s some of the more finer print charges you should be on the look-out for:
Bedside Water: Oh, you think that bottle of water at turndown is to quench your middle-of-the night the thirst? Sure it is, to the tune of $7. Take a look a pic above. The bottle was turned so we didn’t see the price sticker until the morning (we’d come in pretty late night before) and had already taken a swig. Bam! And it tasted like regular tap water to boot!
Early departure fee: Some hotels will charge you if you have reserved for a certain amount of days and decide to check-out early. They’ve already counted on that revenue and need to make it up if you’ve changed your mind.
Minibar removal fees: You think you’re doing the right thing by removing treat temptation if you ask staff to remove or empty the mini-bar. This is especially true with small children on board. But that service isn’t free in some hotels. You may find a charge of up to $25 on your bill. And if you ask for a minifridge to chill your own treats? Expect a fee for that!
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We're gonna assume that if you've ended up here on our site, which is all about hotels, then you've stayed in one at least once before. Yet even frequent hotel guests can always use some helpful reminders of Things Not To Do When Staying in a Hotel.
Don't Expect an Early Check-In: Hotels have check-in times of 2 to 4 pm for a reason--they need time to get the room ready for the next guest. That said, hotels aren't always fully booked so if you arrive at 11am and want to check-in, staff could feasibly accommodate you. But...don't count on it in advance.
Don't Let The Hotel Walk You Unless...: They pay for your room and your transportation to the new hotel. If you aren't familiar with the term "walking", it essentially means the hotel doesn't have a room for you and must send you to a different property. This often happens when you book through third-party travel sites. But if you reserve directly through the hotel and they still don't have a room for you, then the hotel needs to pay for your stay elsewhere and any reasonable transportation (cab ride, car service) costs to get there.
Don't Use the Bedspread: We're just not going to apologize for our germaphobe stance on this. The stats are in and the covers have gotta go. Here's our suggestion: Take a hanger from the closet, use it to lift the top blanket off the bed and drop it on the floor. Thankfully, many hotels are taking a No-Comforter approach in the guestrooms, but a few are still insisting on those dreaded floral bedspreads that probably haven't been washed in a queen's age.
The other month we dropped a massive list of Worldwide Hotel Openings for 2013, a list which we are constantly adding to and updating. Out of this list of hundreds of hotel openings, we cherry-picked 5 that we are really excited for.
But it's not all roses and rainbows in the hotel world. There have been quite a few hotels whose opening dates have been pushed back. Some were only pushed back by a month, others by a little bit longer. We'll continue to see this throughout the rest of the year but here are some Notable Hotel Delays...So Far.
Know of a hotel delay? Drop it in comments below and we'll update it on our list.
Nobu Hotels / Hotel Openings / Lists / Hotel News / Nobu Matsuhisa / Viva Vegas / Hotel Design / → All Tags
The very first Nobu Hotel is set to open in Las Vegas inside Caesars Palace on February 4th (at $269 a night) and if you're wondering why you would sleep over at a sushi restaurant, here's 10 Reasons that will convince you to book one of these 181 rooms faster than you can say yellowtail sashimi.
VIP LOBBY AND CHECK-IN
Nobu hotel guests will have a completely different check-in experience from other guests coming to Vegas. In fact, check-in begins before you even get to the hotel with a pre-arrival questionnaire sent by the hotel. Here you can make your amenity requests, set up a dinner reservation at Nobu and let them know your exact time of arrival. Dedicated Nobu Guest Services staff will be positioned at the front of Caesars to escort guests to the Nobu "lobby" which is just past the Nobu restaurant. The lobby is not much more than an elevator bank with a desk but the walls and ceiling feature visually stunning wooden blocks of fir, hemlock and oak in different arrangements. The artwork actually continues on inside the elevators as well. Go ahead, touch it.
Keep Reading for More Reasons to Book a Room at The Nobu Hotel Las Vegas!
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As longtime hotel nerds, we're always excited when a new hotel opens. In fact, to ensure we don't miss an opening we compiled the Master Openings List of hotels expected to open in 2013. Not just in the U.S. or Europe, but around the world.
Out of this beast of a list, which we are constantly updating as we hear of new openings (and as we re-learn world geography apparently) we admittedly have a few favorites. Five to be exact. So here are 5 Hotel Openings We're Excited For in 2013. We hoped to get you every starting room rate, but alas, not all of the properties are taking reservations yet. But once they do, we'll let you know how much you're gonna pay!
Got an opening you're most excited about? Drop it in comments below!
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Don't skip the homemade pasta at Ai Fiori. Carbs be damned.
We always find it amusing New York Restaurant Week falls just a few weeks after the new year, when those plum hotel restaurants we've been dying to try, drop their prices for 20 whole days of diet-busting deliciousness.
This year's event goes from January 14–February 8 and patrons will be treated to three-course prix-fixe lunches for $25 and dinners for $38.00. There are over 300 restos participating (a list can be found at NYCGO), but we're detailing our Top 10 Picks here. Unless noted, these are for Mon-Friday lunch and dinner seatings. Saturday dinner isn't included, but some places do have Sunday lunch and dinner availability.
Asellina at the Gansevoort Park Avenue: We defy you not to order the veal meatballs, prosciutto and black truffle flatbread without tears rolling from your eyes. And that's just for starters. Sunday lunch and dinner included.
It's a new year and we've got a brand-spanking new list of hotels set to open in 2013. Warning: it will make your head spin.
As usual, China and India are still going strong, thanks to Starwood Hotels' obsession with those regions. In particular, their Sheraton brand is opening like gangbusters all over China. Interestingly, there are only two W Hotels opening in 2013 but W's spin-off brand, Aloft, is primed to debut in multiple places both abroad and in the U.S.
Speaking of the U.S., we're seeing a bit of a resurgence on the homefront with new properties, again from Starwood's family of brands but also from Hilton Hotels where DoubleTree and home2suites are steadily expanding. Of course, New York is getting a batch of new hotels, but so is Miami, Silicon Valley and randomly, Alabama.
Also, still going strong is the Middle East which will get several new luxury options (are there any other kinds?) from St. Regis, Fairmont, Ritz-Carlton and Waldorf Astoria. And it looks like Russia is going to have a good year as well with the Hotel Indigo and a Four Seasons coming to St. Petersburg.
And while this list looks lengthier than ever, in doing our research we noticed a heck of a lot more openings scheduled for 2014. In fact, we better get started on that list now!