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Orlando's newest hotel, The Cabana Bay Beach Resort at Universal Studios, is in the midst of putting the finishing touches on its sprawling 1,800 room resort. Just last week, the hotel's 52-foot tall retro sign went up, signaling not only that the hotel is close to opening but also giving passerby's a hint of what to expect--a themed resort inspired by the beach resorts of the 1950s and 60s. Notice the promise of "color TV" and "cold air."
You'll get a feel for that theme mostly in the guest rooms which feature mid-century furniture and decor. But don't worry, there will be flat-screens and free WiFi in the rooms too. On-site there will also be two outdoor pool complexes, including a lazy river; a retro bowling alley, game room and several dining options. There's even a Starbucks too! But despite the name, there's no actual beach at this beach resort.
We love hotel renovations nearly just as much as we love new hotels. But what we really love about hotel renovations is seeing the transformation that happens when an old, tired and lackluster room gets a modern makeover and transforms into new, spiffed-up, stylish guest room. Or put more simply, we love comparing the Before and After.
In its past life, the Loews Boston Hotel was the Boston Police Department Headquarters. Today, it’s guilty on one count: possession of uninspired guestrooms. (Don't worry, it’s only a misdemeanor.)
But freedom for travelers is up ahead, now that the hotel is jump-starting a $10 million renovation. Slated to wrap up by the end of March, the makeover will unveil 225 redone guestrooms that are “inspired by a fine-tailored” suit, according to a statement: think grey flannel, hounds tooth, and herringbone fabrics in a sleek design with free Wi-Fi and other amenities of the “latest technology.” Behold: this before and after of the old and upcoming looks.
Keep reading to see the AFTER pic!
UPDATE: The free WiFi is in effect at all Loews Hotels. "Prompt, reliable Internet access has become a necessary and expected hotel amenity. We're delighted to be one of the first hotel brands in our category to offer complimentary Wi-Fi access to each and every one of our guests," said Paul Whetsell, President & CEO of Loews Hotels & Resorts." AMEN.
Ladies and gentlemen and kids of all ages, start your laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc.,: Free Wi-Fi is available at Loews Hotels beginning January 22, 2014.Has hell frozen over? It feels like it with recent weather we're having and with this little bit of news that we just got--Loews Hotels is now offering FREE WIFI in all of its 18 hotels. Yes, that even includes the Orlando hotels.
There's a big announcement on the home page of LoewsHotels.com today and we hear a press release with the full info will be coming soon.
What we want to know is if the WiFi will be outright free or if you have to be a member of the YouFirst loyalty program. Not that it matters. All that matter is that WiFi is free. Our years of pleading for free WiFi are finally starting to pay off. A round of drinks on us!
[Screengrab: Loews Hotels]
Hotel Toiletries / Julien Farel / Loews Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Hotel News / Manhattan Hotels / Park Avenue Hotels / → All Tags
Last week, the Loews Regency Hotel on Park Avenue re-opened after two years of intensive renovations. Rates are already at a premium for the hotel, around $440 a night this weekend, but you can at least sleep knowing that you will have fabulous hair the next day.
That's because celeb hairstylist, Julien Farel, will not only open his salon in the hotel in March, he's also provided the in-room toiletries in all of the 379 guest rooms and suites. Farel's Anti-Aging Haircare & Body are powered by an exclusive Anti-Aging Balance 'A2B' Technology that " delivers clinically proven Anti-Aging Bioactives to rejuvenate skin and hair with intense hydration, targeted repair and vital protection." YES.
But that's not all. You can style your tresses with a Julien Farel high-performance hairdryer which is now present in all the Loews Hotels and Resorts nationwide. So while the room rates might be high, you'll be able to get salon-quality hair without having to pay Farel's prices, which start at around $650 just for the cut. Blowdrying costs extra.
Peek at the newly renovated Loews Regency rooms below!
Since room rates for re-opening night are currently priced at $479 (in low season!!), we're guessing that this hotel might be out of your, ahem, price range. So allow us to show you all around the hotel…virtually.
We've got pics of the different guest room categories -- from the Luxury King to the Grand Double to the Manhattan Suite, a 625-sq.ft. room with one king bed, separate living room and Park Avenue views (these are located on floors 16-20). We've also got bonus shots of Julien Farel at work and of the stunning new hotel lobby.
If you stare at these photos long enough, you might just convince yourself to book a room.
[Photos: Loews Regency Hotel]
We've got a thing for hotel helipads (check out the one time we visited one in Hong Kong) so when we saw this photo of the helipad at the Loews Hollywood, our knees got a little weak. And not just because the helipad is so high up.
For starters, we didn't even know that the Loews had a helipad. So that's pretty baller (and obviously useful too in emergency situations.) Second, look. at. that. view. Spectacular.
The hotel, in the heart of Hollywood near the Dobly Theater, aka home of The Oscars, is currently undergoing a $31 million top-to-bottom renovation that's expected to be finished in March. Just in time for the red carpet to be rolled out.
We'll have more on the new Loews (it was formerly a Renaissance Hotel) in the new year so stay tuned!
[Photo: Loews Hollywood]
Manhattan power breakfasters and NYC-visitors alike won't have to wait much longer for the Loews Regency Hotel in New York to reopen: reservations are currently accepted for stays beginning on January 16, 2014. The highly-anticipated reopening of the Park Avenue property follows a comprehensive $100 million renovation, and includes a new restaurant, salon, spa and four new private meeting spaces.
Hotel Openings / Universal Hotels / Loews Hotels / Orlando Hotels / Family-Friendly Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
While Four Seasons is readying their biggest resort to date near the Magic Kingdom, Universal Parks & Resorts and Loews Hotels & Resorts are working on their own massive new resort, adjacent to Universal Studios Orlando, and which is being built specifically with families in mind.
The Cabana Bay Beach Resort, the fourth hotel within the Universal Orlando Resort, will open 600 of its planned 1,800 rooms on March 31st. The first rooms to open will be in the North Courtyard, which consists of three separate buildings. These rooms will also be all family suites which start at 430-sq.ft. and can sleep six people with two queen beds and a queen pull-out sofa bed. There's even a small kitchenette and a bathroom area that partitions the toilet from the sink and the sink from the shower. Especially helpful when all six of you are trying to get ready for you day at the park.
Another 300 family suites and 900 standard rooms (slightly smaller square footage but still with two queen beds) will open later in the year in two other towers. All rooms and suites will feature a retro 1950s and 1960s design, meant to invoke the family resorts and motels of yesteryear.
We toured the hotel site yesterday and it was crazy cool to see something that looks so old school but is totally new from the ground-up. Don't worry, the amenities and services at the hotel will be brand-new with the most modern technology including WiFi and flat-screen TVs.
Well, Loews Hotels has done a good job of keeping this one on the Down Loew but not anymore. Take a look here at what's in store for the Loews Chicago.
We first got wind of a Loews Hotel in the windy city back in 2008. We're not exactly sure why this was put on hold but we're gonna go with epic financial fail of that year. But now the project is back on and should be ready to open in early 2015. Here's the 411:
Loews Chicago Hotel will be part of a highly visible 52-story tower located just one block north of the Chicago River and two blocks east of North Michigan Avenue. The hotel will have spectacular city skyline and lake views from the 400 new guestrooms (including 23 suites) and meeting spaces both indoors and out.
The hotel also plans on having a signature restaurant, a 24-hour fitness center, a 75-foot indoor lap pool and a rooftop lounge. We can't wait to get Loew up high in 2015. (Ok, we'll stop. Puns are done.)
[Rendering: Loews Hotels]
Twitter Reservations / Loews Hotels / Hotel Social Media / Hotel Deals / Hotel Hashtags / → All Tags
Loews Hotels is trying something new with their Twitter pages--allowing guests to book their stays directly through Twitter.
Many hotels have long been offering reservations through Facebook for a few years now but Twitter has never really been done before. Here's how Loews is pioneering this new social reservations tool:
Simply use the hashtag #BookLoews in a tweet to @Loews_Hotels that says where you want to stay and you'll be connected by a Loews Travel Planner to start a Twitter conversation. Once you're ready to book your stay, the Travel Planner will tweet you a link to a secure chat conversation to take your credit card and billing info in a secure, PCI-compliant digital environment. Other than that, you never have to leave Twitter to book your hotel room. This is the future, kids! (One thing to note: The Loews Orlando hotels are not bookable through Twitter.)
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If you were around kids on Halloween, then you may have noticed just how popular the "Despicable Me" Minions were for a costume choice. So it makes perfect sense that a hotel would want to cash in on the Minions' moment of fame and build some super cool Despicable Me-inspired hotel suites.
These fun suites just opened at the Loews Portofino bay Hotel at the Universal Orlando Resort. Each of the 18 new suites have two rooms, one featuring a kids' room totally tricked out with Minion-inspired bedding, Minion curtains, custom-designed missile beds and a wall plastered with Minions. The other room is for the adults and features an Italian luxury design. And for safety purposes, the kids' room does not have a door that opens out into the hallway. Instead, there's just a door that runs into the parents' room.
You can also check out how these Minion suites were created by watching a time-lapse video the hotel did of the construction. (Remember they also did this with their other guest room renovations.) And yes, there are some Minions in the video!
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The Loews Regency Hotel on Park Avenue shuttered its doors last January leaving the NYC's power breakfasters suddenly homeless. But come January 16th, the landmark hotel will be making eggs and bacon again, amongst other things.
The hotel is finishing up an extensive $100 million renovation, that's been spearheaded by Jonathan Tisch, the chairman of Loews Hotels & Resorts, and which has overhauled 379 guest rooms (above) including 58 suites as well as created a new restaurant and a new salon and spa, along with new private meeting spaces and a fitness center.
While we already knew that the salon and anti-aging spa will be run by celebrity stylist Julien Farel, we're a little more interested in the return of the restaurant, especially since it was so well-loved by so many powerful people.
Loews promises a new dining concept managed by New York restaurateurs Gherardo Guarducci and Dimitri Pauli of the Sant Ambroeus Hospitality Group. (Their Sant Ambroeus restaurant on West 4th is favored by celebs and models alike.) Together they will work Executive Chef Dan Silverman to bring a market-fresh menu filled with "modern interpretations of classic dishes" combined with "international flavors and palates."
But will Larry King still be able to get his Cheerios with blueberries? We hope so.