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A confession: The Great Gatsby was one of our favorite novels as a ninth grader. The fancy houses. The fast cars (well, minus the tragedy). The spectacular parties. We loved all of it. So we're guessing we would also have loved visiting a place called Oheka Castle Hotel & Estate in Huntington, NY, which supposedly inspired a portion of the F. Scott Fitzgerald masterpiece.
Unfortunately, the 443-acre property is now facing foreclosure, as the WSJ recently revealed. Sadness!
The castle, which was built in 1919 and contains 32 luxury hotel suites, is supposedly the second largest private estate in the entire country, and has been visited by everyone from the Citizen Kane film crew in 1941 to Anthony Weiner, who got married there in 2010. And yet, we have yet to be invited for dinner...
See below for a few excerpts from recent TripAdvisor reviews!
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Gather your girlfriends this fall, and spend some time shopping, eating, drinking, and catching up. These hotels that are offering Girlfriend Getaway packages, designed for those who like to shop, drink,and be pampered.
Manicures, pedicures, cocktails and transportation to shopping trips within three miles of the hotel are just a few of the perks included in the Pampered Girlfriends package at the Georgian Terrace Hotel in Atlanta. Designed for a group of four, two more can be included for $75 each. Rates start at $359 per night for the group of four.
For ladies who prefer not to shop, and would rather de-stress and share plenty of laughs, the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans treats the ladies to a cocktail walking tour. Unfortunately the drinks on the tour are not free, and ladies best leave their stilettoes at home for this tour. Uneven sidewalks + alcoholic beverages + girlfriends = a major embarrassing moment in public and never hearing the end of it in the future. Eliminate that nasty old tension a little more with the included 60-minute Swedish massage. The package is $139 per day with a two-night minimum stay.
Some of us at HotelChatter appreciate the summer months. We think 90-degree heat in July is appropriate and that’s why beach houses were created. So, when we received news about actual availability in Long Island’s busy Hamptons region, we were intrigued. How could this be? Usually you'd have to have booked months in advance to get decent digs at this time of year.
We know some folks are itching to escape city-life at some point this summer, but think it might be too late to grab a beachy-keen place. Well, in some high falutin’ Hamptons sections you might be SOL, but in the low-key Montauk area? You’re in luck!
Millionaire’s Row, just 15 miles away from East Hampton, is comprised of eight cottages from studios to two-bedroom units in Fort Pond Bay, fronting Block Island Sound in Long Island’s East End. The cozy quarters are run by a local resident who wanted to make the area a bit more affordable for those seeking a quiet vacation filled with fishing, beach bumming, and sunset soaking. But, if you do want all that “Hamptons Hype”, you can get to the parties via a quick cab ride, no problem.
Beach-loving tourists flying into New York this summer might not have to venture too far from the airport to get the full sand, sun and turf experience.
You see, unlike other hotels in Manhattan and Brooklyn, which are limited to just a rooftop pool or maybe a farmers market when it comes to outdoor spaces, Long Island's Allegria Hotel—which is just 14 miles from JFK—has one feature to top all the rest: a private tunnel to the beach.
The 143-room hotel sits right along the boardwalk facing the ocean, and is in fact the only hotel in Long Beach. To capitalize on its awesome location, owners have built a short tunnel from the lobby to the beach, so guests can simply roll out of bed, hop into the elevator, zip through the tunnel, and be stretched out on the beach faster than you can say LIRR.
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We know, we know. We told you that the season premiere of Travel Channel's Hotel Impossible wouldn't be airing until April 9—and that's still correct. But lucky us, we just so happened to have gotten our mitts on an advanced media screener, and you can bet we popped it right into our DVD player when we got home.
The first episode follows around hotel "fixer" Anthony Melchiorri as he dramatically tears apart, then (to some extent) puts back together a struggling family-owned hotel out on Long Island. It's a daunting, sometimes funny, and sometimes painfully slow process. Unlike, say, restaurants, which are the focus of The Food Network's similarly-titled Restaurant: Impossible, there's a lot more going on in hotels. Cooking, cleaning, Front Desk, valet, room service, spa, concierge—hotels are like a bunch of tiny businesses all crammed into one big multifaceted business.
Which is why, we realized, the idea of making a one hour show about rehabilitating an entire struggling hotel is slightly ridiculous. Given the time constraints, how exactly is any substantial change supposed to be made?
Oh, we get it. That's the "impossible" part, that's what's supposed to be entertaining. Which it is, at some points. But at others, when Melchiorri is just running around the hotel yelling at people, the whole thing just feels a little, well, impossible.
Which of the following sounds more appealing: hours by car on the Long Island Expressway, followed by a $12 ferry ride from North Haven to Shelter Island? Or, as convenience would have it, a chartered seaplane that flies you directly from NYC's Chelsea to Crescent Beach? Sound Aircraft, a Long Island-based airplane and helicopter service company, is currently hoping you choose the latter.
What's that, you're afraid to part with so much money?Come on, it's a seaplane! Didn't you ever watch Raiders Of the Lost Ark?
Next month, a new hotel pops up on Shelter Island, the sleepy eastern Long Island town which, in addition to Andre Balazs' less-publicized resort, Sunset Beach, also happens to be the home of actress Julie Kavner, aka the voice of Marge Simpson. La Maison Blanche, which is French for—you guessed it—'the white house,' is an unpretentious eight-room structure that sits right next to Crescent Beach.
New Yorkers who are considering a weekend getaway might want to look into La Maison Blanche, which offers an on-site bakery, complimentary bicycles, use of the hotel's iPad, and, just to round things off, a Pétanque court. Pétanque, which resembles bocce ball, has become a unique part of Shelter Island's identity since Veuve Clicquot began hosting their annual Pétanque Tournament right on Sunset Beach. It seems guests at La Maison Blanche will now be able to work on their form before the big day, which usually falls around Bastille Day.
The 100-room hotel is inspired by its proximity to the beach, a sort of brand standard for Hotel Indigos (they always like to take on the personality/attitude of their location.)
The overall color palette is neutralized with pops of warm oranges, sea powder and indigo blues, greens and gold. Oversized graphics highlighting Wine Country and the beach bring the surroundings inside. The finishes, materials and fabrics have an organic, natural texture, and the wood is inspired by beach driftwood.
Are you still in the Memorial Day patriotic spirit? Well, get ready for a lotta Americana as the New York Daily News whispers about fashion designer Ralph Lauren possibly buying and revamping the 164-year-old American Hotel in Sag Harbor, Long Island.
This all comes as the owner of The American Hotel, Ted Conklin, marries his high-school sweetheart and beats a path out of Sag Harbor. He has listed his other properties for sale or for rent, and although there aren't any confirmed offers from Lauren, it looks like The American Hotel may be next.
OK, either we finally stumped you all with a game of Guess The Hotel, or you were all snoozing the day away on Friday. No one left any guesses for the oceanfront hotel with the jellyfish lights, but for such a unique NY-area property that's been flying under the radar since opening in September, perhaps this is to be expected. At any rate, the hotel in question is the Allegria Hotel in Long Beach. (That's Long Island, New York—not California.)
The last time we wrote about the hotel was to recommend it as a 'Clean and Nice' airport hotel in case another storm struck. That was back in December, but boy we weren't wrong. When we hit the Allegria last Thursday, the entire property was booked—mostly with peeps stranded by the Volcanic Ash. (British Airways was putting its first-class passengers up here.)
So, what did all of these inadvertent visitors to NYC's newest beach hotel find? Let's take a look ...
What's that bright light over New York City today? Could it be ... sunshine? Oh, Hallelujah, the sun is out! We know it's Passover and Easter and all that, but onto more pressing matters: Booking summer vacations at the beach.
So, what's happening hotel-wise at New York-region beaches?
Andre Balazs's Sunset Beach Hotel opens for the season on Shelter Island on May 14. Weekend rates start at $420 a night, and Mid Week rates from $225 a night. Just remember that "weekend" means Thursday through Sunday. And like most beach properties, Sunset Beach requires a three-night minimum for holiday weekends. If you want to see Courtney Love in a bikini, this could be the beach vacay for you!
So you might be wondering why we've headed to the 'burbs for a hotel brunch but the landmark Garden City Hotel on Long Island (built in 1874!) actually draws lots of business travelers because of its central location and because it's only about 30 miles from New York City. American Idol finalists and other celebs stay there because of its proximity to performance venues like Nassau Coliseum and Jones Beach. But locals head to the hotel for Rein's super-expensive $64 Sunday brunch from Chef Steven De Bruyn.
We broke out our credit card and our biggest-waisted pants, and tried the all-you-can-eat brunch. After the jump, we'll tell you whether it was worth 64 smackers for breakfast foods.