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Mandarin Oriental Paris Wants You To Selfie Your Way Around The City Of Light

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  Site Where: 251 Rue Saint Honoré, Paris, France, 75001
August 25, 2014 at 9:34 AM | by | Comments (0)

If you thought a designated selfie spot was as vain as things get, think again. Not to be outdone by the Athenians, the Parisians, those undisputed global masters of the pout, have come up with a “selfie package”. This has to be at somewhere millennial or ironic, right? Mama Shelter? Citizen M? Pas du tout! It’s at the Mandarin Oriental. Le selfie 'as well and truly landed.

The Selfie in Paris package nets you a room with breakfast, plus three hours in a private car – with driver and in-car WiFi. The hotel will also provide you with a list of the finest selfie backdrops in Paris, including “lesser known vantage points”, “romantic backdrops” and “other imaginative city sites that provide the perfect backdrop for self expression”.

Secretly thinking this sounds great but outwardly embarrassed about booking a package that’s all about vanity? Here’s your excuse. Any photos you upload on your journey from October to January that are taken at approved MO Selfie Spots, posted on social media and tagged appropriately (full details here) will be entered into a monthly competition to win a one night stay at the Mandarin Oriental.

So really, the Selfie in Paris package is just the cheapest way of staying, right?

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One Aldwych Is Bringing Sell-Out West End Shows To Its Screening Room

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  Site Where: 1 Aldwych, London, United Kingdom, WC2B 4BZ
August 25, 2014 at 9:04 AM | by | Comments (0)

It used to be just the Jude Laws and the Benedict Cumberbatches that sold out London theaters, but these days, sell-out shows are all over the West End. But never fear if you wanted to see Gillian Anderson in the much-acclaimed Young Vic production of A Streetcar Named Desire, or can’t make it up to Stratford-upon-Avon to catch the latest RSC production, because you can see them in the distinctly civilized setting of One Aldwych’s screening room. Yeah for hotel culture!

The Live At One series, which starts 3 September, will feature live feeds from the most sought-after productions around the UK: The Two Gentlemen Of Verona from the RSC (3 September), Streetcar Named Desire from the Young Vic (16 September), Manon from the Royal Opera House (16 October) and so on. The program includes opera and ballet, as well as plays, and you’ll have a two-course meal before the show at Axis, a glass of champagne while you watch, and dessert and coffee served in the interval. Food is billed as the best of British, with Cornish mackerel, Kentish cob nuts and loganberries amongst the ingredients (not together).

Tickets cost £49.50 (they seem to be the same price, whatever the production), which is pricey (considering National Theatre tickets start at £10) but not horrendous, if you remember that three courses and booze are included - and it's a boon for those of us who can't organize our diaries six months ahead to buy tickets, or can't make it to Stratford. Dinner starts at 5.45pm, with the screenings from 7pm.

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Not Four Seasons, But Pan Pacific Is Opening at London's Heron Plaza

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  Site Where: Bishopsgate, London, United Kingdom
August 25, 2014 at 8:33 AM | by | Comments (0)

Here is some news that will shake you out of your summer lull faster than even London’s unseasonably frigid temperatures could have: Singapore-based UOL Group Limited has acquired the site for the future Heron Plaza development on Bishopsgate and plans to open a hotel under its Pan Pacific brand inside.

Not only will that be the first Pan Pacific for Europe, and only the fifth outside Asia-Pacific (there is Seattle, Vancouver, and Whistler times two currently), it is also the end for what everyone had long accepted would be the third Four Seasons hotel in the city.

UOL paid £97 million for the land, which currently has planning permission for a 43-story tower with 109 residences, 190-room hotel, and retail. The group will “review” that configuration, so we assume that will mean room count will change.

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What Could Be Better Than Afternoon Tea? Afternoon G & Tea

August 20, 2014 at 9:00 AM | by | Comments (0)

If it aint broke, of course, there’s no need to fix it – unless the unbroken thing we’re talking about is afternoon tea, and the ‘fix’ is a gin injection.

Dukes St James in London is bringing together these two great British institutions with its G&Tea: basically afternoon tea, except with a tea-infused G&T instead of the hot stuff.

The gin in question is Beefeater infused with black tea leaves – either Earl Grey or Black Vanilla. It’s served Prohibition-style in a china teacup, either cold with ice and tonic, or as a hot punch on cold days like this week. Could it get more magnificent? Yes – you also get your normal food spread of finger sandwiches, scones and pastries. It costs £35, which is pretty great value for London, considering the alcohol.

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The Verdicts Are In For Peninsula Paris, And They're Mixed

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  Site Where: 19 Avenue Kleber, Paris, France, 75116
August 19, 2014 at 10:02 AM | by | Comments (0)

It’s been open a full two weeks now, and although we haven’t quite found the $1000 to stay at Peninsula Paris (give us another week or 500), others have – and a newspaper has checked it out too. Here’s what they say about the $999,000,000 project.

The 26 TripAdvisor reviews are mixed, leaning towards the negative – though a good tranche are from people who’ve just eaten, rather than stayed at the hotel.

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The One Where Claridge's Schooled London Hotels In Customer Service

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  Site Where: 49 Brook St, London, United Kingdom, W1K 4HR
August 18, 2014 at 10:34 AM | by | Comments (3)


Claridge's Juleps (£18 each)

There’s been a lot to depress us about the London hotel scene recently. Homophobes and boycotts. $127 drinks. Finding out that some of our favorite hotels have minimum spend policies. So when a luxury hotel in London steps up to the plate in terms of superb customer service, and reinforces our every hope about them, instead of dashing said hope into little pieces and then grinding it into the floor with a steel-capped heel, we should all rejoice. Put your hands together then, ladies and gents, for Claridge's.

Last Thursday, I went for drinks at Claridge’s with a friend. Drinks at Claridge’s has always seemed a little intimidating and out of budget for both of us, despite my having stayed there once, and both of us having watched the BBC documentary about Claridge’s more times than is good for us. It’s not your average after-work bar; it’s Claridge’s. Not only that, but there are two bars at Claridge’s: the normal one, and the tiny, sexy, marble-clad, gold-leafed, Lalique-glassed Fumoir that seats only 36, bans photos, and has a no reservations policy. That was the one we wanted.

I arrived first, and approached the Fumoir gingerly. Of course we have room, madam, said a man in a plum-colored velvet dinner jacket. Which table would you prefer? I picked the best table. He allowed me to do so. Score one to Claridge’s.

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Mandarin Oriental Says Bye Bye to Manila, At Least For Now

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  Site Where: Makati Avenue, Makati City, Manila, Philippines, 1226
August 14, 2014 at 9:26 AM | by | Comments (0)

Manila will be saying its goodbyes to one of the oldest luxury hotels in the city next month: Mandarin Oriental will be closing on September 9 after nearly four decades of operating. As much as the décor in the above Deluxe Room feels like it needs an overhaul, the choice was made to shut the 413-room hotel altogether.

A replacement hotel is already in the works, though on a smaller scale. Come 2020 (which sounds terribly far away, but really, half a decade is nothing in hotel years), a brand new hotel with 275 rooms will open. The location will stay roughly the same, in a mixed-use development in the central business district of Makati City; no other details are known at this point.

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Why Hotel Amigo's Flower Carpet Package Is The Best Of Brussels

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  Site Where: Rue de l'Amigo 1, Brussels, Belgium, 1000
August 12, 2014 at 10:29 AM | by | Comments (0)

If there’s one main event in the Brussels social calendar, the Flower Carpet, which runs 14-17 August, would be it. And if you think, “Pshaw, the best they can do is a flower carpet, that just proves everything I thought about Brussels being boring,” you’re totally wrong. Not only is Brussels ace, but the flower carpet is extraordinary: a carpet of begonias in pretty patterns all across the cobbles of the Grand Place, one of the most impressive squares in Europe. It is, apparently, so overwhelmingly beautiful that they can only hold it every two years for three days (disclaimer: that may be hyperbole, and also an excuse).

Seeing the Flower Carpet properly is fiendishly tricky – you can’t walk over it, so you can only get a squiz from the sides. Those in the know book a guided tour of the squareside City Hall – you can get a bird’s eye view from the second floor. But this weekend, there are only two English tours – both on Sunday – and you can’t book ahead, so you’re going to wait in line forever, and probably be disappointed.

Which is where the Hotel Amigo comes in. The Rocco Forte hotel has created a brilliant Begonia Package that will get you perfect views without the need for queuing. It includes:
· Availability-dependent upgrade to a Deluxe room
· Specially created Rose Blossom welcome cocktail;
· In-room facial (ooh-err missus);
· Dinner for two including a sommelier-selected bottle of wine;
· 4pm late check out;
· Breakfast.

So far, so luxury hotel blah. But here’s the kicker: if you check in August 14, you’ll get an invite to the Flower Carpet’s inauguration cocktail party, in the courtyard of the City Hall; and you’ll also get two tickets to the City Hall to see the panorama: something that will be out of reach for all but the most dedicated wait-in-liners.

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Is that a Slice of Bacon in Your Cocktail? At the Milestone London It Is

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  Site Where: 1 Kensington Court, London, United Kingdom, W8 5DL
August 12, 2014 at 8:34 AM | by | Comments (0)

Flowers, fruits, and other sweets we see served a lot with hotel cocktails, but whither the options for those that prefer their treats to be savory?

The Milestone Hotel London seems to have wondered the same, with their “Shock Me” beer cocktail bringing some balance this month. The cocktail mixes 75ml of Brown Ale (Bishop Fingers), 50ml bourbon, 25ml of Southern Comfort, and one teaspoon of maple syrup. Stirring for 10 seconds with ice, it’s served in an Old Fashion glass over ice and finished with a slice of crispy maple-cured bacon. The “Shock Me” costs £15 ($25 and is served in Stables Bar or elsewhere in the public spaces.

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These Brand New Luxury Hotel Rooms Make Us Go 'Meh'

August 7, 2014 at 8:34 AM | by | Comment (1)

Maybe the very du jour white sheets are a bit of a giveaway, but would you honestly think that this is a luxury hotel room less than four months old? We just can’t muster up any excitement for a design that strikes us already as dated and if anything seems intent on incorporating every shade of brown imaginable.

Brand-new the room is though, and you find it inside the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem, a hotel we were very excited about when it opened in April, nearly a year late. The image is displayed both for a King Superior room and a Twin Deluxe Room, the latter seeming somewhat implausible, but a look on TripAdvisor at some traveller photos confirms this is very much their “contemporary opulence” look, as the hotel describes it. They’re not cheap either, with rates starting over $600 a night (that does include free Wifi).

We have a similar sense of disappointment when we look at what turned out to be true photos of the rooms at St. Regis San Clemente Palace; photos we dismissed two months ago as being generic placeholders.

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Jumeirah Port Soller Wants To Remind You There's More To Mallorca Than Mamading

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  Site Where: Calle Bélgica, s/n,, Port de Soller, Mallorca, Spain, 07108
August 6, 2014 at 11:29 AM | by | Comments (0)

If you’ve heard anything about Mallorca this summer, it’s probably been negative. Magaluf girl and her mamading prowess. Evictions. Sex in the street. Terror sickness bugs.

But there is another, posh side to Mallorca. And in a bid to remind you of this, the Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa, which is perched on its own little cliff in Port Soller, has launched an insane-levels-of-luxury package – or, as they call it, a Superlative Mallorca package. It includes:

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Beyond The Guestrooms at The Park Hyatt New York

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  Site Where: 153 West 57th Street [map], New York, NY , United States, 10019
August 5, 2014 at 7:59 PM | by | Comments (0)

Last week, we gave you the most pertinent 411 on the Park Hyatt New York, opening on August 19. But there's so much more to the hotel than the "gracious glamour" of the Yabu Pushelberg-designed guest rooms.

Like the Spa Nalai which features views of Central Park from its treatment rooms and views of the Hudson river from its reception area.

Or the heated sand quartz bed where signature massages are performed.

You might also enjoy doing laps in the pool where music from Carnegie Hall is blasted through underwater speakers.

And if you're like us, upon entering the Park Hyatt Ballroom where walls are finished with white onyx, and there is LED surround lighting, you might just yell out, OH MY GOD, because it is actually quite amazing. The photo doesn't do it justice. Here's hoping you get invited to a wedding, or a really ritzy bar mitzvah, there someday.

The rest of the hotel--the entrance, the lobby lounge, reception area, and The Back Room at One57 restaurant--was still getting some finishing touches during our stay but we'll be sure to show you those images as we get them. If you want to see it all for yourself in person, room rates start at around $800 on opening night. Massages at the spa are slightly cheaper at $225 for 60 minutes.

[Photos: HotelChatter]