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Hotel Rip Offs / Hotel Scams / Hotel Scandals / Hotel News / London Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Hotel Bars / → All Tags
UPDATE 11.15am: Response from hotel at the bottom of the post. Also, there were two clients with Mr Heaton, though the bill is as described, and the minimum spend refers only to the terrace of the Crystal Bar, not the bar itself. The hotel also says it has apologised to Mr Heaton (presumably not via Twitter).
How much would you pay for a small bottle of water at a five star hotel? $5? (That’d be our personal limit.) $10? (Maybe if we were really thirsty.) Nothing, because water should be from the tap and free? (You’re clearly American, welcome to Europe.)
How about $127? Yes, one hundred and twenty seven dollars. For three miserable bottles of sparkling water. Sadly, this is not a joke.
Ten days ago, at about 4pm, businessman Edward Heaton sat down at the outside terrace of the Crystal Bar at the Wellesley Hotel in London. He was meeting two clients, and it was the middle of the heatwave. Between the three of them, they ordered three small bottles of sparkling water. He says there was no menu, they just ordered direct from the server.
Meeting finished, they requested the bill. £75 ($127) for those three small bottles of water.
Was the water laced with crushed diamonds? No, it was San Pellegrino. Was it served in a golden goblet? Can't be sure, but presumably it was in a glass made of glass.
Here’s the breakdown. £16.50 ($28) for the water (already obscene). £8.33 ($14) for the service charge (let’s hope they threw in a lot of bar snacks). And £50.17 ($85) for “1x minimum spend”.
Minimum spend? Ah yes. According to the Wellesley, anyone who sits down at the terrace of the bar - though not the bar itself - after 4pm must meet a minimum spend of £25 per head. Have you ever heard of that? We haven’t, and we’re pretty partial to our £6 cups of London hotel tea. The only hotel bar in the world that we’ve ever encountered a minimum spend at is £10 at the Montage Beverly Hills ($50 minimum spend for world class cocktails). It simply does not happen in London.
Women-Friendly Hotels / Four Seasons Hotels / Washington DC Hotels / DC Hotels / Luxury Hotels / → All Tags
Speaking of Washington D.C. today, we happened to stumble across these special amenities for women offered at the Four Seasons Washington, D.C.. Here's what the luxury hotel is giving out to its gals on the go. We think Olivia Pope and her female gladiators would approve.
1. Access to the fitness center: This is given to all guests but the Four Seasons will also give you a local guide to the area's best yoga, Barre and Pilates studios.
2. In-Room Amenities: Rooms are stocked with a plethora of pampering goodies like nail kits, pro hair dryers, straightening irons, hairspray, hair serum, bobby pins, bath salts, loofahs and eye masks. You will also get a kit from Amala which includes organic face cream, cleansing milk and serum. You can peep a similar kit here.
Our former front desk has given us many helpful tips from how to deal with getting walked and how to effectively complain to the front desk. He's even doled out some tips for hoteliers too. Now he's back with some ways to enjoy a grand old dame...hotel.
Staying at a historic hotel is one of the most exciting and rewarding ways to experience a city and get engulfed in its history.
Many hotels carry with them fascinating stories of yesteryear from being World War shelters to long-term residences for prolific authors and politicians to venues of scintillating scandals and tales. Most of these hotels are over 100 years old with marvelous exterior architecture and opulent interiors, of which guests can spend hours staring at. These historic properties are often protected by dogged conservationists, who want to ensure the protection of the city’s culture and heritage.
Unfortunately, sometimes with the history come challenges in standardized hotel operations and the ability to provide consistent service and product across all guest rooms and public areas. Having worked in multiple historic hotels, I have come to not only appreciate these challenges but also have tried to identify ways for guests to really get the most out of these historic wonders and be transported back in time!
Maui Week continues! On Monday, we gave you the Must-Stay Hotels for Wailea in Maui. Today, we're going inside one of them--The Andaz. Mahalo!
It’s no secret that HotelChatter loves the Andaz brand so when we rolled up to the Andaz Maui in Wailea we were not surprised at how much we wished we were actually staying there, instead of just visiting.
Fortunately, there are so many ways to enjoy the Andaz Maui without actually being a guest. So whether you’re staying in a different resort or renting a villa, here’s what you should pop in and try:
Hotel Okura might be preparing itself for a multi-year closure–demolition–redevelopment cycle next year (if the Monocle petition to keep it won’t throw a spanner in the works), but another iconic Tokyo hotel will have shrugged when they read that news and thought: been there, done that, way ahead of you.
Above is what Palace Hotel Tokyo looked like in late 2008, presiding over its own moat in its second incarnation, after starting life as the government-run Hotel Teito just after WWII. The following year it closed and reinvented itself over the span of three years into something worthy of the theme “Before and After” – check it out after the jump.
Hotel Board Games / Manhattan Hotels / Fairmont Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Eloise / Historic Hotels / Central Park Hotels / → All Tags
Looking for a new board game to play during rainy days this summer? If you're a hotel nerd like us, then look no further than the Plaza-opoly from The Plaza Hotel in New York.
The iconic hotel has created its own version of the famous Monopoly game using Plaza-inspired instructions, themed board spaces, and game tokens inspired by residents and amenities of the hotel (Eloise's dog Weenie, a champagne bottle and a tea cup). Here's how the game kicks off:
After checking in at the Front Desk, players roll the dice to move around the entire board and begin their journey through the wondrous world of The Plaza via The Rose Club, The Eloise Suite, The Plaza Food Hall and even Home Alone 2-- a pop culture favorite filmed at the hotel.
Players can take their winnings straight to the bank and purchase their favorite Plaza destinations such The Champagne Bar, explore The Great Gatsby in The Fitzgerald Suite, The Grand Ballroom and The Shinn Murals. Each space has a corresponding Title Deed Card that provides a value and details of each of the location.
Gamers are further drawn into the world of The Plaza with cards such as “Order Room Service,” “Carriage Ride in Central Park,” The Grand Army Plaza and more. However, gamers have to play their cards right to avoid being sent to Hotel Security.
And whoever picks up the most expensive suites and other themed spaces, wins.
Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Rates / Hotel News / Edition Hotels / Miami Hotel Mambo / Yabu Pushelberg / Ian Schrager / Luxury Hotels / Marriott Hotels / → All Tags
Ladies and Gents, pull out your credit cards. The Miami Beach Edition is now taking reservations.
We got the email alert in our inbox today (although it was announced on Facebook yesterday) and quickly clicked over to the site. There we discovered that while the hotel will "premiere" in November, rooms aren't actually available until January 19, 2015. (UPDATE: We've been told that the hotel is definitely opening in November and that the reservations will get moved up as the opening date gets closer.) For now, rates on that opening Monday in January start at $579 a night for a standard king room. Someone pass us the smelling salts.
Only a few months in as a newly branded hotel company, Belmond Hotels, formerly Orient-Express Hotels, has snapped up a prime property in London. Well, it will be prime once the renovations are over.
Belmond has signed a management agreement with Cadogan Estates Limited to operate The Cadogan, an intimate, 64-room hotel on Sloane Street in the Chelsea nabe. Alas, guests won't be able to stay at the newest Belmond, and the only one in London, right away.
The Cadogan, originally built in 1887, is closing at the end of this month to undergo an astonishing $48 million renovation process that will completely redo the public areas and maximize the space individual guest rooms. Therefore the room count will actually drop down to 54 rooms. A gourmet dining experience" will also be installed, opening out onto Sloane Street and with views of Cadogan Place gardens. GA Design International and their London team will do the interior design work.
When the property reopens in Summer 2016 (long time away!), it will go by the name of Belmond Cadogan.
Currently, The Cadogan is advertising rooms at £209 a night. We even found a room next week on July 24, the hotel's last week open for just £190 a night. Expect those rates to double when Belmond moves in, darling.
[Photo: The Cadogan/Facebook]
Hotel Renovations / Switzerland Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Katara Hospitality / Wellness Retreats / Historic Hotels / → All Tags
Nestled 1600 feet up from the shores of Lake Lucerne in Switzerland, a luxury resort is recreating itself--The Burgenstock Resort, scheduled to re-open in 2017. When all is said and done, there will be three hotels: The Burgenstock Hotel; the circa 1906 Palace Hotel; and the Waldhotel, a medical wellness destination. Add to that a spa the size of a football field, a conference center, residences, and several dining options.
The Burgenstock Resort is being developed by Katara Hospitality, who are also presently transforming the Royal Savoy Lausanne. Katara has again retained London-based MKV Design to take on the interiors of the Burgenstock Hotel, as well as the Palace Hotel renovation and the mega Alpine Spa. Right now, we're getting an early look at the Burgenstock Hotel.
Hotels have been very keen on hotel spas in recent years--whether opening their own full-blown facilities with a dozen treatment rooms and exotic therapies or simply having one or two treatment rooms available with the basic rub-downs all travelers need. But just because a hotel might be five-star, doesn't mean its spa is. We'll be taking a closer look at hotel spas in the coming weeks, starting with what makes for a really great hotel spa.
It's surprising how many great hotels are let down by their spa. And while we won't name names, we will give you six signs of a very, very, very good spa.
1. Separate saunas and steam rooms for men and women
A must Let’s face it, as liberal as we can be in certain countries, we love not having to stumble upon a person of the opposite sex in a small, steamy room wearing the smallest of swimming costumes. It’s just nice to let it all hang without that preoccupation in mind. Luxury hotels in the Middle East are inevitably the best at providing wonderfully grand single-sex services including a super sized ornate hammam of the Anantara Eastern Mangroves in Abu Dhabi or Talise Spa at Al Madinat in Dubai.
Hotel Reopenings / Hotel Renovations / Hotel Closures / Paris Hotels / Dorchester Collection / Luxury Hotels / → All Tags
August 1 will be a big day in Paris: not only is Peninsula Hotels finally opening its rather grand entry into Europe, the Plaza Athénée will start welcoming guests again after a closure of just under a year.
Hotel Openings / Hotel News / Mandarin Oriental Hotels / Bodrum Hotels / Turkey Hotels / Luxury Hotels / → All Tags
HELLO LOVER. Forgive us for drooling, but how gorgeous does this rooftop terrace look? Good enough to make us want to book a (one-way) ticket to Bodrum, where this arrival deck will welcome you to the just-opened Mandarin Oriental Bodrum and the appropriately named Cennet Koyu, or Paradise Bay.
There are 109 rooms and suites overlooking the Aegean Sea, all with enough room to roam around in, given that they start at over 700 square feet. Outdoor space is something else they have in common, whether it’s a balcony or actual garden with private infinity-edge pool.