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Mandarin Oriental is in a serious party-mood these days. We’ve already talked about the $60,000 New Year’s Eve package that lets you ring in 2013 baller-style in Las Vegas, but next year will bring a whole range of celebrations on the other side of the world when Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong turns the big five-o.
Difficult as it may be to imagine, given the maze of skyscrapers in the city today, but when the hotel opened in 1963, its 27 floors made it the tallest building on Hong Kong Island, and the first in Asia with bathtubs in every room.
In this world of instant gratification, Sivi.com (not to be confused with Apple's Siri) is a new 24/7 "concierge" platform that promises to text or e-mail back answers to your pressing questions within minutes, from an actual hotel-based concierge.
It's sorta like Ask.com, only real humans respond with their database of knowledge. But at $5 a pop for your first question ($4 thereafter up to ten questions, then $3 for 20, etc), is it worth it?
We decided to give it a test drive. Due to the fact we just got a puppy, we had to ask what airlines do not charge fees to bring a small dog onboard with you, to which Sivi responded with a link to pet policies for major airlines. We then asked for a list of über-pampering, pet-friendly US hotels, and we received a breakdown of four hotel groups (Kimpton, Loews, Trump and W) with the hotel fees and amenities included. It was a great start, and you can continue the conversation by hitting "reply" if you need more information (like continuing the conversation with a real concierge by simply firing away more questions).
So, it's not a bad tool considering it takes the grunt work out self-research. But how is it any different from just hitting up Google?
In case you hadn't realized, the final moments of 2012 are just a month away. We know there will be parties-a-plenty, but if you wanted to finish the year baller-style, Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas is offering a $60,000 Presidential New Year’s Eve package.
Yes, it's time for some Fantasy Friday dreaming!
You and your special someone will get three nights in one of the hotel’s Presidential Suites (there's two: the Mandarin and the Emperor Suite), with limousine transfer to and from McCarran airport. A complimentary visit to the salon will ensure you look the part for a six-course gala dinner on New Year’s Eve, personally prepared by Chef Pierre Gagnaire at restaurant Twist. After the lavish meal, where you’ll get to meet Pierre himself, a bottle of champagne and table will be waiting at Mandarin Bar to ring in 2013. The next day starts with a hangover brunch at MOzen, followed by a couple’s treatment in the spa.
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The holiday season is in full swing with tree lighting ceremonies and decorations popping up everywhere. Last week, the folks at London's Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park have decked the halls with more than boughs of holly featuring a holiday inspired package. The luxury hotel has gone all out with a partnership in more than decorations with the city's legendary department store, Harrods.
The festive decor was unveiled this week and we applaud them for waiting after Thanksgiving to the delight of both children and adults. A contemporary clay color scheme with pops of red and cream with help from poinsettias and custom, handmade baubles will get guests in the holiday spirit. Of course there's a Christmas tree and it dons Nordic-esque decorations and will act as the centerpiece for all holiday activities.
The youngest guests will think they stepped into Santa's workshop with a Confectionery Tree inspired by the Toy Kingdom located just down the block at Harrods. With VIP tickets to meet Father Christmas at the Harrods Christmas Grotto, the kiddies will be in toy heaven. The young-ones will also receive a 2012 Harrods Bear and delicious chocolates from the store's artisan sweet shop, Papabubble. The entire family will have to opportunity to see the kitchen and watch the chocolate being made in perfect 'Wonka' fashion.
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We hope you remembered back in the Spring when we told you the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade route would change this year and booked your hotel stay accordingly.
However, Hurricane Sandy and early snowfall in parts of the country has caused cancelled travel into the city, so some late birds (we won’t call you turkeys) may luck out and score last-minute hotel bookings and get a glimpse of those awesome floats in the flesh.
Let’s be clear though, many of these rooms may more now than normal, and some come with a minimum night’s stay (which won’t be so bad if you’re staying on for Black Friday shopping! anyway! Whee!). And if ANY of the hotels below show up on HotelTonight at noon? Grab 'em up, and schmooze like heck for a good room!
Just a few other things to know:
In Atlanta, eight luxury hotels opened in the past four years. Needless to say, tourism has been on fire in Hotlanta! Rosewood's Mansion on Peachtree's debut was promising though it ceased operation in May. Apparently, brand loyalty is especially huge in the deep south and, considering Rosewood was a relatively a newbie, the brand didn't catch on. So Mandarin Oriental Group decided to save ship, immediately taking over the property with a seamless transition.
Six months later, Mandarin is still captain of this prime piece of real estate in Buckhead (an affluent neighborhood), retaining all original structures but giving the property some major trademark MO influence. But, brand name aside, are they offering a better product?
We recently checked out Mandarin Oriental Atlanta to compare it with the former Rosewood Mansion On Peachtree.
We wanted to know, who is the fairest Southern belle of them all?
We’d like to think that there isn’t much debate about the importance of having a decent hotel website these days. Yet, some major hotel groups still get it wrong, with limited imagery, poor design, and inconsistent room descriptions (InterContinental, we’re looking at you).
Browsing around Mandarin Oriental’s fancy new website, we’re happy to say there’s a lot to love. Particularly the lush, plentiful images. Aside from the ability to easily find practical information and make a reservation at the right rates, a hotel website should give us two things: a comprehensive idea of what the property looks like, or, if without immediate travel plans, a serious case of wanderlust. How could the below shot of the terrace at Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi (Chiang Mai) not make you want to pack your bags?
If you couldn’t make it to Marc Jacobs’ New York City fashion show last night, perhaps you can try his tea instead?
MO Bar, at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong has linked with the designer to create an afternoon tea modeled after…a handbag.
We know it’s early in the week and day and the coffee may not have sunk in yet, so we’re going to try and explain this the best we can. “The Lindy” is a handbag from Jacobs’ Fall 2012 collection and the MO’s Exec Sous Chef Sidney Schutte thought it would be cute to bring some elements of the bag's shape, color, and print into the tea presentation—namely the bow and the mini studs.
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So many hotels, so many memories...
From Vancouver to Toronto to Charlie Chaplin's old house in Hollywood, Twilight co-stars Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart managed to cover a lot of ground in their days of hotel-hopping, filming scenes for their movies, and jetting off on romantic weekends together. But now, the trail of trysts is coming back to haunt poor RPatz.
While promoting his latest film, Cosmopolis, in NYC, the star allegedly checked into the Mandarin Oriental, where he figured five nights in the hotel's depressingly large Presidential Suite would be a great way to reclaim some much-needed 'me' time.
Or wind up crying in the glass-enclosed "shower for two." One of the two.
Signature at the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo
So let's say you're flying long-haul from the US to Japan, and you're looking forward to a stay at the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo. After arrival, you'll have a quick shower, a quick nap and then head down to the hotel's Michelin-starred restaurant to fill up and recover from jet lag, right?
Right. Except you can now begin that experience in advance of landing, since Japanese airline ANA just announced they've redeveloped their onboard menu to include offerings from Signature, the Mandarin Oriental's French-inspired restaurant. They'll hit the traytables of Business Class flyers from December through February, following September-November specials from a Michelin 2-starred ryokan (traditional Japanese hotel) in Yugawara Onsen.
ANA won't be the first airline to partner up with Mandarin Oriental, either. German flag carrier Lufthansa signed up the Mandarin Oriental New York's Asiate chef to do something similar, but they were first with it. Still, better food in the skies is always the best news, especially where it involves Michelin-starred hotel restos.
[Photo: Mandarin Oriental]
We told you back in March how Mandarin Oriental hotels will manage the Mansion on Peachtree in Atlanta. Well, now the deal is done. The Mandarin Oriental Atlanta is in effect and we are ready to report some of the changes around there, starting with the spa.
Formerly called 29 Spa, the Spa at Mandarin Oriental Atlanta has changed up its treatment offerings to include an Oriental essence massage and a Peaches and Cream treatment with cream, peach oil, and a red clay scalp massage. (We love the way the Mandarin gave that treatment a local focus.) Other Asian touches are also on the horizon like the Mandarin Oriental foot ritual which goes a little something like this:
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You know the deal: you excitedly check into a hotel in a brand new city, ready to see all the sights and take all the tours. But sightseeing doesn't come cheap, and soon enough you're blowing an extra $20 or $50 just to be shown a landmark that, with a little more planning, you might have been able to see for free from your hotel room.
PARIS— We've been a fan of Shangri-La Paris for a while now, and it was just recently, back in May, that we poked around inside an Eiffel Duplex Suite. Balcony? Check. Free WiFi? Check. Killer Eiffel Tower view? Yessir.