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Edinburgh's Urban Villa
It feels like only yesterday that we were mourning the demise of the Hotel Missoni (and then the most expensive hotel in Scotland), but Edinburgh isn’t the kind of town to let a couple of closures get it down – instead it’s up and at ‘em with new plans.
Hot on the heels of the opening of the Ibis Styles, which we talked about last week, come plans from Marriott to build Scotland’s second Courtyard by Marriott property (it already has one at Aberdeen Airport). The Courtyard Edinburgh Hotel will have 240 rooms and will open in 2016, taking over three neighboring Georgian townhouses in Baxter’s Place, in central Edinburgh. Fun fact: Robert Louis Stevenson’s grandfather once lived there.
Free WiFi / Hotel News / Marriott International / Marriott Hotels / Hotel WiFi / Marriott Rewards / Loyalty Program News / → All Tags
The reason we were all "meh" about Marriott Hotels' wireless phone chargers a few weeks ago was simply because Marriott is still charging for WiFi up in the guest rooms. But it looks like they've had a change of heart because...
Marriott International will be giving all members of its Marriott Rewards program free WiF at all Marriott brands (about 3,800 hotels) starting on January 15, 2015. #stunned #flabbergasted #theendishere
Here's the official Marriott statement:
Hotel Openings / Hotel Hype / Edition hotels / Ian Schrager / Marriott Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
We've hardly gotten over the exciting news that the Ian Schrager's latest hotel, Miami Beach Edition, is opening on November 10 but now we're absolutely freaking out that the New York Edition will open on April 1, 2015. And no, that's not a cruel April Fools Joke.
In a newsletter update sent out to subscribers, Edition Hotels, a Marriott International brand, touted the rave review that the NY Times bestowed on the London Edition. Of course, we already knew how special this hotel was when it first opened and when we spent the night back in March.
But at the bottom of the email, Edition made note of the Miami Beach opening date along with New York which is listed as "premiering on 4.1.15." Oh Em Gee.
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After what feels like years of waiting, you can now officially book a room for November 10 at the Edition Miami Beach. And if you use corporate/promotional code ISS, you can stay on opening night for $250 a night, compared to the regular rate of $430 a night.
There is a $25 resort fee, per day, that includes beach chair service, beach towels, Internet access, bike rental and "more." A resort fee is never fun but it is actually very common for South Beach hotels
Nevertheless, after we fell head over heels in love with Edition London, we've been anxiously awaiting its Miami Beach sister. The 294-room hotel from hotelier Ian Schrager and Marriott Hotels was designed by architects George Yabu and Glenn Pushelber, along with landscape designer Madison Cox. While the guest rooms will be luxurious in an understated, frill-free way, the rest of the resort will be very turnt up.
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We can't reveal our sources but there is word going around that a Moxy Hotel is being developed for New Orleans, which really could not be a more perfect city for the young and fun Moxy brand. It's also a favorite city for Marriott International.
The hotel company already has 18 Marriott-branded hotels in or just outside the city, with several more within an hour's drive. And every brand is represented there from Residence Inn to Couryard, Springhill Suites, Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott, Renaissance, Marriott and even the first-ever AC Hotels by Marriott in the United States. That hotel is opening next month.
Last week, Marriott International was fined $600,000 by the FCC for jamming up guests mobile WiFi hotspots at the Gayord Hotel in Nashville (a Marriott entity), thus forcing guests to join the hotel's network and pay the ridiculous WiFi fees. This week, Marriott wants to win back some love by announcing that a whopping 29 Marriott hotels will sport wireless charging stations for guests to charge their devices on.
We heard the news the other day and we were just like, well, this:
The gesture is appreciated, especially since it came about from a survey of real travelers on Marriott's TravelBrilliantly.com platform, meaning that Marriott is really listening to what guests want. And we've all been there when we roll up into a hotel and our phone dies. Or we forget our charger completely.
We can also respect the type of charging stations being used--a KS Portable from Kube Systems which uses the Qi wireless charging technology. Simply place your device, whether it be an iPhone or a Galaxy so long as it's equipped for wireless charging, on one of these black cubes and voila! You're charging. Up to six devices are allowed too.
But let's be real, it's hard for us to get excited about charging our devices in a hotel that is charging us for WiFi.
UPDATE: A publicist for Marriott Hotels wanted to clarify that WiFi is free in the lobbies at Marriott Hotels.
[Photo: Marriott Hotels; GIF: Giphy.com]
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After a Courtyard by Marriott in Manhattan was embarrassingly outed for "code injecting" a few years back, we kinda thought that Marriott International would learn from this lesson and drop all their WiFi shenanigans, especially after telling us how much of a priority free and working WiFi are for them. But no.
On Friday, news came out that the Federal Communications Commission fined Marriott Hotels $600,000 for blocking mobile WiFi hotspots at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville back in March of 2013. (Marriott took over the property in 2012.) In blocking these hotspots, Marriott then charged conference attendees, exhibitors and small businesses between $250 and $1,000 per device to connect to the hotel's own network. #heinous.
However, those shenanigans have caught up with them. Now, after forking over $600,000 in fines, Marriott will also have to send "compliance and usage reports to the FCC every three months for the next three years." So, you'd expect Marriott to finally learn their lesson after this ruling. Nope. Read this statement they released, which Loyalty Lobby posted up:
TWA Hotel / Donald Trump / Trump Hotels / Yotels / Marriott Hotels / JFK Hotels / Hotel Hype / Hotel News / → All Tags
It's been rumored for several years that the iconic TWA Flight Center at JFK International Airport would one day turn into a hotel. And once again, the rumor mill is working overtime with reports that a new hotel brand will soon install themselves at the terminal.
Earlier this year, negotiations between hotelier Andre Balazs and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey fell through . Now it seems the Port Authority is out shopping for a new Sugar Daddy.
Following the release of a formal Request For Proposal last month, the word on the street— runway rather— is that interested parties may include Yotel, who made their name with their capsule concept at UK airports; developer Related Companies; Marriott International and even, Donald Trump.
About a month ago, our bro Jaunted wondered aloud whether virtual reality could make waves in the travel industry, allowing people to be mentally transported to destinations around the globe without physically leaving their home cities. We've thought about this very same concept in the form of hotels and online virtual tours as a way to experience properties before booking.
This morning, Marriott unveiled the mother of all virtual tours, a piece of technology it calls "The Teleporter," a virtual reality machine that allows people to "tour" some of its hotels in the States. The Teleporter made its public debut at the Marriott in New York. It will remain there for five days, then take off for the rest of its eight-city tour to its properties in Boston, DC, Atlanta, Dallas, San Diego, San Jose, and San Francisco.
Judging from the early reports, Marriott didn't cut any corners when developing the technology. A journalist from Wired had great things to say about the experience, noting that "pumps embedded in the floor, misting nozzles in the walls, heater blowers in the ceiling, fans in the ceiling and floor, a scent dispenser, and a 1000-watt amplifier all deepen the feelings of immersion. When you land on the beach, the pumps in the floor create the feeling of a cushioned landing, and you feel 80-degree warmth, a sea breeze, and ocean mist."
While its tipping envelope initiative continues to dominate the headlines, Marriott's introduction of a healthy vending machine at its Chicago O'Hare airport location has been much less controversial. Earlier this month, it jumped on the bandwagon of a Chicago start-up called Farmer's Fridge, which creates healthy options using local ingredients, puts them in a jar, and delivers them to vending machines throughout the city.
Yep, healthy food in jars, which can be recycled back into the vending machine after the meal. There's approximately 12 of them in Chicago, and Marriott plans to test out the concept for the next five months at O'Hare. It seems like a great fit for an airport hotel, with plenty of guests on the go, many arriving late at night and departing early in the morning when hotel restaurants may not be open. This, in theory, gives them an option that's healthier than a fast food restaurant or a candy bar from a typical vending machine. We've certainly been there.
We haven't swung through to try it for ourselves, but are very curious to see how travelers respond to it. We're also interested to know if the food's any good, so drop us a line if you've tried it. As for what's on the menu, here's the full list of the items inside, which range from $3 to $12 dollars in price:
We can't hardly wait for the November opening of the Miami Beach Edition Hotel but a self-described "hotel enthusiast" is more excited for the Abu Dhabi Edition Hotel, which is slated for 2016.
Admittedly, we haven't heard much about Edition's first Middle Eastern property but our curious reader did some sleuthing and has uncovered its location of in the Al Bateen Harbour complex in Abu Dhabi Marina. He also determined that the hotel will most likely be within a complex called Al Marasy.
There's no mention of a hotel project on the complex's website but our curious reader thinks that the Abu Dhabi Edition could open in one of the nearly finished, but still empty buildings on the waterfront. If that's true, the Abu Dhabi Edition could totally open in 2016. If construction still hasn't started, then we can kiss that date goodbye. Anyone know what's going on with the Edition in Abu Dhabi? Send your sleuthing to us!
Interestingly, Marriott has already sold the Edition Hotels in London, Miami and NYC to the Abu Dhabi government. Marriott will, of course, manage the properties. And as long as each one is run like London Edition, we won't mind.
Hotel News / Tipping / Hotel Housekeeping / Marriott Hotels / Maria Shriver / The Envelope Please / → All Tags
When we spied a tip envelope for the housekeeping staff in our guest room at The Ace Hotel Los Angeles, we thought it was a genius idea. The envelope served as a both a gentle reminder to tip and as a designated spot to put the tip, saving us the trouble of worrying about where to tuck a couple of dollars so that the housekeeper would see it.
Now, it looks like Marriott International thinks tip envelopes are genius as well.
The hotel company has partnered up with Maria Shriver and her "A Woman's Nation" organization to put envelopes in 160,000 Marriott hotel rooms, across all brands from Ritz-Carlton to JW Marriott and Residence Inn. The envelope will list the name of the housekeeper along with this little note:
"Our caring room attendants enjoyed making your stay warm and comfortable. Please feel free to leave a gratuity to express your appreciation for their efforts."
We're behind this initiative 100 percent but we do realize it may cause some more anxiety amongst guests who aren't used to tipping the housekeeper, especially if they don't have any extra cash on them. While Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson says it's customary to tip $1 to $5 a night, we say anything you can hand over during your stay will be appreciated. Most housekeepers are only paid minimum wage and most of the time, they don't receive tips. (Hence this campaign.)
Of course, that leads to another argument that Marriott and other hotel companies should pay housekeepers more per hour, instead of relying on tips from guests but sadly, that won't change any time soon. (Our contributor, Will McGough, actually thinks the envelopes are tasteless and tacky because of that reason.) In the meantime, we expect tip envelopes to be found in more and more hotels, not just Marriott ones.
What do you think about tip envelopes--helpful or annoying? Sound off in comments below!
[Photo: Marriott Hotels]