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It's that time of year again: the 2013 HotelChatter Awards! Today and tomorrow, we'll be showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to...
Usually, picking the year's Anti-View "winner" is not that hard. The room's view is so clearly awful, that it stands out amongst the rest. But this year, we had a tough time deciding which was worse, so we called it a tie. Here are the views that have us so torn (and also so relieved we don't have to revisit them in person):
At Caesars in Atlantic City, we were given this room in the Temple Tower which had a lone window that looked out over the casino hotel's lobby and atrium. Worse, we had to keep the shade down while we were getting dressed as other rooms across the way could totally see into our room. We also had to keep the shade down at night if we wanted a decent sleep which left us a little disoriented when we woke up at 9am and it was pitch-black. Meanwhile, rooms across the hall had real views with sunlight and everything.
Down in Miami at The Surfcomber, we were impressed with everything at the hotel, from the last-minute wallet-friendly room rate to the morning iced coffee and the friendly service from the staff. But our room had this depressing anti-view. Here we are just steps from the beach, and we're looking out onto another building. Then again, this room will let the sunshine in (barely, but it's something.)
And that's why we couldn't decide which was worse--a room view of an atrium with absolutely no sunlight or privacy but lots of people-watching or a room view of the building next door with some sunlight and some privacy? Tell us which view you think is the worst in comments below!
[Photos: Juliana for HotelChatter]
What to do for New Year's Eve? That's the question that's on everyone's mind this week. After, "Omg, I was so drunk at the holiday office party. Do you think my coworkers noticed?" of course.
For those of you heading to Miami, the rates are looking very similar to New York, that is to say they really expensive. The Hilton Bentley/South Beach is going for $1,299 on December 31 on Expedia.com. There are other smaller hotels open for one night but they are averaging about $300 a night. Also like NYC, most hotels are requiring a two-night stay. We found the Gale South Beach on Collins for $459 a night. The Surfcomber across the street is $629 a night while the Shore Club is about $729. The Lord Balfour is just $449 but apparently, there's only two rooms left at this price.
As we said yesterday, availability may change as we get closer New Year's Eve and rates could go down depending. But they could also go up. If you're holding out for a good deal, then you will be better off booking through HotelTonight or another last-minute hotel deal site.
On the other hand, if you're ready to party and ready to part with some money, we've got 5 hotels with happening parties to consider. Happy New Year!
Development news from 3201 Collins Avenue, Miami keeps catching us off-guard. Back in January 2012, there was this bait and switch where the development sneakily went from Cipriani Miami to a new Faena project. Now we hear that they've been keeping a star design duo under their belts: Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin.
The husband-and-wife movie director and costume/set designer duo will be collaborating on the design for the 168-suite hotel; handling the interiors, uniforms, and 'cultural programming' for the what was originally called the Saxony Hotel, which is just one part of Faena's huge Miami development project.
Art Basel Hotels / Last-Minute Hotel Rooms / Miami Hotel Mambo / HotelTonight / Expedia / Miami Hotels / → All Tags
The good news about Art Basel is that there are still hotel rooms available. The bad news is they cost more than some pieces of art that's on sale at the massive art fair.
Here's a quick run-down from Expedia for hotel rooms from tomorrow, December 4th, checking out December 6th
· LOEWS MIAMI BEACH: $559
· EDEN ROC MIAMI BEACH: $729
·Something called THE GRAND BEACH HOTEL: $859 (ironically, the hotel's website claims "affordable luxury")
·RITZ-CARLTON SOUTH BEACH: $799
·THE ANGLER'S: $909
Meanwhile, looking on the app HotelTonight for rooms for, duh, tonight is a little better. We found the Catalina (across from the SLS, Delano and Sagamore) to be just $232 while the Dream South Beach is just $239. Even the Standard Miami Beach is not too grossly priced at $499 a night.
And to be fair, there are several smaller hotels with decent locations in Miami Beach that can still be had under $300, but they won't be very plush. Still, it's a place to rest your heady after a long, party-filled day. Just remember, Miami Beach is a bit of a construction zone so be sure to plan accordingly as you party hop.
Now two years on, King & Grove is out at the Tides. They've removed the Miami property from their website and the Tides is just a stand-alone property. We're working on tracking down a reason for the split but King & Grove has been going through some big changes recently.
However, we bet the folks at Viceroy Hotels are fuming right now, especially since they had to de-brand their Tides Hotels spin-offs in Zihuatanejo, Rivera Maya and St. Lucia after they lost out on The Tides to K&G.
Whatever the reason for the switcheroo, it doesn't seem to be affecting the hotel's room rates. We found a "Best Available Rate" on their website this weekend for $525 a night. Fortunately, the WiFi is still free.
Big props to @DeeTCL for the heads-up
Hotel Openings / Miami Hotel Mambo / Hotel Opening Rates / Miami Hotels / Hilton Hotels / → All Tags
When we put together our The Master List of Worldwide Hotel Openings at the start of the year, we had a little bit of a mystery with the Hilton Cabana Miami Beach. At the time, we couldn't find out much information on this spot, only that it would open in Q3. But a lot can change in a year.
Not only does the hotel have website but we've heard that it will be soft-opening on December 16th.
The 10-story Art Deco building is located on Collins Avenue at 62nd Street (way north) but it's got prime beachfront property along Millionaire's Row. When finished, the hotel will have 231 guestrooms and a variety of suites spread out over Cabana-style buildings. Most of the rooms will have balconies from which you can gaze at either the sea or the pool. (We're digging the orange stripes and the cheeky photograph of two ladies fishing.) Also onsite will be two pools, Brasserie L'echon, an all-day dining spot, a lobby bar and both a business and fitness center.
All this week, we'll be talking about Hotel Beds--where to buy 'em, how to make 'em, how to trust 'em (just wait and see what we mean) and what to do when the bed isn't enough to send you to Sleepyland. Got a hotel bed question or comment? Send it to us!
If a hotel's got a plush bed, mounds of pillows and crisp, clean linens, one might think they've got the hotel bed down on lock. Wrong. Presentation is everything. Have you ever walked into a hotel room after a long trip, more than ready to collapse onto the hotel bed, only to find it was poorly made with the pillows out of order and the sheets half-on or wrinkled? We have. And it was pretty depressing.
That's why a properly made bed is just as crucial as the bed type itself. Now, how does one properly make a hotel bed? Well, each hotel brand has different protocols. Thanks to Diana Plazas, Director of Global Brand Marketing for DoubleTree by Hilton Hotels, we've got a step-by-step tutorial on how to make DoubleTree's own Sweet Dreams bed.
Rooftop Bars / Hotel Cocktails / Hotel Bars / Miami Hotels / SLS Hotels / Shanghai Hotels / Banyan Tree Hotels / W Hotels / San Diego Hotels / California Hotels / London Hotels / → All Tags
We loathe saying goodbye to summer before it's time, but back-to-school commercials always perform hateful Jedi mind-tricks on us. We begin to believe there's only a short time left between swimsuit and turtle neck season come end of August.
That's why we're presenting this "Last Chance Rooftop Party" guide designed to get you out there before the scene packs up and heads to warmer pastures. Those of you in warmer climates have little to worry about, but for those whose barometers are already dropping, this one's for you!
Le Bain at The Standard NYC
This bi-level roof bar and club in the Meatpacking District is as trendy as it gets. In fact, it might be a tad intimidating to those unfamiliar with The Standard's unofficial "live and let live policy". In other words--the pool area? There may be some toplessness about. The best thing to do is don your shades and focus on the choice music, indulging in wicked drinks, and chowing down on freshly made crepes--savory or sweet. And turn your attention to the glittery Hudson River if your eyes are being assaulted by the bumping and grinding of hips dancing. Join party-girl Susanne Bartsch's outlandish Tuesday soirees, groove to house music all night long (4 am on Friday's) and more. BTW, there's no cover charge to partake in all this fabulousness, but there may be a line. Hit up Facebook for guest list entry.
The SLS Hotel at South Beach
Starting at 12pm on Sunday's, the hotel's trendy Hyde Beach pool area turns into the jumping J'Adore party. Live DJs pump up the jam and bikini-and-Speedo clad party people dance the day away. In between shaking their groove thangs, serious cocktails and loads of bubbly is poured and folks dine off a special snack or Brunch menu. How does churrasco con chimichurri (grilled skirt steak with herb salad )or market ceviche prepared Peruvian style with cancha corn sound? Here's where the beautiful SoBe people show up in droves to snag a cabana or lounger, so reserve early and wear your best bathing attire.
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As the grand finale to cocktail week here's Part 2 of our round-up of some of the nifty things we see going on in the world of hotel bars and bevvies. Don't forget to let us know what’s going on in your section of the world!
Beer is the new wine: Before some of you get stressed out, we’re not saying that wine’s going away, but we have noticed that beer is getting more attention these days. Some hotel bars are making beer their “thing,” some are making their own and some are getting it made for them.
Most of us tend to only hang out at airport hotels when we’re going to and from a place, but the Four Points by Sheraton LAX has a 100-beer beererie called Brewster’s that includes an ever-changing tap list of craft and microbrews. They have an on-staff Director of Brewer Relations who ensures the beer list is fresh and filled with rare brews, monthly beer appreciation nights, beer pairings such as Smoked Stone Porter with smoked salmon, beer turndown service that includes a beer-stocked minibar, and a recently-launched Hoppily Ever After package that lets the happy couple-to-be create their very own custom, brewed-to-taste beer for their big day—isn’t that just so romantic?
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We're in summer's full throttle, and if you're in New York we let you know here where to find sanctuary in the sun.
But what about the rest of the world? You too need some shelter from the swelter, right? That's why we've come up with some rad Hotel Pools Worth The Plunge.
Some are available for guests only, others come with a fee, and still more offer free access--usually when there's a pool party going down.
So, don a retro high-waisted swimsuit (or not!) and take one of these refreshing dips and dives.
W Hollywood Hotel and Residences, LA
It goes without saying that LA is a pool-centric place. You'd be hard-pressed to find a hotel that didn't offer a decent spot for some aqua-fied R&R. However, if you want to make it a rhythm and relax affair, head to the top-floor Wet Deck during the week to camp out in a cabana or laze in a lounge chair. On the weekends, a DJ comes in to pump up the jam and the adults-only crowd.
The outdoor, elevated pool deck puts the A's best views of Skyline on display. Ogle them from the water, or book a private cabana. Don't want to share your view with others? Book one of the hotel's four Pool Suites which have private plunge pools on the room's terrace.
National Tequila Day / Hotel Cocktails / Hotel Bars / Tucson Resorts / Chicago Hotels / Kimpton Hotels / JW Marriott Hotels / LA Hotels / Miami Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / → All Tags
Oh, how we love made up holidays that give us an excuse to pig out (see National Burger Month), bliss out (check July's National Ice Cream Month details) or…and this is our favorite by far, get out-and-out liquified. Yes, it's National Tequila Day folks, and that means you have permission, nay, an obligation, to celebrate the fruits of the beloved agave plant. Oh, and if you get this confused with National Margarita Day, it's OK, no one will get mad.
Where to honor this day? Good question. The following hotel bars pay tribute to this sanctified holiday in their own special way, or they just happen to pour a damn good marg, in our humble opinion. And while we know tequila comes from Mexico, if you're not there already, you'll need an alternative locale to indulge (or..like everyday). So, pull up a barstool and place your order. It's 5pm EVERYWHERE today.
Can't make it to a bar midweek (aw, you poor thang), we've got some recipes here so you can get to sippin' at home.
Tanque Verde Ranch, Tucson, AZ
This working dude ranch is truly legit. You'll learn how to properly ride a horse, wield a lasso, hike trails, and even mountain bike in the desert. So after all that, you'll want a beverage, and you'll get it in the Doghouse Saloon. It sounds like you're in trouble, and you might be after a few of the Prickly Pear margaritas. Interestingly enough, the prickly pear used is harvested right on site, so it's the real thing. They even use it in syrup for pancakes! But guess what, we loved the Red-Neck Margarita even more, which subbed the tequila for Jack Daniels! Whoa. But that's a story for another holiday.
Hotel Palomar, Chicago
The "Enemy of the State" tequila cocktail was created by bartender, Alex Renshaw and includes Milagro Reposado, Lustau PX sherry, Dark Matter cold brewed coffee and Angostura bitters. Perfect for those who anticipate needing a dose of caffeine and some liquid courage to handle Chi-Town's sassy attitude.
The Bowery Hotel, NYC
An agave accented take on the traditional vodka Moscow version, the Mexican Mule combines tequila with ginger and bitters to create one knock-your-socks-off cocktail. The mixologist at the hotel makes it with Qui Platinum Extra-Añejo tequila, 3 oz of fresh ginger, 3 dashes of Angostura bitters, and tops of the glass with an orange twist.
Hotel Deals / Hotel Promo Codes / MiamI Hotels / Dallas Hotels / Conrad Hotels / Swissotels / Four Seasons Hotels / Portland Hotels / Viceroy Hotels / Summer Hotel Deals / → All Tags
Deals: you want 'em, and surprisingly, everyone has 'em. Take a look at some of the latest hotel deals going around the internet today from booking sites, social media sites, flash sale sites and more. Don't forget to scroll down to see the HotelChatter-approved deal either. Who knows? You might just find what you're looking for. (But don't forget to tell us about your stay!)
DEALS, DEALS, DEALS*
· Alpine Cool Savings with Swissotels: All 31 Swissotels worldwide are offering a 20 percent discount when guests stay two nights or more. The summer offer also gives guests a signature summer cocktail and 15 percent off from the Swissotel online shop, www.swissotelathome.com. The deal is good for stays from May 31 to September 30. But you can start booking your travel on May 16. Go here to get the discount.
· Stay Cool at The Four Seasons Dallas: Here's one way to beat the Texan heat and save a little bit of money on your hotel stay too. The Four Seasons Dallas Big Chill package gives guests a special "mercury rate" on the second night of their stay which will be that day's recorded Fahrenheit high temperature. The deal is good for weekend stays from May 31 to August 25 and just FYI, the high temps in Dallas in July and August are about 96 degrees. June is slightly "cooler" at 92 degrees. But the hotel says last year during a similar promotion, rates were as cool as 76 degrees some days. First-night rates start around $305 a night. Go here to book but be sure to check the weather for your intended stay too. The deal is also good for the Austin and Houston properties as well.