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We have a bit of a confession to make. Even though we live in London, and were not far from all the Queen's Diamond Jubilee festivities, the weather during the long weekend - particularly on the Sunday of the flotilla - was so miserable we largely stayed inside.
That's how we missed Sea Containers House, soon to be The Mondrian London, being wrapped in a giant black-and-white picture of the 1977 Jubilee, featuring Queen Elizabeth and various members of the royal family during the requisite balcony scene. Cycling across the river this weekend was the first we saw of it. How cool is that though?
We're pretty sure this must have gotten a lot of attention from anyone being on, or around, the river that day, and garnered some extra publicity for the upcoming hotel conversion. The Huffington Post has a time-lapse video of the whole thing being put together.
We have some more construction shots from just over a month ago here, including a number of other hotels in the immediate area. We also saw that CitizenM, which we missed at the time, is nearing completion - we'll share an update on that when we can.
Riding a bike in Manhattan can indeed be lethal—you've always got to keep your guard up, and you should never EVER assume a taxi driver has seen you (even if you're riding around in a neon pink unitard). But in the warmer seasons, like now, bike riding can be one of the best ways to enjoy some incredibly scenic parts of the city.
Here's our guide to free hotel bike rentals. Just remember to wear a helmet!
You might have to step up your wardrobe a little bit to compete with the fashion crowd that usually hangs around at the Mondrian Soho, but the rooms (and public spaces) are totally worth it. And free Public C7 bikes? Even more worth it.
Valentine's Day Hotels / Hotel Cocktails / Hotel Bars / Loews Hotels / Hotel Restaurants / Morgans Hotels / → All Tags
BLT Steak at The Betsy
The Valentine's Day hotel packages have been running hot and heavy for awhile now. But with the day upon us, we though you might appreciate these last-minute options. Here are Three Tasty Hotel Valentine's Day specials being served up today:
1. BLT Steak and The Betsy Hotel
This restaurant (a favorite of ours for its pretty decor and meat-alicious menu) is offering a poem with dinner all this week--you can request one from your server although they'll probably offer it up when they bring your bread basket and water. Guests can choose from poems by Maria Rainer Rilke, Hyam Plutzik, Campbell McGrath, EE Cummings, and other lovelorn souls. They're free to take, and of course read to your dining partner at your leisure. Apart from being old-time romantic, the poetry idea seems to have sprung from the fact that the hotel owner's late father was himself a poet. (You can request one of his poems, too.)
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Know what's crazy boring and frustrating? Trying to decide whether or not to stay at a hotel by looking at their tiny, staged room photos on a website. This is why we do our best to get in and give you some massive photo galleries to flip through, but now hotels are taking it upon themselves to get creative by using the iPhone photo sharing app Instagram.
To put it plainly, Instagram allows its users to post their own shots (most taken on the fly, via iPhone) applied (or not) with filters to jazz it up the visual oomph. The community is crawling with design, travel, architecture, photography and foodie geeks, which makes it a perfect place to show off your property if you're a hotel.
We've recently joined Instagram ourselves (search hotelchatter & jaunted in the app to find our photostreams) and we're sharing original snaps from our own hotel stays. Still, we searched to find the hotel accounts on Instagram to follow right now:
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The couple were seen together several weeks ago on an emergency reconciliation camping trip near Santa Barbara.
Now that their divorce news has come and gone, Demi and Ashton are planning their next moves carefully—well, mostly Demi. While much of Ashton's time is devoted to his new role on the hit TV show Two And A Half Men, Demi is doing the only thing she knows how to do in times of duress: seek refuge in a hotel. The NY Post reports that Moore hopped a plane to Hawaii to do "some soul-searching."
The name of the hotel has not yet been released, but we're guessing she's staying well away from The Waikiki Edition. Too many unhappy marriage associations, you know? Plus, we know Demi likes her privacy. More likely than not, she's pitched a tent in the forest just to keep away those pesky hotel maids.
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As the high season gets closer in Miami Beach, there's been a hurricane (too soon?) of activities happening around the hottest hotels.
Miami New Times reports that Blue Door Fish will close sometime after Art Basel and will reopen as something called, Bianca. Brian Massie, a chef from the nightlife and resto outfit in Las Vegas, The Light Group, will take over the cuisine.
There's no word on what's replacing The Florida Room just that it will close at the end of December but reopen sometime before New Year's as whatever new club it's going to be.
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Fashion week doesn't all have to be about VIP appearances, plus-ones, and cramming sixteen shows into one lunch break. It can also be fun! Take the vending machine at Hudson Hotel, which elevates the concept of the gift bag to a whole new level—though the stuff isn't actually free, any fashion hound with some extra cash is going to want to buy this stuff.
$14 copies of Catcher In the Rye have been switched out for items like a Ruby Kobo diamond-and-wood bracelet, a SANG A python clutch (above), Public School hand-made wool ties, and a Jolibe rabbit fur jacket. So, really, something for everyone here. And if you happen to like Tumblr (the easy-to-use digital media platform used by millions of musicians, artists, photographers and fashion writers), there's something here for you too.
Since it opened in 1994, the Delano Hotel has defined what it means to be a chic, South Beach boutique hotel.
Next year, its creative guru Philippe Starck will give the beach a new vision, with his work on SLS South Beach--mere steps away from the hotel that started it all. But can he top the ground-breaking work he produced for Ian Schrager at Delano?
After we took an 'ethos tour' with Delano GM Steven Hiblum, who pointed out the little quirks we'd missed on previous strolls through the lobby, and told us all about Starck's inspiration for his designs, we're not sure he can.
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Morgans Hotel Group has already had an established presence in London with their Sanderson and St. Martins Lane hotels but now it looks like they are taking their Mondrian Hotels brand across the pond as well.
Property Week reports that Morgans will turn the Sea Containers House along the Thames into a 358-room hotel. Interestingly enough, when the Sea Containers was first built in the 1970s it was intended to be a hotel but that plan was scratched at the last-minute and office space was built instead.
Now, the property's developer is itching to turn the place back into a mixed-use project which will include not just the Mondrian but offices, restaurants and retail space as well.
We first encountered these bug-eyed chicks when we stayed at the hotel two years ago. We loved everything about the Alice-in-white-Wonderland decor. Except maybe these blown-up doll heads. The more we stared at the one in our room (above), the creepier she seemed, and the more the question bumped around in the back of our brains: Who is she and why is she staring at us all the time?
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Gay couples across the state of New York married for the first time on Monday—an event so huge, Niagra Falls suddenly became rainbow-colored! Now that ceremonies can legally take place, hotel geeks around the state will be seeking out the best venues for their ceremonies, honeymoons, and receptions. Here are five of our top picks:
For a tropical escape—How about some breakfast in bed? It's all included in the "Love And Equality" package at Costa Rica's 125-acre Monte Azul Boutique Hotel. All couples, gay or straight, who were married after January 1, 2011, are entitled to four nights for the price of three ($570 plus tax) in one of the hotel's signature casitas. Rooms come with a chef's welcome platter, free wifi and a personal garden.
The NYC-based ping pong venture (run by Susan Sarandon, her boyfriend Jonathan Bricklin and partner Franck Raharinosy) opened its first outpost at the hotel last July and set up two ping pong tables in the lobby (with a third one out on the deck at SkyBar reserved for special events).
When we attended SPIN LA's opening party, we were all sorts of giddy about having ping pong in the hotel. But word is after a while, the cramped lobby got too crazy with ping pong balls flying everywhere. We guess SPIN won't be branching out to other Morgans Hotels then.
Life at the Mondrian has since returned to its usual minimalist vibe but we hear there might be something new in the works for the space. We'll keep you posted as soon as we find out.