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It's the same song every spring and summer--people begin to make their travel plans to Europe, but international airfares can sometimes kill a budget. However, if there's any consolation, you can make up for that top-dollar ticket by staying at these new and affordable hotels.
Generator Hostel, Barcelona
Imagine bedding down in one of Spain's most intoxicating city's for less than the average dinner tab? That's what's up at the new Generator Hotel, which opened mid-March.
Part of a popular, trendy chain, the rooms are located on the top floor of a building. Each unit has its own balcony with views of the city, as well as private bathrooms--a rarity. Fiesta Gracia, the restaurant, is a great meeting place to bond with other hostelers and is open until 2 a.m. There's a surprisingly long, world-wide list of beer, wine & cocktails and even local DJs come to entertain the crowd while they chow on tapas and Instagram using the free WiFi. Continental breakfast is served at La Plaça café. Anwar Mekhayech (of Soho House fame) is the design master behind this hostel's boutique look.
And since you're in Barcelona, more art is minutes away as the hostel is only five-minutes from both Diagonal and Verdaguer metro stations en route to local museums (and even the beach!).
A range of rooms and layouts are available, with rates for dorm rooms (6-8 beds) starting at €13($17) per night and go up to €41 ($53) for more private single/double occupancy rooms.
Remember all the hype when Starwood introduced its Aloft brand? They had us waiting and waiting for Lexington (MA) to be the first ever Aloft destination, and then Canada got the scoop. That was only four years ago, and believe it or not, there are now over 60 Alofts worldwide. On this side of the pond, we’ve so far had to make do with Aloft London ExCel (where we witnessed some Photoshop battling), and more recently Aloft Brussels Schuman.
That’s set to change with the announcement of two new hotels in Germany, Aloft Munich and Aloft Stuttgart, both scheduled to open in 2015.
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Oktoberfest began this past Saturday in Munich and will continue through October 7th. The traditional 16-day Bavarian festival, which was first celebrated 200 years ago to commemorate a royal wedding, is now feted all over the world. We’d like to do our part and give you a few places in the U.S. where you can get your beer and brat on if you can't get to Germany. Lederhosen is totally optional, but highly recommended.
The Standard, Downtown LA and New York
The good news is that these hotel’s biergartens stay open year-round. The better news is that the LA hotel is offering a Oktoberfest lunch special between 12-5pm every day. For $15 you get a tasting of three beers on tap (Bittburger Pilsner, Licher Heffeweisen, and Kostritzer Black Lager) and a choice of a sausage, salad, pretzel or strudel. Meanwhile at the High Line outpost, which becomes glass-enclosed during the cooler months, they’ve revitalized the Stammtisch. This lets guests pay an hourly rate for a table and get unlimited beer brought to them. Call 212-645-4100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a reservation.
Dupont Hotel, Washington, DC
Now through September 30th, the Bar Dupont’s patio, across from D.C.’s famous Dupont Circle, becomes a boisterous biergarten with live polka music, four Oktoberfest-style brews on draft from a Hefeweizen to a special Sam Adams Octoberfest brew, and a menu serving German festival fare. Mugs, steins, and pitchers are be available for all levels of drinking as well as sizes of sausage from brat to knock to kielbasa, depending on your appetite. Oompah music, polka bands and other entertainment will be provided on certain days throughout Oktoberfest
Germans may have a reputation for being buttoned-down types, but you’d never know it when visiting the Sofitel Munich Bayerpost’s hedonistic pool in their luxurious onsite spa. It is dark, inviting, and intimate.
Once you enter the wonderfully warm water, duck under the low-ceilinged overhang to your right to head into the main pool – a waterfall-filled spring with plenty of nooks and crannies for you to find your own private corner. Windows at eye-level give you a wee voyeuristic peek at the comings-and-goings of people in the sleek hotel lobby.
Now sneak back under and follow the curving, snakelike, dimly-lit tiled path to the next open space. You feel a sense of tingling anticipation as to what’s around the next corner. We felt like kids in an R-rated Disneyworld. And then, you feel it: Large whirlpool jets rushing directly up from the floor. It’s oh-so-tantalizingly risqué.
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Boobs. That's what the German Oktoberfest celebrations is all about, right? Wrong, but we're at least close. On September 18th, Munich will tap the first kegs to kick off the month-long festival of beer, brats, bretzeln (pretzels) and yesboobs too. You see, the Bavarian traditional costume for women is a Dirndl, a highly decorated peasant dress of sorts, which is typically specially made and heavy on the cleavage-baring.
If you're thinking of heading to Munich for Oktoberfest this year and you like the look of these Dirndls, the the Rocco Forte Collection property The Charles Hotel at the center of the city has a deal for you: their "Dressed for Oktoberfest" package.
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Sofitel hotels at select locations in Paris, London, Munich and Brussels, now offer iPads to guests at check-in loaded with "The Kiosk" app which features top daily newspapers and magazines from around the world. More specifically, guests can access six newspapers and magazines from six different countries--France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Italy and the United States.
And that includes some pay-for publications like the Wall Street Journal and Vogue. Bonus!
Rates at Sofitels vary but we spied rates at the Sofitel Munich Bayerpost for just $187 a night this summer. Of course, the London location at St. James is much pricier at $360 a night. Good thing you can get the news for free!
This was taken at the The Le Meridien Hotel in Munich and it caught our eye because the room looks quite pretty and modern, not really what we expect from the Le Meridien brand. Yes, the brand's been trying to upgrade its look (how about all that pink at Le Meridien Dallas?) but rooms like this still take us by surprise.
Even better, this photos looks so close to what you see in the room photo on the hotel's website. We approve! Or in our Flickr's members words, this place is a "swank ass hotel."
The hotel is located right across from the city's main train station, the Hauptbahnhof and rooms are currently going for 131 Euros a night.
The Oyster suite. 100 percent hot
Munich isn’t the first place when we think of sexy hotels, but we started to reevaluate that when some pictures of the new suites at the Sofitel Bayerpost there popped into our inbox. Turns out it’s not all lederhosen, white blouses and buxom wenches down there – and the hotel has just gone through a two and a half year renovation to prove it.
The hotel has just unveiled its ten new big suites and they’re pretty jaw-dropping. And not even for Munich – these would be up there with the funkiest looking stuff we’ve seen in ages.
Take the Oyster Suite (or technically, suite-apartment), above – designed to be “a protective shell for the traveler”.
Yes, Oktoberfest is back! Or will be back on September 19 with the Lord Mayor of Munich cries, "Ozapft is!" ("It's been tapped"). But if you're planning on making your way to Munich for the festivities, we recommend doing two things.
First, read our tips for Surviving Oktoberfest. We attended it last year and if you'd like not awake the morning after with rain-soaked pants and vomit-covered sneakers, then you'd do well to heed our advice.
Second, checkout the Oktoberfest Package from the Charles Hotel, a Rocco Forte property, in the city's old Botanical Gardens.
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You already know that we shacked up at the Leonardo Hotel in Munich and you already know that the hotel has a totally craptastic WiFi network. But today, we regal you with more stories of what it's like to stay inside this hotel.
Our story today involves strange comforters, oddly-named handwash, youth hostels, traditional Bavarian gear and vomit. Hey, it was Oktoberfest afterall.
The hotel has both wireless and cable internet available in the rooms. Naturally, we opted for WiFi. We called the front desk to see how this would work and the clerk said we needed to go downstairs and receive a voucher.
That "voucher" costs 9.90 Euros. Once we had returned to our room, we were all set to start surfing. Except the network, which was able to process our log-in voucher info, was not working. No Google, no Yahoo, no NY Times, no HotelChatter. Nothing.
As more than a few of you know already, this HotelChatter editor is headed off to Paris tomorrow. But what you may not know is that we are also headed to Munich the following week to partake in some authentic Oktoberfest activities. We just love bier and wiener schnitzel. Ok, we really only like saying wiener schnitzel. But we do love bier.
Our Ellen De Generes-rambling aside, we are here to tell you what hotel we booked for our two nights in Munich. This is something that we never do! Largely because we're afraid of getting kicked out before we get there. But we're traveling with our life partner and he's made the rezzie in his name. So it's all good.
We're staying at the Leonardo Hotel Munich City Center for two reasons. One, it's close to the train station. Two, we could book it using credit card rewards points. (Room rates started around 182 Euros for next week.)
But we still have some important tips on booking hotels in Munich for ya. Keep reading after the jump.