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We already gave you a brief look at the rooms inside the first ever AC Hotel by Marriott in the U.S. and we had you salivating over the croissants flown in from France (well, the frozen dough was), but now it's time to take you all around the AC Hotel by Marriott New Orleans.
We like to let the pictures do most of the talking but here's what you need to know:
The History: The AC was built out of two historic buildings--The Cotton Exchange and The Security Homestead Association--although the buildings have been used as hotel for quite some time. The hotel, which is one block from Canal and two from Bourbon Street, suffered some severe damage after Hurricane Katrina, but it was kept mostly to the first two floors.
The layout of the lobby has changed a bit structurally, and of course, everything inside is brand-new but the hotel retains a historic set-up especially on the guest room floors which have smaller hallways and many twists and turns.
Yesterday, we gave you a brief look at the first AC Hotel by Marriott to open in the U.S. We'll have more on the rest of the property and the AC experience next week but we thought we'd leave you with this snapshot of a staple breakfast item at all AC Hotels going forward--croissants.
The buttery, perfectly flaky breakfast pastry is served daily in the AC Kitchen along with other sweet and savory fare, as well as the all-important coffee. (You can get it hot or iced.) But these aren't any old croissants. The dough was made in France, frozen and shipped to New Orleans. It is near perfection. (Perfection is obviously a croissant made and eaten in Paris.)
Breakfast at the AC Kitchen costs $14 for all you can eat. There's no lunch at the kitchen but in the evenings, the adjacent AC Lounge serves up small plates alongside specialty cocktails. We'll have more on that next week as well. Stay tuned!
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Ever since we first heard about Marriott International's plans to import the AC Hotels brand from Europe into the United States, we've been incredibly curious to see the finished product. And now we have--at the AC Hotel New Orleans. #hotelnerdalldayeveryday
Since we're still in the midst of exploring the hotel, we're only sharing a few photos today but we'll have more to talk about, a lot more, on Friday and Monday. So far, we can absolutely say the hotel, which was kept very well under wraps during the construction process, is hitting all the right marks.
This hotel may have missed the mark with its insane asylum themed floor but the The W New Orleans is making the most of its location in the French quarter this Halloween with a "Feel the Spirits" package that is just the right amount of spooky.
The package includes a two-night stay in a Tarot-inspired guest room along with two tickets to the creepy Walking Cemetery Tour by Gray Line Tours and two Corpse Reviver cocktails from the hotel bar, SoBou. The Corpse Reviver is made with equal parts gin, Lillet, lemon and Cointreau and served in a glass misted with Absinthe, designed "to bring you back to life." You'll also be close to the city's Krewe of Boo Halloween parade on the 30th.
Rates for the package start at $391 a night on October 30 and 31st for a wonderful room and $401 for the Mega room with the tarot them. This room is actually available year-round so if you can't make to Nola for the Halloween festivities, you can go another time and have the same creepy experience.
[Photo: W New Orleans French Quarter]
Once again, hotels are going all out for Breast Cancer Awareness month, offering up pink cocktails, pink sheets, and pink-themed room packages.
Yet while we love the pink passion that hotels have this month (especially since costs for your pink hotel purchases go to a breast cancer awareness charity), we're really in love with this giant pink bra that's been hoisted upon the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans.
The 12-foot-high, 25-foot wide, 300-pound pink bra was constructed by artist Jonathan Bertuccelli of Studio3 inc. on behalf of the breast surgeons at The Omega Breast Center at The Omega Hospital in Metairie. It was raised up onto the hotel's exterior by crane on October 15, which was National Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day.
But the bra will get its moment to shine tonight as it will greet hundreds of breast cancer survivors who will be honored tonight at The Pink Gala, hosted by Omega Hospital and New Orleans Living Magazine, at the Windsor Court Hotel.
The bra will stay on the hotel until October 20. If you're in New Orleans, hurry by to see it!
[Photos: Windsor Court Hotel]
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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.
It's been a while since we last checked in on the U.S. development plans for AC Hotels by Marriott but boy, are we glad we did. That's because we've discovered that the first AC Hotel for the U.S. won't be opening in Miami Beach.
Instead, Antonio Catalan's design forward boutique hotel concept will open inside the former Cotton Exchange Building in New Orleans in October. Miami Beach will follow in late 2014/early 2015 as will Kansas City.
So now, let's take a closer look at what to expect for the AC in NOLA. Looking at the hotel's website, there isn't much to go on from a visual standpoint. We've got a shot of the exterior of the building--a National Historic Landmark built in 1871, as well as a photo of the lobby, the AC Kitchen restaurant, the bar and the suave AC Lounge area, where all the action should be happening.
We're loving the glass bar that extends from the wall to the ceiling but we're also anxious to see a guest room too. Unfortunately, there aren't any shots of those but we do know that free WiFi will be found throughout the property.
The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans renovated its guest rooms and club level rooms last year, giving the spaces a modern luxury look that's still very New Orleans. Hello, silk purple armchair! But for the exterior, the hotel is going back in time.
The historic terra cotta facades of the Maison Blanche and S.H. Kress Co. buildings which make-up the Ritz-Carlton are going under an extensive restoration project this summer, worth $2 million, that will restore them back to their early 20th century look.
The Lucifer bathroom
With Mardi Gras just ahead (March 4), New Orleans is hard to beat as a place to celebrate. While there are no guarantees that what happens in New Orleans stays in New Orleans, the Saint Hotel wants it to happen there. With the debut of five new luxury suites their message is clear—play naughty. It’s OK.
We loved the Saint Hotel when it opened in 2012, and we love it still. Now a member of Marriott's Autograph Collection, the Saint continues its unique blend of approachable luxury with the soul of New Orleans. The design concept of the new suites is to the credit of the hotel’s owners Mark and Lorenda Wyant. They created the setting -- the rest is up to you.
The suites are named after archangels Christopher, Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Lucifer. Yes, Lucifer. Let’s have a look at the two Master Suites, the Archangel Lucifer Suite and the Archangel Michael Suite, which are about as different as night and day.
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Omni Bedford Springs
While hotel holiday decorations are pretty to look at, they don't do much to relax you during the holiday season, which let's be honest--can be crazy stressful with all the parties, the shopping, the relatives. So if you need a breather, we’ve put together a list (and we’re checking it twice) of hotel spas across the US who have put together some holiday-themed treatments that you can give to yourself because, contrary to popular belief, sometimes it is better to receive than to give.
The Spa at Rancho Bernardo Inn, San Diego normally uses seasonal ingredients and this winter is no exception. From December through January you can indulge in the Chocolate Candied Orange Treatment, and indulge you will! This treatment starts with a hazelnut and orange scrub; then comes a chocolate comfrey wrap and cinnamon scalp treatment; an Acai butter massage follows, as does a mulled cider drink. The spa then sends you on your way with a take home recipe for hazelnut and sea salt shortbread cookies. The cost for this extravagance is $175.
At Lake Arrowhead Resort’s Spa of the Pines (an Autograph Collection hotel) there is a new holiday-themed menu of treatments. The resort is offering a hot stone Holiday Pedicure, a Holiday Swedish Massage using their own special holiday-scented oil (cloves and cinnamon), and a Holiday-Scented Body Scrub using an organic vanilla and brown sugar scrub followed by a rich body cream. For the most bang for your buck go for the Holiday Duo: the body scrub followed by the massage for $165.
L'Auberge de Sedona is offering guests a Warming Gingerbread Sugar Body Scrub and Gingerbread Wrap that are good enough to eat. Using organic sugar and warming ginger oil there are also notes of cinnamon and orange. To tempt you further, we’ll just tell you that after the scrub, the body butter is applied to your skin, you’re wrapped in warm blankets and receive either a scalp and neck massage or a foot massage. You can just lie back and hear the heavenly choir. The scrub and wrap are $145 for both treatments.
Recently, we've had hotel share their secrets for keeping royal families happy as well as their 10 commandments for keeping luxury hotel guests happy. Today, we've got a new set of tips from a hotel--The Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans. But their list deals with a different kind of VIP--the film industry. And yes, that includes celebrities.
The Windsor Court has hosted pretty much every major film and music star from Brad and Angie to Beyonce (who stayed there for her Super Bowl performance last year) to Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen, annual attendees of the Jazz Fest. And they typically stay in the hotel's best suite--The Presidential Suite on the 22nd floor.
With 2,700-sq.ft. of space, the suite has two bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, a full kitchen and dining room, two living rooms, a butler's pantry, a full entertainment center, original artwork, two private landscaped terraces and a baby grand piano that's been tinkered on by Billy Joel. Penthouse guests get to enjoy the perks of the hotel's Club Lounge which has dedicated concierge service and daily food offerings. Rates typically start at $4,500 a night which, let's be real, is chump change for these A-List folks .
But putting up celebs in the best digs is only part of the job. The rest is coordinating with the production companies, the assistants and the entourages.
Here, The Windsor Court Hotel's general manager, David Teich, dishes out his 10 Commandments for Hosting Film Stars:
1. First commandment to hosting celebrities, film industry and VIPs is that privacy is key. Treat all guests with respect – absolutely no photos, autographs, social media, etc.
2. Prior to arrival, it is important to have one key point of contact, i.e. a guest relations manager or customer experience manager, to ensure that all details/pre-needs are known.
3. Keep communication open with local production teams so the hotel knows of schedule changes as well as comings and goings of the guest.
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We've already had a busy morning as far as new hotels news goes. But there's even more. Here's a short list of new hotels coming to a city near you:
· Hotel Van Zandt, Austin: Kimpton Hotels will open a new hotel in Austin in 2015 in the city's historic Rainey Street District. The 16-story hotel will feature 322 guest rooms, over 12,000 square feet total event and meeting space, achef-driven restaurant, lobby cafe and pool deck and bar. Interior designer Mark Zeff will oversee the interior design of the Hotel Van Zandt and its restaurant. Kimpton has also made announcements for new properties in Savannah, San Antonio, Milwaukee, Palm Springs, Sedona and Grand Cayman so there will be lots more Kimptons to choose from in the coming years.
· Fairmont Austin: Speaking of Austin, construction should begin on the new Fairmont Hotel at 101.Red River Street later this fall, according to this report. The 1,000-room hotel will cost nearly half a billion to build and should open sometime in 2016.
· The Archer Napa: The Archer in New York City hasn't opened yet (that's happening early next year) but already they've announced a second Archer Hotel for Napa Valley. The Archer Napa will be a new-build luxury hotel at the First Street site of the former Merrill’s building, adjacent to The Shops at Napa Center. LogdeWorks and Zapolski Real Estate have partnered up on the seven-story property which will reflect "a casual elegance, organic to the Napa aesthetic. " No opening date has been set yet.