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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.
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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.
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Summer doesn't officially (like, calendar-wise) begin until Friday, but at W New Orleans, things have been heating up since the beginning of this month, when the hotel kicked off its "Adults/Swim" series—a weekly rooftop pool party with DJs, specialty cocktails and cabana packages.
Fashionistas will want to pay attention to this next part, though: on the last Sunday of each month, the Adults/Swim party will be followed by an exclusive poolside fashion show, presented through a partnership between W New Orleans and Fashion Week New Orleans.
Dubbed "Strut +Swim," the shows will take place on the fourth floor Wet Deck, featuring local designers, boutiques, and hair and makeup artists telling you exactly what to wear, how to wear it, and why it's trendy. (This could be especially helpful for those of you trying to revamp your wardrobe this summer—these guys are experts, after all). Different designers and beauty experts
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Last Friday seems the whole country went nuts over National Donut Day. Even we moseyed on by the Doughnut Plant at the Chelsea Hotel for our favorite tres leches variety (and get a free Classic Mini Cake doughnut with Carnival sprinkles!). Oh, and we may have taken advantage of the “buy a drink, get a donut free” deal at Dunkin’. Yeah, it was a good sugar-filled day.
However, if you live in New Orleans, you’re one lucky duck. See, every Friday from 9-11 a.m. for the rest of the month, the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel will celebrate the city’s original ode to the donut—the beignet—by serving them at their Roux Bistro restaurant for only $5 (regularly $7).
For those who've never tried one of these delectable pastries, know the treat, introduced in N’awlins in the 18th century, is a yeasty, deep-fried, square creation covered with tons of powdered sugar. Word to the wise? Don’t wear a black shirt while chowing down on these babies.
Some sad news for W Hotels fans, there's going to be one less W Hotel in the world. But great news for Le Meridien Hotel fans as Le Merid will take over the W New Orleans on Poydras Street (near but not in the French Quarter.)
The hotel was recently sold to the Chesapeake Lodging Trust for $65 million in April with a $29 million renovation expected to begin in April of 2014 (just after Mardi Gras) that will transform it into a proper Le Meridien Hotel. Here's what you can expect when the Le Meridien New Orleans opens in late 2014.
Le Méridien New Orleans will offer 410 fully renovated guestrooms and bathrooms as well as upgraded fitness center, rooftop pool and more than 10,000 square feet of state-of-the-art meeting facilities, ideal for weddings and business functions.
Le Méridien New Orleans will also feature the Le Méridien Hub™ experience, which re-interprets the traditional lobby into a social gathering place for creative people to converse, debate, and exchange.
And as dedicated Le Merid fans know, the Le Meridien UNLOCK ART program with its LM100 artist-designed key cards will also be in effect, offering not just cool key card souvenirs but also access to the Le Meridien affiliated cultural centers in Nola.
Just to be clear, the hotel is still a W New Orleans and will be until April 2014. We did a rate check for next weekend and you can get a Wonderful room for $194 a night or 10,000 SPG Starpoints. We bet those rates and Starpoints will increase when the Le Meridien opens.
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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*
· One-Day Sale for the Hotel Valley Ho: Shake off your Cinco de Mayo hangover and get ready for Hotel Valley Ho's annual one day sale on Monday, May 6. Rooms start at $89 every Sunday through Friday and $109 on Saturdays from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The deal also includes two drinks upon arrival, upgraded internet, $20 nightly resort credit and some other discounted services. There's really no catch to the low rates other than it's summer in the desert so it will be HOTT and that all reservations require a non-refundable deposit of one night’s room and tax at time of booking. Go here on Monday, May 6, to book. You can even set up a reminder email too.
· Marriott's "Suntastic Savings" at 30 Hotels in Florida: Once again, 30 JW Marriott, Renassaince, Marriott and Gaylord Hotels and Resorts in Florida are discounting their rates and throwing in perks like free meals for kids and complimentary internet. (Normally, you have to pay for that.) The offers are good for travel from May 15 to Sept 30 and vary depending on the region. For 25 percent off rates on three or more nights in the Northwest Coast of Fla., use promo code ZZ1. For Florida's playground resorts, use code F8L which will get you 15 percent off, free meals for kids and a $25 resort credit. Heading to South Florida? Then use code SUM which will get you 15 percent off rates, free meals for kids and free internet or other welcome amenity. Rates start around $99 a night. Go to Summer Suntastic Savings to start planning your stay.
· Hot Time, Summer in The Crescent City: New Orleans may be sizzling in the summer time thanks to events like the New Orleans Food and Wine Experience (May 21-May 25 and the Essence Music Festival (July 4-7) but the Courtyard New Orleans Downtown/Iberville in the French Quarter is keeping it cool with rates starting at just $109 a night from May 12-Sept. 30. To make your rezzie, go here and use promo code WBZ.
· Why Stay In When You Could Go To The Out?: Just in time for Pride Season next month, The Out NYC has dropped the rate for it's Shared Luxury Accommodations to just $99 a night. That also includes a daily spa pass (a $50 value) which give access to the hotel's full-service spa and three courtyards. Of course the term "shared" should alert you to the fact that you will be sharing a room with up to four people but there are full-sized beds, personal TVs, a bathroom and shower and best of all, privacy curtains. Go here to book your stay.