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If you're looking to visit to Manhattan this summer, you're probably in disbelief over the room rates. We mentioned the truly outrageous ones last week ($700+ for a Sheraton) but we're also seeing some non-spectacular, chain hotels going for at least $300 a night. If you want to stay two or more nights, that's going to be at least $600, not including taxes or WiFi charges. And thanks to a recent court ruling, you can't even use AirBnB.com anymore to try and score a cheap room in the Big Apple.
While our 5 fave hotel booking sites can help us get the best deal, they can't lower the rates to the price point we like/need--which is about $200 a night, before taxes. But after some digging and throwing some caution to the wind, we found a room for just under $200 a night in mid-June at the just-opened Holiday Inn Express, Manhattan West Side.
Located at 48th and 10th Avenue, the hotel is firmly in the old Hell's Kitchen nabe but it's ideal for folks who have business or leisure plans in and around Times Square which is about four big blocks away. We've stayed in the area before, at Ink48 (which is sold out the nights we are visiting), and it's not the most exciting neighborhood in Manhattan but we're hardly going to be in our room at all. And besides, we didn't pick the hotel because of the neighborhood.
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We've started a series of what’s trending in hotels these days: What’s Out, What’s In. Do we like what we see? Think it's a dud? You be the judge!
What’s Out: Seaweed facials
What's In: Facials with gold, diamonds and other sparkly things
Diamonds and other precious metals and gems are sparkly and luminous; why shouldn’t your skin be the same? See what the hotel spas below are doing to make your skin radiate with good health.
The Dorchester Hotel in London offers the Carol Joy London Diamond Facial. Following ten years of research and three years of development, Carol Joy London products are created with some of the most precious beauty ingredients around (who knew that Golden Millet Oil was like pure gold?).
This intensive facial includes exfoliation with a diamond-head contraption that is said to be gentler than the traditional crystal ablater (we just like that word –- it sounds kind of bad-ass). While that’s going on, you’re being blasted with an Oxyjet machine that produces 95% pure oxygen to cool and soothe your skin and stimulate collagen production. The result? A firmer, clearer and more glowing you. The price for beauty, in this case, is £205 ($279).
It's that time of year again: tbd Art! Last year, Andaz 5th Ave launched this celebration of art and culture, where guests were encouraged to engage in the creative process.
Due to popular demand, artist-in residence Daniel St. George and celebrity tattooist Mister Cartoon returned to give more illustration love, this time a huge mural with his perspective of New York City, and it's just been finished--a Sandy tribute: the resilience of NYC after the storm. We heart.
Hotel Chatter caught up with Mister C and found a soft side. Here are his thoughts on Andaz, art, Sandy and, weirdly, Eminem.
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Are you a fan of the Mirbeau Inn & Spa in upstate New York? If so, you might be excited to learn that the award-winning property has just announced it will be opening a second location just outside of Cape Cod in the Pinehills in the spring of 2014.
Offering 50 rooms, the new Mirbeau will no doubt provide some healthy competition to the area's bazillion bed and breakfasts. Plus, the property will be only four hours from New York City and just under an hour from Boston.
The inn itself will be designed in the spirit of an old manor house in the French countryside, with Monet-inspired gardens. There will be fireplaces in every guest and massage room, and a restaurant and wine bar on-site. Not to mention, the property will overlook Pinehills Golf Club, which contains the only two 5-star public courses in all of New England.
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InterContinental Times Square reports availability and computers in every room to keep you connected!
More Hurricane Sandy reports continue to pardon the pun, flood in, concerning people losing power and being forced to evacuate their homes. We’ve learned that many made their way in to cities rather remain in suburban and rural areas. Why?Better chances of having power thanks to hotel generators or getting it restored quicker at friends homes in a cosmopolitan area than in their own environments.
Last year, we were disheartened to discover that hotels had taken advantage of Hurricane Irene upheaval and raised their rates for those who needed to stay put a while longer before they could leave town. There was this eyebrow raising $999 deal in Brooklyn that made us fall over.
This year, a quick call around to NYC hotels, those around airports, and random properties around the country with stranded guests show they have a conscious this time around, and have even thrown in some specials to boot. A win-win it seems.
Here’s what we’ve heard so far (and note: we recommend calling the hotel directly in this case.
Holiday travel will soon get underway and we've been seeing some pretty hefty price tags for Manhattan hotels. Luckily there are a few options to consider, one of them is the new Hotel De Point, just three miles from LaGuardia Airport. We told you about this hotel in June, and now it's finally open and through the fall period, the hotel is touting starting rates of just $139 per night.
The 114-room hotel falls in the eco-conscious category with solar power features, energy management systems, high-efficiency showerheads, as well as 100% organic bath amenities. Still, this isn't some crunchy granola yurt operation. Italian marble floors and leather couches grace the lobby and rooms have 46-inch flat screen tv's, self-closing drawers, and come with free WiFi.
Even after the holidays are over, keep the Hotel De Point on your radar for next year, given its location near Flushing Meadows. It's a great base for those attending Mets games and the U.S. Open, and is in walking distance of restaurants, shops, and nightlife. Plus, by next year it will hopefully have its spa, fitness center and swimming pool in place.
Plus, not only are you getting a great deal on the hotel, it's part of the Ascend Hotel Collection, the membership program from Choice Hotels International, so you'll earn points for your stay. We'll call that a double hitter.
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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
The year was 1949 and the largest hotel in New York City wasn't near Times Square, or Grand Central Station or even Wall Street. It's the St. George Hotel, a behemoth of a building, boasted over 2,600 rooms and a "world famous" saltwater swimming pool, the largest indoor one in the US at the time. Where's it at, you ask? Brooklyn, baby.
Brownstoner dug up a slew of similarly intriguing facts about this property, which once was quite the landmark for travelers seeking "moderately priced" accommodation in a city that's been known for its tippy-top nightly rates since, well...ever:
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National Cheeseburger Day is September 18th! We'll meat you wherever you wanna go!
Did you know that tomorrow is National Cheeseburger Day? Go figure! Sure, we know it’s a self-serving promotion by the Cattleman’s Beef Board, but we don’t care. With the weather starting to cool down a bit, why not celebrate this day by checking out hotel restaurant’s serving great burgers?
There are a few places that are actually having specials commemorating tomorrow’s holiday (that's right, we're giving it HOLIDAY status). Then there are restaurants we’ve pulled from our archives that we think have some magnificent hot meat on a platter and you should go for lunch or dinner tomorrow if you haven't made plans. And if you have? Cancel them! It's a HOLIDAY!
Conrad New York's restaurant Atrio will offer half-price cheeseburgers for $12. The "Blue Label" Burger used custom ground beef made especially for the hotel. The burger is grilled and topped with a Cabot Clothbound Cheddar and roasted onion mayo.
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We’re hanging on to summer like a toddler gripping his parents' leg. Nope, not trying to let go! A good month left in the season left at least 30 more days of cocktail time. Where to sip and be merry? We’ve got a few hotels that are doing drinks right.
The Hotel Monaco Chicago The hotel's South Water Kitchen is serving new cocktail pitchers called “Last Sips of Summer” on the patio only, through Labor Day. Great for an after work come down or a pre-dinner stop by, the 30oz creations serve about 4 and cost just $25 each. The flavors sound so delish, though, we’re certain folks will be ordering more than one. The six pitchers available are:
Patio Punch: Bacardi Razz, Peach Schapps, Blue Curacao, and pineapple juice,
North Loop Gin and Juice: Hypnotic Clear, Gilbey's gin, honey, and grapefruit juice
Sloe Rum Screwdriver: Hanger Mandarin Vodka, Castillo rum, Sloe gin, and orange juice
Midwest Margarita:Cactus Jack tequila, Banana liqueur, Triple Sec, and sour mix
SWK Limonata: Captain Morgan Lime Bite, Apple Pucker, and ginger ale
Spiked Coffee Cooler: Heaven Hill bourbon, Amaretto, Talea Cream, and coffee
Sure we love big name hotels with glam names and cache behind them—they’re crazy exciting. But there’s something about those hidden places. They don't get a lot of fanfare, but are worthy of being celebrated. And while we hesitate to reveal them for fear they'll blow up and start smelling themselves (aka get big heads), we think you should check them out the next time you're in their neck of the woods.
1. Villas Sur Mer, Negril, Jamaica
While everyone exclaims about the big three resorts in Negril's West End (namely Rockhouse, The Caves, and Tensing Pen) the Villas Sur Mer is an 18-room hideaway that's one-to-watch as the others have started to rest on their laurels. Each villa here is made up of huge one-to-three bedroom units with kitchenettes, sitting rooms, free WiFi (and free calls to the U.S. and Canada!) and even patios with cute wooden porch swings made from rich greenheart wood. There's a deep sense of privacy here thanks to the jungle-like thicket of palm and ackee trees surrounding the property. Plus, each home is spread apart, none more than the stand-alone six-bedroom seaside villa, popular with families and wedding guests.
This is the West End, so there's no beach. But the hotel's lagoon-like pool and oversized hot tub is quite nice and Seven-Mile Beach is just 10 minutes away. Two of the coolest things about VSM is the onsite underground tunnel to Negril's famous cliffs and a ladder that leads right into the Caribbean sea for amazing snorkeling.
Rates begin at $200 per night with a 3-night minimum
Now is the perfect time for a road trip and the ritzy Lake Placid Lodge in NY, is adding mini road trips to its amenities by allowing guests to take their in-house Lexus RX 450h vehicles out on loan for up to three hours on scenic drives and off-road adventures in their Adirondack Mountain location. Don’t worry about getting lost amidst the forestry and winding roads--the car is equipped with GPS.
Armed with a gourmet picnic prepared by Executive Chef, guests can explore, the Lake Placid playground, stopping at Blue Mountain Lake, The Adirondack Museum and Olympic Village, host to the 1980 Olympic Games.
When you get back to the Lodge, free yoga classes await, or if you’re tuckered out, retiring to your fireplace-equipped room may be in order (although, you may not turn it on with this heat wave).
The cars are available to borrow year round, but we think getting in on it now and even in the fall during foliage season is a smart move.
Official rates for Lake Placid Lodge come in at a pricey $599 per night.
[Photo: Relais & Chateaux]