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The New York Times recently reviewed Hotel Luca in Yountville, California, and while it did give the Napa Valley hotel props for its prime location and great staff, the paper didn't exactly give the Tuscan-like spot a ringing endorsement.
On the plus side, the 20-room hotel is off of a road filled with vineyards, offers quick access to the wineries along the Silverado Trail and is a short stroll from restaurants and shops. But even more important, the staff came to the rescue of the reviewer who was hitting some dud wineries. The reporter called the hotel concierge from the road to ask for recommendations, and within a half hour she had made him an appointment at a private winery.
Japan Hotels / Capsule Hotels / Hotel Hell / Business Hotels / Recession Hotels / New York Times / → All Tags
Hearing about businessmen who turn their hotel room into a home-away-from-home is no new phenomenon. There may even be a wife-away-from-home involved, but that's a different story altogether.
Also nothing new are those teeny, tiny capsule hotel "rooms"—if they can even be called that—common to Japan. They're cute and quirky to us Americans, sure, but these days they're serving a different purpose. With the economy having taken a turn for the worst in 2009, some of the country's unemployed have turned to dwelling at places like the Hotel Shinjuku as they search for new jobs, reports the New York Times.
Have you stayed at The Stanford Court lately? Let us know about your experience by commenting below.
If we had to sum up this week's edition of The New York Times' "Check In, Check Out" hotel review, it would be, "Meh." Not the review itself, that is, but the writer's hotel experience. There isn't a more evocative quasi-word out there.
The Times takes us to San Francisco's Nob Hill neighborhood, where The Stanford Court's newly renovated digs offer nice views of the city skyline (sometimes). Caveat: that means a good amount of hilly hiking if you're planning on walking to popular tourist destinations like Union Square and Chinatown. The overhauled rooms are deemed decent, if derivative. Decor, which includes upgrades like LCD televisions and granite accents are described as "ripped from the Pottery Barn catalog with various elements lifted from the W Hotels chain and middlebrow condominium decorators."
The Sanderson Hotel, London.
Call us old-fashioned, but we're still not at peace with the whole peekaboo-bathroom thing. As the NY Times also mentioned recently, the idea of having a shower, bathtub or even a toilet that's viewable from the rest of your hotel room is just not everybody's idea of a great design trend.
The NYT article mentions the Hotel Le Germain in Toronto as one voyeuristic bathroom culprit. In this case, there are blinds to cover the glass wall of the shower but you can't operate them from inside the stall so if you're not prepared in advance, your bathing habits will be exposed for your companion (who, in the NYT's case, was a 26-year-old woman's father. Eek).
Apparently designers think they're doing us a big favor by upsizing bathrooms and making them prominent (and visible) parts of the room. There are various justifications, including making it luxurious and experiential as well as helping you to orient yourself in an unfamiliar space (a problem we never knew we had).
We'll just wait another decade or so and hope for a big trend in closed, private bathrooms.
[Photo: Jonathan Player / NYT]
More grim reports about these dark days for the hotel industry, brought to you by the New York Times: construction is being halted on a number of planned major hotel projects due to a shortage of financing. Sad.
One victim: the Ritz-Carlton Molasses Reef in Turks and Caicos. It was going to be a $600+ per-night ultra-luxe resort where guests would arrive via 52-foot yachts, by private plane or by helicopter. But construction has been stopped because Lehman Brothers was financing the project and, well, we know how that whole thing turned out.
You know how other countries always seem to get the cooler McDonalds', with chandeliers in the dining rooms and exotic, non-McD's-ish food items on the menus? Well, according to yesterday's New York Times, we apparently not only get to be jealous of the fast food offerings of faraway lands, but now we can envy their economy hotels, too. Well, in China at least: they have super swanky Days Inns over there! Who knew?
Since the cost of labor isn't too bad in China (construction workers can be paid as little as $100 a month, according to the article), developers can afford to spiff up Days Inn-branded hotels with stuff like marble floors and fancy chandeliers in the lobbies while still charging the same $30 or $40 rates as the American Days Inns and the rooms (shown here) are considerably sexier, too.
There's tons of hotel news flying around this week and we don't have time to give each and every story the love and attention it may deserve, so you will have to settle for some news briefs.
· Andy Warhol is on His Way to the LES: Curbed scored some shots of the Thompson LES pool, which is developing nicely and looks like it just may be finished by the time the weather climbs above 70 in NYC again. [Curbed]
· Detroit Hotel Gets a New look: The 84-year-old Westin Book Cadillac Hotel in Detroit just got a huge makeover and restoration to the tune of $200 million. [NY Times]
· Eminem Gives the Greenwich Hotel What it Deserves: In NYC to promote his new book, rapper Eminem stayed at the Greenwich Hotel and was a total diva to the staff -- they were "under no circumstances allowed to make eye contact with him and absolutely not to speak to him at all." Ha. [Freep]
· Hilton Messed with the Wrong Dude: A Hilton HHonors member (and frequent business traveler) was told that, though there were rooms available at a Washington, D.C. Hilton, he couldn't check in at all on the day he wanted to come because the front desk agents would be busy with a big group. He then proceeded to write into the NY Times. Yup. [NY Times]
Hotel News / Manhattan Hotels / Jonathan Tisch / Apple Core Hotels / Loews Hotels / New York Times / → All Tags
Well, color us surprised: hotels in New York City are starting to hurt. The end of the year is traditionally the strongest for NYC tourism (with parades and outdoor skating rinks and such) -- but booking for hotels over the next few months is falling below last year's levels, while the number of cancellations is starting to climb.
The Sunday New York Times had a rather lengthy story describing the state of the hotel industry in NYC and how it's faring during the economic downturn -- but what does this mean for the guest?
Interviewed in the article (and serving as the primary focus, really) are chain hotel bigwigs: Jonathan Tisch of Loews and Vijay Dandapani of Apple Core Hotels among them, who both report declining occupancy (though the "situation is not yet dire").
Hotel News / Hotel Restaurants / Hotel Bars / New York Times / W Hotels / Hilton Hotels / Marriott Hotels / Chief Beer Officer / Scott Kerkmans / → All Tags
Well, even though the economy has gone to poo, hotels know that people will still be boozing (if not drinking even more).
Luckily, hotels are offering cocktails and "mock"tails these days. Because if you happen to have a big interview for your new job tomorrow (to, er, replace the one you had), maybe you'll want to go ahead and take it easy on the alcohol and give yourself the illusion of hitting the bottle without running the risk of muddy thoughts and a hangover headache. And when you get the job, you can hit up the hotel bar again that night and order from the extra-fancy alcoholic cocktail menu.
Ever notice how sometimes your hotel room's fancy flatscreen TV has a bit of a craptastic picture quality? You know the deal: stretched-sideways images, low resolution picture? The dudes of Gossip Girl look significantly wider and less attractive -- albeit ever-so-slightly -- than normal?
That's cause hotels are buying those sleek flatscreen TV's -- and not springing for the HD service to go along with them.
Today's New York Times reports that while many hotels are making the shift to more modern flatscreen televisions (thank you!), budget constraints are keeping a pretty hefty number of properties from offering the HD service to match. As a result, what we get is the standard square-shaped picture from the old tube TV sets...except stretched out and low-resolution. Lame.
Yesterday, he wrote a wonderful piece about guidebooks - specifically, about a particularly unfortunate series of events in Rio that caused him to let go of his Lonely Planets and travel without lugging around all those heavy, inconvenient tourist bibles.
Today's post was an excellent followup about life after guidebooks, opening up a discussion about the Internet's potential to replace the whole guidebook industry.
Pop on over there to check 'em out - his posts are definitely worth the read. His guest blogging stint lasts all week so be sure to keep up!
Things got unpleasantly steamy in four parts of Brooklyn yesterday - Sunset Park, Bay Ridge, Borough Park and Park Slope - when 4 "big feeders" malfunctioned and knocked out power to 2,000 Brooklyn residents and businesses. And it was hot. Like, really hot.
Con Ed reduced voltage in the area by 8 percent to keep the power failure from spreading, so for those who still had power, "television sets flickered, washing machines halted midcycle and fan blades turned at lower-than-usual speeds all day."
So what about the hotels in the area?