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As Week 2 of HotelChatter Cocktail Week(s) wraps up, here's our second run-down of some of the things we see going on in the world of hotel bars and bevvies. What do you see goin’ on out there? Let us know in the comments below!
Roll Out the Barrel(aging) –
One trend that is growing stronger this year is in-house barrel-aged and private label spirits. We're envisioning cask-aged moonshine made in a mad scientist-type laboratory.
Jeff Josenhans at THE US GRANT in San Diego is producing an in-house barrel-aged Chartreuse with Wayne Geiselman, who has a PH D in Food Science. Using complex-sounding reverse engineering, food scientist Wayne created a proprietary blend of 25 local, organic ingredients including Southern California wildflower honey. Jeff then took this botanical blend and an un-aged bourbon to use as the spirit base (as opposed to traditional European brandy), and is now aging this noble experiment in 100% New Allier French Oak (never done before in the cocktail world). Six-month, 1-year, and 2-year-old bottlings will be ready to open on October 15. If you want to stay over for the big unveiling, you're looking at rates starting at $239.
The Dorchester has revived the historical recipe for Old Tom Gin to create a newer, bolder blend exclusive to the hotel. The City of London Distillery has the weight of distilling the gin under the watchful eye of the hotel’s bar manager and expert alchemist, Giuliano Morandin. This is the second time Giuliano has re-introduced Old Tom Gin to the UK drinks market, the first being in 2006 after a 30-year absence. To celebrate the re-launch, Giuliano has created the Old Tom Cobbler cocktail, made with coriander, fresh lemongrass, elderflower and, not surprisingly, Old Tom. A 700ml bottle of The Dorchester Old Tom Gin is priced at £65 ($109) and is available at The Bar at The Dorchester or by visiting shop.dorchestercollection.com. Signature cocktails including the Old Tom Cobbler start at £16 ($27). Stays start at £505 ($838).
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It's no secret that we love drinking in hotels here at HotelChatter. In fact, hotels might be our favorite "local." So all this week and next, we'll be pouring out some drinks for you during our second Hotel Cocktail Week(s) -- newly-expanded because there’s just so many drinks to share. We'll be posting quirky cocktails, boozy trends, unique menus and even recipes so you can recreate your favorite hotel drink at home. We expect everyone will be getting a bit tipsy over the next couple of weeks! But don't forget to tip your bartenders, in this case, us.
The Bloody Mary is a gregarious cocktail: it’s ready to party any time of the day and most people like it. Eggs, bacon and a Bloody Mary – yes. Burger and cheese? Prime rib and a baked potato? Yes and yes. Here, we thought we’d tell you about some of the goings-on in the Bloody Mary world so that you’re up-to-date when you fondly order your next one.
Omni Mount Washington’s Bretton Woods Bourbon Bloody Mary
Things are getting spicy at Omni Mount Washington Resort in New Hampshire with this twist on the classic Bloody Mary. Only available for a limited time due to a limited number of barrels used to make the resort’s signature Woodford Reserve bourbon, the cocktail also contains tomato juice, garden-fresh local tomatoes, cherry peppers, celery, olives and pickled cucumber creating a unique, veggie-bevvie with a smoky flavor.
1.5 oz Mount Washington Resort’s Signature Woodford Reserve Bourbon
8 large local grown red tomatoes
2 t grated Horseradish
1 pinch red pepper flakes
2 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 lime wedges
2 T Cajun seasoning
1 cherry pepper
1, 2” celery stalk
1 Queen Olive
1 house-made cucumber pickle spear
Blend all ingredients together and garnish with the cucumber pickle spear. Drink it down.
Cost for the Bloody Mary: $13
Cost to stay the night, not including all of the Bloody Marys you drank: $369
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When we were writing about Palm Springs all last week, we were trying to stick to hotels in Palm Springs itself. But as well as the 10 in town that we already mentioned, there’s another desert pool that deserves a mention: that of the Omni Rancho Las Palmas in Rancho Mirage.
We say pool – but actually, it’s a waterpark. Yes, a hotel with its own waterpark. Splashtopia Water Playground is 2 acres of family-friendliness, with a sandy beach, 100-foot waterslides, a 450ft ‘lazy river’ (traversable by inner tube), a ‘cliffside’ Jacuzzi, water play zones with sprinklers and fountains, as well as an adults-only pool, Azure. As if that wasn’t enough, they also have ‘dive-in movies’ every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, featuring animated family-friendly films, like Frozen and Despicable Me 2.
We've been loving the growing trend of 24-hour hotel stays and when we discovered that it even made its way to Las Vegas at The Palms, we listed it as one of our 5 new things to try. No more racing around at 11:45am to gather all our crap together, in fear that security guards would be waiting for us at 12:01pm.
But alas, VegasChatter reports that The Palms has suspended the program after a mere three months.
We reached out to a Palms representative for updates and were told that, after a three-month run, the 24-hour checkout policy has been suspended as they assess the results.
Hopefully, the results are good and the service will come back into play.
That said, when one door closes, another door opens and this time, that hotel door is open until 5pm at the Omni Dallas. The hotel has a new "Sleep In On Sunday” package that lets guests check out at 5pm on Sunday. The offer also gives them $20 credit towards either the hotel's Mokara spa; at Collections, the totally awesome retail store or at the hotel's restaurants and coffee shops.
Rates for the package start at $219 a night. Use code PKGSUN to book.
[Photo: Omni Dallas]
Who doesn't love a speakeasy with its secret entrances, guarded passwords and carefully crafted libations? Now, what about a speakeasy that comes with a spa butler, a private spa pool and couples treatments inspired by the Moroccan deserts and Andalusia region of Southern Spain? Um, YES PLEASE.
The Puerta Privada at the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia in Scottsdale, Ariz. is combining the speakeasy and spa experiences for loved-up guests who want to escape for little longer than 50 minutes. The Puerta Privada starts at 7:30pm when guests enter a set of Castilian-style doors to the Joya Spa. They are then guided by a spa butler to the Spa Suites which are situated along a terrace and lit up by candles and decorated with Moroccan antiques. These spa suites also come with their own private spa pool.
The total wellness experience includes a one-hour couples massage, a private unique astrology experience overlooking Camelback Mountain; and a custom dinner for two created by Executive Chef Michael Cairns, based on guest preferences. An acoustic guitarist will be playing through the evening.
Have #selfies jumped the shark? We thought this video would push the social media trend off a cliff but no, nothing can stop people from taking pictures of themselves (not even during scary protests). Since the selfie trend is seemingly unstoppable, hotels are working it to lure guests.
The La Concha Resort in San Juan, Puerto Rico, a Renaissance Hotel, is rewarding guests' selfie behavior with a new package called, Take a Selfie Adventure. Available from now through August, the deal starts at $179 a night and includes discounts at the Bacardi Distillery, Tropical Rain Forest Tour, and kite flying at the historical forts, during which you should be taking selfie after selfie.
Once you've selected a photo you like and have applied the most attractive filters to make you look hot, skinny, and sexy, upload the selfie to either Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, tag the La Concha Resort, and use the hashtag #belaconcha to be automatically entered into the resort's newest contest. The best selfie pic (as determined by the resort) will win a free three-day/two-night stay.
Winners will be announced at the end of each month from May to August so there's plenty of opportunities to win. Use booking code ARN to book online or call 787-721-7500 and ask for the "Take a Selfie Adventure."
We love hotel renovations nearly just as much as we love new hotels. But what we really love about hotel renovations is seeing the transformation that happens when an old, tired and lackluster room gets a modern makeover and transforms into new, spiffed-up, stylish guest room. Or put more simply, we love comparing the Before and After.
We told you last year that Omni Hotels was taking over the King Edward Hotel in Toronto and would be spending $40 million on renovating the hotel, from guestrooms to the 17th floor Crystal Ballroom that has been closed since the 1970s. While its 20-foot ceilings and four-way skyline views will make for a dramatic addition to the hotel, we’ll start today with a look at the before and after of the guestrooms.
The move to Omni last year marked 110 years since the hotel first opened in 1903, so it’s probably no surprise the rooms had a rather classic feel, but how have they changed?
Geek Hotels / Hotel Desserts / Hotel Drinks / Omni Hotels / Sedona Hotels / Arizona Hotels / Utah Hotels / Pennsylvania Hotels / North Carolina Hotels / → All Tags
If you’re not only a hotel geek but kinda a science geek too, you probably already know that March 14 is Pi Day (because the mathematical constant π, or Pi, which is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, is approximately equal to 3.14, but with 1.2 trillion digits after it).
If you didn’t know that, you might want to know this: Some hotels are using this as an excuse to bring out their best pies for the occasion. And who doesn’t like a nice pie?
The Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC is offering a scrumptious-looking Apple Pi Tartlet (that's it above) that’s made with 3 Pi (9.42) Granny Smith apples. The tartlet is topped with decorative apples made of white chocolate—can you stand it?
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Not familiar with Google Wallet? It's a mobile app that allows consumers to store their loyalty cards from various places in one spot. Not only convenient, it allows you to ditch all those loyalty cards you've been carrying around in your real-life wallet.*
Omni is one of the first hotel groups to sign up with Google Wallet and in celebration of doing so, they are offering Select Guest members and new customers a 20 percent discount on a two-night stay at participating Omni hotels. Members who link their current account to Google Wallet or new members who sign-up for the Select Guest program, can book now through January 31, 2014 for stays through March 31, 2014. There are some restrictions (namely it can't be combined with other offers so read the fine print carefully.)
Google Wallet can be downloaded for free from Google Play and the Apple App Store. Also free to join is the Omni Select Guests program which you can join up right here.
*(We actually keep all these random loyalty cards in a separate pouch that we keep in our purse. It's maddening to carry around all the time, so we should probably get on this Google Wallet train.)
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No pressure or anything, but you only have 7 days to shop for the folks on your list before Christmas Eve arrives. But never fear, we're here to help you out with 7 Gift Ideas for the Hotel Lover in Your Life. Give this list a look and then get shopping!
1. GIFT CARDS: Let's be real. It's not the most thoughtful option but it is easy. And damn, wouldn't you be psyched if someone gave you a gift card for a hotel stay? Totally beats a gift card from Barnes & Noble.
2. ACE HOTEL LONDON's QUILT, $720: You can sleep assured knowing that you're the only person who has touched this blanket.
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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.
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Looking at cocktails menus these days, it’s clear bartenders (or mixologists as they like to call themselves), are shaking and stirring drinks intended to warm your insides—perfect for the crisp, fall weather many of us are experiencing.
These are some seasonal sips from some of our favorite hotel bars.
If you’ve never heard of “Movember” before, you can read about the male mustache-focused charity here. This year the Waldorf Astoria Chicago is supporting the cause with its Whiskey & Whiskers drink served at their Bernard’s bar. 20% of the proceeds from the $16 drink will be donated to the Movember Foundation. We love the mustache-stencil garnish created with sprinkles of ginger-cinnamon powder.