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UPDATE! Thank you so much for your recommendations on Twitter and elsewhere. See where we stayed.
Okay frequent traveling friends and readers, here's your chance to help us have an awesome time Madrid, Spain. We need your best hotel recommendation for our upcoming trip, because we want to see the best Madrid has to offer, room-wise, for what will be this HotelChatter writer's first visit to the city.
We'll be in town for such a short period thanks to some flight itinerary weirdness, but luckily it's just enough time to enjoy the "Cliffs Notes version" of Madrid. Help a fellow hotel geek out and share where you think we should stay in the comments!
· A nightly rate of 200 Euros or less is ideal, but we could be flexible if WiFi & breakfast is included
· We don't care about getting points, so independent properties are very welcome
· Bonus for ease of getting to/from airport, though no airport hotels, please.
You'll then find out which hotel won out when we hit the city just over a week from now and share all the juicy details...
We've been hearing from a lot of peers lately that restaurants have been asking them to cease and desist taking photos of their meals. To be honest, we only thought it was only food and travel writers that indulged in such table behavior. But apparently there's something out there called Foodagrams and the almighty food porn (and of course Pinterest) that has everyone and their momma involved in the phenomenon of snapping pics of your plate. It's more common than not.
We've had writers tell us management has come up to them and told them their photo-taking was not only distracting to the chef, but also other diners if a flash was used. Hmm. Using a flash for our food photos, has never produced great results, so that's suspect, but oookay.
So, what say you? Ever been asked to stop taking photos when in a hotel restaurant? If so, what was your response? We've read folks saying the usual "kiss my behind, I paid for my plate I'll do what I want," to "People need to put the cameras down and start enjoying the dining experience."
Some of us at HC can understand both sides. But how will be able to capture photos like these?
[Chanize Thorpe for HotelChatter]
While on vacation over the holidays, we were relieved of our cell phone. And not because we wanted to tune out like the Four Seasons Costa Rica urges guests to do.
Instead, we made the classic mistake of putting our iPhone down on a bar top for a minute while chatting with a friend. We were at a private function at Moon Palace Resort, which isn't some bootleg resort, btw. IOW, we probably were too comfortable in our surroundings.
We hesitated to name the region because it already gets an unfair bad rap in our opinion. Plus, our complaint isn't with the thief--after all, putting your phone down for a second is apparently naive, especially in areas where an iPhone must be a commodity. We're so spoiled in the U.S., you wouldn't think they were of that "high value". Nonetheless, whomever took it, shut if off immediately (we discovered it was missing in minutes), so they knew what they were doing. The phone was instantly untraceable.
We'd rather address the problem of the lax resort staff and security. They didn't seem to give a rat's ass about our issue.
Is this your style for winter fun?
Who are you, reader? The leaves are falling, the temps are dropping are we want to know what your plans are for the next seven months. Yep, that's right, THAT LONG. Which already shows you where our mind is heading. Some are the type to keep your summer wardrobe on year-round. You just throw on a sweater and some tights to go with that cotton dress. We don't judge. We believe in the power of suggestion!
But to be fair, there are snow, ski, and snowboard buffs who don't fear the cold. And they are serious about their gear and locations to make their winter fun possible. After all, we've written about those of you who like to get into the thick of it, no-holds-barred and make the most of the season. Apparently you just need to dress appropriately and have some good warm beverages (alcoholic or..not?) and it's all good.
Then there are the others who are planning to dodge chilly climates, with no apologies.
Hotel Burgers / Open Thread / Hotel Restaurants / New York Hotels / Dallas Hotels / Houston Hotels / Santa Fe Hotels / → All Tags
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.
During a routine sunrise Twitter-browsing session this morning, we came across this story about employees from the Irish-based Carlton Hotel Group being instructed by their managers to post fake reviews on TripAdvisor. Needless to say, the reviews had to be positive, posted from non-hotel IP addresses, and include photos that were "not professional" but "good quality." Because you've got to be subtle with these things!
Which is impossible to do when said staff memo, which was originally sent by one of Carlton's sales and marketing directors, gets leaked all over the internet. The wily, conniving underbelly of hotel management: exposed!
But this made us think. How many times have you been co-erced (or simply asked) by a hotel to post positive TripAdvisor reviews after your stay? Would a free upgrade or restaurant voucher give you more incentive to say something nice? Or do you generally not make a habit of posting reviews in the first place? We want you to weigh in, fellow lodgers!
HotelChatter 2011 Awards / OpenThread / Open Thread / Hotel Bathrooms / Hotel Toiletries / Hotel Amenities / → All Tags
It's what you've been waiting all year for--The 2011 HotelChatter Awards! We'll be bringing you the best and worst of the year all day today and part of tomorrow. Agree or disagree with our picks? Air your thoughts in the comments below.
In August, we decided to resurrect an ever-popular topic of discussion—Toiletry Dispensers—and boy, were you guys full of ideas. This thread easily proved to be the most fruitful of the entire year, and why wouldn't it? What's a hotel bathroom without all its free soaps, gels, shampoos and creams?
But what we (and the hotels themselves) still haven't quite figured out is how to strike a balance between the eco-friendliness of dispensers and the luxury of individually packaged toiletries.
Many, many hotels—especially, smaller, more independent brands or sister brands—have gone over to the
dark environmental side, installing dispensers in each and every shower (Aloft, Ace, Element, Viceroy and James, to name a few). As we see it, the conversation boils down to a question of sustainability: are hotels places to go and simply indulge, heedless of whatever environmental impact your stay might have? Or should we all be contributing to the evolution of greener, waste-efficient—and, of course, beautiful—hotels?
Open Thread / Eco-Friendly Hotels / Hilton Hotels / Hotel Beds / Hotel Pillows / Hotel Amenities / → All Tags
Forgive us if we're way behind on this, but we just learned about a machine called the Pillow-Vac, which looks kind of like a photocopier but instead of toner and ink, it gets filled with down clusters and feathers. Designed to clean and "renovate" old pillows, the Pillow-Vac literally eats up all the dust-filled, germ-ridden, lumpy innards, sifts out the crap, and then spits everything back out into a pristine, fluffy new "ticking" (the technical term for the shell of a pillow). Pretty neat, huh?
We were tipped off to the whole world of pillow rehabilitation by Hilton Concord in San Francisco, who just announced their own multi-million dollar renovation—including brand new sustainable programs, like cold-water dishwashing, food waste reduction, and of course, pillow recycling.
We've enjoyed seeing the way mood lighting has worked its way up as a kind of current hotel trend. Perhaps most notably seen inside Yotel's spaceship cabins, we've also documented the effects at The Water Club at the Borgata's rooftop spa and at the Peninsula Tokyo.
But should the trick be used in hotel bathrooms as well? @thomaswanhoff photographed and tweeted this show from a hotel in Thailand called the Glacier Hotel over the weekend. We're seriously digging the blue-lit sideways teardrop sink, but realize it might not be for everyone. In fact, a quick hop over to TripAdvisor shows at least one guest who, while approving of the hotel in general, couldn't get past the annoying blue light in the bathroom, which apparently can't be turned off.
A quick look at the Facebook page of French-based luxury hotel group Relais & Chateaux reveals the kind of qualities they seek out in a hotel: Caractère, Courtoisie, Calme, Charme et Cuisine. But after a recent press event held in New York, it seems one of those Cs holds a little more weight than the others.
Celebrating the newest members to their grand collection, which include two top New York restaurants—Del Posto and Marea—plus The Surrey (which happens to be the first NYC hotel to be inducted in almost 20 years), the company's chairman declared that for R&C, "Food is at the heart of all of our properties. Without a good food experience, Relais & Chateaux wouldn't exist."
Open Thread / Hotel Bathrooms / Hotel Toiletries / Fairmont Hotels / Hotel Scents / Boston Hotels / Hotel News / Hotel Amenities / → All Tags
Earlier this month, we learned about a new partnership between New York-based perfume house Le Labo and Fairmont Hotels—the biggest hotel undertaking Le Labo has ever attempted. We know how particular everyone can be about their hotel toiletries. Some like them sweet-smelling, some like them eco-friendly, and some don't bother with them at all.
But today, while reporting on the new Le Labo line at Fairmont, MSNBC happened to interview an individual who admitted he and his fiancee chose Boston's Liberty Hotel as the site of their wedding "in large part because they provide Molton Brown products in the rooms." Nevermind the actual, like...you know, beds.
Open Thread / Brooklyn Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / Hotel News / Mayor Bloomberg / Hotel Openings / → All Tags
It isn't gonna happen overnight. And we may not even start to feel the effects of Bloomberg's hotel boom until well after all 7,000 hotel rooms hit the market. Gradually, though, this big tourism industry push will have far-reaching effects on NYC's various neighborhoods.
Above is an exterior shot of the new Hotel Williamsburg, which opened on N 12th St at the beginning of this month. Places like this, throughout Brooklyn and Queens, were intended to draw penny-wise tourists out of Manhattan's overpriced hotel terrain. That original idea—to provide a decent, alternative hotel stay and still be within subway reach of Manhattan—might now be canceled out by all the new places opening up in Manhattan. So we ask: are outer boroughs getting the shaft?