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OpenThread / Hotel Amenities / Hotel Toiletries / Hotel Gifts / Hotel Theft / Hotel Shame / Hotel Behavior / → All Tags
(Some of) the toiletries in question
Last week, I stayed in an extremely exclusive hotel in Italy – one of the old-school, iconic ones. It was beautiful – totally over the top, ridiculous décor, old masters in the bar, and hushed, reverent service. The bathroom was an explosion of marble, with large-sized toiletries – Acqua di Parma, should you care to know – by the bath, the shower, and the sink.
Naturally, when it came to check out, I did my usual whipround, collecting notepaper and envelopes, one of the notepads and pens, and most of the toiletries. That’s par for the course, right? It keeps your cupboards fully stocked and helps keep fond memories of the hotel going. Everyone wins.
I checked out, went for a wander, and came back half an hour later. I asked the concierge – who were in charge of the keys – to order me a taxi. He did so, but not before the other concierge had asked him quietly, “Il luogo è apposto?” Is the place ok? “Si, tutt’apposto,” said the other, and gave a slightly embarrassed smile.
And obviously I immediately assumed that the only possible thing they could be talking about in such a covert way was me and the fact that I had filched the stationery and the shampoo, and that they were wondering whether to confront me over it.
Breakfast dress code at the Bauer Il Palazzo, Venice
It’s time for another OpenThread! Last week we discussed the pleasures of hanging out in hotels. Today, it’s time for some detail about said hanging out. Largely, do you abide by dress codes?
I’ll start off. Being English, and having enjoyed my seminal hotel moments in Europe, I am a stickler for dress codes. In real life, I’m a dress down kinda girl. But when I visit hotels, I’d rather be over than underdressed.
The W London Lounge
Last week, I found myself in central London with a colleague, with an hour to spare between meetings. It was lunchtime. We both had work to do. We’d been out and about all morning.
We were near Covent Garden. My colleague suggested a restaurant. I mooted the Lounge at the W London. I won.
But when we got there, he was shocked. It was so fancy! All the staff were so beautiful! Everyone around us was so… rich looking! “Do you have to be Scandinavian to work here?” he asked me. He called his wife to marvel at the “eurotrash” and the “too beautiful” people surrounding us. He brought it up in the meeting we went to afterwards. The other meetingees were equally baffled and entranced by the idea of going to this insane, snazzy, eurotrashy hotel, when we could have gone to Starbucks.
OpenThread / Hotel WiFi / Marriott International / AHLA / Hotel News / Personal Hotspots / → All Tags
Before the holidays, we explained that as hotels begin to make Wifi more available and, most importantly, free, they are simultaneously policing the use of personal hotspots on their properties.
Team Hotspot Blockers as represented by Marriott: Cybersecurity. They're concerned that unauthorized access points will make it easy to hack into a hotel operator's network and threaten guest privacy. In addition, too many hotspots could clog up the network, reducing both personal and hotel Wifi performance and speed. And the resulting bad WiFi service could translate into bad reviews.
HotelChatter 2014 Awards / Openthread / Hotel Service / Hotel Afternoon Tea / London Hotels / Maybourne Hotels / → All Tags
It's that time of year again: the 2014 HotelChatter Awards! Today and tomorrow, we'll be showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to...
OpenThreads are our way of handing over the microphone to you, dear readers. We put forth a topic, a dilemma, a question, a preference, or an opinion and you let us know how you really feel.
Past provocative OpenThread discussions have involved the travails of tea-making, the glories of good service, and evil minibar pricing, but the one that proved most provocative this year was the recent Claridge’s breastfeeding incident.
Was it right of London’s grande dame to ask this mother to cover up with a “ridiculous shroud” while she fed her baby?
She said no. The women who staged a mass “feed-in” protest outside the hotel agreed with her. The internet was split.
But you, HotelChatterers, were unanimous. Claridge’s were entirely within their rights to ask her to cover up.
OpenThread / Hotel Service / Hotel Hell / Hotel Afternoon Tea / Maybourne Hotels / Family-Friendly Hotels / Luxury Hotels / London Hotels / → All Tags
Afternoon tea at Claridge’s is a London institution. Afternoon tea at Claridge’s in the run-up to Christmas is a global institution. Seats are like gold dust: even when we stayed overnight a couple of years ago in December – in a posh suite, for goodness’ sake! Costing over a thousand pounds! – there was no room for us for tea.
So when Louise Burns turned up for tea with her mother, sister and newborn baby, it was obviously a long planned, much longed for treat.
But then it soured when she started breastfeeding and the hotel brought over a napkin and asked her to cover up.
OpenThread / Hotel Service / Hotel Heaven / Anantara Hotels / Phuket Hotels / Thailand Hotels / → All Tags
It may not look much, but what it represents is pretty huge.
This is a plate of turmeric, which I was handed the week before last during my stay at the Anantara Phuket Layan, Anantara’s newest Phuket hotel, which opened in January in a cove at Layan, near Bangtao Beach.
Why was I handed a plate of grubby roots? Because the previous day, I’d learned that in Thailand, turmeric is a widely used remedy for mosquito bites (FYI: it works brilliantly). So the following morning, I asked the breakfast staff whether there was any turmeric in the kitchen. No, they said, but we can go and buy some for you if you'd like. I said no thanks, and thought no more of it, going off to the beach to itch. Twenty minutes later, a member of staff rushed up, proffering this plate of turmeric. Now that is customer service.
Of course, service standards in SE Asia are always head and shoulders above those in the West, but Anantara Layan really stood out, even by Asian standards. Over the course of three days there, here’s what various members of staff did:
OpenThread / Hotel Religion / Travelodge Hotels / UK Hotels / Hotel Bibles / Hotel Bookshelves / → All Tags
A Bible in your bedside drawer has always been one of those comforting mediocre hotel room givens, like toiletries of dubious provenance and chocolates – if you’re lucky enough to get them – that taste of cardboard. But could this be coming to an end?
Travelodge is currently coming under fire in the UK for removing Bibles from all its hotel rooms, “because of diversity reasons” and “‘in order not to discriminate against any religion”. Predictably, there’s a firestorm of people on Twitter vowing to switch allegiance to Premier Inn, and the Church of England declaring that: “It seems both tragic and bizarre that hotels would remove the word of God for the sake of ergonomic design, economic incentive or a spurious definition of the word ‘diversity’.”
In actual fact, the story isn’t as extreme as it sounds at first – the Bibles, which were always provided free of charge by the Gideon Society, haven’t been burned or chucked out – Travelodge says they are being “retained” and will be doled out by reception on request. What’s more, in surely the most telling part of this story, Travelodge says this decision was taken in 2007, and the hotels have been steadily implementing it since then, without receiving any complaints until the Daily Mail got wind of it last week.
Bathrobes at the Four Seasons Los Angeles.
Today, we're taking stock of the changing seasons...Four Seasons Hotels, that is.
With Four Seasons making expansion a top priority in the next years--the Four Seasons Orlando will open this weekend while Four Seasons Dubai is now taking reservations for December--it's a good time to take stock of what Four Seasons has done right, and where they still need some improvement. In other words, what to do and not to do with future Four Seasons Hotels.
The Le Mérdien Bora Bora
This art-centric Starwood Hotel has been coming out of its shell in recent months, picking up a few new properties here and there. And they aren't stopping. Last week, Le Méridien announced they will be opening 11 new hotels over the next 12 months, which will triple its portfolio in the Americas since the French-born brand was acquired by Starwood in 2005.
Here's where Le Méridien will plant their flag over the next year: Tampa (inside a century-old Federal Courthouse); Bangladesh; Chicago-Oakbrook Center; Bangkok; Charlotte; Gujarat, India; Mahabaleshwar, India; Indianapolis; New Orleans (formerly a W, will undergo a $29 mil renovation); Thimphu, Bhutan and Qingdao, China.
But where is your favorite Le Méridien hotel today? Clearly, some Le Méridiens are better than others but we want to know which ones. So help us out by sharing your experiences with us. And SPG-ers, we know you know the dirt so don't hold back!
[Photo: Le Meridien Bora Bora/Facebook]
Hotel Blackslists are real, this we know. But what gets you on a hotel's naughty list can vary.
Most of the time it's for doing something illegal--drugs, prostitution, soliciting and failing to pay your bill. Sometimes, it can be for disruptive behavior--loud parties, drunkenness, damaging the room and walking around naked. And other times, it can be simply because the hotel didn't want you back. (Or rather, didn't want you there in the first place, which once happened to us a few years ago.)
But for this one guest in the U.K., the reason for blacklisting was very clear--he joked about his "trouser snake."
HC Alumnus JuliaB tweeted us a write-up of the indecent incident in a newspaper and it is beyond hilarious.
The full monty went down at the Hilton Baskingstoke Hotel in Hampshire when a guest made a naughty remark on an online comment form, telling staff "he had a large snake in my trousers." The guest said the reception staff laughed about it when he checked out. But then a few days later, he received a note from the hotel manager that said they would no longer accept future bookings from him since having to read his comment made the staff uncomfortable.
So we have to ask--was blacklisting this guest an unjust decision?
We've talked about our favorite and least-favorite W Hotels, the best Kimpton Hotels and the Sofitel Hotels we're most thankful for but now, on the eve of Love Day (which is what our three-year-old calls February 14), it's time to talk about our favorite place to have an Andazm.* For those not in the know, we're talking about Andaz Hotels.
The HotelChatter team has been in just about every Andaz out there, (except for Peninsula Papagayo which just opened in late December), and the general consensus is that Andaz Hotels are awesome. What's not to love? Personalized check-in, free wine hours, complimentary minibar snacks and free WiFi. Each Andaz also has its own distinct design, ensuring that no two Andazes are exactly alike.
Keep reading to see this editor's personal fave Andaz Hotel!