Tag: Openthread

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Tell Us: Do You Dress Up To Visit Hotels?

February 26, 2015 at 9:37 AM | by | Comments (12)

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.

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Are We the Only Ones Who Visit Hotels for Fun?

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  Site Where: Leicester Square, London, United Kingdom
February 18, 2015 at 9:31 AM | by | Comments (7)

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.

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Everyone Chime in Now: Should Hotels Block Your Personal Hotspot?

January 7, 2015 at 11:29 AM | by | Comments (2)

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.

Marriott is leading the charge in the crack down. When it filed a petition with the FCC to make its policy legal, a debate erupted. The two sides of the argument are pretty straightforward:

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.

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Most Provocative OpenThread: Should Breastfeeding Be Allowed at Claridge's?

December 31, 2014 at 8:55 AM | by | Comments (0)

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.

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Claridge's Made This Woman Cover Up While Breastfeeding. Were They Right?

December 2, 2014 at 8:59 AM | by | Comments (8)

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.

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What's the Best Hotel Service You've Ever Experienced?

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  Site Where: Layan Beach, Bangtao Beach, Phuket, Thailand
November 13, 2014 at 9:31 AM | by | Comments (6)

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:

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Was Travelodge Right To Ditch Its Hotel Bibles?

August 18, 2014 at 9:34 AM | by | Comments (0)

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.

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Which One of the Four Seasons Do You Heart The Most?

July 29, 2014 at 11:56 AM | by | Comments (7)

Bathrobes at the Four Seasons Los Angeles.

We've talked about our favorite and least-favorite W Hotels, Kimpton Hotels, Sofitel Hotels, Andaz Hotels and the Le Meridiens.

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.

Is it more "extraordinary experiences"? More beer massages? More locally inspired workouts? You tell us!

List your favorite and least favorite Four Seasons Hotels in comments below! Or holler at us on Twitter!

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Which Le Méridien Hotel Tickles Your Fancy The Most?

March 12, 2014 at 5:32 PM | by | Comments (2)

The Le Mérdien Bora Bora

Now that we've all finished Andazming, it's time to focus on the cultural hotel brand that is Le Méridien Hotels.

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.

All of these hotels will feature the Le Méridien Hub, a lobby/social gathering space and the UNLOCK ART program along with the new Master Barista program.

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!

Sound off on Le Meridien hotels in Le Comments below!

[Photo: Le Meridien Bora Bora/Facebook]

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Should a Hotel Guest Be Banned for Talking About His 'Trouser Snake?'

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  Site Where: Old Common Road, Black Dam, Basingstoke, United Kingdom, RG21 3PR
February 21, 2014 at 4:48 PM | by | Comments (0)

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?

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Where is Your Favorite Place to Have an Andazm?

February 13, 2014 at 1:34 PM | by | Comments (5)

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.

Andaz has been on an expansion binge recently, opening in Amsterdam, Napa, Maui and Costa Rica. On the horizon are Andaz Tokyo, opening this summer and Andaz Mayakoba, opening in 2015.

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!

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Wouldn’t a Simple Price Adjustment Save the Minibar?

January 2, 2014 at 11:02 AM | by | Comments (8)

For the first time since its introduction decades ago, we saw the consumer push back against the minibar in 2013. Chalk it up to nostalgia, but a small part of us was surprised to see such a staple of the hotel industry begin to crumble. But nostalgia is all the minibar could hold onto, because the logical part of our brain was not surprised at all.

When the news first broke, we told you how we thought the hotel industry had gone about minibars all wrong with its decision making, jacking up the prices, installing electronic sensors that botched up billing (over a $2 can of soda, no less), and charging a fee to convert it to fridge space when guests decided they’d rather bring their own snacks as an alternative.

That said, explained, and accepted, it is hard to feel bad for hotels. What did they think was going to happen? Did they really think guests would flock to the fridge for $5 candy bars? An all-out focus on profit margins turned what could have been a useful, convenient amenity into a useless, don’t-even-look-at-that-thing waste of space.

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