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’Tis the season to believe in magically appearing hotel amenities that pop up where you least expect them. For example, a new 2,100-square-foot ice skating rink that's going up this month on top of The Peninsula Chicago. The rink, which will be built on the rooftop (pictured above), is scheduled to debut within the next week.
Believe it, friends, believe.
A source at The Peninsula shared that the new rink will offer hot cocoa and German-inspired snacks and treats, like mulled wine, cider, warm nuts and pretzels. The only downside? The ice rink will only be available exclusively to hotel guests. Which may cause a few temper tantrums, but we think it's a smart move to allow guests a joyous skating experience, minus the crowds (if you’ve been to Chicago’s Millennium Park skate rink, then you know what we mean).
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Oktoberfest began this past Saturday in Munich and will continue through October 7th. The traditional 16-day Bavarian festival, which was first celebrated 200 years ago to commemorate a royal wedding, is now feted all over the world. We’d like to do our part and give you a few places in the U.S. where you can get your beer and brat on if you can't get to Germany. Lederhosen is totally optional, but highly recommended.
The Standard, Downtown LA and New York
The good news is that these hotel’s biergartens stay open year-round. The better news is that the LA hotel is offering a Oktoberfest lunch special between 12-5pm every day. For $15 you get a tasting of three beers on tap (Bittburger Pilsner, Licher Heffeweisen, and Kostritzer Black Lager) and a choice of a sausage, salad, pretzel or strudel. Meanwhile at the High Line outpost, which becomes glass-enclosed during the cooler months, they’ve revitalized the Stammtisch. This lets guests pay an hourly rate for a table and get unlimited beer brought to them. Call 212-645-4100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a reservation.
Dupont Hotel, Washington, DC
Now through September 30th, the Bar Dupont’s patio, across from D.C.’s famous Dupont Circle, becomes a boisterous biergarten with live polka music, four Oktoberfest-style brews on draft from a Hefeweizen to a special Sam Adams Octoberfest brew, and a menu serving German festival fare. Mugs, steins, and pitchers are be available for all levels of drinking as well as sizes of sausage from brat to knock to kielbasa, depending on your appetite. Oompah music, polka bands and other entertainment will be provided on certain days throughout Oktoberfest
A Grand Deluxe Harbour View Suite
Six months or so later, the first phase, covering all rooms in the Peninsula Tower, is complete. We love the warm colors and the artwork on the wall in the Harbour View room; inspired by Chinese ink paintings, these are three-dimensional branches, leaves, and blossoms made of laser-cut bronze-lacquered stainless steel. Flora and fauna inspired details show up throughout, with a Grand Deluxe Suite having a similar design woven into the carpet.
Changes in décor may be the first thing you notice, but in-room technology is where the hotel has gotten serious with its upgrades.
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Developed by LUXE City Guides, the weekly PenCities focuses on the latest dining, entertainment, shopping, design, nightlife, spa, and wellness options in each of the nine Peninsula locations (Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, New York, Chicago, Beverly Hills, Tokyo, Bangkok, Manila, and soon number ten, Paris).
One of the recommendations for Beijing has the apt title “Ancient and Modern, Ming meets Bling” (for Temple Restaurant); the hotel’s architecture is influenced by traditional Chinese design, but inside, you’ll find gigaspeed internet. We can tell you from visiting Beijing earlier this year that you encounter these contrasts between old and new everywhere.
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The NY Daily News reports that just hours after a man tragically jumped to his death from the hotel's 22nd floor rooftop, another woman—totally unrelated, and in a different part of the hotel—collapsed to the floor and began having an epileptic seizure. Luckily for her, a nice man came to her side and held her hand until the fit passed. His name was Stephen Baldwin.
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They say there's no such thing as bad publicity, so we'll just go ahead and assume that somehow Grand Hyatt, The Mercer and Peninsula New York have managed to find the silver lining in the torrent of media attention that has come each of their ways this week.
First up: The Mercer played a starring role in an absurd incident involving a red Ferrari 458 Spider, an NYPD officer's foot, and The Hills star Stephanie Pratt's boyfriend. And, as luck would have it, the whole thing was caught on film and posted to YouTube.
To recap, a cop was issuing the car a parking ticket when the driver, Julian Chabbott, stormed out of the hotel, got into the car, and started trying to drive away while the cop was standing there. In a matter of seconds, he'd been pulled out of the driver's seat, shoved against the side of the car and thrown to the ground because he allegedly ran over the cop's foot. Hooray for innocent passersby armed with smartphones!
We know where we'll be next Monday night—and it won't be at home spying on our old man neighbor. Instead, we'll be at Peninsula New York, watching a film about neighbors getting spied on.
Amelie, one of our all-time favorites, will be shown as part of a new outdoor French cinema series taking place at Salon De Ning's West Terrace.
Meaning, yes, a French-themed film screening at a Chinese-influenced bar in the middle of New York City. But hey—a view's a view! We happened to visit the hotel's sun terrace, two floor below, last fall, and have to admit, we liked what we saw.
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While we couldn't get into the Peninsula's super secret technology laboratory where they custom make all the in-room tech for their hotels, we have been fortunate enough to experience some of these proprietary gadgets at Peninsula Hotels in person...like the control pad on the nightstand at the Peninsula Beverly Hills.
When you settle into bed at night, you can not only set an alarm for the next morning from the control pad but also turn down the lights, set the air conditioning and signal a "Privacy Please" on your hotel room door so housekeeping won't disturb you. Heavenly! The more things we can do from the comfort of our bed, the better. Of course, when the rooms start at $525 a night, we expect nothing less. Good thing the WiFi is free!
Bonus shot of the room's media hub after the jump!
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The forever cool Sunset Marquis Hotel, tucked away beneath Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, has long been a retreat for actors and rock stars alike but we were thrilled to see that the hotel thinks kids rock too, thanks to their Kids Rock at Sunset Marquis kids packs.
Once you check-in to the hotel with your little one, there will be a black or pink nylon backpack waiting for them with a nametag attached. Inside, there's a black or pink t-shirt that says Kids Rock (sizes can be exchanged at the concierge desk), crayons, an "all-access" key and the Sunset Marquis Kids Passport which kids can color in, fill out a Hollywood-themed Mad Lib and also use for a scavenger hunt on the property. Totally cool.
Rates at the Sunset Marquis start at $395 next weekend for a deluxe suite with a king bed that also includes a separate seating area. Kids under the age of 12 stay free with parents if using existing beds in room. Be sure to tell the hotel before you arrive just who your little rock star-in-training is before you arrive.
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Back last fall, we were having some seriously lovey-dovey feelings after visiting the Peninsula New York's wraparound Sun Terrace, an intimate urban oasis, raised up on the twenty-first floor of the hotel with sprawling views of midtown, endless rows of black deck chairs, and most importantly, a strong sense of quiet.
Today, we learn that we're not the only ones with a strong sense of attachment to the place. Fellow hotel lover John Travolta felt so comfortable during visits to the tranquil spa that he was known to get a little, er....intimate with some of the male masseurs employed there.
Now, a former masseur at the hotel has come forward claiming Travolta's bad behavior landed him on the hotel's black list back in the early 2000s, after multiple male employees flat out refused to be alone in a room with him.
Alright so you've just got a layover at the awesome Hong Kong International Airport and you're desperate for a little taste of Hong Kong without having to go outside. OR maybe you're at the airport, leaving Hong Kong, but ran out of time to visit The Peninsula Hotel. It's all good, because, as we found out while zipping through HKG last week, the hotel has its own boutique right in Terminal 1.
The Peninsula Boutique specializes in little edible treats, perfectly packaged, ready to tote home as gifts. This means boxed chocolates and truffles of all varieties, including mix-your-own, containers of cookies and macarons, and a healthy selections of tins of tea.
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Nevermind what the bees are up to on hotel rooftops, we're here to remind you that New York has an abundance (literally) of rooftop spaces built for recreational human endeavors like eating, drinking and sunbathing.
One of our favorites, perhaps, is the sun terrace on top of the Peninsula New York. Mainly because we can do all three of those things at once, and then cool down afterwards with a relaxing 60-minute holistic massage. But if lounging on a fancy-shmance sun deck isn't your cup of tea, you've got plenty of other options around the city...