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The Drake Hotel was one of, if not THE, first boutique hotel in Toronto when it opened. When we heard that dot-comer Jeff Stober was opening The Drake west of Queen West, we thought it impossible for the hotel to survive in the then downtrodden boonies. We were wrong, so wrong—not only did The Drake persevere but it quickly became a hotspot for locals who lined up to get into its basement band venue and kickass lounge. Now, ten years on, we set out to discover whether The Drake Hotel still had true cachet.
We walked in on a wintry Saturday afternoon and the place was overflowing with bohos and hipsters alike, most waiting for a table in the recently-reno’ed (and enlarged but still full to capacity) restaurant and lounge. If you ever wondered what the Canadian design aesthetic is, you need to come here. There’s lots of natural wood, industrial lighting, earth tones, forest motifs and—to take it one step further—The Drake has a kitschy camp feel that reminds us of every camping trip we ever took as kids, sans mosquitoes.
The rooms carry on that mid-century modern campground feel but with modern ModCons. You can see inside the rooms in the photo gallery, but there are a few things that deserve an extra shout-out. First, let’s hear it for “Hairy Chest Man.” This particular doll for adults with leather studded collar is handmade and you can find a different doll in every room. Next, the “pleasure menu”: The Drake purports to be the first hotel in the world to carry one and while we can’t vouch for that, we can say that it is probably the most extensive menu of its kind that we’ve had the “pleasure” of seeing (yuck yuck). We also loved the owl light and the toiletries by Malin + Goetz.
Oh God, yes. Earlier this morning, we confirmed the existence of the Andaz Munich which will have 274 rooms when it opens in 2017 (note to self: we better start practicing some tantric sex right now.) Located in the a cultural district of Munich known as Schwabinger Tor, the Andaz will feature an all-day dining restaurant, a lounge and rooftop bar, a spa, a pool and all that we've come to love about Andaz--free WiFi, complimentary mini-bar snacks, personalized check-in and lots of cool design and art.
While the renderings we discovered over the weekend, mysteriously disappeared, Andaz has now provided us with a bunch to fantasize about. It's only of the exterior but we'll just imagine what's on the inside. Enjoy!
[Renderings via Andaz Hotels]
Next up in our Toronto tour is the 18-room hotel, The Beverley, found on hipster hangout, Queen West. After some initial confusion as to whether to head up or down the stairs (go up to check-in and down to go to the popular restaurant and lounge), we met up with GM Scott Newnham who showed us around this tasteful minimalist boutique property.
The hotel’s motto is, “Everything you need and nothing you don’t,” and we think this is a pretty accurate depiction of what the hotel’s all about. Cool, white minimalism takes over the rooms — with a happy shock of vivid color coming from the bathrooms — and what’s there is luxurious: Frette linens; local spa Body Blitz toiletries; fluffy cotton robes; and flat-screen TVs mounted on the ceiling or wall.
Have a look at the photo gallery below to see for yourself!
We popped in to 12-room boutique Hotel Ocho during our recent excursion to T.O. We found an industrial-style crash pad with Danish minimalism and shabby chic décor thrown in for good measure.
The hotel opened in May 2011 in an area underserviced by the big-name brands. Next to Chinatown and in the trendy Queen West area (you can rent a bike right outside the hotel to get around), it attracts the creative class with its basement restaurant and lounge offering martini and wine nights. The hotel’s reception is also in the basement level, although you might just miss it if you're not aware, since check-in is located behind the stairs leading up to the second level (as you can see, there’s some quirk here too!).
Once you hit the rooms—on the top two floors of the four-storey building (and yes, there is an elevator)—you’ll have a choice of a Standard Room, Superior Room or Deluxe Room. All have wood-plank ceilings, flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi. We had a peek at a Superior Room and it also had a little desk, an open bathroom concept and walk-in shower, and La Source toiletries. The Standard Room also had the open concept bathroom and was... cozy.
The hotel showcases local artists and rotates the work about every two months, giving the hotel a lot of character. See for yourself in the Photo Gallery below!
While times, they are a-changing, the vast majority of airport hotels are still conservatively-designed chain hotels. The Grand Hotel Winnipeg Airport, part of Preferred Hotel Group, could be the next generation of stylin’ airport boutique hotels that have it all goin’ on.
To prove our point here are 10 things that we loved:
1. It brings back the golden age of flying – We’ve all heard tales of a time when one wore their Sunday best to fly and martinis were copious. We’ll never get those days back, but with The Grand’s design scheme we can still pretend. Colours in the hotel are tarmac grey paired with sky and Robin’s egg blues. The addition of whites makes the hotel feel crisp and laundered. It feels like optimism, all shiny and new.
2. Artwork – The hotel doesn’t bill itself as an art hotel, but it should. All of the artwork in the hotel—the rotating images behind reception, in the rooms and throughout the public areas—are photographs taken by the hotel's owner, Keith Levit.
3. The Room – Spacious and well-thought out, full of flat spaces and cubby holes for our stuff. We had a Deluxe Runway View room (620 sq ft) and—calling all location scouts—it looked directly out onto the apron and runways.
4. Local food done really well – Fresh ingredients including the kitchen’s homegrown micro greens made for a great dinner, and you should see that walk-in wine cellar!
Not ones to apologize for noticing and appreciating the minutiae of a hotel because we do sweat the small stuff, some small but important deets are below:
The grand but totally comfortable, sink-back-into-an-armchair Vista lounge at Montage Deer Valley
Still can’t decide where to stay in Park City? Maybe one of these photos from the top hotels will change your mind.
[All Photos: Nina Kokotas Hahn]
So we've already shown you inside a guest room at the Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles, as well as 14 other cool things to see but today, we're taking you on a tour of the historic United Artists Theater first built in 1927 as the flagship theater for the United Artists movie studio.
The theater has been immaculately preserved throughout its long history (mostly thanks to pastor Gene Scott and his congregation who occupied the theater for about 20 years) and basically all that Ace Hotels needed to do was install some new carpeting and do some touch-ups here and there. (They're also working on building a new box office as the old one could barely hold one person.)
The theater's revitalized glory will be unveiled on February 14th when the hotel hosts their first event, The Spiritualized, which is already sold-out. But until then, guests at the Ace Hotel (like we were last night) aren't able to even peek into the theater. So we decided to give you a good, in-depth glimpse of it now. 3, 2, 1, action!
Photo Gallery / Snapshot / Mexico Hotels / Cabo San Lucas Hotels / Beach Hotels / Hotel Pools / Melia Hotels / → All Tags
While we showed you a quiet alternative in Cabo San Lucas earlier this week, today we're looking at a more lively hotel spot--The ME Cabo. This is where pool, beach and party all come together in a neat little package, ready for you to rip open with life-affirming gusto. But before you go buckwild, we have some important tips to share.
1) Bring your best bathing suit—This is no time to shrink down into your beautiful white Bali bed. The ME experience focuses on the senses and this includes sight, so show what ya got even if you think what ya got ain’t good. Here, attitude counts. With Bali beds for two to eight, sharing and showing a little skin is what it’s all about.
2) Wear your party hat—Nikki Beach Club, known worldwide as party central for house music revellers, can be found right at ME Cabo. We’re talking bikini dancing here, folks. There’s a DJ spinning tracks in an open-air booth while the Nikki Girls (that’s right) try to get the crowd moving to the beat of the electronic drum. Make sure to try the Nikki Mojito, the signature drink Bacardi approached Nikki Beach to create and is found at all Nikki Beach Clubs.
ME Cabo also knows how to throw a good party at Passion, their indoor/outdoor club and lounge. When the music dies down at Nikki Beach, Passion gleefully takes the baton. We were there during the annual Halloween party (if you can, we recommend you try to go during a celebration of some sort as well) and it was packed with both guests and locals. To best describe the vibe that night and the well-dressed or well-costumed patrons, imagine a big-city nightclub owned by Salvador Dali. (We’re digging what you’re thinking right now.)
Design Thursdays / Snapshot / Photo Gallery / Hotel Design / Hotel Food / Hotel Restaurants / Europe Hotels / Estonia Hotels / Tallinn Hotels / → All Tags
Summer was a busy one for this HotelChatter editor as I traveled up the Baltic coast and finally found myself in the cobbled medieval marvel that is Tallinn. There I popped into the Savoy Boutique Hotel to have a look around. What I found was a 44-room property that can best be described as "romantic" (and I don’t use that word lightly).
The lobby is full of sumptuous textured fabrics and comfy seating areas, making you feel as if you're visiting a wealthy family friend’s 17th-century estate. Walls are sienna-colored painted plaster complementing the floral bouquets in the lobby. When you arrive to check-in, you’re handed a house cocktail made with cucumber juice, sparkling wine, lime, and a touch of sugar for sweetness.
Get a peek inside after the break!
When we used the word "intimate" to describe the spa above, we weren't just throwing around a trendy adjective. The spa is truly that, with just two treatment rooms and two private locker rooms, which are called Wet Room 1 and Wet Room 2. But don't let the small size put you off. It's actually a far more relaxing and serene experience than entering some of the super spas we see in hotels today.
When you arrive at Mr. C Spa & Beauty (just one level down from the lobby and next to the fitness center), you'll be taken to one of the Wet Rooms which feature their own shower/steam rooms, a locker complete with a robe and slippers and a vanity sink lined with Mr. C toiletries. And guess what? You're the only one in the room. No awkward exchanges with near-naked guests or long walks to find the showers.
Then once you're ready for your treatment, you can walk mere steps to the relaxation lounge, which features mosaic tile walls and a "starry ceiling" where you await your therapist.
There's no doubt that Chicago has become quite the hotbed for new hotel action in the past few years. From trendy boutique hotels with a definite artsy edge to names that are synonymous with luxury. Fortunately, we got to lay our very own eyes on a new property that fits into the latter category; the Langham Chicago.
Langham opened in July in a 'soft opening' that elicited lots of "oohs" and "ahhs", including our own when we got a glimpse of what's inside the former IBM building along the Chicago River. To the untrained eye, many people wouldn't take note of the building itself, but design junkies will know the building to be the last of famed architect, Mies van der Rohe. It should also be known that the inside pays as much homage to the designer and his building and we couldn't be more wowed.
Full of little details from hanging Czech glass globes in the lobby, designed by London-based Richmond Group, hand-picked art pieces and the subtle tech-y nod to the building's former glory in Travelle, the upscale restaurant on the lobby level; it would be hard to check-in to this hotel and be underwhelmed. Each of the 316 rooms are so well thought out featuring high-end furniture, plush fabrics and sleek marble, in even the basic of rooms.
HotelChatter Reviews / London Hotels / Ace Hotels / Shoreditch Hotels / Hotel News / Photo Gallery / → All Tags
Does the first international venture of Ace Hotels deliver? A HotelChatter Review
We didn’t waste any time waiting to check out what Ace Hotels was cooking up in London’s Shoreditch neighborhood, showing up earlier this week on the very first day guests were allowed through its doors. Over four years after Ace New York made its debut, how did its British – and first international - sibling stack up? Read on to find out.
Check-In: we walked to the hotel from Liverpool Street Station, which is an easy ten-minute stroll. Part of the façade is still covered by scaffolding, but most has come out from underneath, showing the basics of what was there before, with key changes being a darker coat of paint and alterations to the ground and top floors.
A number of guests were being checked in by the enthusiastic staff, who seemed psyched to finally have real-life customers coming through the door. We liked the laid-back attitude, which included being addressed by our first name. Each of the guests on the first night received a voucher for another night’s stay once all the hotel’s facilities are fully operational; we’re not sure how long that will continue for, but it’s a nice touch.