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One of the things that makes Casa de Campo appealing is that it has everything from nicely-designed rooms that start at $187, villas that start at around $850 and go up from there, and truly extravagant owned properties. This makes it not just a hotel or resort, but a community – granted, a pretty wealthy community. But no matter where you find yourself in that rich and fabulous scale you still get to experience everything the resort’s got going on.
The sugar-baron owners of Casa de Campo started out with sugar cane fields, then added a rum distillery (which produces a very nice sipping rum, Atlantico, which is a crime to hide in a sweet sissy cocktail so make sure to try some straight), then purchased and expanded the hotel in order to house their visiting business colleagues. From there, the Fanjul family started adding things as they saw a need or which friends and guests started asking for.
What that means is that today the resort has a horse ranch, a shooting center, a marina and even a small town. This is, of course, in addition to the family-owned La Romana Airport and a cruise ship port that was recently built. Holy mega wealth.
Although this contributing editor would have been pretty happy simply putt-putting around in her golf cart (one comes with each room and villa) looking at all the lush and lovely scenery, I recognize that this might not be everyone's idea of a trip to the tropics. So in the spirit of sharing, check out what else you can do below.
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We recently had the chance to have a look at the luxe 7,000-acre Casa de Campo in the DR so that we could sus out exactly why celebs like Beyoncé and Jay-Z, The Kardashians, Michael Jordan and the Clintons – even the final two episodes of The Bachelorette last season were filmed here – choose this resort as their tropical home-away-from-home.
We think that the answer is this: When you close your eyes and imagine a chic West Indies design idyll – dark mahogany wood, stone flooring (the native Coralina stone with a distinctive mottled pattern), sandy taupe furnishings, crisp white sun shades and linens to match – this is the place where it actually exists. Add to that rooms that are over 600 sq ft and villas that can be bought or rented and sleep up to 14 people (or more if you’re creative), and it’s quite the set-up.
Lots of room and villa pics below!
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If you’re looking for take-out that will complement your fashionable black-tie outfit, The Mark is the place to go to get your pizza-to-go.
The Mark Restaurant by Jean-Georges has just started offering their gourmet pizzas on a “get it to go” basis, and they enlisted design shop Pandiscio & Co. to come up with a chichi box design that incorporates the hotel’s iconic black-and-white stripe from the lobby floor.
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Third floor of the redesigned Penthouse Suite
We love hotel renovations nearly just as much as we love new hotels. But what we really love about hotel renovations is seeing the transformation that happens when an old, tired and lackluster room gets a modern makeover and transforms into new, spiffed-up, stylish guest room. Or put more simply, we love comparing the Before and After.
When we hear of hotel room renos, the rooms have often gotten to such a sad state of un-fabulousness that, in order to keep people coming back, they simply have to update them or risk being forgotten and going the way of the horse and buggy.
This is not so in the case of the SoHo Metropolitan and its Penthouse Suite renovation. As we mentioned last week, the SoHo Met was looking pretty fine when we were there and is still popular with the cool kids of the celebrity kind. The reno’ed Penthouse Suite, which was just completed before Will Smith moved in, has managed to keep some of the old yet bring in the new to create a very New York loft feel with floor-to-ceiling windows and an in-suite glass elevator.
The three-story, 4,000-square-foot suite has two bedrooms, five washrooms, a Kohler Sok infinity tub with chromatherapy, multiple fireplaces, a library, dining room, two living rooms, two kitchens, multiple wide-screen TVs, a Crestron entertainment panel, in-suite security system and a rooftop terrace overlooking the city with hot-tub and built-in grill. That's quite a mouthful!
Like what you see below? Let us know what you think!
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If you look up the SoHo Metropolitan (part of Preferred Hotels & Resorts) on a tourism site, chances are pretty good that you won’t find it there. And if you ask your airport taxi driver to take you to take you to the hotel, you might have to give him/her the address in order to make it. But do you know who does know about the hotel? Film and music celebs, that’s who.
We checked out the hotel on a recent trip to Corktown (AKA Toronto, and for you history fiends, the nickname came about from an old historic neighborhood in the center of the city) because we wanted to know what draws all of those bright shining stars to the hotel? Following are the five main reasons why we think this is their pied-à-terre of choice. (With more pics in the Photo Gallery!).
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So much hotel news, so little time – here are a few snippets to keep you up to date with the latest news from around the world, from shiny new things in Paris to reservations in Milan and new global partnerships.
Viceroy Hotels joins Global Hotel Alliance: starting at partnerships, in a move we did not expect, Viceroy has signed up to join Global Hotel Alliance (GHA). While Kempinski and Pan Pacific are two brands we usually think of when we hear GHA, the list is a lot longer than that, including brands like Anantara, Per Aquum, Omni Hotels, QT, and more for a total of 31 brands and 550+ hotels. Now if Viceroy would move on with its plans for L’Ermitage Bevery Hills and Viceroy Istanbul, we’d be all sorts of happy.
Pulitzer Amsterdam picks Preferred Hotels: we knew Hotel Pulitzer was leaving Starwood’s Luxury Collection, but our wish for something as exciting as Four Seasons Hotel Pulitzer to happen (after a mega renovation, of course) was not to be. Renovations will happen, but the hotel has joined Preferred Hotels new LVX collection (pronounced “Lux” and yes that irks us too). If you want to know more about Preferred’s new collections, go here.
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What says, “Let’s snuggle in from the cold” better than a cup of hot chocolate? The hot choco cups coming from these three hotels should give Hershey's Cocoa Powder an inferiority complex.
The Mark Hotel in New York (a Preferred Hotel) has opened up their Mark Cocoa Kiosk just outside the hotel’s doors. The festive Kiosk has their signature Jacques Grange black and white stripe and serves The Mark Glazed Gingerbread to go along with their decadent, over-flowing with whipping cream, Jean-Georges Cocoa concoction. If you’re in the neighborhood and need a break from shopping on Madison, stop in and enjoy: the price is $8 for the cocoa and $4 for a two-pack of the cookies (guests enjoy them at no cost). Open daily throughout the holidays.
The keys were handed back last week, but you can still make reservations through Kempinski until September 10. If you have a booking for a future date, don’t worry – all existing reservations will be honoured as made. All staff remains with the property as well.
The Stafford isn’t going at it completely alone; by September 10 it will join Preferred Hotels & Resorts. The addition of The Stafford will take the total number of Preferred hotels in London to nine; existing properties include the ME London as well as the upcoming Beaumont Hotel.
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As Week 1 of HotelChatter Cocktail Week(s) wraps up, here's a run-down of some of the nifty things we see going on in the world of hotel bars and bevvies. What do you see goin’ on out there? Let us know in the comments below!
There’s so Much More to Syrup Than Maple –
If you’re into cocktails there’s a pretty good chance you’ve made your own simple syrup but these hotels are going beyond the norm and creating some pretty exotic specialty syrups.
At Fifteen Beacon’s Mooo (a Preferred Hotel) they make all of their syrup’s in-house, but we particularly liked the sound of the House made Celery Lemongrass Syrup that they use in their Celery 75 cocktail, made with Berkshire Greylock gin, Prosecco, strawberry, and the syrup, of course.
Cost to imbibe: $14
Cost to stay at the hotel 'cause you've imbibed: Starts at $479
And here’s an exotic beauty from the W Bangkok: the Chor Muang cocktail. You have absolutely no hope of making this drink at home since it’s made with Butterfly Pea Flower House Made Syrup – a flower that has become so rare that it’s difficult to find it in Thai markets. This elusive ingredient, however, makes it popular with guests who want something authentically Thai, and with locals who want the same. Other ingredients in this cocktail include Butterfly Flower-infused raspberry vodka, lime juice, and it’s garnished with – here we go – a 24-carat gold dust-dipped Butterfly Flower.
Cost to imbibe: THB $275 ($9)
Cost to stay at the hotel 'cause you've imbibed: Starts at THB 4,788 ($150)
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Now that the word is out regarding the sale of the Mondrian Soho to the Buddha-Bar Hotel Collection owner, Gerard Guez, we thought you might like to have a peek at the fairly-new Buddha-Bar Hotel Paris (opened as a Preferred Boutique Hotel in June 2013) to get an idea of what all the brouhaha is about regarding these properties in Paris, Prague and Budapest.
The 56-room Buddha-Bar Hotel Paris is located right in the fashion heart of the 8th arrondissement (and is often used in fashion shoots), just off Faubourg Saint-Honoré but, when you enter, you feel as if you’re not in Kansas (or Paris) anymore. All looks standard-issue Paris on the outside of the 1734 building, but step inside to face the 120 red-glass lanterns hanging at the entrance, and you imagine that you’ve been thrown into the movie classic, “Shanghai Express.”
With just a hint of opium-den design, the hotel and its rooms are full of mahogany wood, red or black lacquered doors and tabletops, golden brown or yellow walls and carpets, and grey or red sofas and chairs. Greeting you in the lobby, besides the Buddha-like black cat, is the Chinese Dragon woven into the carpet – a motif you’ll find throughout the hotel – as the official protector of travelers to this, and other, foreign lands.
Have a look at the photo gallery!
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We hate to keep going on about summer ending soon and all but, as if to prove our point, time’s running out on some of these fave seasonal cocktails. You better get ‘em while you can.
The bar downstairs at the Andaz 5th Avenue has some summery cocktails on offer until September 30. The two most popular are the Taken to Task, containing Aylesbury Duck vodka, lemon, Cochhi Americano, berries and orange bitters, and the Scarlet Rum Old-Fashioned, with Flor de Caña 7 year rum, Scarlet Ibis rum, Clear Creek Pear Liqueur and Angostura bitters. Mmm… boozy.
The Waldorf Astoria New York has U.S. Open fever and is offering a grand slam of a cocktail during the run of the matches in August and September. The Tennis Ball features the hotel’s Top of the Waldorf Honey produced by the six apiaries on the 20th floor along with Zubrowka Bison Grass vodka, Cocchi Americano, Midori melon liqueur and fresh lemon juice.
Two more "can't misses" below!
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What's It Like Inside a Nordic "Palace"? A HotelChatter Review
If you've not been to the Nordic city of Copenhagen , we gotta tell ya, their hotel scene is hopping with some real beauts! We've just returned and we're eager to share our hotel observations with you. First up is our take on the Palace Hotel Copenhagen. (Stay tuned for other Copenhagen Hotel Scene stories in the coming weeks!)
The 169-room Palace Hotel Copenhagen (formerly a Le Méridien and now owned by Scandic Hotels and part of the Preferred Hotel Group) originally opened in 1910 by a butcher who had a dream to own an “international” hotel. Anders Jensen hired young architect Anton Rosen to design the hotel, both inside and out, from the furniture to buttons on uniforms. Rosen’s Art Nouveau aesthetic still carries on today because subsequent designers hired to update and modernize the hotel from top-to-bottom in 2008 were insightful enough to ensure that the Palace Hotel nodded “hey” to its roots.
So let’s get to it. Plenty of pics below!