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The Radisson Blu Aqua in Chicago changed the city's skyline when it first opened four years ago, the first Radisson Blu on U.S. shores. Now the hotel has made some changes to its lobby, marrying an industrial-style with a modern twist.
Don't worry, they've kept the flashy gold disc wall. But now, the walls opposite this eye-catching feature black and white photography from local artist, Vivian Maier.
Maier, transplanted from the East Coast via Paris, lived on the North Shore of Chicago for 40 years prior to her death and captured the lively street scenes of the Second City in ghostly black and white. Radisson Blu's new lobby features the 11 best pieces from her portfolio, all of which are photos of Chicago's streets and avenues.
The framed images are a perfect addition to the brick walls in the lobby and offer up a little something to look at while enjoying a cocktail (or two) in the cool bar. If your visiting the city and want to see more of the acclaimed artist, head west a few blocks to Harold Washington Library where a full exhibition is on display until September.
Rates at the Radisson Blu start around $340 a night for a weekend in early June.
[Photos: Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago]
On May 1, Radisson Blu welcomes guests to its first hotel in Thailand’s capital, the Radisson Blu Plaza Bangkok. The brainchild of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Radisson Blu Hotels extends its reach into Asia, as does everyone else, while continuing to offer up its universally appealing style of hospitality.
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Well, after only four years of operating under the Radisson Blu brand, the property has been bought by Riu Hotel & Resorts for $45 million and will undergo a name change to the Riu Palace St. Martin on June 1st.
While it has yet to be announced whether Riu will make any physical changes to the property, we do know that it will become an entirely all-inclusive resort under the new ownership. There was an all-inclusive option under Radisson, but it was not an all-inclusive property.
Given that Oslo is considered to be one of the world' most expensive cities for American travelers, we were surprised when we saw that its average hotel rate was lower than that of New York City. And it appears it's not just hostels dragging down the average -- we found three pretty solid hotel options in the city center with reasonable rates. Turns out, a room in Oslo won't cost you an arm and a leg.
The Thief: We did a big write up on this luxury hotel when it opened last year. It is easily one, if not the, nicest hotel in the city (think lights that turn on automatically when you walk into the room). The name comes from its location on an island once referred to as "Thief Island" in reference to its tendency to harbor seedy loiterers. Rates start at $274/night, but the most common rate a few months out was $323/night.
The calendar just flipped to December, which means it is officially the Caribbean season as much as it is the Christmas season. We know many of you are planning jaunts to greener waters, and you might be interested to know that if you choose the Radisson Blu St. Martin, you can get picked up from the airport in a boat.
The hotel's water shuttle service scoops you up at Princess Juliana International Airport and takes you on a 30-minute ride to the resort's full-service marina, which is right on property and a short walk from the lobby. The shuttle travels up the west side of the island past Simpson Bay and Grand Case.
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Black Friday and Cyber Monday always brings out the crazy in people. We've all seen the reports of people fighting at the store for discounted merchandise and of people staying up until midnight in front of their computers to drop items into their virtual shopping carts. But today's Cyber Monday promotion offered by the Radisson Blu Warwick in Philadelphia has people up in arms for a very good reason.
The hotel's Cyber Monday deal, one of our favorites in our ultimate guide, promised "newly redesigned business class rooms for just $19.26, the year the historic hotel opened." The deal would only be available for 24 hours or until the deal sold out. But when many folks signed on to get the deal at midnight, it was already sold-out. So what in the world happened?
A tipster let us know that the hotel had put up an incorrect auto-populated code of STEAL when it was really CYBER, thus not allowing people to book the rooms. The hotel's booking link is now saying CYBER but an upset Facebook fan posted a screengrab of the wrong code on the Radisson Blu's Facebook page. Oops. You can read more of the angry Facebook reactions if you dare.
The good news is that the deal is still very much valid.
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Jacobsen's Room 606
Few can deny that Danish architect Arne Jacobsen, creator of the Egg, the Swan and the Series 7 chairs, was one of the most iconic architects and designers of the modernist era. Could the Radisson Blu Royal Copenhagen be his finest achievement? We went on an exploratory mission to check out what was said to be the “landmark of the jet age.”
The hotel opened in 1960 and was originally built by SAS to accommodate both its first airport terminal and its passengers who needed to stay overnight to catch a flight out of Copenhagen. After a night at the hotel, passengers would check in for their flight in the terminal building attached, and wait for the airline's shuttle bus to take them to the airport.
Today, the hotel still has the same clean lines and simple detail that it had back then. The famous Jacobsen Egg and Swan chairs, originally designed for the hotel, are still found throughout the very large black-and-white-marbled lobby and in the rooms. The elegantly curved white lobby staircase pushed the limits of technology in the late 50s and looks like it could be found in a loft from 2013. Other original details include the dark wenge wood found on the main floor of the hotel. Jacobsen designed everything from the cutlery and plates, bathroom fittings and door handles to the chairs and lighting fixtures.
(There are plenty of pics for you to see in the photo gallery!)
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Last month, the 500-room Radisson Blu Mall of America became the second Radisson Blu to open in the US (after Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago). But one thing that sets this place apart from Chicago (and all other subsequent Rad Blus) is that it directly connects to the Mall of America, with its 530 shops, 5 major department stores, multiple food courts, indoor theme park, and 14-screen movie theater. If they want, hotel guests can even arrange for a personal shopper and bag pick-up to maximize the experience. Rates from $174/night.
For more mall hotel awesome-ness in Hong Kong, Dubai, and Houston, read on!
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The Radisson Plaza Hotel Minneapolis has few flaws. Reviews are great, in fact. Out of towners love its comfort, reliability, cleanliness, and proximity to downtown attractions. Locals love the in-house FireLake Grill and lobby bar. So far, so good, right? Of course, there's a but...
There's one complaint that we see pop up now and then from guests--it's that the hotel's service can be impersonal at times and that it just doesn't sparkle the way they envisioned a 4-star hotel should.
Well, we think we can consider that problem officially solved. Last week, Radisson announced the property will be converted into a Radisson Blu, meaning if the hotel is considered "upscale" now, it will soon be "upper-upscale." Basically, more Ps and Qs, and maybe a white glove or two.
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There's tons of hotel news flying around this week and we don't have time to give each and every story the love and attention it may deserve, so you will have to settle for some news briefs.
· The Next Radisson Blu Will Be In Philly: In other Radisson news today, the Radisson Plaza Warwick in Philadelphia is undergoing a $17 million renovation that will see the hotel converted into a Radisson Blu property by this summer. This will be the fourth Radisson Blu to open in America, after this month's Mall of America opening. The Warwick, which originally opened in 1926, contains 297 rooms, 4 suites, a fitness center, 3 dining venues, and is even listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
For more juicy hotel news, read on!
Fans of David Bowie, mark your calendars: London’s Victoria & Albert museum will be hosting the “David Bowie Is” exhibit from March 28 to July 28 this year. Based on unprecedented access to the David Bowie Archive to curate “the first international retrospective” of the star’s career, it features over 300 objects, from Ziggy Stardust bodysuits and album artwork to personal sketches and handwritten lyrics.