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The new TV show, "Jane The Virgin" is not just the answer to the prayers of "Ugly Betty" fans, who have been in mourning since the show went off the air a few years ago. "Jane The Virgin" is also extremely clever and funny, yet unabashedly apologetic about its soapy premise.
That premise involves Jane, a virgin who's about to get engaged, getting accidentally inseminated by a distracted gynecologist, who just happened to use her brother's last surviving sperm which he had frozen before his chemotherapy treatment. (It's the brother of the gynecologist, not Jane's. No one is ready to see a show about accidental incest. No one.)
Further complicating matters is that Jane happens to work for the brother, named Rafael, and they even shared a kiss once upon a time. Obviously, her fiancée is not pleased. About the baby and about her job working for the baby's daddy.
Meanwhile, Jane's mom, a wannabe singer, has recently been in bed, er, in touch with Jane's father, who Jane has never known about. And Jane's father just happens to be a big time novella star of a show that Jane is addicted to watching. Ay, Yi, Yi!
But for us hotel nerds, we like a different kind of drama in play on, and off, the show.
Hotel Restaurants / Hotel Bars / Hotel Wine / Celebrity Scoop / Barcelona Hotels / Ritz-Carlton Hotels / → All Tags
Question: What do you get the person who has everything? (This is the question which possibly, probably foxed Brad Pitt as he debated whether to go to a certain celebrity wedding.)
Answer: A ticket to Barcelona for a meal at Hotel Arts. (Shame Brad didn't think of this, he might have got a Venetian holiday out of it.)
Why? Because it’s truffle season, and the hotel’s two Michelin-starred restaurant, Enoteca, is running a special white truffle tasting menu throughout November. It’s not just special because it involves white truffles – the dishes come with wine pairings, and those wines include the award-winning Miraval rosé. Not familiar with said rosé? It’s from Brangelina’s estate in Provence, and is not publicly for sale. Enough said.
Last week, we touched on what really goes on when an item of yours goes missing at a hotel. But over at the Ritz-Carlton Herzliya in Israel, it looks like there's a complete different protocol for staff to follow. Especially when Italian shoes are involved.
A recent guest of the hotel forwarded us this story about a different guest who left his pricey Salvatore Ferragamo shoes behind. When the guest called the hotel to tell them he left his shoes behind, the hotel had trouble finding them since they were in the midst of opening and things were chaotic in the back of the house.
Nevertheless, they did find the shoes and returned them to the owner but not before photographing the shoes in different places around the country like the Dead Sea and Jerusalem. They even penned a letter from the shoes to his owner. (Shown above.) Our favorite line? The last one:
Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island did something similar with a child's stuffed animal last year too. We only hope the owner of the Ferragamos didn't mind his shoes going everywhere in Israel without him. Like, we're kind of jealous of those shoes right now.
"I could have gone more and more but I was missing you like hell and I was afraid you replaced me with some brown Gucci pair so I am rushing home and hope we meet soon."
[Photo via HC tipster]
Frank's Bar, pre Japanese makeover
What’s better than a pop-up restaurant? A Michelin starred pop-up restaurant. So book your tickets to Barcelona, where the Hotel Arts is bringing over Kabuki – a highly rated Japanese restaurant, and not just by the Michelin men – for a week from 13-19 October.
Checf Ricardo Sanz already has Kabukis in Madrid (two branches, including the Hotel Wellington) and Tenerife (at the Ritz-Carlton), and next week he’ll be at Frank’s Bar at the Arts. Expect Michelin-worthy sushi, sashimi and salads from the bar-turned-sushi-counter; sake pairings guided by Kabuki’s own sake consultant; and a selection of Kabuki’s “Asian cocktails”. The décor of the bar will also get a Japanese feel.
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Just as we suspected, Ritz-Carlton Hotels is taking over the 124 rooms and suites at the luxury resort, One Bal Harbour in October and here's official proof that the takeover is happening: Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour website is up with a note that reservations will be accepted starting October 2.
Maybe there is something in the water at this hotel. The property first opened in 2008 as a Regent Hotel.
So far, it looks like nothing will change, at least not superficially. Mister Collins, the all-day dining restaurant, will remain open as will the spa. Guestrooms start at 510-sq.ft. and most have full or partial ocean views. One and two-bedrooom suites are also available, starting at 1,657-sq.ft. with private terraces and full kitchens. Ritz will, however, bring in both their Ritz kids and Ritz pets programs.
We weren't able to make a reservation yet on the Ritz site but rooms were still available on the One Bal Harbour site for $549 a night on October 2. There was no mention of the Ritz switch so we'd be careful about making a reservation right now.
The other day we were tipped off to a rumor that Ritz-Carlton Hotels would be taking over the swank One Bal Harbour Resort & Spa in Miami on October 1. (The hotel is currently a part of the Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels portfolio. Previously, it was a Regent Hotel.)
Before you get your La Perla and/or Hugo Boss undergarments in a bunch, nothing has been confirmed. Indeed, when you make a reservation on One Bal Harbour's website for next month, there is no mention of the RC takeover. Similarly, Marriott's Find a Hotel search function has no Ritz-Carltons listed in Bal Harbour. And combing random pages on the internet is also turning up nothing. But usually when we hear a whisper on the hotel grapevine, it turns out to be
a done deal true. Now, we'll just have to wait and see.
Currently, One Bal Harbour charges no resort fee. Meanwhile, Ritz-Carlton South Beach is going to start charging a $25 fee on October 1.
[Photo: One Bal Harbour/Facebook]
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While we're on the topic of hotel fees, we've just learned that the Ritz-Carlton South Beach will start charging a $25 resort fee, per night on October 1. Here's what will be included with that extra $25 + tax a night.
· Complimentary 5mb wireless Internet access for up to 5 devices in guest rooms, lobby and most common areas.
· Beach chairs and umbrellas
· Beach Activities including boogie boards, skim boards, beach paddle tennis, bocce ball and corn hole court
· One hour daily fitness class
· 24-hour access to fitness center
· Use of hotel bicycles
· Unlimited local calls
· Bottled water in guest rooms
· Access to daily tour of the hotel’s art collection
Well, at least it includes internet on multiple devices.
Resort fees in South Beach are actually quite common. We stumbled across one at The Surfcomber, a Kimpton Hotel, last fall. For $20 a night, you get morning coffee, two beach chairs, poolside amenities like sunscreen and flavor-infused water and a $10 F&B credit.
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Howdy folks! There is so much hotel news flying around this week, we just don't have enough time to focus on all of it. Seriously, did all you hotelie people save it up for Labor Day Weekend? Sheesh. Anyways, here's a quick rundown to get you up to speed on the latest. More news will obviously be forthcoming.
Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort is Coming Soon: Get ready, Parrotheads! A beach resort inspired by singer Jimmy Buffett will open on the beach in Hollywood, Fla. in 2015. It will have 349 rooms, 17 stories, a Margaritaville Landshark Bar & Grill, a License to Chill rooftop bar, the Lone Palm Bar and a 5 O'Clock Somewhere Bar. There will also be a 15,000-sq.ft. St. Somewhere Spa and an "authentic 'no worries' tropical vibe" present throughout.
The Diplomat Becomes a Curio Hotel: The Westin Diplomat in Fort Lauderdale, a massive convention center hotel, is doing away with the white green tea scent in its lobby as it rebrands from a Westin to a Curio Collection hotel by Hilton. The hotel was recently acquired by the Thayer Lodging Group who will make the change to Hilton in October. The property will also undergo a $100 million enhancement. The new name will officially be The Diplomat Resort & Spa.
Waldorf Astoria Naples Will Be No More: TripAdvisor reviewers were mumbling about the changes that are coming to this luxury hotel in Naples, Fla. Apparently, the hotel was recently sold and is now undergoing renovations and will go back to its former name of The Naples Grande Beach Resort. Which is perhaps best since most reviewers complained the property was not up to Waldorf standards. Renovations are expected to be done in January 2015. The name change could come at the same time too.
Auberge To Launch New Brand in Napa, After St. Regis Drops Out: Uh-oh. This is not good. A luxury resort in Napa, Calif. has not even opened yet and already it has switched management hands. The 117-room resort on Stanley Ranch has gone from a St. Regis to an Auberge Resort. It will open, possibly in 2017, as a "VieVage" resort which is a new brand from Auberg, that will be less expensive, more casual and more family-friendly than other Auberges. Here's more on VieVage. We'll be thinking good thoughts.
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We've been keeping tabs on all the Marriott International hotel brands that have been rolling out the option of checking-in via their respective apps and now, Ritz-Carlton Hotels can be added to the list.
The luxury brand's newest app includes the options of doing both check-in and check-out, as well as folio reviews, exclusive local content, special offers, food and beverage orders (at select hotels), and most interesting, real-time service requests.
Ritz-Carlton is already pioneering this function at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, in Florida where guests can make food and beverage requests while at the pool. The order is sent from the guest phone to the bar and is fulfilled right away. That means you don't have to lay in your lounge chair, meekly calling, "Miss? Miss? Sir? Sir?" while servers fly by you, unaware that you'd like another margarita.
The app will also introduce a shareable "Travel Poster" feature on October 1. In short, it will be Ritz-Carlton's own version of Instagram where guests can pretty up their photos with retro-style special filters, titles and stamps. The photo will then be shared across social media or else, saved to the phone's camera roll. Start gathering your witty Ritz-Carlton hashtags now.
[Screenshot: Ritz-Carlton Hotels]
Taken early afternoon, it was pushing 113F (45C), which felt like having a hairdryer on max in your face at all times, and meant no guest was brave enough to lounge in the scorching sun. We certainly weren’t, and headed straight to the lovely Six Senses Spa to hide out until the evening cool set in.
“Cool” being a relative term, because even in the middle of the night it didn’t drop much below 90F (30C), but the darkness did show the pool in a different light, with the star-filled sky effect adding a nice touch.
A Bed and Breakfast package at Sharq Village starts at 1395QAR ($380) a night, with a number of other offers available.
In space-constricted Japan (50% of the 127 million people live on 2% of the land), the size of a room isn’t typically looked at by square meter or square foot, but by the number of Tatami mats that fit inside.
That looks something like the above, and no, we didn’t ask The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto to take all the furniture out of the room for the photo: this is the bedroom of a traditional Tatami Suite at the hotel, which means every evening your equally traditional futon-style bed (two singles) will be made up for you. We had a chance to look inside the hotel during a recent visit to Kyoto, four months after the hotel opened on February 7 this year.
What better way to kick off the holiday weekend than by sampling a chilled s'mores concoction on the waterfront? That's what we did today at the Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey in Los Angeles.
The hotel recently opened a brand new, farm-to-table restaurant concept called Cast & Plow. Previously, this space was home to the stuffy JER-NE restaurant. But the entire dining room, as well as the extended lobby space, was gutted to create a light, airy and breezy social setting, complete with flat-screen TVs and communal tables with outlets.
Cast & Plow prides itself on locally sourcing ingredients and the menu even shows you exactly where the food comes from in California. The shareable dishes like a cheese plate ($14), kale chips ($7) and avocado & chips ($12, the avocado is mixed with blue cheese and sriracha) make Cast & Plow a great place for a quick bites while larger entrees like the chicken sandwich ($17), a local cod with grilled corn ($24) and an all-natural prime beef hamburger ($19) give you an excuse to linger and admire the incredible view. Boats, boats, and more boats!