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Burma Week / Burma Hotels / Myanmar Hotels / Mandalay Hotels / Snapshot / Hotel Bars / Hotel Rooftops / → All Tags
Mingalabar! All this week we've been focusing on one of the fastest changing hotel scenes on the globe: Burma, or Myanmar. (For Burma or Myanmar, see here - as fence-sitters, we'll be using the two interchangeably throughout the week.) We’ve already covered your hotel basics, and looked at Yangon: its most expensive hotel, its most historic hotel and its weirdest. Today, we're moving north, on the road to Mandalay.
This looks like a river, but it isn’t just any river. This is the Irrawaddy River, one of the most evocative names in the world (the Mississippi, the Danube, the Nile, the Irrawaddy, etc etc) thanks to the likes of Rudyard Kipling, who referred to it as the Road to Mandalay.
This is the view from the rooftop bar and restaurant at the Ayarwaddy River View Hotel in Mandalay, Burma (the river bisects the country; Ayarwaddy is the current government's spelling). Myanmar’s second city, Mandalay is far more frenetic and modern than Yangon. Stay in the city center, as we did our first night, and you’ll probably wish you hadn’t come. Staying on the Irrawaddy, however, is like sleeping in a different city.
From the rooftop – and from the river-facing rooms – you can see fishing boats, trawlers, and the little cruisers going up and down to Bagan. You can see people washing in the mornings, and the sun setting over the hills in the afternoon. In the evening, look out the other side at the city – there’s a lively temple right behind the hotel.
This is an instance when you’re really paying for location – our entry level room was $100, with a city view (a river view would have been $20 more). The room itself was basic, three star standard – definitely not on a par with other $100 we stayed at in Myanmar. But the location was everything, and hey, they throw in a free ‘traditional’ puppet show on the roof every evening.
Yesterday, we gave you a brief look at the first AC Hotel by Marriott to open in the U.S. We'll have more on the rest of the property and the AC experience next week but we thought we'd leave you with this snapshot of a staple breakfast item at all AC Hotels going forward--croissants.
The buttery, perfectly flaky breakfast pastry is served daily in the AC Kitchen along with other sweet and savory fare, as well as the all-important coffee. (You can get it hot or iced.) But these aren't any old croissants. The dough was made in France, frozen and shipped to New Orleans. It is near perfection. (Perfection is obviously a croissant made and eaten in Paris.)
Breakfast at the AC Kitchen costs $14 for all you can eat. There's no lunch at the kitchen but in the evenings, the adjacent AC Lounge serves up small plates alongside specialty cocktails. We'll have more on that next week as well. Stay tuned!
Another day, another hotel welcome drink. A pineapple milkshake, since you ask – so far, so blah.
But wait, what’s that on the coaster? Ah yes:
ZERO TOLERANCE & SLEAZE FREE ZONE
NO SEX TOURISTS, JUNKIES, LOUTS & OTHER DEGENERATES
Of course, this isn’t the first time the Atlanta has warned you of its guest policy. “SEX TOURISTS NOT WELCOME,” shouts the homepage. “Visitors who object to any of The Atlanta's policies or who intend to spend their time in Thailand whoring, behaving badly, indulging in alcohol abuse and illicit drugs should stay elsewhere,” says the long caveat page. The message is repeated on the email confirming your reservation. And if you hadn’t got it by then, this is what greets you beside the front door:
There is no shortage of killer hotel views in Las Vegas, especially at night, but give us a room where we can admire the Strip from the comfort of a warm, bubble bath and well, that's almost as good as winning the jackpot. Almost.
This is the view from room 528, a Parlour Suite at The Cromwell Hotel, the boutique hotel which opened in May (Previously, the hotel was the old Bill's Gambling Hall.) The suite has over 700-sq.ft. of space with a living/entertaining room that has a small kitchenette and a powder room as well as a bedroom with a large bathroom. The tub, however, is placed in the corner of the bedroom so that it overlooks the Strip. Smart thinking.
Just remember, the windows work both way so you might be putting on your own Jubilee! show for the guests over the way at Bally's.
Next week, we'll have more on what it's like to spend the night at The Cromwell. But if you can't wait, the Parlour Suite is going for $869 and $889 a night this weekend. It drops down to its normal rate of $609 on Monday.
Disclosure: Juliana stayed at The Cromwell as a guest of the hotel.]
While staying at the Sheraton Suites in Kansas City, Miss. the other week--our first Sheraton Suites experience actually--we came across this disaster scenario in our suite with the microwave cord stretched across the sink to the outlet.
We know that any capable adult would take extreme precautions when running either the sink or the microwave in this scenario but still, this is a fire/electrocution hazard just waiting to happen.
Not helping is that we spied a torn off cord of some other kind on the other side of the room as well.
Despite the fear of electrical shocks, we didn't mind the rest of the room, even though it was rather outdated and rather expensive for what it was (over $200 including tax.) The bed was a super comfortable Sheraton Sweet Sleeper bed and the Shine products in the bathroom were excellent. They even came with a little shower poof.
We also liked the complimentary bottled water for Starwood Preferred Guest members and that there was free WiFi in the guest rooms and the lobby. But having the wires carefully tied up and put away would have been a nicer touch.
Snapshot / Hello Kitty Hotels / The Line Hotels / Los Angeles Hotels / Hello Kitty / Sweet Suites / Hotel News / → All Tags
We are kind of at a loss for words right now. We just went into the Hello Kitty Suite at The Line Hotel in Los Angeles and it is all kinds of super kawaii.
The suite was created by a team of designers and artists led by Line designer Sean Knibb in honor of Hello Kitty's 40th birthday, which is also being celebrated with the first official Hello Kitty Con at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in Downtown LA, starting tomorrow. (Knibb was the vision behind the t-shirts on the ceiling at check-in at The Line.)
But there's so much more.
Once again, hotels are going all out for Breast Cancer Awareness month, offering up pink cocktails, pink sheets, and pink-themed room packages.
Yet while we love the pink passion that hotels have this month (especially since costs for your pink hotel purchases go to a breast cancer awareness charity), we're really in love with this giant pink bra that's been hoisted upon the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans.
The 12-foot-high, 25-foot wide, 300-pound pink bra was constructed by artist Jonathan Bertuccelli of Studio3 inc. on behalf of the breast surgeons at The Omega Breast Center at The Omega Hospital in Metairie. It was raised up onto the hotel's exterior by crane on October 15, which was National Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day.
But the bra will get its moment to shine tonight as it will greet hundreds of breast cancer survivors who will be honored tonight at The Pink Gala, hosted by Omega Hospital and New Orleans Living Magazine, at the Windsor Court Hotel.
The bra will stay on the hotel until October 20. If you're in New Orleans, hurry by to see it!
[Photos: Windsor Court Hotel]
Because who doesn't love a man who irons?
There was one thing that really stood out for us when we stayed at Moxy Milan last week. A free-flow work-eat-drink-socialize space? Nope. A surfeit of millennials selfie-ing their way around said work-eat-drink-socialize space? Nah – although it made a lovely change not to be the only one obsessively photographing every single yoghurt in the to-go fridge.
No, it was the men. Sexy, semi-naked men. Tattooed, ripped, even dressed – man flesh at every turn. Behold!
A shirtless man on the room key:
A shirtless tattooed man in the ironing room (no, those abs aren’t making you see double, he was on the inside and outside wall – and the outside one was more graphic #boxers):
Now this is how you encourage repeat visitors.
When we checked into the Vintage Hotel in Brussels a few weeks ago, we found this confection on the bed. Two Jules Destrooper waffle cookies – yes please! And this “keep calm and let’s make a deal” card which, when you turned it over, offered 10% off future stays.
Now, of course, 10% isn’t much, not for a hotel where rooms hover around the €100 mark. It’s not the kind of deal to see you hopping on the next Eurostar. But that’s not the point – the point is that it makes you think they value your patronage, and that’s the kind of thing that makes you want to book again.
You might have heard of Chicken Shop, the ever so trendy (but tiny) restaurant chain owned by the people behind Soho House. You might have heard that its fourth London outpost opened this weekend in the Hoxton Holborn. You might pop along to the Hox, and stride confidently past the people flooding the open-plan bar and lobby area, towards the restaurant at the back.
“Is this the Chicken Shop?” you might ask the perfectly made up, beautifully dressed ladies looking you quizzically up and down at the restaurant entrance. And they will say: no.
You see, the restaurant in the lobby is Hubbard & Bell, “dishing up Brooklyn grill style grub”, as the website says. Chicken Shop, on the other hand, is an underground restaurant. As in, it’s actually underground. And unmarked. And the closest to a secret restaurant you will get in the London hotel scene.
Snapshot / Hotel Selfies / Selfies / Hotel Social Media / Athens Hotels / Luxury Collection Hotels / Greece Hotels / Hotel Rooftops / Killer View / → All Tags
If there’s one thing that’ll get us on a plane to Athens, it’s a designated selfie spot. We jest, of course – but the idea of a designated selfie spot was so
horrifying compelling that during an afternoon in Athens last week, we had to go and see it for ourselves.
The selfie spot is at the Grande Bretagne in Syntagma Square (Athens' main square), though to our relief, when we asked at the concierge desk where to find it, they had absolutely no idea what we were talking about. To save you the mortification of trying to explain the concept of a selfie spot to an Athenian - right there in the cradle of democracy, literature, philosophy and everything else that selfies run in the face of - just head to the rooftop bar and restaurant.
The selfie spot, it has to be said, is incredible in the flesh. Of course, an Acropolis view in Athens is no big deal - the majority of hotels have them from rooftop terraces, if not from the rooms themselves. But most Acropolis views are not like this (the only one that comes close, we reckon, is the Hilton, which is a little further out of the city center). The Grande Bretagne not only dominates the skyline around it, meaning you’re looking straight at the Parthenon, but glance to your left and you’re looking straight at the Greek Parliament, with the Evzones soldiers trooping around the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier every hour.
Hotel Memories / Snapshot / Hotel Toiletries / Hotel Rants / NH Hotels / Hotel Amenities / Bathroom Amenities / → All Tags
Our name is HotelChatter and we are addicted to hotel toiletries.
Designer, cult, no-name motel brands – we can’t get enough. We stash them away every night in our suitcase, so housekeeping gives us more. We check out with bagfuls of the stuff. We haven’t bought soap or shampoo in years.
Hotel toiletries are the first things that always crop up in those articles that always crop up – the ones asking what is ok and not ok to take from hotel rooms. (Spoiler: it’s always the toiletries and stationery that’s ok, everything else is off limits.)
Recently we’ve noticed a decline in hotel toiletries. Smaller bottles. Fewer restocks. A sparser selection of products. Those wall dispensers that, much as we want to be eco, we can’t quite get around to accepting.
We live, of course, us inhabitants of HotelChatter Towers, surrounded by hotel toiletries (a shoebox of soap, one of shampoo and conditioner, one of body lotion). And we tend to grab them without much thought – it’s hard to remember just where that bottle of CO Bigelow came from, after all.
But, spring cleaning this week, we stumbled upon another shoebox full of body lotion – one collected in happier times, around 2006-2008. Perhaps it’s coincidence, perhaps it’s pre-financial crisis, but we noticed that most of these bottles had been personalized to the hotels – and we had a Proustian moment, there in the bathroom, remembering the various trips.