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But did you know the chocolate theme stretches as far as the sheets on the bed?
G Rough behind Pasquino
When in Rome… well, you know what to do.
But contrary to what tourist tradition might have you believe, Romans don’t toss coins in the Trevi Fountain, or idle away hours squatting on the Spanish Steps. They don’t really do Piazza Navona, either. Instead, they head for a little square just behind Piazza Navona: Piazza di Pasquino.
When the G-Rough opened in Rome on 23 March, much was made of its modern style – a completely new departure for the city, neither traditional nor modern. Nobody mentioned its location, other than the fact that it’s central. But it turns out that the G-Rough has one of the most fascinating locations in the Eternal City.
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So when we were in town last week, we couldn’t help popping over to get a peek of both of them from the rooftop bar at the Hilton Molino Stucky.
WiFi options from a ferry 10 minutes away from St Mark's Square
Fast, free WiFi is, in our opinion, a basic hotel right. Mobile WiFi? That’s an amazing added extra. WiFi that’s so strong the signal stretches across the city? Monsieur, now you are really spoiling us.
* Out around the Biennale/Arsenale, coming in on the ferry from the airport (about a 20-minute walk from the Danieli);
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Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires. You can see it from the ground, a little dirty, a little noisy from the traffic, and sometimes even a little alarming, thanks to the anti-Falklands/pro-Malvinas encampment in there. You can hold onto your bag like there’s no tomorrow, and take a photo of the Casa Rosada through the metal barriers that may or may not be up.
Or you can see it from on high, in your swimsuit.
Hotel Service Charges / Hotel Service / Snapshot / London Hotels / Belgravia Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Hotel Bars / → All Tags
Service charges – a topic that’s been in our minds on HC recently. The ethics of room service charges got us all wound up the other week, but what about normal service charges – the type that get added automatically to your bill, before you can say whether or not you wanted to leave a tip?
Automatic gratuities are becoming the norm in London now, with 12.5% the normal whack (apart from our funny little friends at Belgraves who automatically add 15%, thank you very much). For reference, 10% is what one would normally tip in London.
But here is the genteel way to present your service charge:
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When is a Room Mate not a Room Mate? When it’s your Argentinian Room Mate.
This is the lobby of the Htl 9 de Julio (a proper millennial name, if ever there was one) in Buenos Aires. At least, that’s what the sign on the door says. But inside the building, it’s a different story. The signs in the elevators? Room Mate hotels. The floorplans? Room Mate. The emergency exit and bathroom signs? Room Mate.
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Ignore the Simpsons-style clouds, and have a look at the architecture. Pretty nice, right? Even nicer when you consider where this is: the Ciudad Vieja of Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay.
There aren’t many hotels in the Ciudad Vieja, and there are even fewer with rooftop terraces. But this is the view from the Alma Historica Boutique Hotel, which opened a month ago in a historical mansion on Plaza Zabala, the tranquil, second square of the old town.
It’s cold in Bosnia Herzegovina at the moment, really cold. In Mostar on New Year’s Eve, when we snapped this photo, there was a wind chill of 17 farenheit. Which made it difficult to get out into the Old Town and see the famous, and tragic, Mostar Bridge, a UNESCO World Heritage area.
Luckily, from our room at Villa Anri, we could sit inside and see the bridge – the reason we were in Mostar in the first place – from the comfort of our room.
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: