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Last week we started a new weekly series of what’s trending in hotels these days: What’s Out, What’s In. Do we like what we see? Think it's a dud? You be the judge!
What’s Out: Cooking classes
What’s In: Creative classes
Not so very long ago, we realized that more and more hotels the world over were bringing in art concierges to help guide you through their hotel’s art collection, or to steer you in the right direction if you wanted to take in the local art scene or perhaps buy a couple of noteworthy pieces from local artistes. Well some hotels have taken this further and are hooking their guests up with local artists to give them a hands-on experience with the added bonus of giving you a pretty nifty souvenir to bring home.
Here are some prime examples:
Hotel Openings / Hotel News / Texas Hotels / Kimpton Hotels / Hotel Beer / Hotel Design / → All Tags
There's two exciting things about this place, though: first, it's going up in San Antonio's historic Pearl brewery, which was originally built in 1881 and was an actual, functioning brewery all the way up until 2001.
These days, the Pearl brewery is a 22-acre mixed-use development project that's being hyped as San Antonio's next big foodie destination, with a slew of great restaurants (Il Sogno Italian Osteria, NAO New World Flavors, Blue Box Bar), shops, an amphitheater, and even a CIA campus (that's Culinary Institute of America, not, like, government agents).
Second, the hotel will be designed by Roman & Williams, the creative geniuses who brought us the Ace Hotel (as far as we know, this will be their first project with Kimpton), meaning we can probably expect a lot of exposed ceilings and rich tile and wood textures.
Details are few as of now, though we're guessing Kimpton will play up the Pearl's 'reclaimed,' 'industrial' vibe, since that seems to be all the rage these days. We admit, the brewery's original smoke chimney (pictured), which is still intact, is pretty awesome, and is a unique design feature any hotel would envy.
Another reason we plan on checking into this hotel when it opens next year? Beer!
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It's 10:30am on a Thursday. Do you know what your New Year's Eve plans are? If you're anything like us, you'll wait 'til the last possible moment and hope everything comes together for a night of champagne guzzling merriment. Otherwise, here are 16 awesome New Year's Eve celebrations happening at hotels around the US. Here's to a drunken start to 2013!
MIAMI—At Anglers Boutique Resort, you can choose something quieter and more refined than Miami's usual bass-thumping circus. At the New Year's Eve Gala, there will be two seatings (a 3-course meal at 6pm, $100; or a 5-course meal at 9:30pm, $150)—though both will offer live music, a complimentary cocktail and champagne toast, and delicious Latin-inspired fare like dulce de leche pine nut-crusted rack of lamb, or stuffed dates and manchego cheese roasted pork loin. You'll even get to try out the Spanish "12 Uvas" tradition, where everyone gets to make 12 wishes on 12 grapes—then when the clock strikes 12, you pop 'em in your mouth to bring a year of good luck and prosperity! A DJ'd pool party will kick off after midnight.
SAN FRANCISCO—The Westin St Francis is where you'll find the city's largest hotel-hosted NYE event for the past 7 years, known as Passport to the World ($130). The attractions are almost too many to name, but here's the main gist: throughout the liquor-fueled evening, guests are encouraged walk from room to room, experiencing the music, fashion, art and performances of dozens of different cultures around the world. You'll see an 80s cover band, 15 international DJs, live art, stilt-walkers, taiko drummers, an Asian night market, and igloo-inspired cabanas (gotta show some love to the North Pole!). Best part, though? Drinks are included.
For 14 more ways to party, read on!
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Some of us are old enough (gulp) to remember the evening soap Dallas which began in the 1970s and ended in 1991. In it, that darn oil-rich Ewing family was always getting into trouble, but boy, did they live life to the fullest. However, if you happen to be one of the lucky ones who doesn’t remember the original show, you, too, can become a believer: We hear that the new version of Dallas has just been renewed by TNT for a second season.
To celebrate, The Fairmont Dallas wants you to try out the Ewing lifestyle with their "Dallas Oil Baron Experience” package. With the recent news of Larry Hagman's passing, maybe this is a way to let folks honor the 81-year-old actor's most memorable character, so we say, "go for it."
The package offers a minimum of two nights’ accommodation in a Fairmont Gold Room; access to the Fairmont Gold Lounge with its complimentary breaky and afternoon appies; a private tour for two of Southfork Ranch – the Ewing family’s abode; champagne; and a ride in a chauffeured BMW to Neiman Marcus for some shopping therapy. And because you’re special, you even get a signed copy of the Neiman Marcus Taste cookbook as a memento of your weekend of wealth.
Rates for the “Dallas Oil Baron Experience” package start at $469/night. Oh, and don’t forget your cowboy boots. The hotel doesn’t say they’re necessary, but if you’re going to walk the walk….
[Photos: The Fairmont Hotels and Resorts]
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Craving “Swans a Swimming” this holiday season? Well you’re in luck, as we’ve found eight Embassy Suites Hotels that feature mated pairs of Royal Swans swimming year-round in their atrium lobbies.
Real live swans? Yes! At first glance, their serenity is surprising—after all, they’re being kept in captivity. Yet these swans are happily coupled up and swimming to-and-fro in their lobby ponds without a care in the world. In fact, most of the day, they’re sleeping. With all that peace, elegance, and togetherness (they mate for life)--perhaps married couples should take notes!
We take a sweet look at the animal love stories:
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Built on a 17 acre tract of land outside of Marfa, TX, El Cosmico is more than just a hotel—teepees, yurts, and campsites are all available for guests to stay in. But on the hotel side of things, the site offers five funky restored vintage trailers, each named Vagabond, Branstrator, Royal Mansion, Imperial Mansion, and Kozy Coach (pictured above).
We think the spot is pretty much ideal for the kind of low-key, long weekend, artsy getaway we love, but later this month, the hotel/campground is hosting a "songwriter's retreat" that should prove irresistible to music-makers and -lovers alike.
Titled "Music Is A Family," (May 17-20), the retreat will offer musicians the chance to hone their songwriting skills, while enjoying a whole weekend of guitar-strumming in the desert and impromptu campfire jam sessions. Si, señor!
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Or is it the other way around...?
We didn't think it was possible to have a bad time at a revolving restaurant on top of a hotel, but one family in Katy, TX has found a way. Back In October, reports The Houston Chronicle, while dining at Spindeltop atop the Hyatt Regency Houston with her parents, a four-year-old girl got her foot stuck in the gap between the slowly-rotating floor and the window. A few panic-stricken moments ensued as they struggled to free her, but luckily the girl came away with her foot intact, and only a few lacerations. Scary!
The bad news? The family is now suing Hyatt for the incident, claiming the gap didn't have any warning signs, and that the hotel handled the situation badly.
Nevermind the untold legions of Best Westerns, La Quinta Inns and Econolodges that dot highways all around the country. A Texas-based hotel company is attempting to bring back the classic American motor court with a new brand of "ranch tech" properties that are modeled on the old roadside motels from the 1950s.
Which technically went out of style in the 60s during Eisenhower's Federal Aid Highway Act. But hey, that was fifty years ago, and who's to say Americans still can't be thrilled by a cool motel concept? The first of these, named the Lone Star Court, will open in Austin in 2013, and, appropriately, will feature live music, a fire pit, and a dipping pool.
Rachel Ashwell, the Queen of Shabby Chic, not only does furniture but she does hotels too. Well, she does at least one hotel, which is actually more a country bed and breakfast--The Prairie down in Round Top, Texas about an hour and a half from Austin.
You can read the story behind The Prairie and how Rachel Ashwell came about owning it here but as expected, the place is full of shabby chic decor like vintage fixtures, faded flowery linens, crystal chandeliers and even floral hats for the deer hanging on the walls.
My vision for the inn was to balance the sweeping, rustic, primitive soul of the architecture of the five houses and 46 acres of beautiful open landscape with a certain "Marie Antoinette" touch.
Comfy Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture sofas and crystal chandeliers are mixed with tattered lampshades, vintage fixtures and original floorboards. The taxidermy that came with the property has been brought into my fold by being crowned with lovely floral vintage hats.
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Omni Dallas, which is set to open on 11/11/11, will include an infinity pool
Whoever said 11/11/11 would mark a pivotal world-changing event must have been cc'd on development memos issued from Omni Hotels' corporate office. That is to say, Omni's latest creation, Omni Dallas, a 1,001-room convention hotel on South Lamar St, will be opening on the portentous date—and with $111 rates, no less.
As part of the "Definitely Dallas" package (this name is putting dirty thoughts into our head), guests who book rooms through December 30, 2011 will receive $111 deluxe guest rooms. Inside the rooms, you'll find a 111-inch flat-screen TV; and on top of the beds, you'll rest your head on 111 pillows. And in the bathroom....OK, we're just kidding. In fact, the bathrooms do come with mirror TVs (which we remain undecided over), and the rooms all feature pieces by local artists.
Who's thirsty? It's time for another installment of our Summer Cocktails series. All summer long we'll profile fun new summer drinks served at hotels around the world. Got one we should know about? Send us the recipe with a photo of the drink. Otherwise, enjoy and @reply us when you're wasted!
Ah, summer drinking. The only time it isn't totally awesome is in when you can't decide if you want a beer or a cocktail. You could throw back both in quick succession—or you could maximize both time and booze and order a Beergarita at the Horseshoe Bay Resort in Texas.
We're pretty sure there's some rule about not mixing beer and liquor but to hell with it! It's hot! We want a cool refreshing Miller Light but we need that shot of tequila to remind us it's Friday. Let's do this.
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Sheraton Columbia Town Center
Hotels are trying to cater to sniffly guests by offering PURE rooms, allergy-friendly environments that are free of 98 percent of bacteria or viruses.
The Westin Atlanta Airport in Georgia is introducing 25 PURE rooms; the Hilton Arlington in Arlington, Texas, is making 15 of its rooms PURE; and the Sheraton Columbia Town Center in Columbia, Maryland, has 18 such rooms.