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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.
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Bored of cutesey B&Bs and faceless motels? We feel your pain. Want to sleep where Elvis once did? Us too. That’s how we ended up making an unscheduled stop in Abilene, Texas last week. Not because we wanted to visit Abilene, but because of a place to stay that sounded pretty special: the Sparhawk Art Gallery B&B.
In its previous incarnation as the 1930s Sunset Lodge Motel, it was Abilene’s premiere motel and the place of choice for the likes of Elvis, Al Jolson, and the magnificent Marlene Dietrich, all of whom stopped by when they were touring Texas. A few years ago, all but the front annex of the motel was demolished. That was set to go as well, but a local artist, Donovan Sparhawk (we hope that’s his real name), fell in love with it, bought it, and opened up an art gallery inside, along with three rooms to rent. So now, although it’s on the main road into Abilene, it feels like you’re staying in a nice secluded cottage surrounded by lots of trees.
There are only three rooms here and they’re all pretty simple but tastefully done. We took the cheap one on the end—it had a tiled floor, lots of rugs and throws and funky blue furniture and a tiled table and mirrors in the corner of the room—definitely a step up from other motels. The bathroom had the original green tiles and bathtub left over from the motel days, so although the tub was a little stained from the decades, we were very excited to think we could be sharing Elvis’ bath (they don’t know which room he stayed in, but we decided it was definitely ours).
The manager of the Flagship Hotel on the pier in Galveston, Texas, is the last person to leave.
While everyone was up in arms about Gustav the other week, it turns out that Hurricane Ike is going to do some serious damage to the Texan gulf coast today. From Bloomberg News:
Hurricane Ike bore down on Texas, heading for landfall as early as today in Galveston, where forecasters warned residents of ``certain death'' if they ignore a mandatory evacuation order
President Bush has declared Texas a state of emergency, 7,500 National Guard members are on standby, the Houston Texans football game has been postponed until September 15 and the Houston Astros have cancelled two ball games.
As far as what's happening with hotels, Governor Rick Perry has suspended for 14 days the collection of state and local taxes for hotels and motels. And every hotel (as well as everything else) in Galveston has been evacuated.
Damage to buildings is expected and one hotel is particularly in danger. The NY Times reports that there are worries the Flagship Hotel on the pier in Galveston will not survive the storm. The hotel is literally over the water but probably not high enough to sustain the rising tides.
[Photo: NY Times]
While we were busy blogging about Starwood's Aloft, we almost missed the hotel chain's other swiftly replicating twin, element. This time it's their location in Irving, Texas, officially opening on November 1st.
Decidely blah in style next to its clubby sibling (case in point their Lexington, MA location) we'll be watching to see if they administer a bit of color-correcting to what has proven to be some dreary, minimalist decor. Lively up yourself!
Why Irving? It's a smart real estate decision, sandwiched between the sister cities of Dallas and Forth Worth. It's a mecca for sports junkies... and museums. There are three alone dedicated to the history of aviation, go figyuh. It has the The Kimball Art Museum, and The Sid Richardson Collection of Western Art (home to many Remingtons).
And it's home to one of the most amazing sculptures ever created, The Mustangs of Los Colinas.
The website says they're not accepting reservations, but they're taking "inquiries."
Once again, open marriage expert Jenny Block returns with another VIP Hotel Review. You may recall her last visit at the Hotel Burnham in Chicago. This time she goes big in Texas at The Mansion at Judges Hill. Enjoy.
From the minute you pull up on the property, The Mansion at Judges' Hill is a charmer. It is a gorgeous old building that dates back to 1900 and has been since added onto - but never has the design been compromised. It remains the same gracious mansion it was when it once served as a private home.
I was in town for a book signing and arrived at the property rather late on a Friday night. My girlfriend and I were greeted cheerily by an engaging employee named Don at the front desk, and we checked in without a hitch. It was definitely a sign of the fabulous service that was to come.