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Keep Up With the Joneses With These Cocktail Trends 2014: Part 2

August 21, 2014 at 4:04 PM | by | Comments (0)

As Week 2 of HotelChatter Cocktail Week(s) wraps up, here's our second run-down of some of the things we see going on in the world of hotel bars and bevvies. What do you see goin’ on out there? Let us know in the comments below!

Roll Out the Barrel(aging) –
One trend that is growing stronger this year is in-house barrel-aged and private label spirits. We're envisioning cask-aged moonshine made in a mad scientist-type laboratory.


Jeff Josenhans at THE US GRANT in San Diego is producing an in-house barrel-aged Chartreuse with Wayne Geiselman, who has a PH D in Food Science. Using complex-sounding reverse engineering, food scientist Wayne created a proprietary blend of 25 local, organic ingredients including Southern California wildflower honey. Jeff then took this botanical blend and an un-aged bourbon to use as the spirit base (as opposed to traditional European brandy), and is now aging this noble experiment in 100% New Allier French Oak (never done before in the cocktail world). Six-month, 1-year, and 2-year-old bottlings will be ready to open on October 15. If you want to stay over for the big unveiling, you're looking at rates starting at $239.

The Dorchester has revived the historical recipe for Old Tom Gin to create a newer, bolder blend exclusive to the hotel. The City of London Distillery has the weight of distilling the gin under the watchful eye of the hotel’s bar manager and expert alchemist, Giuliano Morandin. This is the second time Giuliano has re-introduced Old Tom Gin to the UK drinks market, the first being in 2006 after a 30-year absence. To celebrate the re-launch, Giuliano has created the Old Tom Cobbler cocktail, made with coriander, fresh lemongrass, elderflower and, not surprisingly, Old Tom. A 700ml bottle of The Dorchester Old Tom Gin is priced at £65 ($109) and is available at The Bar at The Dorchester or by visiting shop.dorchestercollection.com. Signature cocktails including the Old Tom Cobbler start at £16 ($27). Stays start at £505 ($838).

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Bloody Marys: Your Go-To Cocktail Morning, Noon and Night

August 20, 2014 at 3:57 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's no secret that we love drinking in hotels here at HotelChatter. In fact, hotels might be our favorite "local." So all this week and next, we'll be pouring out some drinks for you during our second Hotel Cocktail Week(s) -- newly-expanded because there’s just so many drinks to share. We'll be posting quirky cocktails, boozy trends, unique menus and even recipes so you can recreate your favorite hotel drink at home. We expect everyone will be getting a bit tipsy over the next couple of weeks! But don't forget to tip your bartenders, in this case, us.

The Bloody Mary is a gregarious cocktail: it’s ready to party any time of the day and most people like it. Eggs, bacon and a Bloody Mary – yes. Burger and cheese? Prime rib and a baked potato? Yes and yes. Here, we thought we’d tell you about some of the goings-on in the Bloody Mary world so that you’re up-to-date when you fondly order your next one.

Omni Mount Washington’s Bretton Woods Bourbon Bloody Mary
Things are getting spicy at Omni Mount Washington Resort in New Hampshire with this twist on the classic Bloody Mary. Only available for a limited time due to a limited number of barrels used to make the resort’s signature Woodford Reserve bourbon, the cocktail also contains tomato juice, garden-fresh local tomatoes, cherry peppers, celery, olives and pickled cucumber creating a unique, veggie-bevvie with a smoky flavor.

1.5 oz Mount Washington Resort’s Signature Woodford Reserve Bourbon
8 large local grown red tomatoes
2 t grated Horseradish
1 pinch red pepper flakes
2 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 lime wedges
2 T Cajun seasoning
1 cherry pepper
1, 2” celery stalk
1 Queen Olive
1 house-made cucumber pickle spear

Blend all ingredients together and garnish with the cucumber pickle spear. Drink it down.

Cost for the Bloody Mary: $13
Cost to stay the night, not including all of the Bloody Marys you drank: $369

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Was Travelodge Right To Ditch Its Hotel Bibles?

August 18, 2014 at 9:34 AM | by | Comments (0)

A Bible in your bedside drawer has always been one of those comforting mediocre hotel room givens, like toiletries of dubious provenance and chocolates – if you’re lucky enough to get them – that taste of cardboard. But could this be coming to an end?

Travelodge is currently coming under fire in the UK for removing Bibles from all its hotel rooms, “because of diversity reasons” and “‘in order not to discriminate against any religion”. Predictably, there’s a firestorm of people on Twitter vowing to switch allegiance to Premier Inn, and the Church of England declaring that: “It seems both tragic and bizarre that hotels would remove the word of God for the sake of ergonomic design, economic incentive or a spurious definition of the word ‘diversity’.”

In actual fact, the story isn’t as extreme as it sounds at first – the Bibles, which were always provided free of charge by the Gideon Society, haven’t been burned or chucked out – Travelodge says they are being “retained” and will be doled out by reception on request. What’s more, in surely the most telling part of this story, Travelodge says this decision was taken in 2007, and the hotels have been steadily implementing it since then, without receiving any complaints until the Daily Mail got wind of it last week.

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Quirky Cocktails That (Can Make You) Go the Distance

August 14, 2014 at 7:13 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's no secret that we love drinking in hotels here at HotelChatter. In fact, hotels might be our favorite "local." So all this week and next, we'll be pouring out some drinks for you during our second Hotel Cocktail Week(s) -- newly-expanded because there’s just so many drinks to share. We'll be posting quirky cocktails, boozy trends, unique menus and even recipes so you can recreate your favorite hotel drink at home. We expect everyone will be getting a bit tipsy over the next couple of weeks! But don't forget to tip your bartenders, in this case, us.

There are some cocktails in this world that make you go, “Really?” Here are a few that fall into this category, proving that some things are best left for the experts to come up with.


This savory concoction comes from Shangri-La, At The Shard’s GŎNG. It contains Scotch – good; sherry – OK; blue cheese – what the?; and chocolate bitters. Really? All we can say is that we’re going to London soon and you can bet we’re making a pit stop here to see if it can actually be done.

Black and Blue Swizzle

Ingredients:
1.5 oz Talisker 10 Years
1/2 oz Pedro Ximinez Sherry
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
3/4 oz honey-blue cheese mix (method below)
1 drop Mozart Chocolate Bitter

Method:
To make the honey-blue cheese mix:
Add 2:1* honey syrup and 200g crumbled blue Stilton into a saucepan over medium heat and let the syrup simmer for a while (do not let it boil). Use a blender to make sure the cheese and honey are combined. It’s recommended to fine strain the syrup before usage.

Pour all of the ingredients into a copper mug and add crushed ice. Use a swizzle stick to blend the drink and crushed ice until the outside of the mug is frosted. A spoon can be used if you can't get hold of a swizzle stick.

Top up with fresh crushed ice and garnish with mint leaves, orange peel and cinnamon crumbles.

*A 2:1 (sugar/honey to water) is often referred to as rich simple syrup. The 2:1 ratio often gives the cocktail a better mouth feel and less is needed since it’s richer. It also lasts longer before spoiling.

Cost to imbibe at the hotel: £17 ($28)
Cost to stay at the hotel because you've imbibed too much: £500 ($834)

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Drink Your Milk and Cookie Cocktails at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotels

August 12, 2014 at 5:19 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's no secret that we love drinking in hotels here at HotelChatter. In fact, hotels might be our favorite "local." So all this week and next, we'll be pouring out some drinks for you during our second Hotel Cocktail Week(s) -- newly-expanded because there’s just so many drinks to share. We'll be posting quirky cocktails, boozy trends, unique menus and even recipes so you can recreate your favorite hotel drink at home. We expect everyone will be getting a bit tipsy over the next couple of weeks! But don't forget to tip your bartenders, in this case, us.

For those of you have ever sunk your teeth into DoubleTree by Hilton’s gooey-good chocolate chip cookies (each and every DoubleTree Hotel—from Anaheim to Zanzibar—hands these babies out to guests to the tune of 60,000 per day) knows why we’re excited about these cocktails. Now, you don’t just get to eat the cookies, you can drink ’em too.

If you can’t make it to one of these hotels to try these cookie bevvies in person (although you’ll miss out on that hotel bar ambiance) you can always make one (or all) at home.

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Meet Snoozebox, The Break-Out Star Of The Glastonbury Festival

July 2, 2014 at 9:50 AM | by | Comments (0)

There was one breakout star from this year’s Glastonbury Festival. Debbie Harry? Dolly Parton? No: David Coulthard, the former Formula 1 driver-turned hotel investor, whose latest venture, pop-up hotel Snoozebox, made its Glastonbury debut.

Coulthard describes Snoozebox as “a ‘turnkey’ hotel, delivered to an event and fully operational in 48 hours”. Launched in 2012, they’ve already covered events such as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, the London Olympics and more Formula 1 events than you can shake a stick at; this year, following Glastonbury, they’ll be at the Edinburgh Festival in August and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

The rooms basically look like Yotel pods – they’re made from recycled shipping containers. Each houses a double bed and a single bunk, a wet room with shower, basin and toilet, and artwork geared to the event. There are even LCD TVs, free WiFi and air con. Like a hotel, they’re serviced daily, and for Glastonbury, guests were shuttled in a BMW to the festival site, 10 minutes away.

We’ve heard of mobile hotels of course, like Scandic to Go and the AKA Mobile Suite, but the genius of Snoozebox is that it’s geared specifically towards events that usually have accommodation problems. Which is presumably how they can justify the surge pricing: £1995 ($3428) for five nights at Glastonbury, though rates for the Edinburgh Festival start from a reasonable £99 ($170).

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VisitBritain Gives Some Seriously Straightforward Advice to Its Country's Hotels

January 7, 2014 at 10:02 AM | by | Comment (1)

For those who think they know someone who has no filter, wait until you hear the law that's being laid down by VisitBritain to hotels across the UK: The country's tourism board has issued a list of Dos and Don'ts when it comes to foreign travelers.

Many of the suggestions, as you might imagine, are either pretty funny (Don't: Ask superstitious people from Hong Kong to sleep in a historic property or a four-poster bed because they associate them with ghostly encounters), pretty stereotypical (Do: Deal promptly with any complaint from German or Austrian tourists, who can be straightforward and demanding to the point of seeming rude and aggressive), or both (Don't: Describe a visitor from Canada as American). If you like those, you can read more of them in this report from the Telegraph.

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Even Christmas Trees Tote a Brolly at London’s Goring Hotel

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: Beeston Place, London, United Kingdom, SW1W 0JW
December 18, 2013 at 4:37 PM | by | Comments (0)

The world is officially in "Countdown to Christmas" mode and now, so are we. Every day until Christmas we'll be featuring a hotel that's in a holiday mood--whether it be with gigantic gingerbread houses, over-the-top Christmas decorations, thrilling lighting displays and best of all, Santa appearances. But of course, any hotel can assemble a fake tree, put on some lights and declare themselves "festive." Which is why we're looking at hotels that are really going ALL OUT. Know of a hotel that's super excited for Christmas? Let us know!

The Goring (who, as of two weeks ago, became the only London member of Relais & Châteaux) recently unveiled what is, undoubtedly, London’s most unconventional and quintessentially British Christmas tree.

The tree, called “Christmas Rain,” is part of a collection of Christmas trees created for the hotel by British luxury brands. This one is the focal point, though, standing tall at 30 feet in The Goring’s garden, and designed by a fellow Royal Warrant Holder and Britain’s leading rainwear specialist, Fulton Umbrellas (they’re famous for their see-through umbrellas favored by the Royal Family including Wills and Kate and, we expect, little Prince George will follow in their rain-booted footsteps). Rather than regular glass baubles, the tree is decorated with bespoke Fulton umbrellas (ever-at-the-ready for the traditional Christmas rain shower) and a shimmering shower of mirrored raindrops arranged in a waterfall of crystals, beading and sequins.

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Cozy Up On The Berkeley’s Rooftop With Hot Cocoa and a Flick

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: Wilton Place, Knightsbridge, London, United Kingdom, SW1X 7RL
December 11, 2013 at 6:19 PM | by | Comments (0)

The world is officially in "Countdown to Christmas" mode and now, so are we. Every day until Christmas we'll be featuring a hotel that's in a holiday mood--whether it be with gigantic gingerbread houses, over-the-top Christmas decorations, thrilling lighting displays and best of all, Santa appearances. But of course, any hotel can assemble a fake tree, put on some lights and declare themselves "festive." Which is why we're looking at hotels that are really going ALL OUT. Know of a hotel that's super excited for Christmas? Let us know!

Let’s face it: At the beginning of the Christmas season, we have warm, fuzzy thoughts of snuggling in front of the fire with a hot toddy in hand and "A Charlie Brown Christmas" on the telly. Next thing you know, we’re fighting with crowds in malls, dragging the Christmas tree through the damn door, and making grocery lists for the three full days it’ll take to make all those holiday family feasts. Where did that warm, all-over glow go?

The Berkeley Hotel in London’s Knightsbridge is doing all they can to bring that fleeting festive feeling back with their rooftop Winter Cinema.

Known as a happening rooftop terrace overlooking Hyde Park in the summer, the hotel’s Health Club & Spa has transformed the space into a pine-filled forest with twinkly lights, rustic-chic wooden chalets built for two and a cinema screen more than large enough to accommodate Jimmy Stewart’s face.

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James Bond Loves a Good Breakfast: New Bond Novel Brings 007 Service to The Dorchester

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: Park Lane, Mayfair, London, United Kingdom, W1K1QA
October 31, 2013 at 3:10 PM | by | Comments (0)

The next time you’re checking into The Dorchester and they ask you to state your name, you could just say, “Bond. James Bond.”

With the release of William Boyd’s new 007 novel, Solo, a few short weeks back, you can—quite literally—insert yourself in the story at The Dorchester. The London hotel is the setting for the opening scene of Boyd’s new Bond book, in which 007 is described as treating himself to a 45th birthday breakfast in 1969. In the book, Bond’s breakfast at The Dorchester consists of “four eggs, scrambled with pepper sprinkled on top, half a dozen rashers of unsmoked bacon, well done, on the side and a long draught of strong black coffee.”

If you order Bond’s birthday breakfast, the hotel will help set the scene by offering you an iPod loaded with hits from the 60s, giving you an extract from a national newspaper and the menu from 1969, and serving your breakfast silver service-style in keeping with the 60s. Once a week, a table will be chosen at random to be charged The Grill's 1969 price, a sum just short of £2 ($2.70).

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Pony Up: Here's How Hotels Are Celebrating Polo Season

August 23, 2013 at 1:00 PM | by | Comments (0)

Polo season is in full gear in the UK and will be starting soon enough in the rest of the world. Whether it’s polo-inspired cocktail menus, training with the polo pros or exclusive access to top matches, these hotels want you to experience polo paradise.

Three of the world’s top polo matches take place in Argentina, so it’s a pretty big deal there. The new bar at Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires pays homage to the sport and to the revered Argentinean polo team, La Dolfina. However, the Pony Line Bar and Lounge may be clad in brown leather and have a riding motif throughout, but it ain’t a sports bar as you know it to be.

It’s more for the urban sophisticate who wants to try the housemade chorizo and oxtail empanadas to go along with his or her artisanal locally-produced Stallion beer than the Bud Light and wings crowd. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that—we like a good stack of salt-and-pepper wings as much as the next guy or gal. We’re just sayin’.)

If you want to get an even bigger taste of the game, as a hotel guest you can visit La Dolfina Polo Ranch to learn more about the sport and why Argentina is reputed to be so good at it. Rates start at $595 in October.

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The Lowry Hotel is Letting Biz Travelers Into the National Cycling Center

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 50 Dearmans Place, Chapel Wharf, Manchester , United Kingdom, M3 5LH
August 23, 2013 at 9:15 AM | by | Comments (0)

The Lowry Hotel in Manchester is trying to spice up the life of business travelers with a new program called the Ultimate Cycling Experience that lets them get behind the bars at the Manchester Velodrome, an Olympic-sized cycling fast track.

The package is meant as a team-building exercise for companies and groups to treat their employees/members during a business trip. The Lowry Hotel has partnered with the National Cycling Center to offer a one-hour training session with a professional biking coach to help riders learn how to tackle the banked track. Participants are then allowed to race against each other in a one-lap time trial. After, the group gets an "awards ceremony" back at the Lowry in the form of a three-course dinner.

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