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We've started a 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: Hotel-recommended city tours
What’s In: Hotel-led cultural immersions
Hotels are taking a lead in ensuring guests remember that they’re actually in a foreign city when they travel. Except for some solid holdouts, gone are the days when you walk into your hotel in Amsterdam, say, and you could just as easily be in Istanbul or Portland. Whether through design details, cuisine or cultural tours, hotels are proudly showing their roots.
The Fairmont Kea Lani Maui offers guests a full gamut of authentic Hawaiian experiences led by the hotel’s full-time Cultural Coach. Not only can you explore some historical sites, you can learn the basics of Hawaiian paddling and the canoe's importance to the culture, the uses of native and non-native plants by the Hawaiian people, plus the history of the Hawaiian language, which you can then try to pronounce what seems to be unpronounceable. Rates at the resort start at $519.
The Goring –- the hotel with the Royal Warrant –- is launching their High Days and Holidays walking tours. Six tailor-made tours, all celebrating special occasions (or High Days in London-speak), were designed by Art History UK’s founder Rose Balston. Art’s on the menu but, as Rose says, “Think juicy tales, conversation, challenging ideas and plenty of hidden corners of London, past and present…” We’re talking tours that include dragons, pagan rituals, ghosts and treason. Does it get any better? Rates for the package start at 595 GBP ($902).
To celebrate its first hotel above a comedy club, Travelodge has rolled out a "loo laughs" campaign at London's new 131-room Bethnal Green location in hopes of keeping its guests entertained at all times. That's right -- there are jokes and cartoons on the toilet paper.
The idea was inspired by the hotel's position on top of British comedian Lee Hurst's Backyard Comedy Club, but it was also backed up by a bit of data. Travelodge ran a survey of 2,000 Britons that revealed 49% of them like to read on the loo.
Based on what we've seen, it doesn't appear they got much professional help with the joke writing, despite its location. The two samples we've seen haven't exactly been side-splitters. For example, Why are men better than dogs? Because they have only two muddy feet to walk into the house. Or, worse: How many men does it take to change the roll of toilet paper? We don't know... it's never happened. Oh, dear.
We love it when whispers of a brand new hotel arrive in our inbox, especially when it’s a bit of a surprise and the opening isn’t light years away. Yesterday, Rosewood Hotels (of The Carlyle New York and The Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas) gave us just that with the announcement of Rosewood London, due to open this October.
The hotel will open in a 1914 Edwardian Belle Époque building on High Holborn road, just northeast of main tourist draws such as Covent Garden, Soho, and Leicester Square. A dramatic entrance will be easy to make, coming through the wrought iron-gated carriageway into an arrival courtyard, and immediately inside is a seven-story marble staircase sweeping through the historic building.
Chinese New Year Hotels / Dorchester Collection Hotels / Omni Hotels / San Francisco Hotels / Paris Hotels / France Hotels / London Hotels / UK Hotels / → All Tags
If you can’t make it to Shanghai or Hong Kong for Chinese New Year on February 10, all is not lost. From an authentic “Year of the Snake” Cantonese culinary experience in London to an authentic Chinese Carnival in Paris to VIP access at San Francisco’s Chinese New Year Parade, hotels around the world are celebrating Chinese New Year in style.
The Dorchester Hotel in London is celebrating with a special “Year of the Snake” menu at the China Tang restaurant. If Snake Soup with Fish Maw is on your list of most favorite things to eat, then this is the place for you. The restaurant is reputed to have some of the best and most authentic Cantonese food outside of China, so you can bet that Peking Duck and Shanghai Smoked Fish are also on the menu. When you’re finally stuffed to the gills (we couldn’t resist!), then head over to the China Tang Bar for a classic digestif or a contemporary Asian one such as the yummy-sounding Xiao Mi Mi with Bombay Sapphire Gin, fresh ginger root, a slice of orange, fresh lemon juice, cinnamon and orange syrup, and strawberry liqueur.
The Chinese New Year Package is only available on Sunday, February 10 and starts at £1,260 ($1,973) in a Junior Suite.
We already know one HC editor who’d have a few choice words to say about this place that's just come to our attention. After all, he didn’t hold back when the subject of pampered pups came up before.
But with the picture above and the name House of Mutt? It would have been all over. Shut down. Eyeballs outta the building.
Yet we were intrigued about this “five-star luxury hotel for dogs of distinction”. A place for pets who need to relax from the “pressures of modern life”. But, it also seems that humans use this spot as an alternative to kenneling when they themselves are going on vacation. That makes feel a tiny bit better that dogs aren’t getting better treatment than us.
But wait. They are. Now we're kinda mad.
Hotel News / Sweet Suites / London Hotels / UK Hotels / InterContinental Hotels / Royal Hotels / Luxury Hotels / → All Tags
London's Goring Hotel may have recently received a seal of approval with its Royal Warrant (gosh, we're still having a hard time with that name), but the InterContinental London Park Lane has its own special royal nod of recognition, too.
Sitting on the site of Queen Elizabeth II’s former childhood residence on Piccadilly, the hotel has just unveiled its Royal Suite, with queenly design elements tastefully scattered throughout, and a view over the Royal Parks, no doubt filled with Royal Squirrels. Heh.
Like most things royal, this suite is a bit complicated. We'll explain. But first, how about some photo gawking?
Hotel Openings / Scotland Hotels / UK Hotels / Edinburgh Hotels / Tune Hotels / Budget Hotels / → All Tags
In a first for the hotel chain and for Scotland, Tune Hotels opened up their first Scottish property last week welcoming thrifty travelers in the city to check out the umpteen castles, Edinburgh has to offer. It's a first for Scotland and a first in the new design for the hotel chain.
Last summer we told you of plans to bring the discount chain to Scotland, and now everything is official. The brand brings to the city, a la carte pricing for which they have become famous. Want towels? That's £1.50 extra. Room cleaning? £7 per day. Ability to watch some TV? £3 per day.
For those that can plan in advance, you'll see the cheapest rates. Room rates start at £25, but will skyrocket as the cheap rooms sell out. On a recent search in April, we found a double room without windows for £50 ($80) and a room with a view for £80 ($128). Once you start adding any normal hotel amenities, the price is comparable to local hotels.
Kid-Friendly Hotels / Family-Friendly Hotels / Hotel Amenities / UK Hotels / Novotel Hotels / Accor Hotels / → All Tags
If you have ever stayed in a hotel with children, you can only pray that the weather is nice enough to ensure the kids are not cooped up inside and, ultimately, annoying any and all adults in the hotel. Novotel UK comes to the rescue with special Rainy Day Toy Chests overflowing with toys to keep everyone from going stir-crazy.
All 30 Novotel properties across the UK, understand the weather can sometimes be grey and rainy ruining excursion plans. That's why they partnered with Hasbroto supply the toy chest in their family rooms with My Little Ponies and Transformers to keep the kiddies entertained during inclement weather. And just to ease the entire family's frustration, the chests also have family boardgames and active games to tire the little ones out.
Along with the toys, children stay free (breakfast included!) when accompanying parents or grandparents. If a shared room is too close for comfort, the hotels will offer a 50% discount on adjacent rooms for those under 16. This along with in-room Cartoon Network and video games and it sounds like Novotel has a winning combo for families.
Allow us to introduce you to the newest passive-aggressive way hotels are attempting to cut down on loud guests: Noise detectors that let you know when it’s time to quiet down.
Premier Inn – a predominately UK hotel chain that offers discounts/refunds to guests who don’t get a good night's sleep – has installed the meters in the corridors of 620 of its hotels to crack down on late-night noisemakers.
“We asked our teams to come up with ideas about how we could reduce noise from other customers and they came up with some really novel innovations,” Chief executive Andy Harrison told the Daily Mail. “We tried giving rowdy guests lollipops when they come into reception after a night out to keep them quiet.’
In March 2010, Michael Black and John Morgan made what they thought was a simple reservation at the Swiss Bed and Breakfast in the UK’s Berkshire area. Imagine their surprise when they were turned away by innkeeper Susanne Wilkinson for being a same-sex couple.Wilkinson said her Christian beliefs did not believe in accommodating unmarried couples in double beds at her B&B that's based in her family home.
Rather than simply asking for their deposit back and slinking away, the couple launched a civil suit against Wilkinson, saying they felt “like lepers”. Now, nearly three years later, they’ve just been awarded £3,600 ($5,754) in damages. In an article in the Guardian, Claire Moulder, judge of Reading County court said while Wilkinson may have universally applied her policy to heterosexuals, the policy was direct discrimination and a breach of equality law. Moulder also stated she believed Wilkinson had "treated them less favourably than she would treat unmarried heterosexual couples in the same circumstances." She also rejected the owner's claim that she hadn't acted in a discriminatory way because she objected to homosexual sexual behavior rather than homosexual sexual orientation.
Detox Hotels / Smoke-Free Hotels / Hotel Packages / Hotel News / UK Hotels / Florida Hotels / Melbourne Hotels / Langham Hotels / New Year's Resolution Hotels / → All Tags
While hotels had plenty of seemingly self-serving and more cutesy-than-caring promotions for October's Breast Cancer Month, many are taking a more serious and hands-on approach during November's Lung Cancer Awareness Month.
Hotels across the globe are opening their doors and inviting guests to take a proactive approach to end their smoking habits once and for all and reduce their chances of lung cancer, which, according to the Lung Cancer Alliance, "is the deadliest cancer in the world that takes more lives than breast, colon, pancreatic and prostate cancer combined."
Is quitting smoking on your New Year's resolution list? A trip to the UK might be in order.
We’ve talked about it before, even had a full out heated discussion about it, but the Hotel Indigo Newcastle has actually thought about changing the way they do the in-room bible. No, not another hotel changing it to 50 Shades of Grey, but utilizing some progressive thinking about what we think is common place.
When the hotel opened this past June it quickly replaced all bibles in their 148 rooms with Kindles loaded with the religious text. Since our previous discussions have resulted in the recommendation to put more than one faith’s main book, guests will have the opportunity to upload the Bible, Quran, Torah, or The Book of Mormon. In fact, any religious writing is available as long as it's on Amazon and under 5 GBP ($8). Then again, if you aren't particularly spiritual, we're certain you'll be praying at the in-house altar that is MPW Steakhouse Bar & Grill, brainchild of celebrity-chef Marco Pierre White.