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As Week 1 of HotelChatter Cocktail Week(s) wraps up, here's a run-down of some of the nifty 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!
There’s so Much More to Syrup Than Maple –
If you’re into cocktails there’s a pretty good chance you’ve made your own simple syrup but these hotels are going beyond the norm and creating some pretty exotic specialty syrups.
At Fifteen Beacon’s Mooo (a Preferred Hotel) they make all of their syrup’s in-house, but we particularly liked the sound of the House made Celery Lemongrass Syrup that they use in their Celery 75 cocktail, made with Berkshire Greylock gin, Prosecco, strawberry, and the syrup, of course.
Cost to imbibe: $14
Cost to stay at the hotel 'cause you've imbibed: Starts at $479
And here’s an exotic beauty from the W Bangkok: the Chor Muang cocktail. You have absolutely no hope of making this drink at home since it’s made with Butterfly Pea Flower House Made Syrup – a flower that has become so rare that it’s difficult to find it in Thai markets. This elusive ingredient, however, makes it popular with guests who want something authentically Thai, and with locals who want the same. Other ingredients in this cocktail include Butterfly Flower-infused raspberry vodka, lime juice, and it’s garnished with – here we go – a 24-carat gold dust-dipped Butterfly Flower.
Cost to imbibe: THB $275 ($9)
Cost to stay at the hotel 'cause you've imbibed: Starts at THB 4,788 ($150)
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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.
Although this may depress a few of you, it’s time to face reality: there are only a few short weeks remaining of good ‘ol summertime. But carpe diem everyone! It’s not too late to get these hotel cocktails and maybe grab some rays at a rooftop bar at the same time.
Sugar Snap Pea and Mint Cocktail at W New York–-Downtown’s Living Room Bar & Terrace
Created by mixologist Eben Klemm, the Sugar Snap Pea and Mint cocktail at W Downtown combines aquavit, simple syrup and muddled mint, lemon and sugar snap peas. Topped with ginger beer and garnished with a snap pea and mint sprigs, it’s one last fleeting summery sight for guests to behold. Plus the vegie makes it good for you. No need to explore that further.
The Farmers Tan Martini at Hotel Vermont’s Juniper
This drink is a twist on the classic dirty martini and combines the pickled vegetable of the day (most recently it was pickled fiddleheads), Vermont Barr Hill vodka or gin, pickling juice and a vegetable salt rim. Since it sounds like a pickle in a glass, we recommend a hearty beef burger to complement this bevvie.
If you want to give it a go at home, here’s what you do:
Combine 2.5 oz Green Mountain Vodka or Gin and .5 oz pickling brine
Shake ‘er up and put in a Martini glass with a Vegetable Salt Rim
Garnish with seasonal pickled vegetable
Skiing is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Stowe, Vermont. (And quite possibly Anywhere, Vermont.) But non-New Englanders might not realize it’s quite the summer resort too. There are towering Green Mountain views, and it’s only 45 minutes away from big, blue Lake Champlain.
And bringing a little extra bump and grind to the pastoral land of bed and breakfasts is Topnotch Resort and Spa, which reopened last summer after a major renovation that turned it into a sleek, almost citified destination that appeals to well-heeled thirty-something crowds that want craft beer scenes and tiered patio pools, not crocheted couch slipcovers. And this season they’ve upped the ante with “Topnotch Summer,” a so-dubbed series of pulse-quickening programs.
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Four score ago (1934) Laurance Rockefeller, of THE Rockefeller clan, and Mary French were wed in Woodstock, Vermont, and became hoteliers by purchasing the Woodstock Inn. Now another family-owned hotel has opened in the white clapboard town of Woodstock – 506 On the River Inn – the first US hotel for the family who owns and manages the Palacina and Zanzibar Collections in Europe and East Africa. This hotel is, however, a sentimental favorite for the family because husband Aaren grew up in Woodstock.
The 30-room On the River Inn comes across as a chic country estate – warm and comfy designed by a family with means. The palette is natural linen, stone, weathered leather and distressed wood with some design quirks that include old Vermonter quotes on throw pillows (“Hard telling, not knowing” – yeah, we don’t know what it means either) and an open country-style kitchen with a carpenter’s worktable and milk crates. Owner and designer Paulina Raguz of Palacina Interiors describes her concept as “a balance between a rustic farmhouse aesthetic and luxurious comfort. The décor is an homage to Vermont.”
Bike maintenance stations get your Huffy purring.
Introducing: a biker bar where you’re more likely to wear Birkenstocks than leather boots.
Vermont visitors will find that the 258-room Hilton Burlington has rolled out a new lobby restaurant, The Mounted Cat, which is sure to gain traction with local cyclists. That’s because it’s located adjacent to the Burlington bike path, and boasts two “maintenance stations” offering free help to bikers in need: a handful of common tools for tune-ups, plus an air station. There’s also covered bike parking and complimentary water bottle fill-ups. Suddenly, “ride-sharing” has a whole new meaning. (Cue: “aw!” chorus and schmaltzy Full House music.)
But bikers may want to spend more time at The Mounted Cat than just the few minutes needed to tighten that doohickey or adjust the thingamajig. (We are very serious bikers here at HotelChatter, guys.) The curiously named restaurant evokes a modern farmhouse – you know, the kind where “reclaimed wooden planks” and “bar tops with tablet docking stations” coexist in peaceful harmony.
An amenities-filled "Bedtime Menu" and "we sell everything!" approach to room decor is cute, clever, and only slightly bad for the bank account.
Finally, a hotel that insomniacs and kleptomaniacs can agree on! (This’ll show that marriage counselor!) Welcome to Hotel Vermont, a rustic-chic destination (opened just last year) that brings urbane gloss to the cobblestone streets of quaint Burlington, Vermont. (Things it also brings: acclaimed dining at the six-time James Beard award nominated restaurant Hen of the Wood.)
The 125 contemporary guest rooms are perfect for city slicker couples who want the fresh air and relaxation of a northern New England retreat, minus all the lace and doilies and crumpets associated with your average Green Mountain State B&B. They’re also perfect for those who can’t help themselves from filling their suitcase with “souvenirs” of a getaway. But instead of resorting to hording sample-sized shampoo bottles (you desperate keepsake cat burglar), guests can take home not just the soap – but also the handmade soap dishes.
Oh, and the Johnson Woolen Mills flannel blankets, the alarm clock, the Tivoli radio, the felt flowers and vase, the water glasses and carafe… need we continue? “Almost everything is for sale!” explains an in-room price list, which points out all the accommodation accouterments that will simply be charged to your tab if they go “missing.”
They should, because basically everything is also hand-made by local New England artisans. This is good Vermont-y swag.
Send your kid to camp, return with diminutive Rachael Ray that cooks for you for once.
One minute, your seven-year old daughter is cooing innocuous pop songs into her hairbrush. The next, she’s twerking in the schoolyard and taking duckface selfies. Thanks a lot, Miley Cyrus. Are there no TV stars our children can safely treat as role models anymore?
Luckily, the era of food TV has elevated a pantheon of comparatively wholesome celebrity chefs to “rock star” status — something that The Essex, a “culinary resort and spa” located just outside Burlington, Vermont, has clearly noted. The result: Camp Cook, a series of weeklong immersions in the food world for the budding Bobby Flay in your family.
Package rates start at $1,295 per room for a five-night escape that lets you send your kid to daily from 9am to 4pm to activities that include gathering eggs from a chicken coop and harvesting herbs and veggies from the resort’s gardens, learning about basic kitchen skills and local farming, practicing everything from basic kitchen skills to sushi making, and even cooking dinner for a local community service program.
Meanwhile, mom and/or dad kicks back with discounted spa services or, if you feel like joining in the fun, enrolling in classes (from “Italian Basics” to “Mad About Maple!”) offered a la carte daily through the resort’s Cook Academy.
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Omni Bedford Springs
While hotel holiday decorations are pretty to look at, they don't do much to relax you during the holiday season, which let's be honest--can be crazy stressful with all the parties, the shopping, the relatives. So if you need a breather, we’ve put together a list (and we’re checking it twice) of hotel spas across the US who have put together some holiday-themed treatments that you can give to yourself because, contrary to popular belief, sometimes it is better to receive than to give.
The Spa at Rancho Bernardo Inn, San Diego normally uses seasonal ingredients and this winter is no exception. From December through January you can indulge in the Chocolate Candied Orange Treatment, and indulge you will! This treatment starts with a hazelnut and orange scrub; then comes a chocolate comfrey wrap and cinnamon scalp treatment; an Acai butter massage follows, as does a mulled cider drink. The spa then sends you on your way with a take home recipe for hazelnut and sea salt shortbread cookies. The cost for this extravagance is $175.
At Lake Arrowhead Resort’s Spa of the Pines (an Autograph Collection hotel) there is a new holiday-themed menu of treatments. The resort is offering a hot stone Holiday Pedicure, a Holiday Swedish Massage using their own special holiday-scented oil (cloves and cinnamon), and a Holiday-Scented Body Scrub using an organic vanilla and brown sugar scrub followed by a rich body cream. For the most bang for your buck go for the Holiday Duo: the body scrub followed by the massage for $165.
L'Auberge de Sedona is offering guests a Warming Gingerbread Sugar Body Scrub and Gingerbread Wrap that are good enough to eat. Using organic sugar and warming ginger oil there are also notes of cinnamon and orange. To tempt you further, we’ll just tell you that after the scrub, the body butter is applied to your skin, you’re wrapped in warm blankets and receive either a scalp and neck massage or a foot massage. You can just lie back and hear the heavenly choir. The scrub and wrap are $145 for both treatments.
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When the Queen of England remarks on your pregnancy (which has gone 11 days past due date) with a "...I would very much like it to arrive. I’m going on holiday”, that certainly puts the pressure on. So, it's no surprise Kate Middleton was admitted early this morning to London's St. Mary's Hospital and is in labor. Looks like the third in line to the throne will be welcomed to the world soon and Queen Elizabeth can go on vacation!
Well guess what? All you other pregnant ladies out there not yet due can still get some respite, thanks to the host of "Babymoon" packages that have rolled out ever since Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge announced she was with child.
From decadent hotel stays to pampering getaways, here are options for women in every stage of pregnancy--just make sure it's doctor approved (Kate got harassed for her own Mustique babymoon, by taking an eight-hour flight). We've decided to skip the outlandish six-figure "Royal Babymoon" deals (cough) for those a bit more realistic--although the Trump Package was such a good Fantasy Friday special they're now doing it in Waikiki! But take it easy, after all, you've got a boatload of diapers to finance in the near future.
However, do get in one more treat before D (delivery) Day comes!
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What’s Out: Chocolates on your pillow
What’s In: Over the top, fun and experiential turn-down services
Everyone loves coming back to their room after a nice dinner out to find that little chocolate sitting on their pillow, right? If you like that, though, you’re going to love this. Some hotels are going out of their way to make sure that you have really sweet dreams with these OTT nighty-night rituals.
Hotel Vermont offers a special “bedtime menu” that includes such delights as a selection of Vermont flannel pyjamas to snuggle up in on a brisk night, local Lunaroma aromatherapy products from which you can choose, a Vermont teddy bear (your choice of six) to sleep with or take home, a selection of bedtime stories for the little ones, a locally-inspired Hot Toddy selection, and 10-15 minute in-room meditation sessions via TV or download.
In Fairmont Gold rooms at Boston’s Fairmont Battery Wharf, you get a message in a bottle with top things to do in Boston during that particular time of the year.
Four Points by Sheraton Los Angeles International Airport is more than an ordinary airport hotel. It’s known by some to be the original beer hotel and has an enormous beer selection featuring over 100 beers, a poolside bar dedicated solely to local beers, monthly beer appreciation nights and it even has a Beer Advisory Board and a Director of Brewer Relations. If all of that beer surrounding you has made you thirsty for more, you can order a Beer Club Package that includes stocking the in-room mini fridge with your choice of three of your favorite beers and a nightly beer turndown with souvenir glass.
Three more hotels with bedtime treats follow!
Back in January we told you that the Topnotch Resort and Spa in Stowe, Vermont was undergoing a major reno. Shortly after that, the hotel closed up shop as it entered the final stage of its makeover. But now the hotel is nearly ready for its close-up and will re-open on June 28.
A Preferred Boutique and Preferred Pride hotel, the fruits of Topnotch's multi-million dollar refurbishment include:
• A more contemporary entryway that opens to a spacious new lobby designed to showcase soaring mountain views
• A brand spanking new bar
• Two new restaurants: The Flannel & The Roost
• 68 newly renovated rooms and suites
• New wedding & events venue
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Today we start 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: Generic flower aromas
What’s In: Bespoke signature scents
Hotels are getting personal with their smelly goods. More and more they’re looking to give you a local scent experience as soon as you walk in the door or when you’re executing your nightly ablutions. Capitalizing on the strength of olfactory memories, they’re partnering with local scent companies to choose unique aromas that embody the spirit of the hotel and give it a sense of place.
Here are just a few examples: