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‘Tis the season to celebrate and there’s no better way than with a holiday-inspired beverage. And, as we all know, a holiday cocktail a day keeps the Grinch away. For Hotel Holiday Cocktail Week, we’ve scanned the globe for some delectably delicious cocktails that will leave you humming a merry tune that doesn’t include, “You’re a Mean One, Mr Grinch.”
The Waldorf Astoria Park City in Utah has gotten into the holiday spirit with their Cedar Smoked Manhattan. We picked this bevvie because a) it just looked so darned pretty, and b) we’re really into smoking cocktails – instead of sitting in front of a fire, you can just sit in front of your cocktail. Both will warm you up.
We may have issues today with the "meh" rooms at The Waldorf Astoria New York but the luxury hotel holds an important place in culinary history, thanks to its inventions such as eggs benedict, red velvet cake, Thousand Island dressing and of course, The Waldorf Salad.
"Taste of Waldorf Astoria" is sending five emerging chefs to five different Waldorf Astoria properties around the world. At each property, the chefs will apprentice with Michelin-starred Waldorf Master Chefs such as Heinz Beck, Pierre Gagnaire, and the Galvin brothers.
Throughout the fall, the paired-up emerging and master chefs will spend a week working on a signature recipe, which will then be unveiled in February in New York for a panel of "culinary luminaries." The winning "Taste" will then be featured on the menu at 29 Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts worldwide.
Indeed, the search for the new "Taste" has already begun.
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But don't worry. It will remain a Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Hilton Worldwide, who unloaded the property, will remain in charge of the hotel's operations for the next 100 years.
Despite the property leaving Hilton's hands, the best news to come out of this sale is that THE HOTEL WILL FINALLY, AT LAST, GET RENOVATED. We've long known that the regular rooms at the hotel are total dogs. The Waldorf Tower rooms are more luxurious but still look a little stale and stuffy. No word on when the renovations will begin but we hope it's ASAP.
[Photo: HotelChatter Flickr Pool]
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Maybe the very du jour white sheets are a bit of a giveaway, but would you honestly think that this is a luxury hotel room less than four months old? We just can’t muster up any excitement for a design that strikes us already as dated and if anything seems intent on incorporating every shade of brown imaginable.
Brand-new the room is though, and you find it inside the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem, a hotel we were very excited about when it opened in April, nearly a year late. The image is displayed both for a King Superior room and a Twin Deluxe Room, the latter seeming somewhat implausible, but a look on TripAdvisor at some traveller photos confirms this is very much their “contemporary opulence” look, as the hotel describes it. They’re not cheap either, with rates starting over $600 a night (that does include free Wifi).
We have a similar sense of disappointment when we look at what turned out to be true photos of the rooms at St. Regis San Clemente Palace; photos we dismissed two months ago as being generic placeholders.
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Having walked by and peered through the windows at Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam on a number of occasions, we finally had a chance to look inside the six 17th and 18th century canal houses on the city’s Herengracht that were converted into the hotel.
That included these beautiful sculptures, part of a rather pretty staircase with skylight inside the "Marot" house at number 548, now the main entrance of the hotel. The six houses were cobbled together to offer 93 rooms and suites and a host of other facilities, including an unusually large and private garden, all opened just shy of two months ago.
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You're a good man, Clark.
Dear Dad, we're sorry that you've suffered through years of opening pointless gifts on Father's Day like the bland ties, the boxes of golf balls you didn't need, the fad workout equipment you did need but didn't know how to operate and for that goofy Batman water bottle with "DAD" written on the back in permanent marker (Actual gift I gave my dad. I was 9.)
This year, there's no excuse for ho-hum gifts to give your father this Sunday, thanks to these hotels and their totally not lame offerings.
For The COOL DAD: The Hotel Palomar in San Francisco has put together a "Tie One On & Throw One Back" package that gives men a one night stay at the hotel, a beer-fueled private shopping appointment at the cool casual Bonobos Guide Shop; 20 percent off Bonobos purchases; either a beard trim or a straight razor shave at People's Barber Shop; and a "Get Me a Juice Box" Lunch Box at the hotel's rooftop bar, serving two cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon, a thermos filled with a Hot Toddy and a little bar snack. Rates start at $259 a night but the package must be booked two weeks in advance. Go online at www.hotelpalomar-sf.com and use code TIEON or call 866-373-4941.
For The RUM LOVIN' DAD: The Mandarin Oriental New York is offering a special Father's Day rum tasting flight of the Facundo Rum Collection in their Asiate restaurant, the Lobby Lounge and the MObar. Each selection of the Eximo, Exquisito and Paraiso aged sipping rums can also be paired with a cheese plate. Simply sipping on the rums is $65 per person while doing the cheese pairing is $85 per person. Make your reservations by calling 212-805-8800. The tasting ends on Sunday.
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Looks like the order in which Waldorf Astoria’s latest hotels are coming across the opening finish line is Beijing – Jerusalem – Amsterdam in the end. A few months ago, when we doubted Amsterdam would be completed by March, the official word was still exactly the other way around, but Beijing is open (pretty parasols and all), Jerusalem caught us by surprise by being ready a few months’ early (though there is very limited view of what it’s like inside yet), and Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam is now scheduled for May 1.
Spread across six historic town houses that date back to the 1600s on one of the city’s central canals, the hotel will have 93 rooms and suites. The restaurant still awaits its name, but there will be the usual Peacock Alley, in this case on the Bel Etage, the principal floor of the town house accessed by a grand staircase from the entrance. Other things to look forward to are the private garden, the indoor swimming pool, and the Vault Bar, taking advantage of the building previously housing a private bank.
Reservations start from May 7 at the moment; we found a King Deluxe Room on that day for a not-inconsiderable €445 ($615). You can shave just over $90 off of that if you are willing to book an advance purchase rate. The 1,324 sq ft Brentano Suite will set you back €3,735 ($5,163) a night.
[Rendering: Waldorf Astoria Hotels]
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Maybe we had the date wrong but we could have sworn the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem was opening in August, not April (after missing a Summer 2013 opening date.) But whatever the reason for the mix-up, we don't care. Because the luxury hotel is now OPEN.
The Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem was built on the site of the former Palace Hotel within walking distance to the Old City and Jaffa Gate. Here is a gushing description of the hotel from the press release:
The breath-taking centrepieces of the hotel are the grand entry and lofty atrium promenade, featuring a retractable glass ceiling which floods the hotel with natural light throughout the day. Complemented by arched windows, this open-air architectural style creates the atmosphere of a Jerusalem city street. Drawing on the rich heritage of Waldorf Astoria, a towering, iconic clock rests in the atrium expanse, with four sets of numbers covering its four bold faces. Blending Greco-Roman, Gothic and Ottoman architecture, the hotel is a wonderful mixture of cultures, creating a fascinating space beyond the hotel’s beautifully preserved 80-year old façade.
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Last night, Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts threw a glam poolside soiree at The Beverly Hilton to celebrate the long-awaited announcement of the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. While we were momentarily distracted by the offerings at the chocolate bar and the drinks bar, not to mention the appearance of the ethereal and normal-sized Christina Hendricks, we did manage to study a scale model of the planned 12-story, 170-room hotel. Like many things in Beverly Hills, it's an expensive beauty, worth about $200 million.
The hotel has been a long-time dream for developer Beny Alagem who also owns The Beverly Hilton. Plans to bring the luxury brand to the city back in 2008 didn't quite work out thanks to concerned residents and the ensuing economic crash but now, the dream is finally becoming a reality. And in case you didn't already understand, having a Waldorf Astoria in Beverly Hills is a huge deal in the luxury hotel world.
"We are steps away from Rodeo Drive. This is "Ground Zero" for luxury," said John T.A. Vanderslice, Waldorf Astoria’s Global Brand Head. "And the fact that we are opening a Waldorf Astoria in here is out of this world."
But just how will this five-star hotel set itself apart from the other five-star hotels in town, some within walking distance like the Peninsula, The Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire and The Montage?
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What a difference six years can make. Back in 2008, plans for The Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills to open next to the Beverly Hilton were firmly squashed by Beverly Hills residents and to some extent, the recession. Today, we learn the project is back on again. And it's really, really, really happening this time. But there will be some changes to the Beverly Hilton.
The hotel's Oasis Court, Lanai guest room buildings and its south parking structure along with the building that once housed the Trader Vic's restaurant, will be torn down to make way for the 170-room Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills Hotel and its accompanying residences. Here's a bit more info from the LA Times on what to expect:
The new hotel will be clad in curving white stone inspired by Streamline Moderne style with bronze accents. Guest rooms will have floor-to-ceiling windows that open onto landscaped private balconies. The rooftop swimming pool deck will include greenery, cabanas and a bar and grill exclusive to hotel guests. There will be an upscale restaurant open to the public, stores including jeweler Graff Diamonds and a Waldorf Astoria Spa. The hotel will also include meeting space and a ballroom that will hold as many as 200 people.
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We can rattle off a handful of hotels opening in Bali in the next few years without much effort (there is the Regent, Ritz-Carlton, Ritz-Carlton again, Starwood (Luxury Collection and Westin), and Six Senses, among others), which, together with everything that’s already there, raises the pressure once again to slow down hotel development on the island.
While the discussion on overcrowding and what is right for Bali continues, so do the announcements of new openings, with this week the addition of a Waldorf Astoria resort in 2017. Only a short transfer from Ngurah Rai Denpasar airport, the resort will have 96 villas on a cliff facing the sea.
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The upcoming Waldorf Astoria Beijing actually wasn't on our radar when we released our Master List of Hotel Openings last month (mea culpa!) But with its March 1 opening just a few weeks away, we're honing in on what is expected to be the brand's most contemporary and art-conscious hotel to date.
Located in downtown Beijing, across from the Peninsula Hotel and within walking distance to the Forbidden City, the Waldorf Astoria is a brand-new building with an unusual bronze exterior, giving it a crazy cool effect. And according to general manager, Marlene Poynder, the bronze will cause the exterior's color to change over time. Even cooler.
Poynder also filled us in on some of the amenities expected inside the 176-room hotel such as AppleTV hookups (not available for sale in China), Salvatore Ferragamo toiletries and Samsung tablets that controls nearly everything inside the room.
The hotel's interiors were done by design firm Yabu Pushelberg but they still incorporate elements of Chinese design such as traditional dressers, intricate rugs and silk-paneled walls. The hotel is also filled with contemporary Chinese art including the Waldorf Astoria Clock (found in each Waldorf Astoria hotel) which "appears weightless while resting in its glass cabinet, creating the illusion that it is floating, or of 'time being suspended.'"