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We've said our piece about how impressed we are with Denver's up-and-coming hotel scene (seriously, we think we've done more stories on the Mile High City in the past few months than we ever have), so we'll get right to the new juicy deets on two new Starwood properties: The opening of a Westin at DIA Airport in 2015 and an Aloft downtown in July of 2014.
Westin DIA: Once the train is complete that will connect DIA with downtown, a Hotel and Transit Center (shown above) is on track to open that will house entertainment and restaurant options as well as lodging. Thus far, the only announcement has been a 519-room Westin. Details of the hotel are scarce at this point, other than that it will open in 2015 and include "nearly 26,000 square feet of meeting and conference space as well as restaurants, a health club and swimming pool and a parking garage." There's also no word yet on whether there will be other hotels on-site, but we'll keep you posted.
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Finding a hotel room is easy. Simply go on the Internet or use your smartphone and voila! You're booked.
But if you are only interested in new hotels, then that's a different story. Luckily, you have us. And we're obsessed with new hotels. Here's a list of what hotels are opening this month (and a few that are changing brands as well.) Got a new hotel to add? Send it to us!
HOTELS OPENING IN NOVEMBER 2013
Westin Sanya Haitang Bay Resort, China: This long awaited Westin resort on Hainan Island in the South China Sea (it was supposed to open in 2012) is finally taking reservations for November 7th. The wait may have been worth the wait as this looks like no other Westin we've seen before. Rates start at around $242USD a night but the WiFi is going to cost an extra $13 a day. Also, a full moon is not guaranteed.
Le Meridien Zhengzhou, China: This ultra-luxe and super modern Le Meridien will also open on November 7 adajcent to Zhengzhou Eastern New District, with a shopping centre and cinema next door. But all this poshness DOES come cheap with rates starting at just $122USD a night. WiFi is free in the public spaces but can cost up to $10 a day to use in your room.
Westin Singapore Marina Bay: While this Westin is nowhere near as flashy as the neighboring Marina Bay Sands, it does boast an infinity rooftop pool and a Westin Heavenly spa. Rates for the 305-room hotel start at around $400 on November 12th. WiFi is free in the lobby but will cost $16 to use in your room.
Ritz-Carlton Aruba: Initially expected to open on November 2, the new Ritz-Carlton Aruba will now open 20 days later on November 22nd. Rates at Aruba's first five-star resort start at $649 a night. Rooms with an ocean view are going for $799.
The Landings Resort and Spa, South Lake Tahoe: According to a press release and the hotel's website, guests should be able to get in this month. But when we tried to make a reservation for November 22 (the first available date from the drop-down calendar), no rooms were open. We tried again for December 1st but no luck. So we'll just cross our fingers it opens this month.
WestHouse New York: The newest hotel in NYC will open just in time for Thanksgiving on November 27th. Which is kinda perfect timing since the hotel is all about blending "the privileges of a luxury hotel with the residential comforts of a New York townhouse." Rates start at $499 a night but also include a $30 resident fee per adult. That fee includes daily breakfast presentation, afternoon tea, hors d'oeuvres, evening canapés, in-room Dean & Deluca amenity kit, and unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
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There's tons of hotel news flying around this week and we don't have time to give each and every story the love and attention it may deserve, so you will have to settle for some news briefs.
· Oberoi Dubai Is Now Open: We were so busy making popcorn in preparation for the opening of Dubai's first movie-themed resort that we almost forgot about Oberoi Dubai, the 252-room luxury resort that opened last week in downtown Dubai. Guest can expect all the usual Oberoi touches, like in-room check-in, 24-hour butlers, and two Presidential Suites that come with their own 1.5-meter plunge pools. In addition to that, there will be four restaurants—including Nine7One, which sources different cuisines from all seven (7) continents—and a 24-hour spa with Ayurvedic treatments. Rates from $272/night.
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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!
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And we thought the mere possibility of hotels using our internet connections to advertise was scary. It could be way more offensive than that. Imagine waking up in the morning to brush your teeth and an ad greets you from that bathroom mirror? According to Arthur Frommer Online, that's what happened to one guest at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites in downtown Los Angeles. Frommer editor Jason Cochran writes;
L.A. is currently hosting E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, a huge trade conference in which all the major gaming systems jockey for attention. Apparently Microsoft's XBox thought it would pay Starwood Hotels' Westin to make sure its ads couldn't possibly be missed by its guests — and Westin agreed to sell mirror space to advertisers.
Is this a frontier too far for a hotel chain? I'd say yes. Perhaps the hotels have forgotten that we already pay them for rooms. This week standard rooms at the Westin Bonaventure are going for $350.
We have to agree, especially when you're paying upwards of $300 for a room. It actually feels criminal.
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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: Trekking to the hotel gym
What's In: In-room workouts that rival a personal training session
The hotel gym. We know people use ‘em, but sometimes it’s hard to find that last bit of energy needed to drag yourself out of your room after a busy day of sightseeing or making deals. Or maybe you’re just jet-lagged and are up at 3 a.m. thinking, “Man – I could really go for a workout right now.” At these hotels, the gym comes to you.
Dorchester Collection’s new contemporary hotel 45 Park Lane in London offers you an exclusive in-room workout with fitness guru and trainer to the stars, Matt Roberts, through a bespoke and full-body in-room video program. The hotel committed to get fit during the London Olympics and got Matt to create five workouts, each video focusing on a different area of the body using the furniture at hand. (We’re not suggesting they’re copying us here at HC, but sort of like our Sweat-Worthy Hotel Room Exercises series we brought you about a month or so ago.)
When you leave you’ll also get a freebie Matt at 45 Park Lane Fitness Pack which includes step-by-step training techniques for beginners through pros, a healthy eating plan, and “in the know” tips from the trainer -- things only Matt Roberts and Naomi Campbell knew till now.
At Raffles Praslin Seychelles space is your friend if you want to have an in-room workout. In the privacy of your own 410 sq ft (minimum) villa, with a vast outdoor terrace looking out over the ocean, you can do as many Sun Salutations as you want without bumping into the furniture. All villas already include a yoga mat and, at your mere request, the resort will deliver a fitness kit consisting of a dumbbell set, skipping rope, stability ball, resistance band and a selection of exercise DVDs. If that’s not enough to get you going you can arrange for an in-room personal trainer to take you through your paces with a customized exercise program.
And don't forget, HotelChatter's Sweat-Worthy Workouts: Can't afford to hire a personal trainer to come to your room? Or more likely, are you staying in a property that doesn't have a gym or in-room fitness videos? We've got you covered with our five sweat-worthy workouts, all of which you can do in your hotel room. Watch the videos for instructions on the different body parts to work out. You're very welcome!
Two more fitness-crazed hotels below!
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If your first thought is 'Mojito!' when you see this picture, then you're on the right track.
Since last summer, the Westin New York Grand Central has quietly been working on a modest but respectable rooftop veggie garden way up on the hotel's 41st floor. Located smack in the middle of midtown (the Chrysler Building is so close you can touch it), it seems like an unlikely place to be growing…well, anything. But urban farming is trendy these days, and a hotel's gotta go what a hotel's gotta do, right?
383 feet above Manhattan, ten dirt-filled tubs with arugula, mesclun lettuce, rosemary, heirloom tomatoes, and "mojito mint" are being overseen by the hotel's Executive Chef, Brian Wieler (pictured), who tends to his green leafy sprout-lings like a proud dad. And not one to cut corners, Chef Wieler has also ensured the garden is 100% organic, with only organic plants, soil and fertilizer being used. And now, as spring gets going, he is starting to harvest some of the mini-crops.
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Fans of the hit ABC show Shark Tank ought to perk up when they hear about a new package being offered by the Westin New York Grand Central. Dubbed the "Game Changer," the three-night package offers aspiring entrepreneurs a premium Corner King room (pictured), complimentary New Balance sneakers and workout clothes (for lending only), and free WiFi.
Pretty sweet deal, right?
Oh, wait. We almost forgot the most important part! "Game Changer" guests will also receive a half hour consultation with the shark himself, Daymond John, via Skype or in person. Yes, the FUBU man himself.
The package is named after Game Changer Meetings, a service designed to connect business people all over the world with top experts in their respective industries. Of course, it depends what your chosen industry is. For example, if it has anything to do with suspicious-looking cigarettes, then these guys probably can't help you.
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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: Windsurfing and jet skis
What’s In: Stand up paddle boarding (SUP)
As synchronized swimming fell out of favor after the 1950s and windsurfing mania waned in the 1990s, another wet trend has emerged: Paddle boarding. And with so many hotels getting in on the action and upping the game (yoga paddle boarding, anyone?), we think it may just be here for awhile.
For the luxury crowd, Raffles Praslin Seychelles offers complimentary stand up paddle boarding so guests can take in the stunning Indian Ocean scenery. If your main goal is to simply enjoy the Seychelles' waters aboveboard and not below, the resort also launched hourly lessons for new users, with an expert teaching you the proper way to stand on the board, keep balance and paddle (what -- all at the same time??).
Another luxe resort, the Paresa Resort in Phuket, Thailand offers straight-up SUP, but then raises the challenge level by combining stand up paddle boarding with yoga. Their “Yoga on the Ocean” program begins at sunrise or sunset when you paddle your board out on the indigo Andaman Sea and enjoy a yoga class floating on your watery yoga mat.
When Westin Hotels rolled out their rentable workspaces last May we were relieved to hear of a place where we could get real work done that didn't involve the endless grind of coffee beans or the perpetual smell of greasy french fries. The only bummer was that the workspaces, then called Project Hive, were available in just two hotels--The Westin Boston Waterfront and The Westin Arlington Gateway Hotel. But now that's about to change.
Westin has announced that they will roll out more of these cool workspaces around the world to more than 40 Westin hotels. They are also ditching the name Project Hive in favor of the moniker Tangent. However, the workspace concept will remain the same with each work zone featuring media:scape by Steelcase technology, video conferencing, TVs, printers, sound systems, Xbox 360s, floor to-ceiling whiteboards, wired and wireless internet for no additional fee and lots of outlets for all your gadgets.
What we like the best is the spaces can be booked by the hour at a moment's notice. Sayonara uncomfortable lobby seats, we'll be kicking it at Tangent.
[Photo: Westin Hotels]
The 611-room Westin Playa Bonita got plenty of attention when it opened in 2011 as Panama City's newest beach resort—no thanks to an all-night, Carnival-style grand opening party on the beach, complete with fireworks, Latino pop stars, and an estimated 3400 guests (ourselves included!).
The biggest reason to head back there now, however, is the resort's new Sensory Spa by Clarins, which debuted in October and has spent the last four months living up to its name by offering guests what it calls the "Tropical Rainforest Circuit," an hour-long hot-and-cold treatment featuring herbal saunas, ice fountains, an amethyst crystal steam room, and a Raindance Rainmaker shower. In fact, the whole thing is supposedly so relaxing, the spa lets you do the circuit twice.
Wondering what a "Raindance Rainmaker shower" is exactly? We scratched our heads over that one too: apparently it's a chamber with jets of water and air installed on the walls and ceiling that can re-create a "thick, thin or swirling warm rain experience." Err…sounds nice? We don't know, maybe we need to try this one out for ourselves….
High tea service can be fun, but most of the time it can be stuffy. Really, how many cucumber sandwiches can one person eat? The Westin Sydney has broken the chains of sipping tea with an extended pinky finger with a new take on tradtion, the Mad Hatter Tea.
Full of whimsy, this service is a flagrant nod to Alice in Wonderland and her adventures. Think beyond the 'Eat Me' cakes and move towards a super-chocolatey cake decorated like the Mad Hatter's hat or blueberry macaron 'painted' like the White Rabbit's pocket watch. From sweet to savory, the multi-tiered plates would even make a fan out of the Queen of Hearts.