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Speaking of hotel smartphone apps today, Sofitel Hotels' new app is giving its guests an easier way to reserve rooms, check loyalty programs balances and even get some inspiration for their next vacation.
Not to be mistaken for the Accor Hotels app, this one is strictly for those travelers that enjoy the lap of French luxury at Sofitels and want to top-up their Le Club account with stays at the prestigious properties.
After playing with the app for a little bit, we were blown away by the plethora of great photos each address offers up. Besides great snaps, the navigation is easy and simple to not only book a room, but check the destination's weather for the next week and even call or email the hotel with one touch of the screen.
HotelChatter Reviews / Sofitel Hotels / Accor Hotels / Los Angeles Hotels / Hotel Restaurants / Hotel Bars / → All Tags
Does The Sofitel LA still have that certain je ne sais quoi we've come to love about Sofitels? A HotelChatter Review
We noticed earlier this year that some changes were afoot at Sofitel Los Angeles, with both a new restaurant and bar coming to the Beverly Hills outpost of the French brand, replacing SimonLA and Rande Gerber’s Stone Rose. Just this past weekend, we had a chance to check it out in more detail, spending the night here while in town.
Check-In: We drove to the Sofitel from LAX, which takes about 45 minutes if traffic isn’t too bad. Valet parking is $34 a day (with in and out privileges), which adds up quickly. Reception is to your left as you enter the black marble lobby, with a beautiful black and white drawing of Los Angeles behind the desk, contrasting with deep purple flower arrangements. After the typical bonjour-greeting, we were on our way to our third-floor room in minutes.
Hotel News / Hotel Booking Engines / Expedia / Expedia Traveler Preference Program / Hilton Hotels / Marriott Hotels / Accor Hotels / → All Tags
Expedia announced last week that Hilton Hotels has officially enrolled about 4,000 of its properties in the Expedia Traveler Preference (ETP) program, bringing the total number of participating hotels across all brands to around 25,000.
Never heard of the ETP program? Essentially, it offers consumers flexibility in that they can either pay at the time of booking on Expedia, or they can pay upon checkout at the conclusion of the hotel stay. Although concerns were raised when it was introduced in July 2012, more and more hotels, including some Marriott and Accor properties, are now happy a year later. (It was originally reported that Hilton would be involved right off the bat, but it looks like it took a year to iron out the details.)
For the consumer, the option of when to pay is really nice, and the only real drawback we find at the moment is that you have to hunt for the hotels. As you see in the photo above, the ETP option presents itself only after you click on the individual hotel, and the initial search results unfortunately do not indicate which hotels carry this option. Once you click the book button, a window pops up that asks you to decide how you want to pay -- now or later.
Hotel WiFi / Free WiFi / Accor Hotels / United Kingdom Hotels / Sofitel Hotels / Pullman Hotels / Mercure Hotels / Novotel Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
After a batch of 500 hotels last year, and upgrades in Latin America, Accor Hotels is taking another step towards its hinted-at group-wide free WiFi with the news that all properties in the United Kingdom will offer this gratis going forward.
That’s 194 hotels in one fell swoop, across ibis budget, ibis, ibis Styles, Novotel, Mercure, Pullman and MGallery brands. Pullman only recently entered the UK market amidst plans to double the number of upscale hotels carrying the name to 150 by the end of this decade. The three Sofitel hotels (London St. James, Heathrow and Gatwick Airport) already offer free WiFi today.
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Chances are if you've been in NYC lately, you may have walked by the newly redesigned Novotel New York Times Square and not known it. That's how hidden this hotel is from the exterior--even with the remaining bits of the $85 million construction debris as a giveaway.
Heck even HC wasn't sure the European-brand hotel was open yet. We thought it was scheduled for September 19. But no, as we were led through the property, we were informed that it had quietly been in soft-opening since the end of July!
Walking around, it was surprising how many guests had already made the hotel home. The makeshift lobby was filled with people of all ages, cashing in on staying at Novotel's only U.S. property right in Times Square.
Let's take a look inside, shall we?
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Fans of design hotels will rejoice with the latest news of an ultra-hip, uber-trendy Sofitel So Hotel set to open in Auckland. The Pacific's first hotel of the brand will have all of the "So" details and elements for which we've been know to go a little gaga.
The Sofitel So Auckland, the fourth of the So brand, will be smack in the middle of the central business district, putting visitors within close proximity to everything the Kiwi metropolis has to offer. Setting up shop in the former New Zealand Reserve Bank, design junkies will be able to walk one block to the city's harbor and still be just five minutes away from the Auckland Viaduct, the hot entertainment district.
Accor Hotels is making good on their promises to deliver free WiFi to all their hotels around the world, by partnering up with Ruckus Wireless to standardize the free WiFi offerings at more than 100 Accor hotels in Latin America. Which is a smart move in anticipation of the crowds from the upcoming World Cup and Summer Olympics.
The Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi infrastructure will support Accor's free Wi-Fi available in leading brands such as ibis, ibis budget, Mercure, Novotel, Pullman, and Sofitel. Accor initiated deployment of its Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi networks last year, and has since completed installation of thousands of Ruckus ZoneFlex™ access points (APs) within these hotels.
And if you really want to get nerdy, here's exactly what Accor is deploying in their hotel WiFi networks: Ruckus ZoneFlex 7341 high performance, 802.11n mid-range indoor access points featuring Ruckus-patented BeamFlex™ adaptive antenna technology. Ruckus Wireless recently worked to upgrade the WiFi system for Sandals Resorts in the Caribbean.
Apparently, the new system is working well, really well. According to Accor, the new quality of WiFi service rankings with the new network have increased up to 65 percent. Which is kind of a no-brainer to us. If you can make WiFi free and fast, then you're gonna have happy hotel guests. We've only been saying this since like, 2004.
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The Brisbane Pullman has completed a full renovation and re-branding from the city's former Sebel hotel. Sporting 2 different towers, Accor has split up the hotel making one side a Mercure and the other, a Pullman. While both towers share a lobby, guests of each brand can get comfy with the typical Pullman design using rich aquas and cerulean furniture and rugs at first impression.
As expected, the rooms on the Pullman side have that sleek touch that is both warm and modern. Textured walls and over-sized headboards are married with geometrics in charcoal, black and pearl. Each of the rooms feature cream colored leather chairs and glass desks to appeal to their latest market, the bliesure traveler (just like in London!)
With the ink barely dry on our list of new London hotels, did an invite drop in our inbox from Accor Hotels for the opening of yet another new property: the Pullman London St. Pancras. You know Accor most likely for its Sofitel luxury brand (including collaborations with Kaiser Karl), or its single state-side Novotel in New York, but the French group has nearly half a million hotel rooms across the globe, making it the number 1 hotel group on all continents except North America. Take that, Marriott.
And by no means is Accor done yet. Having been introduced in 2007, the opening of the first UK Pullman hotel coincided with a refresh of the upscale brand, set to double in size to 150 hotels by 2020, with a long-term view of 500 hotels worldwide. We had a chance to listen to Accor’s CEO explain the direction, browse mood boards, and of course, see a real-life example in the rooms and public spaces of the hotel. Read on to find out what we learned.
With all of the sleek and modern design we've seen in hotels lately, there are few places that have us longing for the romance of vintage travel from the days of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Luckily, M Gallery's Hotel Muse hits the spot.
The memorable hotel brings back the mystery of retro travel and plops it right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, where it's not uncommon to see buildings from yesteryear neighboring towers from tommorow-land. The hotel is a little different in that it's housed in a new building made to look vintage, with a whole lot of turn-of-the-century flair.
Walking into the lobby were were greeted by dark wood panels, sexy lighting and iron work that would make a Paris Metro stop blush. The theme doesn't stop in the elevator. It extends onto the floor and into the room, where we felt like we stepped back to a time when alcohol was illegal and people dressed up to fly the friendly skies.
Hotel Uniforms / Fashion Hotels / Designer Hotels / Christian Lacroix / Accor Hotels / Sofitel Hotels / Bangkok Hotels / Sofitel So Hotels / Thailand Hotels / → All Tags
It makes sense for a French hotel portfolio, such as Accor to recruit a French fashion designer such aslike Christian Lacroix to design not only the rooms, but the uniforms for their ultra hip Sofitel So Bangkok. As expected, these digs and outfits are So over the top while managing to maintain traditional Thai themes.
Lacroix married East and West elements into his unique designs that make each staff member a walking fashion plate. Using traditional Thai silk and silhouette the designer brings a little Paris runway show to the streets of Bangkok with his brightly colored uniforms for both men and women. Each piece is different from the next by using the basic elements and mixing and matching tops, bottoms, and sashes so everyone looks like a top model.
Themed Hotel Rooms / Sweet Suites / Accor Hotels / Sofitel Hotels / Sydney Hotels / Australia Hotels / → All Tags
Designing a suite that's fit for Gomez and Morticia Addams is no easy task, but Sofitel Wentworth Sydney has the made the glamorous into the mysterious and spooky to welcome the namesake Broadway musical hitting the city's theater district.
From the morbid lobby decorations, elevators that delight you with the retro sitcom's theme song to when you step foot into the suite, you might think you have checked-in to a graveyard instead of a luxury hotel in the middle of the city. The themed room features a mock electric chair, creepy crimson walls and curtains, cobwebs, spiders, a haunted mirror, black towels and bed linen and the obligatory Addams Family portrait on the nightstand to remember your favorite relatives - Pugsley, Wednesday, Lurch, Uncle Fester and Grandmama.
If you want to escape all of the drama from your room, you can even partake in a Addams Family high tea service that's all together ooky. Continuing on the after-life theme, you can feast on a confectionery Cousin Itt from fruit paste and Persian cotton candy or a gloriously gruesome edible chopping block out of sweet apple pie.