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Hotel Technology / Starwood Hotels / Keyless Entry / Mobile Check-Ins / Aloft Hotels / W Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
In case you've already forgotten, our #6 resolution for hotels to adopt was more mobile check-ins with "bonus points if they offer keyless entry too." Well, it looks like Starwood Hotels will be getting an envelope of bonus points from us.
The hotel brand announced yesterday that members of its Starwood Preferred Guest program will be able to test a Keyless Mobile Check-In via the SPG smartphone app. Take a look at how it will work:
It's not that much different from the Smart Check-In that Starwood first started doing with its Aloft brand, except the app replaces the special SPG member keycard.
Starwood will be testing this new keyless technology at Aloft hotels in early 2014 with plans to roll it out in Aloft and W Hotels after that. You can apply to be a tester here but you have to be an SPG member first.
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.
Hotel Developments / Lam Group Hotels / Le Meridien Hotels / Virgin Hotels / Aloft Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / → All Tags
When we recently attended the grand opening of Hotel Indigo Brooklyn we nodded our heads when someone made the cheeky comment that Duffield Street (home also to the Sheraton Brooklyn and the Aloft Brooklyn) should be renamed Lam Street. They had a point, but the Lam Group's development vision can not be confined to one Brooklyn street. Oh no, they are all over the city, with two Aloft hotels under construction (in the Financial District and in Long Island City); a Four Points in the Financial District, and a five-block patch of Midtown Manhattan that will soon see a Virgin Hotel , the next door Le Meridien Midtown Manhattan and something only known as the Chelsea Full Service Hotel Project at 112 West 25th Street.
The man we once described as a "serial hotel architect," Gene Kaufman is working on a ridiculous number of hotels all over New York City, and now he's signed on to two more properties, side-by-side on a narrow street in the Financial District at 8 and 10-12 Maiden Lane. Kaufman is also at work on what will be the world's tallest Holiday Inn at nearby 99 Washington.
The new Maiden Lane property is going to rise to 25 stories and will offer 191 guest rooms and a rooftop bar. We hope it's nice because it would be a shame to replace this cool architecture with something bland -- a description oft-used to describe Kaufman's work.
Hotel News Briefs / International Hotel Tidbits / Four Seasons Hotels / One and Only Hotels / Mandarin Oriental Hotels / Rosewood Hotels / Chedi Hotels / Aloft Hotels / Luxury Collection Hotels / Sheraton Hotels / Le Meridien Hotels / → All Tags
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 here is a quick rundown to get you up to speed on the latest.
Four Seasons goes to Seoul: the Canadian group just announced it will be adding a 317-room Four Seasons hotel in the Sejongro area of South Korea’s capital, due to open in May 2015 in a brand new 25-story building
One&Only goes Down Under: we had heard the rumor before, but it’s official now. Australia’s Hayman Island will be managed by One&Only, with a full re-launch in April next year. The resort, in the Whitsunday Islands near the Great Barrier Reef, will undergo extensive renovations. Private residences will be added as well
Have you ever stayed at a hotel that you found the 'most perfect piece' of furniture for your own home and wondered how you might be able to get it for your abode? Well, Aloft has come to the designer rescue with their partnership with Design Within Reach.
Now, if you're staying at the trendy cousin of W Hotels, you might be able to have one of those chairs or ottomans in the lobby. So if something catches your eye during your stay, you can flip through the Design Within Reach catalog in your room and order the swish furniture for your own living room or den.
From Satellite Chandeliers and Eames molded plastic side-chairs to Verner Panton outdoor chairs and Verpan stools, lobbies, rooms and the xyz bar will showcase 23 of the best decor items DWR carries and will be available for purchase and delivery immediately since they will be in-stock. Who doesn't love instant gratification? Just don't have too many drinks and go on a shopping spree, it could get pricey with Eames chairs like the one above going for $919. Within reach? Not quite.
Chicago Hotels / Hotel Openings / Hotel Restaurants / Hotel News / Aloft Hotels / Hyatt Place Hotels / Fairfield Inn and Suites / → All Tags
Aloft Chicago's lobby is easily the funkiest and most fun of the Triplex social spaces
We recently told you about some new hotels opening in Chicago (an ongoing trend in a city on FIRE with new hotels), including three hotels dubbed the "triplex.” That triplex—which consists of Starwood’s Aloft Chicago City Center, Marriott’s Fairfield Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown River North, and Hyatt Place Chicago/River North—opened last week in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. We were there and now have a photo tour to share.
But first, let’s talk about one very cool detail: all three differently branded hotels are situated right next door to each other on the same block. Though we’ve seen this happen a time or two, such as with the Tri-Pack in NYC, it’s definitely unusual for obvious reasons; most hotels prefer a little space between themselves and the competition. But an insider tells us that the partners behind the Triplex (Friedman Properties, White Lodging and Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises [which opened the restaurant Beatrix in the Aloft lobby]) saw this instead as an opportunity to collaborate and deliver a unique experience, a sort of hotel destination that appeals to different travelers.
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While we countdown the days until we can sip on cocktails on the roof of the Virgin Chicago, there's three more hotels opening up in the city, all in the next few weeks. Here's what on deck for the Chicago hotel scene:
· Hyatt Place River North Hotel: Opening on June 20, this new Hyatt just north of the Looop will feature a bi-level lobby, rooms with views of the river and all the amenities that come with a Hyatt Place including free WiFi, free breakfast, cozy sofa sleepers in each room and a 24/7 Grab n' Go case and Bakery cafe in the lobby. Rates start at $218 a night for an advanced purchase rate.
· Aloft City Center: Also opening the exact same day is the first Aloft for Chicago proper (there's already one by O'Hare Airport.) And again, all the Aloft amenities will be here as well including the W XYZ River North Bar, the re: mix lounge, the re:fuel pantry and even Arf, Aloft's pet-friendly travel program. Rates start at $239 a night for a prepaid rate.
UPDATE, 6.25.13: Turned out three hotels actually opened on the same block--Aloft, Hyatt Place and Fairfield Inn and Suites. Read ChicagoMag's report (by our own Nina K. Hahn) for more info.
· Langham Chicago: At long last, the Langham Chicago will open on July 10 and we're nearly giddy over the room amenities which include a 55 in. television, a deep soaking tub and La Bottega Dell Albergo toiletries.There's also a swimming pool in the hotel's Chuan Spa and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine served downstairs at the new Travelle restaurant. Rates start at $356 a night on opening night.
[Photos: Hyatt Place; Aloft and Langham Hotels]
Hat tip to Tony for the reminder!
Hotel Tech / Hotel Amenities / Tech Hotels / Aloft Hotels / Hotel News / Hotel Technology / Hotel Keycards / Hotel Check-In / Mobile Check-Ins / → All Tags
The back of a sample Aloft Smart Check-In keycard
It turns out that the number of people who check-out of hotels the old-fashioned way is shrinking at an alarming rate. But what about checking in? Are people in such a hurry these days that they can't bear the thought of waiting in line to get their keycard and be told which room is theirs?
In a word, yes. Judging from the popularity of Aloft's smart check-in program, people seriously value convenience over a face-to-face welcome. And the numbers speak for themselves: last month, the program reached 10,000 users, even though only a limited number of Aloft hotels are equipped to use it.
This year, Smart Check-In is set to expand to even more properties all over the world. In case you're considering signing up, here are some fast facts on how the whole thing works.
Brooklyn Hotels / MTV Hotels / Awards Ceremony Hotels / Indigo Hotels / Music Hotels / Aloft Hotels / Sheraton Hotels / → All Tags
It was announced two weeks ago that the MTV Video Music Awards will be heading to Barclays Center on August 25, making it the first major annual awards show to ever pick Brooklyn over Manhattan. And if you plan on doing the same with your hotel room, you better act fast. The following Brooklyn hotels still have availability on the big night, but time's running out!
Opened last September, Hotel BPM would be an obvious choice, as it's Brooklyn's (and, as far as we know, Manhattan's) only music-themed hotel, with a DJ-curated playlist that pulses all day long through Bose speakers installed around the hotel (of course, if you don't feel like jammin' out to Beyonce, you can always turn the volume control knob to 'off.' Rates from $309.
The Wythe Hotel is a 20-minute train ride from the venue where the VMAs will take place, but it's by far Brooklyn's coolest hotel at the moment. Though we've had some issues with ill-tempered waitresses, we mostly love the place for its gritty industrial vibe and glorious sixth-floor rooftop bar. Rates from $305.
Hotel Amenities / Hotel Tech / Hotel TVs / In-Room Movies / Tech Hotels / Aloft Hotels / California Hotels / Starwood Hotels / → All Tags
Here's one advantage to being located next to Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, CA: Aloft Cupertino, which opened yesterday, is now the first Aloft hotel to feature Apple TV devices in all 123 guest rooms. This is great news for anyone not interested in paying $15-$20 just to watch an in-room movie (ie, us, and pretty much everyone else).
The ingenious little box-shaped devices (pictured) basically allow you to stream music, TV shows and movies on iTunes, Netflix, Hulu or MBL.com straight from your Apple device onto an HD TV.
So while it's a handy thing to keep around the house, it works just as well—if not better—in a hotel. Wanna order room service while running through all the episodes of Downton Abbey? Or watch the Angels vs. Giants game in your bathtub? Or sing (loudly) along with the cast of Glee? The possibilities are endless.
And if being able to stream all your favorite media for free wasn't enough, the hotel will make things easier by resetting the boxes each time a guest checks out (that way, your account settings won't be compromised). Aloft will even go ahead and sync up iTunes to match whatever country you're from
Of course, you'll need reliable WiFi to actually access the content on your iPhone, iPad or iPod. And luckily, Aloft is one of the upstanding brands that offers it free.
The other week, The Aloft Miami Doral opened just east of the Miami International Airport. With rates starting at about $169 the first weekend of April, or $229 if you need a room tonight, the spin-off brand of W Hotels brings a (somewhat) affordable option to the area. It also brings funky design, free WiFi and a pleasant lobby scene for folks tired of the same ho-hum highway and roadside inn options.
But if you're worried this Aloft might be too far away from the South Beach action, don't fret too much. Another Aloft Hotel is opening in Lower Brickell on May 16. This Aloft will look like other Alofts with a w xyz bar, a re:mix lobby lounge, a 24/7 pantry, an outdoor pool and free onsite parking. But it's just steps away from the American Airlines Arena and the Miami Marlins Ballpark. Reservations are not open now, but we're gonna guess room rates will be close to $200-$250 a night.
But if that still isn't good enough for you, again, don't fret. A third Aloft hotel is expected to open by the end of 2014, this time in Miami Beach proper.