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Our "Hottest Hotel Chef in the World" contest was a hit with the battle for the ultimate golden spoon fierce between eventual final winner Antonio Minichiello and runner up (by eight votes!) Executive Chef Chad Minton of the Shop at Andaz 5th Avenue.
We thought it fair to share a couple of the tattooed-one's gems with you, as he was a great sport about the whole competition--and quite frankly, his fan club was a passionate bunch, often (illegally!) voting quadruple times for the skateboarding, freestlyin' kitchen master who rides a fixed-gear bike to work every day.
So, we tossed him a few questions and were delighted with his answers. We hope the Minton Minions (ha!) will be, too.
HotelChatter: If you would have won the competition, who would you have called first?
Chef Chad Minton: Definitely someone at Ford Modeling.
HC: Have you ever been called a “Hot Chef” before? What does it mean to you?
CM: I have not and now that I am so hot, I need to take a page from another famously hot New Yorker, Spiderman. “With great power comes great responsibility”. This more true now than ever. I need to be aware of this. I pledge to only use my “hotness” for the good of mankind.
HC: Did you read the comments people said about you? What was your favorite?
CM: I can’t believe what an amazing response there was. I want to sincerely thank everyone that took the time to log on and vote for me. So many hilarious comments and creative user names. “I saw him carving the lamb at a halal truck with a katana.” and “Chef Chad is soo hot, they had to re-calibrate all the fire detectors in the kitchen.” Plus, a poster said, “one time he made me soup, for free!!!”. Those were all standouts for me.
HC: Ok, quell our curiosity...What does this nickname Chaddah mean?
CM: I have no idea! I think some people were just having fun with my name, but I've never been called that.
More on Chef Minton after the break!
We can’t help but notice hotel employees are looking downright dapper these days. Seems like those sterile suit-and-tie numbers of yesteryear are being replaced with ensembles so enviable, we want to score them ourselves. (Just witness our Lacroix love at Sofitel's So Bangkok).
Known for working with New York City artisans in an array of capacities, the Andaz's latest collaboration is with American fashion designer Richard Chai. The CFDA award winner has worked with Marc Jacobs, Geoffrey Beene, Donna Karan and Lanvin. In 2008 his diffusion line with Target sold out within days and Blake Lively, Kate Hudson and Sarah Jessica Parker are fans of his work.
Chai has recently created a collection of new uniforms for the Andaz' hotel hosts. The eight simple, but sophisticated pieces were designed to replicate the property’s philosophy of attentive, yet uncomplicated service, and consist of a blue, navy, and black palette. Each host has been fitted with customized Chai pieces to ensure a casual, but tailored look.
Talk about haute hotel couture!
[Photo: Andaz Hotels]
Here are a few renderings of the property which sits on the Papagayo Gulf, along the Bay of Culebra. The Andaz will be a part of a 2,223-acre master planned development and will have 153 guest rooms (21 of these will be suites), three themed restaurants, a marina bar (which overlooks the 180-slip Marina Papagayo), ocean activities, two pools, a private beach and a spa and fitness center. Guests will also have access to the resort activities of Peninsula Papagayo, which includes an 18-hole Arnold Palmer golf course and sport fishing.
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You may not be able to tell from this laid-back photo, but chef Masaharu Morimoto really is hard at work preparing for the opening of his second Hawaiian restaurant Morimoto Maui, now scheduled for October at the Andaz Maui at Wailea.
When we visited the resort for its grand opening on September 1st, we'd hoped to get a sneak peak at the restaurant too, but we were shut down on all fronts. In fact, the teak wood and black-stone tile restaurant is currently hidden behind a huge tent that's been lovingly called "Cirque du Sushi".
Morimoto did allow for a candid shot and we gotta say, he looks super cool outside the chefs whites, right?
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..this little guy! We've never seen such a cool looking kid decked out in the finest resort wear. The boy was one of the Andaz Maui at Wailea first guests (with his family, of course) when the hip hotel opened on September 1st. Check out our first look here.
Although the Andaz isn't your typical family resort--you won't find water slides, game rooms or a kid's club, they do support the area's local youth and have adopted the nearby Kihei Elementary School.
Part of the corporation's responsibility program, Hyatt Thrive, the hotel has already started volunteer work at the school, developed a monthly rewards program, and even installed a new refrigerator in the school’s faculty lounge.
The hotel's goal is to help strengthen education at the school and personal advancement within the local community. That's part of the Hawaii's ohana (family) spirit, and one of the reasons we love the islands so much.
[Photo: Trevor Durham/Andaz Maui at Wailea]
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It finally happened. At 2pm on September 1st, the highly anticipated Andaz Maui at Wailea finally opened for business, after being delayed from their original August 15th debut date.
We were front and center for the emotional blessing ceremony led by the respected Kahuna Nui, Kapono'ai Molitau. The kahuna told us he's particular about the places he'll perform his chants, and felt the Andaz's space was very special.
Indeed, there's history here. The hotel was once a Renaissance Hotel that was beloved by long-time vacationers. After sitting empty for many years, the Hyatt group came in and decided to turn it into one of the hottest hotel brands today.
The Andaz Maui is the 10th of its kind to open, and there are more on the way. But right now let's focus on this gallery of first looks at this resort that's made a huge effort to embody the spirit of Hawaiian aloha.
Plus, we'll tell you which is the Best Room to Book, after the jump.
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We hate to keep going on about summer ending soon and all but, as if to prove our point, time’s running out on some of these fave seasonal cocktails. You better get ‘em while you can.
The bar downstairs at the Andaz 5th Avenue has some summery cocktails on offer until September 30. The two most popular are the Taken to Task, containing Aylesbury Duck vodka, lemon, Cochhi Americano, berries and orange bitters, and the Scarlet Rum Old-Fashioned, with Flor de Caña 7 year rum, Scarlet Ibis rum, Clear Creek Pear Liqueur and Angostura bitters. Mmm… boozy.
The Waldorf Astoria New York has U.S. Open fever and is offering a grand slam of a cocktail during the run of the matches in August and September. The Tennis Ball features the hotel’s Top of the Waldorf Honey produced by the six apiaries on the 20th floor along with Zubrowka Bison Grass vodka, Cocchi Americano, Midori melon liqueur and fresh lemon juice.
Two more "can't misses" below!
We can't get enough of Andaz Hotels as evidenced by our excitement over their forthcoming Maui (opening September 1st) and Papagayo (opening in December) properties. But now there's one more Andaz to look forward to--Mexico!
Last year we mentioned there would be an Andaz Mayakoba coming to the Riviera Maya section of Mexico, and lo and behold, it's already in the second stages of development.
The 213-room luxury resort, scheduled to open mid-2015, will include a 36-hole Greg Norman golf course and both residential and commercial areas. There will also be four bar and restaurants.
We would love if the Andaz wine with check in could be, hmm, margaritas, instead? When in Rome and all...
[Photo: Hyatt Hotels]
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Andaz Hotels was supposed to open their Maui property yesterday but alas, that's been pushed back to September 1st.
The good news is room rates have dropped a bit from $509 to $409 a night.. We hope this new opening date sticks. But in the meantime, we'll be fantasizing about the next Andaz to open--Andaz Papagayo.
Reservations for this Costa Rican resort will start in December. The property is planning 153 guest rooms along with 21 funky luxury suites and should feature "modern designs with touches of local character." There will also be three restaurants, a bar, two swimming pools, a private beach and an 11,000-sq.ft. spa, along with other amenities. No word on room rates but we should
hope think it will be cheaper than Maui.
[Photo: Andaz Papagayo]
The Concourse Level at the Andaz Wall Street sustained such extensive damage from Superstorm Sandy in 2012, it closed for seven months. That space contained the Andaz' event facilities, meeting rooms, and a full-service fitness center. Pretty important for a Financial District hotel and its clientele.
Despite remaining open throughout the renovation, obviously hotel customers and local businesses had to do without those facilities. Well, those days are over with the recent debut of the remodeled event space which is now 7,000 square feet from the previous 4,000 square feet and are divided into four spaces, including an open kitchen. Once only able to accommodate just 75 people, now events for 450 people are possible complete with wireless capabilities and LED lighting.
The three new rooms Stock, Bond, and Exchange are 740 to 1900 square feet each and equipped with LCD televisions, open pantries with personal espresso machines, and state of the art audio-visual equipment.
Guests who weren't able to work out during Andaz stays are now graced with a "green" gym that has hybrid treadmills from Life Fitness. What's a hybrid treadmill? It's a piece of equipment that's a treadmill, elliptical, and stair stepper in one and also uses 52% less power than traditional machines. After your efficient workout, one can now hit the spa which was renovated, too.
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The Andaz West Hollywood on Sunset is once again The Riot Hyatt, thanks to One Direction.
The British boy band is staying at the hotel this week during their Los Angeles tour stop and hoards of clever groupies have already staked out the hotel. Here's a snapshot of what the modern-day "band-aids" look like thanks to a tipster who's staying at the hotel.
Before the Andaz became the Andaz it was a regular old Hyatt hotel that hosted dozens of rock stars during the 70s and 80s and whose crazy antics (throwing a TV out the window, riding a motorcycle down the hall) gave the hotel its moniker, The Riot Hyatt.
Today however, it's more the fans that are doing the rioting rather than the boys themselves. Our tipster writes:
There are a bunch of bodyguards all over the hotel, especially the top floor, but these guys are extra friendly, they sort of remind me of Kevin Costner instead of the mean, scary bodyguards that I've encountered at home in New York.
Interestingly, the hotel is sold-out for the rest of this week. Rooms open back up on Monday at $325 a night but by then the boys have already left town. Meanwhile we hear that One Direction's rival group, The Wanted, is staying across the street at The Mondrian. Meow!
[Photo: HC tipster]
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In our sneak peek of the Andaz Maui in May, we were given plenty of details about the eagerly anticipated Andaz resort, from the high-end Rockwell Group Design to the private beach, the Hawaiian apothecary spa, a new restaurant from Chef Morimoto, two outdoor bars and the seriously chic guest rooms. Except there was no confirmed opening date. Well, now we finally have one.
The Andaz Maui will open on August 15. Aloha! However, right now, we can't actually seem to make a reservation for that day. We tried various dates in August on the website (as well as over on Expedia) but everything was coming up as Sold Out. We hope that it's just a minor issue with the reservations system and that we can start reserving rooms soon.
However, we were able to find a room on September 9 for $509 a night for an Andaz Garden King. Ocean views were not available but will presumably cost more. Also the Morimoto restaurant is expected to open later in the fall. But at least the WiFi is free!
[Photo: Rockwell Group]