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The Palm Springs Hotel
Be still, breaking hearts – it’s the last day of Palm Springs week! We’ve covered how to get there on the cheap, the must-stay hotels, and your essential pools and spas. We’re wrapping up today with forthcoming hotels that should be on your radar in the coming months – either brand new or refurbished.
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New Brunswick’s Grande Dame of a hotel, The Algonquin Resort, reopened last week after a one-year “rafters to registration” refurb to become Canada’s first hotel under Marriott’s Autograph Collection brand of independent hotels.
The century-old plus Algonquin Resort’s guest rooms and public spaces were completely redesigned by Toronto designer, Robynne Moncur of Moncur Design. The hotel’s décor reflects its Victorian origins but is re-styled for a modern sensibility, with a living room-style lobby that invites lingering around the two-sided fireplace. The lounge now opens to an outdoor patio that takes in the nightly sunsets over Passamaquoddy Bay in the awesomely-named St. Andrews-by-the Sea.
Each guest room and suite in the 233-room resort includes comfy pillow-top mattresses and bathrobes, radiant heat flooring in the bathrooms so that your tootsies don’t get cold, MP3 players, 32-inch flat screen TVs, in-room coffee, and complimentary in-room movies and WiFi. Select rooms and suites even feature a balcony or patio for you to while away an afternoon with a book — something like Michael Martin’s Lost in Hotels seems appropriate!
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Omni Bedford Springs
While hotel holiday decorations are pretty to look at, they don't do much to relax you during the holiday season, which let's be honest--can be crazy stressful with all the parties, the shopping, the relatives. So if you need a breather, we’ve put together a list (and we’re checking it twice) of hotel spas across the US who have put together some holiday-themed treatments that you can give to yourself because, contrary to popular belief, sometimes it is better to receive than to give.
The Spa at Rancho Bernardo Inn, San Diego normally uses seasonal ingredients and this winter is no exception. From December through January you can indulge in the Chocolate Candied Orange Treatment, and indulge you will! This treatment starts with a hazelnut and orange scrub; then comes a chocolate comfrey wrap and cinnamon scalp treatment; an Acai butter massage follows, as does a mulled cider drink. The spa then sends you on your way with a take home recipe for hazelnut and sea salt shortbread cookies. The cost for this extravagance is $175.
At Lake Arrowhead Resort’s Spa of the Pines (an Autograph Collection hotel) there is a new holiday-themed menu of treatments. The resort is offering a hot stone Holiday Pedicure, a Holiday Swedish Massage using their own special holiday-scented oil (cloves and cinnamon), and a Holiday-Scented Body Scrub using an organic vanilla and brown sugar scrub followed by a rich body cream. For the most bang for your buck go for the Holiday Duo: the body scrub followed by the massage for $165.
L'Auberge de Sedona is offering guests a Warming Gingerbread Sugar Body Scrub and Gingerbread Wrap that are good enough to eat. Using organic sugar and warming ginger oil there are also notes of cinnamon and orange. To tempt you further, we’ll just tell you that after the scrub, the body butter is applied to your skin, you’re wrapped in warm blankets and receive either a scalp and neck massage or a foot massage. You can just lie back and hear the heavenly choir. The scrub and wrap are $145 for both treatments.
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The raison d’être of Marriott’s Autograph Collection is to provide not just a place to lay your weary head, but to give you an experience based on different themes like Culinary Delight, Artistic Getaway, Urban Excitement or Sporting Adventure. (For added fun, you can visit their Facebook page and have your autograph analysed to see which theme suits you best. It was shockingly accurate.)
Now they’re bringing that concept to the UK for the first time with the addition of two upscale hotels: Threadneedles in London and The Glasshouse in Edinburgh.
Threadneedles is set in the heart of the Square Mile, the original site of the Roman settlement that started it all. Being in The City, you’re close to St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Borough Market and the Tower of London.
The hotel is in a former Victorian bank and blends the traditional with the contemporary. The lobby is dominated by an elaborate stained-glass dome from 1856 and the hotel has a see-and-be-seen restaurant and bar for the business crowd, Bonds. For those of you who have really latched on to the theme idea, you’re looking at Urban Excitement, Culinary Delight, Wedding Celebrations and Historic Explorations at this boutique hotel.
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Ask anyone in Denver about the city's oldest hotel, and they'll either point you towards the Oxford Hotel or the Brown Palace (technically, the Oxford opened a year earlier, in 1891, but in our eyes, they're both pretty special). However, in terms of star power, we think the Brown Palace wins out.
The hotel, which recently became an Autograph Collection property in September, has hosted every president since Teddy Roosevelt, with the exception of Calvin Coolidge and Barack Obama. And on the ground floor, the room that Henry C. Brown (the hotel's founder) used as his office is now a kick-ass cigar lounge named Churchill, with a customized humidor of over 60 cigars.
But our favorite feature about the hotel is the thing you see above. It's a water fountain, yes, but the story goes deeper than that.
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Autograph Collection just announced its first two hotels in California, plus a second in Davenport, Iowa, all of which are set to officially debut as AC properties next month. Looks like the brand is well on track to reach its goal of 50 hotels by the end of 2013.
First up is Hotel Adagio, a 171-room historical hotel near Union Square in San Francisco. This one caught our eye back in September when we visited and loved how fresh-looking the place looked after its $7 million renovations. In fact, back then, we even wrote how Hotel Adagio had parted ways with Joie De Vivre, so "perhaps the hotel's future may be brighter."
Looks like we were right about that one!
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Germany just became a little more appealing to Marriott Rewards members, as the brand announced yesterday it will be adding Berlin's Hotel Am Steinplatz to the Autograph Collection later this summer. That's even more reason to get excited about Berlin right now (aside from the fact that it's a kick-ass city), as Waldorf-Astoria just popped up there in January.
The Hotel Am Steinplatz building originally opened in 1907 with a design by August Endell (also responsible for Berlin's Hackesche Hoefe), though it didn't become a hotel until 1913. Which makes 2013 its one hundredth hotel-iversary. Herzlichen Glückwunsch!
To mark the occasion, Marriott's spruced the place up with an "extensive renovation," and the result is an 87-room property with 3 luxury suites, a restaurant, and a spa.
Knowing what we know about Autograph Collection (and having stayed at one in Budapest), we fully trust that the brand's German debut will be a stunner. The hotel is described as having once been "an exclusive meeting point for artists, writers, philosophers and even aristocratcy." Well. We'd expect nothing less.
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A stone bust carved into the facade of Boscolo Budapest.
It used to be called the New York Palace, and its most famous venue is still the New York Cafe. Then it became the Boscolo Budapest. Then in 2011, Marriott swooped in and annexed it to their Autograph Collection. Call it what you will—it doesn't really matter because once you walk inside, you start to realize why so many people have been making a fuss about this place for years.
We checked into the Boscolo Budapest at the tail end of our mini-trek through Eastern Europe last month, and boy, was it a welcome respite. Immediately upon arrival (and we got there pretty early, around 11am), the staff were totally welcoming, not only allowing us up to our room ahead of normal check-in time, but also upgrading us to a Junior Suite on the fourth floor. Like always, we were planning to request an upgrade anyway (it was Budapest, in the middle of January, after all), but they were one step ahead of us!
Of course, we were dazzled by the atrium-style lobby, which is encircled by five floors of gleaming portico arches stacked on top of each other, leading all the way up to a glorious skylit roof. But more on that later. First, our initial room reaction...
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Marriott swooped in last year and made plenty of Marriott Rewards members happy by adding the Carlton Hotel to its Autograph Collection. And while perhaps the place isn't quite as historic as its Autograph Collection sister hotel, The Algonquin, the Carlton still has a few tricks up its sleeves...
So for those of you planning on staying here, here's a little secret: up in room 1105, you'll find the exact bookcase you see pictured above. Looks like a normal bookcase, right? Wrong. The bookcase is in fact a door that opens onto a hidden wood-paneled room, accessible only to guests staying in room 1105, which is also known as The Speakeasy Suite.
For more photos, click through!
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Here's a tip for anyone looking to spend their honeymoon in gorgeous, sunny Taos: El Monte Sagrado, New Mexico's sole Autograph Collection property, offers a luxury suite known as the Kama Sutra suite. And boy, will it put you in the mood for love.
We toured the whole property recently, but particularly liked our precious few moments spent exploring the warmly-lit, sensuous space at the far end of the resort. Featuring a king bed with an elaborate hand-carved wooden frame, plus plenty of curved walls and enlarged wooden beams reaching up vertically, the suite is pure sex.
For more photos, click below!
Things are moving along at a steady clip for Autograph Collection, Marriott's winning assemblage of top-tier, independently-owned hotels around the world—a collection that's grown at a rate of approximately one hotel per month since 2010.
The brand's newest members include three European hotels—Fontecruz Lisboa (pictured), Hotel De Bourgtheroulde and Hotel L'Hermitage Gantois—the first of which is noteworthy for being Autograph's first hotel in Portugal. Though the second two are by no means insignificant: set in Rouen, France, the De Bourgtheroulde is a 15th century stone mansion, while L'Hermitage was originally built in the 1400s.
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It's the 120th anniversary of Denver's Brown Palace Hotel and Spa. To celebrate the hotel’s opening in 1892, this fixture in the city's downtown area since 1892, has joined Marriott’s Autograph Collection as we mentioned it would last month. This collection of luxury hotels includes New York’s Algonquin Hotel, The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas and Turnberry Isle in Miami. The properties in the Autograph Collection are located in major cities, and each has its own distinctive style and ambiance, so they're a far cry from typical cookie-cutter hotels.
So, what does this union between Marriott and the Brown Palace mean for you? For one, the hotel’s inclusion allows guests to use Marriott Reward system points for stays at the Brown Palace.
To make it even sweeter, Marriott is offering 1,000 reward bonus points to guests who book a stay at the Brown Palace between September 12th and December 5th 2012. There are some restrictions, and details are online at Marriott. The hotel will, of course, benefit from Marriott’s marketing machine, too, though Brown Palace will continue to be operated by Quorum Hotels & Resorts, which has run the hotel since 1987.
Rooms rates begin at $400 per night.
[Photo: Marriott International]