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Free WiFi / Hotel WiFi / Monaco Hotels / Monte Carlo Hotels / Boutique Hotels / F1 Hotels / Sports Hotels / → All Tags
Ah, Monaco, a place so ridiculously, frivolously expensive that most of the hotels expect you to pay for WiFi. Pay for WiFi? Well, not if you use their basic service, of course – but if you want something that does more than pull in a single email every hour or so, you usually have to pony up for a faster connection (notable exception: the Fairmont, which gives free WiFi to members of its Presidents Club).
So huge news from Monaco this week with the news that the Columbus has become the first Monegasque hotel to offer free, highspeed WiFi to all its guests and visitors. It’s a 50MB connection, with an auto-login – so no annoying passwords to re-enter, and your login lasts a month, so if you only stay a night, you know where to hit up the bar for some work time.
And if you really can’t believe that no hotel in an entire country has done this before,
then you haven’t been to Monaco this is what they say:
Every time we turn our heads away, a Paris hotel opens. Last week we had news of the ridiculously expensive La Réserve and the far more affordable Hilton Paris Opera; this week, we’re salivating over the opening (or should that be reopening?) of the Hôtel Les Bains.
Once a public bathhouse, then a cult nightclub, Les Bains, in the Marais district, was built in 1885 as Les Bains Douches, and was initially the most famous thermal spa in Paris – Marcel Proust took the waters here! Fast forward to 1978, and Andy Warhol and his ilk were living it up in the baths-turned-nightclub (designed by the then unknown Philippe Starck), which became the Studio 54 of Paris. The club closed in 2011, when it became a full-immersion art installation and artists’ residency. And now – draw breathe – it’s about to be a hotel.
Well, that didn’t last long.
When we told you about the new hotel wing coming to London’s private members’ club The Hospital, we said that the £99 room rates were “almost unfathomable”. And that has come to pass, because under a month in, the cheapest rate we can see is £123.75 – and that’s for a small sleeper room. After that, prices leap, nay high-jump, to £180 and up - as far as £580 for the suite, which we assume is shown in these, new, pictures.
Although, to be fair, that’s still not bad for London – especially if you’re excited by access to the club that you wouldn’t otherwise get.
Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Rates / Dijon Hotels / France Hotels / Design Hotels / Boutique Hotels / → All Tags
If you don’t know much about Dijon other than its mustard, know that it is one of France’s most famous foodie places, with over 400 restaurants and so many listed buildings (100 hectares-worth) that it’s one of the largest culturally protected areas in the country - ie, you probably want to go. The Vertigo – which has already signed up as a Design Hotels member - is in a 1926, Haussmann-style building on Place Darcy in the center of town, near the pedestrian area.
Hotel Openings / Istanbul Hotels / Karakoy Hotels / Beyoglu Hotels / Boutique Hotels / Affordable Hotels / → All Tags
Let’s not let the sad news from yesterday put us off. Istanbul is one of the most wonderful cities in the world, and one of the best for the independent hotel scene. And when it comes to independent hotels, Karaköy is swiftly becoming the place to be.
The latest to hit the Bosphorus is the Banker Han, opening in April. It’s a new sibling for the Sofa Hotel, a boutique joint in Nisantasi, and it’s taking over a rundown street art centre, so it has cred on two counts, even without a website.
We stayed in a Punk Bunk - one of the smaller pod rooms, only with bunk beds. There’s a double bed on the bottom, and a single on the top. The rooms are 12.6sqm. Yes, that’s tiny – there’s the bed area, a teeny desk area, and the fridge and minibar stuff in the corner. Then there’s a narrow passageway taking you to the door and the bathroom. We had one big suitcase, and one small, and it was a squeeze.
But having said that, it was comfortable. Obscenely so. The enclosed bed was slightly too short for our 6ft frame, but the mattress was the comfiest we’ve slept on in months – strip-the-sheets-and-write-down-the-name comfy (King Koil Club Class, since you ask).
Hotel amenities. They can be crazy or sensible. They can be extravagant or parsimonious. But sometimes, they can be simple, sensible and also super-cool. Like at The Dean, Dublin’s newest (and, probably, trendiest) hotel.
We checked into a pod-like Punk Bunk last week to be greeted with these three bags hanging up by the bed. Early Christmas stockings? Laundry bags with the last guest’s stuff left over? Nope, amenities. A hairdryer. A clothes steam cleaner (in addition to the iron – pretty novel). And, the best one:
Hotel Renovations / DTLA Hotels / Los Angeles Hotels / Downtown LA Hotels / Boutique Hotels / Affordable Hotels / → All Tags
File under things you already knew: Downtown LA is, apparently, the place to be. File under things you might not have known: Downtown LA has the best preserved pre-1950s buildings in the United States. Really! When you wander around like we did the other week, saying “Why, it’s like Chicago, but better,” it really is. Which is why we’re sad to hear of the renovations coming up at one of its most historic hotels, the Figueroa.
This HC member only got her first glimpse of the Fig this month, but one foot in the door was enough to know it was true love*. The coffin-shaped pool. The Moroccan interiors. The belly dancers entertaining a Christmas party in the bar, while off duty cops ate in the kasbah-like lobby. It was like a film set. My god, this is what America is all about!
Here's a niche offer: If you’re from Nantucket, and are staying home over the holidays, the island’s newest hotel – The Nantucket Hotel & Resort – has a rather nice Christmas present for you. They’re offering fellow Nantuckians a complimentary one-night stay on either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
Hotel Christmas Trees / Holiday Hotel Decorations / Hotel Amenities / New York Hotels / Celebrity Hotels / Boutique Hotels / → All Tags
If you find yourself in New York over the holidays, The Greenwich Hotel (Robert de Niro’s TriBeCa hotel) doesn’t want you to be green with envy of those sitting around their fresh Christmas tree at home.
The 88-room hotel -- where no two rooms are alike -- will either set up a fully-decorated tree in your suite based on your ever-so-particular decorating style or, for some true down-home fun, will set up a tree-trimming party in your suite.
Once you’ve decorated the tree, head down to the cozy drawing room where the kids can have some hot chocolate from Locanda Verde and you can have a hot toddy – just to loosen up those vocal chords for carol-singing, of course.
Rates at the hotel this week start at $575 -- let's face it: this is the definition of last minute.
[Photos: The Greenwich Hotel]
China, bless its little cotton socks, is not a country that we’ve traditionally associated with a thriving boutique hotel scene (the recently opened Jade Gallery Boutique Hotel in Chengdu, for instance, has an onsite casino!). But while the rest of the world busies itself with the millennial market, it looks like China is focusing on its boutique properties.
The latest to open is the Sofu Hotel in Beijing. It’s a fun location, on Huguosi Hutong (Street), a traditionally styled shopping street, which is also home to one of Beijing’s most famous snack bars.
Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Rates / Tel Aviv Hotels / Boutique Hotels / Israel Hotels / → All Tags
A new boutique hotel has opened in Tel Aviv and, from the looks of it, it's a keeper. The Norman Tel Aviv, in the heart of "White City," blends its local history with modern art and design, while taking a much hipper approach to elegance. Just the way we like it.