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Last week we started a new weekly series of what’s trending in hotels these days: What’s Out, What’s In. Do we like what we see? Think it's a dud? You be the judge!
What’s Out: Cooking classes
What’s In: Creative classes
Not so very long ago, we realized that more and more hotels the world over were bringing in art concierges to help guide you through their hotel’s art collection, or to steer you in the right direction if you wanted to take in the local art scene or perhaps buy a couple of noteworthy pieces from local artistes. Well some hotels have taken this further and are hooking their guests up with local artists to give them a hands-on experience with the added bonus of giving you a pretty nifty souvenir to bring home.
Here are some prime examples:
A recent guest spotted and photographed the above sign, which was mounted at the check-in desk of the Grand Dallas Hotel. In plain letters, the sign offers to compensate guests (in cash, instantly!) for writing positive reviews of the hotel on sites like TripAdvisor, Expedia, Hotels.com, Priceline and Travelocity.
The hotel, which, incidentally, only scores three stars on TripAdvisor (based on nine reviews), reacted promptly to an article posted on The Consumerist, who was tipped off about the sign by a reader who was actually staying at the hotel. Within hours, management had taken down the sign, explaining:
"This sign was posted by one of our front desk staff members while I was out of town for a few days. The team member was trying to go above and and beyond based on a staff meeting we had a couple of weeks ago where I asked the team to try and come up with some creative ways to encourage and get more user reviews for the hotel. "
Eye-catching? Yes. Creative? Not so much.
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Some of us are old enough (gulp) to remember the evening soap Dallas which began in the 1970s and ended in 1991. In it, that darn oil-rich Ewing family was always getting into trouble, but boy, did they live life to the fullest. However, if you happen to be one of the lucky ones who doesn’t remember the original show, you, too, can become a believer: We hear that the new version of Dallas has just been renewed by TNT for a second season.
To celebrate, The Fairmont Dallas wants you to try out the Ewing lifestyle with their "Dallas Oil Baron Experience” package. With the recent news of Larry Hagman's passing, maybe this is a way to let folks honor the 81-year-old actor's most memorable character, so we say, "go for it."
The package offers a minimum of two nights’ accommodation in a Fairmont Gold Room; access to the Fairmont Gold Lounge with its complimentary breaky and afternoon appies; a private tour for two of Southfork Ranch – the Ewing family’s abode; champagne; and a ride in a chauffeured BMW to Neiman Marcus for some shopping therapy. And because you’re special, you even get a signed copy of the Neiman Marcus Taste cookbook as a memento of your weekend of wealth.
Rates for the “Dallas Oil Baron Experience” package start at $469/night. Oh, and don’t forget your cowboy boots. The hotel doesn’t say they’re necessary, but if you’re going to walk the walk….
[Photos: The Fairmont Hotels and Resorts]
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National Cheeseburger Day is September 18th! We'll meat you wherever you wanna go!
Did you know that tomorrow is National Cheeseburger Day? Go figure! Sure, we know it’s a self-serving promotion by the Cattleman’s Beef Board, but we don’t care. With the weather starting to cool down a bit, why not celebrate this day by checking out hotel restaurant’s serving great burgers?
There are a few places that are actually having specials commemorating tomorrow’s holiday (that's right, we're giving it HOLIDAY status). Then there are restaurants we’ve pulled from our archives that we think have some magnificent hot meat on a platter and you should go for lunch or dinner tomorrow if you haven't made plans. And if you have? Cancel them! It's a HOLIDAY!
Conrad New York's restaurant Atrio will offer half-price cheeseburgers for $12. The "Blue Label" Burger used custom ground beef made especially for the hotel. The burger is grilled and topped with a Cabot Clothbound Cheddar and roasted onion mayo.
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There's even more 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 you will have to settle for some news briefs.
· It's Ok to Be a Geek at This Hotel: There's a new hotel coming to Minneapolis and it's going after geeks. The Commons Hotel will open on 10.11.12 and according to this press release the vibe is "industrial schoolhouse chic." Whatever that means! There will also be a Geek Chic suite and nerdy stay and play experiences and amenities such as alchemist mixology lessons, Book Butlers, Sudoku sleep-ins and a scholarly shopping shuttle for museum shop hopping. More brainiac diversions to the nearby University of Minnesota campus are also planned and even sports fanatics will find ways to indulge at the new hotel. The website is up and running here but rezzies won't begin for another few weeks.
· The Waldorf-Astoria in Panama Gets an Official Name: We already knew that Hilton was taking its luxe Waldorf Astoria brand to Panama but today they let us know that the 248-room hotel will officially go by the name Waldorf Astoria Panama. We like it. Simple and easy to remember. The hotel will open on January 1, 2013 with rates starting at just $219 a night.
Where there's a reality show, there's bound to be a hotel connection. And that's just what we found while catching up on some old episodes of "Shark Tank" this past weekend.
Villy Customs is a high-fashion bicycle designer that lets you customize your ride from the seat to the wheels right down to the bell that you put on the handles.
While Villy Customs is mainly an online business (and a pricey one too with full bikes costing about $500+) we did some research and saw that they have a partnership with Omni Hotels. As it turns out, you can buy a piece of Villy at the Omni Dallas at the hotel's expansive Collections store.
This hotel gift shop puts all other gift shops to shame with products from well-known Dallas retailers ranging from scented candles by fragrance designer Niven Morgan; vintage-style jewelry from local designer Andrea Barnett; J-Dig greeting cards and Texas chocolates and everyday sweets from Oak Lawn Dallas-Based Chocolate Secrets. But there's even more.
Like 6,500 individual pieces of art from Dallas-area artists which can be purchased in the store directly from the artist through an interactive art station. Since there's so much to see here, it also makes sense that Omni's signature coffee bar is located within Collections as well.
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The Gansevoort Park was so Kim's last failed marriage ago! The new place to find your fave Kardashians is now the W Dallas Hotel & Residences where Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom are renting a two-bedroom penthouse condo.
Naturally, where there's one Kardashian, there's always at least a couple of more visiting. That's what happened last week when Khloe was visited by Kim, Kourtney and mom Kris. Later on, brother, Krobert, er, we mean, Robert arrived and the fam headed to watch Lamar play for his new team, the Dallas Mavericks.
Since there probably wasn't enough room for the rest of the Kardashians in Khloe and Lamar's apartment, we're gonna go ahead and presume they
grifted booked the best suite in the hotel which is the E-WOW Suite which includes 1,323 square feet of space on the 15th floor, a master bedroom and bath, a dining table for six, a wet bar, kitchen, living room and a 60" plasma screen TV, good for watching the Kourtney and Kim Take New York marathons on E!
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Omni Dallas, which is set to open on 11/11/11, will include an infinity pool
Whoever said 11/11/11 would mark a pivotal world-changing event must have been cc'd on development memos issued from Omni Hotels' corporate office. That is to say, Omni's latest creation, Omni Dallas, a 1,001-room convention hotel on South Lamar St, will be opening on the portentous date—and with $111 rates, no less.
As part of the "Definitely Dallas" package (this name is putting dirty thoughts into our head), guests who book rooms through December 30, 2011 will receive $111 deluxe guest rooms. Inside the rooms, you'll find a 111-inch flat-screen TV; and on top of the beds, you'll rest your head on 111 pillows. And in the bathroom....OK, we're just kidding. In fact, the bathrooms do come with mirror TVs (which we remain undecided over), and the rooms all feature pieces by local artists.
Rapper Barbie Nicki Minaj slayed us last year with her guest rap on the Kanye West song, "Monster" but it looks like she's been battling some of her own demons recently, namely her assistant.
According to the police report, Nicki followed Samuels up to the room they were sharing, to make sure he didn't take any of her stuff. Nicki was in the room looking into her suitcase, which had some of Samuels' belongings, when she says he "grabbed the suitcase and as he was picking it up, he shoved the suitcase across [Nicki's] chin and lower lip."
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The best place to spend a hot, sticky Fourth of July is in a pool. But to really do it up in style, you'll head to The Joule for its July 3 midnight pool party that's part of a stay-two-nights, get-one-free deal.
The Dallas hotel's pool is incredible—we named it one of our top 10 death-defying rooftop hotel pools. It hangs off of the side of the building and gives the illusion that you are swimming off of the edge. A plexiglass window allows you to see the city while you splash about.
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Don't Mess with Texas when it comes to opening hotels. The massive Omni Dallas Convention Center Hotel will open two months early on November 11. This will be the third Omni Hotel in the Dallas area but it will be the biggest with 1,001 guest rooms, including 67 luxury suites and three presidential suites.
The rooms will go big too, starting at around 400-sq.ft. and featuring authentic artwork, floor-to-ceiling windows, LCD TVs, TVs in the mirror and free WiFi, for members of Omni's Select Guest loyalty program.
The 11.11.11 opening day is not wishy-washy either, like so many other hotels, as the Omni is planning a large Veteran's Day event with the hotel's ribbon-cutting to happen right after. The hotel will then host a sales convention from Dallas-based Freeman November 13-15.
But once that all dies down, guests will finally be able to get into the rooms on November 16. Rooms start at $149 a night for a deluxe king. You can book via OmniHotels.com or Facebook. Yes, Facebook. Remember?
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Mother's Day is this weekend and you need to get her something pronto. Instead of giving her another tchotchke she doesn't need or an impersonal gift card, go all out and treat her to a swanky hotel brunch. Let her feast on everything from eggs Benedict and pancakes to champagne.
Check out our top five spots for Mother's Day brunch.