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If you ever need to track down someone in a hotel, it helps to put someone who works in a hotel on the job. When we guessed the whereabouts of the PRISM whistleblower, Edward Snowden, this morning, we threw out a couple of not-so-serious hotel guesses. But someone reading our story took it very seriously.
Our own Macau Deepthroat, as we call him, noticed the interview setting that Snowden did for the Guardian UK looked very similar to the rooms at The Mira Hong Kong in Kowloon Park. A quick Google image search confirmed this for him. Then MD went to the next level. Here's what he did:
With this bit of information I called to the hotel and claimed that I had sent a fax to Mr Snowden but it had never reached his room. The friendly operator confirmed then that Mr Edward Snowden had checked out at 12:30 pm and explained that this may have been the reason why he never received my fax message. I thanked her and ended the call.
I then called a second time to the hotel, this time I asked for the reservations department and pretended to be interested in extending Mr Edward Snowden's stay as he had to remain in Hong Kong due to unforeseen circumstances. I only provide the name and the fact that he had checked out of a Parkview Room today and a second later the reservations agent happily provides me the room number (on 10th floor) and quotes the rates for an extension of stay...
As I work in hotels, I know how to play the game and get the information one wants...
Where Snowden has gone is anyone's guess but we're sure the CIA and the NSA are on it. Meanwhile, the Mira might need to have a conversation with their "friendly" operators.
Photo Gallery / Hotel Openings / Singapore Hotels / Hotel Design / Hotel Art / Design Hotels / → All Tags
On our last spin through the Lion City, we took you inside the trendy Wanderlust Hotel (see: the Typewriter Suite). Now, along comes a brand new boutique hotel in the city's Kampong Glam district with a whole new set of goodies to ogle over.
The place is known as the Clover Hotel, and it's located off the Bugis stop on the MRT, just under a mile east of the Wanderlust Hotelóand right around the corner from Arab Street, where tourists like to go eat kebab and buy silk.
Though the lobby is bright and modern-feeling, the decor is all out of a museum: everywhere you look, there are suitcase typewriters, Singer sewing machines, an old gramophone, a rotary telephone, and even a wooden bullock cart loaded with canvas sacks.
This is old-world Singapore done up as a chic boutique hotel, and we loved it.
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We've started a series of whatís trending in hotels these days: Whatís Out, Whatís In. Do we like what we see? Think it's a dud? You be the judge!
Whatís Out: Seaweed facials
What's In: Facials with gold, diamonds and other sparkly things
Diamonds and other precious metals and gems are sparkly and luminous; why shouldnít your skin be the same? See what the hotel spas below are doing to make your skin radiate with good health.
The Dorchester Hotel in London offers the Carol Joy London Diamond Facial. Following ten years of research and three years of development, Carol Joy London products are created with some of the most precious beauty ingredients around (who knew that Golden Millet Oil was like pure gold?).
This intensive facial includes exfoliation with a diamond-head contraption that is said to be gentler than the traditional crystal ablater (we just like that word Ė- it sounds kind of bad-ass). While thatís going on, youíre being blasted with an Oxyjet machine that produces 95% pure oxygen to cool and soothe your skin and stimulate collagen production. The result? A firmer, clearer and more glowing you. The price for beauty, in this case, is £205 ($279).
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On January 9th in downtown Olso, Norway, a former 18th-century prisoner colony became the countryís first waterfront hotel. Itís name? The Thief . Seriously, we donít make this stuff up! The moniker goes back to the days when criminals were brought to the island just off the coast called Tjuvholmen, nicknamed "Thief Island". Today, youíll find art galleries, bars, cafes, restaurants, and funky shops along this Scandinavian cityís mile-long waterfront. What wonít you find? Cars. So the primary way of getting around is via foot or bike--the popular local way.
And itís your feet thatíll lead you to the modern 119-room hotel which is a member of Design Hotels. There are nine-floors at The Thief, including a penthouse suite, that affords panoramic views of the city. Add that and the rooftop terrace and we have a feeling no one will be longing to escape these quarters.
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Think about the adjectives typically associated with Frankfurt, Germany. They're not exactly the most pleasant, are they? Perhaps that's why the Goldman 25Hours Hotel shakes up the scene with confident use of colors and whimsical design touches. In any case, our stay (1 night, paying a standard prepaid rate of 92 Euros) blessedly brightened what had been a dreary, sleep-deprived week
Never heard of the 25Hours boutique chain? Well neither had we until last year, when we found their Hamburg HafenCity location and promptly fell head over heels. Their Goldman Frankfurt property is not as new or large as Hamburg, but the brand's bravery with design and affordable rates are very much in house at all locations.
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While more and more hotels realize that perhaps their guests prefer a fitness experience other than a musty gym, we see more and more yoga mats in closets and jogging maps on desks. Recently, during a stay at the Goldman 25Hours in Frankfurt, Germany, we checked in at reception next to this little "Jogging Corner" cart.
The Jogging Corner is all the basics you'd need to have an enjoyable run, while traveling light. That means they provide the water bottles, the small sweat towels, wristlet keychains or branded sweatbands, all complimentary to guests.
We went for the sweatbands, since we quickly figured out that these serve more than the function of storing the tiny specially made jogging map of the area; we wore the sweatband and stored our bus and tram coins in it. Perfect! No fumbling in a wallet while trying to board public transportation.
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The city's first self check-in hotel and serves up some modern and contemporary design by featuring local artists' works. We're not talking about a few pieces of art on the lobby or in the rooms, more like using the room as the entire canvas. Every year, 12 of the 46 rooms are white-washed for 12 new artists to go and throw a splash of color in the room by painting the primary wall.
Currently, the rooms are pretty basic and on an economy scale. Although they are light on the amenities and design, come April all the rooms should be completed by a local artist. The final goal is to have all rooms painted in a different theme. Since the bookings are done online or on the lobby kiosk, guests that want a bit more paint will need to call the hotel group to check availability.
Here's Sydney's hottest new hotel...in a few years
Sydney is sure on the radar for hot new hotels and it continues with the recent announcement of a new Unlisted Collection property planning to bring the unique design of lawyer-turned hotelier, Loh Lik Peng.
Located in the inner-suburb of Ultimo, down a laneway that evokes inner-city grittiness and history all at the same time. The new hotel will be housed in the former administration building for Carlton and United Brewery and will undoubtedly be the destination for memorable hotel experiences.
Mr. Loh promises that the 60-room hotel will be a bit more grown-up and on the same lines as his own, Waterhouse at South Bund in Shanghai and Town Hall Hotel & Apartments in London. This can only mean that the floating beds might not be a feature as they are in the New Majestic Hotel.
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Itís not often we get to chat about hotels in Indianapolis (hey, Conrad!), but this new one is especially interesting for one reasonóitís parking garage is off the chain.
Set to open January 14th, The Alexander Hotel (named after Alexander Ralston, the architect who platted both Indianapolis and Washington D.C.) will be a 209-room haven in the heart of the city, thatís filled with more works of art than you can imagine.
Get ready to hold your chin and say ďhmmmĒ as you peruse instillations by artist Jorge Pardo, as well as over 50 commissioned works displaced throughout the hotelís public spaces. There are also pieces curated by the Indianapolis Museum of Art, including one by Madame C.J. Walker, the first self-made African American female millionaire and Indianapolis legend.
But what about that garage we mentioned?
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Amsterdam is kickiní ass and takin' names these days. It's just that simple. With the re-opening scheduled this year of the Rijksmuseum after a 10-year reno and the Van Gogh Museum after a much shorter reno, the 400th anniversary of the canals, and the re-opening of the Stedelijk modern art and design museum, the cityís hopping.
Hotels, it seems, have all been preparing for the buzz of 2013: the Hotel de líEurope had major work done, the Andaz Amsterdam opened its doors, as did the Conservatorium Hotel. Earlier this week we also told you about the opening of The Waldorf Astoria expected in early 2014 so everyone's getting in on the act.
They say a picture speaks a thousand words so have a look at the Image Gallery to see what your next trip to Amsterdam might look like.
Glamping / Boutique Hotels / Brussels Hotels / Belgium Hotels / Design Hotels / Europe Hotels / → All Tags
When we think of Brussels, we think about the European Union, beer and chocolate. Never had we thought of the city, although scenic and somewhat quirky with its love of surrealism, as the headquarters of cool. And then in 2009 along came the 29-room Vintage Hotel (a former home for the elderly), that's in a great location close to swish shopping street, Avenue Louise. Suddenly the "it" factor went way up.
Now, in 2012, the hotelís added a symbol of pure 1950s Americana: a refurbed vintage 1958 Airstream trailer that has all of the mod-cons one expects.Yes, Brussels has discovered "glamping" !
We got a peek at this eccentric hotel and the Airstream Room (known as "Hazel") parked in the hotelís courtyard. Hazel is outfitted with a double bed, shower and WC, a separate seating area, WiFi, a flat-screen TV and air conditioning. (BTW, itís the only room at the hotel thatís air conditioned.)
Itís a year of anniversaries for The Ritz-Carlton in Japan: the groupís first hotel opened 15 years ago in Osaka, and five years ago Tokyo was added to the list. Just as celebrations are happening to mark both occasions, the urbanites that love these two city hotels have an alternative when looking for a weekend escape,The Ritz-Carlton, Okinawa, which opened this past Spring.
Okinawa prefecture consists of hundreds of the Ryuku islands, which stretch over an area of 620 miles south of Japanís main islands all the way to Taiwan. Part of the Kise country club, The Ritz-Carlton raises the bar for luxury on Okinawa Island, adding a chance to play golf and hit up the spa to the areaís beaches and diving options.