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Watch your back, 90210.
According to a just-released report from CityLab, Boston zip code 02199 — which reflects the city’s tony Back Bay neighborhood — is among the 10 Most Expensive Zip Codes in America. With median home values of $3.3 million, the Back Bay is #5 — not far behind Lisa, Kyle, and Brandi’s champagne-soaked stomping grounds ($3.5 million). And if that surprises you, it’s only because wealthy Bostonians are perfectly content to bankroll hospitals and universities instead of launching flavored vodka lines or publicizing-slash-embarrassing themselves on TV. [Sips tea.]
Point is, perhaps it’s no surprise that a new Four Seasons Hotel & Resorts in the Back Bay will make Boston one of only a few international cities with multiple properties from the brand.
Does this building look familiar? It should, and not just to hotel geeks or fans of Stalinist architecture. In fact, this – the Hotel Moskva, which opened in 1935, is the building on the label of Stolichnaya vodka.
And now it’s about to find a whole new kind of fame as the Four Seasons Moscow. The hotel has just started taking reservations for an opening date of October 30.
This isn’t the actual Hotel Moskva, sadly – the original building was demolished in 2004, when authorities decided that knocking it down and building a replica would be easier than restoring the original. Completed in 2012, the gargantuan new building houses offices, apartments and a shopping mall (currently open) as well as the hotel. The location is fantastic – right by Red Square, bang on Ploshchad Revolyutsii (basically it’s overlooking the State Historical Museum, which forms the entrance to Red Square). Get a room on a high floor, and you should be able to see the onion domes of the Kremlin, straight opposite you (yes, the Kremlin has churches). Possibly even St Basil's Cathedral, over the shoulder of the museum, if you're on the right side, and high enough.
About a year ago, we took a look at the booming business that is AirBnB and wondered if hotels were threatened by the growing tendency for people to prefer private residences to hotel rooms. Well, if there's any question about whether the hotel industry is taking the new market segment seriously, look no further than Four Seasons recent launch of a vacation rental website.
Now, it is not exactly like renting some random apartment in New York City. The properties are all vetted by Four Seasons, and more significantly, they are essentially extensions of the brand in that you can still get many of the amenities that you would at a hotel, including housekeeping, in-room (house) spa treatments, stocked fridge, etc.
The Milky Way, with HotelChatter star
Ever strolled across the Ponte Vecchio in Florence and thought, if only there were a private place to have dinner and enjoy this beautiful view?
Ever visited the Royal Observatory at Greenwich and thought, Greenwich Mean Time would mean so much more to me if I could have it to myself? Ever gone to the opera (in Prague, to be precise), and thought, this is all well and good, but those acoustics would really shine better if it was just me and my loved ones soaking them up?
Ever strolled across the Ponte Vecchio in Florence and thought, if only there were a private place to have dinner and enjoy this beautiful view? Ever visited the Royal Observatory at Greenwich and thought, Greenwich Mean Time would mean so much more to me if I could have it to myself? Ever gone to the opera (in Prague, to be precise), and thought, this is all well and good, but those acoustics would really shine better if it was just me and my loved ones soaking them up?
If so, the European cluster of new Four Seasons Experiences may well be for you.
Similar to the newly launched Peninsula Academy, Four Seasons Experiences are for people to whom a Four Seasons property is what a Motel 6 is to the rest of us: completely affordable and a little bit yawn. To stifle that yawn, the brand has come up with various “experiences” to liven up your stay. Having taken a look at the European ones, we’d say they’re pretty good. Pretty good if you’re a particularly spendthrift oligarch, that is.
Let’s start with one for everyone, or everyone who can afford to stay at the George V in Paris. All guests of the hotel and Le Cinq restaurant can partake in a special monthly wine tasting in the hotel’s wine cellar. It’s guided by Eric Beaumard, director of Le Cinq, and cheese, charcuterie and puff pastry snacks included too. Win! Cost: just the room rate, a mere €905 and up.
Up next: a behind-the-scenes visit at St Petersburg’s famous Russian Museum, courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St Petersburg. You’ll get a 90-minute tour of the museum’s restoration chambers and a walkthrough of the restoration process. Price: $1175 per visit (maximum three people). Room rates from $502. Perfect for those wishing to celebrate their first mil with an art purchase and wanting some Proper Background.
Boston Hotels / Hotel Fitness / Hotel Wellness / Four Seasons Hotels / Insane Hotel Packages / → All Tags
Last week it was announced that Boston is on the short list of American cities being considered for the US bid to host the 2024 Olympics. The news has some people pumped, a lot of other people preemptively horrified at the prospect.
But here’s an Olympics-related invitation we can all agree on: “Row Like a Pro” at the Four Seasons Hotel Boston. Fitness-related hotel packages are very on-trend lately; check out this recently announced Running Camp in Jackson Hole. And as befitting a storied, tony brand, the Four Seasons is pulling in the crème de la crème of athletes for this one.
Available only on September 7, 13, 21 and 28, 2014, the “Row” package lets guests take a private two-hour row with one of several Olympic champs, including 2012 gold medalist Esther Lofgren. You’ll hit the Charles River, passing picturesque Boston landmarks before ending at the finish line of Head of the Charles, America’s largest regatta, held every October.
When Four Seasons Kyoto made it onto our list of openings to be psyched for in 2013, it was really a mix of hope and wishful thinking on our part that secured it a spot on there, following the announcement the year before that the Canadian group was developing a property in the former imperial capital of Japan (which, incidentally, gets a staggering 50 million visitors a year).
Having had a chance to walk by the construction site this week, we’ll be readjusting our expectations significantly and shooting for a 2016 to 2017 completion. The Four Seasons sign is proudly displayed though at the 5 acre site in Higashiyama-ku, just to the east of the city’s Kamagawa river and less than 10 minutes by taxi from Kyoto’s JR / Shinkansen train station.
Funky Spa Treatments / Spas for Men / Hotel Spas / Hotel Beer / Vail Hotels / Four Seasons Hotels / → All Tags
It's a beer bath, bro
Gentlemen, are you quick to conform to stereotype? Do you think spa treatments are unmanly? Have you ever said, “Dude, the only way I’m ever getting a massage is if it’s a massage with beer, done by a hawt chick, lol”?
Consider your bluff called by Four Seasons Vail. The hotel famous for its “Haut Chocolate” has a Brew and Renew spa menu designed “especially for men” (although it generously adds in parentheses that “women can enjoy them too”). And it involves beer.
Designed in conjunction with Vail’s Crazy Mountain Brewing Company, the menu offers a “Brewsage” – that’s a massage with hop oil, bro, for $150 – a “Beer Brew Bath” (presumably what it sounds like, $55), an “Amber Ale Foot Soak” filled with fresh beer, as you drink a brewski ($75), and a “Stout Scalp Treatment” using beer froth and honey to primp one’s barnet ($45).
Father's Day Hotels / Hotel Deals / Hotel Packages / Kimpton Hotels / Mandarin Oriental Hotels / Waldorf Astoria Hotels / Four Seasons Hotels / → All Tags
You're a good man, Clark.
Dear Dad, we're sorry that you've suffered through years of opening pointless gifts on Father's Day like the bland ties, the boxes of golf balls you didn't need, the fad workout equipment you did need but didn't know how to operate and for that goofy Batman water bottle with "DAD" written on the back in permanent marker (Actual gift I gave my dad. I was 9.)
This year, there's no excuse for ho-hum gifts to give your father this Sunday, thanks to these hotels and their totally not lame offerings.
For The COOL DAD: The Hotel Palomar in San Francisco has put together a "Tie One On & Throw One Back" package that gives men a one night stay at the hotel, a beer-fueled private shopping appointment at the cool casual Bonobos Guide Shop; 20 percent off Bonobos purchases; either a beard trim or a straight razor shave at People's Barber Shop; and a "Get Me a Juice Box" Lunch Box at the hotel's rooftop bar, serving two cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon, a thermos filled with a Hot Toddy and a little bar snack. Rates start at $259 a night but the package must be booked two weeks in advance. Go online at www.hotelpalomar-sf.com and use code TIEON or call 866-373-4941.
For The RUM LOVIN' DAD: The Mandarin Oriental New York is offering a special Father's Day rum tasting flight of the Facundo Rum Collection in their Asiate restaurant, the Lobby Lounge and the MObar. Each selection of the Eximo, Exquisito and Paraiso aged sipping rums can also be paired with a cheese plate. Simply sipping on the rums is $65 per person while doing the cheese pairing is $85 per person. Make your reservations by calling 212-805-8800. The tasting ends on Sunday.
If that triathlon preparation is making you want to punch something, or you’ve done your swim-cycle-run madness and still have some energy left, perhaps a round of kick-boxing may appeal?
Rather than a sweaty back alley gym, Four Seasons Hotels brings a more pleasant option with the installation of a Muay Thai boxing ring – with sea views – in its resort on Koh Samui. It’s best not to let yourself be distracted by the views though, as the hotel can pair you up with a resident muay thai champ to train you in the “art of eight limbs”, using fists, feet, shins, knees, and elbows.
Paris Hotels / Harry Benson / Four Seasons Hotels / Hotel Photography / Hotel Art / Hotel Exhibits / The Beatles / → All Tags
It turns out, The Beatles made the George V their home base when they were in Paris in 1964. A piano was actually installed in one of the suites and this is where John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote, "I Feel Fine." (This story we knew, the hotel we did not.) That moment was captured by photographer Harry Benson.
Benson also encouraged the lads to have a pillow fight in the room and his pictures of the Fab Four in 1964 are now iconic shots of the boys in their Beatlemania days. Another fun fact? The negatives of these photos were developed in the hotel's bathtub.
Now, the George V is planning to host a brief exhibit of Benson's Beatles photos in their lobby and in front of Le Bar from June 15-June 30. The exhibit will be run by hotel's in-house artistic director, Jeff Leatham.
And (very) lucky for us, Harry Benson himself has answered a few of our questions about his time at the hotel with The Beatles. (Excuse us, while we scream like a teenage girl again and again and again.)
Over on Jaunted, you can get our inside looks at some of the world’s best airline lounges, so we thought we’d do something similar here and start talking about some of the hotel lounges we’ve frequented for our series on Hotel Club Lounges. Today, we're having a look inside the Executive Club Lounge at the Four Seasons Hong Kong.
Set within the International Finance Centre, the Four Seasons sits nearly on the water’s edge on Hong Kong Island. Before we zoomed up to the 45th floor to peek inside the hotel’s Executive Club Lounge, we had breakfast in The Lounge downstairs, which had us pleasantly surprised for its relatively affordable menu. Hong Kong’s luxury hotels are notoriously expensive, so we wouldn’t have thought scrambled eggs on toasted English muffins with bacon and avocado, a fresh orange juice, and a latte would take the total only up to just over US$20. It was delicious too, and the free WiFi for 2 hours helped us take care of a few things as well.
Stepping out of the lift on level 45, you turn to face the reception desk at the end of a short hallway. We liked the dramatic black high-gloss walls, the sculpture, and the colorful painting at the back. The hotel has 399 rooms and suites, with some categories having either a Western or contemporary Chinese design. Club access costs HKD1,400 (about $180) a night for two people, and is included with Club Rooms and Suites.
Welcome to Funky Friday, a new segment we’re trying out which features one photo that we think singularly expresses a hotel’s inner psyche. We look for, and often find, a lot of wacky, wild and wondrous designs that seem to have one thing in common: a Type A personality. So why not have a bit of fun as we all wrap up our week by taking a quick look at some hotels that quite frankly, want our attention.
The subject of chocolate has many times filled our stories, as hotel pastry chefs from around the world show off their talents and compete for our hard earned calories. The Four Seasons Hotel Milan, not to our surprise, goes the extra mile (or pound) in its very own creation of an entire room devoted to and made of chocolate. This is a feature of the hotel’s Il Brunch del Teatro and being so totally unique and off the chocolate charts, is this week’s Funky Friday.
The chocolate room has been a popular display since 2008, each year presenting a different theme. This season, Pastry Chef Johannes Walk created The Chicolate Room, celebrating fashion and glamour. It is gorgeous and a perfect fit, so to speak, for Italy’s capital of all things design.