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It's that time of year again: the 2013 HotelChatter Awards! Today and tomorrow, we'll be showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to...
What's the next best thing after new hotels? Newly renovated hotels! And in 2013, we saw so many hotels getting drastic new looks. So many, it was kinda hard to choose one winner.
For instance, the Novotel Times Square which went from 80s decor to a super cool futuristic style. Across the pond in London, Rosewood Hotels transformed the old Chancery Court Hotel into a dazzling design hotel with an elegant Mirror Room where the ceiling is made entirely of mirrors. Down in Florida, the Loews Portofino Bay upgraded their look from an average-looking hotel room with depressing dark wood furniture to a posh neutral palette with luxe furnishings we'd like for our own home, especially the carpeting. (And how often do we say that about a hotel room?) You can even watch the transformation from dud to stud in a cool time-lapse video put out by the hotel.
But out in Vegas, we thought the transformation at Four Seasons (inside Mandalay Bay) was the most impressive (Just FYI: The renovations were completed in December 2012.) The rooms went from 80s gold-
digger lover with sparse furnishings to glamorous Art Deco habitations, each with dozens of decor accents like eye-catching artwork, giant wall mirrors, detailed patterns and plush seating. Don't believe us? This is how the rooms used to look. Egads!
Feel like getting lucky in Vegas at the Four Seasons? Rates start at $234 a night this weekend. And don't forget, the hottest hotel chef in the world is downstairs!
Killer Views / Philadelphia Hotels / Ritz Carlton Hotels / Four Seasons Hotels / Rittenhouse Hotel / → All Tags
When it comes to the upper echelon of hotels in Philly, there is a common denominator that goes beyond their luxe accommodations and service: Epic views of the city's top landmarks.
Three hotels in particular stand out thanks to their great locations: The Rittenhouse Hotel overlooks Rittenhouse Square (bottom); the Four Seasons Philly provides views of Logan Circle and down the Ben Franklin Parkway to the Art Museum (top); and the Ritz Carlton Philly sits right next to City Hall and the infamous perch of William Penn (center).
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As we mentioned last week, the groundbreaking ceremony for the 82-story Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown took place this Tuesday at 11am. That’s exciting news, as it marks the end of that rather long wait, but also because we now have a first indication of what the Yabu Pushelberg interiors will look like. Behold, three renderings of the hotel’s public spaces.
The world is officially in "Countdown to Christmas" mode and now, so are we. Every day until Christmas we'll be featuring a hotel that's in a holiday mood--whether it be with gigantic gingerbread houses, over-the-top Christmas decorations, thrilling lighting displays and best of all, Santa appearances. But of course, any hotel can assemble a fake tree, put on some lights and declare themselves "festive." Which is why we're looking at hotels that are really going ALL OUT. Know of a hotel that's super excited for Christmas? Let us know!
The Four Seasons Austin got a jump on the holiday decorations last week, when they unveiled their Dr. Seuss-themed Gingerbread WhoVillage, a gingerbread replica of the town of Whoville from How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Conceived by the hotel's pastry chefs back in August, the WhoVillage features a Mt. Crumpet, Cindy Lou Who's house, a giant Town Center Christmas Tree, a Welcome to Whoville Sign and a train that looks like the Grinch's stolen bag of toys.
All in all, the village features ten houses made entirely out of edible materials (each one also takes the team of pasty chefs about 30 hours to construct.) Additionally, each house is sold to a sponsor and the proceeds are donated to the Seton Shivers Cancer Center. Sorry, we don't think sponsors can eat the house until the display comes down on January 1st.
Hotel Hype / Four Seasons Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / Downtown Manhattan Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
The ground-breaking will happen on Tuesday, December 3 at 11am. But the 82-story tower which will be the tallest residential towers in downtown Manhattan, won't open until 2016. When it does, it will have a 185 hotel rooms, a restaurant and 157 residences. The tower will obviously have some killer views of downtown, as well as midtown and the New York Harbor, but it will also have a public plaza.
Robert A.M. Stern Architects is designing the tower along with the private residence floor plans and interiors. Yabu Pushelberg will design the interiors of the Four Seasons hotel. Coincidentally, project is owned by Metro Fund, LLC, a joint venture of Silverstein Properties, who are also building the world's largest Four Seasons Resort in Orlando, which will open next year. Also, a partner in the project is the California State Teachers’ Retirement System. Unfortunately, it will probably cost a big portion of your retirement savings to buy a place here or even just spend the night.
[Rendering: Robert A.M. Stern Architects]
Design Thursdays / Hotel Renovations / Hotel Design / Four Seasons Hotels / Buenos Aires Hotels / Argentina Hotels / → All Tags
In June the Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires unveiled the first phase of its $49 million reno: a new lobby, landscaping and gardens, guestrooms, and two new dining venues—the Elena Restaurant and the Pony Line Bar. One would think that that’s the whole she-bang. But wait, there’s more.
The final phase has just been completed and it involves a new CIELO spa and Nuestro Secreto, a seasonal restaurant.
The designers of the year-long reno had the tango in mind when they re-designed the hotel, and you can see this throughout the hotel with a sinuous swirl here and a locking of limbs pattern there. We, however, can also see a few “modern gaucho meets the horsey set” design elements, leather headboards in the rooms, horse statues at the entrance and in the Elena Restaurant and Pony Line Bar.
Having scoped out where both W Hotels and Mandarin Oriental will be landing in Milan, we turned down the city’s Via Montenapoleone to make our way to the Four Seasons, and check in on some of the work that has been going on to keep the hotel fresh and ready for whatever competition will show up in the next few years.
For the 15th-century former convent that houses the hotel, that means renovation of its 68 guestrooms has started, and the addition of a brand new spa. Resident Four Seasons designer Pierre-Yves Rochon has put his name on the new look of the rooms, and Patricia Urquiola is responsible for the spa. No matter what happens within the hotel's walls, one of its loveliest features is actually outside: its pretty courtyard, a space so quiet in the middle of Milan that you can reportedly sleep with the windows open, something we can easily believe based on the silence we experienced here.
Hotel Videos / Hotel Construction / Four Seasons Hotels / Orlando Hotels / Disney World Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Florida Hotels / → All Tags
Ok, so technically, Mickey didn’t make an appearance in this video of the under-construction Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World, but we would have appreciated the reference (if slightly on-the-nose) had the iconic character popped up.
Rather, it is Thomas Steinhauer, Regional Vice President and General Manager of the hotel, who dons his hard hat and walks you through the 434-room resort – the largest Four Seasons resort in the world – as it progresses towards a summer 2014 opening.
Hotel Amenities / Hotel Snacks / Hotel Perks / Mexico Hotels / Washington DC Hotels / Four Seasons Hotels / Taiwan Hotels / → All Tags
Oh, we love when hotels give us a little extra treat in our rooms. We're not too particular--heck, we've been excited with everything from toothpaste to contact solution. It's the small things that count, especially when some hotels won't even supply a bottle of water in case of midnight hour parchness.
So, imagine our delight upon discovering even more amenities available at these properties. Some of them are nice gestures to show appreciation, others are yours with a simple request. As always, keep your eyes peeled for perks--you never know what you could be missing out on!
Ritz-Carlton, Washington, D.C.: Each evening, the hotel features a different president's favorite cookie in the hotel lobby along with a recipe that guests can take home. Examples include Barack Obama's white & dark chocolate chip to Abraham Lincoln's lemon squares. Happen to be staying at the Georgetown property? Look forward to the butler who serves s'mores every evening by the wood burning fireplace.
Weekend Getaway Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / Catskill Hotels / Philadelphia Hotels / Marriott Hotels / Four Seasons Hotels / Pennsylvania Hotels / San Diego Hotels / California Hotels / → All Tags
The Emerson Resort is a close-by chill-out spot for New York City residents
The seasons are changing in many parts of the country, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to hibernate away. In fact, fall can be the best time to explore cities that were too hot to handle in the summer, or quaint country inns too filled with weekenders.
Whether you want to be a city or country mouse, we’ve got some great spots waiting to welcome you with open arms, a cup of hot cider or perhaps a glass of bubbly.
Now's the right time to choose your great escape.
Town: New York City
Many families heading to NYC for the holidays will be pleased by this month’s opening of the 95-room Fairfield Inn & Suites New York Manhattan Downtown. Located at 95 Henry Street in the Chinatown and the Lower East Side area, the hotel has convenient access to the Statue of Liberty, Times Square and World Trade Center Memorial/Freedom Tower. Besides the free hot breakfast and WiFi, guests will dig the in-room microwaves and mini-fridges as well as the swell price point starting at $169 per night (rates will vary).
Country: Mt Tremper, New York
The Catskills are a go-to destination for weary New Yorkers seeking refuge from their 9 to 5's. The Emerson Resort, a Kingston-area resort, has two sections—an adults-only Inn where fireplace and canopy-bed laced suites provide a serene scene, and a pet and family-friendly Adirondack-style lodge so everyone can let loose without worry. But all guests get access to the first-class restaurant, spa (pumpkin body scrub, anyone), hiking, and soon coming skiing at nearby Hunter Mountain. Plus, the price is right starting at $159 per night.
Hotel News / Hotel Concierge / Portugal Hotels / Lisbon Hotels / Four Seasons Hotels / Ritz Hotels / → All Tags
Earlier this week, we gave you an inside look at the Four Seasons Ritz in Lisbon and its partnership with the Martinhal Beach Resort in southern Portugal. We liked the unique agreement because of its efforts to show visitors two different sides of the country, and we also stumbled across something else at the Four Seasons Ritz that we think is a damn good idea: An online city guide that serves as a concierge.
Now, the hotel still has a real-life concierge who is happy to go the traditional route and make suggestions on the fly, but due to the availability of consumer reviews online, the days of walking down to his or her desk and a making a restaurant choice in 30 seconds is without question a thing of the past. The recognition of this online movement, combined with a growing skepticism from guests about a concierge's objectivity, has inspired the Four Seasons Ritz to put all its recommendations in writing for guests to peruse before and during their trip. The hotel is figuring that guests still want the staff's input -- aka insight from the locals -- but might want the chance to do their own research before making a reservation at a restaurant or dedicating a day to an experience.
As travelers who always seek local advice, we dig the balance that this provides. We think it's a great idea and a nice compliment to guide books and services such as Yelp. You essentially get the concierge's recommendations up front, and then you can go off and investigate them (as opposed to making a split-second decision standing at the desk with a line behind you). The hotel said its recommendations are constantly reevaluated for quality control and based on what it believes to be the best fit for its clientele, so in this case, it points guests to higher-end restaurants around Lisbon.
Hotel News / Hotel Openings / Four Seasons Hotels / Kuala Lumpur Hotels / Venice Hotels / → All Tags
Something tells us we’ll need a recurring feature on new Four Seasons Hotels if the expansion strategy under its new CEO is going to take off even more than it has already; the list of potential future openings we have based on what floats around on the internet gets longer by the minute.
We mentioned Cabo last week, we’ve known about Disney for a while, there is Madrid, Turkey, and everything from Japan to Brazil as well. Today we are adding Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, to that list, and tentatively, Venice.