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The flagship Hilton brand and its luxury properties (Conrad and Waldorf Astoria) still charge in the guestrooms as do Embassy Suites and DoubleTree by Hilton, while the "focused service" and extended-stay brands--Hampton Inn & Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites-- typically have it for free. Hilton has also introduced a tiered WiFi structure for guests who need more than just basic internet.
But beyond the actual physical WiFi offerings, Hilton has also introduced a personal service--The StayConnected Program which includes a 24-hour dedicated call center to help guests with their WiFi issues while traveling.
The program also allows owners and operators access their bandwidth usage so they can better understand the needs of guests coming into their hotel. Which should be pretty simple--we all need fast, working WiFi. So give guests the best network that you can.
For more on who's still charging for WiFi and why, read our 2014 Annual Hotel WiFi Report.
In Midtown Manhattan, you need a break sometimes, so it's good to see New York City's largest hotel, the the 1,985-room New York Hilton Midtown has gone for a tranquil look in its multi-million dollar room renovation.
The hotel has just completed the first phase of a renovation program that is expected to last until 2016. With the help of Dallas-based interior design firm, Looney & Associates, 187 Executive level guest rooms and 41 suites now have a minimal, sophisticated new look.
Functional design features include custom dimmable lighting, oversized televisions, multiple power point options and abundant workspaces. Renovated bathrooms have new architectural finishes, vanities and illuminated mirrors, while the lobby features a new reception area, luxurious Executive Lounge, improved lighting design, and new stone flooring.
Up next is the Grand Ballroom, the city’s largest hotel ballroom. Its Foyer, Promenade Sutton Hall and Nassau ballroom complex are scheduled to be completed by end of third quarter 2014.
Alas, despite the renovations, Hilton still isn't bringing back room service or a full-service restaurant.
[Photo: Hilton Midtown New York]
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Maybe we had the date wrong but we could have sworn the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem was opening in August, not April (after missing a Summer 2013 opening date.) But whatever the reason for the mix-up, we don't care. Because the luxury hotel is now OPEN.
The Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem was built on the site of the former Palace Hotel within walking distance to the Old City and Jaffa Gate. Here is a gushing description of the hotel from the press release:
The breath-taking centrepieces of the hotel are the grand entry and lofty atrium promenade, featuring a retractable glass ceiling which floods the hotel with natural light throughout the day. Complemented by arched windows, this open-air architectural style creates the atmosphere of a Jerusalem city street. Drawing on the rich heritage of Waldorf Astoria, a towering, iconic clock rests in the atrium expanse, with four sets of numbers covering its four bold faces. Blending Greco-Roman, Gothic and Ottoman architecture, the hotel is a wonderful mixture of cultures, creating a fascinating space beyond the hotel’s beautifully preserved 80-year old façade.
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We first talked about the vintage awesomeness of Terrace Hotel and the gaming paradise of Crown and then the luxury of a Ritz-Carlton, but now even more hotel announcements are coming out of Perth. Australia's fourth largest city is surely the newest hot spot for new properties, major renovations and increased service, but all of this may come at a high price.
Room rates in the west coast city are not cheap. On a recent trip with an overnight stop-over in Perth, we searched high and low for an affordable room that wasn't the Bates Motel. Our efforts turned up a room that was close to the airport (we had an early flight) that set us back $250 for the night. The room was basic; the building, prison-like. We weren't impressed and we wondered what was going on with Perth's hotel scene?
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Last year we looked at how the Hilton at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport would be building itself a replacement hotel right next to the 1972 original, gold-reflective windows and all. Back then, there was just a bare plot of land, but a quick check just before a recent departure from Schiphol showed us that construction is moving along nicely.
If you’re wondering why the two are quite so close together, it’s because the current hotel’s days are numbered: once the new Hilton is complete in 2015, its elderly neighbor will be facing the wrecking ball. The above picture also shows a sliver of the multi-colored diamond-shaped exterior cladding that will cover the hotel – a rendering of what that will turn out to be you can see below.
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As the site of a year-long Homecoming celebration, the Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup, Andy Murray hotel, and possible declaration of independence, Scotland is having a huge year in 2014. Good time for a new hotel to open up in the capital, Edinburgh.
The just-opened 138-room DoubleTree by Hilton Edinburgh City Centre is the first DoubleTree by Hilton in the city, joining 21 of the brand's properties in the United Kingdom. While the hotel at first looks to be a wee bit out from the main Old Town/Grassmarket/Princes Street drag, it's actually in a pretty handy location, a few minutes' walk from the castle, the bars and restaurants of Lothian Street, and the National Museum.
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Did someone put a ring on it over Valentine's Day? Congratulations! Now it's time to get to work planning your dream wedding.
But while you embark on the what will be, without a doubt, the most exhausting, nerve-wracking, limit-testing ordeal of your life (until you have kids, of course) here's a clever way to pay for your honeymoon--have your wedding guests chip in.
Hilton Worldwide has just launched the new Hilton Honeymoon Registry . Simply register for one of more than 100 Hilton properties worldwide (including their Conrad and Waldorf Astoria brands). and from there you can select specific rooms, suites, upgrades, amenities and other experiences for your friends and family to give to you on your wedding. Read more on how it works here.
We perused a sample registry and you can literally put anything available at the hotel on the registry from a bottle of wine in the room to dinner in the restaurant and spa treatments.
While china, place settings and food processors from your friends and family will always be appreciated, we kind of like these gifts too because you will actually use them. Just pray that Grandma doesn't buy you a sensual couples massage. Eee.
[Photo: Hilton Honeymoon Registry]
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Usually major metropolitan areas are where you’ll find every hotel brand under the sun close together, but in a few years’ time there might be a very unlikely contender for having one of the largest concentrations of different hotel brands in the world: a master development in Portugal, roughly 50 miles south of capital Lisbon.
If one day a reality, we couldn’t name anywhere else that boast hotels from Hilton, Marriott, Four Seasons, Park Hyatt, Raffles, Fairmont, Aman, and Six Senses, all cosily together on the peninsula across the water from Setúbal and further down the Alentejo coastline – yet that is what the above map calls for.
Those hardy Québécois are well-known for embracing rather than fearing the winter. And when it blankets the city so attractively like this, we can almost see why.
This is an early February view from the 18th floor of the Hilton Québéc. The 23-story, 571-room hotel is located on Parliament Hill, which makes for some pretty sweet views of the St. Lawrence River, Parliament, or the Laurentian Mountains from every room.
From the floor-to-celing window in our King room, looking out across the snow-covered rooftops, the iconic Château Frontenac aka "the most photographed hotel in the world" now run by Fairmont Hotels, is visible, as is the Place Desjardins, the setting for most Carnaval activities.
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While lots of hotels are cashing in on the Winter Olympics spirit with speciality cocktails and patriotic packages, the Waldorf Astoria Park City is actually bringing a bit of the Sochi Olympics to its guests.
One of their valet staffers, Patrick Meek, just competed for the U.S. National Speedskating team over the weekend (He finished 20th in the 5000 meters race.) And now guests can book a lesson with Meek while staying at the hotel. The lesson lasts for two hours and costs $120. Rates at the hotel start at $839 for a king bed with a gas fireplace this weekend. (Meek will probably be back at the hotel in a few weeks.)
Meek is employed at the hotel as part of the Hilton HHonors Team USA athlete career program, which works around his busy training schedule. Since Park City is a training ground for winter sports, the place is probably crawling with past, present and future Olympians. Learn more about Meek and the program in this video here.
DON'T MISS HOTELCHATTER'S OWN SURVIVAL GUIDE TO PARK CITY HOTELS RIGHT HERE
[Photo via Patrick Meek/Facebook]
A trip to the Malaysian side of Borneo is not complete without experiencing life in a traditional Iban longhouse. Our bro Jaunted is going to dish on that immersive experience next week for those of you who find the idea of sleeping on the floor or in the jungle appealing, but what about those of us who prefer a soft mattress? Well, a remote Hilton property near Batang Ai may be just the compromise.
Officially called the Batang Ai Longhouse Resort Managed by Hilton, this property is a 4-hour drive and a 15-minute boat ride from the nearest airport in Kuching. It's located amongst and adjacent to what makes Borneo famous: the rainforest. This means the main attractions are nature walks, hikes, boating, fishing, and chasing down wild orangutans.
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When Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian took Miami back in 2010 they holed themselves up in a top-floor suite at the all-suite Hilton Bentley South Beach hotel which had two bedrooms, a living and dining room, two and a half baths, a kitchen, and a 1,500-square-foot rooftop terrace with a private Jacuzzi. But like Khloe and Lamar's love story, that's all gone now.
The Hilton has revamped the suite to include a rooftop pool, three bathrooms, a stainless steel kitchen with a personal wine chiller and a living room with an all-encompassing Dolby surround sound system (hey-yo!) which can be controlled, along with the electric privacy shades and the room temp, via the in-suite iPad or from the guest's own iPhone. Not to mention, those sick drop-down flat-screens in the ceiling.
Alas, rates for the new penthouse suite will cost about the same as a Kardashian's handbag (not the ones they sell in Sears but you know, the ones they would actually be seen with)--from $2,500-$7,500 a night.
[Photo: Hilton Bentley/Facebook]