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Right around this time last year, we saw first-hand what happens when two famous hotel bartenders spend a week mixing cocktails in the same London hotel bar: a double feature of Confessions of a Hotel Bartender and six specially-selected cocktails to drink your way through.
The bar at The Connaught, where all of this went down, was packed during Colin Field’s week long residence in Agostino Perrone’s home, but it almost always is. Luckily, there is now this: the Champagne Room at the Connaught Bar – a small, secluded drinking spot accessible either through an internal passageway from the main bar or through a set of heavy curtains off of a quiet corridor behind the lobby.
Hotel Pop-Ups / Hotel Bars / Belmond Hotels / Venice Hotels / Giudecca Hotels / Paris Hotels / Train Hotels / → All Tags
Walter Bolzonella at the Cipriani
Having a drink in one iconic hotel is good enough. Having a drink in one iconic hotel that’s mixed by the staff from another iconic hotel – even better. Having a drink from one iconic hotel that’s made by the staff of another iconic hotel while on the most iconic train on the planet? We need a drink. Preferably one made by the Ritz Paris bartenders, but made at the Belmond Cipriani in Venice, or served on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.
In a collaboration between the two hotels and the famous train, the head bartenders of the Ritz Paris (Colin Field - who, of course, is currently homeless, since the hotel is closed, and is going around the world staging pop-ups) and the Cipriani (Walter Bolzonella) will run a pop-up bar at the Cip from 9-15 April.
But wait! It gets better than that.
Who knew that drinking alcohol could be good for you? When you show up for a cocktail at The Drawing Room in the Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach, have a chat with the apothékers (A.K.A. bartenders) and tell them what ails you. They’ll whip up a medicinal concoction full of herbs and other goodness and then write you a prescription in case you need a refill.
Run by famous (and a wee bit infamous) Austrian-born bar chef Albert Trummer, formerly of NYC's Apothéke and the Theater Bar, The Drawing Room has only been open since October 2014.
Using his knowledge of all things botanical (Albert is also a trained chef), he’s created a series of ten house elixirs using recipes he’s collected from monks and monasteries throughout Europe. These elixirs (not all are available at all times as it depends on seasonality and availability) are used to create his and his team’s Prescription Cocktails. If you plan it right you can bring yourself up at the start of the evening and then back down at its close.
Hotel Service Charges / Hotel Service / Snapshot / London Hotels / Belgravia Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Hotel Bars / → All Tags
Service charges – a topic that’s been in our minds on HC recently. The ethics of room service charges got us all wound up the other week, but what about normal service charges – the type that get added automatically to your bill, before you can say whether or not you wanted to leave a tip?
Automatic gratuities are becoming the norm in London now, with 12.5% the normal whack (apart from our funny little friends at Belgraves who automatically add 15%, thank you very much). For reference, 10% is what one would normally tip in London.
But here is the genteel way to present your service charge:
Hotel Restaurants / Hotel Bars / Hotel Renovations / DTLA Hotels / Koreatown Hotels / Los Angeles Hotels / → All Tags
One of the things we most like about the Downtown LA renaissance is the redevelopment of old buildings into sexy modern hotels (unless, that is, you’re talking about the Fig, which we cannot conscience in anything but its old, Moroccan incarnation).
The Hotel Normandie was already pretty sexy – a Renaissance Revival-style building done 1920s by Walker & Eisen, who also did the Beverly Wilshire and the United Artists Theater (aka the Ace DTLA), and now a 94-room boutique hotel (although with the old style preserved rather than gutted).
But now it’s stepped up the ante with some food and drink offerings that, rather like the hotel, combine the best of old and new LA.
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Last time we checked in on Brussels, we were all about the beer bar at the new Zoom Hotel in Ixelles (up the hill from the medieval bit, but where all
we the cool kids go). 50 Belgian beers, selected by a top Belgian sommelier? Oui, s’il vous plait.
So obviously, when we were in Brussels last week, there was only one place we were going to stay. More on the hotel another time, but for now, here is the beer bar.
Yeah, it’s not what we were expecting either. Discreet. Grown up. Who knew boozing could be like this?
Hotels reaching out beyond their walls – this could be a thing. Hot (literally) on the heels of the James NYC turning its outside wall into a mural, the Dupont Circle Hotel in Washington, DC, has opened a new bar – on the street.
The pop-up “snow bar” is to warm you up as you pass through the snowy city, with cocktails created by the hotel’s mixologists. Hot cocktails, of course – they’ve invented one called the Nutty Van Gogh, which takes Nutella-brewed hot chocolate and adds Frangelico and caramel Van Gogh vodka. Too sweet? Try a coffee infused with Bailey’s or Kahlua. Too sickly? Go old school with some mulled wine.
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The 3D TV
Anyone who loves hanging out in hotels* will know that the downside of gorgeous spaces, people-watching and nice bathrooms is usually the premium price. £15 for an entry level cocktail in a nice London hotel? Yeah, we’ll reluctantly swallow that, it’s par for the course.
Not so at the Eccleston Square Hotel, though. Until the end of March, it’s offering £4.95 cocktails from 5pm-8pm Monday to Saturday.
Yes, cocktails for under a fiver. In London. In a nice hotel. And not at an hour where drinking incurs funny looks.
The W London Lounge
Last week, I found myself in central London with a colleague, with an hour to spare between meetings. It was lunchtime. We both had work to do. We’d been out and about all morning.
We were near Covent Garden. My colleague suggested a restaurant. I mooted the Lounge at the W London. I won.
But when we got there, he was shocked. It was so fancy! All the staff were so beautiful! Everyone around us was so… rich looking! “Do you have to be Scandinavian to work here?” he asked me. He called his wife to marvel at the “eurotrash” and the “too beautiful” people surrounding us. He brought it up in the meeting we went to afterwards. The other meetingees were equally baffled and entranced by the idea of going to this insane, snazzy, eurotrashy hotel, when we could have gone to Starbucks.
It has Fabergé eggs. It has King Henry VIII. And it has Tudor-inspired cocktails. That’s quite something for a hotel venue.
Welcome to New York, and to BonBonnière, the new nightclub in the basement of the Hotel Chantelle. A London import – the first one opened in Soho last year – it’s “inspired by the Fabergé egg” and all the European opulence that goes with it.
What does that mean in the 21st century? Mirrored walls, LED-lit ceilings, and a giant Fabergé egg as the DJ booth. Now that is something.
Wowie zowie! We thought we had exhausted our hand-picked list of hotels worthy of a little friendly poke on Funky Friday. Well, lo and behold, a new supply may be surfacing as 2015 gets under way. We love it so bring it on. But for now, we’ll keep things informal with an occasional visit to Funky Friday.
For our first unofficial poke of 2015, we’re taking a (virtual) visit, more like a trip, inside the psychedelic fantasy of the Razzmatazz Cocktail Bar & Lounge at JW Marriott Abershon Baku in Azerbaijan.
The inspiration behind the design of Razzmatazz stems from the beautiful Persian rugs of Azerbaijan and the stories these rugs tell. Whether or not this bar clearly tells a story, or needs to, it sure speaks volumes in its amped up display. Floors, walls and ceilings play mind games with guests in kaleidoscope-friendly patterns in neon purple, hot pink, and red. If these are rug patterns then they could have been designed by Jimi Hendrix.
Last week, we brought you a sneak peek of the Sixty SoHo’s new look and mentioned the recent opening of its new bar, The Gordon Bar. Here, now, are the details on Manhattan’s newest watering hole.
The Gordon Bar is just off the second-floor lobby and reception area of the hotel. Like the lobby, the feel here is cozy but swank. The focal point on one end of the room is a fireplace bookended by glass shelves with knickknacks and potted plants. In front of that is a small glass coffee table with art books, around which are clustered armchairs and a plush loveseat in nice communal seating area.