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It’s fitting that in saying our goodbyes, the subject of peekaboo bathrooms and our collective dismay at most versions we’ve come across was right up there among all things hotels we have shared with you over the years.
We couldn’t therefore part ways without revisiting our personal low in this context, and the mixed rant / plea that resulted. As we said at the time, if ever there was something we wish existing and budding hotel designers and operators that approve their work would take away from us, this is it:
Please, please include a proper toilet enclosure in your room designs. Proper enclosure means solid walls and a solid door, which all reach from floor to ceiling and are not (semi-)transparent. Additional soundproofing and sensible placement versus the rest of the accommodation are much appreciated as well.
It’s very simple. On the left, out in the open and less than three steps away from a public footpath = NO. On the right, a private cubicle with full, solid door = YES. Thanks ever so much.
Multiple choice: A Holiday Inn Express in the UK refused to let this woman check in to the hotel because she was,
b) sans credit card;
d) none of the above?
Correct answer: D. It appears that they didn't let her check in for the room she’d booked purely because she was Romanian.
The Premier City View should have looked like this
The best thing about Shangri-La at the Shard London was, indisputably, the view. As part of the tallest building in the UK – nay, Europe – those glass walls overlooked everything you could possibly want to see in London.
Which brings us to the worst thing about the hotel: the unimpeded views – thanks to all that glass, the shape of the building and some seriously unfortunate reflection – of other rooms and their occupants.
Well, according to the Daily Mail, the hotel has hit on a genius way to avoid the reflection issue – privacy stripes down the windows. This means guests in other rooms will be unable to see you.
Unfortunately, it also means that if you can’t see in, you can’t see out. Those beautiful views that you paid so much to see? Ruined.
Four Seasons London at Trinity Square, another obscenely expensive hotel heading to the UK
Are you planning a trip to the UK any time soon? Apologies in advance. We’re ever so sorry, but unfortunately a new study has shown that British hotels are substantially more expensive than European ones – in fact, you’ll end up spending £76 ($120) more on a night in the UK than on the continent.
There are several factors at play, here – the euro is getting weaker and the pound stronger, London is of course obscenely expensive, which pumps up the averages, and extras like food generally cost more in the UK.
According to the study by HRS (reported in City AM), business travellers spend an average of £65 per night in Europe on a room, or £129 including “breakfast and other services”.
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The lobby in happier times
It’s not the normal behavior you see in Old Lady Waldorf, the Waldorf Astoria; on Saturday, during a high falutin wedding reception, a guest’s gun went off, injuring five fellow partiers – luckily, not seriously.
The reception was due to take place in the Ballroom but the guests were actually posing for photos in the lobby when Vladimir Gotlibovsky’s 9mm Ruger went off in his pocket, hitting the floor. One woman suffered a headwound, a graze from the bullet; others were wounded in the leg after debris – glass, marble and tile – went flying.
UPDATE: The Santa Catalina Island Company has told us that the LA Times story was incorrect, and that no hotels or restaurants owned by the SCIC will close rooms or use paper plates, although some outlets are shipping laundry to the mainland. They say "The company has been preparing for some time for the restrictions so it will not be necessary to go to these lengths."
Catalina Island is one of the quintessential weekend destinations for SoCal types, but all is not well in Palm-Springs-On-Sea paradise this year.
According to the LA Times, the drought, which was a looming presence even during our stay last summer, is getting serious. Like, properly serious. Avalon is now under a Stage 2 (of 3) rationing, with a 25 per cent cut in water usage.
That awkward moment when you turn up for your vacation to realize that the hotel’s still under construction. (You may need to replace “awkward” with “stuff of nightmares”.)
That was the horror faced by people who’d booked the Blue Lagoon Princess in Halkidiki, Greece, through British company Thomson Holidays. Billed as a 5“T” property under the “Platinum Lifestyle” brand, the renderings looked seriously appealing.
But when people who’d booked turned up last Monday, the official opening date, they found the hotel still looking like a building site.
It was all going so well for Hotel Gotham. Manchester’s newest hotel was looking good, garnering great reviews and generally making a splash – and then, a pesky a reality TV “celebrity” had to come along and spoil it.
There’s bad behavior by normal hotel standards, and there’s bad behavior by Hard Rock standards. And when you factor in a good old British lout, you know bad behavior for the ages is on the cards.
Last week, a 41-year-old man from Hampshire, Andrew Wood, was on the trip of a lifetime to Universal Orlando. He got drunk. He went back to his room at the Hard Rock Universal Orlando. Except on the way (maybe he got caught short, maybe he didn't want to soil the sexy new rooms) and peed into an ice machine.
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An exclusive HotelChatter Long Read by John Buchanan
Shortly after that, Baha Mar insiders told us the resort would actually open on March 27. Progress! Except after three months of non-stop marketing and advertising hype about the new "Bahamian Riviera", across traditional and digital media--along with a special Grand Opening offer that included a $100 resort credit--Baha Mar delayed its opening again to May in a most spectacular way--by announcing the delay on Facebook two days before the scheduled opening.
Would-be guests flooded the Bahamian megaresort’s Facebook page with questions about their existing room reservations and plane tickets. A few even said they had no idea about the delay until they saw the Facebook post. Several seriously unlucky folks had less than 48-hours notice before leaving for the Bahamas.
We’ve not seen a mob mentality rage of this kind toward a hotel before. Indeed, angry customers are still leaving comments on the resort’s Facebook page, asking about their upcoming reservations for May.
After canceling its official grand opening weekend for May 5-7, and moving its general opening date yet again, Baha Mar is now accepting reservations for July 1-3, seven months after the initial December opening date. (And no, there was no official update on social media from the resort about the May opening being moved as well.)
To be fair, delays are to be expected when building new hotels, especially one as big as the $3.5 billion, China-funded Baha Mar resort which will have a flagship hotel and casino, two luxury hotels (Rosewood and SLS Lux) and a Grand Hyatt. But it is one thing to delay your hotel’s opening date before you’ve begun accepting reservations. It is another thing entirely to delay your opening just two days before the expected date without notifying your existing reservation holders.
One can only wonder--Will Baha Mar ever recover from this very public embarrassing setback? Will guests want to take a chance on booking a room for July? Will travel media, travel agents, meeting and events planners and other businesses believe Baha Mar when they announce their next opening date?
When we talked about Intercontinental’s branding-by-smell last month, the general consensus was that it was rather a good idea.
But sometimes, you can have too much of a good thing. And that might just be the case at the Intercontinental de la Ville in Rome.
HC reader @GreeleyCopley tweeted us last week:
But perhaps we should have framed the article differently, as in What Airport Hotels Shouldn't Do.
A reader commented on the story with list of bad airport hotels, along with reasons why the experiences were so awful. Anyone who's ever stayed in an airport hotel before can sympathize.
And then we realized, even though airport hotels have come a long way in recent years, there are still some stinkers (literally) out there. So we want you to tell us the airport hotels you think should be grounded, permanently. Or at least renovated. (Don't worry, we'll start a new OpenThread for Best Airport Hotels soon.)
To start, we're reposting our commenter's top offenders:
· Sheraton Charlotte Airport: musty, very dated rooms, moldy bathroom ceiling, terrible food in the lobby restaurant, very weak wi-fi
· Sheraton Houston Airport: see Charlotte above, but rooms are not so clean, either.
· Aloft Denver International Airport: typical Aloft, just meh, but it is fairly far from the airport. Like a 20 minute (free) shuttle ride far. And the only halfway decent restaurant nearby is Ted's Montana Grill (not so decent).
· Hilton Charles de Gaulle Paris: This place is just one hideous fee after another. Like $27 for wifi. The food at the bar was mediocre and wildly expensive. I was really annoyed at this one.
· Hyatt Regency SFO : Renovate, renovate, renovate and open a real restaurant, not some funky sports bar and grill. This place is stuck in 1994.
Now's the time to vent! Share your worst airport hotel experiences in comments below!