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There was a time not so long ago that hotels in Rome were divided into two categories. There were the sumptuous ones – they were ridiculously expensive, and often faded glory. And then there were the affordable ones. But these were generally gross and located around Termini train station, the one area of Rome that isn’t spectacularly lovely #holdontoyourpurse #worsethanthecolosseum.
But in the last few years, a new breed of Rome hotels has emerged. They’re relatively affordable, wonderfully stylish, and scattered through the city center. They cost the same – or a little more – than a scuzzhole near Termini, but are infinitely nicer. And one of the latest of these affordable boutique places is The Corner, which opened last summer.
The Corner isn’t the most central of hotels – it’s at the foot of the Aventine Hill, between Circo Massimo and Piramide (all three are B list Rome sights). The last two have metro stops, though, and there are plenty of buses into the center. It’s walkable, too – 15-20 minutes to the Colosseum, or 10 to the Circus Maximus, and beyond that the Bocca della Verità.
It’s small – a "townhouse" hotel of just 11 rooms – and it’s on the main road, so there’s traffic noise outside (though it's not noticeable from the rooms). So we were a little worried at just how good a deal we scored: €106 ($119) on a flash sale site. Here’s what we found.
The luxury Jumeirah Carlton Tower (which, by the way, was just named England’s Leading Business Hotel at the World Travel Awards) and boutique Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel, both in London's spiffy Knightsbridge district, have announced that their services will be upgraded to include an iPad in each room.
Yes, Miami Beach already has a hotel with a recording studio--The Setai--but now, with the return of the rock-boutique Marlin Hotel, it will have a hotel with a recording studio and iPads in the guestrooms.
Oh, and a helluva cool history. Back when, South Beach was Madonna's playground and the hotel was run by Island Outpost gent Chris Blackwell.
The lounge, named for Blackwell, has been open since the spring. But now that the Marlin has a new website, we get to scope out the rooms. There are four different kinds of studios and, coming in December, a two bedroom suite with partial ocean view, two king beds, two bathrooms with rainfall showers and a 'glass-enclosed wet room,' which we can only imagine is a spacious shower. (Stocked with Bigelow bath goodies. Yay.)
iPad Hotels / Hotel Food / Hotel Chefs / InterContinental Hotels / IHG / Hotel Cookbooks / Hotel Books / → All Tags
In other hotel food news today, InterContinental Hotels announced that they will be issuing an e-cookbook named Flavors At Your Fingertips. Hm, kinda makes us think of an IV drip. But nevermind, this all fits in with IHG's reputation for being among the first hotel company to really integrate the wondrous tablet into their amenities.
Available to download for free, the unique app compiles 32 classic recipes—taken from 24 IHG properties around the world—that users can browse using a number of cool, easy-to-follow parameters. Want to search by recipe name? Easy enough. Want to spin the globe to pick your cuisine type? Spin away! Feeling undecided and want to "be inspired" with a surprise recipe? IHG's got you covered there, too.
Have you ever flirted with a hotel concierge? In our newest series, Concierge Interviews, HotelChatter goes behind the Front Desk and gets chummy with the men—and women—whose job it is to never say no. Filmed inside various lobbies, courtyards, and bar lounges, each video will offer a glimpse into the world of hotels from the people who know them best. Got a burning question you'd like us to ask? Or have someone in mind for us to interview? Email us your requests!
Guess what, Apple lovers? There's finally a hotel to sate your every technological whim—you just have to fly halfway around the world to enjoy it! While we've seen certain hotels pick up on the free iPad trend, or even develop their own apps, Sofitel So Bangkok is now debuting a "new generation of urban hotels."
According to an announcement made on Saturday, each of its 238 rooms will come with a Mac mini that guests can use to build their own in-room integrated multimedia center: digital TV and radio, movies, music, DVD player, and the ability to play whatever's on your own iPod, iPhone, or iPad. Oh, an they'll throw in an iPad if you book one of their suites.
Need to actually get some work done? Worry not. The tech-savy property has taken you into consideration as well:
"For work purposes, the Mac mini enables guests to load files via a USB port, work on them in the normal way, and save them to a memory stick safe in the knowledge that every time the Mac mini is shut down DirectStreams software will clean away any new information on the computer and restore it to its original state at check-in/check-out."
But this kind of total connectivity isn't just Sofitel offering a "new generation" of room service. Sure, there's features like browsing the hotel directory and room service menu, and we're guessing there will be some live chat feature to communicate in real time with staff members, a la St. Regis New York's E-Butler program. But beyond that, the hotel has made it very possible for guests to never have to leave their rooms or seek entertainment at all! It's all built in right there!
Hotels that let you play with their iPads are fun. Hotels that will give you one? Why, hello there! Where do we check in?
Miami's Sagamore is the sugar daddy in this equation, but of course there is a catch: you have to play CEO for two days. The hotel's latest 'deal' lets cashed-up guests be 'Chief Entertainment Officer' by checking into the three-bedroom penthouse and taking advantage of some high-roller amenities--including a brand new iPad2.
While some London hotels have missed the mark as far as service and affordability go, there are still some reasons to get excited about your next trip across the pond.
Aloft is coming to town in November, The Zetter Townhouse has just opened with fun and affordable rooms (and free WiFi) and now the Eccleston Square Hotel will be unleashing its techy goodness on July 4.
We've mentioned the amenity madness at this hotel before but let's revisit the gadgetry that has the hotel calling itself, "London's Most Hi-Tech Hotel."
· Peekaboo Bathroom Optional as you can make the bathroom glass clear or opaque with the flick of a switch.
· iPad 2s in the nightstand from which you can book a massage or a personal trainer, order room service and make a purchase from the gift shop.
· Heated Floors so the frightful weather outside doesn't follow you back to your hotel room.
· Nespresso Machines for a quick gourmet pick-me-up.
· The high-tech Hastens bed with its own mini-massage system.
· 46-inch 3DTV, the better to watch Footballers Wives with. And it comes with two pairs of active 3D Panasonic glasses.
· FREE WIFI.
iPad Hotels / Hotel Technology / Hotel Amenities / San Francisco Hotels / Joie de Vivre Hotels / JDV Hotels / → All Tags
The eagerly anticipated iPad 2 may have only been released late last week, but a number of tech-loving hotels have already added it to their stable of gadgets. Some have the second-generation iPads for their concierges and others offer them for free guest use in the hotel. But the Galleria Park Hotel is taking a different route and renting out iPad 2s.
The hotel, the first in San Francisco to offer iPad 2s, is letting guests borrow them for $14.95 a day. Bonus: The hotel has free WiFi, so you won't have to worry about that additional expense.
iPad Hotels / Hotel Technology / Hotel Amenities / InterContinental Hotels / InterContinental Hotel Group / Hotel News / → All Tags
It's iPad 2 day, in case you haven't figured this out already by passing mammoth lines at Apple stores on your way to work. Today is the day that the iPad 2 is available to purchase in store or order for home delivery online, and one of the first biters is a big one. InterContinental Hotels has bought up enough iPad 2s to outfit the concierges with them at 10 of their hotels, as soon as those babies arrive in the mail.
InterContinental is the first global brand to embrace the iPad 2, and the lucky concierges are at: InterContinental New York Barclay, InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta, InterContinental London Park Lane, InterContinental Hong Kong, InterContinental San Francisco, InterContinental Houston, InterContinental Dubai Festival City, InterContinental Shanghai Expo, ANA InterContinental Tokyo and the InterContinental Bali Resort. These properties will use the hot gadgets to dispense destination advice and "insider" travel tips, but the addition of cameras to the iPad 2 add a whole new option.
How FaceTime comes into the equation...
If you techies are geeking out over the release of the iPad 2 this week, but don't exactly have the budget to blow on the gadget, head to the Hotel Indigo San Diego to play with one. The hotel will get three iPad 2s on March 11 that you can use for free.
The Hotel Indigo San Diego has been an iPad innovator among hotels. It was one of the first to jump on the iPad bandwagon. The addition of the second-generation gadgets will bring the hotel's iPad count eight.
Hotel Snapshot / Hotel Technology / iPad Hotels / Hotel Amenities / Free WiFi / Viva Vegas / Dolce Hotels / → All Tags
Eagle eyed and not so eagle eyed readers of HotelChatter will have noticed that we’re tech fans when it comes to hotels. We’re fans of free WiFi, we always like electrical outlets near the bed, and extras like iPads make us more than a little excited.
Hence we were overjoyed when we arrived at the brand new Ravella hotel at Lake Las Vegas, 40 minutes from the Strip, yesterday, to find not only was there free WiFi throughout the hotel (although, to be fair, if you’re staying there, it’s classed as a perk of the resort fee), but also, that they’d actively set up a space in the lobby for people to sit and browse the net.
”Connectivity” is one of the three central tenets of the philosophy of Dolce Resorts, which owns the hotel, and one third of the lobby/lounge area is devoted to that theme. As such, there are two flatscreen TVs on the wall (they’re a decent size now, but they’re going to be replaced with something bigger, apparently) showing CNN and MSNBC with a sofa, several small tables around it, and this, the crowning glory: a table that seats eight with two iPads to share.