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JW Marriott Resort and Spa in Palm Desert, Calif. recently underwent a $25 million top-to-bottom renovation that saw the spiffing up of its 884 guestrooms and suites as well as the vast lobby atrium and upgrades to its two championship golf courses. But don't worry, the quaint boat rides that go around the resort's lakes remain, dock and all, at the far edge of the lobby. Oh and of course the exotic birds that line the bottom of the lobby are still there, providing endless entertainment for passerbys.
The resort also introduced a few new dining concepts including the Rockwood Grill (previously the LakeView Grill), the Blue Star Lounge, and a Fisherman's Landing outpost. While Rockwood serves an out-of-this world breakfast buffet and the Blue Star Lounge has cozy outdoor seating and fire pits, it's still Mikado's Japanese Steakhouse, which will be packed on weekend nights (seriously, do not go without a reservation.)
When we checked into the JW Marriott Desert Springs in Palm Springs the other weekend, we were tickled to see the Aromatherapy Associates line of toiletries in the bathrooms. Mouthwash included!
Last year, we had heard that JW hotels would be rolling out these upscale toiletries but now they are officially in place at every JW Marriott. Designed for business travelers to fight off skin dehydration after long flights and fatigue due to changing time zones, the line is made with all-natural ingredients and has a scent that appeals to both men and women.
During our stay we realized we forgot to pack our face wash, which nearly gave us a panic attack but the Aromatherapy Associates soap worked amazingly well, without overly drying our skin. (Of course, this being the desert, we slathered on moisturizer followed by sunscreen so our skin didn't have much time to feel dry.) And we loved the fragrant shampoo and conditioner. Even better, our hair was smooth and soft after blowdrying it too.
Shockingly, we forgot to grab our toiletries before we checked-out but if this happens to you, don't fret. You can buy the entire toiletry line on the Shop Marriott site.
The JW Marriott folks reclaimed the legendary Essex House across from Central Park nearly a year ago but just in case you forgot that this was no longer a St. Regis or a Jumeriah or any other luxury hotel brand, JW Marriott has plastered the scaffolding out front with JW Marriott logos (They are doing some construction on the right side of the building.) They've also changed the golden marquee in front to say JW Marriott.
By the front of the door, JW Marriott added a small logo to the left of the door while the Art Deco-style logo for Essex House remains on the right side.
Yet despite all the poshness--CP location, JW Marriott name, golden marquees, etc--rates at the hotel start at just $389 a night and include free WiFi! Don't mind if we do.
Another shot of the entrance is after the jump.
National Tequila Day / Hotel Cocktails / Hotel Bars / Tucson Resorts / Chicago Hotels / Kimpton Hotels / JW Marriott Hotels / LA Hotels / Miami Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / → All Tags
Oh, how we love made up holidays that give us an excuse to pig out (see National Burger Month), bliss out (check July's National Ice Cream Month details) or…and this is our favorite by far, get out-and-out liquified. Yes, it's National Tequila Day folks, and that means you have permission, nay, an obligation, to celebrate the fruits of the beloved agave plant. Oh, and if you get this confused with National Margarita Day, it's OK, no one will get mad.
Where to honor this day? Good question. The following hotel bars pay tribute to this sanctified holiday in their own special way, or they just happen to pour a damn good marg, in our humble opinion. And while we know tequila comes from Mexico, if you're not there already, you'll need an alternative locale to indulge (or..like everyday). So, pull up a barstool and place your order. It's 5pm EVERYWHERE today.
Can't make it to a bar midweek (aw, you poor thang), we've got some recipes here so you can get to sippin' at home.
Tanque Verde Ranch, Tucson, AZ
This working dude ranch is truly legit. You'll learn how to properly ride a horse, wield a lasso, hike trails, and even mountain bike in the desert. So after all that, you'll want a beverage, and you'll get it in the Doghouse Saloon. It sounds like you're in trouble, and you might be after a few of the Prickly Pear margaritas. Interestingly enough, the prickly pear used is harvested right on site, so it's the real thing. They even use it in syrup for pancakes! But guess what, we loved the Red-Neck Margarita even more, which subbed the tequila for Jack Daniels! Whoa. But that's a story for another holiday.
Hotel Palomar, Chicago
The "Enemy of the State" tequila cocktail was created by bartender, Alex Renshaw and includes Milagro Reposado, Lustau PX sherry, Dark Matter cold brewed coffee and Angostura bitters. Perfect for those who anticipate needing a dose of caffeine and some liquid courage to handle Chi-Town's sassy attitude.
The Bowery Hotel, NYC
An agave accented take on the traditional vodka Moscow version, the Mexican Mule combines tequila with ginger and bitters to create one knock-your-socks-off cocktail. The mixologist at the hotel makes it with Qui Platinum Extra-Añejo tequila, 3 oz of fresh ginger, 3 dashes of Angostura bitters, and tops of the glass with an orange twist.
We’re not saying that we don’t appreciate a mint on the pillow or a single chocolate on the side table at turndown when we are staying in a hotel. Not at all: it’s just that sometimes we’re tired and grumpy after traveling and could really use a little something extra to help us unwind at the end of a travel day.
With this in mind, we are loving the idea of JW Marriott’s new turndown service, the Nightly Refresh Program, which features a rotation of complimentary amenities designed to help guests relax and rejuvenate.
The program, which is available at participating JW Marriott properties worldwide this summer, includes a nutritious snack bar filled with serotonin-releasing organic oats and skin-replenishing antioxidant-filled blueberries; as well as an essential oil featuring a blend of pink grapefruit, rosemary, and juniper berry that was created in partnership with Marriott partner, Aromatherapy Associates.
The healthy snack and essential oils sound lovely, but don’t mind us if we go straight for the wine samples from Treasury Wine Estates, and chocolates by Astor Chocolates. Hey, we’ve probably earned it.
[Photo of the JW Marriott Essex House in NYC by Chanize for HotelChatter]
Jock Jam Hotels / Hotel News / JW Marriott Hotels / Chicago Hotels / Sports Teams / NFL Hotels / NHL Hotels / → All Tags
Being big sports fans ourselves, we' ve always wondered--what happens when a professional sports team takes over a hotel? Do they get to stay in the biggest suites? Can they order whatever they want through room service? Do they have to pay for WiFi? Are they
walking around naked, er, are they paying $4 for that Snickers bar? We finally got some some insider details on what goes down when players are up...in the guest rooms and in short, the answers to these questions are: no, no, no and no.
The JW Marriott Chicago recently hosted the Chicago Blackhawks during the Stanley Cup Champsionships. (Yes, even players who have homes in Chicago were required to stay at the hotel.) Steve Conklin, director of sales and marketing, told us the Blackhawks team, including players, coaches and trainers, took up about 35 of the hotel's 610 hotel rooms. Football teams usually take about 160-200 rooms, according to Conklin.
Naturally, when it comes to hotel rooms, our first question was this: Do they have to share a room? Conklin said that only a few of the guys, namely the rookies and whoever are "buddies" share a room. The rest get their own rooms with a king-sized bed. And no matter how big the superstar, the players all get standard rooms, not suites. Of course, it helps when the hotel, like the JW Marriott, is a luxury hotel and is tricked out with all the right amenities from technology to comfort to the all-important 24-hour room service. Not that the players can take advantage of it though.
Snapshot / Hotel Bicycles / Palm Springs Hotels / Restaurant Week Hotels / Viceroy Hotels / JW Marriott Hotels / → All Tags
The other week we popped into the Viceroy Palm Springs and saw Audrey and Frank waiting for us at the koi pond by the entrance. And by Audrey and Frank we mean white and black bicycles with Audrey Hepburn and Frank Sinatra's photos on them.
The bikes are courtesy of Palm Springs' Celebrity Bike Rentals and are available to Viceroy Hotel guests as part of the $30 resort fee (that fee also includes WiFi, overnight valet parking and coffee and tea from 6am to 11am.) While the Viceroy is pretty walkable to the fun shops and restaurants of Indian Canyon Drive, riding a bike will get you around from one air-conditioned spot to the next a little faster.
Last night guests who came to celebrate the official re-opening of Manhattan's legendary Essex House into the JW Marriott Essex House, was treated to another classic treat--the musical stylings of Jon Bon Jovi!
The rock legend told the crowd he'd stayed at the hotel "many, many times" (though we couldn't get anyone to confirm if he was staying that night in the occupied Presidential Suite!). He serenaded the crowd with favorite hits like "Dead or Alive" and "Living on a Prayer", who got a kick out of singing the words back to him.
The 40-story Essex House, which overlooks Central Park and has been open since 1931, officially resumed its JW name in September 2012 after operating under the Jumeirah brand. When Strategic Hotels & Resorts acquired the hotel in 2012 from the Dubai Investment Group, they invested several million dollars for a modest make over that you can see in the 509 rooms, spa, and restaurant.
Mall Hotels / Radisson Blu Hotels / Radisson Hotels / Minnesota Hotels / Hong Kong Hotels / Singapore Hotels / JW Marriott Hotels / Dubai Hotels / Kempinski Hotels / Kuala Lumpur Hotels / Sheraton Hotels / Starwood Hotels / Macau Hotels / Macao Hotels / InterContinental Hotels / Seoul Hotels / Houston Hotels / Four Seasons Hotels / → All Tags
Last month, the 500-room Radisson Blu Mall of America became the second Radisson Blu to open in the US (after Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago). But one thing that sets this place apart from Chicago (and all other subsequent Rad Blus) is that it directly connects to the Mall of America, with its 530 shops, 5 major department stores, multiple food courts, indoor theme park, and 14-screen movie theater. If they want, hotel guests can even arrange for a personal shopper and bag pick-up to maximize the experience. Rates from $174/night.
For more mall hotel awesome-ness in Hong Kong, Dubai, and Houston, read on!
You may not want your children to read this, but it's for their own good, so keep it a secret, if you know what's best for you. In keeping with the well-intended goal of some hotels to provide healthier food choices for the smaller set, JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts partnered with nutritionist and author Keri Glassman to create a new JW Kids Menu, helping the 'tween set try to build better eating habits that can be continued at home.
The idea is to present an interactive menu, which will debut in JW hotels this spring with kids favorites, but with a healthy twist. In other words--nix the fake chicken nuggets in favor of grilled organic chicken tenders and say "peace" to processed meatballs and instead, offer the fresh, turkey-made variety.
We like anything that will keep our kids away from The Colonel, but will it go over well when the little ones want to let their hair down (just like parents do), while on vacation?
“With kids’ food choices becoming increasingly diverse, we are looking to create dining options that are fresh, healthy and imaginatively tasty,” said Mitzi Gaskins, vice president & global brand manager for JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts. “These items will not only delight kids from a culinary standpoint, but will also let parents know the JW Marriott brand cares about the well-being of their entire family.”
As parents, we love the idea of organic foods nd no doubt we'll try this out with our little ones, not yet jaded by BK and McDs ads. But we can't help feel hesitant that our older kids will go for the whole "locally-sourced" spiel. Has JW met a 12-year old growing boy? We've rarely seen a carrot or celery stick win in any food choice with this set--ranch dressing dip or not, without a buffalo wing on the side.
The 266-room JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa is set to open on a private island located in the Venice lagoon in 2014. This will be Marriott’s first hotel in Italy under the luxury JW moniker.
The hotel is just a short boat ride from the historic heart of the city, St Mark’s Square. There’ll be an array of restaurants and bars, of course, a health club and spa, and pools galore--one outdoors, one indoors, and one on the roof.
We think the renderings (more after the jump!) look impressive, with a Mediterranean vibe thing goin’ on–-all white and seafoam green--right in keeping with the whole “private island” business.
Hotel Openings / Hotel Restaurants / Dubai Hotels / Marriott Hotels / JW Marriott Hotels / Marriott Marquis / → All Tags
By now an inseparable fixture of the Dubai skyline, the 77-story twin tower JW Marriott Marquis Dubai is gradually introducing itself into the city. After an initial November opening, this month, the hotel begins service at its nine restaurants and five bars, including Vault, a cigar lounge and bar occupying the 71st and 72nd floors of the hotel.
Think that's too many restaurants and bars for one hotel? Think again. Guiness Book of World Records officially recognized the JW Marriott Marquis as the world's tallest hotel, with a current total of 804 rooms.
And don't forget: that's still only half of the hotel. Though we expected the final unveiling sometime this year, the second tower isn't expected to open until late 2014.
That will bring the hotel's total room count to a whopping 1,600, allowing major conventions and meeting groups to house their attendees all under one roof. Like a giant slumber party, only instead of making popcorn and watching Sixteen Candles, guests will be gobbling steak at Prime 68 and whiling away their evenings soaking in the tub overlooking the twinkling lights of Business Bay.
Rates start at $217/night.