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Summer is almost upon us, and along with all the regular seasonal delights (rooftop cocktails, long weekends in Cape Cod, ice creeeaaam), one thing we hate, hate, hate about summer in the city is the exorbitant hotel rates.
We've seen numbers climbing to $600, $650, and even $700/night for a standard room, and we feel someone needs to take a stand against such preposterousness. So that someone may as well be us.
At a glance, we found several hotels overstepping the line with $700+ rates on a weeknight in June. Sheraton Times Square must be really raking it in, as they claim their "lowest available rate" is $749/night. Meanwhile, less than three miles away, the Sheraton Lincoln Harbor is offering a room on the same night for $289. For the difference in price, we could treat ourselves to a steak dinner at Peter Luger's and still wind up saving money.
Our question is: considering that hotels can justify these kinds of rates because it's the summer season, would you pay $700/night to stay at a Sheraton? Or would you look elsewhere? Let us know your thoughts below!
The Kimpton Palm Springs will be an entirely new build hotel on North Palm Canyon Drive with 190 hotel rooms and a rooftop bar and pool, a first for the area. There will also be a "chef-driven restaurant", over 24,000 square feet total of event and meeting space and great views of Mount San Jacinto State Park from all angles. Oh and don't forget about the nightly wine hour and the free WiFi for Kimpton InTouch members!
We've got a ways to wait as the hotel won't open until 2015 but knowing Kimpton, it will be worth it. In the meantime, the Hard Rock Palm Springs is still set to open in the Fall. Admittedly, we're more of Kimpton's target clientele than Hard Rock but a new hotel is a new hotel!
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If you're staying at the RiverPlace Hotel in Portland this week, and are looking for General Manager Ryan Kunzer, you won't find him anywhere in the hotel. Which isn't to say he's not working.
He'll be working, alright, but instead of a traditional office, Kunzer has temporarily stationed himself inside a bubble tent in the middle of Pioneer Square.
Starting yesterday, Kunzer will spend three nights working and sleeping inside the 24-geodesic dome as a way to promote the hotel's renovated guest rooms, which are fresh from a $2.5 million makeover.
As a way to introduce the new look to locals and potential guests, RiverPlace has re-created a guest room inside the tent for all to see (literally). Kind of a genius PR stunt, if you ask us. No pedestrian who stumbles upon a pop-up bubble hotel in the middle of a public square would ever be able to pass by and not want to peek inside.
Hopefully, the reviews will be positive...
Rates from $284/night.
[Photo: RiverPlace Hotel]
As anyone who has ever stayed at a Kimpton hotel knows, 5-6pm is the magic hour, when all Kimpton lobbies across the country break out a few bottles of vino and let guests guzzle gratis. (It's a tradition we can really get behind.)
Manhattan's Ink48 has faithfully been pouring glasses of red and white each evening since the program launched several years ago. But now, the hotel is giving other Kimpton properties a run for their money with a new menu of local New York wines, which will be served during wine hour on Wednesdays throughout the month of May.
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As summer nears, hotels are going to start up with the usual warm-weather offerings: rooftop bars, poolside cabanas, and those awkward tanning concierges. But as far as we're concerned, it all boils down to one question: where can we ride a bike for free?
Unless otherwise noted, all of the below hotels offer free bike rentals on a first-come, first-served basis (that means no reserving the night before!), and all bikes come with a helmet and a lock.
We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves on the public bikes at Public Chicago, and we recommend you do the same! Guests can grab a Trek Bicycle and take out for a spin down to Lake Shore and cruise along the beach's bike path—which are just three blocks from the hotel. Oh, and did we mention it's free?
In time for the first shoots of spring in London, £1-favorite Hoxton Hotel is now offering guests four custom UK-made Mango Bikes in the hotel’s colors to tool around town in. Both Sanderson and St. Martin’s Lane counter with equipment from the home of cycling, with Dutch bikes by Public J7.
Santa Barbara's El Encanto Resort has something special for adventuresome guests: electric bikes! The electric component can be turned on or off, so if you don't feel like cheating, you can pump all the way to the beach and back. But when it comes time to head back to the hotel (which sits in the Santa Barbara hills), that motor is going to come in pretty handy.
Sofitel So Bangkok offers three bikes for rent—a number suitable for the cast of Three's Company, but hey, free is free! Head across the road and pedal your heart out around Lumpini Park, the city's answer to Central Park, where you can ride along the Komodo Dragons basking in the sun on the banks of the lake.
For 12 more hotels (and hotel brands) with free bike rentals, read on!
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Hot yoga is so last-season – not only because of the weather, but especially since the founder of the trendy hot yoga program Bikram is being accused of sexual harassment. Still, though, we’ve gotta keep those chakras flowing even while we’re on the road, so we’re loving Kimpton Hotels’ more low-key, individualized yoga program, soft-launching in April across the brand. According to our source, each Kimpton property is encouraged to do things a little bit differently, but all properties will offer an in-room yoga television channel, in-room Gaiam yoga mats, and extra towels/flavored waters/antioxidant snacks delivered to the room by request.
But it's the new aqua yoga that has us most excited. Read on to find out more details!
You can pretend like you didn't know today is "Tax Day" (shout out to extended filers!), or you can celebrate April 15th knowing your return is safely out the door. Perhaps you're one of those lucky peeps who've already filed and getting a refund, too! But let's not turn our backs on some of us who might need solace as they make out a check to Uncle Sam (stop staring at us!).
So, to cover both sets of folks, there are a few hotels ready to celebrate or commiserate "Tax Day" with you.
Here are our 3 faves.
The Grant Grill, US Grant Hotel, San Diego is a pretty pricey place (US presidents and their wives come here for a reason!) so for those who will be giving instead of receiving from the IRS, the hotel is generously reducing its new Raw Cocktail menu for a grand $4.15 per drink! Regularly priced at $12 each, these new craft cocktails--two are named the "New Apple Martini" and "The Melon Ball" are cute spin on classic drinks, both using the fresh, pressed juice of the entire fruit. BTW, those who are getting a sweet government-endorsed check? Buy a round (or two!) for your newly broke-ass friends! It's the right thing to do.
We co-sign the "Suite Tax Relief” package at The Grand Hotel Minneapolis, simply because you lucky ducks need a place to spend that refund, the enormous Mall of America is near this downtown hotel, and you'll have a blast with that new bank to spend. The hotel is offering a deluxe room (with no room tax added!), free Payday, 100 Grand and Sugar Daddy candy bars (how cute is that?) and a late check-out from your shopping hangover. Sweet! Package rates start at $149, and are available now through Memorial Day (blackout dates apply). Book at www.grandhotelminneapolis.com or call 800-Kimpton and mention rate code PTAX.
Perhaps we're just projecting our own sitches here, but we think there are many of us in the "filing late/owing" category. Yes? That's why we completely dig the “No Taxation Without Libations” deal at Chicago's Hotel Allegro. After you've cried, pleaded, promised a new attitude for next year's filing (you know, that filthy lie you always tell yourself) and then surrendered to a soon-come battle with the IRS, go on and head to this downtown boutique hotel for a good sleep and some dranks before you sign up for overtime shifts tomorrow to pay off that impending tax bill. The Allegro's package includes a night in a deluxe room and two cocktails and an appetizer for $10.40 (get it?!) at the Encore Liquid Lounge. We suggest you get a protein-heavy appetizer, because Ramen noodles dinners may be in your future after tonight. Package starts at $179 and is available through May 31st (for you late filers). Book online at www.allegrochicago.com or call 800-Kimpton and mention rate code TD1040.
[Photo: JW Wood Realty]
As hotels continue to move toward seasonal menus, eco-friendlier designs, and more fitness options than ever, the challenge becomes how to find new ways to make guests' stays as healthy as possible, while still keeping things fun. Kimpton is the latest brand to up the ante with its new smoothie bar option for business travelers.
Launched earlier this month, the new wellness-inspired banquet menu is aimed at groups who book meetings at the hotel, and want to provide energy-fueling snacks for those long stretches in between meals. The new menu ought to be a major relief to folks who actually like sticking to their healthy food regimen while out on the road, rather than grabbing the nearest donut or creme-filled pastry and writing it off as a 'travel treat.'
From now on, any guests who book events at Kimpton hotels can order from a banquet menu of nutrient-packed smoothies made with ingredients like fresh berries, mango, flaxseed, and coconut water—judging from the list, our pick would have to be the "Jump Start," which contains blueberries, bananas, Greek yogurt, and flaxseed. Mmmm.
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It's no secret that Mad Men has inspired a nationwide renaissance of classic, American-inspired cocktails (heck, AMC even dedicated an entire webpage to cocktails featured on the show). In honor of the two-hour season premier this Sunday, we've gone ahead and compiled a list of the top Manhattan hotel bars serving Mad Men-inspired drinks. Whom you invite back up to your hotel room afterward is entirely up to you.
One of our favorite chi-chi hideouts in New York is The Peninsula, whose second-floor Gotham Lounge offers seven different martinis. Alternatively, show off your insider knowledge and ask for the Ning Sling ($24, pictured), which consists of Absolut Mandarin, Soho Lychee liqueur, lychee and passion fruit juices, and fresh mint leaves—the drink is so exclusive, it isn't even listed on the menu.
Five more cocktails after the jump!
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This week marks the beginning of baseball season, which means the air seems quite heavy with testosterone lately and beer sales have risen once again. Hotels are getting in on this special time by building special game-watching packages. Here are a few that make us say "Hot Dog!"
Hotel Monaco Baltimore
The “Bro's, O's, and Boh's Opening Weekend” package is designed for Baltimore Orioles fans in town for the April 5th opening day. You'll get 10% discount off the best available room rate, three cold Natty Boh local beers, three cold orange sodas (orange, of course, in tribute to official team colors--orange and black) , and home team goodies. Rooms start at $169 per night. Book online at www.monaco-baltimore.com or call (888) 752-2363 and ask for the ORIOLE rate.
Hotel Marlowe, Boston
Face it, Red Sox fans are falling over themselves in anticipation of the April 8th opening date (how many people will be calling in sick?). So, the "Ahead of the Curve" package is aimed at those anxious to get into Fenway Park, one of the country's oldest and famous ballparks. The hotel's deal includes a stay in deluxe accommodations, four T passes (Lechmere T station is nearby), a six pack of beer and peanuts, non-boozy beverages for children and Cracker Jacks, a complimentary in-room movie, and a baseball-inspired welcome amenity. The package begins at $369. Book online here or call 800-KIMPTON and mention rate code CURVE. Available April 8 – September 30.
Though it's only been open several months, Hotel Monaco Philly is already the hottest ticket in town, as far as rooftops are concerned. The hotel's 11th floor Stratus has become legendary for its outdoor patio, indoor bar, two private lounge areas, and outdoor fireplace*.
Most days of the week, it's possible to head up to Stratus, enjoy a few cocktails and be on your merry way. But the lines to get in on Friday and Saturday can get pretty long, and once you enter the bar, it can be difficult just finding a seat.
As a result, Monaco will soon start issuing membership cards just to access the bar. We heard from an employee that a designated number of seats will be set aside each night for card-holders. Of course, hotel guests get priority automatically, but when it comes to random people walking in off the street, Stratus members will definitely have the upper hand.
...Miami's Epic Hotel!
When this Kimpton hotel does a pool party--they do it up right, as you can see. Last night, this benefit party, called "A Sound for All The Senses" was for a cause--to support The Starkey Hearing Foundation. The DJ of the night was none other than "That Deaf Dj", aka Robbie Wilde. Wilde, who's been playing clubs for more than a decade, has been 90% deaf since age 11. He didn't let his disability detract him from his love of music, and he has soared to, well, epic heights in the DJ world.
Apparently his music not only inspires people to get on the dance floor, but groove in the pool as well.
So we say "Salute!" to Wilde and his wild, funky style! Looking for a place to party this weekend? Check out the Epic!