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Quirky Cocktails That (Can Make You) Go the Distance

August 14, 2014 at 7:13 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's no secret that we love drinking in hotels here at HotelChatter. In fact, hotels might be our favorite "local." So all this week and next, we'll be pouring out some drinks for you during our second Hotel Cocktail Week(s) -- newly-expanded because there’s just so many drinks to share. We'll be posting quirky cocktails, boozy trends, unique menus and even recipes so you can recreate your favorite hotel drink at home. We expect everyone will be getting a bit tipsy over the next couple of weeks! But don't forget to tip your bartenders, in this case, us.

There are some cocktails in this world that make you go, “Really?” Here are a few that fall into this category, proving that some things are best left for the experts to come up with.


This savory concoction comes from Shangri-La, At The Shard’s GŎNG. It contains Scotch – good; sherry – OK; blue cheese – what the?; and chocolate bitters. Really? All we can say is that we’re going to London soon and you can bet we’re making a pit stop here to see if it can actually be done.

Black and Blue Swizzle

Ingredients:
1.5 oz Talisker 10 Years
1/2 oz Pedro Ximinez Sherry
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
3/4 oz honey-blue cheese mix (method below)
1 drop Mozart Chocolate Bitter

Method:
To make the honey-blue cheese mix:
Add 2:1* honey syrup and 200g crumbled blue Stilton into a saucepan over medium heat and let the syrup simmer for a while (do not let it boil). Use a blender to make sure the cheese and honey are combined. It’s recommended to fine strain the syrup before usage.

Pour all of the ingredients into a copper mug and add crushed ice. Use a swizzle stick to blend the drink and crushed ice until the outside of the mug is frosted. A spoon can be used if you can't get hold of a swizzle stick.

Top up with fresh crushed ice and garnish with mint leaves, orange peel and cinnamon crumbles.

*A 2:1 (sugar/honey to water) is often referred to as rich simple syrup. The 2:1 ratio often gives the cocktail a better mouth feel and less is needed since it’s richer. It also lasts longer before spoiling.

Cost to imbibe at the hotel: £17 ($28)
Cost to stay at the hotel because you've imbibed too much: £500 ($834)

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Is that a Slice of Bacon in Your Cocktail? At the Milestone London It Is

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 1 Kensington Court, London, United Kingdom, W8 5DL
August 12, 2014 at 8:34 AM | by | Comments (0)

Flowers, fruits, and other sweets we see served a lot with hotel cocktails, but whither the options for those that prefer their treats to be savory?

The Milestone Hotel London seems to have wondered the same, with their “Shock Me” beer cocktail bringing some balance this month. The cocktail mixes 75ml of Brown Ale (Bishop Fingers), 50ml bourbon, 25ml of Southern Comfort, and one teaspoon of maple syrup. Stirring for 10 seconds with ice, it’s served in an Old Fashion glass over ice and finished with a slice of crispy maple-cured bacon. The “Shock Me” costs £15 ($25 and is served in Stables Bar or elsewhere in the public spaces.

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HotelChatter's Hotel Cocktail Week(s) Begins with These Lazy-Hazy End Of Summer Cocktails

August 11, 2014 at 5:09 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's no secret that we love drinking in hotels here at HotelChatter. In fact, hotels might be our favorite "local." So all this week and next, we'll be pouring out some drinks for you during our second Hotel Cocktail Week(s) -- newly-expanded because there’s just so many drinks to share. We'll be posting quirky cocktails, boozy trends, unique menus and even recipes so you can recreate your favorite hotel drink at home. We expect everyone will be getting a bit tipsy over the next couple of weeks! But don't forget to tip your bartenders, in this case, us.

Although this may depress a few of you, it’s time to face reality: there are only a few short weeks remaining of good ‘ol summertime. But carpe diem everyone! It’s not too late to get these hotel cocktails and maybe grab some rays at a rooftop bar at the same time.


Sugar Snap Pea and Mint Cocktail at W New York–-Downtown’s Living Room Bar & Terrace

Created by mixologist Eben Klemm, the Sugar Snap Pea and Mint cocktail at W Downtown combines aquavit, simple syrup and muddled mint, lemon and sugar snap peas. Topped with ginger beer and garnished with a snap pea and mint sprigs, it’s one last fleeting summery sight for guests to behold. Plus the vegie makes it good for you. No need to explore that further.


The Farmers Tan Martini at Hotel Vermont’s Juniper

This drink is a twist on the classic dirty martini and combines the pickled vegetable of the day (most recently it was pickled fiddleheads), Vermont Barr Hill vodka or gin, pickling juice and a vegetable salt rim. Since it sounds like a pickle in a glass, we recommend a hearty beef burger to complement this bevvie.

If you want to give it a go at home, here’s what you do:

Combine 2.5 oz Green Mountain Vodka or Gin and .5 oz pickling brine
Shake ‘er up and put in a Martini glass with a Vegetable Salt Rim
Garnish with seasonal pickled vegetable

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The Beaumont London Accepting Reservations from October 9, Might Open Sooner

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: Brown Hart Gardens, London, United Kingdom, W1K 6TF
August 11, 2014 at 9:24 AM | by | Comments (0)

The updates on The Beaumont, Corbin and King’s first hotel in London’s Mayfair, keep rolling in: earlier this summer we saw sculpture “ROOM” by Antony Gormley for the first time and found a series of interior renderings on the refreshed website.

Today, we have live online reservations from October 9 with an opening date that could be even earlier, details of room categories and prices, and actual images. Above is a Premier Room, though we were told this might not be the complete finished product as decoration (art, furniture, fine-tuning) is still in progress.

It gives us a pretty good idea of what to expect nonetheless, which in the Premier Room is 35 sq m (377 sq ft) of space with views over Mayfair through windows that actually open, something we love. Bathrooms are described as “mosaic marble” with underfloor heating and in some cases, bathtubs. Toiletries are by D R Harris. All rooms have complimentary WiFi and access to a car service for local travel.

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Meet the Google Glass Concierges From the Montcalm Marble Arch

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 31 Great Cumberland Place, London, United Kingdom, W1H 7TA
August 8, 2014 at 9:21 AM | by | Comments (0)

Giving Google Glass users free stuff has been done before. Using Google Glass to market your hotel rooms: that too. Doling out Google Glass to your guests? That’s so San Francisco.

But the Montcalm London Marble Arch is the first hotel we’ve heard of to have its staff using Google Glass as part of the concierge service.

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4 More London Hotels With Minimum Spend Drinks Policies

August 5, 2014 at 9:58 AM | by | Comments (0)


The minimum spend warning at the Langham

When we recounted the horrifying story of the guest who was charged $127 for three small bottles of water at the Wellesley Hotel last week, we said that was the first we’d heard of any hotel doing this, and that it was a first in London.

Sorry guys, on so many levels. Because it turns out we were wrong.

An article in the Times this weekend about minimum spends in London namechecked the Dorchester, the Ritz, the Savoy, and – gasp – perennial HC fave the Langham as all having minimum spend policies in place, at least some of the time. Here’s the rundown on each:

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Will the Lalit London Hotel Actually Happen?

Where: Queen Elizabeth Street, London, United Kingdom
August 5, 2014 at 9:36 AM | by | Comments (0)

While the former Port of London Authority building at Tower Hill is being reimagined as 10 Trinity Square, directly across the river the St. Olave’s Grammar School at Tower Bridge might be a few steps further on its way to becoming The Lalit Hotel London.

A tipster pointed us to the project having picked up some steam, after being announced back in 2012 as the first European venture of the Indian hotel group, with a late 2014 opening no less. Grade-II listed, the school dates back to the late 1800s and was derelict for over a decade before conversion work began.

The building is now almost fully obscured by scaffolding (more shots below), with the concrete core you see peeking out behind and the ochre brick on the right both part of the One Tower Bridge development.

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These Five New London Hotels Are All Heading for Shoreditch

August 4, 2014 at 10:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

We’ve been heading east so often recently to scope out the latest London hotels news that we thought it was time to do a quick roundup of what we have on our radar in the Shoreditch (and Shoreditch-adjacent) area. Here are five new hotels that are likely to open their doors in the next few years, though some we’d be much more inclined to put our money on than others.

1. M by Montcalm Shoreditch: is it happening? Looking at the construction we saw just weeks ago, we’d say yes, but timing we think will be late spring to summer next year. From a brand perspective, who knows at this point, whether Montcalm will stick or Virgin or someone else swoops in and picks it up, we’ll have to find out. Location is just north of Old Street roundabout.

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Will 10 Trinity Square and citizenM Tower Hill Open Next Year?

Where: Tower Hill, London, United Kingdom
July 30, 2014 at 9:24 AM | by | Comments (0)

When we had our first drink at Gŏng at Shangri-La at the Shard a few weeks ago, we spied a number of cranes across the river working on neighboring hotel projects 10 Trinity Square and citizenM Tower Hill, and made a mental note to have a closer look on the ground.

So we did this past weekend, with above the imposing façade of the former Port of London Authority, due to become mixed-use complex 10 Trinity Square, with 120-room hotel, restaurant, club, spa, and 41 residences. The glass building you see poking out on the left is the car-melting Walkie-Talkie tower on Fenchurch Street.

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A New London Hotel With an Odd Name: Motel One

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 24-26 Minories, London, United Kingdom, EC3N 1BQ
July 29, 2014 at 9:00 AM | by | Comment (1)

When you hear the name Motel One, what do you think of? A city-center, budget-chic hotel high on style and low on cost along the lines of citizenM, Qbic, and The Z Hotels? Yeah, neither do we, but that is what the originally German brand is hoping to bring to the British capital with its first English hotel, opening at the end of the year.

It reminds us a little of CityInn, which had two great hotels in the city that were rebranded as “The Mint” as a result of ‘misconception’ in the market about what the brand stood for, before becoming DoubleTree by Hilton. We’ll have to see how the name fares, but construction on the 258-room hotel is coming along nicely on Minories, directly opposite the Indigo at Tower Hill.

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Welcome To The Wellesley London, Where Three Bottles of Water Cost $127

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 11 Knightsbridge, London, United Kingdom, SW1X 7LY
July 29, 2014 at 8:30 AM | by | Comments (9)

UPDATE 11.15am: Response from hotel at the bottom of the post. Also, there were two clients with Mr Heaton, though the bill is as described, and the minimum spend refers only to the terrace of the Crystal Bar, not the bar itself. The hotel also says it has apologised to Mr Heaton (presumably not via Twitter).

How much would you pay for a small bottle of water at a five star hotel? $5? (That’d be our personal limit.) $10? (Maybe if we were really thirsty.) Nothing, because water should be from the tap and free? (You’re clearly American, welcome to Europe.)

How about $127? Yes, one hundred and twenty seven dollars. For three miserable bottles of sparkling water. Sadly, this is not a joke.

Ten days ago, at about 4pm, businessman Edward Heaton sat down at the outside terrace of the Crystal Bar at the Wellesley Hotel in London. He was meeting two clients, and it was the middle of the heatwave. Between the three of them, they ordered three small bottles of sparkling water. He says there was no menu, they just ordered direct from the server.

Meeting finished, they requested the bill. £75 ($127) for those three small bottles of water.

Was the water laced with crushed diamonds? No, it was San Pellegrino. Was it served in a golden goblet? Can't be sure, but presumably it was in a glass made of glass.

Here’s the breakdown. £16.50 ($28) for the water (already obscene). £8.33 ($14) for the service charge (let’s hope they threw in a lot of bar snacks). And £50.17 ($85) for “1x minimum spend”.

Minimum spend? Ah yes. According to the Wellesley, anyone who sits down at the terrace of the bar - though not the bar itself - after 4pm must meet a minimum spend of £25 per head. Have you ever heard of that? We haven’t, and we’re pretty partial to our £6 cups of London hotel tea. The only hotel bar in the world that we’ve ever encountered a minimum spend at is £10 at the Montage Beverly Hills ($50 minimum spend for world class cocktails). It simply does not happen in London.

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Old Street Magistrates Court Becomes New London Hotel

Where: Old Street, London, United Kingdom
July 28, 2014 at 9:25 AM | by | Comments (0)

The renderings for London’s former Bow Street Magistrates Court had us seriously excited for its rebirth as a 99-room hotel when we discovered them earlier this year, and now it looks like there is a similar project in progress further east.

The Old Street Magistrates Court, a five-minute walk east of Old Street roundabout and next to Hoxton Square, will become a “5-star boutique hotel styled to fit with the new modern art and media image”. We’re not exactly sure what that means, but we guess the target market is the Shoreditch artsy media set. There will be 128 rooms between the Edwardian structure and a new-built block behind; what that looks like you can see below.

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