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As much as we wanted to believe that Mandarin Oriental would open its Milan hotel this year, no one will be surprised that’s not happening. Unfortunately, we’re going to rain on your – and our own – parade even further, since it was whispered in our ear that it will more likely be sometime in 2015.
2015! That demands at least another year of patience for the 104-room hotel on Via Monte di Pietà, around the corner from the W Milan. It seemed rather quiet when we walked by recently, but who knows what hive of activity it was inside. The MO announcement from way back in 2007 talks about three 19th century buildings, but we counted four distinct facades, which also pop up in an architectural rendering we found in the wonderful treasure trove that is the internet.
Hotel News / Hotel WiFi / Mandarin Oriental Hotels / Hotel Websites / Mandarin Oriental Profiles / → All Tags
While Mandarin Oriental Hotels have an impressive collection of hotels that never fail to dazzle, we've always been a bit annoyed by their WiFi charges, especially since their rooms don't come cheap. For example, at the Mandarin Oriental Paris, rooms cost over $1,000 USD but the hotel also charges another $20 for WiFi. Mon dieu! However, that will now change.
Mandarin Oriental has announced that they will give its guests complimentary internet access to those guests who create an online profile and book published rates through the hotel's own website. A-ha, we see what you've done here.
You can create your Mandarin Oriental online profile here. It's free to do but it does require you filling out some personal information like your name, address and gender. This will no doubt means you will be receiving some marketing mail, both paper and electronic, from Mandarin Oriental.
However, Mandarin Oriental does stress that they will offer you the best rate on their site. And if you find a better rate, Mandarin Oriental will not only match the rate, but they will offer you a further 10 percent reduction. And once you make your reservation through Mandarin Oriental, you'll get free internet access for up to six personal devices.
That's pretty rad. We hate having to jump through this online profile hoop but it does seem like it will pay off during our next stay. Now, if only we can scrounge up a $1,000 for the Mandarin Oriental Paris.
[Photo of Mandarin Oriental Paris: JasonD/HotelChatter]
Adventures in Overservice / HotelChatter Flickr Pool / Mandarin Oriental Hotels / Shanghai Hotels / → All Tags
When we checked the HotelChatter Flickr Pool this morning for some new additions, we found this snapshot of the Mandarin Oriental Pudong in Shanghai from member BenLee123, a well-traveled man with a taste for the finer hotels in life.
The hotel just opened in April and as we expected the luxury hotel looks pretty luxurious filled with lots of high-tech amenities.
BenLee123 dropped in a few more photos of the hotel and he also posted a link to his lengthy TripAdvisor review. But this paragraph stood out for us:
No request is too much trouble. Some examples: I was on medication during this trip and asked the hotel to prepare and boil some Chinese herbs which I brought along twice a day. That’s something out of the usual service request and any lesser hotel especially in China, the answer will be an immediate NO. In this case, the staff immediately agreed to prepare this for me without a second thought or the need to “consult with management”.
Xie xie indeed!
The hotel is still offering its opening offer which gives you a complimentary second night and free internet. We found rooms on the 11th of October for just $277 USD a night.
Got a cool hotel photo to share? Drop it into our HotelChatter Flickr Pool and maybe next Monday, we'll be talking about your photo instead!
Hotel News Briefs / International Hotel Tidbits / Four Seasons Hotels / One and Only Hotels / Mandarin Oriental Hotels / Rosewood Hotels / Chedi Hotels / Aloft Hotels / Luxury Collection Hotels / Sheraton Hotels / Le Meridien Hotels / → All Tags
There's tons of hotel news flying around this week and we don't have time to give each and every story the love and attention it may deserve, so here is a quick rundown to get you up to speed on the latest.
Four Seasons goes to Seoul: the Canadian group just announced it will be adding a 317-room Four Seasons hotel in the Sejongro area of South Korea’s capital, due to open in May 2015 in a brand new 25-story building
One&Only goes Down Under: we had heard the rumor before, but it’s official now. Australia’s Hayman Island will be managed by One&Only, with a full re-launch in April next year. The resort, in the Whitsunday Islands near the Great Barrier Reef, will undergo extensive renovations. Private residences will be added as well
The Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong sent us a sweet summer reminder that it’s celebrating its 50th birthday all year long – and everyone’s invited, as long as your “splurge travel” budget can handle it. With special spa treatments and commemorative cognac, dining promotions in all 10 F&B venues and champagne flowing from every direction, the hotel is wooing travelers on every front.
The list of “50 Fantastic Years” promotions goes on and on, so here’s the Cliff Notes verision of the MO, HK Glorious Excess.
We've told you about some hotels that want to send you exploring their city on a free bike and now we have a property that has the need for a bit more speed. Mandarin Oriental Pudong Shanghai has bypassed the bicycle and gone straight for guided tours of the area via the futuristic Segway.
The new hotel is perfectly located on the banks of Shanghai's Huangpu River and is an ideal location to catch some great photos ops of the towers financial district or the historic Bund across the waterway. These personal transporters make seeing the vast city a whole lot easier while reducing sore feet and the need for rest breaks; although, if your 'dogs' start barking, a trip to the hotel's garden-themed spa wouldn't disappoint.
Each 30-minute tour will kick-off as the heat begins to wane at 3:30 with the last tour leaving the hotel at 6:30pm, just in time for some stunning snaps of the setting sun making the city sparkle with colored lights. If your confidence on the two-wheeler isn't as great as you'd like, don't worry because there is free practice riding lessons at the start of the day's tours, giving even the least tech-savvy riders the ability to scoot down the promenade safely.
Hotel Closings / Miami Hotel Mambo / Hotel News / Mandarin Oriental Hotels / Hotel Renovations / Hotel Restaurants / Hotel Woes / → All Tags
It may be the offseason in Miami but in this town, the hotel drama never slows down. First up, a major hotel closure.
The National Hotel on Collins Avenue was shut down by the city for failing "numerous" safety inspections.
The Miami Herald writes:
Jacques Roy, the National general manager, said the 154-room hotel could reopen as soon as next week once it resolves unspecified safety and building-code issues with Miami Beach. The city’s fire marshal and building department declared the hotel unsafe after recent inspections, according to Miami Beach spokeswoman Nannette Rodriguez. In an email, Rodriguez said “it will not reopen until all work is completed.” The 1939 hotel has been undergoing lengthy renovations.
While the hotel's general manager sounded optimistic that the hotel would reopen soon, in the meantime, all 74 of the hotel's employees have been laid off with no hint as to when they might start again.
Hotel Closings / Hotel News / Mandarin Oriental Hotels / Thailand Hotels / Hotel Rebrandings / Chiang Mai Hotels / → All Tags
It seems not a week goes by at the moment without us writing about hotels changing management companies, whether more or less amicably due to ‘different strategic visions’ for the property or openly hostile, with middle-of-the-night takeovers and changing of the locks. Earlier this week, we talked about Ritz-Carlton losing Rose Hall in Jamaica (having previously reported on both Ireland and Palm Beach). Today it’s Mandarin Oriental, which will cease management of its Dhara Dhevi resort in Chiang Mai, Thailand, at the end of August.
From the official statement:
“…the Owner and Mandarin Oriental have different aspirations for its management and long-term development. As such, we have mutually agreed that Dhara Dhevi Hotel Company Limited will resume the management of the property with effect from close of business on 31st August 2013. The hotel will be named The Dhara Dhevi hotel.”
Earlier this week we gave you 7 reasons not to leave the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas, one of those reasons being the amenities that fill the room. We were especially giddy to see Shanghai Tang toiletries in the bathroom as that is one of the first times we've seen Shanghai Tang in a hotel room.
If you feel the same way as we do (and we know there are a lot of you toiletry snobs out there!), then here's a short list of other Mandarin Oriental hotels in the U.S. where you can steal, er, use Shanghai Tang toiletries during your stay:
We first stayed at Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas in late 2009 when it first opened. Back then, we said the service was "some of the best we've ever experienced." And after a recent trip to the non-gaming hotel, the same holds true.
The service was impeccable (shout out to Henry!), especially for a town like Vegas where there are thousands upon thousands of hotel rooms and not every staffer can fake their excitement at having you stay at their hotel. But the Mandarin Oriental employees are willing to make this the best hotel stay in Vegas. And now we're not so sure we can stay anywhere else.
We could go on for a while about all the reasons to stay here but let's keep it to the reasons why you won't want to leave. And they are:
· Killer Strip Views: Being adjacent to CityCenter, the hotel offers some spectacular views of the "new" Vegas. But don't worry, we could still spy the Eiffel Tower from our room on the 11th floor. And of course, the hotel has blackout shades.
· The Amenities: The rooms at Mandarin Oriental are still filled up with tons of amenities like the Technology Box with various cables and wires (sorry, no iPhone 5 chargers) to the Shanghai Tang toiletries in the bathroom and the Dean & DeLuca minibar items. Don't forget about the flat-iron, the loofah sponge, the bath salts, the yoga mats, the high-tech bedside control panels and the bottles of water on the nightstand. (Those are included in the $25 resort fee. So is the internet.)
· The Pillows: Each bed at the Mandarin Oriental comes equipped with two big pillows that were nearly the length of our own bodies. We hugged that pillow each night we
passed out came home and didn't let go until morning. As another married friend put it, "It's like sleeping with someone...without the guilt."
Where will Mandarin Oriental open next?
The company made the announcement last summer that a Mandarin Oriental Beijing was in the works again (with the same design on the same site and everything) but after talking with several Mandarin Oriental execs yesterday, we were relieved to hear the project was very much alive with a tentative opening date of "sometime next year."
But Beijing might be small potatoes at this point. Mandarin has quite a few more properties to open before then. Fresh off opening in Shanghai and Guangzhou, Mandarin Oriental will continue their expansion with Mandarin Oriental Taipei , Mandarin Oriental Bodrum and Mandarin Oriental Milan, which we're already anxious about. (Word is this is the next Mandarin Oriental to open but we're working on getting some more intel.)
Beyond those big openings, Mandarin Oriental plans on expanding even further with hotels in the pipeline for Chengdu, Maldives, Moscow, Costa Rica, several places in the Caribbean, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Istanbul, Marbella and Marrakech. Expect all the new hotels to have the signature Mandarin Oriental spa, a fine dining experience and a cake shop. Definitely cannot go wrong with that!
As much as we like shiny new hotels and seeking out the latest places to lay our heads when we’re traveling, there is something about hotels that have seen the years come and go, withstood trends rushing in and passing just as quickly, and over time been woven into the very fabric of a city.
That’s why we sought out Mandarin Oriental Bangkok recently, one of the city’s oldest luxe hotels, having had its place on the banks of the Chao Phraya River since 1876 – that’s more than a hundred and thirty years of history. Specifically, we headed to the Author’s Lounge, so named in honor of the various literary greats that have walked through the doors of the hotel (from Somerset Maugham to John Le Carré and Joseph Conrad to Barbara Cartland).
Here, inside its whitewashed walls, sitting on white wicker furniture, and among potted palms and bamboo, is a window to a different time, one of steam trunk travel, genteel afternoons spent at leisure between cricket matches (or so we imagine), and of course – taking high tea.