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The Opposite of Zen: Justin Bieber Stays at The Mandarin Oriental Miami

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  Site Where: 500 Brickell Key Drive [map], Miami, FL, United States, 33131
April 7, 2014 at 10:00 AM | by | Comments (0)

Despite nearly everyone hating on Justin Bieber these days, the kid is still shacking up in expensive luxury hotels and bringing all his faux-thug drama with him.

Take a look at this photo which made the rounds on the internet over the weekend. This sums up in one picture why you don't want to ever be staying at the same hotel as Bieber (He's in the red backwards hat.) Making it even worse, we discovered the hotel to be the Mandarin Oriental in Miami, one of our favorite hotels there.

Judging from the balcony dividers, Bieber and his crew were clearly in a suite near the top of the hotel. The largest suite at the MO Miami is the Oriental Suite which has over 2,000-sq.ft. of space and a balcony that runs the entire length of the suite. This is probably where Bieber was kicking it. But still, it can only sleeps three people with just one master bedroom and a living room. Let's hope all those people on the balcony had rooms of their own.

In good news for Bieber, the suite does come with complimentary car service to and from the airport, so at least he won't have to drive while high in Miami again.

[Photos: Daily Mail and HotelChatter]

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Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park Joins the Shortlist of London Hotels With Pools

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  Site Where: 66 Knightsbridge, London, United Kingdom, SW1X 7LA
March 24, 2014 at 10:49 AM | by | Comments (0)

As long as the list of London hotels is, there aren’t that many that come with a proper pool, and between space restrictions and historic buildings, it’s not that easy to just add one in. The solution? Dig down, which is what Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park did to accommodate a new 17-meter (56 foot) twin-lane, stainless-steel pool, fitness centre and changing areas.

Like we’ve seen at Piccadilly, the busy streets of Knightsbridge give little away of what lies underneath. As you step into the marble-filled lobby of the hotel, take the stairs on the left towards the spa, where down the long corridor, the elevator can now take you a level further into the ground, provided you have a guest key to activate it (or have one of the limited and rather expensive memberships). Rather than having the hotel above you, it’s the palatial apartments of One Hyde Park, the Candy & Candy development that arrived a few years ago amid much publicity and more than a little bit of controversy as the symbol of what real estate in the city has come to.

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Guess Who's The Newest Fan of Mandarin Oriental Hotels?

March 11, 2014 at 6:37 PM | by | Comments (0)

Mandarin Oriental has a lot of fans--both the kind you use to cool yourself down and the kind that means people really like you. But now actor and director Morgan Freeman is coming out as a proud fan and loyal guest of the luxury hotel brand by appearing in their ongoing advertising campaign "He's a Fan/She's a Fan."

Freeman was photographed by Mary McCartney, the portrait photographer of choice for Mandarin Oriental, at the Mandarin Oriental New York. However, he's also a fan of Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in London because there "quiet means quiet." We can practically hear Freeman saying those words, can't you? (We just hope they give him complimentary internet access whenever he's stays there.)

Other fans of Mandarin Oriental (there are a total of 27) include: Kevin Spacey, Christian Louboutin, IM Pei, Michelle Yeoh, Jane Seymour, Kenzo Takada, Jerry Hall, Vivienne Tam, Liam Neeson, Dame Helen Mirren, Sir David Tang and Harry Connick Jr. To show appreciation for their support, Mandarin Oriental makes a donation to a charity chosen by the celebrity. Freeman chose the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis.

[Photo: Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas]

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MO Bar + Lounge Opens inside Mandarin Oriental Miami

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  Site Where: 500 Brickell Key Drive [map], Miami, FL, United States, 33131
February 28, 2014 at 9:33 AM | by | Comments (0)

For travelers that like to arrive in style, raise your glass to the new MO Bar + Lounge, now open inside Mandarin Oriental in Miami. (And by arrive in style, we mean you would not make an entrance with sandy sandals -- it was SOBEWFF weekend!--like we did.)

We stopped by five-star hotel during the daytime (before the bar’s official opening) and found guests in resort wear and collared shirts that matched the “relaxed, yet polished” surroundings of MO Bar + Lounge.

Located just down the hall of the hotel’s main entrance, the lounge is partitioned off by tall wooden sticks, with a 14-seat bar in the center, and surrounded by comfy velvet chairs that are easy to sink into after a couple cocktails. The MO Bar + Lounge concept will be joined soon by the new restaurant, La Mar by Gaston Acurio which replaces the oldCafe Sambai restaurant.)

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Mandarin Oriental Goes Bigger in Barcelona, Adds New Rooms and Suites

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  Site Where: Passeig de Gràcia, 38-40, Barcelona, Spain, 08007
February 12, 2014 at 9:07 AM | by | Comments (0)

While we wait for its brand new hotel in Milan, Mandarin Oriental is giving us something new this spring in Barcelona: five rooms and 17 suites are being added to the converted bank on Passeig de Gràcia in April by expanding into a building next door.

That takes the total number of rooms up to 120, all done up by Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola, so we’re expecting a similarly understated look in the new accommodations as in the existing suite pictured above. Rooms and suites facing Passeig de Gràcia give you a view of Gaudi’s famous Casa Batlló across the street.

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Mandarin Oriental Boston Will Welcome Bar Boulud Next Year

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  Site Where: 776 Boylston Street [map], Boston, MA, United States, 02199
February 5, 2014 at 2:04 PM | by | Comments (0)

Asana at the Mandarin Oriental Boston is about to assume its final resting position. (That’s a yoga joke, guys.) The New American restaurant will soon be replaced by the third location of Bar Boulud, renowned French chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud’s casual bistro and wine bar. Renovations to its ground floor space in the 14-story hotel will begin in June, and the new eatery is expected to open in Fall 2014.

His partnership with the five-diamond Mandarin marks Boulud’s first venture into Boston. Time will tell what culinary surprises are in store for the spot, though an announcement promises the type of French bistro fare and seasonal charcuterie similar you’d find at Bar Boulud’s existing locations in New York City and London.

It "will be filled with energy, a great range of wine selections and soulful bistro cooking to create a vibrant eating and drinking destination,” states Boulud. The Boston restaurant will be overseen by Aaron Chambers, most recently chef de cuisine at the Mediterranean-focused Boulud Sud.

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Trump, Thompson, Rosewood, Mandarin Oriental and Even Nobu Announce New Hotels

January 28, 2014 at 2:35 PM | by | Comments (0)

Yo. There is so much hotel news flying around this week--way more than usual--and in between checking out Vin Diesel's latest Facebook video and signing petitions to get Bieber deported, we just don't have enough time to focus on all the new hotels news. So here's a quick rundown to get you up to speed on the latest.

TRUMP HOTEL RIO DE JANEIRO: So our guess yesterday about Trump Hotels' latest announcement had to do with China but we were so wrong. The luxury hotel group is actually planning a 13-story, 171-guestroom hotel in the Jardim Oceanico sub-district of the famous Barra da Tijuca borough. It will open in 2016 just in time for the Summer Olympics. The Rockwell Group will be doing the interiors and the hotel will have a rooftop pool deck with private VIP cabanas, a nightclub, a spa, a fitness center and all the signature Trump services and amenities.

THOMPSON PLAYA DEL CARMEN: Commune Hotels + Resorts have announced a second Thompson Hotel for Mexico--Thompson Playa Del Carmen. The hotel will have 125 rooms and suites with a rooftop pool as well as a spa. It will be the only hotel in Playa to have a both a central 5th Avenue--a 2-mile-long shopping and entertainment pedestrian thoroughfare--and a beachfront location. It will open in 2015. The other Thompson in Mexico, Thompson Los Cabos, is currently under development.

ROSEWOOD SANYA: Rosewood Hotels and Resorts have announced yet another new property. Rosewood Sanya will open in 2017 in a new development in Haitang Bay in Southern Hainan Island. The resort will actually be integrated with the International Finance Forum convention center which will open in 2015. Designed by Chicago-based architectural firm, Goettsch, the Rosewood Sanya will have 229 ocean-facing guest rooms and suites, an infinity-edge "sky pool" (i.e. located way up high), a Sense spa and five restaurant options.

Keep reading below for even more hotel news.

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Mandarin Oriental Will Open Inside This In Taipei This Year

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  Site Where: No. 166 Dun Hua North Road, Taipei, Taiwan, 105
January 24, 2014 at 10:33 AM | by | Comment (1)

If you asked us what a new Mandarin Oriental hotel would look like in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan and home to things like Taipei 101, we would have probably gone with something like this. It wouldn’t have been even remotely along the lines of this exterior rendering, showing a, let’s say, ‘classically-inspired’ pile that, if nothing else, kind of reminds us of a red-brick version of the top floors of Paris Las Vegas. Anyone else see the resemblance?

Opening doors during the second quarter of the year, the hotel will have 256 rooms and 47 suites, with two Presidential Suites that clock in at over 4,000 square feet each. There will be a number of restaurants (French Brasserie COCO, restaurant Ya Ge for Cantonese, Bencotto for Italian), an MO Bar, a Cake Shop, and the Jade Lounge for afternoon tea. An outdoor swimming pool, a spa, roof gardens, and meeting rooms round out the facilities.

Other big openings for Mandarin Oriental in Asia include the rising from the ashes of MO Beijing, and in Europe our eyes are of course on Milan.

[Rendering: Mandarin Oriental]

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Arrivals, Departures, and Renovations: Latest Hotels News from Philly to Bermuda

January 20, 2014 at 8:45 AM | by | Comment (1)

It’s Monday morning and there is tons of hotel news flying around, so to get the week off to a good start we have the latest for you from Philadelphia to Bermuda and Indianapolis to Kuala Lumpur.

The debate on which Philadelphia hotel has the best view we think may permanently shift in a few years’ time, with the announcement that Comcast is building a second skyscraper – 59 stories tall – that will house a new Four Seasons Hotel on its top fifteen floors. Furthest up is the above top-floor restaurant, in what we assume is one of 13 three-story “sky gardens” the building will feature. Located at 18th and Arch, it will be the tallest building in Philadelphia, and the tallest in the United States outside New York and Chicago.

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Pick Up a (Chocolate) Jimmy Choo Bag at The Mandarin Oriental in Munich

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  Site Where: Neuturmstraße 1, 80331 , Munich, Germany
January 9, 2014 at 11:36 AM | by | Comments (0)

Where are Munich’s well-heeled women sipping oolong these days? We’d venture to guess it’s at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, which just partnered up with Jimmy Choo for an unusually shoe-centric tea service.

The Jimmy Choo Fashion Afternoon Tea takes place in the Lobby Lounge and Mandarin Bar, which is all leather club chairs and plush, patterned sofas. The tea, available through February 28, takes its cues from Choo’s 2014 Cruise collection. So think pointy toes, metal studs, and python skin—but, um, sugar-dusted? (Just go with it.)

The service starts at $53 a head, and offers goodies like chocolate-raspberry macaroons, fruit-caviar shooters, and organic green tea. And then, there’s the piece de resistance: pink candy purses, filled with chocolates. (Modeled, of course, on Jimmy Choo’s swanky bags.) There are some glitzy extras, too: Guests get a glass of bubbly and a gift set with the fashion brand’s perfume.

So, the tea service itself is definitely cheaper than a pair of Jimmy Choos. A stay at the hotel, though, is a different story. We took a peek at rates for this weekend, and they range from $783 to $1,460 a night.

[Photo: Mandarin Oriental Munich]

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Mandarin Oriental Is Coming To Milan Too, But Not Until 2015

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  Site Where: Via Monte di Pieta, Milan, Lombardy, Italy
November 18, 2013 at 9:34 AM | by | Comments (0)

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.

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At Last! Mandarin Oriental Offers Free WiFi (So Long As You Book Directly With Them)

October 28, 2013 at 4:23 PM | by | Comment (1)

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]