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Hotel News Briefs: Ace Hotels, AC Hotels and Airbnb's Un-Hotels

January 20, 2015 at 4:32 PM | by | Comments (0)

Hallo! There's a bunch of news flying around and we're having trouble getting to it all, so we've packaged the tidbits up nice and neat for you to read about here. Enjoy!

· BEHIND-THE-SCENES STRUGGLE IS HAPPENING AT ACE HOTELS: Alex Calderwood, the man who founded Ace Hotels, passed away last November, shocking those close to him and those who like us, just loved his hotels. His presence can still be found throughout the Aces, including in illustrated format at the Ace Hotel DTLA. But now his estate is asking for a bigger presence. We received a media alert which said the following:

The estate of the late Alex Calderwood has filed suit against Ace Group International LLC (“Ace”), its member Ecoplace LLC, and board member Stefanos Economou. Calderwood’s estate is the majority stakeholder in Ace and is asking the court to declare that it, not Ecoplace or Economou, has the right to control and manage Ace under the Ace membership agreement and Delaware law. The case is pending in the Supreme Court of New York for New York County.

Calderwood, who passed away in November 2013, was the founder and creative force behind Ace and its collection of successful Ace Hotels. Aspen Ace LLC, with Gordon Sondland as President, was established to advise and represent the estate on behalf of the Calderwood family.

Ay, yi, yi. We hope this ends amicably.

UPDATE 1.20.15, 5:00PM PST: A rep from Ace Group International has sent over this statement on the lawsuit.

Upon Alex Calderwood’s death, his interest in AGI passed to his estate which is administered by his father Thomas Calderwood. AGI’s operating agreement states that the estate's interest is a profit/distribution only interest and that it has no management rights. Stefanos Economou and the rest of Ace’s management team have been operating the company since Alex’s death. A lawsuit was filed which requests a broader role for the estate. We believe that this lawsuit is without merit.

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Meet the New Residence Inn Sarajevo, the Only International Chain Hotel in Bosnia

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: Skenderija 43, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 71000
January 16, 2015 at 9:25 AM | by | Comments (0)

Sarajevo is more famous as a city of hills, but it’s also one of those beautiful European cities with a river running through it. The Miljacka splits the city in two, with the city center on the north and a quieter, more residential side (with better views) on the south.

You’d think that a river city would have hotels clamoring to sit along the riverside, but for some reason, in Sarajevo, that hasn’t happened – most of the smaller, independent hotels are in the Old Town, and most of the chainy and business ones sit on the main airport road (AKA Sniper Alley).

But there is one exception. The only hotel that actually sits right on the Miljacka is the brand new Marriott Residence Inn. In another first, it's also the only internationally branded hotel in the whole of Bosnia & Herzegovina.*

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Cheers! Marriott Won't Be Blocking Your Personal Hotspot After All (And The WiFi is Free)

January 15, 2015 at 10:13 AM | by | Comments (0)

It's the first WiFi victory of 2015! Marriott International has abandoned its quest to block your personal WiFi hotspot at their hotels.

The hotel giant told Inc. (in an article which we also quoted in) that guests at Marriott-managed hotels will be able to use their personal WiFi devices, citing customer response. However, Marriott said they would "continue to look to the FCC to clarify appropriate security measures network operators can take to protect customer data."

That sounds a bit ominous but whatevs, your personal WiFi hotspot is safe.

Meanwhile, TODAY IS THE DAY that Marriott begins to free their WiFI for all guests. So long as you made your reservation through Marriott.com (or the mobile app or the reservation hotline) and you are a member of Marriott Rewards. Got those two things? Then WiFi is free. Whee!

Staying at a Marriott and reading this story using free WiFi? Let us know how it's going!

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Kameha Grand Zurich Will Open March 1 as an Autograph Collection Hotel

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: Dufaux-Strasse 1 / Corner Thurgauerstrasse, Glattpark/Zurich, Switzerland, CH-8152
January 15, 2015 at 8:25 AM | by | Comments (0)

Switzerland has been concentrating so hard on their budget offerings recently that we were beginning to worry they’d forgotten all about what they do best – insanely expensive luxury properties.

Luckily, they haven’t – just take a look at the Kameha Grand, opening in Zurich March 1.

The Kameha is already styling itself as your new “lieblingsplatz”, or regular haunt, in Zurich. Not sure where they reckon we hang out already, but this is a bit of an upgrade.

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From Belgrade to Baku, Europe's Your Oyster with These New Hotel Openings

January 7, 2015 at 9:38 AM | by | Comments (0)

Radisson Blu Belgrade

It’s new year, new Europe by the looks of things in chain hotel-land. There’s a bunch of new places either just opening, or just being announced.

Radisson Blu is entering Belgrade and Bordeaux, having opened the Old Mill Hotel in Belgrade’s Old Town in December (perfect for your quick plastic surgery trip), and with Bordeaux on the cards for 2017. There’ll be a huge spa and balneotherapy center for that last one – cannot actually wait.

Intercontinental hasn’t put its feet up since taking over the Four Seasons Dublin; it’s announced a Baku property, its first in Azerbaijan, to open 2016. There’s a theme here, because Autograph Collection is also plotting four Azerbaijan hotels – two in Baku, and two in the Shahdag mountains, with the latter two opening at the end of this year.

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One Reason to Love January in NYC? The Hotel Rates are Actually Affordable

January 6, 2015 at 1:45 PM | by | Comment (1)

The weather in January in New York is not ideal but the hotel deals are. This is prime-time low season for New York City hotels and it's one of the few times that you can stay in a hotel without feeling completely ripped off. Just looking quickly on Expedia for hotel rooms next weekend and we are seeing loads of hotels that are under $200 a night. It kind of feels like post recession 2008, doesn't it?

While everyone is dropping this rates, Marriott International is going a bit further and taking off an additional 20 percent for guests who make their reservation in the next 48 hours for stays through April 30, 2015.

You have to make the rezzie online through Marriott.com using the code ADV or you can call it in old-school at 1-800-228-9290 mentioning the same code. The big catch is you will have to prepay the stay at the time of booking, so be sure you can absolutely follow through.

Here are just a few of the participating Marriott hotels that you can choose from. (There's about 20 in total, in various neighborhoods of NYC.)

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2014 Must-Have Hotel Amenity: Free WiFi

December 30, 2014 at 1:30 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's that time of year again: the 2014 HotelChatter Awards! Today and tomorrow, we'll be showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to...

It’s almost as if they knew. We (and you) have long been advocates of free WiFi being essential to hotel stays; but many of the big chains didn’t want to know.

But the tide is turning, and 2014 will go down as the year the WiFi revolution really came to pass. In the last two months alone we’ve seen Marriott, Starwood, Hyatt, Sandals and Taj all announce they’re freeing the WiFi (with a couple of easily taken care of caveats from Marriott and Starwood). And free WiFi is the most important factor in choosing a hotel for British guests, according to a slightly-biased-but-we’ll-take-it-anyway survey for Amba Hotels, which is promising the fastest connection speed in the world.

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Hotel Holiday Cocktail Week 2014: San Juan Marriott’s Tropical Eggnog

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 1309 Ashford Avenue [map], San Juan, Puerto Rico, United States, 00907
December 19, 2014 at 4:02 PM | by | Comments (0)

‘Tis the season to celebrate and there’s no better way than with a holiday-inspired beverage. And, as we all know, a holiday cocktail a day keeps the Grinch away. For Hotel Holiday Cocktail Week, we’ve scanned the globe for some delectably delicious cocktails that will leave you humming a merry tune that doesn’t include, “You’re a Mean One, Mr Grinch.”

For those of you lucky enough to find yourselves in a tropical idyll over the holidays, way to plan ahead. For the rest of us, we’ll have to content ourselves with having this tropical version of eggnog to tide us over until we, too, find ourselves in a swinging hammock overlooking the ocean blue.

Popular in the tropics right about now is the Coquito – a traditional holiday bevvie made with evaporated and condensed milk and rum. The San Juan Marriott Resort offers lucky hammock-swinging guests complimentary glasses of the stuff during the holiday season (OK – they actually give it to guests at the property’s oceanfront restaurant, La Vista Latin Grill, but we’re sure hammocks must be close by).

If you’d like to try this creamy cocktail at home, beware: the recipe below makes a gallon of it and, because it’s seriously delectable, it’s also seriously dangerous!

San Juan Marriott Coquito

Ingredients
4 cans Evaporated Milk
4 cans Condensed Milk
2 cans Coconut Cream
1 liter White Rum (preferably Don Q)
1 cup Brandy
Vanilla to taste
Cinnamon to taste

Preparation
Mix together all the ingredients and let stand in the fridge for at least two hours before serving.

[Photo: San Juan Marriott Resort]

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HotelChatter's Must-Stay Hotels for Winter 2014: Denver

December 11, 2014 at 1:47 PM | by | Comments (0)

Introducing our handy hotel guides--HotelChatter's Must Stay Hotels--where we pick four hotels for four different types of travelers in a particular neighborhood of one major city. Now that the snow is coming, we're rounding up a few cold and warm-weather destinations, starting with Denver. Got a question about where to stay and when? Email us.

Winter is here and most travelers to Denver will be passing through on their way up to the mountains. But with so much happening in the city, it would be a mistake not to spend a few nights. Here are four different hotels to try in downtown Denver. Whether you’ve got cash to throw around or have pennies to count, these hotels will fulfill your needs. One common thread running through these hotel picks? They have all free WiFi. So during your stay, you can write us a thank you email for the recommendation.

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JW Marriott Venice Will Have Fruit Arbors and Olive Groves Overlooking San Marco

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: Isola delle Rose, Venice, Italy
December 4, 2014 at 9:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

Last time we talked about the JW Marriott Venice, we were getting overly excited about the infinity pool overlooking Piazza San Marco. Ready for more excitement? Because we have more news.

First piece of exciting news: the project is being overseen by Matteo Thun, he of Hotel Missoni (RIP) fame. There will now be 266 rooms (instead of 230), furnished with locally made materials: bricks, glass and tiles.

Second piece of exciting news: this isn’t just a private island hotel, it’s a private island with 16 acres of grounds. These will be landscaped with gardens, olive groves, “fruit arbours” and vegetable plots. There will now be four restaurants, five bars and – third piece of exciting news – a cooking school and wine academy.

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The Men of Moxy Will Come to London Three Times

December 2, 2014 at 9:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

Along with all the amenities that make it a perfectly millennial brand, Marriott’s Moxy throws in lots of men, shirtless or otherwise, as we saw – at length – in Milan.

There are more airport locations in the pipeline (Milan’s hotel is at Malpensa airport), and rumors about Moxy in New Orleans have already made their way to us, but we also know that London will get not one, not two, but three Moxy’s (Moxii?) over the next few years.

The first London – and UK – hotel will be at Heathrow Airport, on Bath Road. As much as that street name may seem of little significance, it puts Moxy not just next to the airfield, but also close to cousin Renaissance and competition like the Sheraton Skyline, on a strip of hotels that you may have seen out the window while waiting in the endless queue for take-off at LHR. Moxy Heathrow Airport will have 422 rooms.

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A Brief Look at The AC Hotel By Marriott in New Orleans

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 221 Carondolet [map], New Orleans, LA, United States
November 13, 2014 at 2:11 PM | by | Comments (0)

Ever since we first heard about Marriott International's plans to import the AC Hotels brand from Europe into the United States, we've been incredibly curious to see the finished product. And now we have--at the AC Hotel New Orleans. #hotelnerdalldayeveryday

Since we're still in the midst of exploring the hotel, we're only sharing a few photos today but we'll have more to talk about, a lot more, on Friday and Monday. So far, we can absolutely say the hotel, which was kept very well under wraps during the construction process, is hitting all the right marks.

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