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Confessions of a Hotel Bartender, Vol. 5: Ritz Paris & Connaught London

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  Site Where: Carlos Place, London, United Kingdom, W1K 2AL
April 11, 2014 at 9:47 AM | by | Comments (0)

What happens when two famous hotel bartenders spend a week mixing cocktails in the same bar? In the case of Agostino Perrone, director of mixology at the Connaught London, and Colin Field, head bartender of the Ritz Paris, it’s a bringing together of styles, a list of delicious drinks as a result, and lucky for us, double the Confessions of a Hotel Bartender.

We stopped by the buzzing Connaught Bar to hear about Colin’s week-long residence in London and learned more about cocktails in an evening than we had in our entire lives, from molecular mixology being dead (in case you didn’t know already), to the story of an old Italian liqueur called ‘the Witch’, and of course, the perennial hangover-cure conundrum.

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Ritz Paris' Hemingway Bar Will Be at the Connaught London Next Week

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  Site Where: Carlos Place, Mayfair, London, United Kingdom, W1K 2AL
April 2, 2014 at 9:06 AM | by | Comments (0)

If you haven’t caught Colin Field, head bartender of Hemingway at Hotel Ritz Paris, at 30,000 feet on Air France, next week you will have the chance to drink his cocktails at lower altitude. Much lower in fact, as he will be setting up at the Bar in the Connaught London, during a week-long residence from April 7 to April 13.

Colin will be joining Agostino Perrone, director of mixology for the Connaught Bar, to create a special drinks menu that brings together their individual styles.

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Peninsula Releases New Website and Lots More on Paris

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  Site Where: 19, Avenue Kléber, Paris, France, 75116
March 31, 2014 at 9:01 AM | by | Comments (0)

Earlier this month, we finally got our hands on a first guestroom image at the upcoming Peninsula Paris, having walked down Avenue Kléber many a time to see how the hotel was coming along from the outside.

The August 1 opening is still a little while away, but it looks like Peninsula is treating us to a whole range of additional imagery to pore over with the release of its new website. A video shows glimpses of craftsmen working on the restoration of the Beaux Arts building and shots of what the finished product will look like, including the glamorous – and almost spare – entrance lobby above.

The chandelier is a hand-blown Lasvit made of crystal ‘leaves’, referencing the trees lining the Avenue outside. We’re intrigued by the artwork underneath (it’s a stone installation from Bhutan), which looks to have a reflecting surface. From renderings of the restaurants and suites to rooftop views in the video, we patiently collected a few more impressions for you below.

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Hotel Lutetia Is Next for Closure in Paris on April 14

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  Site Where: 45, boulevard Raspail , Paris, France, 75006
March 26, 2014 at 8:32 AM | by | Comments (0)

The procession of Parisian luxury hotels on their way to closure for a full revamp is not unlike the parade of models swooshing past a front-row seat during the city's famous fashion week, soon to loop back in a brand new outfit: there was Prince de Galles (now open again, dressed in full Twenties Art Deco), the Ritz (still closed, but harboring the home of Madame Coco), the Crillon (still closed too, but with Lagerfeld involved), the Plaza Athénée (due to return in June), and now it is time for Hotel Lutetia to do the same.

The hotel, unlike all others above located on the city’s Left Bank, will close its doors on April 14. They will stay that way for at least a year, during which time it will be transformed to become part of The Set Hotels. It will be the third hotel for the group, joining London’s Café Royal and Amsterdam’s Conservatorium.

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The Best Room to Book at The Pullman Montparnasse in Paris

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  Site Where: 19 Rue de Commandant René Mouchotte, Paris, France, 75014
March 25, 2014 at 4:30 PM | by | Comments (0)

The Pullman Montparnasse, formerly a Le Meridien, is in an interesting little neighborhood in Paris' 14th arrondissement. Anchored by the Tour Montparnasse (essentially, a sky scraper) and the Gare Montparnasse (train station), the area lacks some of the gorgeous architecture of central Paris but the hotel's location on Rue de Commandant René Mouchotte puts it near the shops and boutiques of Saint-Germain-des-Prés with a Metro stop closeby and a taxi stop out front.

We liked the neighborhood for its non-touristy feel, even though the hotel itself caters to business travelers, thanks to the Pullman conference center next door and the SNCF headquarters across the street. Still we felt more like we were just amongst local Parisians doing their everyday thing.

But the area is not entirely devoid of history or landmarks. Tucked behind the 25-story hotel is the Montparnasse Cemetery, where many intellectuals and artists are buried such as Claude Baudelaire, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean Paul Sartre, Susan Sontag and even Kiki, the Queen of Montparnasse. And several of the cafes and restaurants in Montparnasse which were patronized by American expats/writers/artists in the 1920s are still operating today.

While it's not across from the Jardin des Tuileries or the Eiffel Tower, it's a different side of Paris to see, especially if you've been to Paris a few times before. So, if you do decide to stay here, what's the best room to book?

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Funky Friday: No Diamond Pendant is Too Big for La Maison Champs Elysees

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  Site Where: 8 Rue Jean Goujon, Paris, France, 75008
March 21, 2014 at 4:37 PM | by | Comments (0)

Welcome to Funky Friday, a new segment we’re trying out which features one photo that we think singularly expresses a hotel’s inner psyche. We look for, and often find, a lot of wacky, wild and wondrous designs that seem to have one thing in common: a Type A personality. So why not have a bit of fun as we all wrap up our week by taking a quick look at some hotels that quite frankly, want our attention.

Have you noticed that when a fashion designer takes on the role of hotel designer, you really don’t know exactly what you’re gonna get? Once the initial hotel of a fashion house opens, we can then look for signature details or some visibly explainable transition from, say, a three-piece suit to a three-room suite.

Judging from the first hotel fully decorated by Belgian designer Martin Margiela, La Maison Champs Elysees Paris, we’re guessing that there won't be another quite like this one. Not even by Margiela himself.

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Sipping on The Pullman Cocktail in Paris

Where: Paris, France
March 20, 2014 at 5:32 PM | by | Comments (0)

When in Paris, it's hard to say no to champagne and Chablis at every meal but while dining at the Cafe Atlantic restaurant at Pullman Hotel Montparnasse we had to resist the bubbly and fine wine to try the hotel brand's signature drink instead. As if we're going to pass up a cocktail named after and inspired by a hotel brand! (Unless it has gin. This editor doesn't do gin.)

The Pullman Cocktail is made with vodka, Midori, lychee liqueur, pineapple juice and sweet and sour. As you can tell, it's a fruity drink that probably would taste better on a hot day, perhaps in one of Pullman's more tropical locales but nevertheless, it's tasty. Whether it's worth 18 Euros is another matter. (Parisian prices!)

If you do want to switch to wine after the Pullman cocktail, the hotel (like all other Pullman Hotels) boasts a specially curated Vinoteca by Pullman wine list created by award-winning sommelier Olivier Poussier with much more reasonable prices. Here's a snapshot of some of the wines listed. And yes, all diners get to peruse an iPad instead of a traditional paper menu before ordering. Just another way Pullman is integrating technology into the hotel experience.

Stay tuned for a look at the renovated rooms and public spaces of the Pullman Paris Montparnasse next week!

[Photos: HotelChatter]

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Four Seasons Hotels in Europe are Offering a $69,000 'Backstage Pass'

March 14, 2014 at 10:02 AM | by | Comments (0)

As spring continues to elude a lot of us, you might be mind escaping by leaving on a jet plane to far-off destinations. To feed your fantasy, we thought we’d share with you this flight of fancy offered by Four Seasons: A $69,000 backstage pass package to some of Europe’s most iconic cultural kicks.

This 16-day Backstage with the arts package includes the use of a fully kitted out 757 private jet that’ll whisk you from European capital to European capital: Lisbon, Milan, Istanbul, St. Petersburg, Paris and Prague, complete with a Four Seasons Global Guest Services Manager to help make all of your arts and culture dreams come true along the way.

To further whet your appetite for this OTT fantastic fantasy, here are some of the behind-the-scenes treats for the 52 people who will be able to book the package.

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Oui! Rechargez Votre Mobile With This Machine at The Pullman Hotel

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  Site Where: 18 avenue de Suffren, Paris, France, 75015
March 13, 2014 at 5:47 PM | by | Comments (0)

We've seen phone charging stations pop up in airports but they aren't as common in hotels. While most hotel rooms now offer a USB charging component in their plug panels, if you're not a guest of the hotel, then you're out of luck. So when we saw this charging station just off the lobby at the Pullman Hotel Paris Eiffel Tower, we had to snap a photo.

The machine can refuel several types of phones from iPhones to Blackberrys, HTC, Samsung, Nokia and LG. The machine can even charge your iPod, PSP or Nintendo DS. Pretty cool.

Of course, it's not gratis. The cost is 2 euros for 30 minutes, 3 euros for an hour and 4 euros for 90 minutes. But that does beat the $20 we sprung for on an iPhone 5 cord at the airport.

Read more about what else is inside the Pullman Eiffel Tower, which is currently finishing up some major renovations, here.

[Photo: HotelChatter]

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At Last, We Have Images of The Peninsula Paris

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  Site Where: 19 Avenue Kleber, Paris, France, 75016
March 7, 2014 at 10:35 AM | by | Comments (0)

We have been following the Peninsula Paris -- Peninsula Hotels' grand entry into Europe -- throughout its six year restoration of the former Hotel Majestic, a 1908 Beaux Arts building in the 16th arrondissement (fun fact: George Gershwin wrote part of "An American in Paris" here).

Now that its August 1st opening date draws closer, we have a peek at what some of the 200 guest rooms will look like. Spot the high-tech bedside tablet we told you about last Spring? Rooms will also feature curated artworks, elegant furniture, ambient lighting, expansive luggage and wardrobe space and a valet box. Marble bathrooms will have deep-soaking bathtubs, separate rain showers, double washbasins, inset televisions and toiletries by Oscar de la Renta.

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Spying on The CitizenM in Paris at Charles De Gaulle Airport

Where: Paris, France
March 4, 2014 at 9:03 AM | by | Comments (0)

Speaking of airport hotels that appeal to Millennials, we spied the CitizenM Paris the other day. We've been so eagerly awaiting the arrival of the CitizenM in Times Square, we nearly forgot about their Parisien edition. And yes, that is a photo we snapped on our iPhone through the back of a taxi. Do we get an "A" for effort? Oui.

According to the website, the hotel is due to open sometime in 2014. When we drove by it last week, the exterior of the building--done in the standard CitizenM blackish-gray color--looked completely finished. So we guess all that's left is what's on the inside which should be about 230 futuristic capsule-style hotel rooms and generous public spaces with our fave hotel amenity ever, free WiFi.

So far, CitizenM doesn't seem to be letting loose with any opening dates for Paris but we hope it's before the summer crush of travelers. If not, well, we'll just have to make a special trip to Paris to check it out. For what it's worth, the hotel is hiring a few key opening team positions.

[Photo: HotelChatter]

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Sneak Peek at the New Rooms of The Pullman Paris Eiffel Tower

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  Site Where: 18 avenue de Suffren, Paris, France, 75015
March 3, 2014 at 4:24 PM | by | Comments (0)

We've been following the extensive rebranding of Accor Hotels' Pullman Hotels over the past year as they re-launched hotels in London and Brisbane to appeal to an upscale business traveler crowd. Now we're looking at the rejuvenation of their hotels in Paris, starting with the Pullman Paris Eiffel Tower which is in the midst of completing head-to-toe renovations.

We were able to peek into two room types--a Superior room and a Deluxe room--as well as take in two different views, a garden view and a view of the Eiffel Tower, from the rooms' respective terraces. (The garden view is actually a rooftop below that will be landscaped with a garden. It was still under construction so no pictures.)

Given that this Pullman is the closest hotel to the Eiffel Tower (like three blocks), the views are of course, spectacular. The hotel also boasts a 10th floor private event space which has also been renovated with a new glass roof, enabling visitors to see the top of the Eiffel Tower.

Take a look at the new rooms in the photo galleries below!

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