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As our bro Jaunted noted last week in his coverage of the state of Southeast Asian tourism, Myanmar is growing at an incredible rate after opening its doors to tourists a few years ago. Seven million tourists are expected in 2020, up from only 300,000 in 2010. In 2013, the number of visitors went up an astonishing 93%, from 1.3 million in 2012 to 2.4 in 2013.
That is absolutely incredible growth, but a question quickly arises: Does the infrastructure exist to support all those visitors? The answer currently is no, but the country is working to ensure they have enough beds.
We've just about had it with winter and these freezing temperatures ... just about. Believe it or not, there is actually one hotel promotion that has us almost hoping for a zero degree day -- well, there's the possibility of free cocktails involved.
The Bar at Clement, which opened at The Peninsula New York last fall, is debuting a new Warm Winter Cocktail menu in which the temperature outside will determine the winter drink prices. For every degree below 25 posted by Accuweather, the price will drop a dollar: if the weather is 15 degrees, the cocktail will be $15 and so on. Still sound too pricey? Here's the best part: if the temperature reaches zero degrees, cocktails are free! (only the ones on the Winter Warmer menu, mind). And, even better, bar guests will receive complimentary petit fours to accompany their zero-dollar drink. There's no catch like having to buy something else, and, no, the price doesn't go up when the temperature does -- that would just be rude.
There's no doubt that the Chinese New Year is one of the most auspicious times of the year in most parts of Asia so it makes perfect sense for Peninsula Hotels, a hotel brand that originated in Hong Kong, to have some special celebrations to welcome in the Year of the Horse. And here's how they are doing it:
The nine luxury properties are hosting "Ten Perfect Treats" to help Chinese New Year first-timers and veterans of the celebration get into the mood of the happiest cultural season. Treats involve decor, food, arts, activities and packages amongst other events.
The Peninsula Hong Kong will be the center of good fortune, happiness, wealth and longevity. This Saturday, the flagship property will host a Sun Terrace party with free champagne to watch the fireworks over Victoria Harbour. Once the show is over, you can fill your belly with traditional new year treats at one of the hotel's seven restaurants.
After the jump, see how some of the other Peninsulas are getting festive.
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No pressure or anything, but you only have 7 days to shop for the folks on your list before Christmas Eve arrives. But never fear, we're here to help you out with 7 Gift Ideas for the Hotel Lover in Your Life. Give this list a look and then get shopping!
1. GIFT CARDS: Let's be real. It's not the most thoughtful option but it is easy. And damn, wouldn't you be psyched if someone gave you a gift card for a hotel stay? Totally beats a gift card from Barnes & Noble.
2. ACE HOTEL LONDON's QUILT, $720: You can sleep assured knowing that you're the only person who has touched this blanket.
You know you scored a hotel room with a killer view if you walk in to find a telescope at the window.
For many hotel guests, scoring such an amenity is pure luck; however, for travelers who know what they want (and it's an in-room telescope), there are a few properties that make such an offering part of the experience.
Three hotels with in-room telescopes:
The world is officially in "Countdown to Christmas" mode and now, so are we. Every day until Christmas we'll be featuring a hotel that's in a holiday mood--whether it be with gigantic gingerbread houses, over-the-top Christmas decorations, thrilling lighting displays and best of all, Santa appearances. But of course, any hotel can assemble a fake tree, put on some lights and declare themselves "festive." Which is why we're looking at hotels that are really going ALL OUT. Know of a hotel that's super excited for Christmas? Let us know!
All Peninsula Hotels across the world get incredibly festive with their holiday decorations. But this year, the luxury hotel brand has gone a step further--by creating a special holiday mascot, The SnowPage with its own holiday season microsite too.
Peninsula filmed a video showing off the holiday preparations at the Peninsula New York and while it looks like some staffers are just having fun in the snow on the rooftop, they are actually building a SnowPage complete with the pageboy bellcap and a P on his red scarf.
Peninsula then invites you to build your own virtual SnowPage and send it off as an e-greeting, using certain desserts and accessories from Peninsula Hotels to decorate. For example, for the eyes, you can select green tea macaroons from the Peninsula Tokyo or handmade chocolate truffles from the Peninsula Hong Kong. (Too bad your SnowPage creation isn't really real!)
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We knew an opening had to be close when we walked by the Peninsula Paris in early October and saw that the facade had been freed of construction wrapping. Now, Le Figaro is reporting that the luxury hotel will actually open on August 1st.
We tried to read the article using our rudimentary French skills but we picked up the most important part--the opening date. Besides we already knew that the hotel would have 200 rooms, an all-day dining restaurant in The Lobby, a Chinese restaurant, cigar lounge, a rooftop bar and terrace and an 18,000 square foot spa below ground with indoor pool.
The hotel's website is not taking reservations yet but we hope that changes in the new year.
Hat tip to Hoteliere de Luxe for the heads up.
[Photo: JasonD for HotelChatter]
Last time we walked down Avenue Kléber in Paris to check in on the construction progress at The Peninsula, the former Hotel Majestic was still covered in scaffolding. Just over five months later, there is much more to see, with the limestone exterior freely basking in a pale autumn sun last week. The 1908 façade has some beautiful architectural details, and the u-shape that will enable a lobby terrace facing the avenue is clearly visible.
We've long known that fashion designer, Oscar de la Renta, has a thing for hotels. In fact, he has his very own one in the Dominican Republic. But now he's going to be a part of every Peninsula Hotel, thanks to his new toiletry line.
“I am very happy to be able to bring some of my products to The Peninsula Hotels. The Peninsula represents a sense of excitement, beauty and magic like no one else in the world.” said Oscar de la Renta.
Created just for Peninsula Hotels, the Oscar de la Renta bath amenities include shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and body lotion, as well as soap in two sizes. We especially love the rose-shaped caps.
More importantly, the toiletries feature a unisex fragrance developed by de la Renta himself in partnership with Firmenich and is described as a "citrus aromatic floral musk." Notes included are mandarin and bergamot, cardamom, freesia, jasmine, violet, and white and green tea. Sounds lovely already.
We've long been suspicious of the in-room hotel safe after personally encountering safes that simply didn't work and after hearing several tales of the safe getting robbed, like this one. But if you were still trusting the hotel safe to keep your valuables protected, this story may really cause you to think again.
At the posh Peninsula Hong Kong, one of the most high-tech hotels in the world, a man wearing hotel slippers tricked the staff into thinking he was a guest, not only gaining access to a hotel room but also getting the password to the in-room safe. Here's how he did it:
"Speaking in English, he told hotel staff that he had lost his room key and demanded another one," the [South China Morning Post] cited a Hong Kong police officer as saying, adding that the man provided details of the 47-year-old male occupant including name and birthdate, without saying how he had obtained such information.
After entering the room, the man "telephoned the front desk from the room saying he had forgotten the password of the safe and asked for assistance to open it", the officer was quoted by the SCMP as saying.
The thief managed to walk away with about $4,900 in cash, a computer, a wallet and a piece of luggage. So far, no arrests have been made but we're pretty sure that couple will never, ever, ever, use the hotel safe again. Or maybe, Hong Kong just needs to beef up their hotel security. After all, a HotelChatter tipster was able to uncover where NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was hiding out, thanks to a very nice hotel operator.
Traveling with some pretty nice stuff but don't want to use the hotel safe? Read our tips after the jump!
Looks like Justin Bieber is causing chaos again, this time in Chi-Town. The Biebs is in Chicago, where he’ll play at the United Center tonight.
However, his arrival yesterday has already subjected the city to tween meltdowns, and it’s hot enough there already without his help. Apparently Justin Bieber's hotel of choice is the tony Peninsula Hotel in the River North region. Reports say as of 8:30 pm last night there were at least a dozen police officers outside the hotel to keep watch of the crowd pictured above.
An employee said to us, “tried to beat the traffic and ran into 100s of impatient looking tweens who don’t realize the hotel is full of back entrances.” Uh oh! We don’t think we want them to know this info. Then it’ll be full on bedlam.
Even Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey tweeted about The Biebs presence in the city, making jokes that “only for a second” did he believe the Peninsula Hotel crowd was for him, not Justin, as “he and I always get mistaken for each other.”
We might be tapping our feet impatiently for the opening of its property in Paris, but Peninsula Hotels made us all sorts of happy last week with the announcement of its plan to open a London hotel in swanky Belgravia, steps from Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace.
The Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited (HSH) – the parent company of Peninsula – has signed a non-binding agreement with Derwent, a property investor, to acquire its stake in the buildings at 1-5 Grosvenor Place, for £132.5 million ($205 million). Currently a rather unattractive (see above) office block, the announcement thankfully talks about planned redevelopment into something more suitable for a luxurious Peninsula Hotel.