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Inside and All Around Aloft Detroit

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 1 Park Ave [map], Detroit, MI, United States, 48226
June 22, 2015 at 9:25 AM | by | ()

You’ve met the delightful doorman and had a sneak peek of the room. Appetite whetted? Hope so, because it’s time to go inside and all around the Aloft Detroit.

LOCATION
The David Whitney building isn’t just in Downtown Detroit; it’s a historic 1915 skyscraper in Downtown Detroit, that locals told us was designed by Daniel Burnham, though Wikipedia says no. Either way, it’s a historic, 19-story building that used to be home to offices – doctors, dentists, even a plastic surgeon – and now has the Aloft on floors 1-9 and apartments above it. Before reopening (officially in April, soft opening last December), it was undergoing a four year restoration. Before that, it was derelict for 15 years. This is a pretty big deal.

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Inside The Pavilion, Catalina Island's Midcentury Motel-Hotel

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 513 Crescent Ave [map], Avalon, Catalina, CA, United States, 90704
June 5, 2015 at 10:30 AM | by | ()

We've had a little focus on Catalina Island this week, and we already showed you the amazing cheese and wine spread that's laid out every afternoon at the Pavilion Hotel in main town Avalon. Today, we're taking you inside the Pavilion, with pictures from our stay last summer.

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5 Things Not to Miss at Vermont's On The River Inn

June 5, 2015 at 9:00 AM | by | ()

Sometimes you just need a little Vermont in your life, and thankfully one of the state’s latest and greatest properties can be found in Woodstock—here’s five things not to miss at 506 On The River Inn.

The Location

If you’re looking for possibly the ultimate bucolic little New England town look no further than Woodstock, and thankfully On The River Inn is just a few miles from town. Along the way pick up awesome sandwiches—and cookies, chips, sides, and drinks (wine too!)—at Woodstock Farmer’s Market, and then pull off an enjoy a picnic on the town green just steps away from just one of the area’s many covered bridges. Boutiques, galleries, an honest-to-goodness general store, and the charm of yesteryear line the downtown corridor, but you’re also only minutes away from other goodies like Long Trail Brewing Company. Sugarbush Farm, and Billings Farm and Museum.

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The Quirky and Quaint Queensberry Hotel in Bath

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: Russel Street, Bath, United Kingdom, BA1 2QF
May 15, 2015 at 3:20 PM | by | ()

The Queensberry Hotel is one of those small hotels made up of several townhouses – in this case, four Georgian ones – that is nicely designed in a contemporary way but with some little oddities added in that only seem to properly come from the British.

Things like having an elevator that jerks and hesitates like it’s not going to make it, and moves so slow you’ll probably beat it if you take the stairs. We used it as an opportunity to grab a few winks on the way up and down.

Then there’s the oddly placed monkey statue set on the modern bar.

And stairs that seem to come out of nowhere.

And the bulldog pillows.

The thoroughly surprising picturesque walled courtyard in the back.

The antique dresser that we could open to put our clothes in but then couldn’t get them back out.

And, finally, the best meal we had in Bath, hands-down.

All of this serves to create an oddly satisfying stay where you feel like you’re privy to a place whose eccentricities perhaps outweigh your own.

We certainly do have pics in the photo gallery!

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ALT Hotels Opens Their ALTernative Brand In Winnipeg

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 310 Donald Street, Winnipeg, MB, Canada, R2V 2H3
May 13, 2015 at 4:03 PM | by | ()

Let's just pause for a moment to think about how lucky we are to be living in a time when hotels are spreading their design wings and letting creativity flow. And we’re not being irreverent here -- we mean it. Remember the old days when hotels looked like they were all cut with the same dull cookie cutter? Dullsville, right?

ALT Hotels, baby sister brand of Le Germain Hotels, is a leader out of Canada that specializes in good design at a good price (think Mama Shelter or citizenM but where the private space is as important as the public space size-wise). The hotels are designed in a sorta industrial chic look, with enough comfy pockets for you to nestle into. They mix high-end furnishings with low-end services, meaning you get Italian designer chairs but not a concierge. This is how they manage to keep their uber-cool properties at a reasonable rate: in Winnipeg we’re talking $149 per night, every night.

While ALT Hotels all share a certain style, each ALT Hotel that opens has some unique features that make it its own, and the ALT Winnipeg – just opened two weeks ago – is no exception and we’re digging what we’re seeing.

If you want to see what we're seeing, go to the photo gallery!

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An Inside Look at Hotel Schweizerhof Bern in Switzerland

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: Bahnhofplatz 11, Bern, Switzerland, 3001
April 30, 2015 at 5:07 PM | by | ()

The last hotel on our ramble through Switzerland takes us to the country’s capital of Bern and the uptown chic hotel, the Hotel Schweizerhof Bern (part of Leading Hotels of the World and Swiss Deluxe Hotels).

This 99-room property’s been around for more than 150 years and in 2005 the hotel shut down for a major reno (you know the story: you’re a new owner so you absolutely have to re-decorate) and, six years and 50 million Swiss Francs later, ta-da! Now it’s a stylin' five-star superior property.

Designed by Maria Vafiadis from MKV Design in London, our 410 sq ft Deluxe King Room was decorated in earthy taupes and grays with dramatic stainless steel and black-and-white glass bathrooms. Floors were done in herringbone oak which kept the room warm in feel and the view was of the rooftops of the Old Town (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). It had the feel of a luxe pied-à-terre.

Room perks include the minibar with its complimentary beer and soft drinks, a Nespresso machine and kettle, free WiFi, locally-made comfy linens, a Japanese soaking tub AND a shower, a window in the bathroom that opens and has the same aforementioned view, and Bulgari White Tea toiletries (this writer’s fave of the Bulgari line).

See the rest of the hotel pics in the image gallery!

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Sweet Suites: The Adara Suites at the Park Weggis Hotel Near Lucerne

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: Hertensteinstrasse 34, Weggis/Lucerne, Switzerland, 6353
April 29, 2015 at 11:37 AM | by | ()

Originally opened as the Hotel Bellevue in the oldie days of 1875, the Park Weggis hotel (part of Swiss Deluxe Hotels) – on Switzerland’s Lake Lucerne – has definitely renovated since that time. One of its latest renos, completed in 2007 (they also renovated some rooms in the main building in 2011), was to add ten uber-modern Adara Suites and this is where our story starts.

Many of the luxury hotels in Switzerland are beautiful, yes, but tend to lean towards a more traditional elegance. What strikes us about these suites, which brings the room count up to 52 at this boutique Relais & Chateaux property, is their modernity.

We stayed in an Adara Deluxe Junior Suite – the Adara ones come in Deluxe Junior Suites and then Suites – which was about 70 sq m (750 sq ft) and we’ll tell ya, the green-tinged black marble bathroom took up about half of that space. If your idea of relaxing is to set your one-touch mood lighting to “evening,” hang out in the deep soaking tub in the middle of your bathroom with a glass of prosecco, and then shower under the Dornbracht Bigrain rain shower using the Bulgari Red Tea toiletries (surprisingly hard to come by and, in case you’re wondering, we did take them home with us), then this is the luxe crash pad for you.

There are so many more pics in the photo gallery!

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3 Killer Views at Fairmont Le Montreux Palace in Switzerland

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: Avenue Claude Nobs 2, Montreux, Switzerland, CH-1820
April 23, 2015 at 5:10 PM | by | ()

We do like to wax poetic sometimes over the killer views we find from hotel rooms all over the planet, but the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace in Switzerland (part of Swiss Deluxe Hotels and Leading Hotels of the World) has not one, not two, but at least three killer views that we noticed recently. It seems that wherever you go you’re faced with another scenic vista of mountains and lake (Lake Geneva, to be exact).

We’re sharing those vistas here with you in a minute, but this isn’t the particular scene that prompted Deep Purple to write their hit, Smoke on the Water, while staying at a hotel nearby this illustrious hotel that’s played host to many a rock star celeb.

No, that scene, which probably included the aforementioned vista, was of a fire started by a fan with a flare gun (kids, don’t try this at home) at the famed casino close to the hotel where Frank Zappa was playing in 1971. Rumor has it that the band Deep Purple looked out their window this particular December to see flames and smoke rising from the building and were so inspired that they penned the song. And where did they end up recording said song? At Le Montreux Palace.

But back to the views we saw. The first is from room 118, a Junior Suite category room. This Mediterranean-like room in butter yellows, creams and light pebble greys (reno’ed in 2009), has a small balcony that looks out over Lake Geneva PLUS a French balcony off of the bedroom side of the room to give you the same scrumptious view. Most rooms, in fact, have either a balcony or veranda in this 236-room property. The Junior Suites also come with a sitting area with a desk, coffeemaker, a bathroom with both a tub and a shower, the brand’s Le Labo Rose 31 toiletries and, our favorite, a mirror/TV that swivels so that you can watch CNN in the living room or from your comfy bed. WiFi’s part of the package for President’s Club members, which is free to join.

Plenty of pics of the room and the other killer views in the photo gallery!

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All About the Killer Views and Weird Spa Treatments at Switzerland's Palace Luzern

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: Haldenstrasse 10, Lucerne, Switzerland, CH-6002
April 22, 2015 at 2:00 PM | by | ()

Okay, it’s time to 'fess up: This writer has fallen in love with Switzerland in a mad, gushing “I can’t live without it” sort of way. And why? Aside from its other qualities, it’s beautiful. I’m telling you this so that when I describe the Palace Luzern hotel as being a great spot to take in Switzerland's delights, you’ll understand the importance of that statement.

The hotel (part of Swiss Deluxe Hotels and Leading Hotels of the World) is situated right on the tree-lined, lakeside pedestrian promenade, with views stretching out over Lake Lucerne to the Alps in the background. Can't you just feel yourself relax as you take in that mountain view? Plus it's only a short walk to Lucerne’s quaint Chapel Bridge and Old Town.

But the hotel is not content to rest on its scenery laurels. The first time this 1906 property had a major overhaul was after WWII, during which time it had been used as a military hospital. Then, in 2005, the hotel opened its one-of-a-kind spa and reduced the number of rooms from 168 to 136 so that guests, i.e. you and me, could spread out more. Then, in 2013, 42 additional rooms were renovated, leaving us with 129 rooms and suites, and that brings us all the way to now, with the Davidoff Cigar Lounge having opened in February and the new restaurant, Marlin, replacing Jasper with a newly-deigned menu. Whew!

More scenic pics in the photo gallery!

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‘Mad Men’ Will Soon Be Gone, But Mid Century Styled Hotels Are Here To Stay

April 10, 2015 at 4:00 PM | by | ()

The mid century lifestyle is alive and well at Hotel Sax in Prague. Yeah baby!

Alas, all good things must eventually come to an end, as the final season of Mad Men launches its last seven episodes. Brilliant writing, directing and acting aside, the show was a well-researched time capsule of mid century design, right down to the frying pan.

But don’t be sad. Though we say goodbye to Donald Draper’s world, there’s a great big world of mid century-inspired hotels to satisfy our endless thirst for cool.

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An Inside Look at Glasgow’s Blythswood Square Hotel

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: No.11 Blythswood Square, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom, G2 4AD
April 8, 2015 at 10:30 AM | by | ()

When you walk into some hotels you immediately get a sense of place, as if the hotel “fits.” This is most impressive when it’s a contemporary hotel, and such is the case with The Town House Company’s Blythswood Square hotel.

Opened in November 2009 in the former Royal Scottish Automobile Club building from 1823, this 100-room hotel has an elegant, modern décor with plenty of shout-outs to its past.

Leading the interior design was Jim Hamilton of Glasgow-based Graven Images and, while many of the fancy architectural details have been preserved, modern bespoke furniture, lighting and textiles ensure the property is au courant.

We’re particularly fond of the lighting in the restaurant: dramatic black-shaded hanging lamps with vintage photo interiors of classic cars and drivers. And then there's the striking scarlet-red banquettes that you see as soon as you walk into the lobby that go with the scarlet lights that hang in the front windows, both features a hearkening back to the days of yore when Blythswood Square (the square, not the hotel) was Glasgow’s red light district.

Tons o' pics in the photo gallery!

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Following the iPad Tour of Ottawa's Fairmont Château Laurier

Where: Ottawa, ON, Canada
April 1, 2015 at 1:30 PM | by | ()

Ottawa, Canada's grand dame, The Fairmont Château Laurier may be redecorating its guest rooms, but all is very well and as original as possible throughout the historic public rooms of the hotel.

From the indoor, art deco pool to the Yousef Karsh portraits (most famously of Winston Churchill) in the Reading Room, the Château Laurier seeks to preserve all the little details, as well as the grandiose, and serves in places as a kind of time capsule to the days of its 1912 opening (which sadly coincided with the sinking of the Titanic, an event which claimed the life of the man who commissioned the hotel built, Grand Trunk Railway president Charles Melville Hays).

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