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So much hotel news, so little time – here are a few snippets to keep you up to date with the latest news from around the world, from shiny new things in Paris to reservations in Milan and new global partnerships.
Viceroy Hotels joins Global Hotel Alliance: starting at partnerships, in a move we did not expect, Viceroy has signed up to join Global Hotel Alliance (GHA). While Kempinski and Pan Pacific are two brands we usually think of when we hear GHA, the list is a lot longer than that, including brands like Anantara, Per Aquum, Omni Hotels, QT, and more for a total of 31 brands and 550+ hotels. Now if Viceroy would move on with its plans for L’Ermitage Bevery Hills and Viceroy Istanbul, we’d be all sorts of happy.
Pulitzer Amsterdam picks Preferred Hotels: we knew Hotel Pulitzer was leaving Starwood’s Luxury Collection, but our wish for something as exciting as Four Seasons Hotel Pulitzer to happen (after a mega renovation, of course) was not to be. Renovations will happen, but the hotel has joined Preferred Hotels new LVX collection (pronounced “Lux” and yes that irks us too). If you want to know more about Preferred’s new collections, go here.
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What says, “Let’s snuggle in from the cold” better than a cup of hot chocolate? The hot choco cups coming from these three hotels should give Hershey's Cocoa Powder an inferiority complex.
The Mark Hotel in New York (a Preferred Hotel) has opened up their Mark Cocoa Kiosk just outside the hotel’s doors. The festive Kiosk has their signature Jacques Grange black and white stripe and serves The Mark Glazed Gingerbread to go along with their decadent, over-flowing with whipping cream, Jean-Georges Cocoa concoction. If you’re in the neighborhood and need a break from shopping on Madison, stop in and enjoy: the price is $8 for the cocoa and $4 for a two-pack of the cookies (guests enjoy them at no cost). Open daily throughout the holidays.
The keys were handed back last week, but you can still make reservations through Kempinski until September 10. If you have a booking for a future date, don’t worry – all existing reservations will be honoured as made. All staff remains with the property as well.
The Stafford isn’t going at it completely alone; by September 10 it will join Preferred Hotels & Resorts. The addition of The Stafford will take the total number of Preferred hotels in London to nine; existing properties include the ME London as well as the upcoming Beaumont Hotel.
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As Week 1 of HotelChatter Cocktail Week(s) wraps up, here's a run-down of some of the nifty things we see going on in the world of hotel bars and bevvies. What do you see goin’ on out there? Let us know in the comments below!
There’s so Much More to Syrup Than Maple –
If you’re into cocktails there’s a pretty good chance you’ve made your own simple syrup but these hotels are going beyond the norm and creating some pretty exotic specialty syrups.
At Fifteen Beacon’s Mooo (a Preferred Hotel) they make all of their syrup’s in-house, but we particularly liked the sound of the House made Celery Lemongrass Syrup that they use in their Celery 75 cocktail, made with Berkshire Greylock gin, Prosecco, strawberry, and the syrup, of course.
Cost to imbibe: $14
Cost to stay at the hotel 'cause you've imbibed: Starts at $479
And here’s an exotic beauty from the W Bangkok: the Chor Muang cocktail. You have absolutely no hope of making this drink at home since it’s made with Butterfly Pea Flower House Made Syrup – a flower that has become so rare that it’s difficult to find it in Thai markets. This elusive ingredient, however, makes it popular with guests who want something authentically Thai, and with locals who want the same. Other ingredients in this cocktail include Butterfly Flower-infused raspberry vodka, lime juice, and it’s garnished with – here we go – a 24-carat gold dust-dipped Butterfly Flower.
Cost to imbibe: THB $275 ($9)
Cost to stay at the hotel 'cause you've imbibed: Starts at THB 4,788 ($150)
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Now that the word is out regarding the sale of the Mondrian Soho to the Buddha-Bar Hotel Collection owner, Gerard Guez, we thought you might like to have a peek at the fairly-new Buddha-Bar Hotel Paris (opened as a Preferred Boutique Hotel in June 2013) to get an idea of what all the brouhaha is about regarding these properties in Paris, Prague and Budapest.
The 56-room Buddha-Bar Hotel Paris is located right in the fashion heart of the 8th arrondissement (and is often used in fashion shoots), just off Faubourg Saint-Honoré but, when you enter, you feel as if you’re not in Kansas (or Paris) anymore. All looks standard-issue Paris on the outside of the 1734 building, but step inside to face the 120 red-glass lanterns hanging at the entrance, and you imagine that you’ve been thrown into the movie classic, “Shanghai Express.”
With just a hint of opium-den design, the hotel and its rooms are full of mahogany wood, red or black lacquered doors and tabletops, golden brown or yellow walls and carpets, and grey or red sofas and chairs. Greeting you in the lobby, besides the Buddha-like black cat, is the Chinese Dragon woven into the carpet – a motif you’ll find throughout the hotel – as the official protector of travelers to this, and other, foreign lands.
Have a look at the photo gallery!
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We hate to keep going on about summer ending soon and all but, as if to prove our point, time’s running out on some of these fave seasonal cocktails. You better get ‘em while you can.
The bar downstairs at the Andaz 5th Avenue has some summery cocktails on offer until September 30. The two most popular are the Taken to Task, containing Aylesbury Duck vodka, lemon, Cochhi Americano, berries and orange bitters, and the Scarlet Rum Old-Fashioned, with Flor de Caña 7 year rum, Scarlet Ibis rum, Clear Creek Pear Liqueur and Angostura bitters. Mmm… boozy.
The Waldorf Astoria New York has U.S. Open fever and is offering a grand slam of a cocktail during the run of the matches in August and September. The Tennis Ball features the hotel’s Top of the Waldorf Honey produced by the six apiaries on the 20th floor along with Zubrowka Bison Grass vodka, Cocchi Americano, Midori melon liqueur and fresh lemon juice.
Two more "can't misses" below!
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What's It Like Inside a Nordic "Palace"? A HotelChatter Review
If you've not been to the Nordic city of Copenhagen , we gotta tell ya, their hotel scene is hopping with some real beauts! We've just returned and we're eager to share our hotel observations with you. First up is our take on the Palace Hotel Copenhagen. (Stay tuned for other Copenhagen Hotel Scene stories in the coming weeks!)
The 169-room Palace Hotel Copenhagen (formerly a Le Méridien and now owned by Scandic Hotels and part of the Preferred Hotel Group) originally opened in 1910 by a butcher who had a dream to own an “international” hotel. Anders Jensen hired young architect Anton Rosen to design the hotel, both inside and out, from the furniture to buttons on uniforms. Rosen’s Art Nouveau aesthetic still carries on today because subsequent designers hired to update and modernize the hotel from top-to-bottom in 2008 were insightful enough to ensure that the Palace Hotel nodded “hey” to its roots.
So let’s get to it. Plenty of pics below!
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The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS if you will) has just smacked down the Defense of Marriage Act, saying the 1996 law which denies federal benefits to married same-sex couples is unconstitutional. That means the U.S. can now "immediately" extend some federal benefits to same-sex couples. Woot!
While this doesn't change any state laws regarding same sex marriage, it still is a major victory for gay rights. And what better way to celebrate than with a hotel stay? :) Here are four getaways to consider:
· RITZ-CARLTON, WASHINGTON DC: Celebrate the landmark decision in our nation's capitol at the Ritz-Carlton with their OUT in DC Pride Package. It includes: overnight deluxe room accommodations, a donation made in your honor to the Human Rights Campaign, two welcome cocktails, a Pride Weekend "Survival Kit", American breakfast for two, overnight valet parking, complimentary internet and access to Sports Club/LA fitness center connected to the hotel. Rates start at $354 a night and the package is available through August 31st.
Back in January we told you that the Topnotch Resort and Spa in Stowe, Vermont was undergoing a major reno. Shortly after that, the hotel closed up shop as it entered the final stage of its makeover. But now the hotel is nearly ready for its close-up and will re-open on June 28.
A Preferred Boutique and Preferred Pride hotel, the fruits of Topnotch's multi-million dollar refurbishment include:
• A more contemporary entryway that opens to a spacious new lobby designed to showcase soaring mountain views
• A brand spanking new bar
• Two new restaurants: The Flannel & The Roost
• 68 newly renovated rooms and suites
• New wedding & events venue
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Ah, Gstaad. Maybe you too have fond memories of swooshing down the mountainside, hiking in the hills, sipping on Glühwein or hot chocolate, and eating fresh raclette cheese. It’s all good. But now, it's even better because for the first time in about 100 years, there’s a new luxe hotel opening: The Alpina Gstaad.
This 56-room Preferred Hotel is a real beauty -- think big stone fireplaces, pine interiors, cozy nooks, timber peaked ceilings and spectacular views of the Alps. No two rooms are exactly alike and, although beautifully-designed, also have plenty of quirk (just wait until you see the cowbell bedside lamps!)
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If you've been to Vienna you already know it’s a fascinating city that upholds its formality and grand architecture as a point of pride, but you don’t need to dig very deep to also find its modern charms--hip museums, neighborhoods, and cafes. This is the city that bred Falco, after all.
The new 63-room Hotel Sans Souci, a member of the Preferred Boutique Hotel Group, had its soft opening on December 20, but it rocked Amadeus (check the Falco reference!) yesterday during its grand opening event.
Designed by yoo, Philippe Starck’s design company, the hotel has La Véranda restaurant, Le Bar and a spa. Interiors are modern and refined in shades of grey (heh!), gold and white with opulent little touches, such as chandeliers overhanging the pool, Arne Jacobsen egg chairs, and the Roy Lichtenstein paintings found in the suites and public areas.
Also worth noting, just in case you’re a Johann Strauß groupie, Hotel Sans Souci is actually the former inn where the composer performed his “Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka“ for the first time in 1858. Just sayin’.
Whether it's major hotel chains like Marriott or Hilton offering dedicated pride packages, a new booking site for on- (or off) -the-beaten path destinations, or even a "straight-friendly" hotel in NYC, the hotel industry is catering more and more these days to the lucrative gay travel market. But lucrative or not, we’re just happy to see a hotel (group) taking an inclusive stand.
Preferred has a dedicated website called “Preferred Pride”, with all listed hotels being either TAG-approved or a member of IGLTA, the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association. Each property, like North Carolina's divine Old Edwards Inn (pictured above), also stands for equality in its employment policies and services, and supports the LGBT community.