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Sydney is one of the first places on the planet to ring in the New Year, and along with a stellar fireworks display over the Harbour Bridge, the folks over at QT Sydney want to make sure that you have everything you need to ring in 2015 in comfort. All guests who stay on 31 December will get this stonking goodie bag filled with items that range from sexy to sensible and everything in between.
Getting picked-up from the airport or dropped off for your dinner reservation by your hotel is a luxury that many hotels offer for either an extra charge or as part of the room rate. More often than not, hotels will whisk you away in some sort of luxury sedan like a BMW, Mercedes or Porsche but occasionally, you just have to hide your face when they pull up in an 8-person van or mini-bus.
However, there are a few hotels that totally nail the idea of cool wheels for a courtesy cars. This is a smart move for a few good reasons. One, it shows the hotel has some personality by choosing an interesting or historic car over some predictable corporate whip. Two, it's good advertising around town and three, it gets guests talking about it well after they check-out.
Now, here are some of our favorite rides from around the world.
First things first: stealing from hotel rooms is wrong. Unless it’s the toiletries or the notepad-pen-pencil combo, you shouldn’t be doing that. You’re not an idiot, you already know that.
And yet many of you – 43 percent of Brits, or 35 percent of everyone according to two recent surveys – do. Ok, let’s be honest, many of us – I personally have filched a couple of towels in my time (NB: HotelChatter in no way condones this behavior and I’m not doing it to boast – just to say that the most honest people can go klepto in a hotel room).
To combat this, most hotels only go as far as those little labels on the bathrobes, letting you know how much they’ll sting you for if you nick them (or “if you wish to purchase them” as they so delicately word it). But a hotel group in Australia has gone one further: it’s drawn up a price list of the weirdest, yet most coveted, items, letting you know how much it’ll charge your credit card should you decide to take something.
Having seen just how stylish the staff at QT Sydney looked (not to mention the hotel itself), we couldn’t leave the Australian capital Canberra without popping into the brand new QT Canberra, which opened mere weeks before we walked in on a sparkly sunny Southern Hemisphere autumn-in-April day.
Taking the canvas of the former Rydges Lakeside hotel, QT went to town and transformed the 15-story building on Canberra’s London Circuit into something completely different; our local friends told us it was unrecognizable - and much improved - in its new incarnation. Canberra being the heart of the Australian government, and the hotel having seen its fair share of high-profile guests and hush-hush dealings, political references are plenty – from the live Twitter wall at reception to the politicians’ portraits and wallpaper on the ground floor. Check out the new look of the guestrooms, restaurant, terrace, and speakeasy-style bar below.
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Some like it hot. But more people like it free. We're talking about WiFi here.
In the wake of all of our WiFi news from last week, we've got some great news from the land Down Under, where getting free WiFi or even cheap WiFi is never easy. In fact, it's almost impossible. But not anymore.
Starting this week, Amalgamated Holdings Limited will be offering guests at all their hotels complimentary WiFi to browse the web, check email and Instagram the cool rooms (or so the hotel group hopes.)
Take it from us, WiFi doesn't come cheap at hotels in Oz. We've been offered up some connectivity if we forked over anywhere from $15 to $29.90 per day. Yes, we said per day! Now, you see why this is such a big deal for an entire portfolio of over 40 hotels to ante up some WiFi as part of the nightly rate.
Let this be a little message to other hotels, just do it already! Offering this service can't be that hard, can it?
We’ve come a long way from hotel staff wearing boxy, nondescript uniforms (hell, at some hotels you get to wear Lacroix Couture), but QT Sydney is taking things yet another step further: not only does staff have its stylish uniforms (by costume designer Janet Hine), an in-house stylist is on hand to get the look just so before starting work.
The result is – not surprisingly – some very well put together staff, like the blue-shirted Porters and red-wigged Directors of Chaos at the hotel’s entrance. Their job is getting you out of the hustle of Market Street, into the ornate downstairs gallery (the hotel combines the former Gowings Department Store and State Theatre), and up one floor to reception.
QT Hotels and their quirky properties are changing the hotel landscape Down Under. In case you haven't noticed, we have sort of a big crush on QT here at HotelChatter.
Not familiar with QT? The hotel brand aims to give guests an "anything but ordinary" experience, pairing style with luxury and putting a heavy emphasis on art and of course, the restaurant and bar scene. We also think QT Hotels are exceptionally well-designed and we appreciate their thoughtful amenities like free bike rentals and fully stocked mini-bars. Still need a better frame of reference for QT? This is the hotel brand that let Justin Bieber graffiti their walls the other month.
And now the Aussie capital of Canberra will get in on all of this delightful quirkiness when the QT Canberra opens next month on April 3.
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Here's how things went down, down under. The Biebs and his entourage were visiting the area while on tour and planned to call the 1960s kitsch hotel home for at least one night. For that one night, the singer and his friends went all-Banksy and spray-painted a few retaining walls around the property's tennis courts. Early morning exercisers were greeted to a few brightly colored graffiti-esque objects of art painted by the star himself. This is when things got questionable.
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The landscape of Aussie hotels will be changed for the better this month when the newest brand of hotels opens its doors. If you're planning a trip down under and don't want to smash your piggy bank doing so, then remember this name: Atura Hotels.
The newest option comes to us from a group called Amalgamated Holding Limited, but you might know them better by the work they've been doing with QT Hotels and Rydges Hotels. But instead of resting on their laurels with the cool edginess of QT and the family-resort of Rydges, they've gone a created a new concept that will be appealing to business travelers and those that don't want to miss out on cool hotel design to save a few bucks. (Which is like, everyone everywhere.)
Atura's first property is already checking in guests in Sydney's inner-suburb of Blacktown. Aside from cool design, guests will get free in-room movies, coffee machines and a business center completely outfitted with iMacs. But if you'd rather stay connected on the go, there is free WiFi throughout the hotel and in every guestroom. If you've ever been to Australia, you know this is a big deal since hotels charge a pretty penny for some connectivity.
Super trendy and hip Aussie hotelier, QT Hotels keep on keeping on with expansion news. We've told you about their Gold Coast property, their Sydney stunner, their ski lodge, and their Bondi Beach takeover. Now it's Melbourne's turn to get in on the fun.
The city that Aussies consider to be the cultural capital of Oz is set to get their very own hotel that pushes the limits of 'on trend' with their eclectic use of art, style and location.
Currently, the property is home to a well-known cinema but come April of next year, a demolition will make way for a 12-story hotel. The new building will sport 188 quirky guestrooms with 16 spaces reserved for the management group's new venture of high-end apartments, just like the QT Bondi property. Along with creative rooms and fun little details, the CBD/Chinatown hotel will feature a roof-top deck for wining and a restaurant for dining.
The giant beach-side hotel will get a funky facelift and a high-design room renovation to reflect the QT style that has put them on the map. Just like QT Sydney, (and its four other QT hotels around Oz), the Bondi property will showcase the designs of Nic Graham of g+a Interiors. Not sure if that new elevator gimmick will be in place.
The building will still cater to overnight guests looking for a resort getaway on the beach but it will also feature QT Residences. The residences will sport about 150 fully-contained, fully furnished apartments for quintessential beach living. From the sounds of it, the decor will be a mix of the Gold Coast (60s beach-chic) and Sydney (trendy and urban loft) properties.
We're bringing you a double-dose of QT Hotel news this week, because we couldn't resist the announcement of a new ski resort in Australia. Huh? Australian ski resort? Surely, we meant Austria? Nope! It's true, the sunburned land Down Under actually has some areas that get snow and with the new QT Falls Creek, now's the perfect time to head down to the slopes.
The mastermind hotel designers have taken over the perfect après–ski location situated in the mountainous Great Dividing Range in South Eastern Australia. Just over four hours drive from Melbourne, QT's newest outpost, which was previously Quay West Falls Creek, has 63 alpine one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom apartments that'll have the quirky touch we've come to expect from the brand. Most of the apartments will have private balcony hot-tubs but all will have uninterrupted views of the snow-capped peaks surrounding the resort.