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This Guest is High On Aloft Hotels

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 4450 East Washington [map], Phoenix, AZ, United States, 85034
December 8, 2011 at 10:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

We rarely ever get such glowing reviews of a hotel (that aren't planted by a PR person) but this one from a business traveler lady is really, really, really enthusiastic. She writes about a recent stay at the Aloft Hotel by the Phoenix airport:

Omg I love this place! Had to zip in and out of Phoenix for a quick business trip and unfortunately no budget for a great hotel and had to stay close to the airport. What a pleasant surprise! A cool and comfortable hotel that far surpasses your choices in the same price range. Beautiful room layout, fluffy beds, a hip and trendy lobby bar, better than average bathrooms, not to mention wall mounted tvs...... I will definitely be checking out if there are other Alofts when I travel!

Agreed. Aloft is a nice surprise for an airport hotel especially with free WiFi and a lively social scene downstairs. It's not always in the same price range as other airport hotels (sometimes it can be higher) but we found room rates at this Aloft for $124 this weekend, which, FWIW, beats the Courtyard By Marriott by $15.

Love or hate Aloft? Sound off in comments below!

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Spying on Elephants and Giraffes from The Westcliff Hotel in Johannesburg

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 67 Jan Smuts Avenue, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2193
January 27, 2011 at 12:01 PM | by | Comments (0)

Every so often we feature a hotel review from our readers that we feel should be shared with the rest of you dear hotel guests. These reviews are highlighted because they are timely, about cool hotels in cool places and are relatively level-headed. Think you can submit one just like this? Send it in.

This time, a reader sends in a quick dispatch from the Westcliff Hotel in Johannesburg.

What a lovely hotel, it's built like a small village on a hillside overlooking the city. Sunday brunch at La Belle Terrasse is a very nice way to while away the day, sitting outside on the terrace above the infinity pool, watching elephants and giraffes in Johannesburg Zoo at the foot of the hill.

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The Gotham Hotel is 'Highly Congenial' Just a Month After Opening

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  Site Where: 16 East 46th Street [map], New York, NY, United States, 10017
December 8, 2010 at 4:10 PM | by | Comments (0)

Every so often we feature a hotel review from our readers that we feel should be shared with the rest of you dear hotel guests. These reviews are highlighted because they are timely, about cool hotels in cool places and are relatively level-headed. Think you can submit one just like this? Send it in.

This time, a reader sends in a brief report on the brand-new Gotham Hotel.

Beautifully located just off Park Avenue, this skinny sliver of a hotel (only four rooms/suites to a floor, handy for families) has surprising spacious rooms, tiny to not-so-tiny balconies (depending on which floor you're on), continental breakfast, European-style (bakery croissants and bagels, fresh fruit and juice, yogurt and cereal) and best of all, an attentive but super-casual staff that greets you in the lobby with a cheerful "Hi, guys" and offer of something to drink.

This low-key approach was unstuffy and welcome--there's no formal reception area or check-in, so it feels more like you're visiting distant (but friendly) relatives.

Loved the free WiFi, high-end linens, rainfall shower heads, books in every room. Highly recommended, highly congenial.

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Yet Another Tale of Hotel Inconsistency

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: Cnr Princes St & Waterloo Quadrant, Auckland, New Zealand
December 2, 2010 at 4:05 PM | by | Comments (0)

All hotels are not created equal, we do know this much to be true, not even ones that are part of the same brand, carry the same amenities and have the same name. Just because you love Hotel XYZ in New York doesn't mean that Hotel XYZ in San Fran or Miami is just as good.

Sadly, this happens far too often and today one reader is apparently fed up with it all. He writes:

I'm a platinum member with Hyatt and now I having the unfortunate misfortune of staying at the Auckland Hyatt "Regency" Hotel. I certainly use the term "Regency" tongue in check, which is bleeding.

From the moment I have had my quarters, I have been disturbed with slamming doors (it's 0100 in the morning, which is why I'm now sharing my misfortune) and talking in hallway which sounds as if the conversation is occurring in my presence. When a door is being knocked on across the hall from me, the sound carries as if MY door is the one in which someone is knocking on.

Using the bathroom has the grand experience of hearing the downward flushes from the floors above.

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What 'In-Your Face' Luxury Means at The Ritz-Carlton Berlin

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: Potsdamer Platz 3, Berlin, Germany, 10785
November 18, 2010 at 1:55 PM | by | Comments (0)

Every so often we feature a hotel review from our readers that we feel should be shared with the rest of you dear hotel guests. These reviews are highlighted because they are timely, about cool hotels in cool places and are relatively level-headed. Think you can submit one just like this? Send it in.

THE RITZ-CARLTON BERLIN

Arrival & Check-in
Quick and efficient. The doorman has your suitcase inside before you finish paying the taxi (which is about 20 minutes and 20 euros from Tegel airport). The lady checking me in escorted me to the elevator to show me how to operate the keycard that is required to go up.

Only disappointment I had upon entering the room was two single beds - as a single business traveler two beds are pretty pointless. No luck in getting that changed though, not a king bed free in the house.

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Four Seasons Hampshire Goes Easy on the Florals

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  Site Where: Dogmersfield Park, Chalky Lane, Dogmersfield, Hook, Hampshire, United Kingdom, RG27 8TD
June 29, 2010 at 3:55 PM | by | Comments (0)

Every so often we feature a hotel review from our readers that we feel should be shared with the rest of you dear hotel guests. These reviews are highlighted because they are timely, about cool hotels in cool places and are relatively level-headed. Think you can submit one just like this? Send it in.

The Four Seasons Hampshire is located about an hour outside of central London. If you are looking to experience London but also want to escape to the countryside for a day or two, the FS could be a good option.

No need to rent a car; trains from London Waterloo station take you to Fleet in about 40 minutes, add a 10-minute cab ride and you are there.

The property combines the original Georgian manor house with a few modern wings and offers enough activities to never leave the grounds for a few days (fishing, horse-riding, clay-pigeon shooting, crocket, tennis, biking, hiking, etc).

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Things Are Not So Pretti at The Eventi

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  Site Where: 851 Avenue of the Americas [map], New York, NY, United States, 10001
May 24, 2010 at 9:55 AM | by | Comments (0)

Last week, we were a little let down by the lobby space at the new Eventi Hotel in New York but we had high hopes for the guest rooms. Consider those hopes dashed. One of our hotel spies recently stayed there over opening weekend and has sent us this report (sadly, it's without room photos. You can send us yours if you have 'em or check out Conde Nast Traveler)

I was really excited to stay at The Eventi. Somehow, I got swayed by the swanky site, so much so that I canceled reservations at the Andaz Wall Street to try out this new property. Well, let me just say that the whole experience left me flat and that the Eventi won't likely be at the top of my list of hotels to stay at in NYC.

Checking In I understand that I stayed there for four days opening weekend and that there would be some hiccups, but it's a problem for me when you walk into a hotel at 10.30pm and find four people behind the front counter, not really paying you any attention. It's like they were seeing who would get stuck checking me in.

There also seemed to be a "manager" type person there looking over the shoulder of the front desk employee. This "manager" said nothing to me during check in, I found that odd. I told the woman checking me in that I recently joined In Touch (the Kimpton loyalty program) and she just said "Oh, ok, that'll be added to your account." Um, ok.

She walked around the desk, handed us our keys, and told us to enjoy our night, not bothering to tell us where the elevators were. Granted, it's a small lobby, but still, it was off-putting.

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Hotel Indigo is a Modern Oasis in Asheville

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  Site Where: 151 Haywood St [map], Asheville, NC, United States, 28801
May 7, 2010 at 10:11 AM | by | Comments (0)

Every so often we feature a hotel review from our readers that we feel should be shared with the rest of you dear hotel guests. These reviews are highlighted because they are timely, about cool hotels in cool places and are relatively level-headed. Think you can submit one just like this? Send it in.

A modern boutique hotel in Asheville? Such a thing didn't exist until the Hotel Indigo (part of the ICH group) opened its doors last fall. On my recent trip to what I learned is considered the "San Francisco of the east" my partner and I stayed there to check things out.

While the property is located smack against the interstate, which initially turned me off, that all changed once we walked inside. The lobby is modern, sleek, and inviting, during the day, with a large reception desk. Check-in was a breeze after they realized we weren't with the woman who walked in before us.

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It's Not Just the Bedspreads That Will Drive You Mad at the Hilton Bonnet Creek

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  Site Where: 14100 Bonnet Creek Resort Lane [map], Orlando, FL, United States, 32831
March 17, 2010 at 9:25 AM | by | Comment (1)

Every so often we feature a hotel review from our readers that we feel should be shared with the rest of you dear hotel guests. These reviews are highlighted because they are timely, about cool hotels in cool places and are relatively level-headed. Think you can submit one just like this? Send it in. Now, our latest reader review comes straight outta the badlands of Orlando.

I've done stayed in a lot of hotels in my time. Consider it an occupational hazard. I like hotels big and small, boutique-y and branded. I require only a few things; hi-speed Internets (preferably free), a comfortable bed, and relative quiet.

I found all three during a stay while attending an on-site conference at the sparkly new Hilton Bonnet Creek complex, a stone's throw from the Walt Disney World madness in Orlando. (Ed. Note: It's also home to some dizzying pattern overload in the guestrooms.)

Normally, I would have no complaints and wouldn't consider passing a report along to my friends at HotelChatter. But this new hotel (open officially since last September) has left me scratching my head in a variety of ways.

Here are the oddities:

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Work the Catwalk As You Enter the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona

Where: Barcelona, Spain
March 8, 2010 at 4:34 PM | by | Comments (0)

One of our regular tipsters is filing back some snapshots he took in Barcelona. This is Part One of Two. The next Barcelona hotel scoop will come tomorrow.

I had the chance to check out both the new Mandarin Oriental and W (did not stay at either though, so can not say much about rooms or service quality).

Both looked good - although at 365 Euros for MO and something in the high 200 range for W, I found them both very overpriced for an off-weekend in Feb.

The Mandarin Oriental is located on Passeig de Gracia, one of the most upscale streets in Barcelona. A converted bank, it is across the street from Gaudi's famous Casa Batllo. You enter the hotel through an elevated walkway, labelled a catwalk on the website, crossing the atrium to reception.

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Another Place to Sit, Soak and Stare: The Banyan Tree Resort in Acapulco

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  Site Where: Boulevard Cabo Marques Lote 1 Colonia , Acapulco, GR, Mexico, 39907
March 4, 2010 at 11:05 AM | by | Comments (0)

We are suckers for a room with a killer view.  We find that we are even more likely to forgive some minor hotel inconveniences if we can stare out the window at something pretty--yeah we are that shallow. Let's help out our fellow hotel mavens by uploading rooms with killer views to the HotelChatter/Flickr photo pool, or by sending the photo along to us. We will feature our favorites in this space from time to time. Remember to tell us the name of the hotel and the room number of the hot view.

We're very fortunate to not only have a dedicated group of tipsters who love hotels just as much as we did but we're also fortunate to have a group that travels to amazing places. These folks are our ears and eyes when we can't be somewhere...like the brand new Banyan Tree Cabo Marques Resort in Acapulco.

This is a view of the ocean from the bathtub, one of our favorite places to admire the view. Our reader, He Who Travels, tells us:

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Anyone Adventuring into Aloft At All?

December 14, 2009 at 11:39 AM | by | Comments (6)

We are just now coming down off our high from staying at an Element Hotel by Westin in Las Vegas, especially since we've moved onto a much more expensive hotel that doesn't offer free WiFi, free parking or free breakfast. Grrr....

But after staying in an Element, we started to think more about Starwood's other new start-up brand, Aloft Hotels. We mentioned that we, personally, did not enjoy our stay at Aloft Rancho Cucamonga. However, another HotelChatter writer totally dug the Aloft Lexington--so much so that it made our Best Hotel Video Tour for 2008. But we think that had more to do with the torturously long wait for the first Aloft to open than it did with anything cool in the rooms.

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