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Inside The New Renaissance Stanford Court

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  Site Where: 905 California Street [map], San Francisco, CA, United States, 94108
October 8, 2009 at 1:48 PM | by | Comments (0)

Every so often we feature a hotel review from one of 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.

Named after and on the site of the former mansion of Leland Stanford, a San Francisco railroad baron, The Renaissance Stanford Court shares Nob Hill with the Mark Hopkins InterContinental (next door), The Fairmont (across the street), The Huntington (a block uphill), and The Ritz-Carlton (a few doors downhill).

While Union Square is only a few blocks away, the short climb to Nob Hill is steep. Really steep. It had been a while since my last time in SF, and even though I stayed at the Mark Hopkins at the time, I do not remember it being that steep. For most people, it should not be a major issue, but if you are less able to walk or traveling with someone that is, then keep this in mind.

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Luxury Hotels, Listen Up: One Guest's Five Hotel Pet Peeves

September 17, 2009 at 2:12 PM | by | Comments (4)

Every so often we feature a hotel review from one of 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.

Today we have a special post from regular HotelChatter reader and frequent hotel guest, Dan Suslavich who is giving us a different sort of Reader Review by rounding up his Five Hotel Pet Peeves.

I was a hospitality major in college, and I am the last person to be picky when it comes to hotels or their staff, but, there are just some things that you come to expect when staying in a 4 or 5-star hotel, and when these aren't provided, they become pet peeves, so here are five of mine that come to mind.

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For What You Get, Mama Shelter is Kind of an Expensive Broad

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  Site Where: 109 rue de Bagnolet, Paris, France, 75020
July 30, 2009 at 4:10 PM | by | Comments (0)

Every so often we feature a hotel review from one of 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.

We got a reader review in today (well, more like a reader Skype call — how Oprah of us!) from a recent guest at Paris' new hip, hot mom on the block, Mama Shelter.

Touted as a super high-tech, modern-but-affordable option in the City of Light, our reader enjoyed his experience at the hotel overall — but had a few tips and cautionary points to throw in (as told to us):

· Those iMacs in the rooms? Yeah, to get the keyboard to actually use them as a computer, you have to pay a pretty hefty deposit down at the front desk — kind of a hassle.
· Though the decor of the room is pretty cool-looking, the paint looks sort of cheap — almost as though the black walls were painted with chalkboard paint and then the whole write-on-the-walls idea was abandoned somewhere along the way.
· In the small room with black walls, the light was kind of poopy and dark — bummer.
· Beware of the location: it's pretty far from the center of the city and all the biggest attractions — not particularly difficult to get to, just not centrally located. The metro lines are a pretty significant walk from the hotel, too.

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The Gaia Napa Valley Hotel is Green But Not Luxe

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  Site Where: 3600 Broadway Street [map], American Canyon, CA, United States, 94503
July 8, 2009 at 6:25 PM | by | Comments (0)

Every so often we feature a hotel review from one of 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 other day, a couple very near and dear to us took our recommendation and spent the night at the new-ish, LEED-certified Gaia Napa Valley Hotel and Spa in American Canyon, Calif. While a romantic inn in Yountville was a more desired lodging option, the price was right for our friends at this hotel--$92 a night on Expedia.

So how did this green hotel turn out? Eh. Our friend writes:

It was "green" and won the coveted LEED award, but it really was not too special--somewhere between a Motel Six and a Holiday Inn. We had a good night's sleep but we wouldn't recommend it.

While they also sent us room photos, the snapshots were too blurry to post so we just have some exterior shots to show you. We can tell you that the beds do look comfortable but the rest of the room lacks warmth.

On the plus side, there was a pretty little pond out front and some swans to look at. And our friend assured us the place was clean, unlike most Motel 6s and Holiday Inns. Sigh, at least the price was right.

Some more photos of Gaia Napa Valley Hotel after the jump.

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Sounds Like Someone Had a Good Time at the Greenwich Hotel

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  Site Where: 377 Greenwich St. [map], New York, ny, United States, 10013
July 8, 2009 at 1:17 PM | by | Comments (2)

Every so often we feature a hotel review from one of 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.

We've given the Greenwich Hotel a fair amount of heckling around here — we have a somewhat tumultuous history with the Robert DeNiro-owned place — but we quite enjoyed this review, which landed in our inbox over the weekend.

Hey, at least someone had a kickass time at the Greenwich. And there is a possible Will Ferrell sighting, too.

From an enthusiastic, very satisfied Greenwich guest (spelling in context, where applicable):

My great stay was in Tribecca at the Greenwich Hotel where I encountered the most friendly service from front desk to concierge to GM all of whom managed to positively welcome me and the physical property is luxe in a very subtle in it's eclectic mix of reclaimed civil war era wood and modern appointments to include the basics but also bose dock for iPod and phone charging and playing, free goodies at the in-room snack basket and drinks all excepting alcohol drinks which are not free of course. The spa is over the moon, particularly the pool which is saline and out of a design mag, with private steam showers in the changing room.

Will Farrell was the only other client working out, which also was cool for me.

The introductory corporate rate for this property was $429 for a King bed, down from a rack (ex-hotelier) of $579. It was a lot of bang for the buck. I am referring it to all my NYC business traveller friends.

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Hotel Blue: 'Unpretentious Luxury' on the Delaware Beach

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  Site Where: 110 Anglers Road [map], Lewes, DE, United States, 19958
June 2, 2009 at 9:37 AM | by | Comments (0)

Every so often, we showcase hotel tips from readers that we think deserve a little attention. Now it's important to note that in this case, the tip was from, uh, the actual hotel owner. But! After checking the hotel out on TripAdvisor and elsewhere, we deemed it worthy of our ever-precious time — and that’s even in spite of the owner’s self-praise, in which he described the hotel’s website as “the bomb!”

So without further ado, we present Delaware’s Hotel Blue, which professes to be the tiny state’s first boutique hotel, located in beachy Lewes on the Eastern Shore, near the livelier Rehobeth Beach. From its website description, which also calls itself “a simple palette of unpretentious luxury:”

“Hotel Blue is redefining luxury in historic Lewes. "Blue" is an inspired fusion of coastal Victorian, contemporary design and first class amenities. Sixteen suites and rooms offering lush surroundings with a modern twist.”

The hotel hangs art by local artists, and “whimsy and surprise abound” throughout the hotel, from a blue-glowing sink to an ice bucket that changes hue (think lime green, hot pink) when you fill it with ice cubes. The website says each room comes stocked with a “romantic” gas fireplace, private water-view balcony, access to rooftop pool and lounge, and the all-important free wireless access (!). Guests under the age of 18 aren’t allowed, so don’t fret that the rooftop pool will be clogged with kiddie floaties.

Hotel Blue’s TA reviews are really pretty impressive, with a whopping 49 “excellent” ratings, nabbing the No. 1 ranking of six hotels in Lewes. A few highlights: “Much more style than the usual beach place with lots of space in the rooms.” “The room was spacious and felt more like a nicely furnished condo of a friend than a hotel.” “In a town filled with Victorian Homes, Hotel Blue has a modern European feel. The owners pay attention to every detail.” As usual, a few bad eggs spoil its perfect rating, but honestly, the grousers mostly sound like the usual cranky culprits always whining on TA.

Summer rates start at $250 weekdays, $275 weekends, which admittedly seems a little spendy for a beach hotel in Delaware, but we could be wrong. Have you stayed at the Hotel Blue? We’d love to hear how it went.

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Sheraton Waikiki Has a Killer Location, But That's About It

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  Site Where: 2255 Kalakaua Avenue [map], Honolulu, HI, United States, 96815
May 21, 2009 at 1:31 PM | by | Comments (0)

Every so often we feature a hotel review from one of 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.

Reader M. hit up the newly-renovated Sheraton Waikiki twice recently. Here's his take.

The Sheraton Waikiki occupies one of the finest stretches of beach in the heart of Waikiki. Adjacent (and sharing the same superb beachfront location) as its much more refined and upscale neighbor, The Royal Hawaiian, The Sheraton is the largest and most popular of the handful of properties that make up a formidable presence in the heart of Waikiki.

The Sheraton is over 35 years old and a complete top to bottom renovation is about 90% finished, with all standard guest rooms, meeting rooms, restaurants and the outdoor pool areas now completed. Still to go: the lobby and elevator areas (which was a disaster on our last visit on May 14) and the suites, which are scheduled for renovation over the next 6 months.

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Le Méridien Etoile Is 'An Excellent Value' (Unless You Need WiFi)

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  Site Where: 81 Boulevard Gouvion Saint-cyr, Paris, France, 75848
May 4, 2009 at 9:27 AM | by | Comments (0)

Every so often we feature a hotel review from one of 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.

Reader M. hit up the massive Le Méridien Etoile in Paris for a two-night stay last week — here's his take.

Le Méridien Etoile is one of those rare anomalies in a city of quaint, intimate boutique-style hotels: a giant (1,025 room), 4-star commercial property just steps away from the Palais de Congres, Paris' main convention centre. The hotel itself is over 30 years old, but has recently undergone an extensive interior make-over which is still in progress (but out of view). All of the public areas, meeting space, lobby and restaurants have been completely redone, and about 40% of the guestroom renovations are now complete.

Location
Literally 10 steps across a side street from the Palais de Congres, the street is a wide boulevard (with separate, paved bike lanes!) which never seems very crowded or even noisy. The location is at the centre of Port Maillot, smack in the middle of the 17th arrondisement, with lots of fairly large restaurants very close by. The Air France bus from the airport (€15) stops directly across the street from the hotel, making airport access super convenient.

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What You Get for $120 at Affinia Chicago

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  Site Where: 166 E Superior St [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60611
April 16, 2009 at 9:36 AM | by | Comments (0)

Every so often we feature a hotel review from one of 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.

New York-based boutique hotel chain Affinia recently expanded its presence and soft-opened its first hotel outside the Big Apple, Affinia Chicago (at the site of the former Fitzpatrick hotel), back in January '08. Reader M. paid $120 for a room Tuesday night — here's his take.

Very nice guestrooms; nothing really dramatic, but very spacious sleeping area. One quirk: The standard rooms are "split level," meaning you enter the room and there is a small vestibule with a bathroom and a tiny (very cramped) desk which overlooks the bedroom. Then you step down 3 steps into the sleeping area.

Very nice bed and lots of reading lamps; no wall decorations, however. There is also a full-size recliner in the room (good for watching the wall-mounted TV), but no place for 2 people to sit or hold a brief meeting.

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Hilton Budapest Is a 'Safe Bet'

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  Site Where: Hess A Ter 1-3, Budapest, Hungary, 1013
April 3, 2009 at 11:26 AM | by | Comments (0)

Every so often we feature a hotel review from one of 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 one comes from reader E., who tell us his overall reaction to the Hilton Budapest was "huh, I don't really have much to say about it, whether pro or con."

There are two Hiltons in Budapest: the Hilton Budapest and the Hilton Budapest West End. The West End property is located on the Pest side of the city, while the Budapest property is located in the Castle District on the Buda side, at the top of the hill within the UNESCO World Heritage site. The hotel is next door to the St. Matthias Church and actually incorporates remains from centuries-old structures that used to occupy the site.

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Bulgari Resort in Bali Not Exactly the 'Pinnacle of Modern Luxury'

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  Site Where: Jln Goa Lempeh Banjar Dinas, Bali, 80364, Indonesia
April 1, 2009 at 2:32 PM | by | Comments (2)

Every so often we feature a hotel review from one of 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.

We fished this snapshot out of the HotelChatter Flickr Pool and, upon first glance, this photo of an Ocean Cliff Villa at the Bulgari Resort Bali looks gorgeous, no? From the looks of this photo, we'd be down for staying here.

But, um, reader who submitted the shot — hotel maven lyh1 — sheds a little bit of light on fashion house Bulgari's Bali property — and we were let in on a secret: it may not be as awesome as we think it is.

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The Four Seasons Budapest Soothes and Relaxes But Still Needs Free WiFi

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  Site Where: Roosevelt Ter 5-7, Budapest, Hungary, 1051
March 23, 2009 at 4:19 PM | by | Comment (1)

Every so often we feature a hotel review from one of 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 review comes from a longtime HotelChatter tipster who recently saw the swankier side of Budapest. Enjoy.

Four Seasons Gresham Palace is on the Pest river front, right opposite the historical Chain Bridge connecting the two parts of the city. A gorgeous Art Nouveau building, it is beautifully lit up at night and worth a stop even if you are not staying here to admire the lobby and have a drink in the cosy bar. Next door is the Sofitel, InterContinental, and a little further down the river the Marriott, all of them in various degrees of awful boxy concrete hotel architecture.

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