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As Week 2 of HotelChatter Cocktail Week(s) wraps up, here's our second run-down of some of the 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!
Roll Out the Barrel(aging) –
One trend that is growing stronger this year is in-house barrel-aged and private label spirits. We're envisioning cask-aged moonshine made in a mad scientist-type laboratory.
Jeff Josenhans at THE US GRANT in San Diego is producing an in-house barrel-aged Chartreuse with Wayne Geiselman, who has a PH D in Food Science. Using complex-sounding reverse engineering, food scientist Wayne created a proprietary blend of 25 local, organic ingredients including Southern California wildflower honey. Jeff then took this botanical blend and an un-aged bourbon to use as the spirit base (as opposed to traditional European brandy), and is now aging this noble experiment in 100% New Allier French Oak (never done before in the cocktail world). Six-month, 1-year, and 2-year-old bottlings will be ready to open on October 15. If you want to stay over for the big unveiling, you're looking at rates starting at $239.
The Dorchester has revived the historical recipe for Old Tom Gin to create a newer, bolder blend exclusive to the hotel. The City of London Distillery has the weight of distilling the gin under the watchful eye of the hotel’s bar manager and expert alchemist, Giuliano Morandin. This is the second time Giuliano has re-introduced Old Tom Gin to the UK drinks market, the first being in 2006 after a 30-year absence. To celebrate the re-launch, Giuliano has created the Old Tom Cobbler cocktail, made with coriander, fresh lemongrass, elderflower and, not surprisingly, Old Tom. A 700ml bottle of The Dorchester Old Tom Gin is priced at £65 ($109) and is available at The Bar at The Dorchester or by visiting shop.dorchestercollection.com. Signature cocktails including the Old Tom Cobbler start at £16 ($27). Stays start at £505 ($838).
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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)
The annual nerd fest that is Comic-Con kicks off on Thursday in San Diego and whether you're headed there to see Kiefer Sutherland relive Jack Bauer's greatest moments on 24 or learn some "cool" Star Wars origami tricks or celebrate the 25th anniversary of The Simpsons or pick up some new comic book collectibles, we suggest making a stop off at these hotels for some Comic-Con-themed goodness.
· The US Grant Hotel, where the first Comic-Con was held in 1970, has partnered up with The Cravory to create special Comic-Con cookies. If you were lucky enough to get a room before the hotel sold-out, on Friday, July 25, four Comic-Con inspired Cravory cookies will be placed on the guest room beds at turndown. Guests who dine at The Grant Grill will also receive a commemorative Captain Grant coaster, letter-pressed with Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist for the Union Tribune, Steve Breen's exclusive artwork, while supplies last.
· Manchester Grand Hyatt is honoring Marvel Comics with three specialty cocktails ($11). Starting tomorrow, at the hotel's rooftop bar, Top of the Hyatt, Thor's Hammer(ed) will be a fun spin on the classic Long Island Iced Tea. In the Grand Lobby Bar, The Hulkito, essentially a Mojito, will be served to honor the green superheor while in Redfield's Sports Bar, the Marvelrita, a margarita, will be served in Marvel Comics' signature red color.
· Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina has created a Captain America cocktail ($9) which tastes like a Pina Colada but instead is colored red, white and blue, just like Captain America himself.
[Photos: US Grant & Sheraton San Diego Marina]
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America the beautiful, we're ready to celebrate you on the 4th of July. (Shout-out to our new national treasure, Tim Howard.)
Still not sure what to do for the Fourth? Here are 8 hotels who want to BBQ and drink beer with you before cuddling up to watch the fireworks. Boom, boom, pow and room service!
W WASHINGTON DC: The restaurant at the W is currently closed but the P.O.V. rooftop bar and its incredible views of the Washington Monument is still open. Tickets to the Boom with a View party are sold-out BUT if you book a room package, you'll get two tickets to the shindig. Rates start at $345 a night. You can book your reservation here.
CONRAD NEW YORK: The hotel's rooftop Loopy Droopy bar has killer views of the Statue of Liberty and the Hudson River, as well as adult ice pops to cool off with during the holiday festivities. Room rates start at $259 a night tomorrow for a king deluxe suite.
THE JAMES NEW YORK: JIMMY, the rooftop bar at the hotel, will have killer views of the fireworks on the East River, along with special July 4th cocktails, live DJ, and gourmet twists on BBQ food like Kobe Franks in a blanket, mini grilled cheese with cheddar and apple and the signature JIMMY burger. Room rates this weekend start at $313 a night.
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The Harrah's Resort Southern California, an all-encompassing Vegas-style gaming resort just north of San Diego, has not only undergone a name change (it used to be Harrah's Rincon) but it also added an entirely new tower to its property.
Called The Resort Tower North, the 403-room tower joins the resort's two existing towers and bump up the total room count to 1,065 rooms. But these new tower rooms are clearly the ones you want to book with their modern furniture and decor and upgraded amenities. (Rooms in the older towers are very outdated.)
And if you really want to splurge, book one of Resort Tower North's 48 suites which have a killer views of the neighboring mountains. Check out two of the suite types below!
With Memorial Day around the corner, it’s that time of year when hotels take down the scaffolding and show off newly renovated digs in time for the busy summer season. The 126 year-old Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego is the latest to announce a refreshed look with the upcoming launch of a new beach area on May 1st.
Called Del Beach, the new waterfront set-up features daybeds, half-moon cabanas, boogie boards, surfboards, stand-up paddleboards, kayak rentals, and a beach playground for kids. The revamp will also come with new white and burgundy beach towels, and guests can rent chaise loungers and sun umbrellas. A full food and beverage service will offer salads, sandwiches, mai tais, and margaritas right on the beach.
To all the hotels out there that still insist on charging for WiFi, consider this comment we just received:
Earlier this month I stayed at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley which provides WiFi in the room for $12.99 a day!
When I questioned this they told me that I had the option of using the free WiFi in the Lobby, which didn't help me when I needed to check my email while still in pajamas at 6:00AM.
Other than the WiFi situation the hotel was great, but it's the only reason I need to ensure I never book this hotel again.
It's a shame that they will lose my future business over a ridiculous WiFi fee, but I'm guessing I'm not the only one.
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Omni Bedford Springs
While hotel holiday decorations are pretty to look at, they don't do much to relax you during the holiday season, which let's be honest--can be crazy stressful with all the parties, the shopping, the relatives. So if you need a breather, we’ve put together a list (and we’re checking it twice) of hotel spas across the US who have put together some holiday-themed treatments that you can give to yourself because, contrary to popular belief, sometimes it is better to receive than to give.
The Spa at Rancho Bernardo Inn, San Diego normally uses seasonal ingredients and this winter is no exception. From December through January you can indulge in the Chocolate Candied Orange Treatment, and indulge you will! This treatment starts with a hazelnut and orange scrub; then comes a chocolate comfrey wrap and cinnamon scalp treatment; an Acai butter massage follows, as does a mulled cider drink. The spa then sends you on your way with a take home recipe for hazelnut and sea salt shortbread cookies. The cost for this extravagance is $175.
At Lake Arrowhead Resort’s Spa of the Pines (an Autograph Collection hotel) there is a new holiday-themed menu of treatments. The resort is offering a hot stone Holiday Pedicure, a Holiday Swedish Massage using their own special holiday-scented oil (cloves and cinnamon), and a Holiday-Scented Body Scrub using an organic vanilla and brown sugar scrub followed by a rich body cream. For the most bang for your buck go for the Holiday Duo: the body scrub followed by the massage for $165.
L'Auberge de Sedona is offering guests a Warming Gingerbread Sugar Body Scrub and Gingerbread Wrap that are good enough to eat. Using organic sugar and warming ginger oil there are also notes of cinnamon and orange. To tempt you further, we’ll just tell you that after the scrub, the body butter is applied to your skin, you’re wrapped in warm blankets and receive either a scalp and neck massage or a foot massage. You can just lie back and hear the heavenly choir. The scrub and wrap are $145 for both treatments.
Legoland in Carlsbad, Calif. only opened their first hotel this past April (read all about it here but already they were dreaming of opening a second hotel next to the theme park, this time with an additional 50 hotel rooms, along with 40 themed cabins that would have been designed as either tree houses or "Hobbit lodges. Amazing!
Except the city of Carlsbad rejected Legoland's proposal and instead voted in favor of a bland Westin resort from Grand Pacific Hotels. Booo.The Westin will actually come about as an addition to the existing Sheraton resort near Legoland.
According to the San Diego Union Tribune, there is a possibility that Legoland will still be able to build their second hotel property on land that they already own versus land owned by the city. We can only hope.
But still, if this one doesn't get built, more Legoland hotels will happen as Lego's parent company, Merlin Entertainment, is prepping an public stock offering to fund hotel development and theme parks around the world.
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The Emerson Resort is a close-by chill-out spot for New York City residents
The seasons are changing in many parts of the country, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to hibernate away. In fact, fall can be the best time to explore cities that were too hot to handle in the summer, or quaint country inns too filled with weekenders.
Whether you want to be a city or country mouse, we’ve got some great spots waiting to welcome you with open arms, a cup of hot cider or perhaps a glass of bubbly.
Now's the right time to choose your great escape.
Town: New York City
Many families heading to NYC for the holidays will be pleased by this month’s opening of the 95-room Fairfield Inn & Suites New York Manhattan Downtown. Located at 95 Henry Street in the Chinatown and the Lower East Side area, the hotel has convenient access to the Statue of Liberty, Times Square and World Trade Center Memorial/Freedom Tower. Besides the free hot breakfast and WiFi, guests will dig the in-room microwaves and mini-fridges as well as the swell price point starting at $169 per night (rates will vary).
Country: Mt Tremper, New York
The Catskills are a go-to destination for weary New Yorkers seeking refuge from their 9 to 5's. The Emerson Resort, a Kingston-area resort, has two sections—an adults-only Inn where fireplace and canopy-bed laced suites provide a serene scene, and a pet and family-friendly Adirondack-style lodge so everyone can let loose without worry. But all guests get access to the first-class restaurant, spa (pumpkin body scrub, anyone), hiking, and soon coming skiing at nearby Hunter Mountain. Plus, the price is right starting at $159 per night.
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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and many hotels are "Thinking Pink", offering packages and programs to support breast cancer research. Hotel geeks, you can do your part to help the cause in the simplest ways from buying a slice of cake, getting a manicure at a hotel spa, to of course booking a stay at one of these special properties. It's a twin-win this month.
Next week we'll let you know hotels supporting this nationally recognized month with one of our favorite things--Specialty Cocktails!
Squeeze n' Sip: The Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village near Malibu is supporting Breast Cancer Awareness by inviting guests to be proactive about their health by participating in a $75 digital mammogram screening at their state-of-the-art California Health and Longevity Institute, and also their special Think Pink Pampering Package, which includes a customized 50-minute Tranquility Massage followed by a Pink Lady Mocktini which can be sipped poolside at the spa's Serenity Pool. The package is $130 per person and is available Monday to Friday through October 31, 2013. A portion of the package proceeds will be donated to The Cancer Support Community, a local non-profit organization dedicated to supporting individuals and families of those affected by cancer.
Get Pretty Feet and a Sweet Treat: The Surrey in New York City is offering a special Champagne Pedicure in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month. The 60 minute pedicure is $95 and includes two signature Cornelia cupcakes, a small bouquet of pink roses and dried lavender.
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Lebron James added another ring to his collection when he became a married man this past Saturday.
The Miami Heat forward wed his high school sweetheart of 12 years, Savannah Brinson at the deluxe Grand Del Mar Hotel, just 25 minutes north of downtown San Diego.
Though we wondered why Lebron chose San Diego for his nuptials instead of Miami or his Akron, Ohio hometown, it's easy to see why the Grand Del Mar was selected to host the star-studded affair, which included guests Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and his girlfriend, Gabrielle Union.
Calling itself “San Diego’s premier wedding venue”, the Grand Del Mar looks like a sprawling Mediterranean estate and its picturesque setting in the Los Peñasquitos Canyon makes for a serene scene.
But we're hearing that another couple arrived at the wedding and took the event to a whole 'nother level!
Read about it after the jump!