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Hotel Chefs / Hotel Restaurants / Ritz-Carlton Hotels / San Francisco Hotels / California Hotels / → All Tags
Here's the latest happening in the luxury hotel world as told by JustLuxe's own Lena Katz. Got a question about luxury hotels, the travel biz, and where to stay? Send it in and we'll have Lena answer it.
A recent dinner at the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco’s swank Parallel 37 food-geeked us out, thanks to new chef Michael Rotondo’s tendency to incorporate the most exotic produce items in California into his tasting menu. Torpedo radish? Smoked sunchokes? Arugula blossoms? It’s all coming at ya…and it’s good.
Chef Rotondo, who recently arrived from Chicago where he cooked under Charlie Trotter for eight years, admitted when he wanders through the San Francisco area farmers markets, he often doesn't recognize some of the stranger fruits – and when that happens, he usually buys the questionable item, takes it back to the kitchen, and figures out a tasty use for it.
We asked him to identify seven awesome produce items he’s cooking with right now, and tell us what the heck to do with them
Fermented Black Garlic: Ferment whole bulbs of garlic at high temperature, and they’ll turn black and taste sweet and syrupy, with hints of licorice and balsamic. Black garlic isn’t the prettiest veggie in the drawer, but it adds a complexity to a dish that raw garlic can't match. Most Asian markets carry black garlic. We have it on the lunch menu currently - blended into a light aioli and used on our albacore tuna sandwich.
Hotel News / Autograph Collection / California Hotels / Iowa Hotels / Historic Hotels / San Francisco Hotels / → All Tags
Autograph Collection just announced its first two hotels in California, plus a second in Davenport, Iowa, all of which are set to officially debut as AC properties next month. Looks like the brand is well on track to reach its goal of 50 hotels by the end of 2013.
First up is Hotel Adagio, a 171-room historical hotel near Union Square in San Francisco. This one caught our eye back in September when we visited and loved how fresh-looking the place looked after its $7 million renovations. In fact, back then, we even wrote how Hotel Adagio had parted ways with Joie De Vivre, so "perhaps the hotel's future may be brighter."
Looks like we were right about that one!
Next week we'll be debuting our HotelChatter 2013 Cruise Guide. It might seem like a funny time to release this as, to put it lightly, the cruise ship industry has been in the spotlight over the past year. And few flowers have been thrown on stage.
There have been some dramas. Costa Concordia sank off the coast of Italy. The disabled Carnival Triumph had its feces run down the walls. Food-related illness continues to be a problem. And now cities are starting to debate whether or not they should welcome ships, whether they do more harm than good. Charleston is having an internal debate about it currently, and it isn't pretty.
One resident described cruise ships as "sardine cans" that are "susceptible to horrific accidents that instantly can put thousands at risk for their lives.” Another saw the ships as a detriment to the city's ambiance. “I can’t believe they are doing this to Charleston,” she said. “I can hear the announcements from my house. And that black smoke. It just tumbles out of that smokestack. You should see the dust in my car.”
While a reasonable person could understand that side of the coin -- the resident's viewpoint -- we can't forget about the other side -- the business side. And also a strong consumer force that continues to love cruising.
Hotel Packages / Hotel Art / Museum Hotels / San Francisco Hotels / Mandarin Oriental Hotels / → All Tags
For all you Sinophiles out there, the acclaimed "China's Terracotta Warriors" exhibition has finally landed at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco this month. Featuring 120 life-size clay soldiers, out of the nearly 8,000 that were excavated from the tomb of China's first emperor Qin Shihuang, the relics are considered by many to be the eighth wonder of the ancient world.
Unsurprisingly, this was a perfect opportunity for Mandarin Oriental SF, which is located near the museum, to offer a "Terracotta Warrior" package. No, you don't get to cuddle up to the statues in your room, or enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner with one of them at the hotel's Brasserie S&P restaurant.
What the hotel wants you to do is simply get to the museum and spend an afternoon admiring the warriors—they are 2,000 years old, after all. The package starts at $545/night and, in addition to accommodation in the hotel's recently-renovated guest rooms, also offers special access to the exhibit with two VIP tickets and a catalogue with additional info on Emperor Qin Shihuang and his burial complex (ie, something to peruse while you lounge around your "room in the sky").
UPDATE 2:05pm, A rep for the hotel informs us that the hotel is experiencing some minor delays and will not be opening today. As of now, the Zetta is on track to open later this week.
San Francisco's newest belle opens today in the city's SoMa district, right next to the Powell St BART stop. The 116-room Hotel Zetta is in fact a Viceroy Hotel, and is the latest output from the brand's "Urban Retreat" collection (this is also what will open in New York next September).
The original building that houses the Zetta was actually built in 1913, and the hotel features "reclaimed" decor like a front desk made out of old lumberyard wood, a chandelier made out of old sunglasses, and a "used electronics" art installation that incorporates old cell phones, computer chips and other expired gadgetry that was donated by locals (this is the home of Google and Facebook, after all) last month.
Best of all: the hotel had been keeping quiet about its lobby restaurant (the website still lists an unnamed "exclusive destination restaurant"), but SF Gate finally spilled the beans last week that the venue will be called The Cavalier.
Run by Ana Weinberg and chef Jennifer Puccio, The Cavalier will be a "London-inspired brasserie," with leather banquettes and polished brass giving the place a vintage feel, as well as a "semi-private bar and lounge" in the back of the restaurant named Marianne's, after Marianne Faithful (whom we love). Weinberg and Puccio will also handle the food and drink menus at the S&R lobby bar (pictured). The Cavalier is set to open later this summer.
Chinese New Year Hotels / Dorchester Collection Hotels / Omni Hotels / San Francisco Hotels / Paris Hotels / France Hotels / London Hotels / UK Hotels / → All Tags
If you can’t make it to Shanghai or Hong Kong for Chinese New Year on February 10, all is not lost. From an authentic “Year of the Snake” Cantonese culinary experience in London to an authentic Chinese Carnival in Paris to VIP access at San Francisco’s Chinese New Year Parade, hotels around the world are celebrating Chinese New Year in style.
The Dorchester Hotel in London is celebrating with a special “Year of the Snake” menu at the China Tang restaurant. If Snake Soup with Fish Maw is on your list of most favorite things to eat, then this is the place for you. The restaurant is reputed to have some of the best and most authentic Cantonese food outside of China, so you can bet that Peking Duck and Shanghai Smoked Fish are also on the menu. When you’re finally stuffed to the gills (we couldn’t resist!), then head over to the China Tang Bar for a classic digestif or a contemporary Asian one such as the yummy-sounding Xiao Mi Mi with Bombay Sapphire Gin, fresh ginger root, a slice of orange, fresh lemon juice, cinnamon and orange syrup, and strawberry liqueur.
The Chinese New Year Package is only available on Sunday, February 10 and starts at £1,260 ($1,973) in a Junior Suite.
It's no surprise that Cali is always on the cutting edge when it comes to technology, but even we were stumped when we first heard about Hotel Abri's "iPad wall". We knew it had to be gimmicky in some sort of way, but hopefully helpful, too.
The "wall", which is located in the hotel's lobby, holds five iPads loaded with the latest and best apps out there to help guests tour San Francisco. There's a bunch of best of lists, links to Alcatraz tickets, details on Napa tours, games and more.
Along with the iPad wall, Hotel Abri has a "Tech Menu" for guests who've forgotten important items at home. Need to borrow a phone or laptop charger? They've got it. How about some ear buds, speakers, or a flash drive? Yeah, they've got those for you, too. All for free. Love it so much you want to keep it? They'll sell it to you, no problem.
And of course, your room, with its free 100 Megs of WiFi, will be laced with all the bells and whistles, from the in-room iPod/iPad docking clock radio to the new iPhone 5 adapters (whew!).
Rates at Hotel Abri begin at $279 per night in February.
[Photo: Hotel Abri]
Hotel News / Hotel Openings / Viceroy Hotels / California Hotels / San Francisco Hotels / → All Tags
It doesn't seem to happen every often, so we're always a little more jazzed than usual when San Francisco gets a new hotel, and the Hotel Zetta will debut just after Valentine’s Day.
The 116-room hotel, at the junction of SoMa, Mid-Market, and Union Square, will attempt to create a work play balance with sustainable architecture that features technological and recycled elements to go along with ultramodern furnishings. The building where the hotel resides, was originally constructed in 1913, and will celebrate its hundred-year anniversary to go along with the opening.
Check out the photo gallery to get a sense of what to expect.
Hotel Deals / Super Bowl Hotels / Baltimore Hotels / Boston Hotels / Denver Hotels / San Francisco Hotels / Seattle Hotels / → All Tags
The reasons for a post-holiday getaway just keep piling up!
OneTravel.com has a really cool promotion happening throughout the NFL Playoffs called the "Travel Bowl," which offers flash-sales-type hotel deals in the cities where the teams reside. That's the catch: These deals are only valid and available for as long as the city's team remains in the playoffs. So, each week, another city’s deals will no longer be available to claim.
There are great places in play -- Boston, Denver, Seattle, and San Francisco, for example (no disrespect to the others) -- and with so many eye-rolling promotions floating around, we are happy to see something that will give us another reason to root.
We put together some examples below, and you can see them all here. There are nice discounts, but you need to jump on them -- especially if you think their team is going down this weekend!
This JDV Hotel has been a fave of HotelChatter's for nearly a decade, but we haven't physically checked in on the place since 2007. But instead of giving you some laborious hotel review, we'll make it short and suite (ha!).
Here are 5 Things You Should Know About the Hotel Vitale: (pics included!)
1. Splurge on the Water View Rooms: We said it way back in 2005 and nearly eight years later the same still holds true--the water view rooms are the ones to book. From your little perch, you can admire the stunning San Francisco Bay with the iconic Bay Bridge in the distance as well as the San Francisco Ferry Building. During our stay, these were going for about $308 a night with an AAA discount.
2. But Ask for a Higher Floor: We were placed on the third floor which still offered great views of the Bay Bridge and the Ferry Building but the Embarcadero is especially noisy in the morning. We found ourselves up at around 7am despite vowing to "sleep in" 'til 830am.
Christmas Hotels / Hotel Christmas Trees / Holiday Hotel Decorations / London Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / Colorado Hotels / Bangkok Hotels / Florida Hotels / Paris Hotels / San Francisco Hotels / Hotel Lobbies / Hotel Art / → All Tags
It's beginning to feel a lot like...a tropical Christmas?
Hotel delays exasperate us. Booking last-minute hotels sometimes stresses us out. So excuse us while we take a minute and just focus on the one thing that's guaranteed to bring us some joy: big, bright, colorful, and unnecessarily elaborate hotel Christmas displays.
Go on, click through our photo gallery and let the holiday magic unfold!
HotelChatter Contest / OpenThread / General Managers / San Francisco Hotels / Los Angeles Hotels / → All Tags
UPDATE: Voting has now closed for the individual categories. Head over here to pick your favorite from the four finalists, and help us name the world's hottest GM!
This week, we're taking some time to highlight the world's hottest hotel General Managers. Why, you ask? Because there are some seriously sweet GMs out there, and we feel it's our duty to give them the love and attention they deserve. Well, not in that way...but, er, you get the idea.
Here's how it works: each day, we'll present a selection of handsome GMs for you to ogle. Pick out your favorite by voting in the comments or send us an email. At the end of the week, we'll tally the votes and come up with four finalists from four categories (NYC, Miami, California and International). Then, we'll narrow it down even further and ask you to help us pick the single hottest GM in the world. The competition is fierce, and the polls are officially open.
Are you ready to vote?