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It's no secret that hotel rooms are used for trysting but we were in for quite a shock when we saw this happening at the Conrad Hotel in Tokyo. Yes, that's right. We're talking about the two teddy bears getting too close in a cup inside one of the guest rooms.
All joking aside, the snapshot from Ken E. Lee in the HotelChatter Flickr Pool gives us an up close and personal look at the sweet teddy bears, which are only available to guests. (The hotel also gives guests a Conrad duckie too.) You can purchase these directly from the hotel but you know, you have to go to Tokyo to get it. Otherwise, eBay it.
Rates start at around $400 a night for a King City room with seriously stunning views of the skyscrapers in Ginza and Shiodome. Check out more of Photo: Ken E. Lee/Flickr]
Now that Ace Hotels have crossed international waters to London and Panama, there's no stopping them. While they've still got Los Angeles and Pittsburgh as well as two new NYC hotels on tap, the hipster hotel brand is also thinking about expanding to the Far East.
A super secret hotel spy has given us the lowdown on the Ace's Asia hotel expansion plans but was reluctant to divulge the exact city. So now we're left to speculate. We actually think Beijing would be the perfect spot for an Ace Hotel, perhaps in the 798 Art Zone where art galleries and shops have sprung from former military factory buildings. But the Ace Hotel brand could also do well in Shanghai and Hong Kong too. Then again, maybe Ace will surprise us by opening in another one of China's big cities like Guangzhou, Chongqing, or Chengdu.
And it may not even be China. Maybe Tokyo is at the top of their list, especially now that the Summer Olympics are coming there. You never really know with Ace. But you can expect it to be in a historic building in a pre-revitalized area with a fascinating, if quirky, history. That's just the Ace way.
It looks like Andaz Hotels made a very good decision in adding Tokyo to their list of new cities, now that Tokyo has been selected as the site of the 2020 Summer Olympics. (The Andaz is set to open sometime next year, giving it plenty of time to get things in order before the crowds arrive. )
As with all host cities of massive events like the Olympics, we can expect many more new hotels to pop up as the date approaches, as well as lots of renovations by existing hotels. Remember London last summer? Insanity.
Of course, we need to contain our excitement as these Olympics are still a good SEVEN YEARS AWAY. Nevertheless, according to the Wall Street Journal, Tokyo plans on having 87,000 hotel rooms available within a 10 kilometer radius, and 140,000 rooms in a 50 kilometer radius. And Forbes.com believes the rates and prices will remain "fair" especially compared to other cities (cough, NYC, cough.)
We just wonder if more hotels will break out special Hello Kitty suites , perhaps with an Olympics theme?
Nowhere does cute quite like Japan does cute, so we're not all that surprised to hear that the Tokyo Prince Hotel is currently offering a Hello Kitty-themed suite.
While it's not the first Hello Kitty themed room we've come across in Japan, it is rather more family friendly than our previous find; the Hello Kitty S&M Room at Hotel Adonis, Osaka
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There's tons of hotel news flying around this week and we don't have time to give each and every story the love and attention it may deserve, so you will have to settle for some news briefs.
· Andaz Tokyo Will Aim High: If you thought Andaz Amsterdam and Andaz Savannah and Andaz Maui were the last scraps of Andaz news for a while, think again. Hyatt has just announced a brand new Andaz property opening in Tokyo's Toranomon business district in summer of 2014. The 164-room hotel will occupy the top six floors of a 52-story tower currently under construction, and, yes, there will be a rooftop bar. The hotel will also take over the 37th floor, which will be dedicated to an infinity pool, spa and fitness center. Though this location will be a first for Andaz, it will be Hyatt's fourth in Tokyo, and its ninth in Japan.
For the rest of today's hotel news, read on!
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Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti
Given all the news that’s flying around, it’s time for another update today, including the first sub-Saharan opening, departures and arrivals in Japan, and the fresh announcement of a future resort in Turkey.
Design Hotels opened their second member hotel in Tokyo (the first is the Park Hotel Tokyo) in August: The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon. We’re excited about this. Why, you may ask? Well, it’s a given that it's a sleek and 'purty' hotel with some great design features, but also because it's located on the edge of one of the city’s oldest heritage districts known as Asakusa, and the thriving, dizzying modern metropolis.
On one side you have the Kaminarimon entrance gate (Thunder Gate), which stands approximately 38 feet high by 38 feet wide, and, on the opposite end of the scale, there’s the Tokyo Skytree, the tallest freestanding broadcast tower in the world at 2,080 feet.
To make the most of this amazing view, the hotel has its minimalist lobby on the 13th floor (we hope none of you are toooo superstitious). There is also a 14th-floor terrace that’s open 24/7 to take in the scene.
Final stop after the stretch
Sunrise yoga. Noontime meditation. Rush hour water aerobics. Really, we thought we'd heard of everything when it comes to lower impact fitness classes offered at hotels. That is, we thought we'd heard of everything until we got wind of the "Good Night Sleep Stretch" at the Park Hyatt Tokyo.
Sure, the hotel may be more famous for its cloud-high New York Bar where pivotal scenes of Lost in Translation were filmed, but unlike the bar with its evening cover charge, the Sleep Stretch is a free amenity for guests.
So what happens? Every Wednesday and Saturday night at 9pm in the Aerobics Studio of the hotel's Club On The Park, guests come together with an instructor to "relax and stretch [their] entire body before bed to promote a restful sleep." Simple and relaxing. And did we mention it was free?
Signature at the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo
So let's say you're flying long-haul from the US to Japan, and you're looking forward to a stay at the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo. After arrival, you'll have a quick shower, a quick nap and then head down to the hotel's Michelin-starred restaurant to fill up and recover from jet lag, right?
Right. Except you can now begin that experience in advance of landing, since Japanese airline ANA just announced they've redeveloped their onboard menu to include offerings from Signature, the Mandarin Oriental's French-inspired restaurant. They'll hit the traytables of Business Class flyers from December through February, following September-November specials from a Michelin 2-starred ryokan (traditional Japanese hotel) in Yugawara Onsen.
ANA won't be the first airline to partner up with Mandarin Oriental, either. German flag carrier Lufthansa signed up the Mandarin Oriental New York's Asiate chef to do something similar, but they were first with it. Still, better food in the skies is always the best news, especially where it involves Michelin-starred hotel restos.
[Photo: Mandarin Oriental]
It's always 11pm somewhere in the world...
We like it when hotels tell us what to do. After all, they're the experts (or at least should be) on local activities, when to drink, where to visit—plus, it's always good to add a bit of structure to your hotel stay. And that's just what the newly refurbished Palace Hotel Tokyo is offering on their website—the home screen makes subtle itinerary suggestions like the best times to eat sushi, have a cocktail, visit the spa...or just laze in bed (one of our favorites).
Opening next month (May 17 to be exact), the 290-room Palace Hotel Toyko will be a re-envisioning of the original Palace Hotel, which opened in 1961 as Japan's first ever mixed use office-hotel building. That hotel was then razed in 2009 to make way for this newer, sleeker, more modernized version. Ten restaurants and bars, a Club Lounge, an Evian spa and free WiFi are some of the amenities the hotel is advertising, though we're mainly interested in the fact that all rooms supposedly have views of the gardens at Tokyo's Imperial Palace.
A quick tip for a stay at the ridiculously well located Peninsula Tokyo: pay the extra to secure a Deluxe Park View, because that "Park" bit actually means Imperial Palace gardens. They may be out of focus in the photo above, but can you blame us for being far more focused on a large Japanese breakfast spread at the moment?
Rooms on the park side of the hotel have commanding views of the Imperial Palace and its acresbring mini binoculars to watch the processions, full of pomp, without having to even venture outside and join the throng of photo-snapping tourists.
At night the view is just as pleasant, since having all of these private gardens next door means it's one of the only areas in the metropolis to get truly darka luxury on its own.
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Are wireless hot spots the next hot hotel amenity? Judging by these two recent reports from luxury hotels in Asia, they just might be!
YES has a table in the lobby, adjacent to the Front Desk, where guests can borrow (deposit, but no rental charge) a 4G station, called a “Huddle”. Then, for RM50 per day (USD15/day) you get all the wifi data you can eat. That includes downloading their app and turning your iPod Touch or iPhone, or iPad, into a VOIP phone for free… and, you can connect up to 5 devices at one time.
I’m on it right now with my laptop, and have also connected an iPad and my US iPhone 3GS. I now have all the data and calls I can consume, all at a flat rate.
The Huddle is slightly smaller than the iPhone, and would easily slip into my pocket. I now have a wifi hotspot with me, throughout KL… It just needs to plug in and recharge overnight.
Right now, this is only of value in KL, but what a great connectivity platform! Is this what 4G can do for hotels? No more data roaming overseas at randomly high rates?