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The large, inviting common room at our unit at EagleRidge Lodge in Steamboat
Last weekend, we traveled with a group of friends to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, to enjoy some leisurely spring skiing and a few days in the mountains. As a group of 9 people, we spun the wheels on many lodging options, including multiple hotel rooms, Airbnb units, condos, and hotel suites.
Our search and ultimate decision to rent a condo at Wyndham's EagleRidge Lodge shed light on the issues surrounding the hunt for lodging for such a large, diverse group consisting of both couples and singles. Below, we take walk through our unit at EagleRidge and highlight what we liked and what we learned about choosing accommodations when traveling with friends:
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In July 2013 the Shelborne Hotel in South Beach closed down in order to renovate the entire property (which was very much needed). It opened again at the end of September 2014 as the Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach with relatively little fanfare, so we’re going to toot its horn a little bit because, during a recent stay, we quite liked this 200-room property.
Designed by two very different designers – Meg Sharpe, who did the public and commercial spaces, and Richard Mishaan, who created the rooms and meeting spaces – the hotel has a sort of Jekyll and Hyde quality that, strangely, works together to create an Art Deco beauty.
First some history to give you context on the design. The building was constructed in the 1940s and embellished in the 1950s, when the Moderne Style of Art Deco was in fashion. Think glamorous streamlined design, with shiny metallic surfaces and a focus on the new, modern transportation design in cars, airplanes and trains. Both designers have worked to bring this particular era to life, albeit each with a distinctive flair.
Richard’s rooms are bolder in both color and pattern, with deep ocean blue furniture and rugs offset against stark white or mirrored furnishings. You’d think the heavily patterned wall coverings and lamp shades would throw the whole design into chaos, but it keeps the space oddly invigorating. Rooms have 46” Interactive Smart Samsung TVs with mobile connectivity, iPhone docking stations, Frette linens and private label bath amenities in a calendula scent.
Have a look at the Photo Gallery to see an Oceanfront Balcony room as well as a Partial Ocean View King, plus all of the public spaces!
Who knew that drinking alcohol could be good for you? When you show up for a cocktail at The Drawing Room in the Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach, have a chat with the apothékers (A.K.A. bartenders) and tell them what ails you. They’ll whip up a medicinal concoction full of herbs and other goodness and then write you a prescription in case you need a refill.
Run by famous (and a wee bit infamous) Austrian-born bar chef Albert Trummer, formerly of NYC's Apothéke and the Theater Bar, The Drawing Room has only been open since October 2014.
Using his knowledge of all things botanical (Albert is also a trained chef), he’s created a series of ten house elixirs using recipes he’s collected from monks and monasteries throughout Europe. These elixirs (not all are available at all times as it depends on seasonality and availability) are used to create his and his team’s Prescription Cocktails. If you plan it right you can bring yourself up at the start of the evening and then back down at its close.
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¡Feliz año nuevo! We're getting ready to close out 2014 with our year-end awards, happening later today but before we go, here's one last Hotel News Briefs for the year. Enjoy! We'll be back with a full slate of news on Friday. Well, maybe Monday if we haven't recovered from the hangover then.
LA RESERVE PARIS HOTEL TO OPEN ON JANUARY 19: In just a few short weeks, French hotelier and vintner Michel Reybier will open a companion hotel of sorts for the existing La Reserve Paris Apartments. The 40-room hotel La Réserve Paris Hotel will open in a Haussmannian mansion off of Champs-Elysées at 42 Avenue Gabriel. The large rooms and even larger suites, all designed by Jacques Garcia, will pay homage to the Belle Époque era with "muted lighting, antique furniture, lush fabrics and regal colors." There will also be a spa onsite with three treatment rooms, a gym and a 52-foot indoor pool. Rooms at the hotel on January 19 start at 1,100 Euros a night for a deluxe room, shown above. Not that flush? Consider the Generator Paris instead, opening on February 1.
This is what the Guinness World Record for the largest pillow fight looks like, thanks to Super 8, who hosted the party in celebration of its 40th birthday.
Former boybander Joey Fatone presided over the "fight", where involved 4,501 students from South Dakota State University walloping each other with Super 8-branded pillows. The site of the record-breaking event was SDSU’s Coughlin-Alumni Stadium in Brookings, South Dakota where SDSU was playing their rival, University of South Dakota. South Dakota was the state where the first Super 8 hotel was constructed back in 1974. Today, Super 8 is a part of the Wyndham Hotel family.
Now we need to know, did the students get to keep the pillows?
[Photos: Super 8]
Take a good look at this picture. Do you recognize anyone? Like, yourself maybe? If so, Howard Johnson is looking for you.
No, it's not because you once stole a hand towel or pencil pad from. It's because they are looking for former employees who starred in the 1960s ad campaign, "Spotlighting on You" as part of the celebrations for HoJo's 60 years in the hospitality biz. The ads featured HoJo employees who went above and beyond the call of duty to help out guests.
Here's exactly the deal in tracking down the former employees/commercial stars.
Through the end of the year, Howard Johnson is searching for the 14 former hotel and restaurant employees featured in the “Spotlight on You” ads. These former associates will receive a free stay at a Howard Johnson hotel, and may also be invited to participate in an upcoming company ad campaign. For additional information, visit www.hojoadsearch.com.
Since the names of the employees are "spotlighted" in the old ads, we think tracking down some of the people will be very possible. (The free stay will be awarded to the former employee in the form of 60,000 Wyndham Rewards points. If the employee is deceased, a relative will earn 20,000 points.) We'll keep you posted on who's been found so far.
[Photo: Howard Johnson]
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We love hotel renovations nearly just as much as we love new hotels. But what we really love about hotel renovations is seeing the transformation that happens when an old, tired and lackluster room gets a modern makeover and transforms into new, spiffed-up, stylish guest room. Or put more simply, we love comparing the Before and After.
The weather is getting cooler but the hotel scene in Miami is getting hotter. We already told you about five new hotels to look for this winter but here's one you can check out as soon as next week--The Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach.
We first heard about The Shelborne closing for much-neededrenovations back in May 2013. A HotelChatter contributor had stayed at the property only months before and had this to say about the rooms:
The Shelborne's suite had last been furnished in the early 1990s, the dining chairs were broken, the mattress was so old you could feel the springs, the tables were scratched and water-damaged, the art was like that of a greasy strip mall generic Asian restaurant, the floors felt so dusty we were relieved to have brought slippers from our last hotel, and the power outlet actually shocked us as we tried to plug in our phone charger. Firetrap much?
Above is how the hotel rooms used to look. Keep reading to see the transformation!
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Yet, this Night Hotel may have been more like a nightmare.
A reader tipped us off to the recent reviews on TripAdvisor and they are horrifyingly bad. Since American Airlines seems to be using this hotel as a place for displaced/delayed passengers, the reviews have come fast and furious. Here are two that are still fit to print:
Walked into the room, two of the light fixtures were non operational, room was dark and the air conditioner was so noisy that I would have needed ear plugs. Windows were beyond filthy. I turned around, walked to the front desk and tossed them my keys. I asked to be given a ride back to the airport immediately and was. The guy at the front desk asked if I was going to catch a late night flight so I told him "yeah, something like that".
I did not feel safe at this hotel. Their shuttle took forever to arrive at the airport, took 2 calls to find out where they were, and was so old and rickety I couldn't talk on my cell phone. The lobby night club attracts an unsavory crowd and people are lurking around everywhere. The halls are dark. The front desk is covered with graffiti and the staff couldn't answer basic questions. My room furniture was covered in vinyl upholstery with lights around the bed. Everything is painted black. The bathroom needs a total make-over. Somehow they thought I'd be fooled by a new shower curtain.
While it is not the sexiest part of town, it makes sense that so many tourists decide to stay in Midtown, especially those visiting for the first time. Not only does it provide direct access to the major attractions of Times Square, the Empire State Building, and Madison Square Garden, but its central location makes it just as easy to go to Central Park as it does Brooklyn.
Last weekend, we swung through to check out what's happening at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel on 34th and 8th, which was rebranded as a Wyndham earlier this year and has since kicked off a 5-year renovation plan as it makes the change. (The hotel's iconic New Yorker Hotel sign will of course, remain.)
The outside is sporting the scaffolding as an exterior revamp is underway, yet most of the rejuvenation will be felt indoors. Fifty-seven guest rooms will be added by the end of the year to bring the total to 1,083, as well as a new wine bar (fall 2014), a spruced up lobby, and the introduction of the Wyndham personality.
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The Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach in Miami is in the midst of some major renovations (to the tune of $150 million) but when it re-opens in June, the staff might be looking like they came off a movie set.
That's because the iconic Collins Avenue hotel has enlisted Hollywood costume designer, Carol Ramsey, to create 1950's-inspired uniforms for all front of the house employees. Ramsey has a bit of experience in the realm since she worked on the show, "Magic City", which is set in a Miami hotel in the late 1950s.
Here's what she has in store for the Shelborne (heads-up to Shelborne job applicants, you are gonna need some fit legs.)
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The New Yorker Hotel has seen some ups and downs in its 84 year history: from fashionable hotspot that drew the likes of Joan Crawford and Muhammad Ali; to scene of Nikola Tesla's death and, in recent years, status as a lowly Ramada.
But the iconic Art Deco-style hotel entered a new era last week when it joined the Wyndham Hotel brand, which, with a 1,083 room count, makes it the biggest hotel in the Wyndham portfolio.
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OK, so it's hard to get too excited about a new Howard Johnson hotel, but as all-too frequent riders of the AirTrain, we can appreciate this new one's location.
A tipster pointed out that a new HoJo opened last week on Archer Avenue in Jamaica, Queens, which is actually just a few minutes' walk to the AirTrain's Jamaica Station -- putting you within a 30-minute commute of JFK. Not a bad idea for those early morning flights.
Rates start at $110 and that includes breakfast, WiFi and access to a fitness center. You'll earn Wyndham Reward points, too, so you can save up for something with a bit more pizzazz: like the Dream Dubai