10007 Travel Guide
Hotel News / Green Hotels / Eco-Friendly Hotels / Hilton Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / Hotel Amenities / → All Tags
As Earth Day approaches, and hoards of organizations attempt to "raise awareness" about the environment by giving away tons of free, useless crap like tshirts, mugs and stickers, the Milennium Hilton New York has made a big step in the right direction by installing a power plant that converts natural gas into electrical and thermal energy.
The combined heat and power plant will consist of two 250 kilowatt cogeneration units inside the actual hotel. Now, if anyone wanted to write in and explain what that actually means, we'd be grateful. But for now, we're content just knowing that Hilton has been proactive about cutting down on its energy consumption.
As far as we know, this won't put any pressure on the hotel to increase rates. Which is good, since a hotel room in lower Manhattan sure is expensive enough without having to worry about subsidizing a power plant too. For upwards of $400/night, you'd at least like to feel that your money has done something good.
Hotel Renovations / Hotel WiFi / Hilton Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / Hotel Design / Hotel Lobbies / → All Tags
Notice anything different?
Though the lobby, restaurant, and bar (above) at Millenium Hilton all benefited from a recent freshening up—new furniture, new colors, new floors—a self-described "technology upgrade" isn't turning out to be quite as state-of-the-art as the hotel would have you believe. Yes, high-speed internet connection is now available from anywhere inside the hotel. But? That convenience comes with a price.
It might be possible to overlook that minor setback and just admire the pretty new granite floors and earthy tones brightening up the whole lobby—if it weren't for our other beef with the unfortunately-located hotel: its proximity to the construction noises of Ground Zero. Now, you know what would be a great, sensible way to compensate for the endless crane-hauling and rock-blasting? No, not earplugs. Free WiFi!
Celebrity Scoop / Kim Kardashian / Kourtney Kardashian / Reality TV Hotels / Hotel News / Thompson HOtels / → All Tags
As we all learned last fall, Kourtney and Kim Kardashian took over the Smyth Tribeca while filming their new E! show "Kourtney and Kim Take New York" and last night the very first episode of the show premiered. Naturally, we were stoked to see the inside of the hotel suite, notsomuch Kim and Kourt.
The girls "checked in" to the hotel and were sent up to the 8th floor penthouse suite where a pretty awesome two bedroom suite with a living room, dining area, full kitchen and an 800-sq.ft. outdoor terrace awaited them. The girls promptly ran outside on the terrace where Kourtney shouted, "The Kardashians are here!" Then Kim giggled and said, "We should throw something." Oh boy.
Hotel News / Hotel Construction / Four Seasons Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / Hotel Openings / → All Tags
It's been awhile since we've heard any rumblings about the Four Seasons Downtown New York, so even though this news tells us that the wait for the hotel continues, at least it's progress.
Real Estate Channel brings us word that the condo-hotel project being developed by Silverstein Properties will finally break ground in 2012.
Larry A. Silverstein delivered this news himself, almost three years after announcing the project. He believes financing will at last become available and that the building will be completed in 2014.
Now, some folks might be turned off by the amount of paparazzi hanging around the joint but from the picture, it looks like this hotel doorman is loving his new guests. We just hope Kimmy and co. are tipping him for his efforts!
Planning on getting close to the Kardashians on your next trip to NYC? Let's take a glance at the room rates. This weekend, a queen superior room was found on the hotel's website for $419 a night. The following weekend that rate jumps to $429 a night.
On Quikbook.com, the rates weren't that much different--about 5 percent off. (But the brand-new James Hotel was available for $387 a night.) The Smyth hotel wasn't listed on Expedia at all but TabletHotels.com had a room for $395 a night.
Do you remember the Smyth Tribeca? It opened back in February 2009 but compared to its social siblings in the Thompson Hotels collection, Smyth is often forgotten about, largely because it lacks any sort of nightlife scene. However, that should change now that its restaurant, Plein Sud, from restaurateur Frederick Lesort, is finally open.
The restaurant has actually been soft-opened since April but without a liquor license, meaning guests had to drink in the bar area before dinner or after but not during. (Our friend tried to go there for a first date once and found out this crucial, potentially disastrous bit of info.)
Now that the grand opening is today, we're finding out some other crucial bits of info. Like that Plein Sud's executive chef is one Ed Cotton, formerly of BLT Market and db Bistro and soon-to-be seen on "Top Chef Season DC". So we're not quite sure how he's faring considering that when he filmed this show, Plein Sud was most definitely not open. But perhaps he's been working all this time on these tasty-sounding dishes?
But can you blame us? The Smyth Hotel in Tribeca has been open for nearly a year and the hotel's restaurant Jour et Nuit is still not yet open. However, Thompson says it's in the works.
While we ordered food from the bar while kicking it during a Digital Nomad expedition, the full-fledged restaurant from French chef Frederick Lesort will open this Spring.
HD Mag says:
In spring 2010, New York's Smyth Hotel will introduce Jour et Nuit Restaurant and lounge, spearheaded by native Parisian restaurateur Frederick Lesort. The hotel’s owners, Thompson Hotels, hired AvroKO to re-create the vibrancy of the French Riviera for the bi-level restaurant, bar (housed in the Yabu Pushelberg-designed lobby), and underground Cellar Cocktail Lounge.
Meanwhile, in other Thompson Hotel news, their winter offer is giving $159 rooms at Donovan House and $199 rooms at Gild Hall. Also thrown in is a $40 per day food and beverage credits. Mention promo code WINTER to book. The offer is based on availability but doesn't expire until February 28, 2010.
There has been a lot of talk recently about the lifestyle of digital nomads -- folks who work from wherever they might roam. HotelChatter has been covering hotel wifi since the beginning, but as we cited in our 2009 annual hotel wifi report times they are a changin'.
The biggest change on the tech side is the growing popularity of the usb broadband card. As more and more people buy into these cards (and more and more GMs pray to the hotel gods they do) there are a growing number of digital nomads that no longer tap into a hotel WiFi network.
Instead, these nomads are in search of killer hotel lobbies to comfortably work in. That's right, digital nomads have no problem coming in, kicking back on hotel lobby couches and doing an hours worth of work. So once again hotels have a choice -- welcome these folks, pay no mind to them, or actively try to kick them out.
With this in mind, we figured it was time for us to start rating hotel lobbies on their digital nomad quotient. In our latest edition, the The Smyth Tribeca Hotel.
We often travel alone and spend the night in hotel rooms alone but on a recent trip to New York City, we managed to have a few travel buddies come along with us. Our mother stayed with us when we visited The Plaza (she loved the rooms but misses the old feel) and a dude very close to our hearts, who we'll call Mr. Z, stayed with us during our two nights at Smyth Hotel in Tribeca. Thanks to him, we learned what dudes look for in hotel bathrooms.
When we spend months stalking a single hotel, getting pumped every time reservations go live and then getting angry when those reservations close up due to delays, we know all of the teasing builds some pretty high expectations for the property.
But when we finally stepped inside Smyth Tribeca's lobby on its first official day of operation, we felt we were ready to take a look at the hotel objectively. Having seen the rooms prior to the opening, we figured we were gauging our expectations accurately.
And yet. Staying at the hotel on Tuesday night was a little bit like meeting a long-time celebrity crush and finding out he's actually super short: still impressive just not as awesome as you'd anticipated.
Well, it happened: we spent a night at Smyth Tribeca. As we announced on Monday, Thompson's newest several-times-delayed property opened up yesterday and we got in there last night after we scored a kickass rate of $107 through Quikbook.
We'll have tons of pics, a video tour and a full rundown of our experience tomorrow, but allow us to set the tone: upon check-in, imagine our surprise when we set our computer bag down on top of...this. Which is not a desk. We had no desk!
There was no desk chair (or anything that could be moved from another part of the room to function as a desk chair); though there were outlets, a lamp and a phone all things that normally indicate that a piece of furniture is meant to be a workstation. Baffling; this was more of a dresser. Even if we had ordered a chair delivered to our room, we wouldn't have been able to sit at this desk because there are, as you can see, drawers and cabinets sitting where our legs would have gone.
We'd taken a tour of the property a couple of weeks ago and we're absolutely certain we'd laid eyes upon desks (with desk chairs!) in all the rooms we saw that day perhaps room 511 is a rare exception? Anyway, you get the idea; the ol' back is hurting from working from our bed, so we'll bring you more later.
On a whim, we called Smyth Tribeca this morning to check in on what was going on with their constantly-delayed, heartbreakingly-confusing opening. Quick recap: it was supposed to open in January and then it didn't and, uh, that sort of thing happened a couple of times. We toured the unopened property recently and were totally impressed with what we saw, but when we would be able to actually spend the night inside those four walls was anyone's guess.
And now we know: as we were checking to see if they were still on track for the opening that was most recently scheduled for February 6th, imagine our surprise when we were told that the magical opening date is actually tomorrow. Rejoice! Those doors may open after all!
But that's not all we're psyched about: after the staffer told us that the hotel would be ready for its first guests in just 24 hours(ish), we logged onto Quikbook and managed to score a room for $107. Seriously. Well, the room was going for $125, but Quikbook was doing one of their killer "book now and save 15%" promos and the final rate ended up at $107.
So, we'll let you know if the hotel actually opens tomorrow. After the delay-upon-delay saga that has played with our hearts so far, we won't believe it's open until we actually rest our heads upon one of Smyth's pillows.