10019 Travel Guide
Hotel Anniversaries / Hilton Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / Hotel Deals / Hotel Events / Historic Hotels / → All Tags
Over in Manhattan, New York Hilton Midtown is celebrating the big 5-0 by launching a new website that fills people in on the hotel's colorful history (did you know this was the first hotel to replace keys with keycards? Yeah, neither did we!).
But there's more happening here than just reminiscing over old black-and-white photos (see above).
Another component of the birthday celebrations are what the hotel is calling 50 Random Acts of Hospitality, which calls for New York Hilton Midtown employees to "engage in random acts of hospitality". In case you're wondering just what that means, the acts will include: offering complimentary room upgrades, handing out umbrellas on rainy days and helping guests score tickets to local attractions and events.
In other words, everything a hotel is supposed to do anyway.
Last night guests who came to celebrate the official re-opening of Manhattan's legendary Essex House into the JW Marriott Essex House, was treated to another classic treat--the musical stylings of Jon Bon Jovi!
The rock legend told the crowd he'd stayed at the hotel "many, many times" (though we couldn't get anyone to confirm if he was staying that night in the occupied Presidential Suite!). He serenaded the crowd with favorite hits like "Dead or Alive" and "Living on a Prayer", who got a kick out of singing the words back to him.
The 40-story Essex House, which overlooks Central Park and has been open since 1931, officially resumed its JW name in September 2012 after operating under the Jumeirah brand. When Strategic Hotels & Resorts acquired the hotel in 2012 from the Dubai Investment Group, they invested several million dollars for a modest make over that you can see in the 509 rooms, spa, and restaurant.
New York hotel restaurant alert! Upcoming 205-room midtown boutique hotel The Quin has released details on their dining concept, and we're not ashamed to say we're already salivating.
The hotel will house a two-story artisanal American grill designed to "evoke the experience of an old gentlemen's club with a touch of the disco-era." Not quite what we were expecting from a place that, up until now, has characterized itself as uber-luxury, with a lobby containing white leather-wrapped columns and bathrooms exclusively offering Fresh toiletries.
The menu will "showcase a diverse selection of regional seafood" (so, maybe no disco fries…), and will be a joint effort by Eric Marx, Lisle Richards and Jimmy Haber of ESquare Hospitality. Richards in particular is credited as a key player behind success of The One Group's STK brand. And while we don't particularly feel like West 57th St has any need for an STK-type venue, we have a feeling this partnership ought to turn out well.
One of the Quin's owners says the hotel's mission is to "provide an urbane retreat in the heart of Manhattan." And there should be plenty of room for a proper retreat at this new restaurant, which will contain a grand parlor, main dining room, second floor lounge, and three private dining rooms.
No name has been announced yet.
The Quin, and its restaurant, are set to open in mid-June.
[Photo: Perkins Eastman]
Fantasy Friday / Hotel Restaurants / Hotel Brunch / Hotel Breakfast / Le Meridien Hotels / → All Tags
We've said it many a time, we're a dreamy lot here at HotelChatter, and part of our job is to help you escape daily life with a bit of travel fantasy. Today's enticing entry might be a bit do-able, though, something you could re-create at home! Ok, that's a stretch, but read on anyway!
Perfect for this weekend's breakfast and brunch plans, we've got The Most Expensive Omelette in the World, courtesy of Norma's restaurant at Le Parker Meridien Hotel. It's called the "Zillion Dollar Lobster Frittata" and it costs a cool $1,000. The restaurant's tag line for this eggy-goodness is, "Norma dares you to expense this." Yep, for real. Now why does it cost so much? Simple, it's filled to the brim with a whole lobster and topped with 10 ounces of caviar. That's over $500 worth of fish eggs right there. The rest of the cost is for the lobster, eggs, cream, and herbs.
Obviously this omelette is mostly for show as the restaurant only sells about a dozen of them a year.
One of the New York openings we're most excited about this year is The Quin, a 205-room luxury property located on West 57th St, two blocks from Central Park and one block from Carnegie Hall (we've walked by ourselves, so we know).
But here's another thing for the Quin to brag about: it'll be the first hotel in New York to offer "Fresh" toiletries in all the guest rooms. Whoopeee!
For those of you uninitiated into the world of hotel toiletries, Fresh is a French boutique skincare line that uses yummy—and, err, fresh—ingredients like sugar, milk, soy and rice in all their products. They're one of our absolute faves.
The NY Post reports that Rodman was hanging out at The Time Hotel in Manhattan, waving around a signed copy of Kim Jong Un's manifesto, "telling anyone who would listen what a great guy the North Korean dictator is."
Classic. (Rodman also went on a similar rant during a recent appearance on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos.)
Apparently the situation got so bad that Rodman was forced to leave the hotel, seeking refuge at a downtown Marriott. Which must have sucked because, according to Rodman's rep, The Time "is Dennis' favorite hotel." The relocation was attributed to security reasons and the fact that he needed to be "closer to the airport." Though hopefully, he won't be taking any more flights to North Korea for a while…
Gay-Wedding Hotels / Hotel Weddings / Gay-Friendly Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / The Plaza / → All Tags
Back in June, The Plaza, whose neoclassical Grand Ballroom is one of the most expensive, lavish, and coveted hotel wedding venues in all the land, hosted its first-ever-in-106-years gay wedding. Now, you can witness Jay & Tony's ceremony for yourself in all its fabulous -- and in many ways, quite traditional--glory (heck, it is The Plaza!).
Here's the recently released wedding video, shot by John Armendariz of NewYorkFilmworks. We love how it starts off with a chuckle as the priest awkwardly stutters, "Well, it's a little unusual for me to be the only one in white at one of these things!".
But we warn you, have a tissue in hand--this one's a tearjerker!
NYPD cops made the bust of a lifetime last month, when 104lbs of cocaine was seized from traffickers who were staying at the Crowne Plaza Times Square (aka the hotel that sits on top of the Hershey's Store.)
The hotel's flashy facade and central location was likely seen by the traffickers as an advantage: what better than sugar-crazed tourists bustling around a Times Square hotel to throw the cops off your scent?
Except the cops were very much onto their scent.
The NY Post reports that cops had been parked outside the hotel, waiting for the traffickers to make their move. Sure enough, on October 25 at around 6pm, the first man exited the hotel, wheeling a suitcase packed with 30lbs of pure cocaine, which he then lifted into a silver BMW. And then another guy came out with an 8lb suitcase. And then another, with 66lbs. We're telling you, it was a real cocaine suitcase factory line down there last month!
From the various tidbits we've seen and heard so far, we were already expecting fun things over at Manhattan's new boutique hotel, The Quin. But now we're learning even more about the 200-room midtown hotel that has us dying to get inside and take a look.
In an usual twist, the hotel's architects (or, at least, the guys who helped transform the former Buckingham Hotel into the new Quin), Perkins Eastman, will also be the interior designers. Meaning all the pretty things we like about the building's exterior will play out in the rooms and public spaces themselves.
Here's one quote we were particularly fond of:
"Leather-wrapped columns soar to ceilings covered in 22k gold leaf and hammered metal plates that reflect the teeming activity below. Rich finishes play off one another, with faux bois paneling, couture curtains, chandeliers of hand-blown glass, and custom-painted walls (finished with as many as fourteen layers).
The effect is sophisticated, dramatic, even mysterious"
But it seems the new-ness doesn't stop there. We heard rumors about a new venue that would be opening up in the hotel "later this month", and we, of course, immediately set about doing a little detective work.
Here's what we found out: remember Private Park, the hotel's snazzy overgrown terrace, located behind the lobby? Well, now they've covered it with a tent so it can stay open year-round, and changed the name to Hudson Lodge. In addition to cocktails, wine, and beer, Hudson Lodge will also serve chili, fondue, and hot drinks—just like a winter lodge!
Photo Gallery / Hotel Renovations / Hudson Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / Morgans Hotel Group / → All Tags
Guess who got to take a peek at Hudson Hotel's new rooms? And boy did we photograph the crap out of them.
As many of you already know, the Hudson's recent renovations have been a long, long time coming. In fact, the hotel—which is housed inside a former YWCA and contains a staggering 836 rooms—hadn't really been worked on at all since opening in 2000. And yet with room sizes being what they are (small), and room rates being what they are (disproportionately high), it kind of goes without saying that the hotel's main asset is its Philippe Starck design.
Now, with re-installed Brazilian Cherry wood floors and wall paneling, new lighting, additional storage space under the beds, and Prada-inspired furniture, the space has finally gotten the refresh it deserved. The resulting look? Click through our photo gallery to see for yourself!
Historic Hotels / HotelChatter Interviews / Hotel Restaurants / Sheraton Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / DSK / Hotel Breakfast / → All Tags
Back in May, our resident hotel archivist JetSetCD posted scans of the very 1960s-looking Hotel Americana, which these days we all know as the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers. And while plenty about the hotel has changed over the years, one thing that's remained constant is a particular server that's worked for the hotel since it opened in 1962.
Tilla Soeder came to the US from Germany in 1959 when she was 21 years old, and, on the advice from her aunt and uncle's neighbor, she applied for a job as a server at the soon-to-open Americana Hotel. The rest, as they say, is history...
HotelChatter: Do you still work here?
Tilla: I still work here. But right now I'm on sick leave, unfortunately.
HC: What is your favorite part about working here?
Tilla: My favorite part is the atmosphere, the connections we make with guests; it's just a big family. Yes, things get hectic, but that comes with the job. At least we don't get bored!
HC: How different was the hotel back in the 1950s?
Tilla: When I came, we had the Colombian Coffee House downstairs. That was such a popular restaurant, we seated 350 people each day. People would be waiting on the stairs when we opened in the morning: the line never stopped!
HC: Who used to have breakfast there?
Tilla: Business men would come and have breakfast down there because we had a public announcement system. They'd show up, put their name down, and every other second you would hear, for example, "Mr. Goldstein, would you come to the desk, please?" They just wanted to get their name called out in public—the business men loved it!
For more of the interview, read on below!