10021 Travel Guide
The world is officially in "Countdown to Christmas" mode and now, so are we. Every day until Christmas we'll be featuring a hotel that's in a holiday mood--whether it be with gigantic gingerbread houses, over-the-top Christmas decorations, thrilling lighting displays or best of all, Santa appearances. But of course, any hotel can assemble a fake tree, put on some lights and declare themselves "festive." Which is why we're looking at hotels that are really going ALL OUT. Know of a hotel that's super excited for Christmas? Let us know!
Manhattan power breakfasters and NYC-visitors alike won't have to wait much longer for the Loews Regency Hotel in New York to reopen: reservations are currently accepted for stays beginning on January 16, 2014. The highly-anticipated reopening of the Park Avenue property follows a comprehensive $100 million renovation, and includes a new restaurant, salon, spa and four new private meeting spaces.
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The Loews Regency Hotel on Park Avenue shuttered its doors last January leaving the NYC's power breakfasters suddenly homeless. But come January 16th, the landmark hotel will be making eggs and bacon again, amongst other things.
The hotel is finishing up an extensive $100 million renovation, that's been spearheaded by Jonathan Tisch, the chairman of Loews Hotels & Resorts, and which has overhauled 379 guest rooms (above) including 58 suites as well as created a new restaurant and a new salon and spa, along with new private meeting spaces and a fitness center.
While we already knew that the salon and anti-aging spa will be run by celebrity stylist Julien Farel, we're a little more interested in the return of the restaurant, especially since it was so well-loved by so many powerful people.
Loews promises a new dining concept managed by New York restaurateurs Gherardo Guarducci and Dimitri Pauli of the Sant Ambroeus Hospitality Group. (Their Sant Ambroeus restaurant on West 4th is favored by celebs and models alike.) Together they will work Executive Chef Dan Silverman to bring a market-fresh menu filled with "modern interpretations of classic dishes" combined with "international flavors and palates."
But will Larry King still be able to get his Cheerios with blueberries? We hope so.
FBI agent outside Helly Nahmad Gallery at The Carlyle Hotel
Looks like we've got another hotel heist on our hands, but this time it's of the legal variety instead of the unfortunate robbery that befell the Four Seasons. The latest target is the Carlyle Hotel, specifically the Helly Nahmad Gallery, which was raided by FBI agents on Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. The gallery, which is a separate business from the Carlyle, has been a tenant since the 90s, with an entrance on the hotel's Madison Ave and 76th Street side.
The historic Carlyle has other famous residents, including Paramount Pictures chairman Brad Grey. According to a New York Times article, the gallery,which was filled with multimillion dollars worth of art including masters like Picasso and Francis Bacon, had actually appeared closed before the raid--its windows covered with brown paper and a sign on the door reading “We are closed for renovation, please ring the bell or call.”
The U.S. Attorney in Manhattan is charging gallery owner, Hillel "Helly" Nahmad for racketeering, conspiracy, illegal gambling and money-laundering. Apparently the indictment details that Nahmad is behind a "high-stakes illegal gambling business run out of New York City and Los Angeles that catered primarily to multimillionaire and billionaire clients.” Nahmad surrendered to LA authorities yesterday.
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Don't pretend you haven't noticed. There are pregnant women and babies everywhere you look. It's like a walking advertisement of "I know what YOU DID LAST FALL!". We pretend to coo and smile at your love bugs and belly, but we're really smirking, you nasty thangs, you!
Still, for those of us who have babies and toddlers to schlepp around, the number one pain-in-the-ass is the stroller. (The car seat gets a close second). It's all, folding, un-folding, lugging, latching, and then the folding again. And that's for a basic model. We're counting down the days until we never have to travel with a stroller again. (We've got about 600 or so to go.)
Mercifully, hotels are starting to come to our rescue by offering strollers for guests to use during their stay.
And in Manhattan, The Mark on the Upper East Side has upped the ante by pairing up with high-end stroller brand, MacLaren, to create a super stylish Mark Hotel Baby Stroller that's done up in the Mark's signature black and white stripes. This stroller is Bergdorf and Madison Avenue shopping ready.
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Don’t have time to commit to a book club? Not always able to get out for lunch? Well, New York's Carlyle has a compromise with their new Literary Luncheon Series, “In Conversation at The Carlyle”.
In conjunction with Random House Publishing Group, the legendary hotel is bringing three celebrated authors to have a three-course lunch, chats, and personalized book signings of their latest books with an intimate group of readers.
Right now there are three Lunch Series scheduled:
Monday, April 1: Legendary poet, writer, teacher, and director Dr. Maya Angelou kicks off the event.
Tuesday, May 7: Pulitzer Prize winner, New York Times columnist, and novelist Anna Quindlen will host.
Thursday, June 27: Best-selling author Curtis Sittenfeld, whose work has appeared in The Atlantic and Salon will lead the discussion.
The three-course luncheon begins at The Carlyle Restaurant at 12:30pm, then guests will move to Café Carlyle for the author discussion. Cost per event is $125 per person (inclusive of tax and gratuity) and includes the prix fixe menu, a glass of wine and a signed personalized copy of the author’s book.
For reservations call The Carlyle directly at 212-570-7109.
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What are the requirement to make a memorable short film shot entirely at The Surrey in New York City? Donna Karan knows. Get Angelica Huston to direct, throw in Felicity Jones and Jack Davenport and attach your name to it. The result is one of the best hotel video promotions ever conceived. Interestingly, that wasn't the intention. It's a film about hosiery. But it still makes a great hotel promo video.
Now, we love us some Donna Karan and we love us some Surrey, so this was a collaboration just waiting to happen. Felicity Jones and Jack Davenport play strangers that meet at the bar, and thus a romantic interlude transpires. There's a lot of things going on with Felicity's legs, as you'll notice. Hosiery, remember?
We won't tell you what happens next but it involves a candle. Or maybe it doesn't. Either way, you'll most likely be paying attention to the backdrop… The Surrey has never looked so sexy!
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Remember when we said the Loews Regency was prepping for a $70 million renovation? Well, the hotel is now scheduled to close on Jan 1 when the work begins. No big deal. The city has about a million other hotels to choose from.
However, the news has proved slightly traumatic for a particularly attached group of executives, investment bankers and media personalities, all accustomed to having their "power breakfasts" inside the hotel. To accommodate them, the hotel has signed a contract with a nearby Park Avenue restaurant to recreate the scene between 7am and 10am each morning, ensuring Larry King gets his usual Cheerios with blueberries, and Rev. Al Sharpton's whole wheat toast is browned just the way he likes it.
Loews Chariman Jonathan Tisch told the Post: "When we announced the closing, people stopped me on the verge of tears." Yikes.
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Over the weekend, a few guests were enjoying some light jazz during dinner at The Carlyle in New York when one of their fellow diners got up on stage and join in with the band for an impromptu singalong.
Normally, this would not be cause for much concern, except for the fact that the amateur singer in question was no amateur at all but Mariah Carey, dressed in an iridescent gold Naeem Kahn dress, honey locks flowing down her shoulders.
The appearance, we're guessing, was slightly more than guests had originally bargained for when they booked their dinner reservations. Waiters, meanwhile, kept busy afterwards picking up jaws that had dropped to the floor.
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We love that hotels have embraced the cocktail culture and have upped the game with superlative sippings that make ordering a simple gin and tonic an embarrassment these days.
No, folks are getting fancy, not only at the bar, but they've brought it to the hotel room, too. Take the In-Room Cocktail Program at The Surrey Hotel, a swank hotel on New York's Upper East Side. They go a step further than bringing you the ingredients to make cocktails in the comfort of your room. They'll do it for you.
Dial room service and a well-trained and dapper mixologist from the hotel's Bar Pleiades will select a pint-size bottle of the booze of your choice—from Grey Goose vodka to Hudson Baby bourbon—and bring it to your room via a silver-tray topped wooden cart.
Oh, we love that they even have hard-to-find Gosling’s Black Seal Rum and ginger beer on hand to create authentic Bermudian Dark n’ Stormy’s. Using said cart that holds mixers, muddlers, and the fixins', the bartender creates your first round of drinks.
Sometimes, it's the little touches that make a hotel stay which is why we spend a large part of our time devoted to showing you what's in a hotel room minibar, what magazines are laying on the nightstand and what toiletries are placed on the sink.
Right now, over at the fashionable Mark Hotel on New York's Upper East Side, they are going a little old-school with their mini-bar items by offering Kodak disposable cameras alongside the usual snacks and booze. Except these cameras are done in black and white stripes, a reflection of the hotel's signature marble floors of black and white stripes.
Now you can capture your stylish stay in a stylish way. Then you can show your grandkids that once upon a time photographs were actually done on film. Priceless!
Rates at The Mark start around $455 for a superior courtyard queen but the hotel is running a special summer offer that gives you 20 percent off the room rate if you stay two nights or more. That brings the price down to about $365 a night. The cameras are $18.
HotelChatter gets a little leery when established New York City hotel’s announce they’re opening a spa. We wonder if it’ll be some shoebox operation with a limited treatment menu and outrageous prices. Given that there are so many independent spas to choose from that do a great job, we’re approaching the buzz about the new Cornelia Spa at The Surrey Hotel with cautious, but hopeful optimism.