8001 Travel Guide
To quote Shakespeare, "What's in a name?" Well, a whole lot apparently, if you take the word "Savoy" as a study. What adjectives do you associate with "Savoy?" Something like luxurious, expensive, opulent, exclusive or classic should come to mind, and most of the blame for that goes to London's Savoy Hotel, a grand dame that's reigned over the city and been known throughout the world since it opened in 1889.
Alas, there are other Savoy Hotels, and we happened across another five-star last month in Zurich, Switzerland. The Savoy Baur en Ville is a good option for the city, with free WiFi and an awesome location right off the main Bahnhofstrasse.
It's not affiliated with the Savoy of London; it's just another hotel that borrows the historic name and makes it work. Luckily this one can get away with it; the Savoy Baur en Ville rooms begin at 400 CHF ($432) per night for a single, or 690 CHF ($746) for a king-size bed. We're quite sure you can find rooms at London's original Savoy for less! But then again, this is Zurich, banking capital of the world and whatnot.
iPads, be damned, we're loving our stroll through print land and our ongoing look at a dying hotel amenity--The Hotel Magazine. Sure, most hotels stock their guestrooms with the trendy magazines of the day or at least place some localized publication on the desks but there are actually a few hotels out there that still publish their own magazine. We've got our hands on a few copies of these rare breeds and we'll be documenting our finds for you here. Know of a hotel magazine we should see before it goes out of print? Send it to us!
Most of the Hotel Magazines we’ve reviewed recently have been brand-wide publications but not the hefty, glossy Baur Au Lac Views magazine. All 144 pages of this fancy publication are for the reading pleasure of guests staying at the ultra-swish Baur Au Lac in Zurich.
Its $50m renovation is now complete, and the hotel—and its magazine—is keen to strut about and show it off.
We've kicked off our Summer Cocktails series where we profile fun new summer drinks that hotels are making. Got one we should know about? Send us the recipe with a photo of the drink. Otherwise, enjoy and @reply us when you're wasted!
This is one delicious-sounding drink which mixes crème de framboise and raspberry puree with vodka – and has a fantastic Swiss touch by using pieces of white chocolate (Swiss, of course) to make the Swiss flag on top. You can get it for 18 Swiss francs (about $16) at the Terrasse rooftop bar, which means you sip away while looking over Lake Zurich.
The folks at Baur Au Lac are generous enough to suggest recreating the cocktail in your own home if you can't make it all the way to Zurich, or can't afford the starting-at-$750 room rates, but we think it won't taste quite the same outside Switzerland.
Zurich: it’s properly smoking at the moment. Not only was it voted the world’s most livable city last month, and not only have the likes of Cyndi Lauper and Mick Hucknall just been playing the Dolder Grand’s mini festival. Now, the uber-posh Baur au Lac back in town is about to complete a $50m renovation.
The restaurant which only used to be open in the summer will now be taking orders all year round, 32 rooms have been expanded into 22 suites, junior suites and deluxe rooms, and they’ve thrown in a rooftop patio looking over the lake for good measure.
Fixtures-wise, all rooms now have flat-screen TVs, iPod docking stations and WiFi book a suite, and you’ll get a Bose sound system thrown into the mix as well. As well you’d hope, given that doubles start at $756, and junior suites $967. Let’s just hope the WiFi's free, yeah?
Lovers of One & Only Resorts (mainly the famous and the wealthy) will be thrilled to know that the resort group's newest location is opening April 4th in Cape Town, South Africa.
One & Only Cape Town is described as a "urban chic waterfront resort" in the heart of Victoria & Alfred Waterfront which will have killer views of Table Mountain and Signal Hill. The crescent-shaped, seven-storey Marina Rise building will house but more accommodations and the One & Only Spa can be found on two private islands in the middle of the waterway.
Generous interior spaces are adorned with fabrics and furnishings recalling the warm, muted tones of Africa’s savannahs, with bright splashes of colour paying tribute to the land’s vibrant personality.
All rooms and suites are indulged by the discreet yet attentive services of a dedicated butler, 24-hours a day. Sumptuously appointed oversized baths are complete with rain shower, private water closet and dual vanity.
Those marina rooms are also being touted as the largest hotel rooms in Cape Town. Even better? Each room has "expansive glass doors that lead onto private balconies" for maximum killer view appreciation.
You can fly around Europe cheaply now or you can really see something by taking the train, and the best Europe-wide ticketing agency Eurail has just relaunched their website. A very popular Eurail stop is Zurich (it seems everybody wants to stop in Switzerland, since it's right in the middle!). And for somewhere to stay in Zurich, the Widder Hotel has a lot going for it.
It's been created by renovating eight historic houses and turning them into 42 rooms and seven suites and it's filled with modern furniture from all the big name designers - the only downside here is that some might think the ultra-modern interior is too much of a contrast to the outside.
As far as service goes, the staff are good at learning your name, and inside the rooms the beds are comfortable and facilities include everything you need, including Wifi. There's also a hi-tech fitness room and even a butcher's museum - just what you always wanted in a hotel.
Have a tip about a good hotel near a Eurail stop? Shout it from the digital hilltops.
We all know that hotels create a lot of waste and it's probably something that we'd rather not think about. If we do think about it, then we can choose to stay in eco-hotels and try not to fill the garbage bin in our room every day.
But the Mount Nelson Hotel in Capetown has another method, one that may leave guests feeling a little uneasy: worms. The hotel has an "army" of worms, a million of them ready to break down the hotel's organic waste and gives it back to the earth. This apparently means less fertilizer and chemicals and more compost to create their exquisite gardens.
The hotel's resident worm farmer (here's a title we never thought we'd see) explained to the Seattle Times:
The hotel industry produces a lot of food waste...We're trying to deal with our problem and not pass it along to the next person. We're trying to do our little bit for nature.
My personal opinion: The more people who get involved in this, the better it will be for the whole world. It eliminates a substance, methane gas, which is damaging to the environment. It's helping the ozone.
Now as long as they can keep these worms where they should be, we'll totally support this happy Ozone, Earthy, Worm project.
(We couldn't handle real worms early this morning so this picture of jelly worms comes via Gotta_luv_Green/Flickr)
We are suckers for a room with a killer view. We find that we are even more likely to forgive some minor hotel inconveniences if we can stare out the window at something pretty--yeah we are that shallow. Let's help out our fellow hotel mavens by uploading rooms with killer views to the HotelChatter/Flickr photo pool, or by sending the photo along to us. We will feature our favorites in this space from time to time. Remember to tell us the name of the hotel and the room number of the hot view.
Cape Town, South Africa has got to be one of the most picturesque cities in the world. There are some world-class hotels in that city that get far more press than the comparatively humble Victoria & Alfred. But it's hard to top the view you get from their restaurant (the vista here) or the odd-numbered rooms on floors two and three above.
The more famous Cape Grace is pictured here, on the other side of the water, while Table Bay hotel is a few minutes' walk away--on the other side of a shopping mall.
Built as a warehouse in 1904, the V&A was converted into an upscale hotel in 1990. Victoria & Alfred's large rooms are well-equipped and have deck-out baths with separate stall showers and lots of stone and granite. With the U.S. dollar struggling on the world markets, however, you'll pay a premium for this view--close to $450 a night at published rates.
· Victoria & Alfred reviews [TripAdvisor]
Apartment style hotels are all over the place these days. The Pinnacle in Cape Town's historic Bo-Kaap district, offers guests views all the way from Lion's Head to Robben Island.
Inside The Pinnacle offers loft style two bedroom spaces which include a living room and a kitchen. 20ft ceilings, hard wood floors, terraces, and an in-room virtual art gallery.
Yeah, that's right, you can lie in your bed and watch the world's greatest art galleries projected onto a wall across the room. Sounds just like eighth grade social studies class, except napping is acceptable.
To complete the experience you can head up to the rooftop where the hotel provides access to a salt water pool.