Langham Hotels to open doors at Chicago’s IBM building

langham hotelsOne of Chicago’s most iconic buildings is about to get a new tenant.

Oxford Capital Group LLC and Langham Hotels and Resorts said they will develop a luxury hotel in the IBM building in downtown Chicago, directly across the street from the luxury hotel Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago.

The new hotel, to be called Langham Chicago Hotel, is expected to open in 2012 and will occupy floors 2 through 13. There will be around 330 guestrooms and suites ranging from 525 square feet to more than 2,000. Guestrooms will have floor-to-ceiling windows providing views of the Chicago River, Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline. The Langham Chicago Hotel will also host a 5,000 square-foot ballroom, a 9,000 square-foot restaurant, wine room, indoor pool and fitness center.

To date the Langham is a well-established brand overseas with properties in Asia and Europe, but only two hotels in the United States (Boston and Pasadena). The addition of the new Chicago hotel marks Langham’s efforts to increase their luxury brand to U.S. travelers.

[via Chicago Sun-Times]

Can’t afford a nice hotel in New York? Stay in New Jersey.

The view from a New Jersey bathtub.You often hear New Yorkers joke that the best thing about New Jersey is that you can see New York really well from there — well, why not take advantage of that?

Luxury hotels in NYC are super expensive (really, all hotels are super expensive), so do what so many young families and artists in New York do when they get tired of paying prohibitively high rent: Head across the Hudson.

In particular, The Westin Jersey City Newport (the view from a bathtub there is pictured) is a good bet — it’s luxurious, it has two restaurants and a bar, and best of all? It’s just ten minutes from midtown Manhattan. It’s one of those things few people think about when they’re booking a trip to New York: You don’t have to stay in New York to visit.

The Westin Jersey City Newport currently has three promotions going on:

  • Room Rates Equal to Your Birth Year Package - Don’t worry, they don’t mean you’ll have to pay $1,970; with this deal, you pay full-price the first night (starting at $229) and then you get your second or third night for the price of the second two digits in your birthday. The older you are, the cheaper your room! Finally, a reason to age. Code: BIRTHYR
  • Better Tomorrows Package – With this offer you pay half price every other night, so if you’re staying an even number of nights, that’s gonna come out really well for you. Code: ZBT
  • Best Rate Guaranteed Offer - If you book a room and then find a lower published rate within 24 hours, Starwood will match that rate and raise you a ten percent discount or give you 2,000 Starpoints. This actually applies at all Starwood hotels: Westins, Sheratons, W Hotels, etc. Click here for the instructions.

Know what else is in Newport? A waterfront and tax-free shopping centers. It’s kind of like what I assume heaven must be like. Kidding aside, the hotel really is gorgeous and just opened up in February — check it out! Staying at a luxury hotel in New Jersey for the same price as a junky hotel in New York is totally worth it. Call 1-866-924-8746 to book.

(Visit the website for terms and conditions of the above packages.)

The Osprey Hotel – Luxury and fun in Beaver Creek

The Osprey at Beaver CreekBeaver Creek’s newest hotel is The Osprey — and it’s a RockResort, which we like very much. Why? Because RockResorts are all environmentally friendly, and also extremely luxurious.

Nestled gently in the Rocky Mountains, The Osprey has fun amenities for luxury thrill seekers like helmet cams for skiing or biking, apres ski mixology lessons at The Osprey Bar, a bath concierge (!), lobster nachos and deep-fried Snickers bars, and a big classy lobby where you can mingle with the other guests, play Wii, or even showcase that video from your helmet camera on the giant flat screen TV.Swimming Pool at The Osprey

Also, I mean, look at it. It looks like a house in a store window display at Christmas. Look at the lighting. You’d look good in that lighting. Look at this swimming pool. It’s by the fire pit. Want.

The Hotel used to be known as “The Inn at Beaver Creek,” but has just had a $7 million renovation to become a RockResort. Not only does that mean energy-efficient plumbing and lighting, but The Osprey also features “surfaces (including leather, birch, iron, and onyx) made from locally sourced stone, indigenous metals and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified wood.”

It also happens to be the closest ski-in/ski-out hotel to a chairlift in North America.

So, go tell it on the mountain.

European survey says “bugs in the room” the worst hotel experience

European hotel booking site Trivago just released the results of their “worst hotel experience” survey. In total, 4,876 people were included in the survey, from 8 different countries.

The results are actually quite surprising, as 22% of the respondents put “bugs in the room” at the top spot.

And now I think about it, my worst ever hotel experience was indeed bug related. At a hotel in Spain, I lay in bed watching in horror as a whole bunch of cockroaches made their way up onto my nightstand. The hotel management removed them, but I don’t think I slept much for the rest of my vacation.

Other annoyances include theft, noise, bad food, bad staff and get this – chlorine poisoning from the pool.

After the jump, the complete results of the survey. Don’t forget to add your own “worst hotel experience” to the comments!

Hotels and inns with a cultural flair

When you just need a place to stay on your way to somewhere else, finding a comfortable bed and a clean room may be all that’s required. But for atmosphere that reflects a unique location look beyond a chain hotel, no matter how glammed up that chain hotel might be. Why stay at a hotel with an ambiance that says it could be anywhere when you can stay at a place that is influenced by its location?

Head to the hotels or inns that are independently owned where the decorator has a passion for a hotel’s setting and authenticity is key. Often a creative, clever touch is a signature trait. Whenever I have stayed in such a place, the memories I bring home with me are more vivid and my experiences more satisfying. I picked these five because of personal experience–or that they intrigued be because of their sense of place and culture.

1. Glenlaurel Inn and Cottages in the Hocking Hills of Ohio. The bag piper who stands outside the manor house (in the first photo) in the evening and plays a Scottish tune to announce that dinner is served is only one part of Scotland that’s been transplanted to the hills of Ohio. There’s also the Scottish poetry read before dinner, the complimentary homemade shortbread in each accommodation and the look of the place.

The manor house looks like it is in the highlands of Scotland instead of the highlands of Appalachia. The main feature of the terrain is the Camusfearna Gorge that the manor house, the crofts and cottages use as backdrop. Trails wind throughout the property offering waterfalls and nooks and crannies for exploring. The mist in the morning adds to the allure. Be aware that this is an adult only establishment.

2. Broadway Hotel, Philipsburg, Montana. Reflecting a love for Montana and a sense of travel adventure, this small hotel has one-of-a-kind thematic rooms. Some have a western flavor and others reflect owners’ Jim and Sue Jenners’ world travels. Overlooking downtown Philipsburg, a former mining town that is one of the prettiest painted towns in the west and on the Pintler Scenic Route, the hotel offers a place to park your car for a weekend of wandering among shops, a museum, restaurants and live theater.

If you go here, take time to hang out in The Big Cowboy Room with its upscale western decor. This is the hotel’s common lounge. If you bring a bottle of wine, there are wine glasses available for use.

3. Hotel Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Adobe stucco hotels are not uncommon in Santa Fe. It’s the look of choice. But, for a more authentic experience, try this option. Hotel Santa Fe is the only Native American-owned hotel and the decor and offerings reflect it. Here is a sense that you’ve ended up somewhere special.

Native American cuisine from other areas of the U.S. are incorporated into the hotel’s menu. There aren’t many places where you can dine in an authentic tee pee for a private meal. Native American dances, flute playing and story-telling are part of the entertainment. The Hacienda–also part of Hotel Santa Fe, offers Native American decor as well. Both hotels have a Native American package that includes pueblo tours.

4. The Saint Ann/ Marie Antoinette, New Orleans. If heading to New Orleans, stay near Bourbon Street. The French Old Quarter is made for wandering and walking. This hotel is small, elegant and captures the flavor of where it is located. It’s close to the action, however, by the description and looks, appears to be a bit of a hideaway location as well.

The courtyard and gardens caught my attention. I’ve stayed in New Orleans twice. Next time, I’d head here. I’m a sucker for creamy colors and arched windows with white trim.

5. Panama Hotel, Seattle. Located in old Japantown, the influence of this hotel is a mix between European and Japanese. Built in 1910, the hotel has the only remaining Japanese bathhouse in the United States. This Sento is still intact and can be toured, although it is not in use.

The hotel is unusual in that there are shared men and women’s bathrooms, although there are separate sinks in each room. There is also a tea house that features teas and coffees from around the world. Staying here is like staying in history.