Hotel News We Noted: May 31, 2013

It’s the last “Hotel News We Noted” of May, and we have lots of news to report. If you’re just tuning in, each Friday, “Hotel News We Noted” brings readers the latest, most interesting and downright oddest news of note from the hospitality world.

Have a tip or a comment to share? Leave a note below or shoot us an email.

Wellness Lovers Unite: Miraval Comes to … New Jersey?
When we envision a wellness retreat, New Jersey might not be the location we’d choose, but Miraval is betting that its loyal clientele will want to take their retreats east. Earlier this week, the brand announced plans to open a second resort in Somerset County on a property formerly owned by the King of Morocco. Dubbed “Miraval at Natirar,” the property should open in 2014.

New Brand Alert: Tommie Hotels
Commune Hotels & Resorts, the parent company behind Thompson and Joie de Vivre hotels, this week announced the launch of Tommie, a value-oriented brand for stylish young travelers. Rooms are called “crash pads,” meeting spaces are “incubators,” and lounges are called “reading rooms.” Self-check in, eclectic retail and gourmet grab-and-go foods should appeal to on-the-go travelers. The first location will be on 31st Street in Manhattan, and a West SoHo location is also planned, both of which anticipate a 2015 opening. What do you think?Hotel Opening: Traders Hotel, Puteri Harbour, Johor, Malaysia
Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts will open its third Traders Hotel in Malaysia on June 1. The 283-room property is a 20-minute drive from downtown Singapore and is ideal for family or business travelers as it is located near two theme parks and the state administration center. It’s pretty cheap too – starting room rates begin at $123 per night.

Hilton Gets A Jolt: Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® Coffee Added to Hilton Hotels
Travelers love (or love to hate) the in-room coffee amenities at most hotels, and, of late, many chains have moved away from big brands to select specialty or local roasters for their in-room brew. Hilton has done the same, announcing a partnership with The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®, to provide an exclusive new in-room assortment of coffee and teas at Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton and Embassy Suites Hotels properties across the Americas. The blend is called the “Hilton Morning Blend.” Purchase a 12-ounce bag on Hilton at Home to test for yourself and get 20 percent off your entire order. As Hilton heiress Paris would say, “that’s hot.”

Cool Contest: Four Seasons Goes After Brides
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts is celebrating wedding color palettes with the launch of the second annual issue of Four Seasons Weddings magazine with a Pinterest contest. Brides to be can enter to win a $1,000 Four Seasons gift card redeemable at any Four Seasons hotel or resort worldwide by creating their own wedding palette pin board. A panel of expert judges, including Style Me Pretty and Bridal Guide, will select the winner the week of June 24, 2013. We aren’t getting married, but we sure would like a $1k gift card, wouldn’t you? If you qualify, enter the “Pin Your Wedding Colour Palette” Pinterest contest here.

Hotel News We Noted: May 25, 2013

Welcome to the long weekend, “Hotel News We Noted” readers. It’s time for three days of sun, fun and relaxation – or, in our case, a wedding.

But before you jet off (or drive away, as the case may be), we wanted you to have your weekly dose of the best news from in and around the hotel world.

As always, send comments, questions and feedback to our inbox, or leave a note below.

Luxury Hotel Amenity: Gold-Plated iPads for Everyone
Dubai’s Burj Al Arab has just upped the ante on the in-room iPad trend, The Telegraph reports. The hotel, which already is one of the world’s tallest, might also offer the most expensive guest device, a 24-carat gold-plated iPad worth £6,715, upon check-in. The iPads have a special app that acts like a virtual butler. Of course, guests only have use of the technology while they are staying in the hotel.

Money Saver Alert: Room Service Gets Cheaper
According to a new article in Bloomberg Business Week, room service is one hotel amenity that’s actually decreasing in price. Room service is becoming simpler – both in delivery and in the scope of offerings. Hotels like Public in Chicago actually deliver items in a brown paper bag, a streamlined concept that fits with their chic, yet price conscious model.

Hotel Opening: Margaritaville Atlantic City
Parrotheads everywhere will want to head to the Jersey Shore this weekend for the grand opening of the Margaritaville entertainment complex at Atlantic City’s Resorts Casino Hotel. The new addition to the property includes a Margaritaville restaurant, LandShark Bar & Grill, a Margaritaville-themed casino, Five O’clock Somewhere bar, a retail store and coffee shop. The coffee shop is a new addition to the Margaritaville brand, and the casino will feature 12 themed tables and more than 150 slot machines. Governor Christie himself was present to cut the ribbon for the opening ceremony yesterday.

Cool Contest: Do The DTour
Think you have what it takes to be a travel writer? Now you can test your writing and producing chops. DoubleTree by Hilton is hosting a contest, dubbed the “DTour,” encouraging fans to share a video describing a nearby landmark, unique culture or not-to-be-missed travel spot in a destination of your choosing. The video and accompanying description will be entered in a contest to win a travel assignment to one of six continents where DoubleTree hotels are located. The winners will take in local culture, the hotels and much more, all while sharing their experience for the brand for trips that will last between two weeks and two months. The final entry date is May 31.

Hotel News We Noted: May 18, 2013

Are you ready for the weekend, “Hotel News We Noted” readers? We sure are – and we can’t believe that it’s almost the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day! This week is jam packed with your usual hotel news, plus a special addition in some of our favorite packages, promotions and last-minute deals for the long weekend.

If you’re a new fan, “Hotel News We Noted” tracks the best, most interesting and downright weird news of the week in the hotel world. We welcome reader comments, so feel free to leave a comment below or shoot us an email.

Stay cool with these special offers and packages.

  • Starwood Caribbean Hotels & Resorts are offering great specials with their “Sunsational Savings” package (actually, it’s available beyond the Caribbean too, but we find these deals particularly great). We love this time of year in the Caribbean, as it’s not as expensive as the winter, but not yet hurricane season either. Starting at $149 per night (a savings of more than 30 percent!), travelers heading to the sunny destinations of Aruba, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands will enjoy resort credits, free nights and more.
  • Kick off the summer with a Sazerac at the newly opened Courtyard New Orleans Downtown/Iberville. Rates start at just $109, a great deal for a new hotel in the heart of the French Quarter, and the offer is good for stays between now and September 30 if you book before the end of the month.
  • Dive in and chill out at The Liaison Capitol Hill, an Affinia Hotel in Washington, D.C. Walk-able to historic Capitol Hill and easily accessible to monuments, museums and more, one of our favorite parts about this hotel is its open-air rooftop pool and bar. Their special package includes two cocktails per adult daily, a morning yoga class and a “Sun Yourself” kit, with rates from $165.
  • The luxe “I’m on a Boat!” package at Kimpton’s Hotel Allegro is a bargain, and the weather in Chicago during the summer months is definitely a draw. Enjoy overnight accommodations in three deluxe rooms (10 person maximum), a three-hour private chartered boat ride throughout Lake Michigan, a picnic basket filled with Italian cuisine prepared by Executive Chef Luca Corazzina of 312 Chicago, (a tasty spread of cheeses, charcuterie and wine) and round-trip transportation to the dock, starting at just $2,570. Book this one by calling 1.800.643.1500.


Film and luxury lovers know that there is no better place to be this month than in Cannes, France. The small seaside town is overwhelmed by jetsetters visiting for the Cannes Film Festival. We got the inside (infographic) scoop on how one of the area’s posh hotels – The Grand Hyatt Cannes Hotel Martinez preps for fest, here.

There are a number of hotels that we’d suggest keeping an eye on during the Cannes fest – Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc being perhaps the most famous. But one of the nearby area’s we’d also name as a must visit is St. Tropez, about a 20-30 minute car ride away from the main hubub of the festival. Also known as a location for the glitterati during this time period, we’d love a trip to the Hotel Pain Dei Palais, a 12-room mansion-style hotel and member of Relais & Chateau. They just launched a brand new Cellcosmet Spa, a Swiss skincare brand known for having exceptional anti-aging treatments.


We held off on talking about this buzz-worthy film for some time, mostly because everyone else was doing so. But now that we’ve seen the epic production, we can’t help but have the urge to travel back to the Gilded Age. Here are a few hotel packages where doing so gets a whole lot easier:

  • Soak in some literary inspiration in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s room, #441 at Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC. Turning 100 this July, the historic resort has hosted many celebrated individuals, including the famed Gatsby writer. While at the Inn, the author even attempted suicide by swallowing a vial of morphine, but was revived by his physician and a nurse.
  • The Trump International Hotel & Tower is offering the Trump “Great Gatsby” Package. Guests are invited to spend three nights in a suite overlooking Central Park, enjoying some over-the-top perks. Men receive a custom-tailored suit and shirt from Bergdorf Goodman and Art Deco cufflinks, while women go home with Ivanka Trump Art Deco jewelry. The package also includes dinner at Jean Georges, a magnum of champagne and chauffeured car-service. The extravagant package set Gatsby fans back a cool $14,999.

Hotel News We Noted: May 11, 2013

It’s the weekend, and you know that that means – it’s time for “Hotel News We Noted,” your annual wrap up of the best, wackiest and downright odd hotel news of the week. Spring has sprung in the hotel world, and we’re seeing tons of openings from major brands and boutique properties alike, as well as a slew of packages, many of which incentivize travelers to book early for summer stays. Time is running out for Memorial Day bookings in prime locations, but you’ll still find some great last-minute specials in major cities. Of course, don’t forget that Mother’s Day is this weekend. It’s not too late to snag a special at an area hotel there either – Saturday night stays and Sunday brunch offerings abound.

So without further ado, here’s the news you need for this week:

Crazy Hotel Package: Cockle Fishing (With your TOES!) at Hermitage Bay in Antigua
We’ve heard of hotels that will take guests out to “catch” their dinner, but never one quite like this. The ultra-luxe Hermitage Bay in Antigua will escort guests cockle fishing in in a hidden mangrove near the property. What is a cockle, you ask? It’s a small saltwater clam that lives in the deep, swampy mud. Desi, the Chef, and a local fisherman named Deon take guests hunting for the sweet things. Guests stand submerged to mid-thigh, calf-deep in mud, and find the clams by wiggling their toes! This sure brings new meaning to the idea of working for your home-cooked meal.

Haute Hotel Openings & Re-Openings
There are so many hotel openings this week and last, we simply can’t whittle down the list. Here are a few of the world’s most notable.

Located on the southwest coast of Bali, Starwood Le Méridien Bali Jimbaran is housed in a tranquil location that once was home to a small fishing village. The property features 119 guest rooms and suites that open around a unique 1,300-square-meter saltwater lagoon-style pool, as well as four restaurants and bars onsite. The hotel also features a six-room spa, a kids club and an exclusive rotating art program.

Istanbul is hot, hot, hot this year. The latest luxury property to hit the scene is Shangri-La Bosphorus, opening tomorrow. Located on the European side of the Bosphorus Strait, the hotel is housed in a former tobacco warehouse from the 1930s boasting a six-story Neo-Classical facade and a 350-year-old Sycamore tree in the courtyard. Expect a three-story Atrium, an 18-foot silk painting commissioned for the hotel, a CHI spa with eight private spa suites and the most spacious guest rooms in the city, ranging from 452 to 646 square feet, plus 17 suites with large private terraces.

In renovation news, the Hotel Gritti Palace in Venice is re-launching this year after a 15-month, $55 million restoration. Part of an overall $200+ million renovation for The Luxury Collection’s hotel’s in Europe, the newly revamped property features 61 rooms and 21 suites all carefully redone with an eye to the hotel’s historic beauty.

In New York City, the Langham Place has opened their first hotel in North America in the building that was The Setai Fifth Avenue. While at the start, the hotel, dubbed Langham Place Fifth Avenue, will look much the same, the well-known British name in hospitality brings an exciting new brand into New York City and a potential for further acclaim for the property. We’ll keep an eye out for more updates, which include the re-launch of the hotel’s spa in 2014 and a new bar, Measure, later this year.

Great Gift: Hotel Stories
Need a great gift for the luxury travel lover in your life? Luxury book publisher Assouline has just launched the latest in their collection of amazing coffee table books. Part of a partnership with The Luxury Collection, the book, called simply “Hotel Stories,” tells the tales of some of the world’s most famous hotels and their celebrity inhabitants.

Have a question, comment or hot hotel tip? Leave a note below or shoot us an email. We love mail!

[Image Credit: Hermitage Bay]

Hotel News We Noted: April 26, 2013

Welcome to this week’s edition of “Hotel News We Noted,” where we discuss the best trends, openings and news of note in the industry. We love to hear from you, so please leave comments below or alert us to tips via email.

Kimpton Gets Quirky With Wellness Marketing
Hotels across the country have jumped on the wellness marketing trend, but Kimpton does it better than most, offering fitness rooms and gratis workout equipment for guests. We love the new video (shown above) featuring a day with Mat. It’s not necessarily groundbreaking, but it is clever and creative!

Reno News: Westin Hilton Head Is Ready For Summer
A $30 million renovation at the Westin in South Carolina’s Hilton Head has put the property in tip top shape, just in time for summer guests. Highlights include a new lobby, six enhanced restaurants, three pools, a state-of-the-art fitness center and a spa just named the #1 in South Carolina (and one of the 100 best in the U.S.).Hotel Opening: Generator Hostels
We normally restrict this column to hotels, but today we make an exception for Europe’s fastest-growing hostel brand, Generator. Chic and playful, these fun and budget-friendly lodgings are design-led and perfect for the younger or more adventurous traveler. The brand has just launched their new Barcelona property, and a Berlin Mitte property will open May 14. What do you think? With rates starting at just €12.75, we’d be excited to check one of these out next time we cross the pond.

Sweet Suites: The Cliffs Suites at Oil Nut Bay
As part of a luxury residential partnership with fashion house FENDI, the ultra-luxe Oil Nut Bay in Virgin Gorda (BVI) has just announced the opening of their latest rooms, The Cliff Suites. Set into the beautiful and rocky southeast cliffs of the 300-acre private peninsula, the new offerings are composed of two, 890-square-foot deluxe rental suites and a 1,334-square-foot penthouse featuring huge glass windows, open air showers and private plunge pools. Our favorite? The penthouse, of course, which features FENDI Casa decor and furnishings, a wrap-around outdoor terrace and full-size infinity swimming pool. What do guests get for the starting from $1500-a-night rate? In addition to full use of the property’s facilities, they’ll enjoy a dedicated electric golf cart and personal concierge.