New York City’s first-ever “hotel week” offers deep discounts January 6 – 15

Sure, we have a love-hate relationship with the ever popular restaurant week, where restaurants in cities across the nation arrange to offer three-course meals for somewhere in the neighborhood of $35 for a week at a time in the spring and fall.

But we’ve never heard of this concept being applied to hotels. For the first time ever, New York City will host a “Hotel Week” (January 6-15) during one of the slowest occupancy weeks of the year in an attempt to boost tourism. It’s a great way to experience hotels that are normally $500 a night and up, or for locals to get away for a quick staycation over MLK Day weekend.

Eight hotels (conveniently all in the same PR firm’s portfolio) are offering these deals, with a one-night stay on a tiered system of $100, $200, or $250 a night. Info on how to book each property below:

The Pod Hotel Midtown East $100 Call and mention “Hotel Week”
Z NYC Hotel Long Island City, Queens $100 Call and mention “Hotel Week”
The Hotel @ Times Square Times Square $100 Call and mention “Hotel Week”
nyma, the new york manhattan hotel Herald Square $100 Call and mention “Hotel Week”
Andaz Wall Street Wall Street $200 Use this link to book.
Hyatt 48 Lex Midtown East $200 Use this link to book.
Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC Meatpacking District $250 Use this link to book.
Gansevoort Park Avenue NYC NoMad $250 Use this link to book.

*includes accommodations in a Queen Room (The Pod Hotel)
“Every hotel in New York could use incremental business in January. We borrowed from the success of Restaurant Week and the fun I’ve had with staycations in the city,” said Nancy Friedman, president of Nancy J. Friedman Public Relations. “There’s nothing like escaping to an amazing hotel for a night––whether you’re a local or a visitor!”
Guests can take advantage of the deals by calling the hotels directly and mentioning “hotel week” when booking, or through the hotel web site. (Booking details are listed in the above chart.) The promotion is subject to availability.

Andaz 5th Avenue offers a tattoo artist in residence, Mister Cartoon

We all knew that Andaz hotels were cool – after all, this is the hotel brand that brought you king-bedded suites with stripper poles and chic-ly dressed “hosts” in local designers in lieu of frond desk staff, and a mini bar stuffed with gratis snacks. But now they’ve one-upped themselves … with an in-residence tattoo artist at Andaz 5th Avenue.

The only way to skip his year-long waiting list? Book a room at the hotel. Mister Cartoon has inked some of Hollywood’s biggest names, including Eminem, Justin Timberlake and Beyonce.

In addition, Mister Cartoon will spend five days creating a mural on the door leading to the bar downstairs as the second artist to participate in the hotel’s tbd Art program, a rotating art series. Apart from living and breathing canvases, Mister Cartoon’s art has also been on display in exhibitions such as MoCA’s seminal Art in the Streets exhibit.

Just FYI, this is only available through December 22, so you’d better start picking out your design.

Hyatt to launch Hyatt House, rebrand Summerfield Suites

Chicago-based Hyatt, one of the leading hotel brands in these United States is taking a new look at their extended-stay properties. Now called the “Summerfield Suites,” the new Hyatt House brand will now take over that full range of properties as well as a handful of Hotel Sierras that were recently acquired.

As part of the rebranding, Hyatt plans to upgrade a whole host of amenities in the properties, from a redesigned social space near the lobby to redesigned suites with better kitchen integration to new foods, beverages and technologies available for guests.

All of these sound like great upgrades, but is a new brand really necessary to unfurl them? Why not just update the current Summerfield Suites? Gadling Labs put that very question to Kristine Rose, VP of brands for Hyatt Place and Hyatt Summerfield Suites, who told us:

“We did quite a bit of research among travelers in the extended-stay space and determined that there was a gap in the segment that we had the opportunity to fill. Extended-stay hotels have been operating the same way for years and our research and insights revealed that guests really want a hotel that mirrors the way they live their lives today with distinct social spaces that create a more casual, inviting, and connected experience. That’s why we believe so strongly in Hyatt House– it is an innovative concept that will evolve and redefine the extended-stay segment by making guests feel like residents with thoughtful amenities, services, and products that make them feel welcome and at home.”

Remodeling is slated to take place in 2012. We’ll keep you posted as the concept properties open.

Chicago’s Park Hyatt turns on heat lamps on picketing unionized employees

Ouch. Were there any worse time to stage an outdoor protest in Chicago it would be this week. The temperature has been surging past 95 degrees for the past three days, and terrified residents are darting from air conditioned homestead to transportation to office.

The union workers at Chicago’s Park Hyatt are taking a stand though, and on schedule were protesting over the course of this past Thursday. At issue? They’re concerned with Hyatt’s ability to contract non-union workers in the future — and by extension the security of their current jobs. You can read more about their grievances over at the Chicago Tribune.

Naturally the strike is all within the rights of the unionized workers and the Park Hyatt has to respect their space — except that they turned on the outdoor heat lamps during the protest. The move, blamed on one unruly manager, caught the attention of WBEZ yesterday morning, and since that time the hotel has been on the defensive, issuing the following statement.

“Hyatt regrets the events that occurred at the Park Hyatt Chicago and apologizes to everyone who was impacted by them. After looking into the incident, we have determined that the decision to turn on the heaters was made by a manager. It was clearly a decision that was not in line with our values or with our corporate policies. We have a long history of respecting our associates’ rights and caring about their well-being and this unacceptable behavior is certainly is not illustrative of that history. We can assure you that this was an isolated incident and such a thing will not happen again”

[flickr image via Michael Lehet]

“Hyatt for Her” launches at select European hotels: what else would improve a woman’s travel experience?

Airlines baggage fees and liquid allowances are a particular inconvenience to female travelers, particularly those (yes, we’re guilty) who load their bags and carry-ons with perfume, hair straighteners and various creams and gels.

We’ve found a few workarounds – sites like to find our favorite products in travel size, gadgets like Travalo, a refillable perfume atomizer, and the Inouis CORE, a handbag organizer that doubles as our in-flight gadget and makeup holder.

Still, we’re excited by the launch of Hyatt’s new “Hyatt for Her” program, a special initiative to increase the comfort of, and show special attention to women when they travel.

“We created this special offer for female travellers because it is essential to us to understand the lifestyle and needs of women who travel a lot and are always in a hurry but have to look smart all the time,” said Fred Hürst, the general manager of Grand Hyatt Berlin.The new program offers a “hair menu” so that guests can choose the shampoo and conditioner perfect for their individual hair type and style. Developed in partnership with Kérastase, the menu includes three types of products: one for coloured hair, one for dry hair and one for weak and fine hair. The program also includes an in-room manicure, pedicure, and blow dry service. The mani/pedi is a reasonable €50 per treatment, comparable to a spa service in the states.

The program is currently available at the brand’s Berlin, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Cologne, Mainz and Zurich properties.

It’s a good start, although we probably wouldn’t bother with the blowout or mani/pedi. We’d like to see the program expanded to include supplies of items like hair straighteners (CHI, please) and curling irons upon request, and the addition of miniature hair spray cans to complimentary available amenities lists.

We were particularly excited by a recent stay at Gramercy Park Hotel in New York, where we found our in-room amenities curated by none other than the editors at Allure magazine – our supply included Davines shampoo and conditioner, which we promptly purchased after our stay. The boutique hotel can easily adapt its menu, which might not be feasible at a large chain like Hyatt, but still, the option remains for increased brand / hotel partnerships.

What else would you add to your travel wish list, ladies?

[Flickr via garybembridge]