Hotel News We Noted: October 12, 2012

Awesome Amenity: A Food Truck Concierge
No matter what you’re craving – ice cream, tacos, dumplings, or more – Thompson’s Food Truck Concierge can assist. They offer a special Food Truck Concierge application, letting visitors know the exact cooking times and locations of their favorite mobile eats. Thompson’s New York hotels are also offering special food truck deals, using code ‘FOODTRUCK’ when booking online.

Hotel Trends: Same Night Booking
Two years ago, we would have told you that the biggest trend in hotel booking was the flash sale. Now we’ll tell you it’s “same night booking,” a platform (often in curated mobile app form) that allows hotels to lower rates for unsold same day reservations. Jetsetter did it earlier this week, HotelTonight even tells you what they do in their name. Hotwire Travelocity and Priceline all have web or application-based tools to allow travelers to book day-of reservations. The platforms all differ slightly. Some are opaque, meaning that they reveal details about the property but not its name until after booking. Others showcase the name of the property or its “type” to entice travelers.

We’re fairly confident that this development is a big one – and we’ll soon be seeing it migrate to other industries, such as fitness, spa and sports.

Hotels Get Social: Sofitel Launches Tumblr Blog
In an effort to engage better with guests of their nine North American properties, Sofitel has launched a new Tumblr blog, Life is Magnifique. The hotel chain says that the content, which is centered on an online concierge experience, will feature cultural activities, restaurant openings, key events and fashion updates by Sofitel staff in each city. We’re excited to see where this goes. Tumblr can be a fun and very interactive platform for hotels, but we have seen too many brands use blogs to push out PR content, leaving little value to the consumer. So far, however, the content seems fun and engaging, and the blog’s layout is easy to read.

Hotel Reviews: HotelMe
A new hotel review site is on the market. HotelMe is touting itself as an alternative to travel review sites like TripAdvisor that have recently been in the news for having fake or unverified reviews on their websites. This new site promises “verified” reviews by partnering with hotels to confirm the reviewer’s stay through a patent-pending method. We’re intrigued … would you use this website to scout out a potential hotel?

Sweet Suites: Diane Von Furstenberg’s Penthouse in Hayman, Australia
Acclaimed fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg has crafted a new penthouse on Hayman, Australia’s private island destination, and we’re already lining up for a stay. The two-bedroom is designed with DVF signature fabrics, freestanding tone bathtub and classic furnishings, but that’s not really what gets us excited. We’re coveting this space thanks to its prime positioning in the spectacular Great Barrier Reef, which can be viewed on the oversized balcony. Of course, Butler services and all meals don’t hurt either.

Hotel News We Noted: June 15, 2012

We’re almost officially into summer, friends, and it’s time for this week’s “it’s almost summer” edition of “Hotel News We Noted.” As always, feel free to email us tips and thoughts for next week’s edition.

Luxury Hotels: Four Seasons & Trump
If you’re a Trump hotels fan, you’re in luck. The brand has closed a deal on the Doral Resort & Spa in Florida and planned a $200 million renovation of the property. Four Seasons has also assumed management of a luxury favorite, New Mexico‘s former Auberge property, Encantado. They will rename the property Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe.

Awesome Amenity: Art Concierge
We’ve seen watch butlers, pet sitters and soap concierges, but now Rosewood San Miguel de Allende is taking personalization a step further with their new Art Concierge, who helps guests engage with the local public and community by facilitating interactive arts education and language classes. We’d ordinarily find this a strange service, but the San Miguel de Allende area has long been known as one of Mexico’s premier artist communities.

Hotel Package: Fourth of July in the Nation’s Capital
We may be biased because of our “Washingtonian” status, but we can’t help but think that the Nation’s Capital is a pretty great place to spend the Fourth of July. Starting Thursday (June 21) book rates at DC, Maryland and Virginia Kimpton hotels for $109 to $159 per night, a savings of more than 20 percent off. These boutique chic properties are the perfect home base from which to explore the museums, monuments and more. We’d highly suggest coming for July 4 and catching the famous fireworks show on the National Mall. Book here (the page goes live on Thursday) with code: BOOM. This exclusive sale is only 72-hours long, so book fast.

Hotel Visits: NYC’s 6 Columbus and The Standard East Village
We spent a quick weekend in New York City where we checked in and checked out of two boutique hotels in different areas of the city – 6 Columbus, a Thompson property, as well as The Standard East Village, formerly the Cooper Square Hotel. We loved the boutique vibe of both hotels – spare and minimalist but with luxe touches – Frette linens (both), designer bath amenities (Red Flower for The Standard, Kiehls for 6 Columbus) and piles of hard-to-find design and shelter magazines (both) for our in-room reading pleasure. Worth noting at 6 Columbus: in addition to chic restaurant Blue Ribbon Sushi, which was hopping even at nearly one in the morning, we loved the FourSquare special, which waived the $15 Wi-Fi fee for those who “checked in.” We were particularly interested in the new Standard, which is slowly renovating its public spaces and rooms from the old Cooper Square property. They’re not quite there yet – a room mishap at check-in took more than an hour to rectify (and required a few firm phone calls) – but fans of the Meatpacking property will be pleased to know that this hotel also offers floor-to-ceiling windows. We’re not sure if this was intentional, given the other location’s infamy for peep show like performances from guests, but we can say that we’re looking forward to seeing more changes down the road throughout the year.

Kimpton Adds 11th Hotel To DC Area Portfolio With New Donovan House Property

Washington, DC‘s only Thompson hotel quietly re-branded under the Kimpton umbrella last week, bringing the total number of the hotel chain’s properties in the DC area to 11, the largest concentration of any geographic area for the boutique lifestyle brand.

Rumor has it that the Thompson name was dropped because the hotel didn’t meet brand standards.

With the takeover, Kimpton has already set their signature amenities into place, including animal print robes, a pet-friendly policy, complimentary wine happy hour and free Wi-Fi.

The ideally located hotel sits between Washington’s downtown and the hip Logan Circle neighborhood. It’s a logical fit for a hotel brand known in DC as much for its signature restaurants as for its hotels – Donovan House already boasts Zentan, an acclaimed Asian restaurant. This will also bring the hotels’ first accessible rooftop and pool to the DC-area portfolio.

A future “light refresh” is in the works for the rooftop and the guest rooms, but firm dates have not been set yet, says Sarah Horner, regional director of hotel public relations.

“Washington, D.C. continues to be one of the most important and thriving markets for Kimpton, and Donovan House – with its metropolitan vibe and ideal location – is a perfect fit for the brand,” said Kimpton CEO Mike Depatie. “With the addition of this fantastic property, which happens to feature one of the liveliest Washington, DC, restaurants and an unrivalled rooftop lounge, we are adding to the variety and diversity of our collection for avid Kimpton fans here.”

We’re excited to see what happens when Kimpton finalizes all changes – the hotel, despite its location and huge potential, always seemed to lack in the buzz we hoped it would have. Under the stronger (in DC, anyway) Kimpton name and more accessible, open brand background, the hotel is well poised for success.