Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Iconic hotels that have inspired songs

There are some hotel names you just know, whether you’ve ever stayed there or not. These iconic spots can be famous for a variety of reasons: they are super luxe or popular among the stars, they figure prominently in films or were the sites of important historic events. Which is perhaps why many of the world’s most iconic hot
els have inspired, or at least been mentioned in, beloved songs. And in some cases, beloved songs have even led to the increased popularity — or even existence — of various hotels. 

Copacabana Palace
Rio’s Copacabana Palace, which dates back to 1923, is a historic Art Deco hotel just off the beach. Perhaps Barry Manilow’s most famous song. Copacabana was first thought up by Manilow and fellow songwriter Bruce Sussman when they were both staying at the hotel, which has a striking, all-white palatial facade. The song was released in 1978. 

Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel
In the Grammy Hall of Fame for over two decades now, Elvis’s Heartbreak Hotel was actually inspired by a real-life event; songwriters Tommy Durden and Mae Boren Axton based the lyrics on a newspaper article reporting a man’s suicide by jumping from a hotel window; he left behind a note that simply read “I walk a lonely street.” While that unnamed hotel was located in Miami, the song inspired the opening of Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel, an Elvis-themed property appropriately located across the street from Graceland.
The Beverly Hills Hotel
Hotel California is one of the most famous songs in the world, and The Beverly Hills Hotel is one of the most famous hotels in the world, so it all makes sense. Though the Eagles never mention it by name, most believe the Grammy-winning single was inspired by the BHH. Others, however, argue it was instead the equally illustrious, but perhaps a bit more rocker-friendly, Chateau Marmont that was the muse.
Chateau Marmont
Fortunately, Chateau Marmont need not feel left out, whether it inspired the Eagles or not. This L.A. hotel has verifiably inspired countless other songs; a celebrity hangout since its opening in 1929, the property has welcomedGreta Garbo (in fact a former resident of the hotel) to John Mayer. Popular songs that mention the hotel include Scott Weiland’s Chateau Marmont and Off to the Races by Lana Del Rey.
everyone from 
GoldenEye Hotel & Resort
It’s hard to determine the chicken and the egg in this circumstance. GoldenEye didn’t officially open as a hotel until Chris Blackwell, the founder of Island Records and Island Outpost, purchased the property. Still, many say it was called GoldenEye as far back as 1946, when James Bond creator Ian Fleming purchased the land and built his home here so he could focus on his novels. The hotel shares its name not only with the 1995 James Bond film (the first to star Pierce Brosnan), but also the film’s theme song performed by Tina Turner.
Holiday Inn
A list about hotels in songs of course must mention the Holiday Inn chain, which has likely appeared in more lyrics than any other property. Two of the most famous songs are Rapper’s Delight by the Sugarhill Gang, and Holidae In performed by Chingy,Snoop Dogg and Ludacris. Both songs reference partying at the hotel, and we’d recommend one of the chain’s properties in Paris, the Holiday Inn Paris – Notre Dame.

Hotel Pennsylvania
One of the largest hotels in New York City, Hotel Pennsylvania sits (not surprisingly) right by Penn Station. Which is also probably why it has seen plenty of famous faces come through. Glenn Miller, whose orchestra was known for its swing compositions, refers to the historic hotel in Pennsylvania 6-5000.
The Ritz
The Ritz-Carlton brand has long been synonymous with top-notch luxury, even inspiring the slang phrase “putting on the Ritz.” This phrase, in turn, was the inspiration behind songwriter Irving Berlin’s Puttin’ on the Ritz, which was the lead song in the same-named film, released in 1930. Though the phrase likely came about thanks to the London and Paris locations of the chain, we have a particular fondness for The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown.
~ USA Today

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Boutique hotels in London

Hazlitt's, Soho

Former home of that master of English prose, William Hazlitt, who died in poverty in 1830 in one of three adjoining townhouses that form the hotel. Expect authenticity. The sloping, creaking floorboards have been retained (it can be an uphill walk to your bed) and the rooms are decorated with antiques, busts and prints. Named after people who frequented the houses in Hazlitt’s day, the rooms are delightfully different from those in most London hotels, all individually furnished, with free-standing bathtubs and Victorian fittings in the bathrooms.

Artist Residence London, Pimlico

The hotel occupies a handsome five-storey Regency terrace on Cambridge Street in Pimlico. The third Artist Residence – like its forebears in Brighton and Penzance – is firmly of the “boutique” variety: small and stylish, barely signposted, with a hip cocktail bar and restaurant downstairs. The decor offers quirky artwork, plenty of exposed brick, and all manner of rakish clutter – from Kilner jars and tea crates to authentic milking stools refashioned into bedside tables.

Zetter Townhouse, Clerkenwell

Zetter Townhouse offers a friendly escape amid the venerable and village-like streets of Clerkenwell, one of London's most pleasant neighbourhoods. The lounge, bar and dining room come dressed in a jumble of Victoriana that includes a stuffed kangaroo, armchairs upholstered with sacking, and walls crammed with oil paintings, curios and old photos. A star attraction is a homely cocktail bar overseen by master mixologist Tony Conigliaro, who creates memorable tipples bearing names like Somerset Sour, Twinkle and The Flintlock.

Dorset Square Hotel, Marylebone

The hotel stands within sight of Marylebone Station on a fairly busy side of leafy Dorset Square, which was the site of the first ever cricket ground and home to the Marylebone Cricket Club. Firmdale’s designer, Kit Kemp, can handle vibrant colour and contrasting, unusual fabric in a way that would be a disaster in other hands. Rooms combine scintillating design (although one or two of the rooms I saw were verging on the odd) with uncomplicated, gadget light comfort.

The Levin, Knightsbridge

The Levin combines the luxury of a top hotel with the intimacy of a bed and breakfast. The lobby has delicious pistachio green walls, with a feel of the 1930s; the tiny lift is a nostalgic throwback. It has an immediately welcoming, secure and intimate feel… a haven. With fabrics by William Yeoward and Designer’s Guild, rooms are suave, with particularly good lighting. You’ll find it hard to leave: each one is equipped with a brilliant selection of pristine paperbacks and a Champagne bar: all the ingredients, and recipes, for the perfect Champagne cocktail.

The Portobello, Notting Hill

The hotel sits in the middle of a quiet terrace of houses that back on to Stanley Gardens. Opened in 1971, the new owners have retained the charming furniture, including many Victorian baths, and concentrated on enhancing, rather than materially changing, the look and feel of the hotel. Rooms range from tiny but beautifully coloured attic rooms to No 16, where Kate Moss and Johnny Depp filled the Victorian bath with Champagne, and No 13, with its enormous four-poster bed that requires a set of steps to reach.

The Rockwell, Earl's Court

The interiors are great, with lovely flowers, lots of pale walls, claret silk curtains and fuchsia carpet in reception and Victorian patterned tiled floors. The sweet little high-walled garden at the back hosts barbecues in the summer. The 40 rooms (13 singles, worth remembering) are spacious and pretty without being chintzy; a nice break from pared down chic. The small, potentially charming dining room and bar overlook the garden, reached via a glass bridge, and serve good modern European food.

Chiltern Firehouse, Marylebone

Housed in a fire station dating from 1887, the building has huge charm. The street on which Chiltern Firehouse stands has been recently regenerated street and is now lined with interesting shops. The original façade has been restored and the former ladder shed is now the guest lobby; the engine house holds the restaurant, with bedrooms above; and the newly constructed extension in between holds the horseshoe-shaped bar and a courtyard for outdoor seating.

The Rookery, Smithfield

The Rookery is located between the City and the East End, by Smithfield Market, but distant enough not to hear meat trucks at 5am. Open fires, sumptuous Georgian detailing, wonky floors and bulging bookshelves complete the picture. There’s an Honesty Bar downstairs – and even a tiny garden terrace for the summer. There are 33 rooms and two singles. All are as quirky as the building, sharing only rich 18th-century colours, antiques, glowing woods and modernised mad plumbing.

Dean Street Townhouse, Soho

If I wanted to show someone a really successful hotel room, I would lead them here. Neither superficially trendy nor boringly traditional, they are cool yet timeless, soothing yet spoiling, decorated to reflect the Georgian townhouse that contains them. Either handsomely panelled or prettily wallpapered, they have huge elegant beds piled high with pillows and bathrooms tiled in black and white, with big bottles of Cowshed products, a bowl full of thoughtful extras, and deliciously soft bathrobes (not those heavy toweling ones that practically floor you when you put them on).

Friday, September 18, 2015

The incredible shrinking hotel room

How much does the size of the hotel room and the extra amenities really matter to you? 

Pod hotels are a hip boutique hotel on a budget. Debuting in Manhattan in 2007. Hoteliers Richard Born and Ira Drukier introduced the micro-hotel. With the debut of Pod 51. & Pod 39.

An affordable hotel with style. Out with the excessive and the unnecessary. They're all about details, intelligent design and being connected - all on a budget.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Top boutique hotels for business travelers

Rated the top boutique hotels for business travelers by business travelers themselves, here is who made the list.
The Ritz Carlton, Hong Kong

The Ritz Carlton (Hong Kong)
Score: 9.3/10
From the moment guests enter The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, they will understand that a thrilling, multi-sensory adventure awaits them not only in the city outside, but inside our 5-star Kowloon hotel located 490 meters in the air.

Andaz Wall Street (New York City)
Welcome to Andaz Wall Street, where inspiring experiences and iconic NYC style create a sophisticated Lower Manhattan hotel. Every detail and moment, from our loft-style rooms to our neighborhood-centric restaurant and bar, fuse together to give you a genuine and intimate NYC experience in the heart of the Wall Street neighborhood. NYC dining, art, nightlife and style all converge at Andaz Wall Street - a kaleidoscope of New York’s spirit.

Nhow Berlin (Berlin)
Score: 8.5/10
The nhow Berlin hotel is a design classic in the ultra-trendy area between Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg in Berlin. Bars, cafés, restaurants, shops and clubs are all part of the lively hub here.

Hotel Lincoln, a Joie de Vivre Hotel (Chicago)
Score: 8.4/10
Live, Stay, and Play like the locals do while enjoying a refreshing vintage take on the Chicago experience. Fully renovated in 2012, the property features sweeping views of Lincoln Park and Lake Michigan, best experienced by visiting the acclaimed rooftop bar. Live, stay and play like a local.

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel (London)
Score: 8.4/10
St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, London
After years of restoration, the luxury St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel has become an icon and model of hospitality. Behind the fairytale façade that Sir George Gilbert Scott fashioned for the Midland Grand is a London 5-star hotel like no other – one that mingles Victorian splendor with contemporary style and service. Step inside the spectacular glazed entrance hall where Victorian high society once alighted from horse-drawn cabs, and stride down the famous grand staircase to dinner in The Gilbert Scott Bar and Restaurant where the brilliant, fresh brasserie cuisine of Marcus Wareing awaits. Our luxury lifestyle hotel in London boasts 245 guest rooms, including 38 beautifully restored and updated suites. While away from your room, take a journey of the senses in St. Pancras Spa offering a sumptuous, subterranean retreat. Imagine the drama of times past while enjoying a refreshment in The Booking Office Bar & Restaurant, our London King's Cross hotel's former ticket hall adjoining St. Pancras station.

Seven Hotel (Paris)
Score: 8.1/10
Located in the heart of the Latin Quarter, the hotel Seven **** is a genuine hôtelboutique. You are safe, whatever your preferences, to find among the 7 suites of the hotel which will make you succumb. Whether the Sublime suite or the Curl up suite, each offers an original and elegant and is equipped with all the amenities you need. Dive into a world of charming and design where attention to detail and perfection are the keywords.

Refinery Hotel (New York City)
Refinery Hotel, New York City
Score: 8.2/10
Refinery Hotel has preserved an important outpost of New York’s rich millinery history while injecting urban artistic comfort into the world of boutique hotel accommodation in New York.

V8 Hotel Motorworld (Stuttgart, Germany)
Score: 8.2/10
Extensively restored in classic modernist style captivates not only by the historical flair, but offers the midst of the Motor World Region Stuttgart an exceptional stay.
Hotel and Motor World are devoted to the automobile: Automobile themed rooms, legendary classic car, classic cars sporty, exclusive and special automotive classics make the hearts of art enthusiasts, aesthetes and nostalgics of a beat.

Monday, June 2, 2014



Sick of being ripped off. Big, expensive hotels are the worst culprits, but some cheaper
chains (eg. some Holiday Inns) are also guilty of this. The only way to eradicate this practice is to vote with your feet.

~ David

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A studio apartment

My Perfect room is like a studio apartment and has all of the amenities you’d have in your studio apartment (except the bicycle). It has a balcony (and view would be nice, but not essential). It has a keypad on the front door and room door. Your codes are emailed, so you never have to wait around doing that annoying check-in. In fact, you never really have to see any hotel staff. A newspaper is delivered every morning early. The phone is free for calls within Canada. There is a grocery store, liquor store, and coffee shop on the same block.

~ Anonymous

Monday, May 5, 2014

Things I'm not a fan of

The idea of a window that opens may not be necessary - at an airport this would be noisy, on the 50th floor this might be scary, I don't need it...

I have come to like the credit card style "room keys" - I often loose them or forget to give them back - and when you have to ship a key back it's no fun.

~ Tobes