Thursday, August 2, 2018

How to properly tip hotel staff

There are two types of people in the world: Those who tip well and those who don't. You know which one you are.

But thanks to all the confusing tipping situations that exist, even well-intentioned tippers can appear cheap. That’s especially true at hotels, where you could easily interact with a dozen staff members in a day, all with different but important roles dedicated to ensuring you have a comfortable stay.

Fortunately, the American Hotel and Lodging Association put together a handy tipping guide for all hotel services. Here’s a look at how to properly tip hotel staff so you don’t end up looking like a jerk. Read more.


Thursday, July 19, 2018

Pop up Hotels

Here’s an alternative to both a hotel and an Airbnb: a pop-up hotel.

That’s the concept that startup WhyHotel has introduced to Washington, D.C., and Baltimore and hopes to expand across the country.

Last year, WhyHotel began operating these pop-up hotels within newly-built luxury rental apartment buildings that have yet to lease out all their units.

Once a building is completed, it can take a year or two to fill up. WhyHotel has swooped in to offer owners the ability to make money off their empty units.

Guests, in turn, can enjoy amenities of the apartment. Some, such as pools, gyms or dry-cleaning services, might even overlap with services offered at a hotel.

“We’re blurring the line between hospitality and home,” says Jason Fudin, WhyHotel’s CEO. “It’s a home experience, but the service is akin to that of traditional hospitality.”

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The world's most exclusive hotels

Starting the list off at #1 is: 

The Brando Resort, Tahiti
Bought by Hollywood actor Marlon Brando in 1967, this private island located on the Tetiaroa atoll features 35 upscale but eco-friendly villas with their own pool and direct beach access.

Would be Cathy's personal favorites:
Fogo Island Inn, Newfoundland, Canada
Set on a cliff on a remote island off the coast of Newfoundland, this boutique hotel boasts a gym, a wood-fired sauna, rooftop hot tubs, a cinema and an art gallery.

Sleeping under the start in the Desert a once in a lifetime experience. 
Scarabeo Stone Desert Camp, Marrakech, Morocco 
One of Morocco's most beautiful tented camps, Scarabeo has the same level of luxury as any hotel in Marrakech or the High Atlas, despite being based in the middle of the Agafay Desert.

Something close to home (Vancouver)
Las Alcobas, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Napa Valley, California, USA 
Open since 2017, Las Alcobas is the only hotel to claim a place among the vines, sitting literally within the historic Beringer vineyards.

Read the complete list on cnn travel:

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Athenaeum Hotel, London

I got the opportunity to stay for a night at The Athenaeum Hotel, London and it was spectacular. I can't say enough great things about the hotel - the service, the warm welcome at check-in, the excellent rooms, great restaurant, and bar !

The man behind the living wall is the award-winning artist and research scientist Patrick Blanc. He’s on a mission to transform concrete walls into beautiful havens of biodiversity. 

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 fa├žade 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.