Tag Archives: Hotels

mandarin oriental Las Vegas suite

Would you sleep with a stranger for a hotel discount?

Kensington Park Hotel San Francisco deluxe room

In the latest sharing economy trend, another website has been created for travelers who don’t mind sleeping with strangers to save a few dollars.

The premise: given that hotels and resorts charge guests per room and night, Easynest allows solo travelers to shack up with fellow lodgers so that everyone can slash their hotel bill in half “…and make new friends.”

After signing up with Easynest, users link their profile with social networking accounts such as Facebook and Twitter for virtual introductions. The more complete and fleshed-out the profile, the more likely guests will send requests.

After listing the hotel with dates and location, fellow users with similar travel itineraries can peruse the site and contact hosts.

The concept behind Easynest isn’t far behind that of Couchsurfing, where homeowners open up their living rooms, guest rooms and couches to strangers.

Looking for a companion to keep you company for part or all of your trip? TravBuddy is another site that pairs up open-minded, adventurous solo travelers with likeminded holidaymakers.

Shangri-La Hotel Dubai: 10 rooms for just $3

Shangri-La Dubai

Dubai’s Shangri-La hotel is offering guests the chance to book a night in the five-star hotel for Dh10 ($3.00) as part of celebrations to mark the hotel’s tenth anniversary.

The promotional rate will be offered to the first ten guests who reserve a room to stay on July 10 on the hotel’s official website using the special rate code SLDB10ANN.

In addition, children born on July 8, 2003, the hotel’s official opening date, and residing in Dubai may enjoy a complimentary birthday lunch or dinner for a maximum of 10 guests at Dunes Café.

four seasons st petersburg

Four Seasons restores Russian palace in St. Petersburg

four seasons st petersburg

A 19th century Russian palace and St. Petersburg landmark has been restored as a luxury hotel bearing the Four Seasons brand name.

Known as the House with Lions, the palace —  which boasts a colorful history since ground was broke in 1817 — has been renovated to evoke the spirit of Imperial Russia.

After being delayed several times, the Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace opened its doors yesterday to reveal the laborious restoration efforts made to resurrect the palace’s European-influenced esthetic.

Materials used include neo-classic mahogany, hazelnut and cherry furnishings, black lacquer and chinoiserie motifs from Europe.

Ceilings, granite columns and plaster details of the grand lobby have been preserved and restored, while the showpiece of the palace – the sweeping staircase to the second floor – is also original granite.

Rooms are swathed in luxurious fabrics and materials sourced from Europe such as velvet and silk, while fixtures and bathrooms include marble and granite.

Over the course of two centuries, the House with Lions — named after the two marble lions which stand guard outside the palace — served as the Ministry of War between 1827 to 1917.

Major hotel chains have set their sights on Russia for expansion, particularly with the 2014 Winter Olympics and the FIFA World Cup 2018 on the horizon.

The Hotel Indigo St. Petersburg-Tchaikovskogo, for instance, is slated to open this fall, and the Sheraton Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport Hotel is scheduled to open later this month.

Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace

underwater hotel Maldives

The latest in luxury: Underwater hotels

Water Discus Hotel Maldives

A futuristic-looking luxury hotel made up of spaceship-like discs that recalls Star Trek’s Enterprise is set to be built partially underwater in the Maldives.

The Polish developers of the Water Discus Hotel received the green light last week by the national ministry of tourism to begin construction off the island of Kuredhivaru, where the ambitious underwater project will be built amidst delicate coral reefs in crystal clear waters.

underwater hotel room

The two-part structure caters to guests with different preferences: those who want an underwater marine view of tropical fish and colorful coral, and those who prefer aerial views of their lush, blue-skied surroundings.

Water Discus Hotel at night

Suspended up to seven meters above water on five pillars, the upper deck will house the hotel restaurant, a spa, a rooftop seawater pool and a tropical garden, as well as a helicopter landing pad.

underwater hotel rooftop patio

The lower underwater deck — built up to 30 meters below the surface — will house 21 soundproof guest rooms and the hotel bar as well as a submarine, airlocked dive center that leads divers straight into the ocean. For deep-sea divers, the dive center also includes a decompression chamber.

underwater hotel restaurant

Other water activities include three-passenger submersibles for deep-sea exploration, motor boats, water-skiing, jet skis and underwater scooters. Plans are also afoot to build a similar project in Dubai. No details are available on when the hotel is scheduled to open.

Water Discus Hotel

Meanwhile, the spectacular marine world of the Maldives is the setting for another luxury, underwater restaurant and hotel. Set five meters below the surface of the sea, the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island hotel and features 180-degree views of the coral gardens.

underwater hotel

Kingdom Centre Riyadh

Women-only floor opens at Four Seasons Riyadh

Kingdom Centre Riyadh

Luxury property the Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh is the latest to open a ladies-only floor designed to put traveling women at ease and make them feel “comfortable and secure.”

Dubbed the “Pearl Floor,” the all-female area is fitted with 20 premium and deluxe rooms, as well as two executive suites.

Staff on the 48th floor, which features an express check-in desk, is likewise male-free, manned with all female workers.

To appeal to the female sensibility, the Pearl Floor Lobby highlights a sweeping staircase, bathroom vanities, fine upholstery and linens.

Female guests will have access to free Wifi, complimentary drinks, a ladies-only gym as well as spa services such as facials, body and hair care products, yoga mats, a healthy, in-room dining menu and personalized welcome kit.

Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh Bedroom

dog hotel

The best dog-friendly destinations in North America

Dog Laying On A Bed

A traveler’s guide exclusively for dog owners has released a list of 200 pet-friendly hotels, parks, museums and restaurants throughout Canada and the US for your canine travel companion.

Favorites on DogFriendly.com include Carmel City Beach in California where the off-leash policy allows dogs to frolick freely alongside sunbathers, as well as Yosemite and the Grand Canyon.

The guide also offers readers a list of dog-friendly restaurants including Jordan Pond House in Maine, as well as shopping centers where dogs are welcome such as Denver’s Aspen Grove Shopping Center, and Otay Ranch Shopping Center in San Diego, which comes complete with its own dog park.

Hotels that offer everything from pet sitting services to welcome baskets and ‘doggy room service’ are also listed. Some of the major hotel chains that offer pet-friendly accommodations, meanwhile, include the Best Western and the Marriott.



Top 20 hostels in the world for food

fresh fruit smoothies

Influential food blog The Daily Meal has curated a list of the world’s best hostels in an unexpected category: their food offerings.

In their list of top 20 food hostels, standard fare like burgers and chicken nuggets are replaced with regional specialities like maple whiskey mousse in Vermont, organic oatmeal and fruits in San Francisco, and an assortment of Moroccan breads and locally harvested honeys in Marrakech.

The hostel with the best food in the world meanwhile, can apparently be found in Granada, Spain, where food is central to the stay.

When backpackers arrive at the Oasis Hostel, for instance, they’re greeted with a complmentary drink. Breakfast is free, as are tapas tours that take guests on guided tours of the best bars in the city.

Esencia Nativa hostel in El Salvador was given nods for welcoming guests with fresh fruit smoothies and for its restaurant that overlooks the ocean and serves everything from typical Salvadorian breakfasts and freshly caught seafood to homemade pizzas and veggie burgers with homemade hummus.

Here’s the full list of the Top 20 hostels in the world for their food:

1. Oasis Hostel in Granada, Spain

2. Esencia Nativa hostel in El Salvador

3. Villa Salis Hostel in Sète, France

4. La Hamaca Hostel in Honduras

5. Ostinatto Hostel in Buenos Aires

6. Be Hostels in Barcelona

7. Malabar Farm in Ohio

8. Menaggio youth Hostel on Lake Como, Italy

9. Hostel Tevere in Vermont

10. Hostel Pangea in Costa Rica

11. Mosquito Hostel, Krakow, Poland

12. Canadian Backpackers Inn, Toronto

13. Green Tortoise Hostel, San Francisco

14. Villa Saint Exupéry, Nice, France

15. Osa Mariposa in Oaxaca, Mexico

16. Hostel Nari-Nari in Marrakech

17. Betel Box in Singapore

18. Oasis Hostel in Lisbon, Portugal

19. Kex Hostel, Iceland

20. PLUS Berlin Hostel

Admiralty Arch London

Armani to turn Admiralty Arch into luxury hotel

Admiralty Arch London

According to The Daily Mail, Italian fashion house Armani is hoping to turn an iconic London landmark, the Admiralty Arch, into a luxury, £100 million hotel.

The ceremonial entrance from Trafalgar Square to the Mall that leads to Buckingham Palace will be transformed into a 100-room hotel designed floor to ceiling by Giorgio Armani if the deal goes through.

After opening properties in Dubai and Milan, Armani has long talked about opening a London outpost of Armani Hotels, toying briefly with the tony neighborhood of Knightsbridge, home to luxury properties like Bulgari, the Berkeley and Mandarin Oriental.

Early indications are that the hotel will be outfitted in sleek marble for the property’s 80 to 100 guestrooms, royal and presidential suites at an estimated renovation cost of £600,000 per room.

The hotel, which is reportedly to open in December, 2015, will house a restaurant and bar and, predictably, an Armani boutique.

Any development plans for a hotel in the century-old edifice, meanwhile, would need to pass security measures given that the arch overlooks Whitehall which is lined with British governmental offices.

London Admiralty Arch

Hotel brands with top online street cred

Hilton Hotel Shanghai

When it comes to online chatter about the best hotels for service, location, rooms and amenities, the Hilton, Marriott and Four Seasons brands come out on top.

Between May and October 2012, the trio of hotel names ranked highest in what market research company MavetMagnet calls ‘Conversational Relevance’ which measures both the amount and positivity of a hotel brand’s online buzz.

In areas such as service and location Hilton Hotels earned a positive score of 58 percent, followed by Marriott at 56 percent, and the Four Seasons with 51 percent.

Other elements that proved to be important to hotel guests included everything from the view, water pressure – for which the Ritz-Carlton and the Hilton emerged as leaders – service and the brand’s cachet, dominated by the Four Seasons.

Other findings:

– Among the most important attributes for hotel guests are the property’s location, centrality and accessibility to nearby amenities: Nearly two-thirds of online conversation on the ‘functionality’ of a hotel revolved around these considerations

– A hotel room’s size, connectivity and technology are among the most important to guests.

– The shower’s water pressure is more important than the comfort of a bed.

– The hotel staff’s responsiveness to personal attention and needs is also much talked about/

– Family travelers were particularly concerned about room noise.

Meanwhile, as of 11 am GMT, February 18, the top hotel influencers on social media tracker Klout include a bevy of Las Vegas properties including the MGM Grand Las Vegas, Caesars Palace, Mandalay Bay and the Palms Casino Resort.

Zadig & Voltaire boss apologises over China gaffe

Zadig and Voltaire boutique Avenue Montaigne

The boss of Zadig & Voltaire has apologised for saying that Chinese tourists would not be welcome at an exclusive new hotel planned by the company in Paris.

Company founder Thierry Gillier told fashion industry journal WWD late last month: “We are going to select guests. It won’t be open to Chinese tourists, for example.”
Continue reading

Four Seasons Beijing

Four Seasons to open first property in Beijing

Four Seasons Beijing

The Four Seasons hotel brand continues its expansion in China with the opening of its first property in Beijing. The opening is scheduled for September 28.

Located in the Lingmahe area of the Central Business District, the Four Seasons Beijing will be the 88th property of the brand worldwide.
Continue reading