Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Lonely Planet Predicts El Salvador, Morocco, London Will Be Hot in 2010 || Jaunted

Lonely Planet Predicts El Salvador, Morocco, London Will Be Hot in 2010 || Jaunted

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Monday, October 5, 2009

More Excuses To Drink in Vegas: Fall Cocktails || VegasChatter

More Excuses To Drink in Vegas: Fall Cocktails || VegasChatter

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Friday, September 25, 2009

The Playboy Club is Looking for Some New Bunnies

It was a pretty ingenious idea to put the Playboy Club inside The Palms because any time Playboy comes in town they immediately head to The Palms.

But we're guessing infrequent visits from Hugh Hefner and his "Girls Next Door" and former playmates like Jenny McCarthy aren't enough for the Playboy Club.

This Sunday, the club is continuing its Playboy Club Calendar Search by selecting its Miss September. Girls who want to join the rest of the pin-ups for the 2009 calendar can enter online or in-person the night of the event. Girls chosen for the calendar will also win a chance to be seen inside the actual pages of a Playboy magazine.

As for the party 411, all ladies can sip on some free bubbly from 10pm until midnight but we don't know if that will help or hurt your chances of winning. by juliana - VegasChatter

Related Links: Hotel Deals in Vegas, Palms Casino Resort, Vegas Nightlife Passes

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ritz Carlton Highlands in Lake Tahoe Opening December 9th, 2009

It was under construction when I visited last winter, but I have it on good authority that the Ritz Carlton Highlands in North Lake Tahoe will open on December 9th, and what's more -- there's still availability over Christmas week. (Yes, I know we've not yet celebrated Columbus Day, but, for that peak week, Dan Sherman spokesperson of Ski.com has told me repeatedly that it's never too soon to secure your accommodations.)

The hotel, which is a series of linked pavilions, will have 170 guest rooms, 16 suites, each room with a gas fireplace. A gondola connects you to the bustling and lively Northstar village. The hotel's design, handled by Hornberger + Worstell, is meant to be a contemporary take on traditional great mountain lodges, like Oregon's Timberline Lodge. It was also designed to blend into the hillside, and to that end, the site was not clear-cut --- landmark trees were tagged, and worked around. by Alison Wellner - Luxist

Photo Gallery

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hotel Derek in Houston Unveils Its 'Lady Pink' Rooms

The pink hotel craze continues but the latest hotel to use pink in its rooms is doing it for a good cause. The Hotel Derek in Houston has created five guest rooms designed for the female traveler (uh oh, paging gender neutralists) and 10 percent of the room rate will go towards the Houston chapter of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Pink décor complements each of the guest rooms and includes luxurious bedding, bathroom accessories, as well as a cozy robe and slippers. A unique feature of the Lady Pink rooms is the wellness bar and soothing spa music atop each nightstand.

Room rates start at $289 a night during hte week and goes down on the weekends to $169. by juliana - HotelChatter

Related Links: Hotel Deals in Houston, The Hotel Derek

Monday, September 21, 2009

British-American Boutique Hotels - Firmdale Opens the Crosby Street Hotel in NYC

Firmdale Hotels will open its first location outside of London, England with the introduction of the Crosby Street Hotel in downtown Manhattan. The Crosby Street Hotel opens its 86 rooms at the end of September.

Craig Markham, Marketing and PR Director for Firmdale Hotels, said that the boutique hotel chainlet didn’t want to do a London hotel in New York. What does that mean? Apparently, an understated entrance on a quiet cobblestone street, a private garden, a green roof and 40 different room designs ranging from folksy floral to contemporary minimalism sets the Crosby Street Hotel apart from its siblings in London.

The Crosby Street Hotel does contain a little bit of English whimsy. A different felt animal is appliquéd on the back of every dining room chair, and a huge primitive wooden bird hangs above the bar. Even the hotel’s logo, a dog on a leash next to its owner’s high-heeled boots, can be seen as a miniature print of the staff ties. If this isn’t enough to love, the Crosby Street Hotel is one of the first hotels in New York to boast a LEED’s certification. Via: Marrisa Liu - Trendhunter

References: firmdale, themoment.blogs.nytimes

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Renaissance Chicago Launches Soft Opening for Swanky Bar Novo

1 W. Wacker Drive [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60601

It looks like theWit's hot Roof bar has some competition. As part of the Renaissance Hotel's rebranding effort, the Renaissance Chicago Hotel had a soft opening for its new upscale Bar Novo on Sept. 17 and the lounge will post an official "open" sign on Oct. 1. And like any good business these days, the Bar even has its own Twitter page.

Formerly a stodgy cigar bar—hello, the Chicago smoking ban made cigar bars so 2007—the new space is warm and inviting with reds and deep wood. But the pièce de résistance of the decor is an open chef's station that's the hub of the bar. The station uses an special induction style cook-top that eliminates the use of open flames and bulky hood systems so that you can watch the chef, who has traded in his tired toque for a sleek fedora.

And while we love a place with a cool vibe, we're more interested in sampling the menu. Among the gourmet bar eats, we will go all carnivore and gobble down the "truffalo" wings served with ranch dip; the smoked prime rib nachos doused with Gloucester cheddar and heirloom tomato salsa; and the grilled Kobe beef sliders with miso onions and wasabi cheddar on a sesame brioche bun. For some variety, we'll end the meal with the housemade s'mores fondue.

If we have to have some fruit and veggies, we'll take them in our cocktails. Okay, that's stretching it, but it gives us an excuse to have three helpings in drink form: the cucumber pepper margarita with Milagro tequila, cucumber, bell pepper, lime, agave and jalapeño; the watermelon caiparoska with Finlandia grapefruit, watermelon, lime and sugar; and the basil tangerine gimlet with Finlandia tangerine, basil and lime. With that much alcohol, we might not be able to stumble our way to Roof for the after-party.

Bar Novo is open Monday through Friday from 4pm to 2am and Saturdays from 11am to 3am. Sundays are open from 11am to midnight. by Jennifer Kester - HotelChatter

[Photo: Urban Daddy]

Related Links: Hotel Deals in Chicago, Top Restaurants & Attractions

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Caribbean Airlines Hires Hotties To Build Their Brand

When we think of heading down to the islands of the Caribbean, we usually look for cheap airfare on a low cost carrier or one of the country’s big boy airlines. For whatever reason, Caribbean Airlines never seems to be an option, nor do we even give the airline a second thought. Maybe that’s why the marketing gurus at the airline got together to give their company a fighting chance against all the competition.

The airline launched a contest to find 30 people to show off the spirit of the airline, the islands, and all things paradise. Apparently, they want you to feel on vacation as soon as you step aboard the plane—doubtful. These new brand ambassadors are made up of 20 good looking ladies and 10 handsome fellas, and will be out and about promoting the company that signs their paychecks. The Faces of Caribbean Airlines will make their first debut at Miami Carnival on October 10—probably in skimpy clothing.

We’re not totally sure if this will really get people aboard their airline, but anything to build brand awareness is probably a good thing. It’s not clear how much the new team members are getting paid, but it’s certainly not the best job in the world. For now we’ll keep our eyes out on the new cheer squad, and if you want to check them out online, there’s plenty of pictures to ogle over on their website. by kjb - Jaunted

Related Links: Caribbean 411, Vacation Packages, Hot Caribbean Cruises

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bold Faced Names Welcome Standard’s Boom Boom Room

848 Washington St [map], New York, NY , United States, 10014

There’s no word of it on The Standard’s website yet, but naturally the celebrities are already all over it. Madonna (and Jesus), Jude Law, Jon Bon Jovi, Josh Harnett, Rachel Zoe, Lindsay Lohan, Courtney Love—and did we mention Madonna?—were just some of the guests on hand to help Andre Balazs celebrate the opening of the Standard’s new penthouse bar, the Boom Boom Room, on Saturday night.

Scrolling through slideshows of the party snaps like this one at the Huffington Post give us a good look at the mustachioed bartender, hostesses in Jetsons-like dresses and headpieces, and Courtney Love giving the finger—but the pictures show little of the space itself other than the nighttime view through the floor-to-ceiling windows. (Also, they don’t answer our burning question: was Paul Lekakis in the house?)

But today the dudes at UrbanDaddy have the first look inside the Boom Boom Room, and we’ve got to admit, the place looks like a mighty fine place to party. Or as UrbanDaddy puts it:

“The whole place has the feel of a party lounge Donald Trump would have built on his yacht in 1979, only 18 floors above the Meatpacking District and filled with the likes of Bar Refaeli and Karolina Kurkova.”

The gold-lined main room, with its buttery cream banquettes and chandeliers, and the smaller black-tiled room housing a hot tub open for private parties and to those members of the public with the good looks, connections, our straight-out chutzpah to get in, later this week.

Don't forget: if you get past the doorman, please do stop back here to tell us all.

For more photos, see the slideshow at UrbanDaddy.

Related Links: Hotels in NYC

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Top 5 of America's Most Entertaining Cities

Looking to get some entertainment in your life? Well check out the Top 5 Cities and wait no more - it's time for a getaway! Happy Travels =)

1. New York, N.Y.
Restaurants: 35,421
Bars: 3,844
Nightclubs: 400
Museums: 734
Live Theater Venues: 710
Sports Venues: 57
Sports Teams: 7
Forbes' Best Cities For The Outdoors Ranking: No. 21

2. Chicago, Ill.
Restaurants: 15,692
Bars: 2,493
Nightclubs: 219
Museums: 275
Live Theater Venues: 261
Sports Venues: 24
Sports Teams: 6
Forbes' Best Cities For The Outdoors Ranking: No. 25

3. Los Angeles, Calif.
Restaurants: 23,209
Bars: 983
Nightclubs: 283
Museums: 306
Live Theater Venues: 192
Sports Venues: 26
Sports Teams: 7
Forbes' Best Cities For The Outdoors Ranking: No. 32

4. Miami, Fla. (tie)
Restaurants: 9,689
Bars: 734
Nightclubs: 208
Museums: 133
Live Theater Venues: 91
Sports Venues: 18
Sports Teams: 3
Forbes' Best Cities For The Outdoors Ranking: No. 16

4. Washington, D.C. (tie)
Restaurants: 7,814
Bars: 477
Nightclubs: 146
Museums: 211
Live Theater Venues: 112
Sports Venues: 15
Sports Teams: 5
Forbes' Best Cities For The Outdoors Ranking: No. 9

Source: Yahoo, Forbes.com

Related Links: Hotel Deals - NYC, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami

Click here for the full list of America's Most Entertaining Cities

Friday, September 11, 2009

Vegas Nightclubs May Have to Ban Public Stripper Poles

If the Clark County commissioners have their way, patron-accessible stripper poles in Las Vegas nightclubs soon might be a thing of the past.

According to a Digital Journal article, a ban on tourists using stripper poles in Las Vegas nightclubs was discussed at a commissioners meeting on Aug. 18 and could be ratified by the end of the fall.

The move, apparently designed to keep visitors from exposing themselves at nightclubs, could result in employee-only restrictions for the poles, allowing only go-go dancers employed by the clubs to be the ones to straddle them.

Though no particular nightclub has come under fire, reports have surfaced that commissioner discussion revolved around Prive inside Planet Hollywood. The club was fined and shut down for violations of a liquor license (and other offenses) earlier this summer. It has since reopened.

Commissioners apparently also mentioned the new Sapphire Pool at The Rio, which also was shut down for the season after eight women and one man were arrested for prostitution. Yes, the stripper pole at The Rio is now closed.

What do all of these changes mean for the average Vegas visitor? Not much—at least not yet. But be warned; (undercover) Las Vegas Police and local sheriff’s departments say they are cracking down on lewd behavior at nightclubs. Much like Big Brother in Aldous Huxley’s famous book, “Brave New World,” they’ll be watching. In the meantime, ladies, if you need your stripper pole fix you could always try Stripper 101 at PH's V Theater. by Whalehead - VegasChatter

Related Links: Hotel Deals in Vegas, Planet Hollywood, Rio Hotel Casino, Vegas Nightlife Passes

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Holiday Travel Rush Already On

Ready to play chicken with fluctuating airfares? It's already time to start thinking about your holiday plans -- and I don't mean the upcoming weekend. I mean Thanksgiving and the Christmas/Chanukah extravaganza. There's a good chance that the cheap seats that exist right this minute will not exist a few weeks from now. Fall is traditionally the weakest season for the travel industry, and the airlines are worried about sales.

‘’I think that definitely we saw this year an earlier than usual push for fall and winter travel,’’ Travelzoo Senior Editor Gabe Saglie tells the New York Times. ‘’Before we were even talking about winter, airlines were talking about late December travel deals.’’ Overall prices are down about 20 percent from last year, and many airlines launched big sales this week to entice travelers to get in the skies. However, the airlines aren’t completely over a barrel for the holidays. They know that people will still be traveling, and as the season wanes, they’ll have a much better grasp on how many people will be going home for the holidays, and will plan accordingly. This means that all the last-minute Annie’s will be stuck at best with a middle seat, but more likely, with no flight at all. Hello Greyhound! ‘’Waiting until the last minute (to buy a ticket) in the recent past has allowed for greater availability,’’ Saglie said. ‘’The holidays are when things will start to turn around.’’ Basically: start looking now, and if you see a deal, grab it.

By: Bryce Longston - BlackBookMag

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Ritz-Carlton Atlanta Celebrates Its 25th With Redesigned Foyer, Lobby & Lounge

The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta marked its 25th anniversary with a complete redesign of the entrance foyers, lobby, and lobby bar, now named Lumen, which features exotic, sophisticated edible cocktails, a Lumen signature cocktail, and art-themed cocktails.

The new interiors feature well-known, traditional elements transposed in an updated way, such as a Chippendale Mahogany sideboard refinished in a hand-applied gilded platinum tone; sheer shrouds wrapped around the hotel's crystal chandeliers; and accent chairs graced with damask patterns in oversized formats.

Lumen underwent a great change. The lounge, so named for its many light effects, now greets guests with crystal chandeliers that glow red at night; seven-foot tall custom settees covered in midnight blue mohair, complete with their beaded sconces; a bar cabinet that glows blue in the evening; mirror-polished, handspun metal tables custom-designed by Brad Oldham (brother to designer Todd); beaded corkscrew floor lamps; and a custom-designed, under-lit onyx-topped communal-styled table seating up to eight.

My friend Nancy is scheduled to speak at a meeting being held at this Ritz, and I can't wait to hear what she thinks of the new spaces. See the gallery for before and after shots. by Lisa Palladino - Luxist

Related Links: Atlanta 411, Hotel Deals in Atlanta, Ritz-Carlton Atlanta

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Paltrow Lets It All Hang Out (Of Her Tank Top) At Barcelona's Airport

If only we had a dime for every time we've flashed our bra at the airport security check, we'd have just about enough to buy a stick of gum. And you know why? Because we are not Gwyneth Paltrow, who apparently decided that the weather in Barcelona was cold enough to wear a scarf, but so hot that a handkerchief of a tank top would do for the flight home.

Alas, the tank top didn't do very well, and now pictures of Paltrow not only looking haggard at the checkpoint are out on the web, but they include her flesh-colored bra, which, unless you do a double-take, looks like fully nude side-boobage. We're going to jot this down in our no-nos list of in-flight fashion, for obvious reasons. Also, doesn't that scarf kind of look like a neck brace until you see the whole picture?

Gwyneth was in Barcelona to watch her husband, Chris Martin, perform with Coldplay. Gwyneth actually speaks fluent Spanish and wants her children to grow up just as bilingual. Noble ambitions, but mommy has that Goop newsletter thing to work on, so it's back to London. by JetSetCD - Jaunted

Related Links: Barcelona 411, Hotel Deals in Barcelona, Vacation Packages

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Self-Service Hotels - Base2stay in London is Budget-Friendly, Looks like a Dorm

The base2stay in London combines the comfort of luxury lodging with the most budget-friendly type of service: self-service.

The base2stay offers rooms starting at 81₤ with beds, private bathrooms and a mini kitchen, no more, no less, which is, essentially, all most short-term travelers need anyway.

The base2stay is a no-frills accommodation yet still offers luxuries like free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs. The self-service features are hidden in a cupboard which offers a microwave, kettle, fridge, dishes and cutlery as well as fair trade coffee and tea. Sounds like most hotels in North America, but base2stay is a unique concept for Europe; it doesn’t offer a bar, restaurant, spa or fitness facility.

With people more money-minded than ever, budget self-service hotels could be the way of the future. Via: Bianca Bartz - HotHotelReviews

References: base2stay, sturmunddrang.de

Related Links: London 411, Hotel Deals in London

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Friday, September 4, 2009

Boutique Hotel Fashion - W Hotels Launches Apparel and Accessories Line

These days successful companies, labels and firms are looking to expand into different markets in an effort to corner the latest trend, appeal to the masses and one-up the competition. The latest company to take the plunge into the fantastical world of fashion—following Harvard University—is luxury hotel chain W Hotels.

With 34 fresh-faced and renowned designers, W Hotels’ apparel and accessories line is set to be unveiled September 10th at the prestigous ‘Fashions Night Out’ in London. Via: Jacqueline Parrish - TrendHunter

More Photos

References: cocoperez, yousaytoo

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Supermodel Getaways

Where the prettiest and skinniest go to relax

An angel and a pirate may not be what you expect to find vacationing at a five-star luxury resort nestled among 1000-year-old palm trees in the south of Gran Canaria, one of Spain’s most stunning islands. But that’s what you’ll discover at the Grand Hotel Residencia, where Australian supermodel Miranda Kerr, one of Victoria’s Secret’s most jaw-droppingly beautiful angels, can be seen relaxing on the sun deck with Orlando Bloom, her Pirates of the Caribbean boyfriend.

The sculpted white sand dunes of Maspalomas beach are only a short walk away from the Grand Hotel Residencia, which provides the seclusion and natural beauty today’s supermodels say they crave. Tropical gardens and a heated freshwater pool surround the resort’s two-story villas designed by French architect Alberto Pinto. The hotel’s spa services include Ayurvedic treatments, an aqua gymand a staggering array of beauty treatments to keep photogenic guests looking glamorous.

Travelers clamoring for a glimpse of other uber-svelte beauty queens will find them at hotspots like Badrutt’s Palace in St. Moritz, where Claudia Schiffer has been a guest. The chic mountain resort is located in the southern part of the Swiss Alps and provides a healthy dose of Champagne-sipping starlets. Badrutt’s has seven restaurants, four bars and deluxe suites that cost up to $19,200 a night in peak season. Liz Hurley and Kate Moss are known to frequent the King’s Club, a star-studded nightspot owned by the hotel.

Kristin Hutton, a Badrutt’s Palace spokesperson, says the palace is popular with celebrities and models because the staff is “accustomed to dealing with high-profile guests who require a certain level of discretion, attention and service.” Indeed, Badrutt’s gives the word “luxurious” a whole new meaning: The hotel provides butlers on every floor, certified concierges and on-site stores like Cartier, Gucci and Versace.

Supermodels yearning for more discreet vacations opt for private villas or boutique hotels at a safe remove from the public, according to Melissa Sarrazin, a manager at IMG Models. Sarrazin says that while “models differ in their ideas of the ideal getaway vacation,” they often “stay away from the large resorts and more commonly prefer renting a charming house.”

Beautiful bad girl Kate Moss also seeks out low-key getaways. Moss recently made headlines when her Topshop boss, billionaire Sir Philip Green, treated her and rock-star boyfriend Jamie Hence to a vacation worth $200,000 in Mallorca, Spain. In previous trips to the island, Moss has checked in at La Residencia Hotel, a charming hideaway nestled in the hills of Mallorca’s northwest coast. Guests at this picturesque refuge can luxuriate in a four-bedroom villa that comes with its own heated pool and views of the Mediterranean Sea. Moss isn’t the only celebrity in town: Aging A-listers Andrew Lloyd Webber, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones all own homes here.

The once-quiet fishing town of Montauk, N.Y., is another destination rapidly becoming a favorite among fashionistas, with the new Surf Lodge leading the movement. Since its opening in June, the relaxed hotel designed by Robert McKinley has already attracted male supermodel Tyson Beckford. The 32 modern rooms flaunt views of the water, private decks adorned with a hammock, and glass-walled spa bathrooms. Combining the laidback spirit of Montauk with the Hamptons’ stylish (if sometimes stiff) elegance, it’s no wonder Ralph Lauren, Cynthia Rowley and Donna Karan are also fans.

When away from New York, Czech bombshell Karolina Kurkova—one of the youngest models ever to grace the cover of Vogue at the tender age of 17—calls The Standard Hotel in Miami Beach her home away from home. Guests here enjoy free use of the lavish spa, which includes a plunge pool, mud lounge and Roman-waterfall hot tub. Legendary fashion photographer Bruce Weber recently shot a “Summer Camp” series for W magazine at The Standard, the cover of which featured Kate Moss, Daria Werbowy and Lara Stone tucked in one of the hotel’s beds.

With a salary hovering north of $33 million and one of the world’s most stunning female figures, it’s no surprise that Brazilian bombshell Gisele Bündchen often chooses her native Brazil to vacation. Attending Carnival in Rio this year, she was spotted lounging at the Copacabana Palace pool. Bündchen is also said to favor the spacious penthouse at Marina All Suites, a luxury boutique hotel situated across from the ocean in the affluent neighborhood of Leblon. The hotel’s colorful décor captures Brazil’s sexy charm, and enormous suites offer panoramic views of the sea. Naomi Campbell has also been spotted here.

Not all supermodels head for the beach to relax. Fellow Brazilian beauty Adriana Lima, another of Victoria’s Secret’s dazzling angels, jetted to the stunning Amangani Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyo., in winter 2009, where she married Serbian basketball player Marko Jarić. With a heated quartzite-tiled 35 meter outdoor swimming pool, elegant suites that overlook the Teton Mountains, and a restaurant with redwood walls illuminated by a wood-burning fire, it’s no wonder supermodels head for the wild west to unwind.

Perhaps more than most supermodels, Heidi Klum’s business acumen has dispelled the myth that models are lacking in the intellect department. As a Victoria Secret starlet, executive producer of Project Runway, wife of musician Seal, and mother of three children, this German wonder-woman is no stranger to success. Klum and Seal own a villa in Costa Careyes, Mexico, an upscale development located on a 30,000-mile nature reserve between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo. Favored among well-heeled celebrities for its unspoiled beaches, exotic architecture and bohemian spirit, the 50-villa community has been seducing the likes of Christie Brinkley, Claudia Schiffer, Uma Thurman and Giorgio Armani since it opened.

Wayne Hudson, a representative of Costa Careyes, the company founded by Gian Franco Brignone that builds and rents villas in the area, says that privacy is “the single biggest appeal” of the development to stars like Klum and Seal. “In Careyes, which is a small isolated community, they have extreme privacy from the outside world. And the Careyes residents who are VIPs for a variety of reasons just treat them as another member of the community.”

Costa Careyes isn’t the only secluded Mexican getaway ideal for the genetically blessed. Longtime American beauty icon Brooke Shields is on the list of models known to have graced the rooms of the Esperanza resort in Cabo San Lucas. The Esperanza features a 2,000-square-foot penthouse suite with 24-hour butler service, a stone-terraced, multi-level restaurant with views of the Sea of Cortez, and, of course, the ultimate necessity for famous sunbathing beauties: a private beach. Via: Jennifer Murphy - ForbesTraveler

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Aloft Hotels - Jet Setting at a Steal

Aloft Hotels, a vision of W Hotels is a cool, new place to stay when you are looking to Jet Set on a Steal! Affordable, Hip, and Exciting....Aloft Hotels is definitely on our list as Cool Hotels. Check them out!

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W Barcelona Will Open on October 1 with Rooms at $344 a Night

Wow. Seems like "mañana mañana" may not be the way the Spaniards do things anymore. Or not in Barcelona, because the W is still set to open October 1*, and, as we just found out, you can even make reservations for one of the 473 rooms.

The promised “endless sea and city views” sound good, right? Well, if you want to experience them, you’ll have to start saving your pennies. The cheapest room (a Wonderful one) is currently going for EUR 240, or $344, excluding tax. Want a suite? That’ll be EUR 580, or $831. Let’s hope it’s worth it.

*Let’s just forget this is their third opening date, and give them the benefit of the doubt, ok? Good. by londontown - HotelChatter

Related Links: Barcelona 411, Hotel Deals in Barcelona

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Monday, August 31, 2009

Hotels on Stilts - Angsana's InOcean Villas are Island-Free Vacations in the Maldives

The Maldives’ newly-opened Angsana Velavaru InOcean Villas are swanky hotel rooms on stilts. The luxurious collection of 33 two-story vacation homes are joined by a boardwalk but are completely isolated in the blue waters of the Indian Ocean.

The remote Angsana Velavaru InOcean Villas’ abounds with amenities like infinity pools, spas treatments, fine dining, and of course diving, which is what the Maldives are most famous for.

Don’t get top worried about being too cut-off from terra firma, though; take one of InOcean Villa’s own kayaks and paddle a mere 20 minutes, and you’re on dry land. Via: Elsa Blaine - HotHotelReviews

References: angsana, timesonline

Related Links: Hotels in the Maldives, Angsana Velava Photo Gallery

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Who Will Save Our Celebrities From The Toxic Power Of Twitter?

Finally using her Twitter account for good, this week Britney Spears handed out tickets to her shows at Madison Square Garden in New York to a lucky fan via tweeted clues.

Is Spears playfully engaging with a new medium, or playing a dangerous game? Spears or her handlers left a series of clues for followers to parse about the place she was, like "Manhattan," and "below 60th Street and above 20th Street." The clues apparently led to the Times Square M&M store, just when you thought it was going to be something original and local-approved -- but anyway!

In the end, it wasn't Britney herself handing out the tickets—of course not, that's what you pay people for. Nonetheless the giveaway, and similar stunts pulled by @The_Real_Shaq and other celebs on Twitter sent the New York Times sniffing around the scene for an article pondering the fact that Twitter's biggest numbers are being posted not by text-friendly teens, but by adults.

Having jobs would keep most of New York from dashing off for the day to find Britney, but not all. It wouldn't be that hard for an ill-intentioned follower to locate and do harm to a celeb trying to "connect" with the "fans."

Ironically, most of the teens in the Times story raise questions of privacy which presumably we grown-ups on Twitter have learned to successfully navigate without the help of Internet Guardians. But as more celebs take to tweeting their trips (ex: Lily Allen), the potential exists for more than touristy heckling, clueless Twitpics, and hasty PR-driven apologies. More followers can mean more readers of your travel plans, and not all of them with innocent intents. Celebs beware; there's a time to take yourself off the map. by egw - Jaunted

Related Links: Hotel Deals in NYC, NYC Packages, New York Pass

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dubai's Latest Flashy Statement Of Wealth: Designer Seatbelts

Good old flashy Dubai might be one of the world's largest consumers of gold-covered cars, but apparently they think they're too cool for school to use a seatbelt. Thanks to Luxist, we hear that drivers in the United Arab Emirates are so loathe to use seatbelts, that the country is lauching its own aggressive seatbelt safety campaign a la the US and France.

WIth only 11% of Emiratis deigning to strap themselves in, auto accidents in Dubai and Abu Dhabi especially are oftentimes more serious than what should be. As a result, the seatbelt safety campaign wants to appeal to residents' love of luxury and fashion by painting the seatbelt as a statement, as well as safety, item.

How will they do this, you ask? Well, by printing seatbelts with logos of luxury brands, or your favorite team, or the Emirati flag. We imagine a taxi cab picking us up from Dubai's airport, and we climb into a back seat to buckle up with Armani belts. Luxist points out that luxury brands aren't exactly liberal with the use of their intellectual property and might poo-poo use of logos, but we bet that soon you'll able to buy seatbelts in Dubai slathered with the (unofficial) Louis Vuitton Damier pattern nonetheless. by JetSetCD - Jaunted

[Photo: uncle boatshoes]

Related Links: Hotel Deals in Dubai

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

South Beach Goes Hollywood, Budget Hollywood

Where: 334 Arizona Street [map], Hollywood, FL, United States, 33019

No, no, the SoFla folks aren’t coming west, just heading north. The self-described “hip hotel group” The South Beach Group has just announced a new property in Hollywood Beach, Florida. But don’t look to their Miami Beach boutique hotels—Catalina, Riveria South Beach, Whitelaw, et. al—for clues to the new digs: this baby is a two-in-one, the Hollywood Beach Hotel + Hostel.

For those who haven’t stayed in a hostel since that time they hooked up with the cute Dutch backpacker, we turn to South Beach Group honcho Alan Lieberman for illumination: “The difference between a hostel and a hotel is about a community,” he says. “It’s easy to get to know other people in a safe environment. It’s not uncommon for guests to meet and make plans to experience the city together.”

In other words: bunks. Some of the “Key West styled units” at The Hollywood Beach Hotel + Hostel will have queen beds and private bathrooms, but for the most part we can expect the typical hostel set-up, complete with security lockers and a shared kitchen and living room. Since this is SoFla, there’s also an outdoor lounge and deck area.

“We are taking the hostel concept to the next level,” says Nathan Lieberman. How so? Well, they’re offering free WiFi, Cable TV, beach access, pool tables, and the use of surfboards and bicycles.

Then there’s their sunny spin on sharing a room with strangers: “The idea was a simple one; stay with your best friends who you haven’t met yet and share the cost of the room.”

Ready to meet your BFF? Head over to the hotel + hostel’s website. Beds start at $19.95 a night (in the “Single and ready to mingle” category). If you want to stay in a female-only (“Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”) or male-only (“Mancation”) room, it’s an extra two bucks. by MsRebecca - HotelChatter

Related Links: Hotel Deals in Hollywood Fl., South Beach Hotels, Hostels

SocialiteTravel.com - VIP Nightlife & Travel

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Chase Temple Ruins And Hammock Lounging With A Cold Laotian Beer

Even though the recession has hampered exotic travel, there are still those intrepid explorers going all out. All this week, our Cambodian embed Claire will share experiences from her trip to Laos.

Southern Laos more closely resembles its neighbors, with a flatter, rice-paddy covered landscape. Here, main attractions include Wat Phu Champasak, temple ruins in a stunning setting and Si Phan Don, the 4,000 islands, a mid-river delta in the Mekong.

Wat Phu Champasak, an ancient Angkorian temple built into a hillside, is about two hours south of Pakse by sangtheaw. The infrastructure here, and the tourism machine, deteriorates slightly, leaving more options for independent travel alongside Lao people. We rode in a truck with a week’s supply of produce and several old ladies who helped us understand prices and figure out our route, all without any ability to truly speak to each other.

The setting for Wat Phu is the most beautiful we’ve ever seen for an Angkor ruin, carved into a jungly hillside with a waterfall dropping behind it. Fog settled low on the hills, adding to the eerie atmosphere of the place.

Further south from Wat Phu and its adjacent town of Champasak is Si Phan Don, a delta of 4,000 islands in the Mekong. Activities there involve cycling around backroads, over bridges and past villages, motoring around the islands to small islands (which disappear in rainy season), and spotting river dolphins. Eating is a surprisingly fun hobby too, we discovered, with superb Lao-style laap (a limey, spicy minced meat dish and curry soups served with the country’s ubiquitous sticky rice. Every guesthouse seems to have gotten on the pumpkin burger train too, which is fantastic.

The two main islands for travelers are Don Det and Dhon Khon, with the main town—and access to $3 per hour internet—on the northern tip of Don Det. Near town is also an Australian-run bakery, with freshly made cinnamon buns and various baked goods that emerges in this remote island location like a mirage in the dessert.

Bungalow-style guesthouses line the riverfront, costing about $1 or $2 per night. Lounging on the hammock between meals, sipping Beer Laos—Southeast Asia’s best brew. Just another of the many things that Laos does best in the region. And this is how we'll remember our trip: sipping Laotian beer from the porch of a $2-a-night guesthouse, fresh from discovering temple ruins. by ced138 - Jaunted

Related Links: Laos 411, Hotel Deals in Laos

SocialiteTravel.com - For Jet Setters, By Jet Setters!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

It's A Great Day For A Sail, On Murdoch's $310,000-A-Week Sailboat

When we aren't out jetting around on LCCs, busing to Baltimore for $1 or hopping a high-speed train, we like to fantasize about that other form of transportation: the almighty ship. So to allay our own curiosity as much as yours, we're spotlighting yachts with either notorious owners or histories...or both. Know of a bootylicious boat? Let us know.

Last month, we featured the $1 Million-a-week yacht charter of the Fontainebleau Hotel owner's 'Mad Summer' boat. Recognizing that this price bracket is far out of reach for many people, hell, all people, we're toning it down to something more affordable.

What do you say you and nine of your friends get together and shell out a total of $310,000 for a week onboard a sailboat? This isn't just any sailboat however, it's Rupert Murdoch's 'Rosehearty,' and she's got an aluminum hull and technical advances to daze the most seasoned seaman.

The 184-footer is outfitted with the standard millionaire/billionaire play things: hottubs, A/V equipment and top-of-the-line audio systems to turn your deck into a movie theater, a full gym, two sailing dinghies and a dinghy sailing instructor (we want this job), and a full complement of dive gear.

If we had our way with this baby, like Rupert does when he has a spare second, we'd take her all up in the Windwards, the Leewards, and the Edwards—we don't even know if Edwards Islands exist, but we'd sure look for them with the 'Rosehearty.' You can look into chartering her here.
by JetSetCD - Jaunted

SocialiteTravel.com - For Jet Setters, By Jet Setters!

Art Gallery Hotels - The LALALA Arthotel Features Rooms by 7 Different Artists

The LALALA hotel in Sopot, Poland has seven rooms designed by seven different artists, each with their own unique flavor. The beautiful room designs range from elegant to kitchy, featuring everything from clean, crisp white to vibrant retro and striking Asian-influence.

The artists who contributed to the project include Jakub Rebelka, Iwona Cybula, Asia Piascik, Marek Mielnicki, Emilia Bartkowska, Patrycja Orzechowsk, Kuba Bakowski, Honorata Martin, Ula Wasielewska and Joanna Zastrozna. Via: Cecilia Biemann - HotHotelReviews

References: dezeen

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Leonardo DiCaprio Is Making Out And Dodging Explosions In Paris

Protecting Ellen Page from flying debris and making out with Marion Cotillard is all in a week’s work for Leonardo DiCaprio. Leo, Ellen and Marion are all in Paris this week filming the contemporary Sci-Fi thriller Inception, which is being directed by The Dark Knight’s Christopher Nolan. Very little is known about the film except that it takes place in "the architecture of the mind," whatever that means.

What we do know for sure is that Leo and Ellen filmed at Cafe Debussy and near the Pont de Bir-Hakeim on the Seine yesterday. This isn't the first time on the big screen for the bridge; it was also featured in National Treasure 2, Munich and Last Tango in Paris.

Leo invited a few family members along on the Paris trip, including his mother who seemed to be doting on her famous son. We wouldn’t be surprised if Leo put his family up at the ultra lux Four Seasons George V while they're visiting him in Paris. Right now, the hotel is offering a special Bed and Breakfast Package that includes a full American breakfast daily for up to two adults at the hotel’s La Galerie, Le Cinq restaurant or through In-Room Dining for $1170.00 a night. For that kind of money, you too could probably also be making out with Marion Cotillard. by cmb - Jaunted

[Photo: Just Jared]

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Living the Rock 'N' Roll Life at The Andaz West Hollywood

Where: 8401 W Sunset Blvd. [map], West Hollywood, CA, United States, 90069

The West Hollywood drag of LA's Sunset Strip is synonymous with a frenzied rock 'n' roll lifestyle. This is the stretch of bright lights that The Viper Room and Roxy Theater call home, and where on any given night, well-heeled groupie types (or "Band Aids," as the Always Famous euphemism goes) can be seen wandering in droves toward the latest insider after party. We'll reserve judgment about the outfit choices we've observed.

The recently reinvented Andaz West Hollywood has long been a part of this local, life-on-the-edge culture, playing host to guests who have an appreciation of the Strip's late night hustle and hard cocktails. For this year's Sunset Strip Music Festival, which will be held from September 10-12, The Andaz has been named the host hotel and is offering discounted rates of up to 20% accommodations from Thursday, September 10th through Sunday, September 13th to mark the high gloss occasion.

If you're planning on hitting up the event, it's probably a smarter—not to mention safer—bet to stay near the wild revelry of the SSMF. If you've ever dared a bar crawl along the Strip, you'll know that things naturally tend to get a little out of hand. Plus, when the inevitably deafening sounds of Korn have you screaming "Gimmie Shelter," then ducking into the Andaz could be a temporary retreat. Our suggestion: the rooftop Sundeck. But if you're looking to keep the buzz going through the next morning, you can order a complimentary Bloody Mary or Mimosa with Sunday Brunch. Old habits die hard, it seems. For reservations, call 323.785.6090 or visit http://www.andaz.com/. by Heidi Atwal - HotelChatter

SocialiteTravel.com - VIP Nightlife & Travel

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Digital Nomad Lobbies: Working It Out at Smyth Tribeca

Where: 86 W Broadway [map], New york, NY, United States, 10007

There has been a lot of talk recently about the lifestyle of digital nomads -- folks who work from wherever they might roam. HotelChatter has been covering hotel wifi since the beginning, but as we cited in our 2009 annual hotel wifi report times they are a changin'.

The biggest change on the tech side is the growing popularity of the usb broadband card. As more and more people buy into these cards (and more and more GMs pray to the hotel gods they do) there are a growing number of digital nomads that no longer tap into a hotel WiFi network.

Instead, these nomads are in search of killer hotel lobbies to comfortably work in. That's right, digital nomads have no problem coming in, kicking back on hotel lobby couches and doing an hours worth of work. So once again hotels have a choice -- welcome these folks, pay no mind to them, or actively try to kick them out.

With this in mind, we figured it was time for us to start rating hotel lobbies on their digital nomad quotient. In our latest edition, the The Smyth Tribeca Hotel.

The sectional seating area.

Hotel: Smyth Tribeca Hotel

Location Layout: Lobby. You walk through the front entrance, staffed by handsome young men, and make a right. There is a front desk in front of you, a sort of lounge/bar on your left and big seating area on your right with both soft banquette seating (with tables) and a huge sectional sofa facing out onto Broadway.

Outlets: We found one next to the wall on the banquette+table side.

Furniture: Verrrry comfortable. Sit back and relax.

Digital Nomad Tolerance: They will tolerate you, but it helps to order a drink or food from the bar/temporary restaurant, Jour et Nuit.

Phone Calls: You can make 'em, but the reception in here was god awful. And we have no idea why. It was on the ground floor right next to some large windows.

Overall Mood: Pleasant. It was quiet and professional with just the right touch of design flair. Nothing too ostentatious like the Gramercy Park Hotel and nothing to cold and scary like the Thompson LES hotel. It reminded us a lot of 60 Thompson but fresher. Oh and without the constant groups of models/wannabes sashaying throughout the place.

Digital Nomad Grade: B, if you have a WiFi card and don't need to make phone calls. We can't wait to head back to this lobby with our shiny new WiFi card. The food was tasty, the seating comfortable and generally, very digital-nomad friendly. But if you don't have a WiFi card and are a hotel guest trying to rely on the hotel's WiFi, forget about it! The hotel charges $10 a day and it kept dropping our signal. Also, dropped phone calls? FAIL. You're better off at the Starbucks across the street. by juliana - HotelChatter

Friday, August 14, 2009

Indian Princess Baths - The Alva Park Resort & Spa Features 6-Star Luxury in Costa Brava

Alva Park Resort & Spa in Costa Brava, Spain is a six star relaxation retreat in one of the most beautiful places in the Mediterranean.

Alva Park Resort is in Platja de Fenals, making excursions to different areas of Barcelona and Girona a breeze. With amenities like an Indian Princess bath featuring salt water and underwater music, however, you might not make it very far from the resort.

The Alva Park Spa (Molton Brown Spa) features decor like river stones and Buddha sculptures, making it a very zen destination for those seeking to connect with their spiritual sides - or just enjoy world class pampering.

The Alva Park Resort has 88 suites, each of which includes a lounge area with “an Oriental art gallery with Mongolian pottery and reproductions of Han Dynasty statues and ancient Chinese coins,” according to The Leading Hotels of the World. Factor in the 300-yarn fine Egyptian cotton sheets and top notch electronics (but who would want to flick on a Bang & Olufsen TV with the world’s best scenery outside the door?) and you’ve got a paradise for even the most discerning of jet setters.

Check out pictures of Alva Park Resort & Spa in the gallery, and if you’re really ready to get whisked away from your day-to-day routine, make sure to check out their site! Via: Bianca Bartz - HotHotelReviews

References: alvapark, lhw

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

French champ, Brazilian models and NYC beats

The Place:
Pink Elephant

The Scene:
Located in a swanky corner of Dacon Tower in Sao Paulo’s Jardins, New York’s Pink Elephant lands a Sao Paulo outpost for late night debauchery and celebrity revelry. With outposts of Crobar and Pacha, Sao Paulo lands one of its first international VIP-style nightclubs looking to bolster its velvet rope demographic with a stylish late-night dance lounge for Brazil’s tabloid-set. While some had serenaded of Pink Elephant’s demise in NYC, the club is gaining a second life as a resort mega-club with outposts in the Hamptons, Sao Paulo and coming soon to Monte Carlo and Punta del Este.

Pink Elephant SP steps-out in red carpet style with a topiary-lined entrance abuzz in flashbulbs and I-Phone snapshots of arriving guests. The interior club takes glamour to the max with a central lounge area of circular pink-tufted banquettes with solitaire-shaped cocktail tables overcrowded with crystal stemware and buckets of bubbly. Walls are framed by exposed brick walls, plush pink drapery and wood-paneled bar area overcrowded with those unwilling to pay-up for bottle service. Between DJ sets of hip-hop and Latin pop, guests make their way to the bathrooms that are mini-salons with make-up and hair crew spritz and teasing with Dior beauty products.

JetSet Tips:
Pink Elephant begins its world club domination with stylish VIP club in Sao Paulo’s Jardins.

Last Word:
It’s all about being beautiful and filthy rich, if you’re neither of the two simply queue-up in line and wait your turn up to 45-minutes to get through the door. Remember, the Brazilians like to catwalk even in their nightclubs so dress to impress without being too dressy. Via: Anne Vine - JetSetReport.com

Friday, August 7, 2009

NYC's Hotel Gansevoort Gears Up For New Club 'Provocateur'

Where: 18 9th Avenue [map], New York, NY, United States, 10014

Remember the heyday of the Hotel Gansevoort in New York's Meatpacking District, before The Standard came and when the Gansevoort still had bedspreads without cigarette burns in them? It was the place to go on a Friday or Saturday night in summer, for a drink at their rooftop "Plunge" pool bar or down at their garden restaurant/club, Stereo.

Now that Stereo has closed, leaving the corner of the Meatpacking eerily quieter at night, what will move into the prime space? Another club of course, but this time not of your typical $19 cocktails and black minidresses sort, or so it seems. The new venture will be called "Provocateur" and is billing itself as "The [heart] of Progressing, Vocal & Indie Music."

We never thought we'd see those genres associate with The Gansevoort, but know they are just trying to stay hip byt knocking out the lounge and techno beats in favor of something more buffalo plaid-friendly.

The Club is due to open this fall, and you know since we spend the better part of our days spying on The Standard, that we should be in the perfect spot to see what blossoms at "Provocateur." by JetSetCD - HotelChatter

[Photo: HotelChatter]

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Why Just Visit An Irish Castle When You Can Stay In One?

If touring a castle in Ireland just isn't enough and leaves you wanting more, then why not sleep in a castle? it's the easiest way to live out your fantasy of being a royal, and you're in luck because there are plenty regal Irish castles that have been turned into luxury hotels.

One of the best castles-turned-hotels is the Dromoland Castle in Co Claire, just a few minutes from Shannon, making it easily accessible via the Shannon International Airport. It's also an excellent home base for visiting tourist traps in western Ireland, like the Cliffs of Moher and of course the Blarney Stone.

If tourist traps don't sound appealing, there is really no need to ever leave Dromoland. The five star hotel is on a 375-acre estate where guests can go hunting, fishing, horseback riding, play golf or tennis, or just hang out and do nothing at their full-service spa. The hotel also has several restaurants for breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner.

The baronial Dromoland castle has a fascinating history as well. It was the ancestral home of the O'Briens, Barons of Inchiquin, who are one of the few native Gaelic families of royal blood and direct descendants of Brian Boroimhe (Boru), High King of Ireland in the eleventh century. More recently, the castle was the location of EU-US Summit in 2004 and hosted President Bush who stayed at the facility while attending the summit.

Right now, The Dromoland Castle is offering a special 3 Night Break which includes 3 nights Deluxe Accommodation with Full Irish Breakfast each morning in the Earl of Thomond Restaurant for two adults and 2 children for € 640. by cmb - Jaunted

[Photo: FanPop]

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Cameron Douglas Was 'All Strung Out' at The Gansevoort Hotel

Where: 18 9th Avenue [map], New York, NY, United States, 10014

We knew the Hotel Gansevoort was a party hotel but Cameron Douglas was throwing quite a different type of party in his hotel room the other night. The 30-year-old son of actor Michael Douglas was busted by the DEA task force inside his guestroom, where he had been staying for quite some time on his dad's dime. Douglas was reportedly in possession of half a pound of crystal meth, valued at $18,000, which he was intending to sell. The NY Post reports:

He had been staying at the hotel for some time in a room rented by his father, and when authorities barged in, they found the place a mess and Cameron Douglas "very strung out," according to the sources.

An informant had told the investigators that Douglas -- grandson of Kirk Douglas -- was the middleman in a deal to move a half-pound of crystal meth from California to New York to sell.
Douglas has been arrested on other drug charges twice before. He's currently being held by the Feds and his dad, Michael is said to be furious. Yeah, we would be too if we were paying close to $400 a night for our son to hide his crystal meth. Now we just feel bad for the housekeeping team who had to clean up that mess. by juliana - HotelChatter