Tag: Hotels

R.I.P. Chelsea Hotel

The Daily Mail reports that the iconic New York City hotel is no longer accepting new guests, and that its remaining long-term residents are “resigned to being bought out to make way for a run-of-the-mill boutique hotel” now that a new developer has taken control of the site. It’s a sad end for a notorious building. Tom Leonard looks back on the Chelsea’s more than 100 years:

Surely no other single building can lay claim to so much creativity, destruction and sheer scandal as the Chelsea Hotel in New York. For decades it was a byword for Bohemian eccentricity and hellraising excess, an imposing but squalid sanctuary for writers and artists too penniless or troublesome to live anywhere else.

Jack Kerouac wrote his Beat Generation bible On The Road there, in one drug-fuelled, three-week marathon. Arthur C. Clarke wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey there, too, training his telescope not into space but at the apartment windows opposite… From writers such as Mark Twain, Tennessee Williams and Eugene O’Neill, through the hippies and on to the nihilist punks of the 1970s and beyond, ‘the Chelsea’ has more than lived up to its understated description of itself as a ‘rest stop for rare individuals’.

(Via Sophia Dembling)

Famous Writers Wrote Here

Over at National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel blog, Charles Kulander has a roundup of eight hotels where big-name writers—from Graham Greene to Louis L’Amour to Hemingway—did their work. Some of the entries even include specific room numbers for traveling writers looking to borrow some leftover inspiration.

He writes:

The greatest hotels—those places that summon up the culture, history, and character of a destination—are the modern equivalent of a muse, inspiring writers and guests alike to look at the world from a new perspective.

Stilettos in Paris

Eva Holland did the Bohemian backpacker thing in Paris. Paris Las Vegas gave her the chance to act out a different role.

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Video You Must See: ‘Locked in a Vegas Hotel Room with a Phantom Flex’

What goofing around in a Sin City hotel room looks like at 2,564 frames per second

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A ‘Commie-Pinko’ Goes to An All-Inclusive Resort

Some interesting twists in this New York Times Lives essay by Said Sayrafiezadeh:

To my surprise, I wasn’t really bothered by the fact that, as we were being driven to the gated entrance of the place, Mexican resort workers were trekking the mile on foot in 90-degree heat. Nor by the fact that everyone, including the man who mopped the floors, seemed to be happier for the vacationers than they were for themselves. Nor even the fact that on the second day of our stay, the United States won a major sporting event, causing just about every male resortgoer to jump into the swimming pool screaming: “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!”

No, the real problem was that the place was immeasurably cheap. Especially the food but also the accommodations. The Web site advertised a wonderful selection of gourmet cuisine from around the world. Instead, there was runny flan and soggy farfalle. There was iceberg lettuce. There were giant columns made of faux marble and a long spiraling staircase ascending to a saxophonist playing bad jazz. This wasn’t wealth; this was the illusion of wealth, a theme park of opulence for those who have no chance of ever attaining it, including myself. I was irritated by this gulf of reality. My irritation was compounded by the understanding that my fellow countrymen and -women seemed to be unfazed by the resort’s shortcomings. They ate heartily and merrily, without any apparent discernment. I despised them for their ability to enjoy what I believed should not be enjoyed. In fact, I mocked them for it. I mocked them in the way that middle-class people will mock poor white people for eating sandwiches made with marshmallow spread. These weren’t poor white people, though; they were middle-class white people. And I was no longer the true son of communists. I was a member of the bourgeoisie, and a snob.

A Welcome Rooftop in the Heart of Pakistan

A Welcome Rooftop in the Heart of Pakistan Joshua Berman

Joshua Berman discovers a backpacker haven in Lahore where tales are spun, friends are made and plans are changed

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Patton Oswalt Trick-Or-Treats in His Hotel Room

Comedian Patton Oswalt apparently found himself alone in a hotel room last night for Halloween. That didn’t stop him from having a grand time. He unleashed a series of tweets. Among them:

“Trick-or-treater” at my hotel room door just Polish woman checking mini-bar. Happy Halloween. Sigh.

Just ‘cuz I’m alone in a NYC hotel room doesn’t mean I can’t have a happy H’ween.

Now to trick-or-treat in my hotel room. Trick-or-treat, mini-bar! Thanks for the scotch!

Trick-or-treat, bathroom! Yay, Q-tips!

Trick-or-treat, desk drawer! Oooo, a room service menu!

The Life of a Hotel Butler in Macau

The Wall Street Journal takes a look at the growing corps of butlers working at top-end hotels in Macau, Hong Kong and mainland China, offering a level of service most of us probably associate with an aristocratic life that’s now decades or centuries in the past. And yes, there are Jeeves references.

Josephine Ive, the English-born hospitality guru behind Australia’s Magnums Butlers, a school for budding Jeeveses, says there has been a significant increase in demand for butlers across China from both private residences and hotels.

“There are now many more millionaires in China than before. [They] are traveling a lot more and are being exposed to different levels of service,” says Ms. Ive, a former chef and lady butler who once cooked for the British royal family. “It’s very hard to put figures on the growing demand for butlers in China, but almost all the top-end hotels are including butler services now,” she says. Many of Magnums’s graduates go on to work for high-end hotels across Asia; corporations and yachts are also a source of demand.

Las Vegas Cowers at ‘Death Ray’

It singes hair! It melts plastic cups! It inspires funny leads on blogs!

The “Vdara Death Ray,” as it’s known to some pool employees at the Vdara Hotel & Spa at the Las Vegas CityCenter, is apparently a result of the design of the building. The sun reflects off one of the hotel’s towers in a way that targets a section of the hotel’s pool area with extreme temperatures for short periods of time. From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

Viewed from above, the Vdara tower resembles a crescent. The crescent’s southern-facing side is concave. There is no tall building farther south to block the sun’s hot afternoon rays, so Vdara receives the full brunt. Its pool lies at the center of this southern-facing wall, on top of a low-rise building that is three stories tall.

How hot is the “Death Ray”? If it can melt plastic cups, as reported, it’s pretty hot. According to the Review-Journal, plastic cups melt at around 160 degrees.

Venezuelans Show Some Love For Love Hotels

Japan’s love hotels get a lot of media love. Now it’s Venezuela’s turn in the spotlight. Rachel Jones writes:

University students such as Daniel Ramirez, 24, often turn to mid-range hotels in central Caracas to be with their significant others. On his first visit to Hotel Roda, Ramirez had the opportunity to be intimate with a month-long girlfriend for the first time.

“There was no place I could go to see her,” said Ramirez, who lives with his family because he can’t afford an apartment. He was reasonably satisfied with his experience—including clean rooms, wall and ceiling mirrors, and a television with pornography—and later returned with another girlfriend. The awkward part, he said, was a lack of privacy in the hallways.

“Couples pass each other like this,” Ramirez said, ducking his head and cupping one hand over his eyes.

New York City Bans Short-Term Holiday Rentals

Is it too soon to call it a trend? Three weeks after Paris announced a ban on short-term apartment rentals, New York City has followed suit, citing the same reason: a city-wide housing shortage.

The New York ban takes effect in May 2011. Meantime, here’s hoping Rome and London aren’t planning to join in, too.

Paradise, Backstage

maldives paradise Photo by Andrew Evans

What happens when a guy who buys luggage at Target finds himself in a $16,000-a-night villa in the Maldives? Andrew Evans reports from the lap of luxury.

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Is Your Concierge Reading Your Tweets?

Well, maybe. The Wall Street Journal checks in with some hotel managers who are keeping an active eye on their customers’ Twitter, Facebook and other social media accounts, aiming to respond to complaints before any widespread damage is done.

Sounds like good news for plugged-in travelers, right? Sure. But as World Hum contributor Alexander Basek warned after a hotel Twitter dust-up last year, “with great power, comes great responsibility… If you’re going to broadcast a gripe about a business, it should be a serious one.”

Happy Birthday, Hotel Horror Movies!

Time to dust off a couple of classic DVDs for a very scary birthday celebration. Hitchcock’s “Psycho” has been scaring travelers in their motel showers for five decades this week, while “The Shining” turned 30 last month—the Atlantic’s James Parker visited the hotels that inspired Stephen King’s novel and Stanley Kubrick’s subsequent movie for the occasion.

Both movies made our list of 13 Great Travel Horror Movies a couple years back.

‘The Only True Requirement of a Great Hotel is That it Have a Decent Bar’

Peter Jon Lindberg breaks down just what decent means in a terrific piece for Travel + Leisure.

Regarding the crowd, the proper measure is key: three-fifths out-of-town guests (for novelty) to two-fifths nonguests (for local color), with a dash of resident weirdo (for zest). Tip the balance in locals’ favor and you’ve upset the fundamental contract of a hotel bar, which is that the guest is always, always the most important person in the room.

A hotel bar should probably have a decent name, too, unlike these.

Schrute Farms: Fake Destination Still Garnering Fake TripAdvisor Reviews

Faux Schrute Farms debuted on TripAdvisor in 2007, right around the time that Dwight Schrute, the ninja-loving paper salesman on the U.S. version of The Office, mentioned it on an episode of the series. Like many, we had a little fun with it at the time, then forgot about it.

Turns out the fake page still exists and it has more reviews than “many major Manhattan hotels.” From the New York Times:

Many reviewers add their own funny flourishes, enhancing the show’s mythology: Mandy Pyszka from Milwaukee, who stumbled upon the TripAdvisor site while searching Google for Dwight Schrute quotes, raved about the beet pudding.

Carla Harrington of Fredricksburg, Va., was surprised to find 82 percent of reviews recommended Schrute Farms. “I thought about what it would feel like not to know them as TV characters but to really go to this B & B,” she said in an interview. Her one-star slam called Dwight “an overbearing survivalist who appears to have escaped from the local mental asylum.”

Man Loses Job, Survives on Hotel Points and Frequent Flier Miles

This week Jim Kennedy is at the Holiday Inn Express in San Clemente using United miles. The Orange County Register has a great package about his plight, including this audio slideshow:

(via Slatest)

‘They Listen to Me When Things Are Bad’ in Haiti

‘They Listen to Me When Things Are Bad’ in Haiti Photo by Lisa Wixon

Lisa Wixon on the man behind Port-au-Prince's Hotel Oloffson, protest rocker and Vodou priest Richard A. Morse

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Hotel Oloffson: Hope and Lodging in Port-au-Prince

Hotel Oloffson: Hope and Lodging in Port-au-Prince Photo by Lisa Wixon

The Oloffson is a magnet for intellectuals, writers and the criminally inclined. Lisa Wixon reveals why it offers hope for Haiti's future.

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R.I.P. Binion’s Hotel

R.I.P. Binion’s Hotel Photo by Eva Holland
Photo by Eva Holland

The “gambling hall” portion of Binion’s Gambling Hall and Hotel will remain open, at least for now, but KVBC is reporting that the venerable downtown Vegas casino is closing down its nearly 400 hotel rooms. Roughly 100 staff are being laid off, too. Sad news for those who prefer Fremont St.‘s vintage charms to the super-sized fun of the Strip. (Via @jenleo)