Talking Pillows, Champagne Sabering And Boozy Ice Cream At These Happening Hotels
Summer has been a busy time in the hospitality industry as travel rebounds and properties around the world look to update their offering to meet surging demand. Dozens of new hotels opened their doors for the first time while existing properties complete renovations or overhaul their promotions.
Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion over a self-sabered bottle of Champagne or alcohol-infused ice cream, there is lots of hospitality news to surprise and delight travelers as summer transitions into fall. Here are some of the latest happenings at hotels around the world right now.
Learn to saber Champagne with new St. Regis classes
A signature St. Regis amenity, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts is now offering master classes, designed around its evening Champagne sabering ritual, at all North American properties. Guests and locals can book a private class to learn the art of popping the cork (with a sword) off a bottle of Champagne. An expertly trained St. Regis butler leads the experience and helps people use the sword to swipe off the cork. This new class is sure to be popular with groups, bridal parties and conference groups among others. The tradition started when the Marriott Bonvoy brand’s founder John Jacob Astor IV would regularly have a bottle sabered to signal the transition from day to night.
IHG Hotels & Resorts reaches 6,000 properties
IHG Hotels & Resorts has reached an important milestone with 6,000 global properties. Among its many brands, the properties are divided into collections as part of its newly dubbed “6,000 Club.” The network of international hotels includes its “luxury and lifestyle” collection as well as a premium group of hotels (including many of its revamped Crowne Plaza properties and new voco openings). There’s also the “essentials collection” with many new properties including Holiday Inn Dhaka City Center (a first for the brand in Bangladesh) and the “suites collection,” which includes the new Atwell Suites brand with recent openings in Miami and Denver. Among other notable additions are Regent Phu Quoc in Vietnam, InterContinental Ras Al Khaimah Mina Al Arab Resort and Spa in the United Arab Emirates, and the Six Senses Fort Barwara, an Indian palace once belonging to a royal family.
Crowne Plaza HY36 “Fuel Up On Us” package
Don’t let high gas prices get you down if traveling to or through the Big Apple. Between now and September 1, the Crowne Plaza HY36 in New York is offering a package that includes both parking discounts as well as a $50 gift card to cover gas costs. Road trips have become all the rage since Covid-19, and the hotel is targeting those that arrive on wheels. The package includes up to 75% off parking at a neighboring garage as well as a complimentary CityBike pass for two adults providing 30-minute rides free within a 24-hour period. One of the many IHG One Rewards brands, this hotel gives members the chance to earn and redeem points during their stay.
Regent Phu Quoc opens new kids club
One of IHG’s newest resort additions, the Regent Phu Quoc in Vietnam has unveiled its new kids club designed for kids aged between one and 12. It offers indoor and outdoor opportunities to engage in educational activities like sports, arts and crafts, and ocean exploration. There’s a reading area with international books, a theater screening area, sports and video games section, and dedication section for computer-savvy kids. The new IHG luxury brand enjoys a popular position along Long Beach making it a favorite for families.
Gaylord Hotels begins Halloween and fall programming
Gaylord Hotels’ popular seasonal programs are returning this year with Goblins & Giggles launching next month. The Halloween-themed activities take place at its five hotels: Gaylord Opryland in Tennessee, Gaylord Texan in Texas, Gaylord Rockies in Colorado, Gaylord National in Maryland and Gaylord Palms in Florida. Between September 9 and October 31, guests can enjoy all kinds of activities at these Marriott Bonvoy properties, including scavenger hunts, animal encounters and interactive shows. Pop-up bars, cookie decorating, Trick or Treat trails, S’mores stations around fire pits and movie nights round out the experience.
5 years of anniversary credits at Aruba Marriott Resort
Couples that tie the knot between now and the end of the year can take advantage of a future travel credit for their wedding anniversary. The offer is available each year for five years following a qualifying wedding at Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino. The “Say Always in Aruba” offer awards an annual credit starting at $100 in the first year and increasing by $100 each year up to $500 in the fifth year. To be eligible, the couple must hold a wedding at the resort guaranteeing at least ten rooms for three nights and spend $15,000 or more on catering. Wedding planners can help coordinate the event including new ceremony and reception packages like the “Bohemian picnic” or the “La Vie en Rose” theme.
New boozy ice cream at Atlantis Paradise Island and NYC
Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas, and Tipsy Scoop, a liquor-infused ice cream company are teaming up to offer a new flavor, Banana Rum Chocolate Swirl. It will be available at The Cove pool at Atlantis Paradise Island during weekends throughout the month of August as well as for sale online and in Tipsy Scoop’s New York City locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Long Beach. There will be free scoops on August 16 as part of National Rum Day in the New York City locations, and three lucky winners will be able to win a two-night trip to Atlantis Paradise Island.
Iconic Santorini launches new fusion menu
Santorinean himself, executive chef Matthaios Sorotos, is overhauling the Iconic Santorini Boutique Cave Hotel’s prized menu to blend international flavors into his (and his grandfather’s) traditional Greek recipes. A first for the hotel, which is now part of the Everty portfolio that develops and manages real estate properties around the world, the menu is changing things up from the traditional island fare. On the menu is a new Asian bao ban dish using locally caught crayfish that has become an immediate hit plus an octopus pappardelle, the result of leftovers from a family get-together that led to a new idea, mixing local seafood with freshly made pasta. Most of the resort’s seafood comes from the Aegean Sea. Sorotos also overseas the complimentary breakfast that includes traditional Greek egg, cheese and pastry dishes served on guests’ balconies.
Marriott launches The Curiosity Room by TED
Designed to be an immersive and educational experience beyond a traditional TED conference or presentation, guests experience “interactive, mind-bending activities” within the room. These include uncovering hidden messages integrated into the design and hunting for puzzle pieces themed around the destination that are integrated into the room. Once they solve them, guests are eligible for special rewards like free dessert and other surprises. These room packages are available this summer and fall at several properties including the San Francisco Marriott Marquis, where the rooms first launched, Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park, and London Marriott Hotel County Hall. Marriott developed the room type following recent research suggesting that guests are looking for more “themed room” experiences.
Kimpton offering free “emotional support beverages”
To overcome the stress of travel this summer, Kimpton Hotels is launching two new offerings that can help ease frustration. Between now and August 28, participating Kimpton hotels will offer an “Emotional Support Beverage” to guests that can show proof of a delayed or cancelled flight en route to the hotel. The complimentary glass of wine (or non-alcoholic beverage) will be available at check-in. The separate “Chill the Eff Out” package, which is available through October 1, comes with the necessary cooling essentials like temperature regulating pillowcases and personal fans in the room. There’s even a “brrrr” butler that can deliver chilled towels, ice and water bottles to the room.
“Talking” pillows at Days Inn by Wyndham
With Seinfeld and Family Guy star (among other appearances) Patrick Warburton, Days Inn by Wyndham is launching a limited edition pillow. This “talking pillow” greets guests with Warburton’s signature baritone voice and signature humor. This complimentary amenity is available through September. The value-focused Days Inn brand is part of the Wyndham Rewards loyalty program allowing guests to earn or redeem points during their stay.
Breakfast and room upgrade at voco Times Square South
Guests booking voco’s Backyard at Hudson Yards package at voco Times Square South, an IHG hotel, in New York, are eligible for free breakfast, a 10-15% room discount and space-available room upgrade, between now and Sept. 26. The hotel, which participates in the new IHG One Rewards loyalty program, is near Hudson Yard and numerous visitor attractions in Midtown Manhattan. Many guest rooms at the hotel have beautiful skyline views adding to the tourist appeal.
Ocean Casino Resort unveils $85 million renovation
Following a complete redesign, Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City is showcasing a new look. New guest rooms, more food and beverage options, and an additional sports and entertainment venue were part of the $85 million investment. Guest rooms show off interior design taking inspiration from the shoreline with beach-inspired floors and wall coverings. In the middle of the casino floor is the new Gallery Bar Book & Games with a 100-foot elevated bar and lounge. New bike rentals, an expanded Asian restaurant and the most panoramic Starbucks in town (thanks to its beachfront views) are among the other recent additions.
Earn cash back for a Panama vacation
Upon checkout, guests can receive a $400 travel rebate as part of the Flight Cash Back promotion at The Buenaventura Golf & Beach Resort, Autograph Collection, in Panama. Available between now and the end of October for stays of five nights or more, the offer includes complimentary breakfast for two adults and two children under 12 years plus free use of bikes and the tennis and volleyball courts. Two miles of white sand beach are near the resort. Part of the Marriott Bonvoy program, travelers can also earn or redeem points during their stay although this promotion is not eligible for point redemption stays.
More Michelin stars at Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai
The Michelin Guide Dubai has awarded two restaurants at Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai with its famed star rating. The dream of chefs and restaurateurs, the Michelin stars were given to Hakkasan and underwater restaurant, Ossiano. All together, the UAE resort is one of the most Michelin-awarded destinations in the region.
Homes & Villas by Marriott International “down under”
Making its debut in Australia and New Zealand is the Homes & Villas by Marriott International brand with its home stay properties eligible for points earning and redemption. Its premium and luxury home rentals number more than 350 in the region, which is also the first time the vacation rental brand offers locations in the Asia-Pacific region. Marriott works closely with professional property management groups to assure that each personally owned property meets the same exacting standards as its hotels. Among the new destinations for the brand are Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Orange in Australia, and Auckland and Queenstown in New Zealand.
Renovation revival at Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts
With more than 75 hotel and resort renovations underway or expected to be complete by 2024, Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts (also part of the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program) is undergoing a “renovation revival.” The European-born brand is remodeling properties around the world with a timeless design and French Riviera aesthetic. Among the many properties getting a new look are Le Méridien Lav, Split (Croatia); Le Méridien Ra Beach Hotel & Spa (Thailand); Le Méridien Ile Maurice (Mauritius); and Le Méridien Bodrum Beach Resort (Turkey).