Tag - Hotels

The best new hotel openings for 2013
A night less ordinary: Sleeping Around
7 Cool and Unique Hotels in Portugal
A night less ordinary: Hotel without a key
A Night Less Ordinary: Hotel Made of Ice
Worst Hotel in the World
Purple 10 Weird Things Found in Hotels
A Night Less Ordinary : Hotel Silken Puerta America
Purple 10: Weird things stolen from hotel rooms
A Night Less Ordinary: Nevada City Hotel

The best new hotel openings for 2013

These incredible 2013 hotel openings will provide great travel inspiration for your next trip. From a Thief Hotel to a sushi hotel, we’ve uncovered the best of the best.

The Quin Hotel

The Quin Hotel, New York

The celebrated 57th Street Buckingham Hotel, built in 1929, is to be restored this year as The Quin Hotel.  Once frequented by musical legends such as pianist/composer Ignacy Jan Paderewski, the historic 18-storey beauty is set to open in February 2013, and hopes to capitalise on this musical and artistic heritage. Its luxurious in-house amenities even include a gallery, featuring paintings by Irish artist, Patrick Graham. Furthermore, the hotel’s location, which is within walking distance of Carnegie Hall, the Museum of Modern Art and the 57th Street gallery district, is sure to add to its cultural flair. The hotel will have 200 rooms, an American restaurant, a spa and a business centre.

the thief

The Thief, Oslo

Recently opened in downtown Olso, Norway, is a former 18th-century prisoner colony come waterfront hotel. Aptly named The Thief, the name derives from the days when criminals were brought to Tjuvholmen, nicknamed “Thief Island”, which lies just off the coast. Today, the same waterfront is made up of art galleries, bars, cafes, restaurants, shops, and now, to the modern 119-room, nine-floor hotel.  A member of Design Hotels, The Thief boasts a penthouse suite, panoramic views of the city and a rooftop terrace. Although it’s unlikely that you will be wishing to escape from this prison, as cars are forbidden along the Scandinavian coastline, the primary way of getting around is via foot or bike.


Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace, St. Petersburg

Once home to a Russian princess, Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St. Petersburg is, as its name suggests, a restored palace. Expected to open sometime in spring 2013, the hotel’s majestic marble staircase is embellished with gold and bronze moulding, a nod to its 1820s glory; the designers even used the original architectural drawings as a reference. One of the palace’s earlier courtyards is now a glass enclosed Tea Lounge, serving breakfast, tea and a light dinner. Hungrier guests can indulge in some fine Italian cuisine at the Percorso restaurant or decadent Asian fare at Sintoho, followed by a glass of cognac at Xander bar. In the works is also a four-level luxury spa with an enclosed rooftop pool and several treatment rooms.

the peninsula

The Peninsula, Paris

Hong Kong-based Peninsula Hotels group will this year make its European debut with its Parisian addition, set to open in late 2013. The hotel will occupy the Beaux-Arts gem constructed in 1908, which was once home to the Majestic Hotel. Great measures are being taken to make certain the building is restored to its original magnificence and ensure that it blends flawlessly with the surrounding Parisian architecture in the sophisticated neighbourhood of the 16th arrondissement. Once complete, The Peninsula will house an impressive 200 guest rooms and a spa on the enviable Avenue Kléber near the Champs-Élysées.


Nobu, Las Vegas

Opening in Las Vegas is the first-ever hotel from master sushi chef Nobu Matsuhisa. Expected to open within Caesars Palace on February 4, the hotel will be one of the first expansions of a restaurant into the world of hotels – a new trend for the New Year perhaps… watch this space. The idea of a hotel built around a restaurant concept is something we quite admire, and with interior design from David Rockwell, including a hand-layed river rock wall, we’re certain the venue will not disappoint.  And of course, ordering room service from Nobu is a dream soon to be realised.


Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul

Shangri-La Bosphorus, set to open in Istanbul in the first quarter of 2013, will be the luxury hotel brand’s first property in Turkey. Sitting neatly on the shore of the Bosphorus Strait in the Besiktas district near the Dolmabahce Palace, the hotel is ideally located for all the local amenities. Its addition to the Istanbul skyline will be particularly of note, as on completion Shangri-La Bosphorus will be the second tallest building on the coastline. With 186 guest rooms, including 17 suites with sea views, the hotel’s design is contemporary mixed with Asian touches. This theme crosses over to the hotel restaurant, which serves both Western and Asian cuisine, while in the Lobby Lounge guests can enjoy afternoon tea and tapas. Ladies may indulge at The Spa at Shangri-La, which will specialise in Chinese healing therapies, yet also include two Turkish hammams.


Cheval Blanc Randheli, Maldives

While remote, the Maldives’ island of Noonu Atoll, is possibly the most perfect setting for the upcoming Cheval Blanc Randheli (part of LVMH’s luxury hotel portfolio). Set to open this summer, the extravagant 45 loft-style villas, some of which will be set on the white-sand beach, while others will be propped up on stilts over turquoise waters, will feature personal infinity pools, flawlessly selected interiors and awe-inspiring views of the contiguous lagoon. The Cheval Blanc Spa will be readily available for indulgent treatments, and a fleet of traditional Maldivian fishing boats, specially crafted for Cheval Blanc, will allow guests to explore the local area at its most romantic. The heavenly retreat will also include four restaurants, ranging from fine dining to a fish market, as well as cigar and wine cellars.

A night less ordinary: Sleeping Around

This is not just any old pop up hotel, this is exclusive. Here’s the deal, you take one old shipping container, fill it with a fancy box spring bed (whatever that is!) rain shower, air con, iPod docking, all the mod cons you can think of. You throw it in the middle of a busy shopping street, beside a city capital building, or in the middle of a park and you’ve got Sleeping Around. A new type of hotel experience.

Sleeping Around 1

The owners say: “Sleeping Around is a unique pop-up hotel. The term ‘pop-up’ goes beyond merely ‘making an appearance.’” You want to see and be seen staying in a place like this. The Belgian initiative started life on the roof of an office building, while it’s slated for holidays to the Greek Islands, France, by ski slopes and who knows where else. You can add your own suggestions for where the boxes should go next on their website.

Sleeping Around 4

The ‘hotel’ is made up of four containers added together to form a little village, with its own sauna and lounge room to get your day going. Centrally located, all the modern facilities you’d expect, it costs around €199 for two people per night and is aimed at people who want to stay somewhere just for a night or two and experience a different kind of hotel.

Sleeping Around 7

Sleeping around 5Sleeping Around 2

7 Cool and Unique Hotels in Portugal

As purveyors of “cool,” we at PortugalConfidential.com think we know a thing or two about what’s hip, contemporary and unique in the realms of gastronomy, style and travel.  So, we were up for the challenge when Turismo Central de Portugal suggested we take a road trip to discover some of the cool and unique hotels across their region. We have to admit, we were pleasantly surprised and delighted.

Central Portugal is the area north of the capital city of Lisbon, but south of the second largest city Porto, with the Atlantic Ocean on the west and the Spanish border to the right.  Historic hilltop villages dot the landscape, while city-life can be found in Viseu, Guarda, Coimbra and Aveiro.  The region epitomises the perfect blending of laid-back traditional Portugal lifestyle with that of 21st century design and amenities.  A fine example of this aesthetic can be found in these Seven Cool & Unique Hotels of Central Portugal.

Passado de Pedra is a small rural hotel in the centre of the eastern village of Caria.  The early 19th century home was recently transformed into 6 guest units.  One bedroom is in a former wine press room; a small apartment is now in the old stable.  The main house has four more rooms which can be rented separately or configured for groups and families.  Ask owner Graça for a walking tour of Caria, a village rich in Portuguese, Moorish and Jewish history.

Portugal Confidential - Passado de Pedra

Imagine a medieval village transformed into a boutique hotel. Former village houses are left intact on the exterior, but renovated for 21st century guests on the inside. At Casas do Coro in Marialva, the feel is rustic, but the accommodations are modern, the amenities are luxurious and the service is exemplary.  Select from individual rooms or multi-bedroom houses at this chic hotel.

Portugal Confidential - Casas do Coro Aerial

Sitting on top of one the highest peaks in the Serra da Estrela mountain range, Casa das Penhas Douradas is a high-altitude nature retreat as well as a design hotel.  Mid-century modern elements are reinterpreted in the decor, with birch the predominant material in furniture and cabinetry, while traditional Burel wool fabric, manufactured in a factory down the hill, adds softness and warmth.  Outside, numerous mountain trails offer amazing views of unique rock formations and the valley below.  Inside, relax by the fire in the guest lounge or slip into a sauna in the hotel’s spa.

Casa das Penhas Douradas

Casa de Sé is a small luxury hotel in the centre of historic Viseu.  This sumptuously renovated 18th century building has 12 rooms, each uniquely decorated with antique furniture and decorative objects.  Should guests fall in love with a particular item, everything is for sale.  At Casa de Sé, history, art and luxury cohabitate in harmony.

Portugal Confidential - Casa da Se

Aveiro is often called the “Venice of Portugal” for its canals winding through the city centre.  “Moliceiro” is the name given to the ornately-decorated “gondolas”. With a romantic view to these canals is the boutique Hotel Moliceiro. 49 rooms are available, but we recommend asking for one of the distinctive theme rooms ranging from Chanel, Provence and Lavender to Manhattan, Cosmopolitan and Marrakesh.  Our favourite is the Oriental room with long private terrace.

Portugal Confidential - Hotel Moliceiro Oriental

Villa Pedra Natural Houses, just south of Coimbra, is quiet old-world Portuguese village life completely redefined for the 21st century.  The hilltop village of Aldeia da Cima was literally abandoned for 70 years, until recently discovered by a Lisbon-based designer and architect team.  They gave new life to the village by constructing modern, artfully-designed houses set amongst richly landscaped gardens, pool and even an aviary.  Villa Pedra is perfect for short- or long-term escapes.

Portugal Confidential - Villa Pedra Natural Houses

Think trendy urban boutique hotel snatched-up from the big city and placed perfectly on a large sandy beach in Portugal, and you’ve got Furadouro Hotel & Spa in Ovar.  This modern hotel of 27 rooms features a gourmet restaurant and large full-service spa.  But, of course, the best amenities are the view to the ocean and the sound of waves crashing to the beach.

Portugal Confidential - Furadouro Boutique Hotel Beach & Spa

Learn more about cool and contemporary Portugal at PortugalConfidential.com

A night less ordinary: Hotel without a key

Every week we look for hotels with a twist so you can have a night less ordinary. We go around the world to find the most beautiful, weird and wonderful hotels from nights in a cave to sleeping in a converted prison, expect the unexpected. This week, it’s a hotel with no reception, no room keys and, eh, no locks on the doors at the Blow Up Hall 5050 Hotel.

5050 hotel

The Blow Up Hall 505o Hotel in Poznan, Poland, is one with a difference. We know we say that a lot, but trust us on this one. Entirely decked out in black and white, and taking its style inspiration from the 60s cult film Blow Up, it’s an old brewery transformed into hotel/shopping centre/art gallery.

What’s the gimmick? Where do we start?  The interactive hotel’s 22 rooms are decked out in the finest in artistic experimentation. Guests are given an iPhone on arrival, so instead of meeting a friendly receptionist, the device guides them to their room and gives information on the local area. Oh and there are no room numbers, the iPhone looks after that too.

5050 hotel 2

Why stay? The hotel is really an eyeful, in a good way. The monochrome décor is cool, while the trendy bar is a hotspot for hipster locals and visitors alike. The black lift, lack of room numbers and complete commitment to technology means this is one for the super cool amongst us.

A Night Less Ordinary: Hotel Made of Ice

In our weekly series, we go around the world to find the most beautiful, weird and wonderful hotels. From caves to converted prisons, expect the unexpected. This week, we’re celebrating Christmas with a cool hotel made of ice.

What’s the gimmick? Newly rebuilt every year the IceHotel is created from tonnes of snow and ice, in the village of Jukkasjarvi, in Lapland. Although it can drop to -30 C outside, it never gets colder than -5 to -8 degrees inside. The hotel is filled with art made from ice, the beds are made of igloo style blocks of ice and every morning, hot lingonberry juice is offered to warm you up.

ice hotel 1

Image via @ Charley1965

Why stay? The IceHotel has everything. On arrival you will be given special insulating clothes and reindeer blankets to fight off any cold. You’ll get your own locker for your luggage and you are advised to pack long johns! Some guidelines from the hotel include leaving your luggage at reception: “Your luggage will be stored in a locked luggage room during your stay. If you bring it to your room, it will freeze during the night.”

One of the pleasures of staying is the surrounding areas, there are night trips to discover the Northern Lights, dog sledding transfers from the airport and evening sauna trips to warm you up. The IceHotel is also offering space travel, having partnered with Virgin Galactic with reservations on the world’s first private space expedition.

Eread more: Marie Antoinette Hotel Room

The hotel also offers technical trips, where you can learn about CO2 emissions and the technology used to create and manage hotels like this. It’s got an onsite chapel for the coolest wedding imaginable. Oh and a trip to the legendary Ice Bar is a must: it’s so popular it’s been licensed all over the world

Read more: hotels to watch the Northern Lights

The wow factor: It’s a hotel made of ice! What more can we say?

ice hotel 2Image via @ bjaglin 

Worst Hotel in the World

Usually in our series of weird and wonderful hotels from around the world, A Night Less Ordinary, we focus on the good ones. Or at the very least, the quirky ones. This week, we take a look at the hotel that is proud of its reputation as the worst hotel in the world! 

Cheap, dirty, cold and poorly lit. Not the words you’d usually associate with somewhere you actually want to stay, but it seems to be working for the self-named ‘worst hotel in the world.’ Amsterdam’s Hans Brinker Budget Hotel has been (proudly) disappointing people for years.

It actually lists itself 15th on its own places to stay in Amsterdam, well behind a friend’s couch, the back of a burned out car or an abandoned mine shaft. It does admit it offers slightly more comfort though than an unmarked grave (!!)

On its website, it already boasts that it’s been “proudly disappointing travellers,” offering slightly watered down beers, an elevator that almost never breaks down, a rusty bed and awkwardly shaped dormitories. But, with rates starting at just 22.50 it’s easy to see why people do still go through with it. Plus, if expectations are low it means that they’re usually exceeded!

So, we want to know what you think, would you be willing to spend a night in the world’s worst hotel, or does a night in jail sound more appetising? We’d love to know what you think in the comments below.

Just watch out for their terms and conditions… “Those wishing to stay at the Hans Brinker Budget Hotel, Amsterdam, do so at their own risk and will not hold the hotel liable for food poisoning, mental breakdowns, terminal illness, lost limbs, radiation poisoning, certain diseases associated with the 18th century, plague, etcetera.”

Purple 10 Weird Things Found in Hotels

Ever come back from holiday only to discover that you’ve left behind your favourite book, mobile phone or even your credit card at the hotel?? What about your prosthetic leg? Did you leave that too? You may be shocked, but that is one of these 10 weird things found in hotels Check the list to find out more..

1. Marriage License
What a way to start a marriage! The important new document was found by the cleaning staff in the Hyatt Regency Columbus. The certificate was quickly returned to the newlyweds. No word as to whether the pair has since left their wedding rings behind.

2. License Plate
In one of the rooms in Hyatt Regency Newport Hotel & Spa, in Goat Island, the maid came across a Connecticut license plate, which surprisingly, none of the guests ever attempted to reclaim.

3. False Teeth
The famous golf resort Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North, Scottsdale has discovered a set of false teeth, while cleaning a guest-room bathroom. Luckily, the hotel was able to overnight the dentures back to their embarrassed owner.

4.  A Wig
The next most common items left behind after false teeth are wigs. Not necessarily strange, though it does make you wonder how someone can forget something so crucial behind, especially if they checked in the mirror before leaving.

5. Prosthetic Legs
Socks and shoes are one thing to leave behind but an entire leg is a whole different story. Such was the case for one hotel staff member at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Quebec, who found the prosthetic limb after checking underneath one of the hotel beds.

6. A Shark
If you thought finding a tiger in your bathroom, a la Hangover was crazy, try finding a shark in your bathtub. That’s the surprise hotel cleaners at The Tivoli Marina Vilamoura in the Algarve faced when they found a weakened shark in one of the room’s bathtubs — swimming in tap water when it was in desperate need of salt water.

7. 6K in Cold Hard Cash
Leaving a tip for house cleaning is a customary practice. Leaving a zippered bag filled with $6,000 in cash? Not so much. Still, the exorbitant find by Jeanne Mydil, a house keeper at the Miami International Airport Hotel, wasn’t enough to tempt the mother of three. Mydil returned the money to her employers who then returned it to a missionary group.

8. A Bird
The Gran Hotel Bahia del Duque hotel in Tenerife once found a caged cockatoo in a room. The owners subsequently asked for it to be flown back to them in a private jet. Which makes you wonder: if they cared that much for it, why forget it in the first place?

9. Expensive car keys
Leaving car keys behind seems to be another common occurrence – but when you drive a Ferrari, it’s inexcusable. At the Hesperia Tower hotel in Barcelona a guest left behind the keys to their Ferrari Testarossa. Upon finding them the staff ran to the parking lot to check if the car was still there – it wasn’t  It’s anyone’s guess how the guest got away without his car keys.

10. A baby
Forgetting your pet might be forgivable even if it happens to be a horse, but your own toddling flesh and blood? A forgotten baby earns the number one weirdest thing to forget in a hotel room title. In this instance it was a couple with way too much luggage who had to leave in separate taxis – a classic case of “But I thought you had the kid!?!”

A Night Less Ordinary : Hotel Silken Puerta America

In this weekly series, we scour the world in search of the most weird and wonderful hotels. From cave hotels to converted prisons, capsule pods to underwater guestrooms, you can expect only the unexpected. This week, Hotel Silken Puerta América in Madrid.

What’s the gimmick? The Hotel Silken Puerta América is a masterpiece of architecture and design. A 5 Star luxury hotel, Hotel Silken ushers guests into innovative spaces, with each of the floors being designed by one of the 19 world-renowned architects and artists who were chosen to work on the hotel (these include including Norman Foster, Jean Nouvel and Zaha Hadid). The 12 guestroom floors were each created in the vision of the unique international architect they represent, giving the rooms individualized design and décor.

You should read… weird ways to travel on holiday

Why stay? For a truly different experience each time you stay. Guests choose from photos of available room designs on arrival, all of which have 1 queen-size or 2 twin beds, and flat-screen LCD TVs.

The Wow Factor: The Hotel Silken Puerta América Madrid is an eclectic, daring space that does not sell comfort short. Rooms with luxury in their finest detail entice guests to interact with them, to touch, to see, to breathe and smell. In short, Hotel Silken is a unique space that stands out especially for its quality and wide range of service, not just its futuristic design. Think indoor pools, a Turkish bath and a top-floor bar with incredible views of Madrid.

Prices start from £170 a night. Click here for details.

Purple 10: Weird things stolen from hotel rooms

It’s not just bathrobes that are ripe for the picking, people take all sorts from their hotel rooms… You’ve got to wonder, how did they hide some of these?

After a survey of 500 hotels, 95 percent say they’ve had items stolen by guests, and around one in every ten traveller will take at least one thing that doesn’t belong to them.

A piano like this was taken from the reception of a hotel.

Here’s the weirdest:

  1. A grand piano. Yes, a whole piano was carted down the street by three people dressed in overalls who casually strolled by reception.
  2. A stuffed boar’s head. A hotel in Birmingham went without its billiard room’s main feature, until friends of the shamed guest actually bought it from the hotel as a wedding present.
  3. A Vegas Hotel said entire carpets had been cut and take from one of its rooms.
  4. The sofa and a mini-fridge were taken from a five star hotel in Dubai.
  5. A five star hotel in Madrid went without a whole mattress after a stay by one sticky-fingered guest.
  6. Sex Toys, a hotel in Bath which offers kinky accessories as part of its package, says they often go walkabouts after visits from amorous guests.
  7. Televisions. They have a tough time in hotel rooms, what with getting thrashed by rockers, they’re also one of the most stolen items.
  8. One unfortunate hotel owner had their pet dog stolen! Who would do that!?
  9. Every accessory from an Istanbul hotel room was taken, apart from the bed, the desk and TV, basically everything that wasn’t nailed down.
  10. Miscellaneous: according to reports that have surfaced over the years, there are lots of other, hard-to-categories bits taken from rooms, including a medieval sword and a 4ft wooden bear. Sounds a bit Anchorman, doesn’t it?

A Night Less Ordinary: Nevada City Hotel

In this semi-weekly series, we scour the world in search of the most weird and wonderful hotels. From cave hotels to converted prisons, capsule pods to underwater guestrooms, you can expect only the unexpected. This week, go back in time at the Nevada City Hotel.

What’s the gimmick? Located just one mile west of Virginia City, the Nevada City Hotel began life as a stage stop in the 1860s. Today, the stage station is the front portion of the hotel, while the back is comprised of buildings from Yellowstone Park.

You should read… A Night Less Ordinary: Dog Park Park Inn

Why stay? The hotel itself is a two-story log cabin with a sitting parlour and cowboy-style saloon in the main lobby with a full espresso bar. Period antiques and knotty pine emphasise the western décor, creating the feeling of stepping back in time. Stay here to immerse yourself in late 1800s cowboy land – you’re sure to have a rootin’ tootin’ good time.

The Wow Factor: There are 10 guest rooms in the cabin, but for a little more cash, guests can stay in one of the authentic Victorian suites, which feature 1860s Victorian antiques, polished burlwood furniture, balconies and private baths.

You should read… A Night Less Ordinary: Boot Bed ‘n’ Breakfast

Room rates begin at $90.00 for two. Victorian suite rates begin at $125.00. Additional persons in rooms are charged $7.50 per person. The tax rate on rooms is 7 %. 

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