New York Hotel Social: A Twitter Directory

Hotels must offer guests not only the best hospitality money can buy, but the best technology on the market, too. Hotels shape a neighborhood — so their Twitter accounts should interact with life beyond the lobby (and with the Twitter Universe, of course). Whether offering discounts on hotel suites, an extra hotel help-line, or party-crashing pictures, these New York-based hotel Twitter accounts are a few of our favorite follows.

Tribeca Grand @TribecaGrandNYC By far our favorite social hotel, thanks to their fun and informative Grandlife blog and support from Twitter people about town. Staff like @StevenRojas, Grandlife’s social media guru, @TommySaleh , Creative Director of Tribeca/Soho Grand Hotels, Cinema, and Gallery, and @yadiramartinez , Director of Food & Beverage of Soho and Tribeca Grand Hotels, keep it interesting. Tweets are nightlife-y and insidery, like this behind-the-scenes status: “At Tribeca Grand Hotel ready to put on a great show for #TribecaFilmFestival! Werk;) http://t.co/YeIu4Ex

Hotel Giraffe @HotelGiraffe Pretty basic presence—”Hope everyone had a Happy Easter!”—and links to press are common, but every once in a while, you’ll get an image of Carrie Bradshaw kissing Big on their terrace.

Library Hotel @LibraryHotel Neighborhood-y Tweets talk about Bryant Park (a lot), and what’s going on via different events calendars, but they’re way too reliant on their Facebook page to do any real interacting.

Mondrian SoHo @MondrianSoHo They’ve only just opened in NYC, so they may be more concerned with operating as a hotel before they focus on Tweeting, but they happen to be doing a great job interacting with costumers and partiers already. Just look at all those @’s and inside-joke #’s! “We had a great time with @MalandrinoBuzz & @LACOSTE at the @papermagazine party in the Garden last night! #puckerup #kissingcrocs.” You can also check out @morganshotels for Tweets from the entire hotel group, but it’s not as good as Mondrian’s local shout outs.

Nu Hotel @nuhotel Good for social media specials (“coming to stay with us? Check in on Facebook and Foursquare to earn free drinks!! Local?? Come check us out at NU BAR! :D”), these guys even have special rates for Facebook and Twitter followers.

Gramercy Park Hotel @GPHhotel Their Tweets are simple, but they have a really sexy voice (“How many little Black Books out there contain your name? We know ours is in at least one. http://ow.ly/4B3U4”) that perfectly captures the hotel’s atmosphere.

Distrikt Hotel @distrikthotel Their Twitter works as a hotel help line and as a virtual concierge.

Flatotel @flatotel Heaven knows who’s running their Twitter, but it’s obviously someone who likes a good deal! Sample Tweet: “All Aboard! WIN 2 tickets to Anything Goes & an overnight stay with our #Broadway Hotel Package at Flatotel on Facebook! http://goo.gl/G2TI6.”

The Setai Fifth Avenue @setaififthave Sky-scraping condo/super-lux hotel is actually a hoot on the Tweet deck. Behind-the-scenes of the property (So pleased to welcome the crew from @bravotv to the hotel today, taping some “Mad Fashion!”) mixed with a lot of potential, current, and former guest interaction.

The Goring: The Last Place Kate Middleton Will Sleep as a Commoner

I’m fairly disgusted with myself for giving into the Official Royal Wedding Media Frenzy this morning (take a sick bag if you need one), but if ever there was a bit of hotel news to share, it would have to be this: soon-to-be-princess Kate Middleton will spend her last night single and as a commoner (they really need to think of another word for ‘non royal’) at The Goring, possibly one of the most charming family-owned hotels, just around the corner from Buckingham Palace.

image Despite being family owned, it’s often described as exceedingly posh. The Queen Mother used to “pop in” for afternoon tea, and it’s not difficult to see why, with elegant (read: traditional but not chintzy) décor, warm and efficient staff, and the largest private hotel garden in central London. Middleton will stay in beautifully decorated rooms with marble bathrooms that come equipped with those awesome heated towel racks. In addition to the usual bells and whistles, Queen Victoria’s wedding dress and tiara is also on display in the luxury suite reserved for Kate Middleton. Perhaps it’s silly to note that the concierge service is reputedly one of best in the capital.

The palace confirmed that the young bridesmaids and pages will also leave for Westminster Abbey from The Goring along with maid of honor Pippa Middleton. William, on the other hand, will spend his night elsewhere with his best man and brother Prince Harry.

The U.K. paper The Sun has an exhaustive account of the suite and the $240,000 remodeling of its top floor done in preparation for Middleton, but I’d like to just point out a few of the truly bad-ass amenities totally fit for a princess:

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The “loo” in the top-floor apartment features an original “Venerable” toilet by 19th-century plumber Thomas Crapper.

An antique wedding dress believed to be a prototype for the gown worn by Queen Victoria in a glass-fronted display wardrobe in the bedroom.

One of the two bathrooms has a waterproof TV.

Men in top hats are everywhere.

Rushdie’s Reading List for The Standard Hotel

While most hotels are bending over backwards to give their guests the latest in-room technology, The Standard Hotel is going back to basics. They’re certainly not removing the hi-def flatscreens or Apple Docks, but they’ll be adding good old-fashioned paper-pages books (not Kindles, not Nooks) to each of their 337 rooms. If it doesn’t sound flashy enough, wait—there’s more. They’ve tapped none other than celebrated novelist Salman Rushdie to do the curating.

Rushdie’s reading list, comprised of 13 American selections, is not a marketing ploy to sell more copies of his Booker Prize-winning Midnight’s Children. Instead, the in-room book program is timed to coincide with PEN’s World Voices Festival of International Literature, which is being held at the Standard along with other venues around the city from April 25th to May1st. Rushdie is the chairman of this year’s PEN festival, the literary and human rights organization that brings together more than 100 writers from 40 nations for this event each year.

Starting on Monday, guests will find one copy from Rushdie’s selections in their rooms. The copies are worn-in donations from Housing Works, the charitable thrift store chain. “The core element of literature is what? It’s a used, worn copy of a book. So nothing can beat that,” Laszlo Jakab Orsos, the festival’s director told Reuters. “These books are going to be on the nightstands until they disappear.”

Rushdie’s Reading List:

Walt Whitman: Leaves of Grass

William Faulkner: The Sound and the Fury

F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby

Eudora Welty: The Collected Stories

Bernard Malamud: The Complete Stories

Saul Bellow: Humboldt’s Gift

Philip Roth: Portnoy’s Complaint

Flannery O’Connor: Everything That Rises Must Converge

Kurt Vonnegut: Slaughterhouse-Five

Thomas Pynchon: V.

Joseph Heller: Catch-22

Toni Morrison: Beloved

Michael Chabon: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Opens a ‘Pool District’

With our very own Victor Ozols putzing around Las Vegas this week, I’ve been fixating on all the fun he must be having while we sit here tethered to our desks. (Victor—we’ve eaten all your desk candy! The elevator is broken!) Now we’ve just learned that The Cosmopolitan has opened its pool—make that “Pool District”—and we’re bursting with Jack Pot-like jealousy in a way that only a colony of newly-built pools in the dry, warm desert could make us.

Few things really live up to the title of District: District champions, District of Columbia…But this multi-level adult playground, featuring three distinct “daylife” experiences unrivaled on the Vegas Strip, might just be the best use of the formal moniker.

image The Boulevard Pool The Boulevard Pool is situated at the center of the Pool District and overlooks the heart of The Strip, offering unobstructed views of the Las Vegas skyline. It features a laid-back ambiance and vibrant social scene. Private cabanas offer guests the latest EA video games as well as snacks like shaved ice and Korean tacos, which are served by waiters with vintage-style trays and custom food carts. The pool can go transformer-style, turning into a party venue by extending a deck over the pool for live musical acts. The Boulevard Pool can accommodate more than 3,000 people for private events or concerts.

The Yard The Yard is an area for viewing and playing recreational games such as ping-pong, volleyball, foosball, and billiards.

Overlook Grill Located above The Yard is the Overlook Grill, a casual indoor/outdoor featuring American fare in a nautical setting.

The Bamboo Pool Adjacent to the spa, The Bamboo Pool offers guests an intimate and relaxing atmosphere with 10 private cabanas surrounding the pool. Here, fresh and organic options for poolside dining are served, like tapas and salads and iced champagne lollipops for the kids (provided they’re not actually children). Specialty cocktails such as caipirinhas and iced mojitos are made to order poolside.

Marquee Dayclub Pool And now we’ve come to the Marquee portion of the show. Brace yourselves. The Marquee Dayclub extends the energy and excitement of the nightclub to the outdoors, embracing sunny days on the Las Vegas Strip with lavish, adults-only offerings for the spring and summer seasons. Spanning 22,000 square feet of the expansive, multi-level, 60,000 square-foot David Rockwell-designed entertainment complex, the Dayclub boasts two pools, several bars, and a gaming area featuring six blackjack tables. Programming will be brought to you by world-class DJ residencies. Eight private cabanas feature infinity-edge glass dipping pools, flat screen televisions, and dedicated cocktail and food service. Specialty cocktails and a food menu from Corporate Executive Chef Ralph Scamardella fuels the party. It’s the stuff your adult dreams were made of!

We’re very worried about you, Victor. Worried you might never come back to work.

A Look at W Hotels’ Sartorial Obsessions

In case you weren’t able to piece it together from their 1,001 sartorial celebrations, fashion has been a major focus for W Hotels. Back in September, W Hotels Worldwide premiered the fourth season of their Global Glam fashion collection, a fashion show featuring fifteen W-inspired looks from 15 designers curated by the luxury chain’s Global Fashion Director, Amanda Ross. Add to that a series of photo exhibits at their outpost in Times Square, fashion events, and, finally, this spring’s “Drawing Inspiration” Series with FIT.

The “W Happenings Presents: Street Style Photorgaphy Series” ran from September to January and featured: image September – “Models Off Duty: Fashion’s Best Dressed Models Off The Runway” By Craig Arend (of Altamira/Models Off Duty) October – “Night Lifestyle: New York City after Dark” By Nicky Digital November – “A Stylish World” by Yvan Rodic of Face Hunter December – “Scene Stealers – Best of 2010” by Sam Horine of New York Magazine January – “Gentlemen of Nonchalant Elegance & Effortless Style” February – “Bubble + Cube: An Exploration of London Style” by Susie Bubble of Style Bubble and Shini Park of Park & Cube.

“Drawing Inspiration” image In March, they launched the “Drawing Inspiration” Series with FIT, the first exhibition focusing on the works of professors Karen Santry, Steven Stipleman, Barbara Hanlon, and Joe Denaro. This month you can catch their newest installation, “Drawing Inspiration: Ladies of The Night,” featuring drawings by FIT Professor Steven Stipelman and FIT students majoring in Fashion Illustration. Artists include Cristel Schoen, Kayla Burdon, Mara Cespon, Meagan Morrison, and James Skarbek. Check out the series through May, and catch a peek below:

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Sneaky Springtime Spa Time at The Andaz

I wasn’t sure if we’d ever see warm weather again, so I didn’t think about shedding my winter layers until that puff of warm air reminded me that I needed to make a waxing appointment, among other things. As I investigated spas that would jump-start my spring beauty redux in a one-stop-shopping sort of way, I found Andaz Wall Street‘s extensive array of seasonal spa treatments.

Left in the hands of esteemed esthetician Holly Byerly, guests are assured of 5-Star service as they’re buffed, polished, waxed, and spackled, amongst a tranquil, pristine setting. Best of all, you can go on your lunch break, sneaking in a treatment so you can be all, What? I always look this refreshed and glowing! The spa offers all treatments in “Share” increments, meaning you’re in and out less than 30 minutes. The option of a light makeup application, using their mineral-based products, ensures that the old boss would have little idea you ever left.

Recommended treatments to get you glowing: Pedicure: $50 (45 minutes) Finally bust out that spring shade of sky-blue (or pastel peach, or lemon-yellow) after an extensive pedicure, including a hot towel compress and thorough foot massage. Oxygen Facial: $35 (15 minutes) To think—something touching your face other than the frigid whipping wind! The Spa’s signature oxygen facial is designed to refresh and rejuvenate the dull skin, typical of the aforementioned whipping wind in the colder months. Skin is cleansed and serum applied to ensure skin is left polished and glowing. Waxing: $15 to $75 All waxing treatments ensure excess hair is swiftly removed on common areas including bikini, underarm, leg, brow, lip and chin—if you’re into that sort of thing. Scrubs: $135 (for every 60 minutes) — $165 (for every 90 minutes) Sorry, Zach Braff not included. Instead, the dull, dry skin you’ve accumulated over winter is shed. A total buff-and-polish for the body, this exfoliating scrub guarantees you’ll have “a fresh palette for Spring,” as they say in their brochure. Body treatments can also be customized in case you’d rather purify, hydrate, or energize your skin.

St. Pancras Renaissance: 135 Year Old Gothic Beauty Reopens in London

After sitting abandoned atop the St. Pancras rail station in London’s Kings Cross for 76 years, the massive 135-year-old Grand Midland Hotel reopened it’s doors on March 15th as the impeccably restored St. Pancras Renaissance. The hotel closed after it failed to keep up with hotel trends as bathrooms in guest rooms became de rigueur in the 30’s. The neglected building then briefly housed rail offices before the government deemed it unsafe.

Even when locals lobbied to demolish the site (Victorian architecture was so passe!), it somehow stayed upright until earning landmark status in 1967. USA Today celebrates the iconic building’s uneven history and many movie cameos (Harry Potter, Batman and Batman Begins were all filmed on site) with a remarkable photo tour.

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Images By Barbara De Lollis, USA TODAY

An Uncommon Hotel Amenity: Cats

In one corner of hotel news, we have the Kimpton Monaco Portland doing everything in its power to make their hotel as sterile and sneeze-free as possible by creating hypo-allergenic rooms. In another corner we have the Algonquin Hotel, a legendary Manhattan establishment that’s just welcomed their newest permanent guest, Matilda III, an exotic, blue-eyed tabby cat.

The Algonquin is known for its feline past. Their first cat wandered inside back in 1930, when owner Frank Case welcomed a stray into The Algonquin, thus ushering in a tradition that has seen ten cats-in-residence over roughly 80 years. The lineage can be traced back to the original animal guest, Rusty (Mr. Case’s first furball, who was dubbed “Hamlet” by guest John Barrymore), who was followed by Hamlet the II, and so on, until the last Hamlet the VII ended his reign in 1987. Then the queens took the throne with the installment of Matilda I, followed by the 13-year reign of Matilda II, who has just recently retired to an old-folks home in Brooklyn (not kidding). Which brings us to the coronation of Matilda III, a rescued cat from the hotel’s pet charity, North Shore Animal League America.

As per the usual, the new Matilda will take over responsibilities for her Facebook page and Twitter account (@Algonqueen). Each year, Matilda is given a huge birthday party, befitting for such a New York celebrity. A real rags-to-riches story there.

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If you book the “Algonquin ♥’s Pets” Program,” your own pets will get the Matilada treatment: “purrrsonalized” welcome kit with a welcome letter from Matilda and a list of available services as well as some of Matilda’s favorite hot spots. The pet’s guest room is arranged prior to arrival with amenities such as food and water bowls, a floor mat, a litter box if needed, and essentials for owners such as latex gloves and waste bags.

Hipmunk’s Hotel Heat Map

Every one has needs, and the good thing about New York City is that the majority of those needs can be met. Travelers come to town to satisfy their shopping addiction, or to eat at the best restaurants in the world. Some come to see the Statue of Liberty, and some travel to stay up all night. You want to stay close to the things you’re into, whether that’s Broadway or Burlesque, and Himunk’s Hotel Locator is an awesome tool that helps you choose the perfect hotel by showing its proximity to your needs via a heat mapping guide.

Hipmunk, created by MIT-grad Adam Goldstein and Reddit Co-founder Steve Huffman, started off as a super-simplified flight locator with great visual design. Seeking to further simplify the travel industry, they’ve recently launched this helpful Heat Map tool as a component of their hotel search. The tool maps areas of interest in a city based on needs like Vice, Nightlife, Shopping, Tourism and Food, aggregating tourist information from Wikipedia and Yelp. Here are a few of BlackBook’s top hotel picks for each of Hipmunks categories.

Vice: Factors in Bars, Casinos, and Adult Establishments Staybridge Suites Times Square: Sweet suites with real kitchens convenient for extended Javits Center duty and other midtown business obligations. Like Scores. Distrikt Hotel: Near the seedy Port Authority, where XXX video stores line the streets, and XXX entertainment fliers blow in the wind like tumbleweeds, this New York-themed boutique hotel goes name brand, with Frette linens, LG flatscreens, and Ecru soaps. Four Seasons Hotel: It’s the Four Seasons, ’nuff said? Accepts all manner of currency, and in Midtown East, can find all manners of debauchery.

Next: Hotels Near Shopping and Nightlife

Shopping Trump SoHo: Midtown master infiltrates the western fringe of Soho with lux condo-hotel living. Bryant Park Hotel: Straight up, the hottest stay in town. Cellar Bar, Fashion Week runway shows, and plush, plush rooms. Ace Hotel: Garment District hotspot with enough amenities to keep you from ever leaving.

Nightlife The Jane Hotel and Ballroom: Latest smash from Sean MacPherson and Eric Goode gets all Edwardian on the WVill. The Standard: Smack dab in the middle of the Mepa—like a glass and steel tree growing up and around the High Line. The Bowery Hotel: Sayonara to SROs on the new bobo Bowery in this boutique Bowery/Nolita playground with a hot restaurant and lounge scene.

Next: Hotels Near Food and Tourism

Food Abingdon Guest House: As close to the West Village townhouse experience one can get without buying a shih tzu and an Equinox pass. Hotel Mela: Luxe boutique newcomer aiming to be the “apple” of your eye, near The Lambs Club, and classics like Dallas BBQ Chelsea and Jimmy’s Corner. Crosby Street Hotel: La Esquina just around the corner—near Kenmare, too—this spendy Brit import lands on quaint Crosby Street.

Tourism Andaz Wall Street: Hyatt gets haute on the Financial District, otherwise known as the district that has everything on a tourist’s checklist: The Bull, Lady Liberty sightlines, the Stock Exchange (Wall Street is in the hotel’s name). The Plaza: Eloise’s Central Park home, Home Alone, Midwestern tourists, Donald Trump, rich permanent dwellers and you. Hilton Times Square: Location, location, location. If you’re truly looking to stay smack-dab in the center of New York City, the Hilton Times Square is your hotel. Steps from pretty much everything, from Broadway theaters and midtown skyscrapers to museums, restaurants, and nightclubs.