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It’s common for hotels to have a special identifier. Most highlight hospitality – the staff, level of service, amenities, etc. Some emphasize their food and beverage offerings with restaurants run by celebrity chefs and bar menus crafted by master mixologists. There’s even a Nairobi-based hotel that prides itself on giraffes.
But rarely do we experience lodging with an overt dedication to contemporary art. However, this particular infusion has become a priority for a handful of hoteliers these days.
Such is the case with the 21c Museum Hotels, a small chain of boutique properties launched by philanthropists/entrepreneurs/art collectors/overall badasses Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson.
Check out this short video with Brown and Wilson below, and you’ll instantly see why they also get our vote for being the most adorable artsy folks in the whole wide world:
Our big sis, HotelChatter, has been keeping up with 21c's recent expansion plans (a fourth hotel just opened in North Carolina the other week), but for you dear Jaunted readers who aren't familiar with the brand, allow us to tell you why each of these 21c Museum Hotels are worth a shot for the art minded travelers out there. Well, if you ever find yourself in one of these four sorta random cities.
We recently reported on the opening of Key West’s newest hotel, The Gates, and now we learned of a delightful food truck parked permanently outside: The Blind Pig with a motto of “Small Bites Done Right.” Sadly we couldn’t make it to the Southernmost Point to taste for ourselves, but we have a very reliable foodie who assures us the small bites are indeed done right.
The Blind Pig serves breakfast from 7:00 to 11:00 am while lunch and dinner is available from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm. To start the day one might opt for the Hotsy Totsy Taco, a breakfast taco of scrambled eggs, aged cheddar cheese, pico de gallo and avocado slices ($4). For lunch try the Flapper in a Wrapper – a grilled chicken wrap on a whole wheat tortilla with wildberry mint vinagrette, arugula, crushed apples and herb feta ($7). Then come back for dinner and order its namesake, The Blind Pig: smokey pulled pork meat, aged cheddar cheese with cider barbecue glaze and sweet onions served on pretzel bread ($7).
Then there is the I.R.S. (irresitable snacks) section of the menu ($4 each) with items such as truffle popcorn, devils on horseback, salt and vinegar hand-sliced chips and fries with parmesan cheese.
We venture to say this is not your typical food truck. So get yourselves on the nearest highway heading south and don’t stop until you reach the Conch Republic. First stop? The Blind Pig.
[Photos: The Blind Pig]
Welcome to Chile. Want to star in an “Indiana Jones” movie? You’re in luck.
Dust off your felt fedora and practice your bullwhip crack, because the Montaña Mágica Lodge looks like something straight out of a Harrison Ford flick. In fact, the only way to access this luxury hotel, which is nestled within a 300,000-acre biological reserve in the southern Andes, is by traversing a swinging rope bridge of wooden planks.
To really up the adventure ante, request that staff hide behind thickets and assail you with poison-tipped blowgun darts! (Just kidding, they don’t do that. Well, maybe if you ask nicely.)
In-Flight Meals / Photo Gallery / Cathay Pacific / Hotels / Mandarin Oriental / First Class Travel / Hong Kong Travel / San Francisco Travel / → All Tags
Once you fly in First Class, on a long-haul international flight, it's quite difficult to return to coach on another flight having tasted what's on offer in the front of the plane. This is especially true for First passengers on Cathay Pacific, not only because the First Class seats were recently updated and remain a flyer favorite, but because the airline enjoys showing off in the in-flight dining department.
For 2015, Cathay Pacific's big treats for First Class travelers are monthly menus designed by Executive Chefs from Mandarin Oriental properties around the world. We already gave you an exclusive preview of the MO New York February meals, but now it's time for March and Mandarin Oriental San Francisco.
The other week we learned about armpit travel, now there's arm pillow travel.
Well, tie us up and spank us rosy. With the film adaptation of “Fifty Shades of Grey” opening in theaters this weekend, spurring plenty of lustful fantasies over Jamie Dornan’s hot bod, one hotel is taking advantage of the mommy porn novel’s rabid following.
Raise your riding crop and salute the clever marketing minds at The Heathman Hotel in Portland, Oregon, the property that is described in luscious detail as a sexy rendezvous spot throughout the novel. The Heathman is now hawking a Shades of Grey Square Throw Pillow for $129 + $40 shipping: a grey (obvs), silky, embroidered number that is sort of like a regular pillow — except it talks dirty in your ear when you lay down on it. (Just kidding, although it really should for the amount that it costs.)
But we just love/hate how the hotel is using the pillow as an out for not actually making a trip to Portland.“Can’t make it quite yet to visit us, but still want a piece of the Heathman?” poses the hotel’s website, to which sexually frustrated women everywhere nod in assent.
In-Flight Meals / Photo Gallery / Cathay Pacific / Hotels / Mandarin Oriental / First Class Travel / Hong Kong Travel / New York City / → All Tags
You’re in First Class on Cathay Pacific. The flight is a 16-hour nonstop from New York to Hong Kong, and you’re looking forward to a little sleeping, a little working, and a little eating while watching that movie you’ve been meaning to catch. Then the flight attendant hands you a pair of soft pajamas and the in-flight meal menu, and it becomes quite clear that you’re going to enjoy this flight.
The cherry on top of the experience? 2015 is the year Cathay Pacific has dedicated to featuring unique First Class menus created by chefs from Mandarin Oriental hotel properties around the world. And, oh yes, there will be caviar.
What began as a special feature for just the London route in 2014 expands throughout 2015 to 5 more destinations. The lucky routes: Between Hong Kong and New York-JFK, Boston, San Francisco, Paris, London, and Tokyo-Haneda.
Virgin Hotels officially opened their doors to guests in Chicago yesterday and our sister site, HotelChatter, has the first look inside a Virgin guest room, excuse us, chamber for those visiting Chi-town. But if you were expecting to find a replica of a Virgin America airplane, complete with purple mood lighting and singing and dancing employees, you might be disappointed.
The historic building on Wabash has been done over into a very Virgin property, with lots of bright red touches everywhere, from the red tiles in the shower to the red SMEG mini fridge in the chambers, and the bright red coats worn by the lovely lady greeters at the entrance.
And even though the hotel is an American company, there are quite a few tributes to its British heritage--like the London Bridge depicted on the chamber rugs, the Birds and Blokes signs for the bathroom, the bright red telephone booth that serves as the hostess station at the not-yet-opened Miss Ricky's All-American Diner and the Union Jack on the dog bed at check-in. And for some reason, the chamber bed reminds us of Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic.
There's even a wall devoted to Sir Richard Branson in the 203 Coffee Bar (opening in a few weeks) and the history of his Virgin multimedia company, featuring photographs of Branson and his various companies, including Virgin Cola. (RIP.)
While the staff is incredibly happy and relaxed, no one has busted out a robot rap...yet. So if we're talking airlines here, Virgin Hotels feel more Virgin Atlantic than Virgin America but at the end of the day, Virgin Chicago actually wants to be a hub for locals.
Photo Gallery / Airport News / Airports / Airport Construction / Doha Travel / DOH / Qatar Travel / Qatar Airways / Middle East Travel / Hotels / Lists / Airline Lounges / Duty-Free Shopping / Qatar A350 / → All Tags
Fly from the US to Europe with a layover in the Middle East? How about a long-haul from Europe to Australia with a lunch of Arabic mezze in Qatar? This is the (near) future envisioned by the brand new, superlative city that is Hamad International Airport-DOH in Doha, Qatar.
The numbers behind the $16 billion(!!) project are appropriately gigantic; DOH can handle 8,700 passengers per hour, and has the space and infrastructure to see 50 million passengers annually through 65 gates once all phases are finished. 60% of the land the airport is built on was reclaimed from the Arabian Gulf, and in all that space passengers will find 22,000 sq m of retail, 15,000 sq m of dining, and a gobsmacking 80,000 sq m dedicated to the 16 lounges within the airport.
A simple layover may not be enough to fully enjoy all of Hamad International Airport, so we’ve done the legwork to name the highlights:
Island Travel / Caribbean Travel / AUA / Aruba Travel / Airports / Airlines / Prime Planespotting / AvGeek / Plane Spotting / Caribbean Airlines / Private Islands / Hotels / → All Tags
It's paradise, pure and simple. A deserted beach of white sand gently melting into clear, azure water. The waves are mere ripples, the water is of that desired "bathwater" warmth, and airplanes whizz directly overhead in the sunny sky. Welcome to one of the best, most undiscovered plane spotting locations in the Caribbean: Renaissance Island, Aruba.
It's no St. Maarten Maho Beach, but the experience will appeal to dedicated plane spotters who prize unique locations and a range of aircraft for indulging their hobby. Even sunbathers should make the easy nature walk from the Renaissance Island's developed beaches down a path to this spot, which we discovered this month while on a trip to the Southern Caribbean.
Pack your swimsuit, camera, mosquito repellant, sunscreen, and footwear a little more substantial than flip flops, and let's go...
Food Worth Flying For / Chile Travel / Patagonia Travel / Only in South America / Hotels / Punta Arenas Travel / Food Travel / → All Tags
That croissant in Paris. The char kway teow in Singapore. That cup of hot chocolate in Perugia. This is Food Worth Flying For. In this new series, Jaunted's contributors share the foods they'd gladly fly around the world for (and probably already have).
Patagonia is a bucketlist destination for sure, and staying at the 5-star Singular Hotel on Last Hope Sound is certainly elevating an already superlative experience. If ever you find yourself in this corner of the world (and you really should), step into the hotel's restaurant and order the best red meat dish we've ever eaten: sous vide Tierra del Fuego guanaco with native wheat.
What's "guanaco?" Well, it's an animal (a camelid like llamas and alpacas) that enjoys hanging out in the mountainous regions of South America. They have to be seen to be believed, and their meat eaten for the exquisite tastiness to be understood.
Airline News / KLM / Airbnb / Hotels / Airlines / → All Tags
If you consider that sleeping in a plane is probably the most popular activity on flights after lazy SkyMall browsing, you probably wouldn't guess that people would actually want to sleep in a plane not even going anywhere. But that's exactly what happened last month.
The KLM x Airbnb promotion, which saw the Dutch airline converting their last MD-11 airplane into an apartment for a few lucky contest winners, was apparently so popular that it's spawned a long-term partnership.
Today KLM announces that travelers will "be able to search for a place to stay on Airbnb through the KLM website along with their flight booking." The focus here is on offering unique accommodation experiences for KLM travelers once they've stepped off a plane, although the MD-11 will sadly not be one of the choices.
Perhaps to apologize for opening a hotel in Chicago in the middle of winter, Virgin Hotels is nuzzling up with Virgin America to help surprise flyers on the airline's routes to/from Chicago.
Last night, VX's Chicago flyers enjoyed a Virgin Hotels Social Hour, with free in-flight WiFi and a complimentary cocktail. These things may cost at 35,000-feet, but Virgin Hotels plans to offer them free to guests. One passenger on each flight also won roundtrip tickets and a 2-night stay at the Virgin Hotel Chicago (which opens January 15, 2015).
The onboard fun was also a prime time for Virgin Hotels to announce what perks Virgin America's frequent flyers will enjoy when on the ground and in bed:
All Virgin America Elevate members will receive 1,000 points per stay at Virgin Hotels. They will also get a special introduction offer of double bonus points for stays from January 15 to March 31, 2015.
Elevate Gold members will get complimentary breakfast and a room upgrade, based on availability. Silver members will also receive an upgrade, if available.