InterContinental Chicago’s Interactive Video Wall Makes Top Hotel Amenity List

Gone are the days of the typical hotel amenities: fully equipped gyms, free WiFi, coffee service and daily newspapers. These days, hotels are adding unique services to impress their savvy guests. Forbes Travel Guide put together a list of some of these latest extraordinary amenities, and we’re excited to see that the interactive video wall at the InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile has made the list!

This 20-foot wide and five-foot tall LED video wall broadcasts a live 24-hour stream of the action along one of the city’s most populated streets—Michigan Avenue. Positioned behind the front desk in the lobby, hotel visitors and guests are greeted with an up-close view of the hustle and bustle happening directly outside the InterContinental Chicago’s front doors.

The HD camera, mounted outside to the hotel’s exterior, transmits the live feed to the screen. With just a click of a remote control, the hotel frequently repositions the camera and catches different views of the iconic Chicago location.

Although the monitor is twice as bright as the average home theater display, the InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile’s press release says that “it uses half the amount of power due to the use of energy-efficient LED bulbs, staying consistent with the property’s green initiatives.”

Talk about amenities with a “wow” factor!

Want to learn about other hot new hotel amenities? Check out Forbes Travel Guide today!


Coconut Waikiki Becomes Part of the JDV “Ohana”*

Joie de Vivre (JDV) Hotels has made its mark in California; and after traveling a little further west, the company has added the Coconut Waikiki Hotel in Honolulu to their growing collection of boutique hotels!

This property is the first of two Hawaii properties joining the boutique hotelier’s collection and marks the management company’s ongoing expansion outside of California.

With its refreshing blend of high-tech and mod design, the colorful, Art Deco Coconut Waikiki offers a contemporary twist on classic Waikiki style. The hotel has an intimate pool area with a wrap-around deck, a business center and a 24-hour fitness center, while each guest room features free Wi-Fi, a private lanai and breathless views of the Koolau Mountains or Waikiki.

Located just three blocks from the famous Waikiki Beach, the 81-room Coconut Waikiki is just steps away from an array of shops, restaurants and nightlife.

As we mentioned in one of our previous blog entries, JDV is also currently managing the Seaside Hotel Waikiki. Once renovations are completed, the hotel will be renamed and join the Joie de Vivre collection at the end of the year.

For more information, check out Joie de Vivre’s official press release.


*Ohana is the Hawaiian word for Family

Celebrate Father’s Day at These Man-Centric Hotels

Father’s Day is only two days away. You’ve given him everything from a new necktie to a day at the golf course; and this year, you want to do something different. Well you’re in luck, because HotelChatter has come to the rescue! In their article, 6 Father’s Day Hotels to Make Dad Feel Like a Man, they provide a range of perfect manly hotel experiences that suit all types of dads!

You better read up on these…you only have two more days to book!

The Cloister at Sea Island
There are plenty of activities to do in southern Georgia with its abundance of golf courses, shooting ranges and prime fishing spots. Give Dad the ultimate southern gentleman experience, and take him to The Cloister at Sea Island. Why this resort? It has a Smoking Lounge. According to HotelChatter, this wood-paneled room “…provides the ultimate man-cation hangout spot, with cozy leather armchairs, a fireplace and an on-site Cigar Sommelier to help Dad pick out his smoke of choice.”

Four Seasons in Baltimore
What dad doesn’t like to eat? More importantly, what dad doesn’t like beer? At the Four Seasons Baltimore’s Wit & Wisdom restaurant, their newest promotion (which is only available on Father’s Day) is a three-course beer pairing menu, featuring oyster shooters and Piedmont Ridge Hay smoked Ribeye. And Dad’s kids can partake on the fun! While he drinks his beer, kids will have their own root beer pairing menu featuring items like roasted chicken with a root beer BBQ sauce and a root beer float.

Borgata Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City
Dads have to look good, too. Right? When he’s taking a break from perusing the boardwalk or gambling at the blackjack table, Dad can get himself groomed with the Borgata’s male-only barbershop. He can take care of things like a beard trim, a straight-razor shave with hot towel treatment, face massage, color rinse, manicure, pedicure or just get a plain old hair cut! And instead of listening to ladies’ gossip and reading the glossy magazines, this barbershop is filled with “man cave” amenities like a billboards table and wide-screen sports-broadcasting TV.

Check out the full list of the hotels featured in this article, and make dad feel manly this Father’s Day!

Commune Hotels Will Kick Off New Brand in NYC

Earlier this year, Thompson Hotels merged with Joie de Vivre (JDV) hotels to form Commune Hotels and Resorts, and there was a lot of talk about the creation of a new hotel brand. Well, it’s now official! Commune has announced that they are embarking on a new hotel brand that is “stylishly ergonomic” with “efficient guest rooms and communal dining in a dynamic and unique urban environment.”

This will be one of the first hotels managed by Commune. Thompson Hotels currently has five popular hotels in The Big Apple, while most JDV hotels are in California.

According to Commune Hotels and Resorts:

Complementing Commune’s existing brands, Thompson Hotels and JDV, the new concept will be defined by intelligence and simplicity. This brand will appeal to a distinct type of traveler: educated, involved and socially conscious global citizens who believe in the blending of form and function, beauty and responsibility. Commune’s new concept will be innovative, creating evolving destinations that are sustainable, affordable, efficient and beautiful.

The location for the brand’s first boutique hotel is on 31st Street in Manhattan’s NoMad district, the “hot new hotel neighborhood.” The 33-story hotel’s blueprints have 260 rooms, as well as a 125-seat restaurant, a lounge and a rooftop bar with 360-degree views.

What the brand doesn’t have yet is a name. Commune will announce the name, along with further expansion plans, on a later date.

The hotel will be developed in partnership with Simon Development Group (SDG), Cube Capital and Eagle Point Hotel Partners. And according to SDG, construction will start in early 2013 with an opening in 2014.

For more information, check out the original article on!

Mandarin Oriental New York’s Lobby Catches Blogger’s Eye

Melanie Nayer, award-winning travel expert and hotel reporter, is right—what you see when you first walk into a hotel will set the tone for your stay. It’s only appropriate for a hotel to focus on the aesthetic of their lobby to make a great, long-lasting first impression. And according to her blog for, the elliptical lobby at the Mandarin Oriental, New York mesmerized her.

Nayer said that as soon as you step off the elevators onto the 35th floor of the Columbus Square building, you don’t instantly notice the check-in desk or stunning views of Central Park. Rather, the elliptical-shaped lobby and the Dale Chihuly sculpture captivate your eyes.

The focal point of the lobby is the specially made Dale Chihuly clear blown glass crane sculpture, which rises from an oriental moss garden.  According to Nayer, “The sculpture is set into a custom-carved wood and silver vessel that flows in line with the lobby’s elliptical-shaped marble and granite floor.”

The lobby’s ellipse shape was inspired by the feng shui principles, which represent harmony, unity and a constant flow of energy.

Have you seen the eye-catching lobby for yourself? Check out The Mandarin Oriental, New York and original article from today!