Summing up 2014 – hotelsFriday, 9 January 2015
Industrial Chic in the US – it’s a currently popular theme and there were three notable hotels in the category. First of all Ace Hotel in New York (20 W 29th St, New York, NY 10001) Coming back to W29th St one night the hotel lobby was not particularly brightly illuminated by the hotel’s own efforts. That was made up for by the Milky Way of smart phone screens, tablet screens and laptop screens uplighting every users’ face. A long table, like something you’d find in a school lunchroom, stretched the width of the lobby and was permanently occupied, night and day, by a battalion of laptop workers, their fingers dancing across the keyboards. My three nights varied enormously in price, one of them at US$232, one of them at US$461 – just about the most expensive hotel night of the year.
▲ Industrial Chic in Europe – had coffee one afternoon in the London Ace Hotel. In France I stayed in Mama Shelter (64 Rue de la Loubière, Marseille 13006). At US$143 it was cheaper than my Ace Hotel stay and it wins the prize for the year’s best ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign. Periscope Hotel (Haritos 22, Kolonaki, Athens 10675) was out of the same design box but in Greece. My room there was US$171.
Comfortable, friendly, good places to stay – B&B Il Pane e le Rose (via Goito 11, 10125 Turin) – a really good little B&B in an interesting central location in the hometown of Fiat in Italy. Doors of Cappadocia (Aydınlı Orta Mahalle Mızrak Sokak 11, 50180 Göreme/Nevşehir) – very stylish place in Turkey with great views of the hot air balloons going over in the morning. Yellow House (Copșa Mare Guest House, Strada Principala, Copșa Mare, Sibiu 557046. Transylvania) – great place for a Romanian village stay.
Stylish – I’ve already commented on the free phone they give you at the Hotel Icon (17 Science Museum Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon) in Hong Kong. It was expensive at US$431 a night. The new Hansar Hotel Bangkok (3 Soi Mahadlekluang 2, Rajdamri Rd, Lumpini, Pathumwan, Bangkok) in Thailand was extremely stylish and at US$187 much cheaper.
▲ It was ‘been there, done that’ with the Dubai Creek Hilton (Baniyas St, Dubai 00001) in the UAE, the hotel has been around for some time but still looks very stylish with all the glass and chrome. Plus it’s an interesting location (overlooking the dhows in The Creek). My room was US$185.
Heritage – Hotel Ibrahim Pasha (Sultanahmet, Istanbul) right in the tourist centre of Turkey’s Bosphorus straddling city and you could see the Blue Mosque from my (US$139) room. I still love Penang and a stay at the 23 Love Lane Hotel (23 Love Lane, Georgetown, Penang 10200) reminded me all over again why it’s my favourite place in Malaysia. The room was US$137.
◄ Me in Georgetown, the wall art all over the old town area has become a major attraction.
Cheapest & Most Expensive – I’m usually pleased to note that somewhere during the year there was a room for just US$5 or 10. Not this year, the cheapest establishment was a hefty US$63 at the Wenzhou International Hotel (Huangping, Guizhou, China) although I noted for a few dollars more I could have had a much more interesting room!
▲ The most expensive hotel – I’m embarrassed how much I paid for a room at The Betsy (1440 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139) on South Beach in Miami – an expensive weekend, I wasn’t paying attention when I clicked ‘buy,’ who knows. Incidentally the hotel is named after Betsy Ross (she made the first Stars & Stripes flag), no connection at all to the Harold Robbins motor-city-trash novel The Betsy, although there was a copy on the bookshelf in my room.