So Long, Cafe Edison — Times Square’s Storied Coffee Shop Cooks Up Its Final Cheese Blintz

I swiveled on my worn leather stool, sipping a chocolate egg cream and taking in the scene from my spot at the formica counter. There aren’t many places in Times Square where you can get an egg cream anymore let alone one as good as mine. But come Monday, there will be one less.

Cafe Edison, the coffee shop at the Hotel Edison, closes its doors for the final time when the last customer leaves tonight. Read more

What You — and Will and Kate — Can Expect When New York Base Camp Is The Carlyle Hotel

Here’s what you’ll see in the lobby at The Carlyle hotel this week, whether you’re in residence for 48 hours like the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge or taking the shortcut from Madison Avenue to East 76th Street like I did last week.

Why did Britain’s First Family of Royals — or their minders — choose the Carlyle over the half dozen or so other Manhattan hotels that offer celebrated travelers a silky mix of privacy, security and splendor? Read more

Bad News for The Broadway: Another Hotel Gets Zapped for Fining Guests Who Write Bad Reviews

Last week brought news of yet another hotel that decided the smartest way to guarantee good reviews was to fine guests who write bad ones. The latest chapter unfolded at The Broadway, a budget bed and breakfast hotel in the North England resort town of Blackpool that charged an English couple 100 pounds (about $157) for calling the place “a filthy, dirty, rotten, stinking hovel run by muppets” on Tripadvisor. Read more

What Would Conrad Hilton Think of the Waldorf-Astoria’s $1.95 Billion Sale?

He famously dubbed the Waldorf-Astoria  “the greatest of them all,” and declared it his life’s ambition to add it to his collection. Mission accomplished. In 1949 Conrad Hilton took over management of the Art Deco showpiece and in 1972 he purchased it, five years before his death at a ripe old 91. So how would Hilton feel about this week’s sale of Hilton Worldwide’s crown jewel to a Chinese insurance company for $1.95 billion?

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Coming Soon To A Hotel Near You: Local Everything, BYO Tech and Beds That Look Like Sofas

What can you expect when you check into the hotel of the future, be it next month, next year or next decade?

Previews were offered at Hotel Innovate New York City 2014, a Friday afternoon conference, bite-size but meaty, that attracted 200-plus hospitality folk — developers, hoteliers, architects, designers, tech experts, even a performance artist — to an airy loft in midtown. Read more

Why You’ll Soon See A Lot More Tip Envelopes in Hotel Rooms

You’ve probably come across an occasional tip envelope on your hotel room night stand, dutifully signed by the woman who cleaned the room.

Expect to see a lot more of them.

Yesterday Marriott announced a partnership with The Envelope Please, an initiative begun by Maria Shriver to encourage guests to tip the attendant who cleans their room. The deal puts tip envelopes in more than 160,000 guests rooms at participating Marriotts — Courtyard, Residence Inn, JW Marriott, Ritz Carlton, you get the idea —throughout the U.S. and Canada, beginning this week, which happens to be International Housekeepers Week. Read more

On Their Toes: The Joffrey Ballet Offers Tips on Grace and Poise to Staffers at JW Marriott

Hotels and dance. They happen to be two of my favorite interests, but they aren’t obvious partners. So cheers to JW Marriott for looking to the Joffrey Ballet to inspire its ground troops in matters of grace and poise.

Sometime over the summer Chicago’s elite dance company created a series of training videos for JW Marriott staffers. The JW Marriott in Chicago, hometown to the Joffrey and the idea, got first dibs on the videos. Read more

Don’t Leave Home Without It? How Americans Really Feel About Taking a Smartphone on Vacation

Passport, smartphone and sunscreen are the top three items in order of importance Americans say they pack when they go on vacation. (Travel insurance comes in at the bottom of the list.)

But given a choice, a majority of Americans say their preference is to holiday without a mobile device, according to’s Global Disconnect Survey of 2,495 respondents from 28 countries. Indeed, just 35 percent of Americans said they were unwilling to ditch their electronic devices on a vacation. Read more

Move Over Yobot — A New Hotel Robot Rolls In

If you plan to stay at the Aloft Cupertino on August 20 to witness the debut of Botlr, the new robotic bellhop that’s being test driven by the hotel, you’re out of luck. The Aloft is fully booked. (Rooms are still available for August 21, if you don’t mind being a day late.) Read more

A Hotel That Fines Guests $500 for a Thumbs Down? Why Online Guest Reviews Matter More than Ever

Hotels dream of instant internet renown, just not the kind Union Street Guest House experienced this week.

To recap if you were stranded on a net-free island, word got out that this self-described boutique hotel in New York’s Hudson Valley charged $500 for negative reviews posted by wedding party guests. Read more