All You Need To Know About Tipping at NYC Hotels

Don’t tip the Yotel robot

We’ll never know the identity of the enterprising employee who cleared his throat, stared down a guest and was remunerated for carrying a bag. But by the 1820s tipping the porter, like signing the register, was a ritual at hotels in New York and other big American cities.

Blame it on the buildings. Carrying bags wasn’t a problem for guests staying at small, squat colonial inns and taverns. But hotel architecture changed in the 1790s, with the advent of full-fledged hotels with complicated floor plans, writes A.K. Sandoval-Strausz in Hotel, An American History, a fascinating look at the evolution of the hotel. Read more

How NYC Hotels Are Coping with Mean Hurricane Irene

And a most unwelcome guest she is.

Flooding concerns in low-lying areas of Manhattan prompted several hotels at the island’s southern tip to close this weekend for city-mandated evacuation, including the Ritz Carlton New York Battery Park, the Andaz Wall Street, the New York Marriott Downtown and the tiny Wall Street Inn. And just like that, more than 1,000 hotel rooms dropped off the city’s radar. Read more

Five Trending Treatments You’ll Soon See at Spas

What are the top treatment requests at spas? Forget reflexology and mud wraps. Swedish massages and basic facials, the spa world’s plain vanilla, rule. But that hasn’t stopped spas from dreaming up fresh ways to promote relaxation, wellness and repeat visits.

Five new treatments, three at spas easily reached from New York and none of them cheap, caught my eye during the International Spa Association’s annual visit to New York.

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A Hotel Vending Maching That Dispenses Ouiji Boards and 24-Karat Gold Handcuffs? Meet Hudson Hotel’s Semi-Automatic

Semi-automatic? It’s a vending machine, not a weapon, and you can see this big, oddly futuristic contraption in the lobby at the Hudson here in New York as well as at the Mondrian South Beach and the Sanderson in London. Read more

Grace Kelly Slept Here: The Barbizon Hotel for Women Flirts With Landmark Status 30 Years After Its Demise

New York boasts no shortage of thriving historic hotels, from the Pierre and the Algonquin to the Waldorf Astoria. But the casualties on the ghost list can be almost as noteworthy, even on occasion, newsworthy. Read more

Forget Aspirin and Band-Aids — Hotels Look to High-Concept Shops To Entertain Guests, Lure Locals And, Yes, Make Money

Think Barneys, not Hudson News. The latest hotel shops qualify as stand-alone boutiques that reside in hotels almost coincidentally.  Curated down to the last Walker crisp or Haribo raspberry, the best are destinations in themselves. And with good reason. Read more

Style Arrives on Kenmare Street: A First Look At The Nolitan Hotel

One day a parking lot, the next day a hotel. Okay, the Nolitan wasn’t built in a day.

But after years when new hotels mostly grew out of old buildings, New York’s latest properties are rising from the ground up. Consider the Mondrian SoHo, Yotel Times Square, Dream Downtown and the James, to name a few. Read more

Is This The End? The Fabled, Troubled, Irreplaceable Hotel Chelsea Closes For Renovations

Today we say good-bye to the fabled Hotel Chelsea, or at least the high-profile bohemian flophouse we knew. On July 31st, at the stroke of midnight, the hotel that housed Virgil Thomson, Sid Vicious and Viva closed its doors to overnight guests, and its future as a hotel is unclear. Read more