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Pittsburgh hotels offer retreats for ringing in new year

Rex Rutkoski
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Melody Farrin Photography
Mansions on Fifth in Oakland provides an Old World experience without leaving Pittsburgh.
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The Priory
The Priory on the North Side is a former monastery billed as the only European-style hotel in Pittsburgh.
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Ray Miles
At the Omni William Penn Hotel, Downtown, guests can have a Prohibition-style cocktail in the Speakeasy social lounge.
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Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media
The Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh, a Kimpton Hotel, along Sixth Avenue is slated to open in January.
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Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media
Kimpton brand's signature eclectic art and decor displayed in one of the suites at the new Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh.
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The Renaissance Hotel
The Renaissance Hotel in Pittsburgh offers a variety of creative getaway packages.
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Pittsburgh Marriott City Center
The Marriott City Center, Uptown, is right next door to Consol Energy Center and offers a variety of getaway packages.
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Wyndham Grand
The hotel lobby of the Wyndham Grand in Downtown Pittsburgh
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Westin Convention Center Pittsburgh
The Westin Convention Center Pittsburgh offers packages for weekend getaways.
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Fairmont Hotel
A room at the Fairmont Hotel offers a view of Downtown Pittsburgh.

Winter has its own hardy energy and soundtrack.

Despite its bad rep, winter has its charms, too. Pittsburgh hotels are helping many remember that fact with a pampering touch that warms even the coolest of temperatures and spirits.

“Winter is, unfortunately, a time when our instinct is to hunker down and stay indoors,” says John Graf, owner of the Priory, North Side. “We try to celebrate the winter by getting people out and about in the city, and seeing the spectacular sights we have to offer.”

Checking in to a hotel instantly creates that wonderful vacation feeling, says Julie Abramovic of the Fairmont.

“You don’t need to travel far to feel like you’re getting away and treating yourself, and your family. If it’s been a long time since someone has visited Downtown, it’s definitely worth a visit. Downtown has changed so much, and Fairmont Pittsburgh is in the heart of the action,” she says.

A winter’s sampling of local escapes, some perfect for New Year’s Eve:

The Mansions on Fifth, Oakland

The goal is to provide an Old World experience without leaving the city, says Mary Del Brady, general manager and an owner.

“One can relax in comfort, elegance and beauty and ignore the outside — or experience the same with the opportunity to enjoy our beautiful city in a relaxed and personalized way,” she says. “What we like to do, and what our guests seem to like, is a customized getaway based upon their personal preference.”

Guests can opt to stay inside by the warmth of the fireplaces, surrounded by carved-wood interiors and world-class art, and be pampered with personal service with customized options.

A deluxe room for two with evening cocktails in the Oak Room and breakfast or Sunday brunch in the morning is the foundation for a package starting at $350 per couple per night. With in-room services, such as massages, wine and breakfast in bed, the price starts at $600 per couple per night.

Those opting to venture out in style with towncar service to their restaurant of choice can begin with cocktails in the Oak Room and a nightcap upon return. They might like to add a live performance in the evening, an afternoon matinee, or make a full day of shopping, entertainment or exploring. Packages start at $500 per night for room, towncar service, cocktails and breakfast or brunch for two.

Details: 412-381-5105 or mansionsonfifth.com

Marriott City Center, Uptown

Next door to Consol Energy Center, the Marriott “is perfect for all events happening there,” says Brian Holupka, director of sales and marketing.

The Romance package, available every weekend and starting at $179, includes an overnight room, breakfast for two, champagne upon arrival and chocolate-covered strawberries.

The New Year’s Eve getaway includes everything in the Romance package.

The Marriott Gift for You package, starting at $159, includes $25 credit for anything within the hotel that could be charged to a room folio.

Details: 888 236 2427 or marriott.com/pitdt

Omni William Penn Hotel, Downtown

The posh hotel’s Stocking Stuffer package continues through Dec. 30, offering a 15-percent savings for a two-night stay and includes a $10 gift card for Starbucks, iTunes or Omni Hotels & Resorts.

The Skate and Snuggle package, including complimentary valet parking, is the hotel’s most popular.

“We hear many compliments on this from families who describe it as being very cozy to be able to go to PPG to skate, return to the hotel and enjoy hot chocolate with their turndown service and then breakfast the next morning,” says Bob Page, director of sales and marketing. “The complimentary keepsake ornament from the hotel is also very well received, as it is hand-painted and each year displays a different image within the hotel. It is a way to get away for a fun family event, and many are making it an annual tradition.”

Guests experience an afternoon high tea, with scones and delicate sandwiches, in the Palm Court, or enjoy a Prohibition-style cocktail in the Speakeasy social lounge. There are six dining options.

The Omni has a cultural adventure package, too, with tickets to one of three museums; there are also Dinner and a Movie and Rivers Casino packages.

Starting prices are: Stocking Stuffer, $209; Skate and Snuggle, $205; Night & the Museum, $283; Rivers Casino, $249; Shop til You Drop, $279; and Dinner and a Movie, $309.

Details: 412-281-7100 or omnihotels.com/hotels/pittsburgh-william-penn/specials

The Priory, North Side

“Winter’s attractive because it can be very affordable,” says John Graf owner of the Priory, North Side, the former monastery billed as the only European-style hotel in the city.

“People are not banging down the doors to get to Pittsburgh in January, so we can be very aggressive with our rates and create memorable experiences, which are affordable,” he says.

“With just 42 rooms, we can create a personalized, unique experience for our guests, who also love to relax with a toddy from our Monks’ Bar next to the real, roaring fire in the massive fireplace in our sitting room,” he says.

Winter-theme packages, some tied to theatrical events and some just celebrating winter, offer variety.

The Winter Wonderland booking includes an overnight in a deluxe king room, $25 voucher for skating at PPG rink, $60 dinner voucher to Six Penn Kitchen and in-room hot chocolate and cookies from Priory Fine Pastries. It is $199 per couple, plus tax.

Cultural packages range from $340 for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra to $420 for Pittsburgh Opera and include two first-level performance tickets, an in-room champagne setup, a $60 dinner voucher to a Cultural District restaurant and round-trip shuttle transportation.

Graf says the Priory has partnered with some of the city’s iconic attractions and restaurants for “some great New Year’s Eve specials,” including cruises on the Gateway Clipper, dinner at Atria’s PNC Park with a night Downtown for First Night or a quiet dinner at the Carlton restaurant.

“Our shuttles take our guests to and from their destinations, so no one has to worry about driving,” he says. “We have found the shuttle service is the key to a successful New Year’s Eve package. People want to be responsible and not put themselves or others in jeopardy by driving after drinking. Since we make it seamless, our guests park with us and go.” Prices range from $275 to $350 per night.

Details: 412-231-3338 or thepriory.com

Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh

Opening Jan. 20, the Hotel Monaco hopes to be seen as “the jewel of Pittsburgh hotels.” At the corner of Sixth Avenue and William Penn Place, it will be the first Pittsburgh property for Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, which transformed the city’s iconic Beaux Arts-style James H. Reed Building into a nine-story, 248-room hotel.

A three-month grand-opening discount — 20 percent off the best available room rate — begins Feb. 1 and continues through April 30. It includes morning coffee-and-tea service and a hosted evening social hour. Rates start at $229 per night.

Guests are pampered with luxurious robes, the evening wine hour and in-room spa services. The gourmet honor bar stocks local items like Clark Bars and a selection of Pennsylvania beers.

“I could not be more proud to be opening this unique hotel in my hometown,” general manager Rob Mallinger says. “Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants will fundamentally change the hospitality landscape in Pittsburgh.”

Plans for special stays are still being developed, but promise to be creative.

Details: 412-471-1170 or monaco-pittsburgh.com

Fairmont

“Guests will really feel like they’re indulging and getting away when they stay with us, even if they’re just a few miles from home,” says Julie Abramovic.

The Fire & Ice package, available through Jan. 31, includes admission and skate rental at the Rink at PPG, and cocoa and cookies from the Fairmont pastry chef. Rates start at $259 per night.

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra package includes two tickets to the orchestra at Heinz Hall, dinner for two at Habitat before the show and an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of Heinz Hall. The package is available Fridays to Sundays based on the symphony’s schedule, and rates start at $419.

The It’s a Date in the ‘Burgh package includes a $50 food and beverage credit and a $25 spa credit. The Fairmont recently expanded its spa with services such as couples massages, facials and body treatments. Rates start at $244.

Details: 412-773-8848, 888-270-6647 or fairmont.com/pittsburgh

Renaissance Hotel, Downtown

Creativity reigns with a variety of getaways.

The package called It’s a Dog’s World offers a dog bed fit for a king, doggie crown for photo ops, treats upon arrival (for both canines and humans), a walking map to nearby dog-friendly trails and a $10 donation to Animal Friends.

Because your dog might party like a rock star, a $50-per-stay pet-cleaning fee applies. The rates are $229 to $379.

Weekend at the Museum includes the luxury hotel as a home base while you spend the weekend exploring the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Museum of Natural History, the Science Center or the Andy Warhol Museum. It includes a trip for two to a museum, deluxe accommodations, breakfast for two, valet parking and two drink tickets. The rates are $249 to $299.

The Romantic Weekend getaway provides an upgraded Executive Corner King guest room with a view of the Allegheny River, breakfast for two and a bottle of champagne. The rates are $249 to $329.

Ending with 2014’s conclusion is the Family Digital Detox package, billed as “a chance to revive your family from an overstimulated world and reconnect” with accommodations in a deluxe Riverview room. All family members’ phones and digital devices must be surrendered upon check-in and will be held until departure. Prior to arrival, the television, phone and iHome dock station will be removed from the room and replaced with board games and playing cards.

Details: 412-992-2050 or renaissancepittsburghpa.com

Westin Convention Center, Downtown

“Pittsburgh is a great, walkable city with plenty of world-class restaurants, a rich and vibrant cultural district, eclectic shopping in the Strip District, and you can catch a Penguins game or Steelers game,” says Peter Cipkins, area director of sales and marketing. “We’re a great location in the city, and we have a complimentary Downtown shuttle.”

The Tomorrow Is Looking Up package, also available for New Year’s Eve, starts at $199 per night based on a two-night weekend stay.

“For every night you pay regular rate, you can get the next for 40 percent off,” Cipkins says. “Simply stay two nights or more, and your tomorrows will be that much better.”

The Rivers Casino Package includes a $20 casino card.

Details: 412-281-3700 or westinpittsburgh.com

Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh, Downtown

Packages include Stay Three Nights or More and Save 30 Percent; Try Your Luck at Rivers Casino, which includes $20 per guest in free slot play; and Start Your Morning Off Right, a breakfast-for-two package.

The Grand New Year’s Eve package includes a bottle of champagne, breakfast buffet for two and late checkout, starting at $199 per night.

Details: 412-391-4600 or wyndhamgrandpittsburgh.com

Rex Rutkoski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4664 or [email protected].

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