FLORIDA Travel Guide
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The furniture’s arriving, paint is setting and staff is training: preparations are well underway to herald the opening of the 245-room
boutique lifestyle property, The Gates, in Key West’s New Town.
Scheduled to open in April, the property is aiming to be the sophisticated design hotel that hasn’t been seen in these parts before. It will combine “refined luxury, modern design, organic touches, and Floridian flare to recreate the verve of Hemingway's ‘old school Key West.’ " What that means, in less marketing speak, is that you should expect lots of white and grey, whitewashed wood, blue sky- and ocean-colored accents, and some contrasting modern design touches just to make it interesting.
The Gates is designed by Andrea Henzlik of AHD in Atlanta and her goal was to make the property feel home-grown, chic, convivial and relaxed. To this end, the hotel will have a residential feel without the traditional front desk and has partnered with locals including photographer Jorge de la Torriente of De La Gallery, whose work will be found in the public spaces and rooms, the Key West First Legal Rum Distillery will be supplying their farm-to-bottle craft-distilled blends at Rum Row, the hotel’s bar, and Rodriguez Cigar Factory, the oldest cigar maker on the island, will be providing its premium cigars to be savored in the hotel’s Cigar Garden.
Hotel Construction / Hotel News / Hotel Openings / Miami Hotels / Atton Hotels / Florida Hotels / → All Tags
Seeking to tap into the ever-growing Latin American market in South Florida, Chile’s Atton Hotels has announced that it will build its first U.S. property, a $65 million project to be named the Atton Brickell Hotel, in Miami. Scheduled to open in 2016, Atton says it will instantly become the chain’s flagship hotel due to Miami’s ties to Latin America and its growing international business community.
The property will be the company’s fifth overall and will be located in the Brickell Financial District of downtown Miami. It will be 12 stories high and have 275 rooms, offering free buffet breakfast, an outdoor pool, and on-site restaurant and bar concepts (specifics have yet to be announced).
Daryl Hannah would be so proud to tie the knot at Sheraton Forth Lauderdale Beach Hotel with their newest wedding package that's fit for those with fins. While we might be over underwater hotels, we can really get behind a picture-perfect, underwater-wedding day.
The Mermaid Wedding package offers love-dovey couples the opportunity to say their "I Do's" under water with an "actual" mermaid while up to 50 of their closest friends watch from the dry deck of The Wreck Bar, the hotel's nautical-themed bar. (See a photo of a vow-renewal here.) From portholes and picture windows, your guests have a view under the surface of the hotel pool for the bride and groom's 10-minute ceremony. Something tells us there wont be a dry eye in the house.
Once the happy couple dries off, a 90-minute reception in the bar for toasts and mingling with your guests. The package includes a choreography session prior to the ceremony so neither the bride or groom look like a dead fish and mermaid tails will be on offer for photo-ops.
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Ok, so technically, Mickey didn’t make an appearance in this video of the under-construction Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World, but we would have appreciated the reference (if slightly on-the-nose) had the iconic character popped up.
Rather, it is Thomas Steinhauer, Regional Vice President and General Manager of the hotel, who dons his hard hat and walks you through the 434-room resort – the largest Four Seasons resort in the world – as it progresses towards a summer 2014 opening.
Hotel News / Hotel Trends / Boutique Hotels / Ian Schrager / LE Miami / Trade Shows / Luxury Hotels / Design Hotels / Ace Hotels / → All Tags
"Traditional luxury belongs to the past." This is the epiphany that led Serge Dive and Sarah Ball (both of travel media company Beyond Luxury) to launch a trade show that would shake up the luxury travel market. Their vision for LE Miami was that it would be ‘more than just a trade show;’ an annual forum that would "literally define the contemporary travel industry ... your year-round source for the contemporary travel evolution."
The show's inaugural event took place over four days in June. In between the awards, the parties and the meetings, a couple of key events stood out: the "Ministry of Ideas," which featured speakers including Seth Godin and Ian Schrager talking on the theme 'Be Creative, Create', "and the Leadership Lab a conversation between 11 key influencers, including Claus Sendlinger of Design Hotels; Grupo Habita's Carlos Couturier, Priya Paul of Park Hotels and Ace Hotel president Brad Wilson, that discussed the topics bringing about the shift in luxury and the heightened influence of the "creative class. The results were recorded and you can now read the full report here.
Despite the fact that the new wind turbines being installed on the roof of the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort will produce a very small percentage of the hotel's power, Randy Gaines, Hilton's VP of Engineering, Housekeeping and Laundry Operations, thinks it's a huge step in the right direction.
“The turbines will help us visualize the hotel as a place to be conscious of energy use,” Gaines told the South Florida Business Journal. “It’s not going to be a big percentage of the hotel power, but it will help to highlight the importance of conserving electricity, and to start dialogue.”
The symbolism of the six turbines is definitely a welcome sight for the hotel industry, a move that speaks volumes in terms of Hilton's determination to be environmentally friendly. Considering the appearance of the turbines has always been a source of conflict when it comes to wind energy, the fact that Hilton is putting them on its roof sends a strong message. Not to be overly dramatic, but it shows the industry is capable of making decisions based on something a little less shallow.
It's moments like these when we at HC just love our job. We can be minding our own business, doing super service-oriented thangs like checking out a hotel's WiFi for you, and then we get hit with unexpected tidings we can't wait to share.
That happened last week while we were scoping out the new b2 miami downtown. Don't worry, you'll soon get the full review on our experience there, but right now? We need to gossip!
The scene: We return from a tour of an up-and-coming neighborhood (more mystery, ooh) and was immediately visually assaulted by the super tanned woman with the gigantanormous breasticles you see above. She was puffin' on a stogie right on the b2 Miami steps and said out loud she had to "finish mah cigarette".
Listen. We've been around the world and ay yi yi, but we couldn't stare any longer, especially when, in all of her bosomy, raspy goodness, she began taking photos with hotel execs. That would have been rude and we have some manners.
So, we at HC know why b2 Miami is a pretty dope place to stay. But why was Big Ang there?
All will be revealed this week, friends!
[Photos: Chanize for HotelChatter/B2 Miami]
It's the name of the game--one hotel closes, and another opens. That's the case with the Venezuelan-based EuroBuilding Hotels Group which has entered the North American market with its first U.S. property, the new EB Hotel Miami. With a modest $38 million bankroll, they quietly opened in June.
Just five minutes from Miami International Airport, the 133-room boutique spot is primarily targeting the upscale business traveler, whom they'll pick up (and return) to MIA via a courtesy van.
Most of the bells and whistles at the EB are of the tech variety, with a 24-hour business center and three private conference rooms, each with video-conferencing capabilities. One can get ready for any meeting by using the center's free copier, printer, scanner and fax machines (yes, people still fax documents, folks). Need to send out a package? There's shipping and receiving services too. And if you've got computer issues, the on-site Information Technology Concierge can help you out. Of course, the hi-speed WiFi is free throughout the hotel.
Rooms are sleek and soundproofed, with double-glazed windows to keep the noise from the nearby runway to a minimum, and to ensure a good nights sleep, since this is hardly in a party-central part of town. But #avgeeks will love the views as many rooms will give you front-and-center look at the planes taking off into the sky.
Should you have some down time there's a 24-hour fitness center, but most guests will take the opportunity to head to South Beach, which is less than 20 minutes away by taxi, for some surf and sand.
Rates begin at $138 per night until August 31st as part of the grand opening special.
We let you know last week about more and more hotels getting involved in cool collaborations with fashion companies and the like. Now we've learned of another pairing--this time with another of our favorite funky brands, the W Hotel Group. Known for throwing a good party and surprising us left and right with amenities up the ying yang (please don't ever break up with Bliss y'all) , now they're getting in bed with Manhattan-based lingerie designer Arielle Shapiro of ARI DEIN.
The W South Beach Hotel has a special July promo where guests who check into one of the 31 VIP suites like the E-WOW (we've shown you how New York gets down with that suite) gets a custom-designed, take-home ARI DEN pajama set. If you aren't aware of the designer, Arielle's work is a celeb fave, and her clothes appeared many a time on Gossip Girl. Seems like Blaire Waldorf had a thang for the line.
We do too, as it goes, for the pajamas. This 100% cotton short-sleeve and matching shorts number for the W South Beach is a deep heather-grey color with bright pink accents. Kinda girly, but not gaggingly so, it seems right on for hot summer nights when you're forced to wear something to sleep in for decency's sake.
The other week we got excited when we heard that starchitect Rem Koolhaas designed a hotel for the Miami Beach Convention Center, which is due for a major renovation. Yet it looks like a competing development plan called Miami Beach Square from Portman CMC may actually win the project. Don't worry, they have a hotel component too.
Portman hired architect Bjarke Ingels to design their development and the convention center hotel will be "nothing short of spectacular." So what's inside? For starters, a pool deck on the 6th floor and a hotel restaurant. Hmm, that sounds pretty standard for Miami, right? But Portman has upped the ante by reaching out to Delos to incorporate their wellness amenities into the hotel rooms. We stayed in one of the Delos Wellness rooms at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and they are really spectacular.
Yet while the MGM Grand has only a handful of wellness rooms available to book, the Portman hotel plan would make the entire hotel a "wellness hotel." A convention center hotel that actually makes you feel better upon check-out? That might be the first of its kind!
Hotel News / Four Seasons Hotels / Orlando Hotels / Disney World Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Florida Hotels / → All Tags
Well, color us surprised. Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World might still be a year away from opening, but hot on the heels of its GM appointment, the apparent interest in the 434-room resort is already so significant that a first series of rates for meetings and groups has been released. Talk about planning ahead.
We’ll get to those rates in a second, but alongside there’s an indication what us normal people will be paying to live it up with Mickey. Unfortunately, the same seems to hold true here as it does for Disney itself these days: bring your wallet. Rooms will start at $595 in September 2014, going up to $645 from October onwards. Family packages aside, with a room and one-day admission for four, you’re looking at a grand a day just like that. Eeeek.
Now that we know rooftop and terrace season is alive and pippin', we'd be remiss if we didn't address one thing--these booze-fueled outdoor antics can get pricey. It seems the higher the floor the bar's located, the more expensive the drink!
That's why we decided to head south to that delicious city called Miami where you can find a variety of hotspots showcasing happy hours for a song. Some are rooftop situations, others aren't. The point is you can have a good time without breaking the bank.
We urge other hoteliers to figure out a way to emulate these four fantastic bars.
This Biscayne Blvd hotel's Area 51 rooftop terrace has a nightly "Veuve on the Clock" Happy Hour beginning at 5pm with $5 champagne by the glass until 6pm. The flute cost raises by just one dollar until 8pm. There's also a new menu of small bites, grilled fare, and curated cocktails to celebrate summer. To make those bubbles even more fun to sip, there's a DJ mixing for the crowd from Wednesdays through Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Great for the afterwork crowd and those who can't manage to hang until midnight when most Miami clubs get started.