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At the very least, the exterior of Andre’s fire station-turned-hotel seems to be coming along nicely, and if we’re to believe the talked-about March opening, it better be. All scaffolding is now gone, and we can see how the three fire engine doors have been replaced – in fact, it looks pretty close to the above rendering, which can be found on a website of Chiltern Street itself, of all places.
Way back when we thought that (one of) those fire engine doors would become the hotel’s front entrance, but based on what we saw we guess arriving at the hotel will happen through the courtyard.
We are also going to go out on a limb and say it will be called the Chiltern Street Hotel, since it’s been whispered that this will be an individually-branded hotel and a notice next to one of the doors related to planning permissions named it so.
Almost to the day three years ago did we scout Marylebone’s Chiltern Street based on the juicy gossip that André Balazs had set his sights on an abandoned fire station as the location for his new London hotel. Three years ago! Where does the time go?
On the long and winding road to today, we stumbled upon some delicious renderings of the interior (which didn’t last long on the contractor’s website), learned that it would possibly be a Mercer Hotel Andre was planning here, saw a multistory extension going up at the back of the courtyard, and wondered out loud what progress was being made over the summer. A 2013 opening was always part of the plan, but in case you hadn’t noticed, Christmas is barely two months away. So will we still get inside this year?
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According to the Facebook group page, Douche Spotter--which made headlines last week for posting pics of people acting, well, douchey in the Hamptons--a bunch of folks ate at the Sunset Beach restaurant over Fourth of July and racked up a $433 bill but left no tip for their server. Douchey indeed.
Of course, we don't know the full story here. Maybe bad service is not the reason for the lack of tip. Perhaps the group left the server a wad of cash? Or perhaps the diners were Europeans as they often get tripped up by the American tipping policy? (Hmm not likely as the bill clearly says "Gratuity Not Included.")
Or maybe the group was just super pissed the hotel had no rooms open. The spot is pretty much sold-out through the end of its season (September 9th.) If you're interesting in seeing if the place is tip-worthy or not for yourself, you will have to go during the week. Rooms start at $425 a night.
Or isn’t it? Nearly five months after we checked in on the old fire station on Marylebone’s Chiltern Street that hotelier Andre Balazs supposedly is turning into a Mercer hotel, our shots from this past weekend and from February would make good material for a game of ‘spot the difference’. And we’d probably fail that game.
Walking up to the hotel, we were disappointed the huge black façade-covering scaffolding was still there; based on the permits displayed earlier this year, we had hoped it would have been taken down by now. Whether that means the work has been delayed or not, we’ll leave open for the moment, but we certainly would have hoped to see some clearer progress if an opening this year is something we’re meant to buy.
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Will this be the Hudson London?
If you thought London would be taking a break when it comes to hotel openings after a rather frenetic Olympic year, think again: the next few years look to be filled with all sorts of exciting stuff to keep us happy. We’re listing the hotels we have our eyes on for you below, and stay tuned as we will be taking you inside when we can.
- A rebirth rather than a brand new hotel, the former St. John Hotel became One Leicester Street on May 1, including a refurbished restaurant and outdoor terrace
- Over in King’s Cross, the Great Northern Hotel also got a new a lease on life as part of the revitalization of the entire station, with sleeper compartment-inspired rooms called Couchettes
- South Kensington got a new boutique hotel contender this month in the form of the 99-room Xenia Hotel on Cromwell Road, not far from the Ampersand we showed you last year
- Affordable-chic brand base2stay is re-branding itself as Nadler Hotels, and its flagship The Nadler Soho will open on June 1, a stone’s throw from the likes of Dean Street Townhouse and Firmdale’s the Soho Hotel
- This isn't really a new hotel but it is newsworthy--The Waldorf-Astoria Syon Park has now been downgraded to just the Hilton London Syon Park. A Hilton Worldwide spokesperson told Business Insider that, "Having operated the property since March 2011, we've mutually agreed with our owner that the new positioning will be the best fit for the local market."
2013 is a year full of hotel openings (we have a handy Master List for you), and it’s marked in our calendar as the possible time Andre Balazs pulls the curtain from his latest venture, the expected Mercer London.
To find out whether this year is likely to happen, we headed over to the fire station on Chiltern Street in Marylebone this past weekend to look at the construction progress, and things are moving on, if still far from being finished.
But as we were reading through the list of room service, minibar and cigarette charges, we did wonder how this notoriously private hotel--they won't allow any publication to take pictures inside the hotel ever--let this happen. We assumed maybe the hotel was finally fed up with Lohan and leaked the documents to embarrass her.
We also considered the more likely possibility that TMZ greased someone who works in the hotel's back office. But according to the Daily Mail, the hotel (which is owned and run by hotelier Andre Balazs) is absolutely horrified the letters were released and they actually blame someone in Lohan's entourage.
The other day we gave you a sneak peek at the hotel in London that hottie hotelier Andre Balazs has been working on but now we've got another bit of info from a well-connected tipster--it's going to become an outpost of AB's legendary Mercer Hotel in New York. Whee!
This is actually what we suspected would happen way back in December when we found out the old fire station on Marylebone Place would not be a Standard. And considering our man on the street in London said the building was small, we thought it would be prime for a Mercer outpost as the original Mercer is quite an intimate place to stay. In fact, our exact words were:
Back then our spy told us the building was not very big and that if indeed AB turns it into a hotel, it would be a very small one. We agreed it was too small for a Standard outpost but it might be a perfect spot for another sort of Mercer Hotel.
We found it almost hard to believe when we realised it was as long ago as October 2010 when we first took pictures of the rumoured site of André Balazs' new London hotel. With very little detail available at the time, we wondered what the hotelier had in mind for this old fire station close to Marylebone High Street, not far north of Oxford Street.
Then in December of last year, we learned this was not going to be a Standard Hotel, but a "higher price-point in the ABP portfolio", and that it would not open until 2013.
Having passed by the hotel this week to check out for ourselves how far things have come along, we'd say that next year wouldn't surprise us; from the looks of the major construction going on at the moment, the property still has some way to come. Yet that didn't stop us from finding out what it will look like when completed.
The Chateau Marmont has had its share in the spotlight, most recently in the Sofia Coppola-helmed flick Somewhere. But now the West Hollywood hotel will have its own starring role in a new miniseries from Office star John Krasinski and Social Network scribe Aaron Sorkin, Deadline Hollywood reported.
The duo will executive produce the hotel-set HBO show with hotelier Andre Balazs and his daughter Alessandra. (Aha! So this is that TV show Andre was working on.) It will be based off the book Life at the Marmont by former hotel co-owner Raymond R. Sarlot and Fred Basten.
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The critics so far have loved Sofia Coppola's latest movie, Somewhere, which takes place (as every hotel geek already knows) in the Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood. And now, we can finally go see it for ourselves.
The movie was released on Wednesday in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington and we just happen to be in one of those cities right now. The movie will have a wider national release in January.
In case you haven't read our previous stories on the movie, this is what it's about:
Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) is a bad-boy A-List actor stumbling through a life of excess while living at Hollywood’s legendary Chateau Marmont Hotel. His days are a haze of drinks, girls, fast cars and fawning fans. Cocooned in this celebrity-induced artificial world, Johnny has lost all sense of his true self. Until, that is, his 11-year-old daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning) unexpectedly shows up and unwittingly begins to anchor him.
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Well, OK, it was director Sofia Coppola who snagged the Golden Lion for Best Film--but the real star of that film, Somewhere, is the West Hollywood celeb haunt. (Sorry, Dorffy.)
Coppola said that the award would help the film's chances once it is released in December--and we're betting that the movie will also make the Chateau's decadent allure even more irresistible.