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Having just taken you inside The Hoxton Holborn, opening on September 25, we’re continuing as promised with an update on the international expansion of the brand, which will include Amsterdam, New York, and Paris within the next two years.
First up is The Hoxton Amsterdam, which as we looked at earlier this year will open in what was the Rembrandt Classic Hotel on the city’s Herengracht canal. While our January snap showed guests walking in and out, the hotel has been closed since April for its much-needed renovation to Hoxton standards. Opening should be in 2015.
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Having opened reservations earlier this summer, the Hoxton Holborn is now just a month away from opening, with the official date being September 25. Not only did we hear that directly from the hotel, we also had a chance to step inside and see for ourselves how the east London favorite travels to a midtown environment.
Above a snap from inside a Cosy Room, the third category out of four. While the 174 rooms differ in size (Shoebox, Snug, Cosy, Roomy), all share the same design and features, like the wood-and-leather headboard you see here.
It looks like Holborn will have to settle for one out of two when it comes to new hotels this year: citizenM might have been pushed back to 2015, but The Hoxton Holborn has just opened up reservations from mid-October, still promising a “late summer” arrival for the group’s second London hotel.
A live reservation system comes with a first few renderings of the public spaces (above the suitably vintage-meets-industrial lobby) and a little more information about the hotel’s 174 rooms. Good news first? While small (about 130 sq ft), we can see entry-level “Shoebox” rooms from £79 ($135) – that’s under $150 dollars a night for a central, stylish London hotel. Hurrah!
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We’ve long been fans of budget chic hotels and their promise to shake up the hotel game in expensive cities, focusing on stylish rooms and the right amenities at affordable prices. How could we not? But we’re starting to get concerned that those heavily promoted double-digit room rates are becoming just that: good publicity and not much more.
citizenM let us down in New York with nothing under $199 a night, and we hope the 900 rooms its adding across three hotels in London (Tower Hill, Holborn, and Shoreditch) will bring rates down to around £100 ($167), because its current Bankside hotel runs closer to the £200 ($335) mark most of the time.
Equally, The Z Hotels is expanding from its current Soho and Victoria locations to a third London property just south of Piccadilly, opening in June with 122 rooms on Orange Street. A quick browse through the online reservations system gives us rates starting from £185 ($311) for an “Inside Room” without windows in the first months, which is a pretty hefty £100 above the “from just £85 ($143) a night” highlighted on its website. Add a window and you’re looking at £220 ($370), unless you’re willing to book a non-cancellable rate. We’re not entirely sure whether nearly $400 a night for a room that is a squeezy 129 sq ft fits with an “ethos of affordable luxury”.
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Rosewood London may have dominated headlines for the past six months as the new kid on the block in Holborn (sorry Boris, we’re still not down with calling it ‘Midtown’), but this year should see two new hotels opening in the same area, albeit in a very different segment: citizenM and Hoxton, both representing the much appreciated wave of stylish but affordable options that most cities need more of.
It’s also seconds for both when it comes to the British capital: citizenM Bankside is a twenty-minute walk across the river, and Hoxton Shoreditch has been doing its things just east of the Old Street roundabout for eight years. We walked past both hotels to check out what the buildings are like and how construction is coming along.
Looks like those expansion plans of Hoxton Hotels are indeed taking shape: only yesterday we looked at a potential opening in New York, and Amsterdam is in the works too. Before those we'll first get a sibling in home city London, opening May next year in Holborn. Among the good news is that affordability will continue to be part of the brand’s key attraction, with rooms starting from £69 ($110) a night. We presume that the £1 flash sales will pop up here as well.
The Hoxton Holborn will have 174 rooms in a Grade-II listed building in three categories: comfy, cosy and tiny. We don’t have exact square footage yet, but those labels tell you enough on what to expect in the space department. Each will have a black-and-white en-suite bathroom, and free WiFi and a complimentary breakfast bag of granola, yoghurt, banana, and orange juice is thrown in. Public spaces will be managed by the Soho House group, with both a Hoxton Grill and Chicken Shop planned.
With new hotels both in London and elsewhere, the original Hoxton needs to keep up, so a refurbishment of guestrooms is underway – we’ll have more for you on that soon.
[Photo: Hoxton Hotels]
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We mentioned last year that ALT Hotels, baby sister brand of the chic Le Germain Hotels, was planning a Canada-wide expansion. They started in Québec City, then Montréal's Quartier Dix30, at Toronto's Pearson International Airport and now? Halifax.
The 169-room ALT Hotel opened at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport on Monday and is the fourth ALT in Canada. The hotels combine good design and stylish interiors with a “no-frills found here” concept that works.
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It's the same song every spring and summer--people begin to make their travel plans to Europe, but international airfares can sometimes kill a budget. However, if there's any consolation, you can make up for that top-dollar ticket by staying at these new and affordable hotels.
Generator Hostel, Barcelona
Imagine bedding down in one of Spain's most intoxicating city's for less than the average dinner tab? That's what's up at the new Generator Hotel, which opened mid-March.
Part of a popular, trendy chain, the rooms are located on the top floor of a building. Each unit has its own balcony with views of the city, as well as private bathrooms--a rarity. Fiesta Gracia, the restaurant, is a great meeting place to bond with other hostelers and is open until 2 a.m. There's a surprisingly long, world-wide list of beer, wine & cocktails and even local DJs come to entertain the crowd while they chow on tapas and Instagram using the free WiFi. Continental breakfast is served at La Plaça café. Anwar Mekhayech (of Soho House fame) is the design master behind this hostel's boutique look.
And since you're in Barcelona, more art is minutes away as the hostel is only five-minutes from both Diagonal and Verdaguer metro stations en route to local museums (and even the beach!).
A range of rooms and layouts are available, with rates for dorm rooms (6-8 beds) starting at €13($17) per night and go up to €41 ($53) for more private single/double occupancy rooms.
You may have heard of something called the Sea of Galilee, which is actually a lake (Israel's largest freshwater lake, in fact), which is also called the Kinneret in Hebrew, and which makes several big cameos in a book called the Bible.
Jesus, who spent a lot of time here, never really had the option of staying at nice hotels, or snapping photos of the view from his balcony. However, for travelers like us, a killer hotel view is one of the supreme joys of visiting new places. Which is why the Poriya Guest House made such an impression on us during a recent trek through Israel.
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As usual, we were leafing through the NY Times Travel section this weekend, making mental notes about how we should plan on visiting East Frisia to try the tea, and, how we need to check out that newly reopened "Shalom" hotel in Tel Aviv, when something caught our eye.
It was in an article talking about the new trend of "stylish hostels" popping up in places like Mexico City, Singapore, Reykjavik and São Paulo. Of course, one of the more interesting "hotels" we recently reviewed was Freehand Miami, a hip $21/night hostel that's run by the Sydell Group (the same company responsible for The NoMad, Ace New York and Saguaro Palm Springs.)
Now, for the exciting part: the article casually mentions that the Sydell Group is planning to take the Freehand concept nationwide (yay!), and the next location will be New York (double yay!).
We've mentioned before how The Jade is done up in "1920s French Deco" style, and what that basically means is: rich dark wood and brick everywhere, geometric motif headboards and rotary telephones in the rooms, and, best, of all, a royal purple velvet-accented lobby (those drapes! that couch!). The vibe is kind of Gramercy Park Hotel meets Holiday Inn, since it's got the great location and the luxury, medieval castle vibe, but it's a new build and its price point is (thankfully) a little lower than GPH.
And speaking of which, the hotel is offering a pretty sweet rate of $180/night during the soft opening phase. Which is now. And we get that it's the slow season and all, but you generally don't find prices like that in the Greenwich Village area, like, ever.
It's getting more and more expensive to visit Oahu, and, for once, it has nothing to do with the cost of coladas or airline tickets. This time, it's actually the hotel industry that's pumping up prices by turning budget-friendly accommodations into luxury lodging. Grr.
Now, don't think this is malicious -- there's a lot of good work being done -- but the fact is that budget-friendly hotels are disappearing. Smith Travel Research reports the number of budget rooms on Oahu and Waikiki has decreased by 10% over the last ten years.
In 2006, Oahu had 33 budget properties but by the end of last year there were only 27 (less than 700 budget hotel rooms in total). Because of the high cost associated with building new on Waikiki, developers are deciding to renovate older buildings, turning them into newer, nicer, and pricier properties.
Despite that trend, you can still find a cheap hotel on Oahu. For our purposes, we consider anything under $200/night in Waikiki during high season a "budget property." Here's a sampling of some of the options we found, based on guest feedback as well as our own. Keep in mind it's currently the high season in Hawaii, meaning you can get even lower prices (and less crowds) if you visit in the late spring or summer...