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We first learned about Spanish chain Room Mate when they took over the QT Times Square way back in 2008, and talked to founder Enrique “Kike” Sarasola to understand what they’re all about. In short, that’s individual hotels with distinct personalities (called Oscar, Grace, Isabella, and so forth) that should give you the feeling of staying with a local friend who knows the ins and outs of each city.
That philosophy has resulted in a total of 18 hotels today, from Grace in New York to Carlos in Buenos Aires, and now Aitana in Amsterdam. Not a Dutch name (in case you were wondering whether it was locally inspired), the 284-room hotel is located on the man-made IJ Dock (the IJ is the surrounding water) northwest of the city’s central station.
The first rendering (we have a picture from almost exactly the same angle just below) also clearly shows the all-glass top floor that will be added to create an ‘upside down’ hotel with Living Room lobby, restaurant, and bar all on the hotel’s rooftop.
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Having looked at new Amsterdam hotels that start with a W (the W and Waldorf Astoria), we backtrack through the alphabet to the letter H, where we find two additional, and somewhat polar opposite, future openings: the business-focused Hyatt Regency and budget-chic Hoxton.
The 211-room Hyatt Regency will be located in the former Emma Kinderziekenhuis (a children’s hospital) between Sarphatistraat and Spinozastraat, down the street from the Amstel InterContinental and an easy stroll away from the city’s outpost of the Hermitage museum. Comparing what we found in person with Google Street View, a series of low-rise buildings has been levelled, creating what looks like the perfect space for the hotel’s driveway, entrance, and any gardens or terraces the architects might have in mind.
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Having scoped out the other big Amsterdam opening that starts (and ends) with a W, we kept on walking and turned down the city’s Herengracht canal until we hit up the row of patrician houses that is being transformed into the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam.
About this time last year we gave you the first preview of the 94-room hotel, which is planned for a March 2014 opening. What we could see through the windows does not tell the full story of the hotel’s progress of course, but the public spaces and the downstairs kitchen we spied certainly seemed to need some work still. Let’s just hope that March opening will be happening, especially as it should kick off three consecutive months of openings for the brand, with Beijing and Jerusalem scheduled for April and May.
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Having received a first shot of the future W Amsterdam thanks to one of our tipsters, we decided to do a little further investigation and see what we could find out about the hotel located just off of Dam Square, less than ten minutes’ walk from the city’s central railway station.
We’d agree with our tipster’s assessment that the building, in its current state at least, lacks in the aesthetics department, but, with the right bit of love and W imagination, we do see a lot of potential. The address is not Raadhuisstraat 2, but rather Spuistraat 175, the street that runs along the back of the building. The Albert Heijn (a grocery store) and Gall & Gall (a wine & spirits shop) you see on the ground floor in the above shot will remain. Based on the description on the architect’s website, this will mean that all public spaces of the hotel, including reception, restaurant, and bar, will be on the top floor of the hotel. Read on for more about the building’s history and future as a W.
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The Regent Montenegro
There’s tons of hotel news flying around at the moment, so we have another roundup of news bites for you today to get you up to speed on the latest from Oman to Cambodia and China to Argentina.
Starting with the Arab sultanate of Oman, its newspaper Muscat Daily (Muscat is the capital) reports that the country will have the first Aman Resort in the Middle East, in the remote coastal town of Shuwaimiya. The developer of the eco-resort has confirmed Aman Resorts will open, with the hotel group so far taking a confirm-nor-deny approach. Whether or not it will be the first in the Middle East remains to be seen, based on what we hear about an opening in Jordan.
When it comes to European destinations, W Hotels has all the major cities covered--London, Paris, Istanbul, Barcelona, St. Petersburg and coming soon--Switzerland with their first-ever ski resort, along with Milan and Athens in 2016. And now you can add Amsterdam to the list.
A super secret spy sent us this picture the other day of the forthcoming W Amsterdam which will be created out of the city's old telephone switchboard exchange building. Admittedly, it's not much of a first look but in classic Amsterdam fashion, there's a man pedaling by on a bike.
According to our source, it will be a 172-room hotel. Right now, there's not much happening to the building but we hear it is being gutted and that real work should start soon. We're guessing W Amsterdam could totally open in 2015. Ja!
Update 10.8.13: Another Amsterdam tipster gave us an address-- Raadhuisstraat 2. They also said the building is "awful" but it's in a great location near Dam Square. Apparently, there's an Albert Heijn on one side (like Dutch Walgreens) which will be convenient if you forget your toiletries.
[Photo: HotelChatter Super Secret Spy]
Last year, the seemingly dull news that the Hoxton Hotel London changed hands to a new investment firm had us sit up and take notice based on the possible expansion of our £1 flash-sale favorite brand to places like New York – which arguably is in dire need of more affordable hotels.
Fast forward to this summer, and the only thing we’ve seen so far is the tiny notice on its website of the Hoxton Holborn, opening next year in a former office building about fifteen minutes due west of the hotel today. Things could be looking up, though perhaps not yet for New York, with The Times and DNA Hotels reporting that Hoxton-owner Ennismore Capital has agreed to buy the Rembrandt Classic Hotel in Amsterdam for €25 million ($33 million).
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The Regent Bali
While we continue to recover from last week’s ma-jah announcement of Tommie Hotels, the lovechild of Commune and Thompson, we have a roundup of news bites from around the world for you this Monday morning. Join us as we hop from Bali to Venice, Amsterdam to China, and Switzerland to Australia, for updates on everything from brand new Chinese brand Ahn Luh to the old school Gritti Palace.
Starting in Southeast Asia, Regent Hotels delivered on the promised opening of its new resort on Bali this past weekend, with 94 suites, one Regent Villa, 25 residences, and that inviting-looking infinity pool above. The Bali resort follows last year’s arrival in Phuket, which we swung by recently to see for ourselves how Regent’s first opening in years would stack up – more on that to come.
Airport hotels are part of every traveler’s experience at one point or another, which is why we recently listed some of our favorites around the world for you. Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport – voted best European airport and number 3 in the world at the 2013 Skytrax awards – is getting a brand new hotel in 2015, when the Hilton Schiphol Airport (round two) will open.
It will replace the current Hilton, which has been around since 1972 (check out the gold reflective windows, very avant-garde at the time) and was the airport’s first proper hotel. Now, especially with competition from the likes of citizenM, it’s time to come back with a new 433-room, atrium-style hotel, which will be connected to the terminal via a covered walkway.
If you've been to Amsterdam, then you know it's a city of canals, waffles, bicyclists and historical architecture. If you're a tourist in Amsterdam, then you also know that it's the center of the historical architecture where you find the best hotels, but they weren't always there.
Skyscrapers aren't welcome alongside the still canal waters and, when a hotel wants to open up, it often has to first find a building to repurpose, instead of constructing something brand new. As a result, nearly every hotel in the center of Amsterdam lives on a site with a history, one which may range from something as innocent as a convent to as sad as a jail for the Resistance movement during World War II.
Here's six such notable hotels:
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In honor of St Patrick's Day coming up this Sunday, we thought we'd take a look back at a few hotels that just can't seem to catch a break. If any leprechauns are reading this right now, take note. You've got your work cut out for you!
#7: Le Parker Meridien.
We thought it was bad enough when a random construction accident managed to flood the entire Knave Cafe at LPM. But it turned out the hotel had more bad luck coming, when Hurricane Sandy tore through Manhattan, toppling a nearby crane, and causing Le Parker Meridien to be evacuated. Here's to a cheerier 2013.
#6: JW Marriott Chicago.
The JW Marriott Chicago made plenty of headlines (though not the good kind) this past fall when an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease claimed the lives of three guests who stayed there over the sumer. The Chicago Dept of Public Health reported that the hotel "fully cooperated with the ongoing investigation," and concluded by saying there was no further health threat at the hotel. Still, we're probably going to lay off those hot tub parties for a while.
#5: Revel Resort.
This $2.6 billion resort was supposed to be the saving grace of Atlantic City, but after barely a year of being open, it announced it was planning to file for bankruptcy. Ouch! Hurricane Sandy couldn't have helped things either. We feel like they need a lucky charm or something to bring them back from the dark side, but then again, if a four-night Beyonce run during opening weekend didn't manage to do it, we're not sure what will.
Four more unlucky hotels after the jump!