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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 walked by and peered through the windows at Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam on a number of occasions, we finally had a chance to look inside the six 17th and 18th century canal houses on the city’s Herengracht that were converted into the hotel.
That included these beautiful sculptures, part of a rather pretty staircase with skylight inside the "Marot" house at number 548, now the main entrance of the hotel. The six houses were cobbled together to offer 93 rooms and suites and a host of other facilities, including an unusually large and private garden, all opened just shy of two months ago.
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What better way to celebrate the return of good weather than by hopping on a bike and exploring the city you're visiting? Thanks to these hotels, you don't need to look much further than the front desk for your new two-wheel joyride. Just be sure to return the bike to the hotel when you're done. Don't want that charge added to your check-out folio.
5 New Hotel Bikes To Ride This Spring
1. Room Mate Aitana Amsterdam: The hotel is providing guests with discounted bicycle rentals from local bike shop, Amsterbike as well as dishing out "5 Under 15", five bike rides under 15 minutes that will get guests to some of the city's notable landmarks (tulips, Vondelpark, Rijksmuseum, The Central Library and The Pancake Bakery.)
2. The Greenwich Hotel NYC: The luxury downtown hotel has partnered with Detroit-based Shinola (of watch-making fame), to offer his & her bespoke "Bixby" bicycles for guests. Conveniently, the Shinola flagship NYC store is within walking distance to the hotel so guests can head on over there after their ride to peruse the brand's handcrafted accessories.
3. The Ace Hotel London: The Shoreditch outpost of Ace Hotels now has custom-made bikes for guests from tokyobikes. The hotel has also put together a Bed and Bike package that includes £20 per person to spend at Hoi Polloi, Lovage, Bulldog Edition or the lobby bar, access to an Ace x tokyobikes for each day of your stay, and a cycling map of London.
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Looks like the order in which Waldorf Astoria’s latest hotels are coming across the opening finish line is Beijing – Jerusalem – Amsterdam in the end. A few months ago, when we doubted Amsterdam would be completed by March, the official word was still exactly the other way around, but Beijing is open (pretty parasols and all), Jerusalem caught us by surprise by being ready a few months’ early (though there is very limited view of what it’s like inside yet), and Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam is now scheduled for May 1.
Spread across six historic town houses that date back to the 1600s on one of the city’s central canals, the hotel will have 93 rooms and suites. The restaurant still awaits its name, but there will be the usual Peacock Alley, in this case on the Bel Etage, the principal floor of the town house accessed by a grand staircase from the entrance. Other things to look forward to are the private garden, the indoor swimming pool, and the Vault Bar, taking advantage of the building previously housing a private bank.
Reservations start from May 7 at the moment; we found a King Deluxe Room on that day for a not-inconsiderable €445 ($615). You can shave just over $90 off of that if you are willing to book an advance purchase rate. The 1,324 sq ft Brentano Suite will set you back €3,735 ($5,163) a night.
[Rendering: Waldorf Astoria Hotels]
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Last year we looked at how the Hilton at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport would be building itself a replacement hotel right next to the 1972 original, gold-reflective windows and all. Back then, there was just a bare plot of land, but a quick check just before a recent departure from Schiphol showed us that construction is moving along nicely.
If you’re wondering why the two are quite so close together, it’s because the current hotel’s days are numbered: once the new Hilton is complete in 2015, its elderly neighbor will be facing the wrecking ball. The above picture also shows a sliver of the multi-colored diamond-shaped exterior cladding that will cover the hotel – a rendering of what that will turn out to be you can see below.
Yet another new hotel will opening in Amsterdam--The Pestana Amsterdam, from the Pestana Group, a Portuguese hotel company.
The Pestana Amsterdam will occupy the former town hall and county seat of the City of Nieuwer-Amstel, alongside the River Amstel. The town hall was built between 1889 and 1892, just four years before Nieuwer-Amstel was merged into the City of Amsterdam. The building, as beautiful as it is, was then used for records storage.
The building style is Neo-Renaissance, aka is really pretty, and oozes with exterior detail. Pestana will not need to dress up this architectural beauty, which features decorative brick patterns and the classic Dutch stepped parapet, roof sculpture and finials galore, and one hellova cupola. Additions were made after the town hall was completed, and based on the digital image released, these will be integrated into the hotel's design.
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.