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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!
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Amsterdam is kickin’ ass and takin' names these days. It's just that simple. With the re-opening scheduled this year of the Rijksmuseum after a 10-year reno and the Van Gogh Museum after a much shorter reno, the 400th anniversary of the canals, and the re-opening of the Stedelijk modern art and design museum, the city’s hopping.
Hotels, it seems, have all been preparing for the buzz of 2013: the Hotel de l’Europe had major work done, the Andaz Amsterdam opened its doors, as did the Conservatorium Hotel. Earlier this week we also told you about the opening of The Waldorf Astoria expected in early 2014 so everyone's getting in on the act.
They say a picture speaks a thousand words so have a look at the Image Gallery to see what your next trip to Amsterdam might look like.
We’ve told you the luxe Waldorf Astoria brand of the Hilton group is going on a little expansion spree in the next few years, kicked off with the recent re-opening of the historic Caledonian Edinburgh.
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Who would think it’s possible for construction to actually go quicker than expected? Well it certainly has in the Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht's case.
We're pleased as punch that the hotel officially opened its doors yesterday, which -- yes -- was a bit later than expected, BUT the hotel's taking reservations for stays starting November 3 instead of November 23 as we originally reported last month. If this is an indication of the way the Andaz Amsterdam’s luck is going to go, we take it as a good omen.
Rates for November 3 atart at 270 EUR ($350) for an Andaz Queen or Andaz King which face the lobby of the hotel and its star-ific Observatory lights.
[Photo: Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht]
If you’re looking for a place to hang out in Amsterdam on a warm fall afternoon, make it at one of the world’s first boutique hotels: The Dylan Amsterdam. After having their tasty and inexpensive Lunch Plate at Brasserie OCCO and then their High Wine extravaganza that's served once lunch is over, you’ll really have no reason at all to leave.
We headed over to The Dylan on a sunny afternoon and ate (and drank) on their outdoor patio, which somehow managed to feel like a modern, yet cozy, garden terrace. Lined with trees and flower pots, it had an earthy brown / gray thing going on with hits of bright orange berries on every table. It's a great setting to sit and stay a while.
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Hotel de l'Europe
Amsterdam has many fine hotels with many fine hotel bars inside and with the Andaz Amsterdam coming online soon, there’ll be yet another one to check out. Until then, here are the top two hotel bars that you should visit on your next trip to Amsterdam.
First up, Freddy’s Bar at the recently-renovated Hotel de l’Europe in the heart of the city’s old town. This comfy and tasteful bar is a modern version of Amsterdam’s traditional brown cafe – a relaxed watering hole where one can linger for hours. The original brown cafes -- many still exist -- got their names because of their dark wood interiors (we hear that that may have something to do with years of nicotine staining but we prefer not to think about that). Freddy’s Bar models the same dark wood interior, albeit without the nicotine stains.
Hotel de l'Europe
The namesake of Alfred Heineken a.k.a. Freddy, the bar is classically styled, with dark forest green leather club chairs, brown marble tabletops, walnut wood floors, copper-colored window coverings and burnished gold touches. While you’re admiring the interior, you can get a mellow groove on as you listen to the live jazz pianist. Be sure to keep your eyes open for local celebrities and high-society types, just as it was in Freddy Heineken’s day.
Rendering of the lobby
The Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht is going to be a masterpiece of design when it opens mid-October. We had the pleasure of getting an in-person sneak peek of the
construction zone hotel in August and, although much work was to be done, even we could see the great bone structure that will make this latest Andaz a work of art.
This 122-room hotel has wunderkind Marcel Wanders (big name Dutch designer and co-owner of local design shop Moooi) at the design helm and, with the hotel’s savvy management fully behind him, the hotel will be a mixture of modern design that’s warm and inviting in feel, and authentic to Amsterdam, and yet, as with all good design, is beautiful as well as practical.
Hotel Pulitzer is a quirky hotel that's part of Starwood’s Luxury Collection and is comprised of 25 restored canal houses from the 17th-and 18th-century. Being in this hotel is akin to staying in a living maze. For a true workout, at check in say you don’t need help with your bags or in finding your room, and watch the getting-lost antics commence.
One other thing to note: The hotel has a wonderful changing art gallery, so if you get lost while going from your room to the restaurant, you’ll have plenty to see and ponder.
The Hotel Pulitzer is made up of different canal houses that are all joined together so room size may vary greatly even within the same category. Let’s just say that our Deluxe Room was a bit on the bijou side of the scale, at a mere 180 sq ft. This was too small for travelers trekking across the Atlantic for a few days, but rooms in this category do go up in size to approximately 320 sq ft. But they do have lots of character – ours had original wooden ceiling beams and French doors that opened onto the garden (although we did have to move furniture to open both of the doors!)
Although eccentric, and full of Old-World charm, there are some modern shout-outs here. The lobby had a soft reno earlier this year and is an up-to-date vision in black-and-white with plenty of sit and chill-out areas. Right off the lobby there's an Espresso Bar with lattes so foam thick, one is simply not enough. We spent an entire afternoon sipping on them in the attached garden, consisting of separated areas to eat, drink and read.