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The second week of September will be a full circle moment for London hotels: just as both Ace and Edition are opening their doors to fight for the title of hippest place to rest your head, so will a former coolest spot in town meet its final moments under the auctioneer’s hammer. The London Evening Standard reports that The Hempel – vision of Anouska Hempel and once the hangout of every celeb, model, and wannabe – is having its entire contents auctioned off on September 12.
You can browse all available items here, but you better be quick as interest apparently is huge. Perhaps you’d like the bed David and Victoria Beckham once slept in? The rest of the Lioness Suite it was part of does come with that piece of celebrity history. Or The Beluga Suite that Michael Jackson favored?
The auction starts at 10am on September 12, with viewings the two days before. What is to become of the hotel? If you know at all what is happening in London these days, the answer will come as no surprise: luxury apartments. Despite soaring prices, appetite for residential real estate in the UK capital continues to be voracious. Given the location close to Notting Hill and Hyde Park, we have no doubt the apartments will sell like hot cakes once redevelopment has been completed.
For those looking for a hit of Anouska Hempel design with their hotel stay, there is still Blakes in London and – though re-branded – Dylan Amsterdam.
[Photo: The Hempel]
The world knows Steve Jobs for his creation of the gadgets that have become an everyday necessity in our lives like the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad. But thanks to the new biography on the Apple mastermind by Walter Isaacson, we've learned that Jobs would have also made a badass hotel critic.
HotelChatter HQ has just finished the book, which pounds home how hard Steve jobs is on design. In fact, he would immediately classify design examples as "the greatest" or "shit". More often than not, he was right in these knee-jerk assessments.
And yes, his extreme design assessments extended to things outside the computer world--like hotels. Here's a very telling bit in the book about a hotel stay Jobs had in London (please flip to page 462 if you've got your books open.)
We checked in a few months ago on dominatrix/hotelier Anouska Hempel's Brazilian project, Warapuru when it was listed as an "It" destination by Concierge.com despite the fact that it isn't even open yet.
In visiting the hotel's web site today, we noticed there are some new photos/renderings and this description about Anouska's resort retreat in Itacare:
40 individual pavillions, delicately placed in the landscape, ensure privacy and commanding views through the rain forset to the beach beyond. At its heart, Warapuru's beach club restaurants and exclusive spa will offer an experience without rival.
There is no mention of the number of hotel rooms to go along with the 40 pavillions but we guess Anouska still hasn't figured that out.
Also interesting to note, we heard last that the hotel would open in October 2007, but the Warapuru web site says early 2007. And isn't early 2007 almost over?
· Anouska Hempel's Warapuru Already a Top Destination [HotelChatter]
Concierge.com has recently put forth its top "It" Destinations for 2007 and guess who's hotel they recommend in Itacaré, Brazil?
Warapuru, Anouska Hempel's new property, set to open this spring, is going to be a destination in itself: 40 pavilions in the rainforest facing the ocean, big spa and cutting edge design. The favorite destination of Gisele and Sean Penn.
But don't get to booking your trip so soon. A Times UK report from September mentioned the hotel still had not been built, and room rates were still up in the air. Even the amount of hotel rooms had not been totally decided back in September although Anouska guesstimated about 150 hotel rooms along side the 40 pavilions. And Anouska was coy about whether the place had doors or not. We'll see how this plays out as October 2007 draws near.
Also on Concierge's list is West Africa, Turkey, Slovenia and Macau, thanks to all the Vegas hotels--MGM, Wynn, Venetian--opening up their spin-offs there.
· The 2007 "It" List [Concierge]
· The Anouska Hempel Story: Revenge of a Dominatrix Hotelier [HotelChatter]
· Rumble in the Jungle [Times UK]
How do you go from appearing in seventies soft porn to becoming the godmother of boutique hotels? More importantly how does it take us three years to notice? Anouska Hempel, we have discussed your hotels before, but today is the first day we came across your incredibly interesting story. Let's start from the beginning. Anouska Hempel was an actress in a Russ Meyer film called "Blacksnake", which has a review on a site called "Spank the Monkey".
In the film, shot on Barbados, Weinberg (Hempel's married name) plays Lady Susan Walker, a dominatrix who satiates her desires by whipping black male slaves on her 19th-century cotton plantation. Her long leather whip lashes out at every slave in sight until they rebel. She is then raped by a slave and a half-witted mute.
Fast forward a twenty years or so and this former film dominatrix has married millionaire insurance tycoon Sir Mark Weinberg and become a leading figure in London's high society. Naturally she moonlights as a hotelier.
Blakes London, her first hotel, opened in South Kensington, London, nearly 25 years ago, and is still one of the earliest known pure boutqiue hotels. She followed that up with the Hempel Hotel, and the Dylan Hotel in Amsterdam--some groundbreaking hotels for sure.
A few years ago she was ousted or left (details are murky, if you know something comment below) her hotel company and is now just some sort of silent advisor to the company, or some such thing. Doesn't matter because in 2007 our new favorite dominatrix hotelier is back--Warapuru, a resort with it's own freakin' air strip is set to open this year in the Brazilian resort town of Itacare. The hotelier? Anouska Hempel.
More info on her hotels below.