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So much hotel news, so little time – here are a few snippets to keep you up to date with the latest news from around the world!>
· RITZ-CARLTON PHOENIX TO BECOME AN AUTOGRAPH COLLECTION HOTEL: There's one less Ritz-y place to stay in Phoenix as the Ritz-Carlton there will be rebranded into an Autograph Collection Hotel, run by Destination Hotels. Per this press release, the property will close in July and will reopen in early 2016 as an Autograph Collection hotel. Perhaps they took note of this commenter's observation on our OpenThread in October:
However, the Ritz Phoenix is startlingly dilapidated and dated. I'm surprised it still meets the chain's standards. The lobby is pleasant enough but the rooms and especially bathrooms are ancient and unpleasant.
So far, there's no message on the Ritz site about the closure and we were able to make reservations for July online so the exact closing date doesn't seem to be so set in stone. We're sure that will change soon though.
The owner of a gorgeous Art Deco building in Downtown Fort Worth is eager to convert it to a 165-room hotel, specifically an Autograph Collection hotel. It is not a done deal yet, as there are many a design hoop to jump through, but things appear to moving forward, with an anticipated opening in late 2016.
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Switzerland has been concentrating so hard on their budget offerings recently that we were beginning to worry they’d forgotten all about what they do best – insanely expensive luxury properties.
The Kameha is already styling itself as your new “lieblingsplatz”, or regular haunt, in Zurich. Not sure where they reckon we hang out already, but this is a bit of an upgrade.
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The Autograph Collection by Marriott is having a controlled growth spurt, circumventing the globe in search of - and finding - the unique, independent hotel. New locations and unusual designs are all over the map, literally, as the Collection stays true to its mantra "exactly like nothing else."
Here's another one adding to the growing list, the Cotton House Hotel, Autograph Collection, opening in Barcelona on February 23rd. Or not, depending on whose web site you check.
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Radisson Blu Belgrade
It’s new year, new Europe by the looks of things in chain hotel-land. There’s a bunch of new places either just opening, or just being announced.
Radisson Blu is entering Belgrade and Bordeaux, having opened the Old Mill Hotel in Belgrade’s Old Town in December (perfect for your quick plastic surgery trip), and with Bordeaux on the cards for 2017. There’ll be a huge spa and balneotherapy center for that last one – cannot actually wait.
Intercontinental hasn’t put its feet up since taking over the Four Seasons Dublin; it’s announced a Baku property, its first in Azerbaijan, to open 2016. There’s a theme here, because Autograph Collection is also plotting four Azerbaijan hotels – two in Baku, and two in the Shahdag mountains, with the latter two opening at the end of this year.
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As the temperature drops from “inferno” to “tannable” in the Coachella Valley, there’s lots going on in the Palm Springs hotel scene. A new restaurant? A hotel opening? A sad demolition? Here’s what’s happening:
· Here’s the first picture from the forthcoming Palm Springs Hotel. Originally slated for an August opening, it “hit a construction snag” but is now on course, with the website taking reservations from 23 November, with rooms from $139 on opening night ($119 the following week).
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Who would have thought that a hotel located in one of Sydney's most stunning spots on The Rocks would need to embark beautification process? Well, the folks over at Pier One Sydney Harbour decided to pretty things up a bit after the ownership of the hotel changed hands.
Earlier this year, Pier One became part of Marriott's Autograph Collection and thus they decided to really wow their
Marriott Rewards members guests.
For the next 17 weeks, the hotel will be overhauling their lobby, dining and bar facilities to better fit in with their new brand. One thing that won't be changing is the 100-year old character of the building and the stunning views across Sydney Harbour. Originally built as a working cargo wharf and passenger transit facility, the hotel now offers a modern and contemporary stay steeped in history with some rooms offering the closest thing you can get to an overwater bungalow in an urban setting.
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This fall, the sprawling Atlantis Resort in The Bahamas will become a part of the Autograph Collection by Marriott. That means all of the resort's 3,400 rooms (including the super-luxe Cove rooms), 40 restaurants and bars and the 141-acre water park will now be bookable using Marriott Rewards points. Of course, you'll also be able to earn points with your stay too. (And hopefully, the resort will extend free WiFi to Marriott Rewards elite members.)
Atlantis will operate under a long-term franchise agreement with Marriott, who also provided a $100 million mezzanine loan to the resort. So this is a serious deal, not a "we'll try it out for a bit" situation.
And the partnership could not have come at a better time, or maybe it was orchestrated that way, since the nearby Baha Mar Resort & Casino and its resort wonderland is opening later this year and will surely draw folks away from Atlantis. But if you're a Marriott Rewards member with status, it may not make sense to go somewhere else.
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There's always some crazy news out of Las Vegas these days but we were a bit stunned this morning to hear that Blackstone Real Estate had purchased The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas from Deutsche Bank for about $1.73 billion. That's a lot of cash!
But does this mean The Cosmopolitan will stop being an Autograph Collection Hotel by Marriott?
The chances of The Cosmo moving from a Marriott to a Hilton entity are extremely likely as the Blackstone Group pretty much owns Hilton Hotels. Yet Blackstone's real estate division, which is responsible for the purchase of the Cosmo, has a diversified portfolio, which also includes, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a percentage in Caesars Entertainment. Innnnteresting.
If Cosmo does move from Marriott to Hilton, we don't think it will happen immediately and we are sure Cosmopolitan will keep its Identity, not just the players reward club, but its cool kid persona which had made it a premiere casino resort on The Strip.
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It takes a long time for a hotel project to go from idea to groundbreaking, from construction to first check-in. So even as we luxuriate (hopefully) in new openings and exciting upgrades, we’re already looking into our crystal ball (AKA the Internet) for buzz on what’s coming down the pipeline. Herewith, we present the three Boston hotel openings in 2015 that have us most excited right now — and why.
1. Envoy Hotel
Why we’re excited: Because a hot neighborhood needs a hot hotel. Nothing makes something sound less hip than using the word hip.” But if you’ll allow us to don our verbal Mom Jeans for a moment — Boston’s Fort Point is hip. It’s hot. It’s very “now,” a little sliver of a neighborhood bordering the Seaport that happens to be filled with some of the most buzz-worthy restaurants in recent years: from legendary chef Barbara Lynch’s fine dining flagship, Menton, to the self-professed “working man’s oyster bar” (if you’re a “working man” in finance, maybe) that is Row 34.
Now the transformation from industrial area to hot hospitality ‘hood is nearly complete, with word that the $70 million Envoy Hotel (a rendering shown here) will open in 2015 on Sleeper Street near the Barking Crab restaurant. The six-story property is an entry in Marriott’s luxury Autograph Collection which also includes Maine's upcoming Press Hotel. Expect 136 rooms, plans for a pedestrian plaza that will link to the Boston HarborWalk, a rooftop terrace with skyline and harbor views, and 4,000 square feet of space on the ground level for – what else? – restaurants. Hip.
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It was all showbiz the other week at the grand opening party for The Lexington Hotel New York, a recently transformed historic midtown Manhattan property that was a happening spot back in the 1920s. It's now become part of Marriott's Auograph Collection.
Musicians and actors like Patti Labelle and Dorothy Lamour called The Lexington home while they toured, and it was the famous love nest of Joe Dimaggio and Marilyn Monroe, who spent nine-months living in an 18th floor suite that's been renamed "The Centerfield Suite".
But sticking with its jazz roots, the festivities were kicked off with a live performance from the cast of the upcoming Broadway jazz show "After Midnight", which was produced by nine-time Grammy Award winner, Wynton Marsalis. The show has only been previewed by President Barack Obama and the First Lady Michelle Obama, once during a U.N. GA Summit reception at the Waldorf Astoria, so guests were lucky to have this special treat.
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Last week we speculated that Marriott’s Autograph Collection had a hankering to take over the hotel world and we reached the conclusion that our speculation was, in fact, fact. As if to prove this point we give you Exhibit A: another Autograph Collection hotel is to be built in Surrey, British Columbia–-which is about 35 minutes from Vancouver.
“Why Surrey?” you may ask. Well, according to Statistics Canada, Surrey is one of Canada’s fastest growing cities with a growth rate of 10,000 new residents every year and 2,334 new businesses were created in 2011. We did not know that.
The 144-room property will be officially known as Civic Hotel at 3 Civic Plaza, Autograph Collection but we’ll shorten that in order to save our weary typing fingers to Civic Hotel, which we think sounds just fine.
More hotel deets after the break!