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Wowee, the Autograph Collection is the hotel portfolio that just won't quit. The latest Miami additions to the fold--Blue Moon and the Winter Haven Hotel--have barely settled into the family and now today comes word that the Turnberry Isle Resort will also get the Autograph Collection treatment.
Not even a year ago, this sprawling resort in Aventura (just north of Miami Beach) was a Fairmont property--that is, until management kicked the brand to the curb.
Now, Turnberry Isle has the honor of becoming the third South Florida hotel to join the Autograph Collection--and the 32nd property to be added to the brand's roster.
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*A HotelChatter Exclusive*
Did you know that The Algonquin is New York City's oldest continually operating hotel? Did you know that The Algonquin debuted in 1902, and, despite the decades and refurbishments, managed to preserve historical details so well that it became a designated NYC historic landmark? Just one more question: did you know that the hotel has been completely closed for the last three months, undergoing a top-to-bottom renovation?
Well, it has. And while there's still a little over another month left, the hotel's General Manager Gary Budge let us in yesterday for a peek at the redone digs. We had hard hats and now we have pictures!
The renovation is the real deal, too; all rooms and bathrooms are being completely redone with new furniture, paint, fixtures, everything. Even the hallway's New Yorker cartoon wallpaper is gone, though it'll return in framed portions. The lobby is getting work done, the fitness center is completely moved and updated, the hotel will have its first ADA handicapped-accessible rooms andget thisthey're even creating new rooms, like a Barrymore Suite (we'll have more on that later this week).
We love Cinderella stories, especially when they happen to places we already had a soft spot for. By which we mean: we're excited about the renovations currently taking place at the Blue Moon Hotel in Miami Beach.
Some years back, this little hotel on Collins Avenue, between 9th and 10th Streets, was our go-to South Beach getaway. It was much more affordable than places like Delano, and it was in an unbeatable location, albeit without ocean views. (Still, it's only a block to the beach.)
We always found the rooms kind of small but perfectly functional, ditto the pool out back. But it was low-key, clean and comfy. The kind of place we recommend to friends visiting South Beach but not wanting to pay South Beach prices.
Now that the Blue Moon is entering the Autograph Collection, it's getting a fresh look and from the peek we had of the new rooms (above), we can say that this little gem will continue to be on our most-recommended list.
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But now that The Saint been picked up by Autograph Collection, we thought it might be worth popping our heads in. After all, for a hotel that's located in downtown New Orleans, just how ethereal can things get?
Well, if it isn't Autograph Collection, inching ever closer to its goal of world hotel domination. Last month saw the brand add a second NYC property to its portfolio (the lesser-known, but architecturally striking Carlton Hotel); meanwhile, yesterday, it was announced that Autograph has picked up an additional three hotels—two in Miami and one in New Orleans.
Each of the hotels has some sort of historical significance. For example, despite a very recent opening, The Saint Hotel has actually been around since the early 1900s, and indeed, that New Orleans jazz heritage plays a big role in the hotel's artwork, public spaces, and general "Southern classic" appeal.
Autograph Collection has one other piece of news to share this week: the launch of a new magazine, titled rather appropriately, Autograph Collection Hotel Magazine. Also rather appropriately, the masthead contains the autographs of four of the company's executives. But it gets more interesting after that...
True to the nature of the hotels themselves—culturally significant, beautiful, slightly artsy—the stories themselves are quirky, compelling and very beautifully designed. Topics range from desert shrimp farms to frescoes in Rome to "auto-correcting" the poetry of Emily Dickinson (ha), with about a third of the stories corresponding to specific Autograph Collection hotels. Wise, on their part. With only 24 in their growing collection, they might otherwise have run out of ideas after just two issues!
Scroll down for a peek inside!
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That's right, The Algonquin is no longer New York's only Autograph Collection hotel. As of tonight at midnight, rooms at The Carlton, on Madison Avenue and E 29th St, will be bookable via the Autograph website, under the category of Boutique Chic.
The Rockwell Group, who has worked on other hotels like The Cosmopolitan, The Ames and Trump Soho, revealed that The Carlton is in fact housed in a former carpet showroom. And when renovations began, they discovered not only a Tiffany style glass dome on the mezzanine level, but also exquisite mosaic flooring, which had been—as luck would have it—preserved perfectly by the carpets themselves. Oh, the serendipity of interior design!
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The Algonqin, circa 2009.
USA Today reports that the hotel will actually close for three months at the start of the new year to complete a major overhaul of the guest rooms.
The hotel already did a refurbishment of its lobby back in 2007 along with some guestroom soft good upgrades but the hotel must have needed more, perhaps to keep up with its affiliation as a Marriott Autograph Collection hotel. (Speaking of Autograph, the collection just unveiled a new fancy website you should check-out here. Snazzy!)
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The Hotel Icon in Houston has been around since 1911, and used to house the Union National Bank. But in January, the struggling landmark was acquired by a company known as Canyon-Johnson Urban Fund, a side project of NBA legend Magic Johnson.
The new ownership had decided the hotel would be re-branded by an unnamed "major luxury national hotel chain" at some point over the summer. It has now been revealed that the Icon will be inducted into Marriott's exclusive Autograph Collection, and will officially relaunch in two weeks.
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Boy, that Autograph Collection sure gets around. We've barely finished letting you know that the Marriott group of 'high personality hotels' was going Euro and here comes news that they'll also be hitting up the Caribbean.
Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina in the British Virgin Islands will fall under the Autograph umbrella in early 2012—the most appropriate time of year to drop everything and jet off to a small, private island. Start racking up those Marriott Rewards points now!
Boscolo Budapest, which joins the Autograph Collection in September
The six newbies, all Boscolo Hotels, join the four Spanish hotels that came on board with Autograph in May, giving them a stronger European presence and even more historic, high-end hotels for guests to choose from.
Four of the new Boscolos will join in September--Boscolo Palace Roma and Boscolo Venezia in Italy, Boscolo Prague and Boscolo Budapest. The remaining two--Boscolo Exedra Roma and Boscolo Milano--will follow in 2012.
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A Terrace Studio Suite
HotelChatter and VegasChatter have both been living it up this week with the opening of the Cosmopolitan hotel and while VegasChatter has left no stone unturned when it comes to sexy ladies and parking snafus, we thought it was time to get serious here at HC and tell you what we think of the rooms.
We already talked at length about this over on VegasChatter but to sum up: we love, love, love the Wraparound Terrace Suites – which are basically corner suites with what we’d lay money on as having the best views in Vegas, seeing as you can see from Red Rock Canyon in the west, past the Bellagio and Caesars and the Eiffel Tower in front of you, and down the Strip towards the Luxor, McCarran airport and the I-15 heading out to California.