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Quick history lesson: in 2006, we first learned about 1 Hotels, a newly conceived brand by Barry Sternlicht, head of Starwood Capital (which is different from Starwood Hotels, though Barry was a former exec at Starwood, and founded the W brand). Locations were planned for Seattle, New York, Washington DC, Scottsdale, Atlanta, Cleveland, and Fort Lauderdale. Lots of hype was made. The NY Times wrote about it.
Then, bad things happened to the economy, Sternlicht's grand visions unravelled like a sweater caught on barbed wire, and pretty much all of the projects sadly collapsed.
Fast forward to last night, when we received an email from Starwood Capital officially announcing the revival of both brands (1 Hotels and Baccarat Hotels). And not just that: a new timeline has been put in place to open five properties over the next two years.
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All this talk about IKEA getting ready to sweep Europe with a new chain of budget hotels got us thinking about some of the other cool brands out there. And it's a good thing there's so many of them—because while certain brands have managed to deliver on their promises, others have yet to open a single property. And yet we still remain hopelessly glued to the screen...
Take a look at these six other hotel brands we're most excited about, and see which openings are coming to a theater near you.
The world finally exhaled when Virgin made the announcement that the location of its first-ever hotel would be in Chicago. It's going to have a modest 250 rooms, and it will open in the city's historic Dearborn Bank Building, which will hopefully make good on Richard Branson's promise that all Virgin properties will become "the hippest most comfortable in any city." Well, sir, we'll hold off on judgment until we see one actually open. Construction began in May, with a projected opening date of Fall 2013.
It looks like things are finally moving along on one of Manhattan's next big hotel openings: Baccarat Hotel, the enigmatic hotel-atop-Donnell-Library that we've been hearing on and off about for literally five years.
Per a recent write-up on The Real Deal, we're to expect garden terraces "blinged out with crystal," an on-site Baccarat crystal shop, and interiors designed by Gilles et Boissier, the guys responsible for Chelsea's opulent Buddakan restaurant.
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There's tons of hotel news flying around this week and we don't have time to give each and every story the love and attention it may deserve, so you will have to settle for some news briefs.
· Andaz Is Heading to India: Hyatt Hotels have just announced plans for an Andaz Hotel in Guragon, India. The hotel will have 275 rooms along with 75 serviced apartments. Very interesting. There will also be a multi-cuisine restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, a specialty restaurant, a bar and gourmet store, a six-treatment room spa, a fitness center and a swimming pool. And Andaz brand standards like free WiFi and complimentary minibar drinks and snacks, we presume. Andaz Guragon will open in Late 2014.
· Baccarat Hotel & Residences Definitely Opening in Midtown Manhattan: Looks like the Starwood Stalker was right. Baccarat Hotels, a super-luxe hotel brand that was conceived in the hotel boom years but never panned out, is coming to Midtown Manhattan in the old Donnell Library on W. 53rd Street. The New York Times reports the hotel will have 114 rooms and 64 condos spread over 45 stories. Interestingly, the hotel's design will meet feng shui standards.
The Starwood Stalker over at Passions of a Zealot has done some nifty spying on Starwood Capital's press releases which show a recent announcement titled, "Starwood to Build World-Class Hotel on New York Public Library Site (Fund VII, Hotel Fund II and 53rd St. Co-Invest" accompanied by the Baccarat Hotels logo.
The hotel they are talking about is the old Donnell Library has long been bandied about as turning into a luxury hotel. But maybe this time it will actually happen as Baccarat was also mentioned as the possible luxury hotel brand in a NY Post article as well.
Yet if it does, we still probably have to wait until sometime in 2014 for it.
While Barry Sternlicht and Co are busy starting up their new hotel management company, SH Group, another one of the initial Baccarat Hotel and Resorts has been postponed joining the Baccarat projects in Atlanta, Anguilla, and Water Cay which have also been postponed or canceled.
The Baccarat Wailea Hotel & Residences was originally scheduled to open in 2010, but currently they have not even started tearing down the existing hotel on the property - the former Renaissance Wailea Beach, and Starwood Capital came out with a statement this week stating that:
"We are going to take some time and pause to determine the proper course of action for our properties and evaluate some additional possibilities."
The Baccarat Wailea website has been deactivated and all mentions of Baccarat Wailea have been removed from BaccaratHotels.com.
In the mean time it's been reported that over $300 million in sales have been made since the project was first announced, but somehow that still didn't make the project successful enough.
No word yet if those who committed to a pre-sale are being let out of their contracts or if they are expected to wait for more news on the project; the General Manager of the Wailea Community Association said he expects an announcement within three weeks on the status of the project.
Even though most of their hotel development projects have been scaled back or canceled - the Baccarat Hotels brand (along with 1 Hotels and Crillon) will continue under SH Group, but when a location from one of these brands will actually open is another story. The formation of the management group can't come fast enough!
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Ah, 1 Hotels. Such a mystery to us. A fantasy, even. But after years of being talked about and planned and hyped up...might you actually become a reality? Barry Sternlicht (who established Starwood Hotels) apparently thinks it's possible even in this economy.
Now, we've mentioned him before as the man behind Starwood Capital's fabled 1 Hotel & Baccarat Hotel brands, two planned luxury chains that ran into some serious funding-related complications and were mostly either delayed or taken out of development entirely.
We'd put 1 Hotels on DeathWatch and were ready to write the brand off as a poorly-timed dream that never really came to fruition amidst the whole economic meltdown. And the Baccarat brand, in the opinion of one source we consulted, "was announced at the height of the market when everyone was frothin' at the mouth. And then the floor fell out before he could get all the cash to start an actual project, just like 1."
In the past few years, Atlanta Georgia's Buckhead neighborhood has become the place for new luxury hotel projects, everyone from the Ritz-Carlton, St Regis, Sheraton, W, InterContinental, Westin, JW Marriott is either building a hotel or has a location there already.
The development which really put Buckhead on the map is called Streets of Buckhead, and has high-end shopping, restaurants and condos in addition to Starwood Capital's 1 Hotel & Baccarat Hotel, both of which were to include residences. Now it seems both of those hotels have been taken out of the development.
Now we can add Baccarat Hotel and Residences to Dubai's ever growing portfolio of hotels. Over the weekend, Starwood Capital and Mr. S himself, announced the Baccarat Hotel & Residences at Dubai Pearl.
For those who gave up keeping track of Dubai's developments years ago - Dubai Pearl is made up of retail, hotels, residences, and commercial components and is located right at the foot of the Palm Jumeriah (you know, the smaller of the 2 man-made islands in the shape of a palm tree.)
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1 Hotel on the Left, Baccarat on the Right
Atlanta's Buckhead community has had a lot of development lately. It's quickly becoming the Beverly Hills of Atlanta, with luxury developments springing up left and right.
One of the biggest developments is the Streets of Buckhead, which is a mixed-use development made up of luxury apartments, high-end retailers, an office building and three hotels. Two of these hotels are confirmed to be a 1 Hotel & Residences and Baccarat Hotel & Residences, both of which are from Starwood Capital.
1 Hotels mastermind Barry Sternlicht seems to be keeping the entire world of hotel-chitecture busy. Not long after we rustled up a rendering of the 1 Hotel Bryant Park in NYC, did a tipster send along looks at Sternlicht's new projects in DC and Atlanta.
In Washington, the rendering looks exactly like the hotelier said it would back in September 2007. And Andrew Calvo at Passions of a Zealot thinks that makes this property a prototype for the brand--the 1 Hotel in Seattle notwithstanding.
The Atlanta property looks a bit different. (We've got a photo after the jump.) Could that be because the city is much less pedestrian friendly? Whatever the reason, it won't be the only Sternlicht game in town. He's planning to open his first Baccarat Hotel in the city in the next couple years.
As if we didn't have enough announcements this week with Edition and XP Hotels Barry Sternlicht, the former Starwood Hotels exec, has announced that the first of planned Baccarat Hotel Chain will debut in Atlanta, Georgia.
Keep in mind Sternlicht is already hard at work on his 1 Hotels brand and the Crillon brand.
Yup, this is about the time when our heads start spinning.
Starwood Stalker Andrew Calvo at Passions of Zealot as usual has all the details.
This Baccarat project will be the first location within the Continental United States and will also include a Baccarat Crystal Boutique - Georgia's first Baccarat location, and America's 12th Baccarat Boutique location. It will contain 100 hotel rooms and 42 condos - a very small project....
The hotel will actually open in the Streets of Buckhead development at Peachtree and East Paces Ferry Roads. It will include at least 2 hotels, residential buildings and luxury retail stores, as well as restaurants. Kinda like a city within a city.
Construction on the development has started but not on the hotel. We're guessing it will be 2010 before you see it.