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Since its beginning as a members-only club in London that you probably couldn't get into, Soho House has come a long way -- from New York to Miami, Toronto, Berlin and more -- becoming a touch more welcoming in the process.
It was just a couple of weeks ago that we heard rumors of Soho House opening up a new hotel in what used to be the BBC Center in London. Now we hear that there are confirmed plans for a different hotel in another part of the city: in, well, the City (that's London's financial district).
Time for a quick round-up of Soho House's heady expansion plans, we think.
We've long fantasized about keyless hotel rooms where we could use our smartphone instead of a key card to enter the room. But the Hotel Alma in Barcelona in the Gothic Quarter is going way beyond that with a fingerprint recognition system.
It works like this--you arrive to check-in and in addition to collecting your credit card for incidentals and telling you about the room amenities (free WiFi, breakfast and access to the spa are included), the hotel takes a scan of your fingerprint. Then you can use your finger to open the door to your room at any time. No key cards needed and no worries about the card getting demagnetized in your purse or wallet. So. Cool. And it's also available at the hotel's sister hotel in Pamplona.
Of course, you can opt for a regular key if you think is too fancy for your tastes but we think it's a no-brainer. Rooms at the trendy, high-tech boutique hotel start at about 200 Euros a night. The hotel's website also has a voyeuristic video showing a hunky grey-haired "guest" (an actor, we think) doing various things in his room--waking up, putting on his shirt (!!!) and sitting down at the desk to do work. Hopefully, the fingerprint access will keep out peeping Toms.
[Photo: Hotel Alma/Facebook]
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Three words come to mind when viewing the newly-reno’ed rooms and public spaces at the Hotel Barcelona Princess, re-done by Barcelona-based clothing designers Desigual: “kooky,” “quirky” and “vivid.” These are not rooms for lovers of cool minimalism but, rather, for hipster bohos looking for an eccentric room to call their own.
The 363-room Barcelona Princess Hotel, a member of London-based Great Hotels of the World, is located at the foot of Avenida Diagonal, about a 10-minute walk to the beach and next to the International Congress Centre. It was designed by Oscar Tusquets Blanca and opened in 2004.
Now, eighteen of the hotel’s rooms and two of their junior suites on the 23rd and 24th floors have been taken over and redecorated by Desigual to launch the Desigual Living Collection, created to fulfill the company's goal of bombarding homes with outrageous patterns and over-the-top color — the antithesis of neutral purity.
More pics below!
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It's the same song every spring and summer--people begin to make their travel plans to Europe, but international airfares can sometimes kill a budget. However, if there's any consolation, you can make up for that top-dollar ticket by staying at these new and affordable hotels.
Generator Hostel, Barcelona
Imagine bedding down in one of Spain's most intoxicating city's for less than the average dinner tab? That's what's up at the new Generator Hotel, which opened mid-March.
Part of a popular, trendy chain, the rooms are located on the top floor of a building. Each unit has its own balcony with views of the city, as well as private bathrooms--a rarity. Fiesta Gracia, the restaurant, is a great meeting place to bond with other hostelers and is open until 2 a.m. There's a surprisingly long, world-wide list of beer, wine & cocktails and even local DJs come to entertain the crowd while they chow on tapas and Instagram using the free WiFi. Continental breakfast is served at La Plaça café. Anwar Mekhayech (of Soho House fame) is the design master behind this hostel's boutique look.
And since you're in Barcelona, more art is minutes away as the hostel is only five-minutes from both Diagonal and Verdaguer metro stations en route to local museums (and even the beach!).
A range of rooms and layouts are available, with rates for dorm rooms (6-8 beds) starting at €13($17) per night and go up to €41 ($53) for more private single/double occupancy rooms.
We've gone over the fact that space hotels in space aren't going to happen anytime soon, but what about space hotels on earth?
An agreement was signed recently with Mobilona LLC to manage the financing of a space hotel on Barcelona Island off the coast of Catalonia, Spain. Details are few and far between at this stage, but we will admit that what we're reading sounds pretty damn cool.
The proposed project will have about 2,000 rooms and residences, each equipped with "immersive wall and surface displays that provide panoramic impressions of the universe."
Meanwhile, in October, a second Renaissance opened in Barcelona, the 357-room Renaissance Barcelona Fira, with a great deal more pizazz.
Why do we use the word pizazz? Because of an extremely original design by French architect Jean Nouvel. The hotel's two towers are connected by a lush, 27-story vertical garden, filled with over 300 palm trees, running up the center of the building. Now, there are 'green hotels,' and then there's this. We like!
If you're looking for a hotel in a vintage building plopped in the middle of a culturally vibrant city? Yep, there's all at Hotel Banys Orientals in Barcelona. This el Born hotel is surrounded by historical buildings housing tapas restaurants, boutiques, cafes and tapas bars--it's enough character to fill a fiction novel.
There are 43 suites in Banys 18th-century building. The lofts have Gothic arches and exposed stone walls while maintaining a modern clean design, loads of natural light and comfy living space--a bonus in a city where rooms can be tiny. Our room happened to have a second story with a sitting room overlooking the main bedroom. All rooms either look onto the internal courtyard staircase or upon the pedestrian-only Carrer Argenteria.
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Indigo fans, get ready to say 'Hola,' 'Shalom,' and....er, how do people greet each other in Wales? Anyway, what we mean to say is that the budget boutique brand, which is spreading like wildfire around the European continent and beyond, has just announced Hotel Indigo Barcelona-Plaza Catalunya, which, along with the upcoming Indigo Tel Aviv and Indigo Cardiff, will mark Indigo's first properties in each of those countries.
Financial tells us that Hotel Indigo Barcelona-Plaza Catalunya will be located in Barcelona's center, a few blocks away from Paseo de Gracia, and will offer 77 rooms.
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No, the W Barcelona hasn't turned into one of those European shopping malls with cars being raffled off by pretty women in tight dresses. The answer is pretty simple, actually: Starwood is gearing up to announce a new partnership to sponsor the Mercedes-Petronas Formula One team, and just in time for the press conference tomorrow, an actual formula one race car has been put on display in the lobby, for guests to admire.
We're used to just seeing cool art, a cocktail bar, and maybe some of that weird signature W grass in lobbies. But a race car? That'll do nicely!
Antonio Gaudi's Park Guell
On April 26, The Renaissance Barcelona will open in the city's downtown nabe near the Paseo de Gracia with 211 rooms, a 24-hour fitness center, the CRU Steak House, CUIT bar and lounge and perhaps best of all, La Terrassa roof top bar and lounge with flowing waterfalls and lounge furniture.
Despite the opening being less than a month away, there's no website up and running yet so we can't determine what the room rates will be like. But given that Renaissance is Marriott's boutiquey design brand, we'd expect rates somewhere upwards of 250 Euros. In the meantime, do not confuse this about-to-open property with the Renaissance by the airport.
A well-known Spanish brand of hotels, Vincci Hotels, will be opening their newest hotel, Vincci Bit in Barcelona next month, and guests will be treated to some pretty interesting hotel art. Unlike other places, where artists get commissioned to make specific pieces or installations just for the lobby, Vincci Bit has tapped seven artists to paint seven different murals in the corridors of the hotel.
Other murals, which are still being completed, have been done by artists from Italy, France, Japan, and, of course, Spain. The above shot is of the fourth floor, where American muralist Matt W. Moore decided to focus on triangles. Lots of them. The whole job reportedly took about 14 gallons of paints and two weeks of painting.
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A hotel room high in the sky with a price to match too!
As if the weak dollar to euro/dollar to pound exchange rate wasn't enough to deter you from booking that trip to Europe, a recent surge in hotel prices provides yet another reason to plan a staycation this year.
According to a report in the U.K.'s The Independent, European hotel rates are reaching ridiculous highs, jumping "19 percent since last month," with popular destinations seeing the biggest increases of all. Per a survey by Trivago: