Tag: Boutique Hotels

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Florence's Newest Hotel is for Renaissance Men and Women

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  Site Where: Piazza Carlo Goldoni 2, Florence, Italy, 50123
April 8, 2015 at 8:53 AM | by | Comments (0)

Florence is so hot right now with its recent openings, and just in time for the heady summer season, here’s a new hotel right on the Arno river: Leone Blu.

Cast aside all mental images of Radisson Blus and chain hotels – this is a delicate 9-room, family-owned place in a 16th century palazzo. Palazzo Ricasoli (built by one of the main Florentine families) has been a hotel before – in the 19th century it was the oddly named Grand Hotel de New York. Now, it’s equally grand but a lot more Italian, with the rooms curated by local designer Piero Brarda.

This isn’t your average hotel – the palazzo is still owned by the family who built it, and your host is Baroness Maria Teresa Ricasoli Firidolfi who, amazingly, promises to treat you as if you’re at a friend’s house. There’s a butler and a concierge, who’ll do everything from unpacking your luggage to booking your Uffizi tickets.

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First Aboriginal Art Hotel Opens in Vancouver: Skwachàys Lodge

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  Site Where: 29/31 West Pender Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, V6B 1R3
April 3, 2015 at 11:10 AM | by | Comments (0)

Late this fall, where Vancouver’s oh-so-hip and oh-so-coolly-named Gastown meets historical Chinatown, the Skwachàys Lodge Hotel & Gallery opened its doors to the public (pronounced skwatch-eyes). No trumpets blew and there weren’t any fireworks, but this little 18-room hotel is truly one-of-a-kind.

Owned and operated by the registered charity, Vancouver Native Housing Society, each room is designed by one of six local interior designers in collaboration with one of six Aboriginal artists (Native Americans in U.S.-speak in case you didn't know). Each unique suite features original carvings, paintings, fabric, art, custom furniture and décor.

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This Could Be a Game-Changer: Inside Montevideo's Alma Historica Hotel

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  Site Where: Solís 1433, Montevideo, Uruguay
March 27, 2015 at 10:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

Last month – was it really so long ago? – we showed you the view from the rooftop terrace of the Alma Historica, Montevideo’s newest hotel (it opened in January), and its first luxury boutique property. Appetites whetted? Hopefully so, because we promised to go inside. Let’s do it.

The Alma Historica is a restoration of a centuries-old palazzo with a couple of new floors (and that roof terrace) tacked onto the top. Where most hotels in Montevideo seem to be either new and slightly boring, or old and on the road to decay – if, admittedly, often in a rather beautiful way – Alma Historica is different. It’s embraced its roots, and its location on one of the historic core’s central squares, so the vibe is old school, with a hint of Victoriana – but adds an injection of very modern luxury. And it works beautifully.

The feel may be that of stepping into a posh house 100 years ago, but the theme is Uruguayan pride. All rooms are named after homegrown heroes, from artists to footballers. All the furniture was sourced locally. Even the bathroom soaps are made in Montevideo – and filled with local ingredients, like eucalyptus, lemon and yerba mate (which makes the national tea-ish drink), and red berries with seeds.

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Brussels' New Zoom Hotel is All About the Beer

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  Site Where: Rue de la Concorde 59, Brussels, Belgium, 1000
February 20, 2015 at 9:06 AM | by | Comments (0)

Last time we checked in on Brussels, we were all about the beer bar at the new Zoom Hotel in Ixelles (up the hill from the medieval bit, but where all we the cool kids go). 50 Belgian beers, selected by a top Belgian sommelier? Oui, s’il vous plait.

So obviously, when we were in Brussels last week, there was only one place we were going to stay. More on the hotel another time, but for now, here is the beer bar.

Yeah, it’s not what we were expecting either. Discreet. Grown up. Who knew boozing could be like this?

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Montevideo's Newest Hotel Has Killer Views from the Rooftop Hot Tub

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  Site Where: Solís 1433, Montevideo, Uruguay
February 11, 2015 at 9:25 AM | by | Comments (0)

Ignore the Simpsons-style clouds, and have a look at the architecture. Pretty nice, right? Even nicer when you consider where this is: the Ciudad Vieja of Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay.

There aren’t many hotels in the Ciudad Vieja, and there are even fewer with rooftop terraces. But this is the view from the Alma Historica Boutique Hotel, which opened a month ago in a historical mansion on Plaza Zabala, the tranquil, second square of the old town.

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A Successful Sell: Inside Los Feliz's New Hotel Covell

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  Site Where: 4626 Hollywood Blvd [map], Los Feliz, CA , United States
February 9, 2015 at 6:23 PM | by | Comments (0)

Los Feliz has been a bonafide cool neighborhood in Los Angeles for quite some time. But the hipster 'hood east of Hollywood has never had a boutique hotel of its own. Until now.

Last week, the Hotel Covell opened its doors to its first guests and we have a feeling this place will rarely be empty.

For starters, there are just five rooms, created out of an old 1930s apartment building. But these are spectacular, residential-style rooms, envisioned and executed by interior designer Sally Breer and made possible by Dustin Lancaster, the restauranteur behind several popular Eastside spots like L&E Oyster Bar, El Condor, Highland Park Brewery and, his very first venture, Bar Covell, which is located below the hotel.

Each room was designed around a different chapter in one man's life--George Covell-- starting with his bachelor pad in Oklahoma and ending with his successful pied-à-terre in New York that he shares with his French lover, Claudine, while their daughter Isabella has her own place/room downtown.

See the galleries below to see inside each room at Hotel Covell.

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Don't All Freak Out at Once, But the Free WiFi Revolution Has Reached Monaco

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  Site Where: 23 Ave des Papalins, Monaco, Monaco, 98000
January 28, 2015 at 8:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

Ah, Monaco, a place so ridiculously, frivolously expensive that most of the hotels expect you to pay for WiFi. Pay for WiFi? Well, not if you use their basic service, of course – but if you want something that does more than pull in a single email every hour or so, you usually have to pony up for a faster connection (notable exception: the Fairmont, which gives free WiFi to members of its Presidents Club).

So huge news from Monaco this week with the news that the Columbus has become the first Monegasque hotel to offer free, highspeed WiFi to all its guests and visitors. It’s a 50MB connection, with an auto-login – so no annoying passwords to re-enter, and your login lasts a month, so if you only stay a night, you know where to hit up the bar for some work time.

And if you really can’t believe that no hotel in an entire country has done this before, then you haven’t been to Monaco this is what they say:

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Marcel Proust and Andy Warhol Have Already Tested the Waters at Paris' Latest Hotel

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  Site Where: 7 rue du Bourg l'Abbé, Paris, France
January 27, 2015 at 8:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

Every time we turn our heads away, a Paris hotel opens. Last week we had news of the ridiculously expensive La Réserve and the far more affordable Hilton Paris Opera; this week, we’re salivating over the opening (or should that be reopening?) of the Hôtel Les Bains.

Once a public bathhouse, then a cult nightclub, Les Bains, in the Marais district, was built in 1885 as Les Bains Douches, and was initially the most famous thermal spa in Paris – Marcel Proust took the waters here! Fast forward to 1978, and Andy Warhol and his ilk were living it up in the baths-turned-nightclub (designed by the then unknown Philippe Starck), which became the Studio 54 of Paris. The club closed in 2011, when it became a full-immersion art installation and artists’ residency. And now – draw breathe – it’s about to be a hotel.

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A Hospital Bed Costs More than Before, But At Least It Comes with Free Booze

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  Site Where: 24 Endell St, London, United Kingdom, WC2H 9HQ
January 16, 2015 at 8:25 AM | by | Comments (0)

Well, that didn’t last long.

When we told you about the new hotel wing coming to London’s private members’ club The Hospital, we said that the £99 room rates were “almost unfathomable”. And that has come to pass, because under a month in, the cheapest rate we can see is £123.75 – and that’s for a small sleeper room. After that, prices leap, nay high-jump, to £180 and up - as far as £580 for the suite, which we assume is shown in these, new, pictures.

Although, to be fair, that’s still not bad for London – especially if you’re excited by access to the club that you wouldn’t otherwise get.

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Dijon's New Design Hotel Definitely Cuts the Mustard

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  Site Where: 3 Rue Devosge, Dijon, France, 21000
January 13, 2015 at 8:55 AM | by | Comments (0)

Haussmann architecture. Modern interiors. Comfy beds for your fat little bodies. This is what’s on offer at the new Vertigo Hotel which opens soon in France’s culinary capital, Dijon.

If you don’t know much about Dijon other than its mustard, know that it is one of France’s most famous foodie places, with over 400 restaurants and so many listed buildings (100 hectares-worth) that it’s one of the largest culturally protected areas in the country - ie, you probably want to go. The Vertigo – which has already signed up as a Design Hotels member - is in a 1926, Haussmann-style building on Place Darcy in the center of town, near the pedestrian area.

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You Don't Have to Be a Banker to Stay at Istanbul's New Banker Han Hotel

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  Site Where: Karakoy, Istanbul, Turkey
January 8, 2015 at 1:06 PM | by | Comments (0)

Let’s not let the sad news from yesterday put us off. Istanbul is one of the most wonderful cities in the world, and one of the best for the independent hotel scene. And when it comes to independent hotels, Karaköy is swiftly becoming the place to be.

The latest to hit the Bosphorus is the Banker Han, opening in April. It’s a new sibling for the Sofa Hotel, a boutique joint in Nisantasi, and it’s taking over a rundown street art centre, so it has cred on two counts, even without a website.

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Inside and All Around the Rooms at the Dean Dublin

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  Site Where: 33 Harcourt St, Dublin, Ireland, 2
January 7, 2015 at 11:07 AM | by | Comments (0)

Fab amenities: check. Fantastic restaurant: check. But how do the rooms at the Dean Dublin measure up?

We stayed in a Punk Bunk - one of the smaller pod rooms, only with bunk beds. There’s a double bed on the bottom, and a single on the top. The rooms are 12.6sqm. Yes, that’s tiny – there’s the bed area, a teeny desk area, and the fridge and minibar stuff in the corner. Then there’s a narrow passageway taking you to the door and the bathroom. We had one big suitcase, and one small, and it was a squeeze.

But having said that, it was comfortable. Obscenely so. The enclosed bed was slightly too short for our 6ft frame, but the mattress was the comfiest we’ve slept on in months – strip-the-sheets-and-write-down-the-name comfy (King Koil Club Class, since you ask).

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