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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).
The City of Light is a cruel mistress. She taunts us by opening amazing hotels we can never afford (like the Peninsula) and gets us all steamed up wanting to visit. She tantalizes us with €1 hotel deals, but only for a few weeks. And then she goes silent on new, but affordable, openings.
But word has reached us of an opening that has style, joie de vivre, je ne sais quoi and, erm, panache. Hotel Panache will open early next year in the 9th arrondissement, in the Grand Boulevards neighborhood (close to the Folies Bergères).
Formerly the three star Hotel Madrid Opera (which is now closed), it’s being done by the team behind the nearby Hotel Paradis, with design by Dorothée Meilichzon. Info is limited so far, but we know that the Panache will have 45 rooms “with big suites”, a restaurant and – the best bit – a cinema room.
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Based right on the promenade in Camps Bay, with the Twelve Apostles mountains behind it, it has 11 rooms – or, technically, suites. The hotel is named after the French Chateau de Marly (a 17th-century palace for Louis XIV), which is slightly random, given its location and all, but does at least give you an idea of its lux factor.
Because these are seriously swish rooms. We’re talking huge, marble-clad bathrooms with rolltop tubs and walk-in showers. Floor-to-ceiling windows opening out onto balconies overlooking either the mountains or the sea. Ceiling height coffered headboards and modern chandeliers overhead.
Now is a great time to be in Greece. We are writing this from the island of Patmos, where the temperature is dropping to toasty but bearable, the hordes have gone, and the hotels are still open – at least for a few more weeks.
But if going end of season feels a bit grubby, fear not – because if you go to the tiny island of Milos, there’s a new hotel waiting for you. Eiriana Luxury Suites is one of that new breed of Greek hotels – tiny (just four rooms) but perfectly formed.
It’s located in Trypiti, near the old-style windmills, and is on a hilltop so all the rooms have panoramic views (including some of the sea). The décor is very Greek with a hint of madness – traditional all white rooms, but with pops of lurid color in the drapes, cushions and bathrooms. We’re not convinced by the color tbh – nothing feels as Grecian as a pure white room – but at least they’re trying something different, and we’re not about to criticize the aesthetic of the island that brought the world the Venus de Milo. (Milos is also known as the Island of Colors, so we should probably give them a break.)
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This is the kind of hotel that makes you feel like sitting around a fire and singing camp songs. Looking like a cross between your cabin at the lake and a quaint country inn, the Drake Devonshire opened this week just outside of Toronto.
Owned by the folks who brought us hipster hangout, The Drake Hotel in Toronto, you can see that “Drake-by-the-Lake” is complementary in style but with a more pronounced cheeky nod to rustic Canadiana.
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You may or may not know Neal’s Yard Remedies, the original organic, slightly hippy UK skincare brand. If you have, you don’t need us to sell it to you. If you haven’t, get hold of some, now –it produces some of the most wonderfully scented, naturally made products you’ll ever find, as well as herbal teas, supplements and all that hippy jazz.
Although a few of the Neal’s Yard branches in London do spa treatments, it’s more of a buy-to-use-at-home range, which is why this news is so important: The first non-UK Neal’s Yard spa has just opened at Vivenda Miranda on the Algarve in Portugal.
The hotel is on a bit of an eco crusade, focusing its food on local and seasonal produce, introducing vegan, gluten free and raw food dishes, and revamping the spa, which opened June 1. They’re also introducing “lifestyle retreats” focusing on meditation and raw food, in conjunction with Neal’s Yard – from £1395 for a week, see here for further details.
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Hotel Bristol, your token five star
Warsaw. It may not be top of your European breaks wishlist (hell, it probably loses out to Krakow in your Poland wishlist, too), but it does have one thing going for it – it was recently judged the European city with the cheapest five star hotels.
Actually, there’s far more to say for Warsaw than that. Flights are uniformly cheap (last year we flew from London on Ryanair for £18, or $29 return – yes, total), and while some of the modern city is grim, the Old Town is gorgeous, plus there’s loads of interesting history, the 1944 Uprising Museum and Jewish Museum for starters.
So yes, you definitely want to go to Warsaw. And here are some of our favorite places to stay. They’re not all five star hotels – but then, you can probably find your own five star hotel, right?
Last year, the erstwhile St. John’s Hotel just off of London’s Leicester Square got picked up by Singaporean hotelier Peng Loh, having gone into administration less than two years after its arrival in 2011.
Being part of Loh’s Unlisted Collection didn’t create the magic the renamed One Leicester Street was looking for, so it’s going for another reinvention as part of the Honky Tonk Group this fall. This is the first foray into the hotel world for Honky Tonk, which runs two “American-inspired” restaurants with live music in Chelsea and Clapham.
Amid some big openings in London this month (Hoxton, Mondrian), a small UK hotel brand is venturing into the capital with an equally petite property: Artist Residence, currently to be found in Brighton and Cornwall, is opening a 10-room townhouse in Pimlico today.
Inside are 8 individually designed bedrooms and 2 suites, ranging from “Small” to the “Grand Suite” and the above “Loft”, which brings on the quirky and artistic in its mixture of exposed brick, recycled headboard, and most appealing to us, the green velvet (we think?) armchair in the corner. The hotel’s website is still light on images, but on Instagram you can get a better impression of the brand.
It’s chic, it’s sexy, it’s in a seriously up-and-coming part of Madrid – it’s the Hotel Urso ('Bear Hotel'), which opened quietly last week. And “quietly” is the right word – according to this account in CN Traveler España (in Spanish, or via Google Translate), the hotel was firmly shut up with nobody around until the day before opening; and they only fixed the awning with the Hotel Urso branding on it the morning of the day itself. Mañana mañana, and all that.
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As you know, we like a good cocktail over here at HotelChatter so we’re always on the lookout for the best bevvie to order when we’re hoteling on the road.
Located right in the heart of things, Mama Shelter Bordeaux’s bar is one huge space resembling the basement rec room in your parent’s house when you were growing up but with more technology lying about. Wooden tables and chairs, wooden posts with screens attached to some of them to show off your digital pics, and a long wooden bar the size of Baja California, take up most of the space. The boho crowd is young-ish and, like the bartenders, ready to have fun. There’s a DJ on hand every Friday and Saturday night.
We had the Mama Tai for €14 ($18), which included rum, Cointreau, lime juice, sirop d’orgeat, and had a luscious black cherry garnish. Now, you can sip on that cocktail in the newly-opened rooftop bar/restaurant.
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When we went down for dinner at ME Madrid Reina Victoria’s restaurant, Ana La Santa, at 9:45 p.m. while staying at the hotel, we were the only people in the restaurant. By the time we left at around 11 p.m., it was packed to the gills.
We headed up to the hotel’s super-swanky rooftop bar, The Roof: besides seeing one other forlorn-looking North American couple, it was empty. So we headed back down to the Ana La Santa Bar for cocktails and were surrounded by locals all just getting their after-dinner espressos as we reached the midnight hour.
By the time we hit the hay at around 1:30 a.m. the streets just outside the hotel were reaching a fever pitch. When we went back to the lobby at around 4:30 a.m. to check out, the loungey lobby was packed.
This is ME Madrid. (See the pics below!)