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So much hotel news, so little time – here are a few snippets to keep you up to date with the latest news from around the world!
· Conrad Chicago, shown above, will cease to be a part of Hilton Hotels later this fall and will instead join Starwood's Luxury Collection group. No word yet on what the new name will be. [Source: Hotel News Resource]
· Fresh off opening their New York property, EDITION Hotels will open next year in Sanya, China; Thailand and Abu Dhabi with Shanghai and Times Square to happen in 2017 and West Hollywood in 2018. Paris has inexplicably dropped off the website although Edition folk say it is still happening. Also happening that's not yet listed? The Reijavkik Edition in Iceland. We cannot wait. [Source: Edition Hotels website]
· The 342-room JW Marriott Minneapolis, which will have direct access to the Mall of America, is set to open in November. However, the website is accepting reservations right now for stays from January 1, 2016 and beyond. [Source: JW Marriott Hotels]
· A tipster wrote into tell us that the W Retreat Kanai in Riviera Maya, Mexico, which last we heard was opening in July 2015, is now opening in January 2018, according to the W Hotels website. Yup, that seems about right for W Hotels. [Source: Tipster and W Hotels]
· After announcing a Hilton Garden Inn for Hawaii, Hilton is now going to install their DoubleTree by Hilton brand in the iconic Hilo Naniloa Hotel and Golf Club on the Big Island. The hotel is currently closed as it goes under a $16 million renovation. It should reopen as DoubleTree later this year. [Source: Pacific Business News]
What's better than a photo of a baby gorilla? A photo of a baby gorilla playing on linens donated by a hotel to a local zoo.
That's exactly what the Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort & Conference Center has done for the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. Above is toddler gorilla, Nayembi, playing on a blanket donated by the hotel to the zoo for the western lowland gorilla exhibit. The momma gorillas at the zoo use the blankets as nesting materials, while the toddler gorillas use them for playing, which keep them stimulated and active.
But these aren't old discarded linens. These are the same table linens and blankets that hotel guests use. Nothing but the finest for baby gorillas!
We reached out to the Hilton's director of sales and marketing, Nathan Karsten, and asked him about how this donation effort came about. Here's what he told us:
"We work with our local humane societies, and based on the amount we had to donate we knew we needed a larger organization, said Karsten. "We reached out to the zoo to see if there was an interest and there sure was. Again, we are just so happy to help out."
And we are just so happy to keep looking at this photo. Thanks, Hilton!
[Photo: LP Zoo]
Chicago is often referred to as the Second City, but according to AC Hotels by Marriott, the Midwestern mecca is actually the fifth city; the fifth U.S. city to get their newest property geared towards millennials and their travel needs.
Planning to officially open its doors on June 5 on Rush Street, the AC Hotel Chicago is just completing the finishing touches to the well-connected rooms and public areas. (Remember, this was previously the Four Points by Sheraton.) With free WiFi throughout the hotel, guests will be not have to think twice when Instagraming pics, updating their status or sending out a few last emails before exploring the River North area of the city.
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A true icon in Chicago's hotel scene, Hotel Burnham has at last given its guest rooms and its equally iconic restaurant, Atwood, a contemporary new look. This is the first time since 1999 the hotel has seen a refresh, replacing classic turn of the century decor with a more modern style.
As one of the America's first skyscrapers, the hotel retained its history as an architectural wonder by using rich woods and sophisticated colors in each of the 122 guest rooms, with bright artwork added to give it some whimsy. The rooms still feature usual Kimpton touches like Frette Linens, a stocked mini-bar and the in-room yoga mat for getting your chi on.
For the Sake of Hotel Art / Hotel Art / Hotel Stairwell Art / Thompson Hotels / Chicago Hotels / → All Tags
Hotels' approach to art is an endless source of interest and occasionally wide-eyed wonder for us. Lately we’re seeing a new pattern of hotel art emerging, the latest example coming from the Thompson Chicago.
Chicago's rooftop bar season is right around the corner, so we're extremely excited to add a new destination on our list of late night libations multiple stories above the hustle and bustle of the streets.
As promised, The Virgin Hotel has opened the Windy City's newest destination for bird's eye drinks and nibbles with Cerise.
Remember a few weeks ago when we got a little inside scoop on the rooftop menu? Well, with two very different bars serving up summer sips with Far East flavors, the ride to the 26th floor of this vintage building will be well worth the wait. An equally Asian-inspired lite bites menu features anything from oysters and spring rolls to two different types of dumplings. (Trust us, do NOT pass on the dumplings)
One of Chicago's very first trendy boutique hotels is getting a bit of a facelift as they look to celebrate their 17th birthday this year. In the heart of the theater district, Hotel Allegro is planning to unveil a bit of drama in May with renovated rooms, a completely new lobby with communal lobby bar and enhance public "chill" space.
In a grand to attempt to reconnect with the building's 91 years of history, the Kimpton property is is embracing an art deco design for all areas of the hotel. From being greeted by a glimmering flapper girl painting and original light fixtures in the lobby to a sleeker and more cosmopolitan styling for the rooms, we were giddy with excitement on a recent hard hat tour.
We love hotel renovations nearly just as much as we love new hotels. But what we really love about hotel renovations is seeing the transformation that happens when an old, tired and lackluster room gets a modern makeover and transforms into new, spiffed-up, stylish guest room. Or put more simply, we love comparing the Before and After.
The InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile earlier this month completed a $13 million renovation of the Michigan Avenue hotel’s Historic Tower, now officially renamed the Executive Tower (presumably because it looka shiny new, no longer “historic.”)
And they accomplished it in record time! Beginning in January 2015, the hotel refurbished 315 guest rooms and corridors in the tower. Above is how the rooms looked before. Now a peek at the after:
A few weeks ago we stopped by Virgin Chicago to sample some food in their all-day dining outlet, Miss Ricky's and ended upstairs at the Commons Club to partake in an adult libation from the cheeky bar menu.
After bellying up to the bar, we had chance to bend the ear of the head bartender, Jon Harris about what the drinks we were sipping and his thoughts on the industry.
This Chicago native has spent some time mixing cocktails from DC to London and back to the Windy City. Shaking some of the hottest drinks in DC's first cocktail bar, The Gibson, Jon eventually landed the job at the Virgin and started putting together the back bar well before the hotel swung it's doors open to guests.
Keep reading for our Q&A with Jon Harris
Now that the Virgin Hotel Chicago has unveiled Miss Ricky's Diner and it's Two Zero Three coffee shop and wine bar, there are only a few more things left to take off--the hotel's killer rooftop spaces and the downstairs spa. Both of these should be unveiled next month at the Virgin's official grand opening party on April 16.
We were able to peek at the rooftop spaces during our first time with a Virgin in January and they will seriously impress you with their cool yet fun decor and their incredible city views. Remember, one of the rooftop spaces will be incredibly exclusive so fingers crossed your on the list.
As for the spa, it promises to be a "wellness lounge designed with beauty, comfort and mingling in mind."
While the rooftops and the spa will be unveiled on opening night, we hear they won't officially open to the public until the week after. Room rates for that next weekend, April 24-26, start at $249 a night for a chamber king before taxes. If you're a AAA member, rates start at just $224 a night. Whoopee!
[Photo: Virgin Hotels/Facebook
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The historic Venetian Gothic tower, first built in 1893, has been under major restoration and renovation for the past two years We first profiled the plans for the building back in 2013 when contributor Nina K. Hahn peeked at what Harstone Plunkard Architecture and Roman and Williams had in mind for the place, as well as snapping what the spot looked like before it went under the knife.
Yet throughout the renovation process, the teams have kept much of the building’s 19th architectural elements such as the bas-relief woodcarvings on the fireplaces, stained glass windows and marble staircases.
Keep reading for a look at how the building used to be and for a sneak peek at the all-new guest rooms!
It may be a 1908 Beaux Arts building in the middle of Paris, but Peninsula Hotels made sure when spending hundreds of millions on its first European hotel that besides all the artisans and historians restoring murals, plasterwork, and the like, some serious money was spent on wiring the place up.
The end result? Well over a mile of cabling inside each room (and more in those humongous suites) to make everything – and we do mean everything – controlled through these tablets and / or little touch screens on the walls. Want to take a bath? Touch the “spa” button and lighting dims as soothing music starts playing. Have shoes that need polishing? Drop them in the valet box, press the button, and they’ll be delivered back to you shiny as can be.
With its renovation plans announced, these tablets are on their way to Chicago, and – we have no doubt – to all Peninsula hotels eventually. Check out what’s at the touch of a button below.