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Boat hotels: they’re the shiz if our recent experience in Yangon is anything to go by. You know what other boat hotel we were really looking forward to? The QE2, which was meant to undergo a $90m renovation to turn it into a 400 room floating hotel in China.
Except the QE2 is currently languishing in Dubai, as it has done for the past six years, awaiting the renovations. Looks like it isn’t happening – and the Oceanic Group, which owns the boat, is staying silent.
In the meantime, says the Daily Mail, it appears to have morphed into an impromptu BBQ area. The ignominy!
Millennials have dominated the hotel scene for at least a year, now. Will the trend burn out soon? Who knows? But in the meantime, one lot of savvy hoteliers is going for the next generation – enter the Toy Story Hotel, due to open in Shanghai next year.
Who is this company thinking of the kids? It’s Disney, natch – the hotel will form part of the Shanghai Disney Resort (Disney’s sixth on the globe). This is Toy Story full immersion: the exterior will be done up to resemble the clouds-n-sky wallpaper of Andy’s bedroom, and there will be a gigantic Pixar ball at the porte cochere.
Toy Story Hotel will have 800 rooms, and, according to Disney, will “immerse guests in a world inspired by the toys from the Disney Pixar series of Toy Story animated films”. Which could be a little creepy.
It’s on. In September we told you about Jumeirah’s plans for a new millennial-targeted brand, Venu Hotels. The first Venu, as reported then, is still expected to be on Bluewaters Island in Dubai – and should be confirmed by the end of this year. But according to Travel Daily, Jumeirah is also looking at other sites, with a second Venu in the UAE expected to be announced within the next six months. The article reckons that it’ll likely be in the Dubai Design District.
According to Travel Daily, Jumeirah also has its eye on Abu Dhabi – and, following the UAE expansion, it’ll be planning some European Venus, with London, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome and Berlin on the cards.
Meet MiniMax, the next new hotel brand aimed at experience-driven millennials, and "big foot", which we think is a clever expression of the hotel brand's core objective of having a small ecological footprint.
Shanghai-based real estate giant, Shimao Group, has announced the launch of not one, but two, hotel concepts and guess what? They're aimed at discriminating millennials. (Is there any other kind these days?
The new brand is called MiniMax and there will be two versions under the same flag, MiniMax Hotel, the midscale concept, and MiniMax Premier Hotel, the high-end concept. The first hotel to debut will be MiniMax Hotel Shanghai Songjiang, opening this December.
While Venice and Vietnam got their Aman Resort in 2013, the openings we so optimistically wrote about for China and Jordan never materialized. Another year on, and we’re still waiting, but just like that we stumbled onto two things for one of them: a recruitment ad and an interior image.
This page has the ad for an Executive Assistant Manager (Rooms) at AmanDayan, the 32-suite resort on Lion Hill in the ancient city of Lijiang, in China’s Yunnan province. While the ad refers to it without the capital letter, we were explicitly told at the time that AmanDayan is how it should be spelled. We’re going to liberally take the closing date of mid-November as a sign that the resort is nearing completion, so perhaps we’ll see an early 2015 opening?
Diving a bit further down the rabbit hole that is the internet, we came upon the above photo here, in a post now about a year old. While we’d take it with a grain of salt, the design does strike us as being very Aman, so who knows. We’re hoping to get some more detail soon, so stay tuned.
Meanwhile, further east in Japan, we wouldn’t hold our breath for a 2014 opening of Aman Tokyo either – expect that to be a 2015 affair too. When we have more detail, we'll be sure to let you know.
[Photo: Weibo via Flyertalk, JasonD]
Kempinski Hotels are now accepting reservations for their largest and their most striking hotel to date in China.
The Sunrise Kempinski Hotel, Beijing is located about an hour’s drive from Beijing’s city center and shares the site of a larger complex of Kempinski managed hotels overlooking the picturesque Yanqi Lake.
The design of the hotel—and this escaped even our eagle eyes—draws inspiration from the rising sun and other symbolism in Chinese culture. The architect, Shanghai Huado Architect Design Company, led a 60-day pow-wow with 60 designers from around the world, seeking a worldly perspective to come up with this unusual design, pictured above.
The 60 designers concluded that the hotel should resemble a scallop (anyone see a snail?) which is a symbol of good fortune in Chinese culture. The large bull’s eye in the center of the hotel’s outside wall represents—we are told—the rising sun, which in turn reflects the rising Chinese economy.
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This: The Castle Dalian, one of the latest additions to Starwood’s Luxury Collection (or at least that’s how we like to imagine the creative process went). Especially in CGI rendering, it has a more than a touch of Dreamworks to it, but it’s very real, and has hotel rooms inside that you can book. Check out the understated minimalism (not) you will find inside below.
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Starwood Hotels & Resorts has done exactly what they said they would do in their expansion into China and the Asia Pacific. There are, and have been for quite some time, more hotels in the works than we can keep up with. Almost all Starwood brands have or will soon have an address in China, including Element Hotels, which is opening next year.
We've tried to list all that we know of that's happening with Starwood in China on our Master Openings List, but as seasoned readers of the list know, things change quite a bit and most hotels, get pushed onto the next year.
However, Starwood has three important openings in China in September, with properties that are very big on design and luxury. Here they are:
Are you a thrill-seeker, but only in a conservative way? Like heights, but wouldn’t jump off them? Enjoy getting to know a new culture, but only in familiar surroundings?
If so, we have your 2018 vacations sorted. You’re going to China! Specifically, to Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province in Central China.
It’s in Wuhan that the tallest twin towers in the world are currently under construction, and the Telegraph reports that they will house hotels, among other things. Exactly where they will sit in the 3280ft towers is unclear, but let’s hope they’re nice and high.
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Burj Rafal Hotel Kempinski Riyadh
Yet another list of hotel openings to get excited about. Today, we have a short list of Kempinski Hotels opening this year. Actually, it's kind of a long list when you look at it. Kempinski is Europe's oldest independent luxury hotel group which now operates 75 hotels in 32 countries. They'll be adding 11 new hotels across Africa, China and The Middle East (along with one serviced residences property in Switzerland) by the end of 2014. Starting with...
Kempinski Hotel Fleuve Congo Kinshasa (Republic of Congo)
Opening Date: Opened on March 01, 2014
Highlights: 237 rooms and suites, views of the Congo River, three restaurants, three bars, outdoor tennis courts, swimming pool and billiard and snooker rooms.
Burj Rafal Kempinski Riyadh (Saudi Arabia)
Opening Date: Opened on March 02, 2014
Highlights: First hotel in Saudi Arabia for Kempsinski, closest luxury hotel to King Khalid International Airport, 349 rooms nd suites, a cigar lounge, three cafes, two restaurants, and a Resense spa with separate wellness centers for ladies and gentlemen.
Hôtel des Mille Collines managed by Kempinski, Kigali (Rwanda)
Opening Date: Q2 2014
Highlights: Made famous in the movie, "Hotel Rwanda", the Hôtel des Mille Collines will be managed by Kempinski; 112 rome and suites, an outdoor swimming pool, six boutiques and a fitness center Located in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, and made famous in the movie “Hotel Rwanda”, Hôtel des Mille Collines managed by Kempinski features 112 rooms and suites, meeting and conference facilities, including a conference room for 120 people, an outdoor swimming pool, six boutiques and a fitness centre.
The London Edition is all that for many reasons, and it has us properly excited for what’s to come: New York and Miami Beach are up first in the States, but after that Edition is heading for more exotic destinations – Sanya in China and Gurgaon in India. Virtually nothing is known about these hotels, but that didn’t stop us from unearthing these renderings already.
The Sanya Edition (above) will open in 2015 on the Chinese island of Hainan. Referred to as China’s Hawaii, nearly every luxury hotel group (from sibling Ritz-Carlton to Mandarin Oriental and Kempinski to One&Only) is rushing to claim their spot along Sanya’s beaches and vie for the attention of the increasingly wealthy and wanderlust-filled Chinese tourist. The curved building looks huge (spot the tiny cars under the soaring porte cochere for a sense of scale), with some kind of lattice wood construction over the main entrance, a design reflected again it appears in the façade.
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Way back in 2012, we snapped a few pictures of another newcomer: the W Beijing Chang’An, hoping it would be ready for what then seemed an eternity away – the first day of 2014. That, unfortunately, did not quite work out as planned, with the hotel now pushed back until late June. New Year’s day of 2014 was going to be a double party, with the joint opening of sister property W Shanghai – The Bund, but there we’re looking at June next year before we get to go inside. At least we have some glimpse of what the hotels look like for you now.