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The Drake Hotel was one of, if not THE, first boutique hotel in Toronto when it opened. When we heard that dot-comer Jeff Stober was opening The Drake west of Queen West, we thought it impossible for the hotel to survive in the then downtrodden boonies. We were wrong, so wrong—not only did The Drake persevere but it quickly became a hotspot for locals who lined up to get into its basement band venue and kickass lounge. Now, ten years on, we set out to discover whether The Drake Hotel still had true cachet.
We walked in on a wintry Saturday afternoon and the place was overflowing with bohos and hipsters alike, most waiting for a table in the recently-reno’ed (and enlarged but still full to capacity) restaurant and lounge. If you ever wondered what the Canadian design aesthetic is, you need to come here. There’s lots of natural wood, industrial lighting, earth tones, forest motifs and—to take it one step further—The Drake has a kitschy camp feel that reminds us of every camping trip we ever took as kids, sans mosquitoes.
The rooms carry on that mid-century modern campground feel but with modern ModCons. You can see inside the rooms in the photo gallery, but there are a few things that deserve an extra shout-out. First, let’s hear it for “Hairy Chest Man.” This particular doll for adults with leather studded collar is handmade and you can find a different doll in every room. Next, the “pleasure menu”: The Drake purports to be the first hotel in the world to carry one and while we can’t vouch for that, we can say that it is probably the most extensive menu of its kind that we’ve had the “pleasure” of seeing (yuk yuk). We also loved the owl light and the toiletries by Malin + Goetz.
Design Thursdays / Hotel Renovations / Hotel Design / Four Seasons Hotels / Buenos Aires Hotels / Argentina Hotels / → All Tags
In June the Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires unveiled the first phase of its $49 million reno: a new lobby, landscaping and gardens, guestrooms, and two new dining venues—the Elena Restaurant and the Pony Line Bar. One would think that that’s the whole she-bang. But wait, there’s more.
The final phase has just been completed and it involves a new CIELO spa and Nuestro Secreto, a seasonal restaurant.
The designers of the year-long reno had the tango in mind when they re-designed the hotel, and you can see this throughout the hotel with a sinuous swirl here and a locking of limbs pattern there. We, however, can also see a few “modern gaucho meets the horsey set” design elements, leather headboards in the rooms, horse statues at the entrance and in the Elena Restaurant and Pony Line Bar.
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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!
Design Thursdays / Hotel Openings / Hotel Design / Marriott Hotels / Autograph Collection Hotels / Canada Hotels / Vancouver Hotels / → All Tags
Last week we speculated that Marriott’s Autograph Collection had a hankering to take over the hotel world and we reached the conclusion that our speculation was, in fact, fact. As if to prove this point we give you Exhibit A: another Autograph Collection hotel is to be built in Surrey, British Columbia–-which is about 35 minutes from Vancouver.
“Why Surrey?” you may ask. Well, according to Statistics Canada, Surrey is one of Canada’s fastest growing cities with a growth rate of 10,000 new residents every year and 2,334 new businesses were created in 2011. We did not know that.
The 144-room property will be officially known as Civic Hotel at 3 Civic Plaza, Autograph Collection but we’ll shorten that in order to save our weary typing fingers to Civic Hotel, which we think sounds just fine.
More hotel deets after the break!
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Summer was a busy one for this HotelChatter editor as I traveled up the Baltic coast and finally found myself in the cobbled medieval marvel that is Tallinn. There I popped into the Savoy Boutique Hotel to have a look around. What I found was a 44-room property that can best be described as "romantic" (and I don’t use that word lightly).
The lobby is full of sumptuous textured fabrics and comfy seating areas, making you feel as if you're visiting a wealthy family friend’s 17th-century estate. Walls are sienna-colored painted plaster complementing the floral bouquets in the lobby. When you arrive to check-in, you’re handed a house cocktail made with cucumber juice, sparkling wine, lime, and a touch of sugar for sweetness.
Get a peek inside after the break!
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This summer we nipped into Helsinki’s Klaus K hotel, part of Design Hotels, for a look at this delightfully well-designed hotel.
To best describe the hotel, we’ll start with the ethereal premise on which the hotel’s design is based. Do your best to try to stay with us.
Klaus K is inspired by Finland’s national epic, the Kalevala--a 19th-century work of epic poetry compiled from Finnish and Karelian oral folklore and mythology. Each of the 139 guestrooms represents a theme from the myth’s primary emotional elements: namely desire, passion, mysticism and envy. The room categories are broken down by these themes, so when you book a room, you book a Desire room, a Passion room and so on and so on. You can also book specialty rooms including the Passion for Mini room, art rooms and the Urban Nature rooms, all designed in collaboration with creative-type partners.
While you’re digesting that, here are some of the hotel’s other deets. It opened in 2004 in a late-19th-century building, and is the only Design Hotel in Helsinki. Located in the city’s hip Design District, it’s close to the Design Museum and plenty of great shops and cafes. Next door to the hotel (which you can enter directly from Klaus K) is the city’s first urban day spa, with various beautifying treatments, a gym and a sauna.
Don't miss the pics below!
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The 297-room paradisiacal hotel, which will debut in late Summer, is well on its way to becoming our most anticipated hotel opening of the year (literally), for its private beach, free WiFi, and signature restaurant, Morimoto Maui. Sure, that's a big statement. But we dare you to disagree after taking a look at these images, straight from the offices of the property's designer, David Rockwell:
Thanks to our far-flung, adventurous and nonstop jetsetting contributors who never enter a hotel room without photographing the place from top to bottom, we've been able to get a peek into hotel rooms around the world by flipping through our numerous Photo Galleries.
We have so many good shots from so many great hotels, it's getting hard to keep track of all of them. So from now on, we'll be rounding up our favorite photo galleries once a week. Some will be pulled together by hotel brand others will be done by city, design, style, amenities or just plain old hotel lust.
Today we're showing off photos of our favorite lobbies from hotels we've visited in London, New York, Chicago, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Edinburgh. No, the lobby isn't where you sleep. But with all the people constantly moving through, it's where you get a feel for the hotel's character.
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After teasing you with a mystery snapshot from the meeting room, followed by a tour around the circular lobby, it's finally time to take a look inside a room at Boston's The Revere. Because, yes, there's more to this hotel than just models abseiling down the side of the building in the face of death.
Take a look at our photo gallery below!
Hotel Lobbies / Hotel Snapshots / Boston Hotels / Historic Hotels / Omni Hotels / Hotel Design / Design Thursdays / → All Tags
Our high school Latin came in handy the other day when we popped inside the Boston Omni Parker House. And though we didn't realize it at the time, the three-word inscription on the coat of arms above the main entrance actually sums up the whole hotel pretty well.
Fideli merces certa translates as 'For the faithful, there will be certain reward.' And you can't get much more faithful than the Omni Parker House, which a nearby concierge informed us is the longest continually-operating hotel in the whole country. Their reward? Still staying in business!
Click through for our photos from the historic lobby!
Hotel Art / Art Hotels / Dubai Hotels / For The Sake Of Hotel Art / Design Thursdays / Hotel Design / → All Tags
Walking into the XVA Art Hotel, guests are hit with a refreshing change of scenery. A green neon light shaped like a fruit fly hangs over an armchair illustrated with a vintage movie still from the 1960s. Not exactly the kind of "furniture" you'd normally expect from a hotel in Dubai.
Giant crystal chandeliers, an army of see-through elevators, 5-ton boats hanging from the ceiling—yes, that's all standard fare in the City of Gold. But actual, imaginative, fun-to-look-at art? It's as if we'd stepped into another world.
Hotel Lobbies / Hotel Snapshots / Photo Gallery / Wyndham Hotels / San Francisco Hotels / Hotel Art / For The Sake Of Hotel Art / Hotel Restaurants / Hotel Bars / Hotel Design / Design Thursdays / → All Tags
We once told you about the amazing views from an executive suite at the Parc 55 Hotel in San Francisco. But to be honest, there's some photo-worthy action going on downstairs too, in the hotel's gigantic lobby (that also doubled as our office for an afternoon).
From quaint seating areas like the one above to funky art and free internet, the lobby at Parc 55 is the perfect fun-filled hotel pit stop to break up your walking tour of San Francisco.
Click through our photo gallery below!