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It scares us sometimes when it turns out hotels we thought we talked about just a few months ago were actually on our radar closer to a few years ago. How time flies. Such is the case with Six Senses hotels, which we looked at in late 2013 for its expansion plans in all sorts of places: far from its usual Southeast Asia habitat in the French Alps near Mont Blanc, in the remote kingdom of Bhutan, and the Caribbean island of St. Lucia.
Opening dates in 2015 and 2016 seemed so far away at the time, and yet here we are, with the first two resorts scheduled to open on July 1: Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain, a half hour outside Chengdu in China. Chengdu is one of the largest cities in China and the capital of the Sichuan province, home to 80% of the world’s panda population. The resort will have 113 suites and villas (above a rendering, which shows an interesting mix of contemporary and traditional design), and not surprisingly, a serious spa with locally-inspired treatments and “sensory journeys”. Scheduled for July 1 as it may be (the May date on the website we've been told will be July), we can’t seem to make reservations yet.
Another day, another hotel makeover, but here’s one that’s as refreshing as its name. The Hotel Royal at Evian Resort is wrapping up a 2-year renovation and will re-open on July 1.
The Hotel Royal is one of two luxe hotels (plus a golfer's retreat) on the lands of the iconic Evian Mineral Water. The hotel, aging gracefully since 1905, has received the full rejuvenating package with a top-to-bottom makeover -including a new top floor.
Paris is in the throes of a hotel building boom with new smaller properties opening up as well as some pretty major overhauls going on. With all this activity, we’d hope to see some reasonable prices in there, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with only one or two exceptions.
The new Meliá Paris La Défense, open for only ten days, may just be the answer if you’re looking for a nicely designed hotel at a good rate. The catch, though, is that it’s not in the epicenter of Paris’s museum and historical area but, rather, in the heart of the city's business district. If you’re in the city for business this is, of course, rather perfect but if you’re a plucky pleasure traveler the metro is oh-so-close, meaning right across the street from the hotel.
The hotel is a biggie (in fact it’s the largest four-star to open in the French capital in ten years) with 369 rooms and suites spread out over 18 floors (on the 19th floor is the fitness center and Skyline Lounge). Designed in the shape of a sail by Vasconi Architects in partnership with French interior designer Jean-Philippe Nuel, the brainchild behind the high-profile revamp of Paris’s iconic Molitor Swimming Pool, the hotel gives you a bird’s eye view over Paris.
Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Rates / Dijon Hotels / France Hotels / Design Hotels / Boutique Hotels / → All Tags
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.
It's been almost four years since the announcement of a luxury hotel planned on the estate of the iconic Palace of Versailles. The news of a hotel next to, alongside rather, one of the world's greatest architectural treasures generated quite a buzz as well as induced mixed feelings from the public. It seemed that everyone was talking about it (including us) but then it dropped off the radar, leaving us wondering if this was just another great hotel idea gone six feet under.
NON! The Hotel Du Grand Controle, originally slated to open in 2012, is back on and approaching a new finish line.
The 23-room, possibly five-star hotel will occupy a 17th-century dressed stone mansion (adopting its original name) that was once the home and offices of the treasurers to the kings of France. It's worth a note, so to speak, that money minders to royalty always seem to have really nice digs. But sometimes even a treasurer's digs need a little TLC, so the mansion has been undergoing a thorough and historically sensitive restoration, under the watchful eye of one of France's leading preservation architects.
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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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It’s the delicious pairing of two brands at the top of their game that’s exciting us this week – no, not Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Martin, but Ananda (amazing spa brand) and Château Saint-Martin, the uberlux hotel in uberlux Côte d’Azur village Vence.
From 21-29 September, Ananda will be running a pop-up spa au Château. The focus? A detox program devised especially for the hotel by yogi Sushant Pandley, and tailored to your precise needs.
You can streamline your detox with the quick five day program, take a week over it or even string it out for nine days (any excuse to stay in the chateau). Activities include meditation and yoga, “theoretical aspects of yogic tradition” (us neither) and “stimulating and purifying ayurvedic therapies” like massage and reflexology – definitely the most fun part.
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The 83-room contemporary chic Hotel Burdigala is found in Bordeaux’s Mériadeck district. About a block from the tram and across the street from a well-disguised mall, the hotel is apart from the action but close enough to it.
Part of Accor's MGallery collection, this hotel is billed as a five-star, but we would place it more at a solid four-star rating. This is not meant to deter you, though, as the hotel certainly has style and is at a budget-conscious price point.
Have a look at the pics in the gallery!
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Last week we gave you a peek at the hip Seeko’o Hotel in Bordeaux and now it’s Mama Shelter’s turn. If you know other Mama Shelters, then you know that the hipness tap stayed on during the making of this little gem.
Located right in the heart of things at Place Saint Christoly, this 97-room hotel opened in October of 2013. Like all of the Mama Shelters the concept is simple: Give the people what they need and charge ‘em extra for the stuff that they might want. That, plus a Philippe Starck design concept that’s stark (or Starck! yuk-yuk) white minimalism in the rooms and wild and wacky design in the public areas.
(Plenty of pics in the photo gallery!)
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We spent some time in Bordeaux this summer and we have one question: When did Bordeaux get to be so hip? To prove this point, we give you the 45-room Seeko’o Hotel, in the up-and-coming Chartrons district.
Formerly a wine shipping area, this warehouse neighborhood had fallen into a state of decrepitude before the current mayor thought that enough was enough and government and businesses started investing in the buildings. Now you’ll find trendy shops, galleries and restaurants all along the river in these cool reno’ed warehouses.
Across the street from one of the quays is the Seeko’o Hotel – a modern vision in white – angular and austere. “Seeko’o” is the Inuit word for “iceberg” and it’s a fitting name. King Kong Architecture designed the building and clad the outside in white Corian. Standing taller than the buildings surrounding it, it doesn’t feel obtrusive but, rather, takes command of its space.
(Since pictures speak a thousand words, be sure to have a look at the pics in the photo gallery!)
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How about a hotel with an average of 3.3 acres for each of its rooms – sounds good? That’s kind of the case at Domaine de Manville, a stunning new country estate which just opened in Provence, one of the most textbook ‘French’ places in France (apart from all the British expats growing their own wine). It’s set in a sweeping, 100-acre estate – and there are just 30 rooms to enjoy the space.
And you know it’s good, because it’s been snapped up by the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group.
The estate – a former farm – rolls out in the valley below a medieval hilltop village, Les Baux, with olive trees and lavender fields around it. Rooms look quietly luxurious, with neutral colors, linen (linen!) sheets and omg-rolltop-tubs-in-the-bathrooms.
There’s also a spa and gym, restaurant with wine cellar, tea salon, a gorgeous outdoor pool and a “scenic 18-hole golf course” in the grounds. Activities will include wine tasting and truffle hunting. Heaven!
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We’ve all had those days while traveling overseas when you can’t quite get the gumption to leave your cozy hotel world and explore the greater world outside. We recently had one of those days while staying at the celeb hangout, Fouquet’s Barrière in Paris (a Luxury Hotels of the World property), and have put together a list of things to do if agoraphobia hits you too.
1) Food glorious food: Fouquet’s has five restaurants and three bars, not too shabby considering the hotel has only 81 rooms. Our favorite places to hang out were at Le Bar Marta, with its black and white 1930s Hollywood glam design and La Petite Maison de Nicole because, heck, if it’s good enough for Jay-Z and Beyoncé, it’s good enough for us. The food at La Petite Maison is best-described as gourmet southern France comfort food. That means Macaroni with Truffles and Provençal Ratatouille. If you go on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday evening you can groove with one of the resident DJs.
2) Shop at the front desk: There is no reason you can’t still shop if you don’t leave the hotel. If you’d like to buy the monogrammed robe you can certainly do that, but you’ll also find five proprietary perfumes, yo-yos, aprons, pencil sets and Panama hats. Some products are on display throughout the lobby, some in your room, and some are found at the front desk.
Three more tips below!