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OhEmGee. There is already so much hotel news flying around this week and it's ONLY MONDAY. Needless to say, we just don't have enough time to focus on all of it. So here's a quick rundown to get you up to speed on the latest.
· FAIRMONT NO LONGER IN PLACE AT BOSTON'S BATTERY WHARF HOTEL : The Fairmont Battery Wharf Hotel in Boston was recently sold and the Fairmont brand was ousted as of October 27. The hotel will now be known as The Battery Wharf Hotel & Spa. It will be managed by a Canadian company, Westmont Hospitality Group.
· FAIRMONT ALSO HAVING ISSUES IN BERMUDA BUT PICKS UP BARCELONA: Just after the $90 million redevelopment of The Fairmont Hamilton Princess, and their brand new marina, The Princess Marina, the hotel's owners are now trying to ditch the Fairmont brand. A report came out today about a lawsuit filed in NYC by the hotel's owners and as expected for these type of owner-manager lawsuits, it's not pretty. Read the full list of accusations, and Fairmont's response, here. Meanwhile, Fairmont has announced they will pick up the Hotel Rey Juan Carlos I in Barcelona.
· ANOTHER AC HOTEL BY MARRIOTT IN THE WORKS: We're closing in on the grand opening of the first AC Hotel by Marriott in the U.S. (in New Orleans) but we've got a tip on another AC location. Sorry, it's not as exciting as NOLA. Woodbine Development, Inc is bringing the AC brand to the Park Place Development in Irvine, Calif.
CANOPY by Hilton
Ever since the epic fail that was Denizen Hotels (you can read up on that here), Hilton Worldwide has been desperately seeking a new lifestyle brand to fit into their portfolio. Once the court-ordered business restrictions were lifted last year, Hilton went into overdrive.
First, they announced their Curio Collection, a group of mostly already existing hotels with no real unifying trait except that they tend to be more boutique in terms of design, and of course, they are part of the Hilton HHonors network.
Now, Hilton Worldwide has officially announced their totally new lifestyle brand, Canopy by Hilton Hotels.
Chris Nasetta, president and CEO of Hilton Worldwide, revealed the new brand to existing Hilton hotel owners at Hilton Worldwide's Global Partnership Conference in Orlando. Here's what he had to say about it:
“Built on extensive market research, our highly anticipated Canopy by Hilton brand delivers a fresh approach to hospitality and the guest experience,” Nassetta said. “We saw an opportunity to not only enter the lifestyle space by developing a new brand, but also to redefine this category by creating a more accessible lifestyle brand. We identified the need to take the emphasis off of capital-intensive design and deliver exactly what the target consumer desires: an energizing, comfortable stay with more included value.”
Here's what we took away from that statement: affordable. Although Canopy promises to be so much more.
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But don't worry. It will remain a Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Hilton Worldwide, who unloaded the property, will remain in charge of the hotel's operations for the next 100 years.
Despite the property leaving Hilton's hands, the best news to come out of this sale is that THE HOTEL WILL FINALLY, AT LAST, GET RENOVATED. We've long known that the regular rooms at the hotel are total dogs. The Waldorf Tower rooms are more luxurious but still look a little stale and stuffy. No word on when the renovations will begin but we hope it's ASAP.
[Photo: HotelChatter Flickr Pool]
When we visited the Selfie Spot at the Grande Bretagne in Athens the week before last, we remembered the other hotel bar with truly jaw-dropping Acropolis views (as opposed to other hotels which pretty much all have a glimpse of the Acropolis): the Galaxy Bar at the Hilton Athens. So, with a couple of hours to spare in Athens last week, we headed over.
The Hilton is back a bit from the center of Athens – out by the Byzantine Museum, around a 10-15 minute walk from Syntagma Square. But what it lacks in ease of location, it makes up for in views – because thanks to the low-rise buildings all around it, it has a straight on view of the Parthenon. It is extraordinary.
Sadly, we tell you this from memory, because on arrival we discovered the Galaxy Bar isn’t open all day, like the GB roof terrace; it opens at 6pm. Instead, we settled at Aethrion Lounge on the ground floor for some lunch and drinks.
We suggest you don’t follow our example.
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$7.5 million of refreshments went into both an interior and exterior spruce-up, ranging from a new lobby and revamped pool area to refreshed guestrooms. The last stop on the renovation track has been the opening of restaurant Barbianca Local Kitchen. More shots from inside below.
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Here's just another reason why it pays to become a member of a hotel's loyalty program--access to cool technology that will make checking in a smooth transition after a long day of travel. Or so we hope.
Hilton Hotels has announced a new update to its HHonors app that will allow guess to select their own rooms, right down to the floor and room number. By the end of the year, this app function, along with digital check-in, will be in place at all 4,000 Hilton Hotels worldwide. Here's how it works:
One of the biggest names in hospitality design, Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) has completed its latest interiors project for Hilton Hotels & Resorts. The Hilton Santa Fe Mexico City with a brilliantly executed new look that shows the strength, longevity, and aliveness of the brand.
Late last year we asked the question whether the Hilton London Bankside was being revived, with construction having picked up after several years of silence to the point where the multi-story hole in the ground had been filled up.
The revival question we can now answer with a resounding yes, with the hotel recently having “topped out”, i.e. reached its highest point. It also sounds like it will open mid next year, with the rather bland interior renderings we looked at previously now updated on the architect’s website to reflect a much warmer, interesting design which apparently follows “Hilton’s newly launched brand standards”. Above one of the 292 rooms, further below lobby, restaurant and bar.
Already, the pending arrival of the Peninsula Paris has other luxury hotels in town shaking in their fashionable, custom-made boots.
Yet while the Concorde Paris Opera isn't quite on the same luxe level as the Shangri-La, The Mandarin Oriental or the George V, the hotel has decided to take on a rather expensive makeover, to the tune of $50 million. After which, it will also turn into a Hilton. The Hilton Paris Opera to be precise. (We covered the Concorde rebranding news here.)
First signs of the new look should debut in September with the finished product, which is being overseen by Parisian based ERTIM Architects in collaboration with Richmond International of London, to be ready by early next year. The hotel will remain open throughout the construction but in the end, all 268 rooms will be made over and a new bar will be introduced. Here are the details:
Finalmente! The Hilton Cabana Miami Beach has officially opened.
The beachfront property on (way north) Collins Ave was set to open in December but that was quickly pushed off until March. Then we sort of lost track. But now we've got word that it's really open.
The 10-story Art Deco building has 231 guest rooms and suites spread out over Cabana-style buildings, hence the hotel name. Most of the rooms will have balconies from which you can gaze at either the sea or the pool. We dig the orange stripes and the cheeky photograph of two ladies fishing.)
In-room amenities include 42-inch flat-screen TVs, walk-in showers, large work desks, room service from 6am to midnight and complimentary WiFi (well, it's part of the $20 resort fee. ) Also onsite are two pools; the Brasserie L'echon, an all-day dining spot; a lobby bar and both a business and fitness center.
Right now, room rates this weekend start at just $199 a night for a room with two queen beds. Gotta love Miami in the off-season!
[Photo: Hilton Cabana Miami Beach]
Washington DC’s uber high-end mixed use and all-one-word development, CityCenterDC, will also have a high-end hotel brand inside--Conrad Hotels, which is anticipated to open in early 2018. This will be the first time Conrad has opened in DC and it will also be the only hotel planned for CityCenterDC. But what exactly is CityCenterDC? Allow us.
CityCenterDC is a micro-planned, urban “neighborhood” encompassing 10 acres in downtown DC. It’s been constructed in phases over several years and includes residential, retail and dining, offices, and a luxury hotel that now has a name.
Speaking of names, The Conrad DC has a distinguished team working out the details of its design-- a duo of architects in Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron Architekten and Dallas based HKS Architects, Inc, and Rottet Studio as interior designer. Based on their previous work, it's safe to say this Conrad will be no ordinary hotel.
The imaginatively named Hilton Garden Inn New York/Midtown Park Avenue is set to open on August 24 and will sprout a bounty of goodies and amenities (Ok, we'll stop with those gardening metaphors right now.)
For about $249 on opening night, you'll get a king bed room with free WiFi, a Keurig make, a mini-fridge and microwave, a flat-screen TV and an ergonomic desk chair with a large work space. The hotel will also have three bars, including one on the 2nd floor terrace, a 24-hour Pavilion Pantry that will sell food, drinks and toiletries; a 24-hour fitness center and Little Town Social, a full service restaurant that will server breakfast, lunch, dinner and get this room service until midnight. That's right. The Hilton New York ditched room service but the Hilton Garden Inn is serving it up.
Other bonuses include 24-hour guest laundry rooms and a generous pet policy that for four-legged friends that weigh up to 75 pounds. Did we mention the starting rate was just $249 a night? For NYC? In the summer?
[Rendering via Hilton Garden Inn]