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The New Yorker Hotel has seen some ups and downs in its 84 year history: from fashionable hotspot that drew the likes of Joan Crawford and Muhammad Ali; to scene of Nikola Tesla's death and, in recent years, status as a lowly Ramada.
But the iconic Art Deco-style hotel entered a new era last week when it joined the Wyndham Hotel brand, which, with a 1,083 room count, makes it the biggest hotel in the Wyndham portfolio.
Back in 2009, we learned about a new hotel brand conceived by yoo, the design company founded by Philippe Starck and developer John Hitchcox. Though we're familiar with a number of yoo-designed hotels all over the world (Mondrian South Beach, The Hempel Hotel, or Vienna's new Hotel Sans Souci which we visited in January), we still wonder what happened to that alleged yoo hotel brand.
Well, it turns out that not one, but two, yoo brands exist—the only trouble is they haven't been very active yet. yoo2 is the more affordable of the two, and describes itself as a "boutique hotel [elevated] to glorious new heights" through "the element of surprise." Meanwhile, a second brand is titled yoo Collection, which focuses on hotels that are "handcrafted by a world-renowned designer in a way that enhances the lives of discerning guests." Tall order!
To add to the conf-yoo-sion, Travelbite reports that the first-ever yoo Collection hotel, Aqua Boracay, is set to launch in the Philippines later this year. But according to this article by Business Mirror, the resort isn't due to be completed until 2015. Hmm.
The resort's Facebook page shows definite signs construction, though from the photos it's clear that this place won't be opening for at least another year. On the positive side, the finished Aqua Boracay resort will sit directly on paradisiacal Bulabog Beach, and will be located near an airport serviced by regional and domestic flights.
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Giorgio Armani is hard at work on his next hotel project, and, for now, he's favoring Europe over the USA (though we partly knew this already). The world's third Armani Hotel will reportedly go up in London at the historic Admiralty Arch.
Back in October, we learned that the building had been purchased by Rafael Serrano (the man behind Bulgari London) with plans to convert it into a 100-room luxury hotel, complete with royal and presidential suites, a ballroom, spa, and fine dining restaurant. Now, we have a better sense of exactly what Serrano has in mind...
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But what about the actual Edition brand as a whole? In the four years since it was first announced, we've only gotten to see two properties: the Edition Istanbul, and the now ex-Edition Modern Honolulu. And we have it on good authority that Edition London is being hailed as the brand's big re-launch, rather than just hotel number three.
Whose authority, you ask? Why, Edition's new VP of Brand Experience, Ben Pundole. (If that name sounds familiar, then you're right: Pundole was one of the original founders of King & Grove Hotels, though he left the company in June. Now, he works full time for Edition Hotels under the man himself, Ian Schrager).
Read on to hear from Pundole himself about Edition's new direction!
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A suite at New York’s The Mark, among the latest hotels to join Preferred
Last week on October 1, Preferred Hotel Group, which represents 650 hotels worldwide, announced that The Mark in New York and The Jefferson Hotel in Washington, D.C. were joining its Preferred Hotels & Resorts and Preferred Boutique collections, respectively. This announcement came just three business days after the luxury hotel group announced that Wynn and Encore Las Vegas were also joining its Preferred Hotels & Resorts collection.
You may say, who cares? Well let’s start with the fact that soft brands have seen more action and attention lately (remember the latest on Marriott’s Autograph Collection?). From July through September 2012, 24 new members joined Preferred Hotel Group, which is significant given the fact that brand represents some of the most luxurious independent hotels in the world. But there’s more to the story—a better story, in fact—around Preferred and why you might want to take a closer look at soft brands and Preferred Hotel Group.
What the heck is a soft hotel brand anyway? Basically, soft brands represent groups of hotels by providing them with some kind of strategic background support or service. For example, Preferred Hotel Group provides the hotels in its collections with sales and marketing support.
Madonna's brother, Christopher Ciccone, has literally written the book on becoming famous by association. And now that hype for his 2008 memoir has died down, he's moved onto the next logical step: shoes.
The Ciccone Collection is a Georgia O'Keeffe-inspired footwear line for men, women and children that debuted at London Fashion Week. There are rain boots, wingtips and sneakers. The collection will likely be sold in Nordstrom and Macy's. And if that alone didn't seem far-fetched enough, The Daily Beast reports that the Ciccone Collection brand will eventually expand to include clothing, accessories, home goods, and, yes, a Ciccone hotel.
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All this talk about IKEA getting ready to sweep Europe with a new chain of budget hotels got us thinking about some of the other cool brands out there. And it's a good thing there's so many of them—because while certain brands have managed to deliver on their promises, others have yet to open a single property. And yet we still remain hopelessly glued to the screen...
Take a look at these six other hotel brands we're most excited about, and see which openings are coming to a theater near you.
The world finally exhaled when Virgin made the announcement that the location of its first-ever hotel would be in Chicago. It's going to have a modest 250 rooms, and it will open in the city's historic Dearborn Bank Building, which will hopefully make good on Richard Branson's promise that all Virgin properties will become "the hippest most comfortable in any city." Well, sir, we'll hold off on judgment until we see one actually open. Construction began in May, with a projected opening date of Fall 2013.
The news is official: Marriott Hotels has unveiled a new brand, The Autograph Collection.
As we mentioned the other day, this new collection will consist of independent hotels that will retain their individuality but have access to the Marriott reservations systems and guests can use and earn Marriott rewards points here.
Here's the official statement from Marriott's VP of brand management, Don Semmler.
"The Autograph Collection will take the innovative approach of grouping these iconic hotels according to the unique experience that guests are seeking whether it's a resort, historic hotel, boutique arts, or urban edge hotel in a dynamic gateway city. Each hotel will be highly unique and distinct with its own identity, appealing to a growing segment of our customers who are looking for an experience that an independent hotel can deliver."
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It's no secret that the economy has had a massive impact on the hotel industry. Hotel openings have been delayed; construction has been halted on properties in development; jobs have been lost; room rates have been slashed but the last several years also saw a boom in the introduction of new brands and a handful of entirely new, supposedly game-changing segments (the "budget chic" pack, for example).
Naturally, with the introduction of each new brand came a wave of hype and some big, big expansion plans and then came the recession. Needless to say, those big plans changed.
Here's a look at the current state of some of those newer brands a progress report, if you will that outlines how many properties each brand had planned on when the concept was introduced, how many properties they've actually opened as of mid-2009, and, of course, how they're faring out there in the cold, brutal world.
Gilles Pélisson, chief executive of Accor, is hoping to tap into the luxury brand market first. Afterall Accor is French and so is Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, and Cartier, all luxury exports. Using these fashion brands as models, Accor will bring a new structure to the Sofitel brand.
Mr Pélisson believes that some less inspiring venues have compromised the brand's image. Accor plans to hive off 35 such hotels into a new chain aimed mainly at business travellers, where they will trade under the Pullman name, a brand from the golden age of luxury train travel that the French company is resuscitating.
Particularly atmospheric properties will be dubbed Sofitel Legends, while boutique-style venues will bear the name So by Sofitel.
If this means that more Sofitels will look like the Sofitel Los Angeles (above), then we can't wait. But of course, such upmarket changes will be reflected in room rates which will increase about $60 in the next few years. Let's just hope they can put some money into spell-checking for their blogs.
· Accor chief plans luxury refit for Sofitel [MSNBC]