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When one hotel closes, another one is quick to open. The Millennium Hotel in St. Louis which has been in steady decline for a few years, will close the last 164 of its 780 hotel rooms on January 22.. The general manager for the hotel gave this statement to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
“The hotel has served the St. Louis community well for many years,” Robert Rivers, the owner’s regional general manager, said in a statement. “However, we have concluded that the hotel, in its current state, does not meet our standards and has not kept pace with guest demands.”
An example of how outdated the hotel is? According to a TripAdvisor review, the rooms did not have wireless internet. Good grief! But the biggest loss will be the hotel's spinning restaurant at the top of the building. Baseball fans will also miss this killer ballpark view. No word on what could possibly take its place but residential condos is most likely.
Meanwhile, in Orlando, the new-ish Legoland Theme Park will be getting its own 152-room Lego-themed hotel in 2015. Having spent some time at Legoland Hotel in California, which just opened last April, we bet the Orlando outpost will be very similar. But of course, with Orlando being so
muggy hot in the summer months, there will probably be more water features at the pool.
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We’ve known that The Lanesborough London would be closing later this year to complete a top-to-bottom renovation, but now we finally have a tiny bit more information on what will happen when doors shut on December 20.
They will remain so until the fourth quarter next year – it wouldn’t surprise us if that means a planned return right before Christmas – and the designer responsible for the overhaul is the late Alberto Pinto, his final project before his passing last year. The hotel will keep its Regency style, but will bring in the requisite hotel technology updates to take it into the 21st century. No renderings or other visuals are available unfortunately to show you what that will look like.
While the Peninsula Paris might be slowly revealing its Beaux Arts façade on Avenue Kléber, a hop and a skip down the Champs Élysées, two other Parisian luxury hotels are still very much off in the land of dreams.
Hotel Ritz, on terribly chic Place Vendôme, is coming up to the midway point of its two-year plus closure, or as the French put it so much more eloquently, “vers une nouvelle legende”. If possible, the building is even more obscured from prying eyes than it was last time we walked by, earlier this year.
The Lanesborough now has a closing date for its massive renovations--December 20th.
As we reported in August, the luxury hotel is to go under the knife for extensive renovations. While we had hoped the hotel would stay open during the renovation and keep the disturbance to guests to a minimum, it looks like they've decided to close up shop while they work behind the scenes. We've been told by sources that the hotel will be closed for about a year. So that means it should reopen just in time for the 2014 holiday season. We're still working on getting more info on who is doing the job and what the final result may look like but when we have it, we'll get it to you.
Looking on the hotel's website, we see that reservations past December 20th are a no-go. You can, however, reserve a room for December 19th for £495 a night, which is nearly $800 US. Then again, it's your last chance to stay at the Lanesborough in its current condition.
And don't fret, while the hotel is closed, the Lanesborough's butler's heart, er service tips, will go on.
The second week of September will be a full circle moment for London hotels: just as both Ace and Edition are opening their doors to fight for the title of hippest place to rest your head, so will a former coolest spot in town meet its final moments under the auctioneer’s hammer. The London Evening Standard reports that The Hempel – vision of Anouska Hempel and once the hangout of every celeb, model, and wannabe – is having its entire contents auctioned off on September 12.
You can browse all available items here, but you better be quick as interest apparently is huge. Perhaps you’d like the bed David and Victoria Beckham once slept in? The rest of the Lioness Suite it was part of does come with that piece of celebrity history. Or The Beluga Suite that Michael Jackson favored?
The auction starts at 10am on September 12, with viewings the two days before. What is to become of the hotel? If you know at all what is happening in London these days, the answer will come as no surprise: luxury apartments. Despite soaring prices, appetite for residential real estate in the UK capital continues to be voracious. Given the location close to Notting Hill and Hyde Park, we have no doubt the apartments will sell like hot cakes once redevelopment has been completed.
For those looking for a hit of Anouska Hempel design with their hotel stay, there is still Blakes in London and – though re-branded – Dylan Amsterdam.
[Photo: The Hempel]
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It may be the offseason in Miami but in this town, the hotel drama never slows down. First up, a major hotel closure.
The National Hotel on Collins Avenue was shut down by the city for failing "numerous" safety inspections.
The Miami Herald writes:
Jacques Roy, the National general manager, said the 154-room hotel could reopen as soon as next week once it resolves unspecified safety and building-code issues with Miami Beach. The city’s fire marshal and building department declared the hotel unsafe after recent inspections, according to Miami Beach spokeswoman Nannette Rodriguez. In an email, Rodriguez said “it will not reopen until all work is completed.” The 1939 hotel has been undergoing lengthy renovations.
While the hotel's general manager sounded optimistic that the hotel would reopen soon, in the meantime, all 74 of the hotel's employees have been laid off with no hint as to when they might start again.
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The late Leona Helmsley's Park Lane Hotel is about to go out in history, just like its famous owner. It's in the process of being offloaded to a mysterious buyer who sought the help of New York-based developer Witkoff Group to help facilitate the private sale.
Once the $660 million (give or take $10 mil depending on your source) deal is done (the expected date is in November) word is the new owners intend to turn the prestigious hotel into…condos. Decisions are still being made on whether a hotel/condo model will work or whether to completely demolish the building and rebuild.
If these super-secret investors decide to continue on the real-estate route, they'll be building a tower of high-end condos thanks to the 46-story Park Lane's Central Park South location, but we can't help but feel sad this will be the end of an era in the hotel world. We were waiting to get just a little older to sit in Harry's Bar and order a $19 martini and not feel like an insolent kid for daring to be in such a grown-up place.
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It seems not a week goes by at the moment without us writing about hotels changing management companies, whether more or less amicably due to ‘different strategic visions’ for the property or openly hostile, with middle-of-the-night takeovers and changing of the locks. Earlier this week, we talked about Ritz-Carlton losing Rose Hall in Jamaica (having previously reported on both Ireland and Palm Beach). Today it’s Mandarin Oriental, which will cease management of its Dhara Dhevi resort in Chiang Mai, Thailand, at the end of August.
From the official statement:
“…the Owner and Mandarin Oriental have different aspirations for its management and long-term development. As such, we have mutually agreed that Dhara Dhevi Hotel Company Limited will resume the management of the property with effect from close of business on 31st August 2013. The hotel will be named The Dhara Dhevi hotel.”
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The Ritz-Carlton Closes MoBay: The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company is certainly making big moves these days. First vacating Palm Beach and Dublin, and today after nearly 13 years in operation, the corporation ceased management of the Ritz-Carlton Golf & Spa Resort, Rose Hall, Jamaica. The 427-room Montego Bay hotel, one of the region’s most famous, was originally rumored to be sold to Playa Resorts. However, in May, the company issued a statement saying the information was premature.
Word on the street is the hotel will open in the 2013-2014 winter season as a Park Hyatt, the first Hyatt brand in Jamaica and renovations will include adding more than 100 suites. However, at this time there is no mention of the property or this news on the Hyatt website. It appears this is as much of a mystery as the legend of the White Witch of Rose Hall, a famous Jamaican ghost story.
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Plaza Athénée Paris may have celebrated its 100th anniversary earlier this year (April 20, to be exact), but specialty cocktails, a 10-metre anniversary cake, and 100 trees at Versailles aren’t going to be the only things marking the hotel’s centennial. On October 1, the hotel will close its doors for a partial renovation, which will expand its footprint into three surrounding buildings, adding six new guest rooms, eight suites, a ballroom, and two event spaces.
[UPDATE, 5.14.13: Wyndham Hotels has given an explanation of what's going on with the hotel. Scroll down for that statement. UPDATE, 5.16.13: Menin Hotels have also given us a statement saying that would retain ownership of the hotel. Full statement is below the Wyndham statement.
Could there soon be one less hotel in Miami, a town that's been riding a recent hotel boom? Possibly.
We got a tip last week from one of our trusted South Beach spies saying that the Wyndham-operated Shelborne South Beach hotel would be closing and instead would reopen as a condo building. (Already the hotel is partially made up of condo units which are typically rented out to visiting guests.)
Sure enough, we headed to the hotel's website and found this note:
The Shelborne will have a limited number of rooms available June 1 - October 31, 2013 during its amazing transformation into South Beach’s newest lifestyle luxury resort, the Shelborne Wyndham Grand-South Beach.
Despite this "limited number of rooms" mention, we've got word that the hotel is indeed closing completely during the renovations and there are still whispers that it will reopen only as a timeshare. We're still sifting through the Shelborne shards but this is what we do know:
The hotel underwent a renovation back in 2011 so at first glance, it may seem too soon to have yet another facelift. But the reality is, some of those condo-hotel units are in bad shape as the owners were not obligated to renovate their units. HotelChatter saw how dire some of those rooms were when we stayed at the property back in December. This was our take on the place:
The Shelborne's suite had last been furnished in the early 1990s, the dining chairs were broken, the mattress was so old you could feel the springs, the tables were scratched and water-damaged, the art was like that of a greasy strip mall generic Asian restaurant, the floors felt so dusty we were relieved to have brought slippers from our last hotel, and the power outlet actually shocked us as we tried to plug in our phone charger. Firetrap much?
Need more convincing of the shifty state of the Shelborne? Just take a gander at some of the hotel's recent TripAdvisor reviews.
We’ve previously talked about the intense competition in the Parisian palace (and palace-adjacent; not every luxury hotel gets to use the term) hotel market. Despite eye-wateringly expensive rates, appetite for these hotels knows no bounds it seems. Let’s recap for a minute what’s been happening shall we?
Prince de Galles is due to reopen right next door to Four Seasons George V (which is renovating floor by floor and added a penthouse), Le Bristol added a whole wing, and so will Plaza Athenée, Raffles let Philippe Starck loose on the Royal Monceau, Le Meurice spruced up its five Presidential Suites, Hotel de Crillon should become a Rosewood after a two-year closure, and then there is the small matter of the three Asian heavyweights Shangri-La, Mandarin Oriental, and soon, Peninsula (more on that later) muscling their way into the market as well.
No wonder then that last August, perhaps the most famous of them all - The Ritz Paris - also closed its doors for the first time since opening in 1898 and began a two year soup-to-nuts restoration program.