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So much hotel news, so little time – here are a few snippets to keep you up to date with the latest news from around the world!
· Conrad Chicago, shown above, will cease to be a part of Hilton Hotels later this fall and will instead join Starwood's Luxury Collection group. No word yet on what the new name will be. [Source: Hotel News Resource]
· Fresh off opening their New York property, EDITION Hotels will open next year in Sanya, China; Thailand and Abu Dhabi with Shanghai and Times Square to happen in 2017 and West Hollywood in 2018. Paris has inexplicably dropped off the website although Edition folk say it is still happening. Also happening that's not yet listed? The Reijavkik Edition in Iceland. We cannot wait. [Source: Edition Hotels website]
· The 342-room JW Marriott Minneapolis, which will have direct access to the Mall of America, is set to open in November. However, the website is accepting reservations right now for stays from January 1, 2016 and beyond. [Source: JW Marriott Hotels]
· A tipster wrote into tell us that the W Retreat Kanai in Riviera Maya, Mexico, which last we heard was opening in July 2015, is now opening in January 2018, according to the W Hotels website. Yup, that seems about right for W Hotels. [Source: Tipster and W Hotels]
· After announcing a Hilton Garden Inn for Hawaii, Hilton is now going to install their DoubleTree by Hilton brand in the iconic Hilo Naniloa Hotel and Golf Club on the Big Island. The hotel is currently closed as it goes under a $16 million renovation. It should reopen as DoubleTree later this year. [Source: Pacific Business News]
Hotel Woes / Hotel News / Baha Mar Hotels / Hotel Delays / SLS Hotels / Bahamas Hotels / Customer Service / → All Tags
Just last week, we posted a silver lining that emerged from the storm clouds of the epic opening fail of Baha Mar Resort & Casino in the Bahamas, which has been plagued by construction delays, thanks to a standoff between the resort and its construction company.
A Hyatt Gold Passport guest told HotelChatter that he was extremely impressed with Hyatt's customer service for affected guests of the Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar, which involved a dedicated hotline for Hyatt guests and a full refund of all of his Passport points used to book the trip, plus a few extra.
This was pretty much the only positive report we've heard regarding Baha Mar in months. But today, we're back to the usual doom and gloom that has been hovering over the resort complex since they missed their (second) targeted opening date of March 27.
Tribune 242 is reporting that a bride and groom who were scheduled to have their wedding in June at the SLS at Baha Mar are now unable to get a refund nor answers to their many questions from SLS and Baha Mar. They are also trying to wrangle refunds for 100 of their guests, who had booked hotel rooms and flights to The Bahamas.
Apparently, the couple and their 100 guests were treated as one giant group, instead of individuals. Eventually, SLS offered the group a mixture of cash and credits for future stays, but the cash portion was not even enough to cover everyone's air fare. Now the groom, who himself is a builder of luxury homes in Houston and thus very familiar with construction projects and delays, said the experience has been such a nightmare that he will never return to the Bahamas again, "unless it was to see the ruins of Baha Mar."
And he's not alone.
Keep reading to hear yet another example of someone who was royally screwed over by Baha Mar.
Progress, we called it, when The Zetter Townhouse Marylebone got its website back in March, about a year after we first walked down Seymour Street to take pictures of the third Zetter hotel. It had us hopeful for a Spring opening, but alas: it will be summer – perhaps August – before the hotel opens.
Renovation of the double Georgian townhouse is advancing, with the front façade free of scaffolding. The biggest change is visible from Quebec Mews behind the hotel (below).
The hotel will have 21 rooms, 2 studio suites, and that rooftop apartment with terrace and outdoor roll top bath. Rates will start from £258 ($405) a night, with entry-level rooms being described as “compact”. That’s maybe a little more than we were hoping for, but in line with those over in Clerkenwell. We’ll report back when we have more details on square footage, amenities, and the like.
[Photos: JasonD for HotelChatter]
UPDATE: The exact date of reservations shown as open for Baha Mar is September 8.
This latest delay from The Baha Mar Resort in The Bahamas is not surprising at all, given the resort's history of opening delays. But it is another setback for a hotel that had initially hoped to open in December 2014.
Right now, according to The Baha Mar's website, you can book a room at either The Baha Mar Casino & Hotel for $285 a night; The SLS Lux for $385 a night or The Rosewood for $520 a night. Those rates don't include taxes or the $43 a day resort fee. Which makes a two-night stay at the Baha Mar hotel, shown above, a pretty expensive one at $736.38 total.
And as is becoming routine for Baha Mar, the resort hasn't made any announcements about the new delay. People are still leaving comments on the Baha Mar Facebook page about their reservations. Check out this comment left on Saturday.
Even if The Baha Mar resort opens in September (and we really want it to), we still wouldn't take a chance on booking a room there until you've actually read reviews or seen pictures from people who have been inside.
[Photo: Baha Mar]
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Our comparison between hotel opening dates and blind dates turned out to be pretty prophetic in the case of SLS New York: the hotel would have stood us up big time had we counted on that February 2015 opening – and that’s after both 2013 and 2014 didn’t happen.
As much as scaffolding has been looking serious at the Park Avenue hotel, we can add another year’s wait to try the 190 rooms, rooftop with “killer views of the city”, and “unrivaled restaurant and nightlife concepts”: the hotel won’t open before early 2016. Bummer.
HotelChatter Long Reads / Hotel Delays / Hotel Hell / Baha Mar Hotels / Bahamas Hotels / Hotel PR / Hotel Crises / → All Tags
An exclusive HotelChatter Long Read by John Buchanan
Shortly after that, Baha Mar insiders told us the resort would actually open on March 27. Progress! Except after three months of non-stop marketing and advertising hype about the new "Bahamian Riviera", across traditional and digital media--along with a special Grand Opening offer that included a $100 resort credit--Baha Mar delayed its opening again to May in a most spectacular way--by announcing the delay on Facebook two days before the scheduled opening.
Would-be guests flooded the Bahamian megaresort’s Facebook page with questions about their existing room reservations and plane tickets. A few even said they had no idea about the delay until they saw the Facebook post. Several seriously unlucky folks had less than 48-hours notice before leaving for the Bahamas.
We’ve not seen a mob mentality rage of this kind toward a hotel before. Indeed, angry customers are still leaving comments on the resort’s Facebook page, asking about their upcoming reservations for May.
After canceling its official grand opening weekend for May 5-7, and moving its general opening date yet again, Baha Mar is now accepting reservations for July 1-3, seven months after the initial December opening date. (And no, there was no official update on social media from the resort about the May opening being moved as well.)
To be fair, delays are to be expected when building new hotels, especially one as big as the $3.5 billion, China-funded Baha Mar resort which will have a flagship hotel and casino, two luxury hotels (Rosewood and SLS Lux) and a Grand Hyatt. But it is one thing to delay your hotel’s opening date before you’ve begun accepting reservations. It is another thing entirely to delay your opening just two days before the expected date without notifying your existing reservation holders.
One can only wonder--Will Baha Mar ever recover from this very public embarrassing setback? Will guests want to take a chance on booking a room for July? Will travel media, travel agents, meeting and events planners and other businesses believe Baha Mar when they announce their next opening date?
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W giveth, W taketh away...
Opening date will be Monday, September 21, with a “Cozy Exchange” room (from 22 sq m / 237 sq ft) setting you back a clean €450 ($478) a night. Prepaying shaves just €10 ($12) off a night, which doesn’t really seem worth it for the flexibility you sacrifice. The “Exchange” reference we presume means the room is located in the 1903 Telephone Exchange building, as opposed to the former bank just across the street (go here for exterior shots of both).
From Cozy, the order is up to Wonderful and then Fabulous rooms, with Cool Corner, Studio, and Marvelous Suites before you get to Wow and Extreme Wow Suites – which we saw those renderings of. The Extreme Wow Suite gives 112 sq m (1,206 sq ft) of space and runs at €2,162 ($2,292) a night.
Actual photography of the rooms and suites is still to come, but we’re kind of surprised to read the intro text on the homepage of the hotel refer to the ability to “recharge with our W signature bed and a peek-a-boo shower”. Is that becoming an actual industry term now?
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This is surprising and yet not surprising from the hotel we awarded with the Worst Hotel Hype of 2014.
The Baha Mar Resort in The Bahamas, a vacation destination that is to include a Rosewood Hotel, an SLS Lux property, a Grand Hyatt and the centerpiece Baha Mar Resort & Casino, has now pushed its opening back to May.
Originally, the resort complex was set to open in December, but missed that date and hoped for a May opening instead. But starting in January, Baha Mar began hyping up a March 27 opening, accepting reservations and promoting several opening day packages. Then, last week, just two days before it was due to open Baha Mar posted the above note to Facebook about the delay, leaving guests who booked non-refundable flights in the lurch during a popular Spring Break travel week.
According to the Miami Herald, Baha Mar places the blame for the second delay on the Chinese construction for not finishing the work in time. Whatever the reason for the delay, Baha Mar is now scrambling to deal with the fall-out. But they will have a very tough time saving face.
All you need to do is read through the barrage of Facebook comments on this post. Many of the guests were told they could be relocated to nearby Atlantis, only to find out that resort was booked during their dates. Other guests with reservations in April had no idea the delay was even happening until they saw the update in their Facebook feed. And many more are worried that the resort won't be open in May, which we think is a very real concern.
Here are just a few of the more than 600 comments on the Baha Mar Facebook page.
Finding a hotel room is easy. Simply go on the Internet or use your smartphone and voila! You're booked. But if you are only interested in new hotels, then that's a different story. Luckily, you have us. And we're obsessed with new hotels. Here's a list of hotels that have opened or are opening this month (and a few that aren't going to make it.) Got a new hotel to add? Send it to us!
· PARK HYATT ZANZIBAR: The newest Park Hyatt hotel will open in Zanzibar on Stone Beach on March 12. There are only 67 rooms and suites at this hotel, making for an intimate experience. As JasonD told you in November, the architecture combines “Arab, Persian, Indian and European elements”, with the hotel “reminiscent of an exclusive Omani residence.” Rooms are currently going for $300 a night.
· BACCARAT HOTEL NEW YORK: The first hotel concept built around the French crystal brand, Baccarat, was set to open earlier this week on W. 53rd St., but according to the hotel's website, rooms will now open on March 9 for $879 a night for a grand classic king in seriously subdued white, black and gray tones. The mini-bars, however, are expected to be Baccarat bright red and filled with Parisian goodies.
· 1 HOTEL SOUTH BEACH: The first eco-luxe 1 Hotel is set to open in South Beach in the last week of March with rooms starting at $664 a night. Rooms will have reclaimed wood on the walls, natural poured concrete in the floors, overstuffed pillow on the couches, and peekaboo bathrooms. Chef Tom Colicchio is opening his restaurant downstairs while upstairs is a pool deck with similarly eco-luxe style cabanas and seating. Guests will also get goodie bags on arrival and seed bags at departure.
· BAHA MAR: The resort wonderland in the Bahamas will open three of its resorts on March 27--The Baha Mar Resort & Casino, The SLS Lux and The Rosewood at Baha Mar. Here's an idea of what you can expect from the room rates. But regardless of what hotel you book (a Grand Hyatt is also opening later in the spring), there is still a $40 a night resort fee, per day, plus tax.
· AC DC NATIONAL HARBOR HOTEL: As we told you last month, after opening in New Orleans and Kansas City, AC Hotels by Marriott will hit DC for their next hotel. The website is currently saying, "MARCH 2015" for an opening but we've plugged in several dates in March and no rooms were available. So don't be too surprised if this gets pushed to April.
· JW MARRIOTT VENICE RESORT & SPA: Another Marriott expected to open this month is the JW Marriott on Isola delle Rose, with 230 rooms, a spa, two pools (including one on the rooftop), two restaurants, and event space constructed from the former church that used to be on site. There is also complimentary ferry service to and from the central island of Venice. We found rooms for 288 Euros a night on March 23 but that price will go way, way, way up this summer.
The beginning of March should have allowed us to cross the first of our five London hotel openings for 2015 off of our list, but it was not to be: the M by Montcalm Shoreditch has been delayed until mid-April.
Where reservations had been moved up to March 1 previously, we’re now looking at April 14 as the first day to stay at Montcalm’s “manifestation of glory”. Rates have crept up slightly with the six-week delay, starting at £187 ($289) a night rather than £170 ($262) before.
Room descriptions continue to ramble on about Deluxe Twin rooms that have “a super comfortable king size bed” (?), that “ooze personality”, and are designed with “oodles of luxury”. Two new photos have shown up, which we will say make those rooms look slightly more appealing than before.
Edition Hotels / Hotel Delays / Hotel Opening Rates / Hotel Openings / Manhattan Hotels / Ian Schrager / Hotel News / → All Tags
The long-awaited, eagerly anticipated New York Edition, inside the historic Clock Tower building at Madison Square Park, is going to need a little bit more time.
After reservations for Miami opened last fall, word was that the New York Edition would open in April, but looking at the hotel's website today, we found this:
JUNE. But don't put away your Platinum Amex card just yet.
Master hotelier and Edition visionary, Ian Schrager has told HotelChatter that the hotel will actually open on May 11, with a grand opening on May 12. He promises this will NOT be a soft opening but that the hotel will be "totally ready." Even better, Schrager said there will be a "three-month festival of events to celebrate. This completes the trilogy of three hotels originally owned by Marriott: Miami, London and NY." (These hotels are actually being sold off now.)
Sad as we are about even a slight delay, this is probably a smarter time to open. I mean, have you seen New York lately? With the kind of winter they are having, it's better to wait it out. So May will be the perfect spring awakening. The days will be longer, the skirts will be shorter, the sweaters will be thinner, and most importantly, the moods will be happier. But you better hope your wallets are thicker.
Rates for a 265-sq.ft. superior room at the New York Edition will start at $725 a night, which is actually in line with many high-end luxury properties in NYC. A gorgeous-looking Loft Suite is going for $1,000 a night and has views of Madison Park. Whatever the room, all guests will get free WiFi, bottled water and no doubt, a crazy cool curated minibar.
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Last time we checked in on the Reverie Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City’s forthcoming hotel that’s so luxurious it will make you wilt, the website was showing availability from 1 February, and we got all optimistic.
A little too optimistic, as it turns out, as the opening has now been pushed back to May/June. But forget about silly opening dates, and let youtself be dazzled. Here’s a new picture, bringing new meaning to the word “peacocking”. No wonder it dares to call itself “the boldest expression of opulence to debut in Vietnam, ever”. Not even sure it needs to qualify itself with “Vietnam”.