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HotelChatter 2014 Awards / Hotel Hype / Hotel Delays / Bahamas Hotels / Baha Mar Hotels / → All Tags
It's that time of year again: the 2014 HotelChatter Awards! Today and tomorrow, we'll be showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to...
Usually, the Worst Hotel Hype award is given to a hotel or hotel brand who is constantly bragging about their upcoming property yet who consistently fails to deliver on the opening date.
For most of this year, we were convinced that Virgin Hotels would win this dubious award, what with their announcements of new Virgin locations but no description (not even a rendering!) on what a Virgin Hotel will be about. That all changed in October when an opening date for Virgin Hotel Chicago was announced (January 15) along with detailed information (an animated video, actually) on the design and amenities of a Virgin Hotel. With Virgin out of the running, we had to turn elsewhere.
Like The Baha Mar Resort in The Bahamas.
Boat hotels: they’re the shiz if our recent experience in Yangon is anything to go by. You know what other boat hotel we were really looking forward to? The QE2, which was meant to undergo a $90m renovation to turn it into a 400 room floating hotel in China.
Except the QE2 is currently languishing in Dubai, as it has done for the past six years, awaiting the renovations. Looks like it isn’t happening – and the Oceanic Group, which owns the boat, is staying silent.
In the meantime, says the Daily Mail, it appears to have morphed into an impromptu BBQ area. The ignominy!
Creating a new hotel in a listed building in a centuries-old setting like Bath isn’t an easy task. Throw in the addition of a new wing and direct access to the original Roman thermal springs, and you’re looking at one thing: a delayed opening.
The Gainsborough Bath Spa, which we first talked about just over three years ago, was meant to open earlier this year, but we now understand it will arrive in “spring 2015”. While we wait, there are some beautiful renderings on the hotel website to explore, starting with the above of “Spa Village Bath”, where you will start your visit “with a circuit that includes dipping in three natural thermal pools of varying temperatures, traditional and infrared saunas, steam room, an ice chamber and elegant relaxation areas”. It does look rather spectacular, doesn’t it?
Hotel Delays / Sea Hotels / Unique Hotels / Isle of Wight Hotels / Hotel Openings / Luxury Hotels / → All Tags
It sounds like the best idea ever – a 19th century “sea fort” in the Solent, off England’s Isle of Wight, being transformed into a “luxury citadel on the sea” (AKA a 22-room hotel). But you’ll have to wait to see whether it’s as good as it sounds, because No Man’s Fort failed to open last week as scheduled, and has failed to provide a new date.
The ‘citadel in the sea’ is set to have 22 bedrooms, a museum, cabaret club, spa, laser quest arena, rooftop garden and pool, and two helicopter pads (for just 22 bedrooms, you can see who they’re aiming at). There’s not much about the rooms, yet, other than a few photos on the website, but we’d imagine they’ll be suitably luxurious.
The fort once housed soldiers, and was then turned into a luxury property – but this is the third sea fort for new owners Clarenco. Or rather, it will be once it opens – according to the BBC, there’s not yet any furniture in the hotel, due to “issues with construction of the landing stage”.
Hotel Delays / Hotel Openings / Manchester Hotels / Sports Hotels / Soccer Hotels / Football Hotels / → All Tags
Another week, another hotel opening delay. But this one is a little different. Where other hotels say sorry, hands up, we can’t finish it in time, this one claims to be opening late because they want to make it even better than planned, honest guv. Because it’s going to be extra brilliant, it’s going to take extra time.
The place in question is Hotel Football, the hotel we’d love to hate but actually rather like the look of – or rather, of the rooms, at least. It has just pushed its opening date back from November to March – but not because it’s waiting to die down from the scandal of employing a convicted killer in its advertising campaign. Perish the thought! It’s because, as a spokesman told the Manchester Evening News, they want to “further develop unique features, beyond our original plans”. Of course, guys, of course - all for the fans. How very generous.
From now until the opening in March, we will be enhancing the conference and banqueting facilities and will also be extending our rooftop 5-a-side football pitch and event space by over 50%.
We want to ensure the supporters and hotel guests have an unforgettable experience when they visit us and this additional preparation time will ensure this. It’ll be worth the wait.
On a crisp winter day back in March, we walked down London’s Seymour street to look at the latest venture of The Zetter Group, converting a Georgian townhouse into its first Marylebone and third overall hotel.
At the time, we hoped an early fall opening would have been in the cards. While a photo of this past weekend reveals the double-wide brick façade, it also shows some work is still to be done, which the Zetter website confirms: opening will be at the end of 2014.
The official name also appears to be The Zetter Townhouse, Marylebone (rather than The Zetter Seymour) to sit alongside The Zetter Townhouse, Clerkenwell. We still have to wait for a look at the 24 rooms, cocktail bar, and rooftop apartment with terrace and outdoor bath, but we’ll have that for you when we can.
Hotel Delays / Hotel Openings / Koh Samui Hotels / Thailand Hotels / Sheraton Hotels / Starwood Hotels / → All Tags
Sometimes there’s no such thing as too much of a good thing. At least, so think Starwood, who are on track to open a Sheraton in Koh Samui. It will join their current roster: a W Retreat, a Le Méridien, and Vana Belle, part of the Luxury Collection.
The Sheraton will take over the current Imperial Samui Beach Resort, which had 141 rooms. It’s on the same beach as the Vana Belle, and only two hotels away.
Unfortunately, all good things come to those who wait. The Sheraton was down to open in December, but it’s not yet listed on the Starwood website, and (HT Flyertalk) it’s now showing up on Starwood’s forthcoming hotels list, and is down for March 2015. Although, since it’s not yet available to book, even that may be optimistic.
While it looks like the Meliá Nassau at the Baha Mar resort complex in the Bahamas will still be opening in November, the Baha Mar resort as a whole will not actually open until May 2015. Previously, the resort, which is being billed as "The Bahamaian Riviera" was to open in December.
Indeed, a recent Facebook giveaway for the Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar hotel says the 5-day hotel stay awarded to the winner is only bookable after May 1, 2015. So that's probably a good idea of the actual opening date for the resort as a whole. Meanwhile, the Grand Hyatt's website says the property will open in Spring 2015. Maybe we can hope for an April opening? Interestingly, the Rosewood at Baha Mar's website still says 2014 but that might change.
Either way, your plans for spending the holidays in the Bahamas at a new resort may have to be changed.
A plaintive email winged its way into our inbox this week. “When does the Ritz-Carlton in Cairo open?” it asked wearily.
As well it might. You may have forgotten about the property, it’s been so long in the making. Originally a Hilton, it switched brands in 2009, with the intention of carrying out a two-year renovation while hosting guests.
That didn’t happen. In 2011, when this photo of the hotel's shell was taken, as Travel Weekly reported, it was still shuttered, due to Egypt’s political unrest. The company moved the opening date to 2013, hoping that its location near Tahrir Square would, again, be a plus point.
And so we’re at stalemate.
While the opening rates of citizenM New York bum us out a bit ($199 in March?), the news in London doesn’t do much to cheer us up. The good bit is that citizenM is bringing a third addition in the hipster paradise of Shoreditch in 2015, but that’s overshadowed by the fact that both Holborn and Tower Hill also won’t arrive before next year. In some ways it's not a surprise given how dormant Holborn looked a few weeks ago.
If citizenM does pull off opening all three of them next year, it means they’ll add close to 900 hotel rooms to their portfolio, and all in one city. Holborn should have just under 250 rooms, Tower Hill will be the flagship with 370, and Shoreditch will be a bit smaller at 185.
It's on. It's (maybe) off. It's back on again! The long saga of the hotel development project in the Meatpacking District, opposite the Chelsea Market, has taken some twists and turns, and, when renderings disappeared from Stonehill and Taylor's website disappeared recently, we wondered if developers had called it a day. The good news (from New York YIMBY) is that new plans have been filed and the project is apparently moving ahead.
While we may have had a brief glimpse the other week at what the social spaces of the upcoming Virgin Hotel in Chicago might look like, (before the illustrations were swiftly pulled from the internet) we still have a while to wait before we can actually stay there.
After pushing back a Fall 2013 opening to a Spring opening before pushing it back again to this summer, it now looks like the Virgin will open in September, according to an interview Virgin CEO Raul Lea gave to Hotels Mag. So what's the hold-up? It looks like the historic building, the former Dearborn Bank, is giving Virgin some issues:
“It has been a slow process with so many historic building considerations, but we have uncovered some great things like 30-foot ceilings on the second floor,” Leal said, adding that he expects the hotel to be Chicago’s rate leader in the lifestyle segment.
The good news is that Virgin is still at work on a hotel for NYC which will break ground in um, 2016. Hopefully, the Virgin Chicago will keep us busy before then. Virgin will also make announcements soon on two new locations. We're guessing Miami and London but then again, the last time we made a guess, it didn't turn out so well for us.