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Who can believe the Shangri-La Hotel Toronto is one year old? They grow up so fast...
The hotel is marking its big birthday by partnering with Sunny Fong of luxury women’s wear label, VAWK, to create spiffy new Lobby Lounge outfits. Celebrities have traipsed down the red carpet in VAWK designs worldwide, including the Cannes International Film Festival, the Grammy Awards and the People’s Choice Awards.
For the Shangri-La Toronto the designer drew inspiration for the sexy and sophisticated outfits from the “artwork in the lobby, the Ming vase tea library and the ornithological theme that is prevalent in the hotel, and the Zhang Huan ‘Rising’ sculpture.” The dress design borrows from traditional Asian design with shoulders reminiscent of the pagodas found in Chinese gardens and a sleeker silhouette of the traditional qipao with mandarin collar. The goal was to create something dramatic, almost theatrical, and holy-cremolely, he did achieve that.
And then there's the VAWKtail.
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We've spent a good deal of time
stalking tracking news about New York's new Refinery Hotel. It's piqued our interest for so very long, and at long last we've been able to take a long look at the midtown hotel which was once a hat-making factory.
Though May 14 was when The Refinery welcomed its first guest, it was pretty bare bones--the restaurant wasn't even open. In June, the Parker & Quinn restaurant invited patrons to nosh, and then July 1st, the hotel's much anticipated rooftop space was unveiled to great fanfare.
Now, at three months old, The Refinery, with interiors done by Stonehill + Taylor, is getting a cool rep as more people discover its existence. In fact, the execs (and Tim Gunn) behind Bravo's fashion reality show Project Runway were so impressed with the property, they decided to house their contestants there this season, instead of their mainstay The Atlas, just across the street. Perhaps the staff's chic uniforms, vintage hats and antique millinery tools from the owners' millinery background had a hand in the decision.
Take a look at our photo gallery and read more about The Refinery's stylish features after the jump.
We've discussed what the industry experts think the next phase of hotel rooms will look like, but what about the ones who will be footing the bill in the future?
That's right -- the kids are finally getting their say when it comes to hotels.
At the beginning of August, Residence Inn by Marriott hosted the first "children's roundtable" to discuss what they "truly" want from a hotel. They also asked the kids for their opinions about any changes that should be made going forward. We've got to hand it to the youth -- they do indeed have some fun ideas.
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We told you back in March that the 725-room hotel formerly known as the Lexington, then Radisson Lexington, and then just The Lexington again had recruited Dash Design to handle its multi-million dollar renovation. Well, the renovation is in its final stages, and we've had a sneak peek at the results.
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Chances are if you've been in NYC lately, you may have walked by the newly redesigned Novotel New York Times Square and not known it. That's how hidden this hotel is from the exterior--even with the remaining bits of the $85 million construction debris as a giveaway.
Heck even HC wasn't sure the European-brand hotel was open yet. We thought it was scheduled for September 19. But no, as we were led through the property, we were informed that it had quietly been in soft-opening since the end of July!
Walking around, it was surprising how many guests had already made the hotel home. The makeshift lobby was filled with people of all ages, cashing in on staying at Novotel's only U.S. property right in Times Square.
Let's take a look inside, shall we?
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The Hotel d’Angleterre in Copenhagen, part of Leading Hotels of the World, re-opened its doors in May after two years of renos. After being cosseted behind scaffolding during the reno, it felt like we were unwrapping a present when we walked in. What struck us immediately was the hotel’s chic elegance that is so often the trademark of Parisian hotels. The fact that Copenhagen’s hottest hotel bar is found here, and it’s a champagne bar to boot, only added to the feeling that we must be in Paris. And – oh wait – the hotel’s name IS Angleterre, which is French for England....
A tad disoriented? Pay no mind; let yourself appreciate the fact that you’re in Copenhagen, surrounded by lush purple flowers and furniture, modern art and beautiful people, in a lovely hotel that offers warm and friendly service.
Hotel d’Angleterre currently has 35 rooms and suites, with 55 more in the works. The rooms really are a hotel lover’s dream, whether you’re a technophile or a custom comfort nut: There is Bang & Olufsen A/V equipment in each room; beds are the Swedish luxury brand, Dux; the custom hotel scent is by Danish brand, Laura Bonné (whose cosmeceuticals are also used in the spa), and the high-tech Swiss Geberit douche toilets have more buttons on their remotes than do the TVs. The rooms even have butler cupboards -- leave your shoes to be shined and they’ll magically disappear and reappear again without any human interaction whatsoever, so continue to dance naked in your room if that’s your thing. Plenty of pics below!
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Jacobsen's Room 606
Few can deny that Danish architect Arne Jacobsen, creator of the Egg, the Swan and the Series 7 chairs, was one of the most iconic architects and designers of the modernist era. Could the Radisson Blu Royal Copenhagen be his finest achievement? We went on an exploratory mission to check out what was said to be the “landmark of the jet age.”
The hotel opened in 1960 and was originally built by SAS to accommodate both its first airport terminal and its passengers who needed to stay overnight to catch a flight out of Copenhagen. After a night at the hotel, passengers would check in for their flight in the terminal building attached, and wait for the airline's shuttle bus to take them to the airport.
Today, the hotel still has the same clean lines and simple detail that it had back then. The famous Jacobsen Egg and Swan chairs, originally designed for the hotel, are still found throughout the very large black-and-white-marbled lobby and in the rooms. The elegantly curved white lobby staircase pushed the limits of technology in the late 50s and looks like it could be found in a loft from 2013. Other original details include the dark wenge wood found on the main floor of the hotel. Jacobsen designed everything from the cutlery and plates, bathroom fittings and door handles to the chairs and lighting fixtures.
(There are plenty of pics for you to see in the photo gallery!)
Tom Stringer, who will reinvent the Talbott, also designed Grant Achatz's Alinea, shown here
Two more Chicago hotels—The Talbott Hotel and ACME Hotel Company—are taking steps to bolster the swank of their interiors. The news follows our recent announcement that the historic Chicago Athletic Association (CAA) is enlisting the services of the hotter-than-now Roman and Williams design firm and our peek at the new and fine rooms expected this October at Thompson Chicago. It has us wondering; is the Windy City turning a corner when it comes to hotel design?
More on that deep thought in a moment, but first, The Talbott and Acme.
An insider has shared that The Talbott has hired award-winning designer Tom Stringer to tackle a significant refresh of the historic hotel, including the lobby and all 149 guest rooms. Known in Chicago for his work on Grant Achatz’s Alinea, Next and Aviary restaurants, Stringer plans to honor the hotel’s old-world European charm while also modernizing the dated design. That means bringing the interior design up to speed with rooms that already feature advanced in-room technology amenities, namely Apple Mac Minis. It's all very good news for the hotel, which also saw the opening of Ryan Poli’s amazing Little Market restaurant in its lobby this past year. So with high tech rooms, a top Chicago restaurant and soon the updated design, Talbott will be sitting prettier than it has in years.
We have to say that we've never seen so much world-wide hotel construction in the last two years. It's exciting business, but it means increased competition for already-established properties. In order to stay in business they have to up their A game and that usually comes in the form of renovations.
But a slap of paint ain't gonna cut it. And not even discounting your hotel is enough. There are plenty of high-end budget hotels out there.
So in the spirit of lending a helping hand, here are 7 Signs Your Hotel Needs an Upgrade. Trust us, in order to run with the big dogs of the hospitality world, pay attention to innovations being made.
Read on for the worst offenders.
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Back in February we told you that rumors were swirling in cyberspace that a Trump Hotel & Tower might be coming to Vancouver. Well, stop the swirling because we can confirm that Mr. Trump is coming to Canada’s biggest west coast city.
The Trump International Hotel & Tower Vancouver is expected to open in summer 2016. Here are some of the tantalizing deets:
• 147 guest rooms, 218 residences
• Vancouver’s first pool bar nightclub (details on what this is all about are scarce right now)
• A champagne lounge
• A signature restaurant
• Canada’s first Mar-a-Lago Spa by Ivanka Trump, a new line of boutique spas
• Trump Attaché – a dedicated department that offers guests personalized attention with no service off limits (we can only imagine!)
Read the full story for some more pics!
We’re all pretty good at playing Monday-morning quarterback when it comes to both good and bad decisions about the layout and amenities of hotel rooms, but have you ever wondered how the hotel industry comes up with the concepts and designs in the first place?
The general public is understandably kept in the dark about most of the development processes for multiple reasons, some no doubt related to competition, but we know hotel chains do indeed test out new room concepts on certain properties before rolling them out nationwide and that trade shows offer the opportunity to see new products in person. While the latter are "temporary," we learned recently that the first permanent exhibition is now under construction outside of Munich at the Hotel-Kompetenz-Zentrum, a center/platform and adviser in all fields of the hotel and gastronomy industry.
One floor of the building is set to become a "hotel without guests" that features "eleven room types, from 3-star comfort to luxury suites, as well as a large reception area with a bar and a café." Each room is designed differently in an effort to try out and showcase various strategies. This allows those in the hotel industry to easily compare rooms, layouts, designs, concepts, etc.
It turns out Aloft Hotels is not the only Starwood hotel with a design partnership. The Luxury Collection Hotels is also turning to home design this summer thanks to a new partnership with the addictive furniture and decor site, One Kings Lane.
The duo's new partnership is inspired by the All-American Road Trip and includes sales on items sourced from around the country by One Kings Lane's expert pickers. For example for the West Coast road trip, One Kings Lane stayed at the US Grant in San Diego and the SLS Hotel in LA and hit up several furniture and antiques shops in both cities. The stories, shopping trips and most importantly, the sales will happen on July 2 and July 9.
Of course, the new partnership also includes a hotel package where One Kings Lane will customize a shopping road trip itinerary--with the help of the Luxury Collection hotels' concierge team--when guests book a minimum of two nights at any of the LC hotels in North America. Sample road trip itineraries include from the Equinox in Vermont to The Chatwal in New York or from the SLS Hotel in LA to The Palace Hotel in San Fran. The package also throws in a $200 gift to use with One Kings Lane and suite accommodations.
Can't actually hit the road this summer for an antique shopping spree? Don't worry, if anyone asks where you found that darling new lamp, we'll cover for you.
[Photo: Luxury Collection/Facebook]