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Remember when we told you Kempinski Hotels sat down for 60 days with 60 designers from around the world to come up with the above, the Sunrise Kempinski Hotel, meant to resemble the rising sun as well as a scallop (no, really)?
At the time, opening was scheduled for mid-November, which obviously didn’t happen – then just before the weekend, we got excited by some actual photography from inside the hotel on its website, as well as a ticker that showed only two days left to go. Checking back in today, ready for a cheerful “Now Open!” in its place, we’re faced with the setback of opening another ten days away. Boo… We’ll make do with those photos for now then.
Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Rates / Affordable Hotels / Tune Hotels / London Hotels / Budget Hotels / → All Tags
Good news for the cost-conscious business traveller to London: a few weeks from now, there will be a fifth Tune Hotel to choose from, this time among Canary Wharf’s corporate high-rises. Four and a half years after we first tested its Westminster location, this 130-room hotel will bring some new interior design to go with the same low, low, low rates the group is known for.
Above a double room with window, of which there are 85. Another 22 doubles do without the exterior aspect, while for the 20 twin rooms the only choice is the windowed kind. Three accessible rooms (also with window) take it to the total of 130 rooms, walking distance from Canary Wharf tube station (the Jubilee line will take you to the heart of the West End in less than half an hour) and West India Quay for the DLR overground.
Rendering of the soon-to-open Godfrey Hotel Boston
The Oxford Capital Group announced last week that the Godfrey Hotel Boston will open its doors this fall in the historic Amory and Blake buildings of the city's Downtown Crossing neighborhood.
The property's exterior will maintain its pre-war brick and stone facade but the interior design will contrast the historic with oak paneling, porcelain flooring, and contemporary furniture. The hotel will have 242 rooms as well as an in-house restaurant, coffee shop, lobby bar, fitness center, and most importantly, free WiFi. No word yet on whether the employees' uniforms will be designed locally, as is the case with the Chicago property.
Naturally we had to do a room rate check. Here's what you can expect to pay on March 27. Break out the dollar bills!
Baha Mar Resort & Casino: At the main resort on site, you can expect to pay $350 a night for a seriously stylish deluxe king room with ESPA toiletries, a 48-inch flat screen TV, a Nespresso coffee make and a full or step-out balcony. The special opening offer also throws in a $100 in resort credit, which helps make the $40 resort fee plus 17.5 % tax per day a little more bearable. (But not really.) That resort fee includes: In-room Internet access, In-room Coffee, In-room Bottled Water, Unlimited Local calls, Health Club Access (2 per day), Non-motorized beach equipment.
Sorry the resort credit cannot be applied to the resort fee.
A rapidly growing yet totally bespoke trend in boutique hotel design--rough lux--(it's ok to roll your eyes) will have another unique offering this March, with the opening of the all-suite G-Rough in Rome.
G-Rough, a member of Design Hotels and now by association, a Starwood property, is the sister hotel to the glam-packed PalazzinaG in Venice and the second hotel from partners Gabriele Salini and Emanuele Garosci. PalazzinaG was the Italian debut for Philippe Starck back in 2009. Had to throw that in.
Virgin Hotels / New Hotels / Hotel Openings / Chicago Hotels / Sir Richard Branson / Hotel News / → All Tags
Over the weekend, we did IT. We finally slept with Virgin Hotels. It was not what we expected, since we didn't know what to expect, thanks to Virgin Hotels keeping their hotel product under wraps (lots of NDAs were signed, apparently), but despite entering uncharted territory, we can't wait to do it again.
So that your first time won't be a rocky time, here's our guide of what to expect when sleeping with a Virgin...Hotel.
(Not in the mood to read? Just look at the photos, you pervert you.)
APPROACHING THE VIRGIN: The Virgin Hotels Chicago is located at 203 N. Wabash, right on the corner of Wabash and Lake. Just up the block is the Hotel Monaco and two blocks past that is the Chicago Riverwalk (and one block past that are the Trump and Langham Hotels.) Getting to the hotel from the airport is incredibly easy. Just take the Blue Line on the CTA from O'Hare and you'll be dropped off at Clark/Lake, which is about three blocks from the hotel. We walked the walk while dragging a suitcase and it was totally fine. Luckily, the weather was "warm", around 30 degrees. When it's negative 30 degrees, you may just want to Uber from the CTA stop.
ADMIRING THE VIRGIN: As we got closer to the hotel, our heart skipped a beat when the bright red neon VIRGIN HOTELS sign came into view. Although Miss Ricky's All-American Diner and Two Zero Three coffee shop, the restaurants that bookend the entrance, are not opened yet, the well-lit property gave off a bustling vibe. We hardly noticed the historic architecture of the building, that is, until we stepped inside where amongst all the modern socializing spaces, it was clear this place had a long history before. (Look up at the ceiling and you'll see the original and ornate ceiling tiles, uncovered by Virgin.)
SAYING HELLO: The first person you will see before stepping inside the Virgin is a doorman, who will welcome you inside. Once you get inside, though, you will see an Ambassador, a lovely lady dressed in a bright red Virgin-colored, floor-length coat with a black faux fur hat. She will show you to either the red-carpeted stairwell, leading up to the second floor social spot, The Commons Club, or towards the check-in desk. She will also show you where your four-legged friend can wait--in a mod Union Jack pet pod at the bottom of the stairs--while you check-in.)
Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Rates / London Hotels / Chiswick Hotels / Noho Hotel Group / Urban Villa Hotels / Heathrow Hotels / All-Suite Hotels / → All Tags
Last week we had to inform you that the rooms at The Hospital have gone up in price just a few weeks in. But what we taketh away, we also give, so here’s some good news: Urban Villa is launching with lower rates than planned.
It is, of course, the all-suite half hotel, half residence midway between London and Heathrow (or, as they euphemistically style it, the “Great West Quarter” of London). When we first discovered it, rooms were due to start at £129, but now they’re down, right down, to £100 and up. For what you get, that is an exceptional rate. Nay, extremely exceptional.
Miami. Remember when it used to be "God's Waiting Room?" Or perhaps more relevant for the pop culture obsessed--the place where "Golden Girls" was filmed (and where the girls once ran their own hotel?) No longer.
We've just got the official opening date for one of the several anticipated openings of 2015--the upcoming 150-room AC Hotels by Marriott Miami Beach.
Opening in April, the hotel will be the third AC Hotel for the U.S., after New Orleans and Kansas City, which opens next month. So far it looks like it will have all the same amenities as the AC New Orleans--from the AC Lounge to the AC Kitchen to the free WiFi. However, it will be the sexiest AC thanks to its rooftop pool. Not to mention, the beach is across the street. #bringyourflipflops
Emma, one of your current Barcelona Room Mates
The Room Mate news is coming thick and fast this January. Hot on the heels of the incredible discovery of the free WiFi routers in their Spanish hotels comes the news that two new Room Mates are on their way to Barcelona this year, with a third planned for 2016. The brand already has two there, of course: Room Mate Emma and Room Mate Pau.
According to Observatorio Immobiliario, the first will open on Calle Aragón “within months”. It’ll have 81 rooms, a ground floor restaurant and a “rooftop poolside terraza” – sounds heavenly. This is the shopping area – the hotel will be at the corner with Passeig de Gracia – so this will be for your shopping-loving Room Mates. It’s a classic, early 20th-century building, and will be designed by Lorenzo Castillo. Here’s a tiny picture:
Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Rates / Marriott Hotels / Sarajevo Hotels / Residence Inn Hotels / → All Tags
Sarajevo is more famous as a city of hills, but it’s also one of those beautiful European cities with a river running through it. The Miljacka splits the city in two, with the city center on the north and a quieter, more residential side (with better views) on the south.
You’d think that a river city would have hotels clamoring to sit along the riverside, but for some reason, in Sarajevo, that hasn’t happened – most of the smaller, independent hotels are in the Old Town, and most of the chainy and business ones sit on the main airport road (AKA Sniper Alley).
But there is one exception. The only hotel that actually sits right on the Miljacka is the brand new Marriott Residence Inn. In another first, it's also the only internationally branded hotel in the whole of Bosnia & Herzegovina.*
Virgin Hotels / Hotel Openings / Sir Richard Branson / Hotel News / New Hotels / Chicago Hotels / New Hotel Smell / → All Tags
That's right. Tonight we are going all the way with the Virgin Hotel Chicago and you're going to watch!
Here's a look inside a deluxe king room at the hotel. It is very true to the press photo that was released earlier today, although we have found a few unexpected surprises--like a cherry red SMEG mini-fridge which serves as the minibar, the Red Flower toiletries in the bath, the rug which pays homage to London, and the proprietary bed, which reminds a bit of Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic. Yes, this means we will probably go to sleep thinking about Sir Richard Branson. Which is really just like any other night. #amirite?
Now, we're about to head downstairs to the The Commons Club to observe the social scene and have a bite to eat. If we're not too
drunk full, we'll have more photos of the public spaces to show you later tonight. Otherwise, we'll have a grand tour for you tomorrow on Monday. And we'll let you know how this little Virgin performed. Wink, wink.
At long frickin' last, opening day for the first-ever Virgin Hotel Chicago is here...and this is what a guest rooms looks like, as shown in a press photo. Our initial reaction, OMG. OMG. OMG.
Raul Leal, CEO of Virgin Hotels told us nearly a year ago that Virgin Hotels would be catering to women, saying that Virgin would be especially in tune with women business travelers (also Virgin gave their mobile app a girl's name) but still, we had no idea how feminine this room would be.
Look at that soft grey vanity and matching chair! Look at those bubbled table legs! Hello lighted mirror! And look at the carpet! Check out the pink dress in the closet! Notice that stylish petite desk to work on!
Clearly, we have a lot to say here but we're reserving our thoughts until we actually step inside the Virgin later today. While the rooms and the Commons Club lobby lounge are open, a few of the other spaces including the restaurants are not quite ready. Still, we'll do our best to scope them all out. We promise to leave no Virgin unclothed, er, unturned.
Stay tuned on HotelChatter.com for more pics and observations. If you aren't already following us on social media, find us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (the latter is where we will be posting most of our snapshots during our stay.)
But who cares what we think? TELL US YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE ROOM IN COMMENTS BELOW
[Photo: Virgin Hotels]