Tag: Hotel Renovations

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A Look Inside Madrid's Hotel Villa Magna

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  Site Where: Paseo de la Castellana 22, Madrid, Spain, 28046
March 27, 2015 at 3:00 PM | by | Comments (0)

Don’t you love it when a hotel does a reno and decreases the number of rooms rather than increases them? The Hotel Villa Magna in Madrid (part of Leading Hotels of the World) renovated the property between 2007 and 2009 and we mean gutted it – demolishing everything but the building’s façade and the floors – and took the room count from 182 to 150 rooms and suites. This leaves you with some of the most spacious rooms in Madrid.

Madrid-based interior designer Thomas Urquijo is the master planner behind the design, which is best-described as contemporary elegance. There's a touch of Bauhaus, Viennese Secessionism and Louis XVI styles all thrown in there, with both public and private spaces bathed in earthy greys and off-whites. Furniture is a combo of restored antiques and modern additions, and one nice touch is the colorful artwork found throughout the hotel, all part of the private collection of the hotel’s Portuguese owners who, we were told, also own the Four Seasons Lisbon.

Found in the posh Salamanca district, right in the heart of Madrid’s ritziest shopping, the hotel’s rooms and suites are broken down into seven separate categories, starting with the Magna Room all the way to the Insignia Suites. But get this: the smallest room category, the Magna Room, is a whopping 376 sq ft. As a comparison when we stayed at the ME Madrid in one of their Energy Rooms (the last room category just before you hit the suites) it was only 265 sq ft. Sometimes bigger really is better.

See all of the pics in the photo gallery!

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An Inside Look at the Newly Renovated Shelborne Wyndham Grand in Miami

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  Site Where: 1801 Collins Avenue [map], Miami, FL, United States, 33139
March 26, 2015 at 10:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

In July 2013 the Shelborne Hotel in South Beach closed down in order to renovate the entire property (which was very much needed). It opened again at the end of September 2014 as the Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach with relatively little fanfare, so we’re going to toot its horn a little bit because, during a recent stay, we quite liked this 200-room property.

Designed by two very different designers – Meg Sharpe, who did the public and commercial spaces, and Richard Mishaan, who created the rooms and meeting spaces – the hotel has a sort of Jekyll and Hyde quality that, strangely, works together to create an Art Deco beauty.

First some history to give you context on the design. The building was constructed in the 1940s and embellished in the 1950s, when the Moderne Style of Art Deco was in fashion. Think glamorous streamlined design, with shiny metallic surfaces and a focus on the new, modern transportation design in cars, airplanes and trains. Both designers have worked to bring this particular era to life, albeit each with a distinctive flair.

Richard’s rooms are bolder in both color and pattern, with deep ocean blue furniture and rugs offset against stark white or mirrored furnishings. You’d think the heavily patterned wall coverings and lamp shades would throw the whole design into chaos, but it keeps the space oddly invigorating. Rooms have 46” Interactive Smart Samsung TVs with mobile connectivity, iPhone docking stations, Frette linens and private label bath amenities in a calendula scent.

Have a look at the Photo Gallery to see an Oceanfront Balcony room as well as a Partial Ocean View King, plus all of the public spaces!

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Before and After: The Fairmont Château Laurier Redecorates Canada's Castle

Where: Ottawa, ON, Canada
March 25, 2015 at 3:15 PM | by | Comments (0)

Tripadvisor reviews haven't been very kind to Ottawa, Canada's historic Fairmont Château Laurier in recent years. The popular sentiment seems to be "time for a major renovation" and, luckily enough, that's exactly what the hotel has in mind. Better than that actually; the Château Laurier is in the midst of such a renovation of the guest rooms, replacing the former "grandma's guest bedroom" aesthetic with something much more modern, fresh, and bright.

Redecorated rooms finally offer lots of power outlets (including a desk with built-in console and bedside table lamps with outlets), Nespresso coffee makers and a variety of Fairmont proprietary tea blends, and bathrooms are equipped with both an ultra-flattering light-up mirror and a makeup mirror, not to mention toiletries from Le Labo's Rose 31 collection.

Only a small number of the hotel's 429 guest rooms have been redecorated with the fresher look, so guests should request one during booking or, at the very latest, during check-in.

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Before and After: The Fairmont Kea Lani's Heavenly Renovation

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  Site Where: 4100 Wailea Alanui Drive, Wailea, HI, 96753
March 18, 2015 at 5:14 PM | by | Comments (0)

We love hotel renovations nearly just as much as we love new hotels. But what we really love about hotel renovations is seeing the transformation that happens when an old, tired and lackluster room gets a modern makeover and transforms into new, spiffed-up, stylish guest room. Or put more simply, we love comparing the Before and After.

Kea Lani means "white heaven" and the all-suite and villa Fairmont Kea Lani in Maui certainly is divine now that it's completed its extensive three-year, $70 million renovation. Improvements have touched nearly every aspect of the 22-acre Wailea property.

Above is how a one-bedroom suite at the property used to look. Just a bit too dated for our tastes. But keep reading to see how the place looks now!

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The Madonna Inn Gets Rid of its Vintage Bedspreads, Kitsch Fans Get Furious

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  Site Where: 100 Madonna Rd [map], San Luis Obispo, CA, United States, 93405
March 17, 2015 at 8:55 AM | by | Comments (0)

The new look

There are some things you don’t mess with. Vindictive people. Authoritarian governments. Icons – especially icons beloved of millions of people.

Sadly, the Madonna Inn, that icon of kitsch in San Luis Obispo lost the memo on that last one. Because in a breathless blog and Facebook post it revealed it’s getting rid of its famous bedspreads. You know, the vintage ones with mad patterns – paisleys, pomegranates, horses, bits of leather – those really famous, unique bedspreads that are integral to the crazy decor of the hotel.

What are they replacing them with? Crisp white sheets. A couple of cushions (sorry, “throw pillows”). And that most infernal item of chain hotel inroom décor: the utterly useless velvet stripe that goes across the end of the bed. Or, as the Madonna Inn says, “bed scarves”. They also say:

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A Former Stockholm Department Store Will Sell Hotel Rooms Instead of Hats

Where: Stockholm, Sweden
March 13, 2015 at 11:09 AM | by | Comments (0)

Once a place to shop, The PUB department store in Stockholm will become a place to drop once Scandic Hotels, a progressive and increasingly hip brand (hip as in HTL Kungsgatan) which dominates the Nordic region, conducts a top-to-bottom makeover of the spot.

The PUB, named for savvy businessman Paul U. Bergstrom, was one of Stockholm’s largest department stores. Greta Garbo fans will know that the legendary film star worked at the PUB in 1920 as a clerk and a model. There’s even a web page devoted to her early days (“Greta at the PUB.”)

Now Scandic, along with Stockholm developer Axfast, will team up to dream up a grand luxury hotel inspired by the grace and style of the 1920s. The hotel will have approximately 400 rooms and go by the name Scandic Haymarket.

In other Scandic news, there's another hotel concept in the works coming to Stockholm in the spring of 2017. This will be a redo of the present Scandic Sergel Plaza and will be Scandic's first self-proclaimed “city resort.” Follow ups to follow for sure.

[Photo: Scandic Hotels]

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Before and After: Le Grand Salon at the Hilton Paris Opera Through the Times

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  Site Where: 108 Rue Saint Lazare, Paris, France, 75008
March 13, 2015 at 8:55 AM | by | Comments (0)

Today we have a before and after with a twist for you: rather than a straightforward out with the old, in with the new, we’re starting with a vintage photograph of the elaborate Le Grand Salon at what was then Hotel Terminus in Paris. Check out the lions guarding the tiered staircase, the pillars and arches, and those chandeliers.

First opened in 1889 for the Exposition Universelle (the World Fair that also saw the creation of the Eiffel Tower), its location next to Gare St. Lazare (and in fact, physical attachment to – more on that in a second) made it the ideal choice for those coming in on long-distance trains from the coast. Over the years, as these stories often go, things were painted or plastered over, boarded up, or otherwise altered.

New ownership coming in at the end of December meant a cash injection of $50 million, as well as a change in management from Concorde Hotels to Hilton. Officially reopened as the Hilton Paris Opera at the end of January (when we first fell in love with it), here is what Le Grand Salon looks like today.

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It's Only 30, But Northcote Lodge Already Got a Facelift

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  Site Where: Northcote Road, Langho, Blackburn, Lancashire, United Kingdom, BB6 8BE
March 13, 2015 at 8:25 AM | by | Comments (0)

A new room in the Garden Lodge

Ain’t no birthday like a hotel birthday. To celebrate its 30th, English country house hotel and recent addition to the Relais & Châteaux portfolio, Northcote Lodge, has opened a new wing.

We say “wing”, but it’s actually much better than that – a brand new building in the hotel grounds. The Garden Lodge houses seven rooms and one suite – all of which have terraces, supersized tubs as well as showers, and views across the Ribble Valley in Lancashire. The décor is rather nice – almost new-style Laura Ashley – if a little shiny in this particular room. Maybe that headboard will calm down with age? Free non-alcoholic minibars, Bose sound-systems and Temple Spa amenities are par for the course.

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More Photos of The Thoroughly Modern Le Meridien Hotel in New Orleans

Where: 333 Poydras Street [map], New Orleans, LA , United States
March 12, 2015 at 3:51 PM | by | Comments (2)

Modern Mad Men style on display at Le Méridien New Orleans

Earlier this year, we oohed and ahhed over the sophisticated transformation of the old W Hotel into the Le Méridien New Orleans on Poydras street but now we have a full gallery of the thoroughly modern and Le Méridien public spaces, guestooms and the Urban and Luxury suites along with close-ups of the crazy cool hallway wallpaper we previously admired and the updated pool area.

FWIW, the rest of the hotel looks as tasty as a powdered sugar covered beignet from Cafe du Monde. Except that thanks to Le Méridien's new eclair program you can find that sumptuous treat in the Le Méridien Hub (the lobby) instead.

Rates start at $329 a night this weekend for a classic room.

[Photos: Le Meridien Hotel New Orleans]

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Circa 39 in Miami Beach Gets a Makeover

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  Site Where: 3900 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL, 33140
March 11, 2015 at 4:28 PM | by | Comments (0)

In addition to all the new hotels coming to Miami this spring, there are lots of old hotels with new spaces to show off, and that's just as important to know.

Circa 39 in Miami Beach is all gussied up for spring with its recent two-year, multi-million renovation competed –- and it looks fab. The updates include the refurbishment of all 97 guest rooms, the lobby areas, on-site dining and the pool deck.

The modernized bathrooms feature glass shower enclosures, bathrobes, and Aveda bathroom products as well as custom-designed furnishings in teal and white finishes and solid wood floors.

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Hotel de Crillon and Ritz Paris Are Still in the Land of Dreams

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  Site Where: Place de la Concorde, Place Vendome, Paris, France
March 4, 2015 at 8:25 AM | by | Comments (0)

Nearly a year and a half ago we looked at this pair of Parisian palace hotels and said they were deep into their beauty sleeps: Hotel de Crillon had just about a year behind it, while Hotel Ritz was hammering away at renovating rooms and public spaces for fifteen months already. While there is progress to report, both hotels are still far off from waking up.

We’ll flip the order this time and make a stop on Place de la Concorde first, where today you will see a temporary façade larger than the Crillon itself hiding the construction quarters that have been erected (a better view of how that works below). Forget also that 2015 opening; it’ll be nearer the end of next year, if not 2017, before Rosewood will have its third European hotel.

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San Vicente Bungalows: A Chic Place to Lay Low in West Hollywood

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  Site Where: 845 N. San Vicente Boulevard [map], West Hollywood, CA, United States, 90069
March 3, 2015 at 10:51 AM | by | Comments (0)

Nearly two years ago, news came out that Sunset Tower hotelier Jeff Klein had purchased a "clothing optional gay motel" in West Hollywood. At the time, the spot was known not just for its lax clothing policy but also for the drug habits of its guests. Its nickname was "Sin Bin."

But a year after purchasing the property, Klein had done significant upgrades to the 29 bungalows and the pool they surround (the jacuzzi was removed) to warrant a feature article in the NY Times. Today, the hotel goes by the name San Vicente Bungalows and looks like a chic little oasis in the middle of WeHo. But it is by no means luxe.

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