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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.
We told you last year that Omni Hotels was taking over the King Edward Hotel in Toronto and would be spending $40 million on renovating the hotel, from guestrooms to the 17th floor Crystal Ballroom that has been closed since the 1970s. While its 20-foot ceilings and four-way skyline views will make for a dramatic addition to the hotel, we’ll start today with a look at the before and after of the guestrooms.
The move to Omni last year marked 110 years since the hotel first opened in 1903, so it’s probably no surprise the rooms had a rather classic feel, but how have they changed?
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New Brunswick’s Grande Dame of a hotel, The Algonquin Resort, reopened last week after a one-year “rafters to registration” refurb to become Canada’s first hotel under Marriott’s Autograph Collection brand of independent hotels.
The century-old plus Algonquin Resort’s guest rooms and public spaces were completely redesigned by Toronto designer, Robynne Moncur of Moncur Design. The hotel’s décor reflects its Victorian origins but is re-styled for a modern sensibility, with a living room-style lobby that invites lingering around the two-sided fireplace. The lounge now opens to an outdoor patio that takes in the nightly sunsets over Passamaquoddy Bay in the awesomely-named St. Andrews-by-the Sea.
Each guest room and suite in the 233-room resort includes comfy pillow-top mattresses and bathrobes, radiant heat flooring in the bathrooms so that your tootsies don’t get cold, MP3 players, 32-inch flat screen TVs, in-room coffee, and complimentary in-room movies and WiFi. Select rooms and suites even feature a balcony or patio for you to while away an afternoon with a book — something like Michael Martin’s Lost in Hotels seems appropriate!
Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Hotel is known for its killer views and for honoring hometown favorite Grace Kelly with a cocktail in its new lobby bar, opened in the midst of a $10-million, 12-month refurbishment in anticipation of the hotel's upcoming 25th anniversary.
More upgrades aren't far behind, as the hotel announced that its new 15,000 square-foot spa facility, The Rittenhouse Spa & Club – Hair by Paul Labrecque, will open in late summer and contain a spa, health club, and salon.
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Another San Francisco hotel has gotten a major makeover and we expect more to follow.
The Huntington Hotel in Nob Hill, originally built in the early 1920s, will reopen in May after a rather sexy and racy renovation (to the tune of $15 million) that will also bring with it a name change--The Scarlet Huntington.
The hotel is now a part of Singapore-based hospitality group, Grace International, who have made the Huntington into a spin-off of their Scarlet Hotel in Singapore, a very sexy property which uses words like "uninhibited", "bold" and "naughty" to describe itself.
While the rooms of The Scarlet in San Francisco will have a similar boudoir look to the Scarlet in Singapore (think lots of red, gold, black and "daringly dim lighting") the staff of the hotel will be familiar to previous guests as many of the Huntington's former staffers, including the concierge who has been there for 30 years, are expected to return to the hotel.
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The New Yorker Hotel has seen some ups and downs in its 84 year history: from fashionable hotspot that drew the likes of Joan Crawford and Muhammad Ali; to scene of Nikola Tesla's death and, in recent years, status as a lowly Ramada.
But the iconic Art Deco-style hotel entered a new era last week when it joined the Wyndham Hotel brand, which, with a 1,083 room count, makes it the biggest hotel in the Wyndham portfolio.
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We've been following the extensive rebranding of Accor Hotels' Pullman Hotels over the past year as they re-launched hotels in London and Brisbane to appeal to an upscale business traveler crowd. Now we're looking at the rejuvenation of their hotels in Paris, starting with the Pullman Paris Eiffel Tower which is in the midst of completing head-to-toe renovations.
We were able to peek into two room types--a Superior room and a Deluxe room--as well as take in two different views, a garden view and a view of the Eiffel Tower, from the rooms' respective terraces. (The garden view is actually a rooftop below that will be landscaped with a garden. It was still under construction so no pictures.)
Given that this Pullman is the closest hotel to the Eiffel Tower (like three blocks), the views are of course, spectacular. The hotel also boasts a 10th floor private event space which has also been renovated with a new glass roof, enabling visitors to see the top of the Eiffel Tower.
Take a look at the new rooms in the photo galleries below!
Milan, recognized around the world as one of the great intersections of design culture--where fashion, interior design, and architecture come wonderfully together. We often look to Milan for inspiration and what’s next.
And what’s coming next, as in right next door to the circa 1932 Excelsior Hotel Gallia, is a striking new addition that is garnering quite a bit of attention. Not to mention an Italian tourism award for its modern design. Not bad for a project still under construction. Once completed sometime next this year, it will be hard to ignore but maybe easy to love. Once we get to know it.
March 1 is shaping up to be a big day on the Chicago hotel scene. That's the day not one, not two, but three historic hotels will unveil major renovations. But it's not exactly a coincidence.
The California-based Broughton Hotels owns all of the European-style hotels that got the makeovers. The Majestic Hotel in Lakeview, The Willows Hotel in Lincoln Park, and Lakeview's City Suites Chicago were all originally built in the 1920s, and all are relatively wee-sized. City Suites, the smallest has 45 rooms while The Willows is the largest with 55 rooms, and the Majestic Hotel has 52 rooms.
AF Canta, a Cali-based design firm, cooked up the concept for the renovation, which saw similar updates at each property. Each hotel has new lobby furnishings, lighting, window treatments, linens, carpeting, and artwork. The guest rooms have also been modernized with iHome docks, and all of the hotels have fiber optic internet.
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We can always count on New York, Chicago and Miami for a new hotel but San Francisco? Those are few and far between. So when we got news that a new boutique hotel was opening this summer in Union Square, we immediately perked up.
The Hotel G, located on the corner of Geary and Mason Street, was formerly known as the Hotel Frank before it closed down in 2012. (We even stayed in it way back when!) So it's not exactly a new build. But after an extensive renovation of all 13 floors and 153 guest rooms, the hotel will emerge with a new design that is "simple yet functional and complements the building's unique architectural environments," said general manager, Steve Rizzo.
The hotel will also get a simple yet functional new name, The Hotel G.
Guest rooms will have "fog-colored walls, wood finishes and earthy fabrics and textiles." Expect some pops of bright color along with cool decor accents like Victorian settees (a nod to the hotel's past), vintage school house chairs, banker's lamps and mid-century writing desks. Modern amenities will include flat-screen SmartTvs, docking stations, Nespresso coffee makers and not surprisingly, complimentary WiFi.
The rooms we've peeped on the website are waaaay more subdued than the Frank's old rooms. We liked the Frank's quirky design but the G Funk Era, er, the Hotel G, is much, much, much easier on the eyes.
The historic Royal Savoy in Lausanne, Switzerland is in the midst of a dramatic makeover, due to be completed next year. The word is out, and now early images are out, and we are sharing them with you.
The Royal Savoy opened as a hotel in 1906 and was a popular destination for royalty and bigwigs from around the world. It was built during the short-lived but highly artistic Art Nouveau period, and the hotel is both a landmark and a pride of Lausanne. Defined generally by the free-flowing curves and shapes found in nature, Art Nouveau style provides a rare context for contemporary hospitality design. The Royal Savoy has taken on the challenge with a full-out renovation and expansion that will include almost twice the number of guest rooms (196), a wellness center, and quite a new look.
The hotel is one of three properties of the Burgenstock Selection, owned by Qatar-based Katara Hospitality. They have some pretty special properties including one in particular we have all been waiting for – the Peninsula Paris. That being said, we can’t wait to see how they transformed Royal Savoy.
We have been following the extensive renovations at the hotel formerly known as the Milford Plaza, now The Milford for some time. Now, more than years and $140 million later, the hotel is ready to relaunch on March 1st under the new name, Row NYC.
When we last checked in we showed you some of the 1,331 bright, subway line color-inspired bedrooms with Times Square billboard inspired graphics over the beds (rates start at $279), as well as the fun hallways that take you on a walking tour of NYC’s downtown neighborhoods via commissioned images of Soho, Greenwich Village and the Lower East Side. But that's not all that's new at the new Row NYC, which is the creation of architectural and interior design firm Gabellini Sheppard Associates (who are also working on the nearby and also soon to relaunch, Knickerbocker Hotel). It has come a long way since its budget hotel days.
Following an extensive refurbishment, this month Grace Hotels formally takes over Washington, Connecticut’s Mayflower Inn & Spa — and introduces an impressive new dining destination that would put the first Thanksgiving to shame. The 58-acre property, a favorite respite for moneyed New York power brokers and politicos, is now the Mayflower Grace: the second American location for the luxury hotel group.
The centerpiece of the acquisition involves the launch of a fine dining restaurant, Muse by Jonathan Cartwright, showcasing modern European cuisine: pretty contemporary plates that you probably wouldn’t expect in the quintessential Yankee environs of rural Connecticut. For instance, smoked lobster served in small, clear, egg-shaped orbs with screw tops is a bit more “Lady Gaga” than “First Lady,” but coming from Cartwright, a five star-awarded grand chef Relais & Chateux, the results remain unsurprisingly sophisticated and polished for the teeth-gnashing upper crust clientele.
It hews to the formula of his muse at The Vanderbilt Grace in tony Newport, Rhode Island. (Next: Kennebunkport’s White Barn Inn is re-launching as White Barn Grace later 2014, according to a press statement, though it has already adopted the new name on its website.)