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Tokyo’s Toranomon Hills Tower may have only just opened, Andaz hotel and all, but one of the classic hotels nearby is planning its own future skyscraper already: the Hotel Okura Tokyo – famous for its 1960s time capsule lobby – will close next year August for four years of redevelopment.
Come February 2019, a brand new two-tower complex should be finished, which will increase room count from just over 400 to 550, adding office space in the process. Design will maintain “traditional Japanese aesthetics” while bringing in all the latest technological equipment – and looking at some of the room photos on the hotel’s website, they look like they could use some work. Half of the hotel’s grounds will be turned into a green “metropolitan oasis”.
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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.
Above is how the Donovan House looked at the height of its Thompson times. Pretty standard, but still rico suave. Now, click below to see what the rooms look like today after a multi-million dollar renovation of all rooms and suites.
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And so the wave of grande dame hotels embarking on major renovations continues: this time, it’s the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo, in the tiny principality of Monaco, which will start four years’ worth of work this October.
While we initially thought the hotel would close its doors entirely, it’s taking a slightly different approach and will continue to operate “on a reduced scale”. In order to prepare for the work, the hotel will indeed shut from October 6 to mid-December, but reopen for the holiday season, with full work kicking off on January 18 next year.
We should all look so good at 169.
As reported earlier this year, Rhode Island’s historic Watch Hill Inn has undergone a renovation — and now we learn that the bandages come off on June 6. Starting then you’ll be able to gaze upon the newly nipped, tucked, and enhanced visage of the property that is considered one of the country’s first purpose-built inns. Back in the glory days of electric trolleys and scarcely glimpsed ankle flesh, these sassy ocean-side accommodations were hosting everyone from Clark Gable to Henry Ford. (Not that a lady likes to brag.)
Today its looks will attract a more contemporary breed of moneyed young bucks. Watch Hill Inn has 18 villa-style suites ranging from 650- to 4000-square feet in size, and they’re all flouting a “contemporary coastal” design: creams and blues with nautical accents and modern tech like in-room iPads, wireless music systems and Apple TV. (The three-bedroom penthouse has its own media room. Nice.)
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At the time of closure – and based on a sign that was displayed on its front door until not too long ago – we had hoped for a return just before the 2014 festive season. But the first delay is already in the bag: the hotel’s website now talks about reopening on March 31, 2015.
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If you’ve never been to this Gothic revival-style grand hotel dominating Québec City’s skyline, you should know that renovating Le Château Frontenac would be like renovating a castle (the hotel even has ramparts!). But renovate they did and paid the princely price of $75 mill to revamp the 611-room, 120-year-old property. Wowza!
Compared to when this writer last stayed at the hotel about seven years ago, the lobby-to-roof reno looks to have kept the property’s elegant classical interior while updating textures and adding a more contemporary color palette.
Some of the nifty new things include the changes made to the Fairmont Gold level, Fairmont’s version of the Club Level. The room count went from 45 to 60 rooms and the private lounge – with dedicated concierge, morning breaky, evening hors d’oeuvres, and honor bar – has been consequently expanded and gussied up.
The Lanesborough may have closed late last year for its year and a half overhaul, but it looks like another Starwood sibling in London will finally be getting its turn to go in for a little refresh too: the Sheraton Park Lane Hotel will start a full renovation this autumn.
Technically on Piccadilly and not Park Lane, the hotel’s snooze-inducing décor in its 303 guestrooms (which is much less fresh-looking than the above image would suggest) is not something that many will miss we think.
While it is not the sexiest part of town, it makes sense that so many tourists decide to stay in Midtown, especially those visiting for the first time. Not only does it provide direct access to the major attractions of Times Square, the Empire State Building, and Madison Square Garden, but its central location makes it just as easy to go to Central Park as it does Brooklyn.
Last weekend, we swung through to check out what's happening at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel on 34th and 8th, which was rebranded as a Wyndham earlier this year and has since kicked off a 5-year renovation plan as it makes the change. (The hotel's iconic New Yorker Hotel sign will of course, remain.)
The outside is sporting the scaffolding as an exterior revamp is underway, yet most of the rejuvenation will be felt indoors. Fifty-seven guest rooms will be added by the end of the year to bring the total to 1,083, as well as a new wine bar (fall 2014), a spruced up lobby, and the introduction of the Wyndham personality.
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The Harrah's Resort Southern California, an all-encompassing Vegas-style gaming resort just north of San Diego, has not only undergone a name change (it used to be Harrah's Rincon) but it also added an entirely new tower to its property.
Called The Resort Tower North, the 403-room tower joins the resort's two existing towers and bump up the total room count to 1,065 rooms. But these new tower rooms are clearly the ones you want to book with their modern furniture and decor and upgraded amenities. (Rooms in the older towers are very outdated.)
And if you really want to splurge, book one of Resort Tower North's 48 suites which have a killer views of the neighboring mountains. Check out two of the suite types below!
We’ve seen street art as a temporary exhibit at London hotels, but Malmaison is taking things further by making it a permanent feature: working with street artist Xenz, Malmaison London not only has completely new interiors, but a series of intricate murals by his hand throughout the hotel, from the lobby to the guestrooms.
We stopped by this week to have a look ourselves, heading over to sun-splashed Charterhouse Square, which the pretty red-brick building – a former nurses’ home – faces. It’s a quiet corner just north of Smithfield Market / the Barbican and east of Farringdon that’s easy to miss, but a short walk takes you into the City or to Holborn and St. Paul’s.
A stay at the newly renovated New York Palace is not too shabby in itself, but now travelers looking to add a touch of exclusivity to their stay need look no further than The Towers, a 176-room hotel within a hotel, with its own reception area and private elevators, located on the top 14 floors.
Towers rooms range from 465-square foot Towers Rooms; Specialty suites (including the stunning 5,000 square foot triplex Champagne Suite and the Jewel Suite by Martin Katz); Towers Executive Suites; One Bedroom Suites, to the over 1200-square-foot Towers Corner Suites that feature fully stocked cocktail bars, kitchens, dining room tables and chairs for six, large outdoor terraces, and the option to add a connecting room with two Queen beds.
As well as a post-renovation rejuvenated look and feel, rooms in The Towers feature touch-screen tablets that control all of the room’s high-tech features including automated lighting, roman shades and blackout privacy curtains. Towers guests also have privileged access to Rarities, an intimate, men's club-inspired 25-seat salon — accessible to the public by reservation only.
A stay in the Towers also gets you a dedicated Les Clefs d'Or concierge team, house car service in a Mercedes GL350 or Maybach and Maître d'Etage service. Additionally, business travelers who book a Towers Corner Suite are treated to the “You’ve Arrived” service, which includes complimentary arrival airport transfer from New York City’s major airports.
Midweek June rates for The Towers start at $655 for a Tower King.
[Photo: New York Palace]
Gurney's Inn Resort & Spa, the only ocean front hotel in the Hamptons, will reopen Memorial Day weekend and unveil a series of upgrades and renovations just in time for summer.
The main component of the revamp is the addition of 38 new rooms, shown in the photos of this post. As you can see, they look pretty sharp, very modern but maintaining that simple beachside vibe. The only thing missing (judging from the photos) is a little bit of color, which we hope the hotel will introduce with fresh flowers or perhaps some wall-hanging art.
Also included in the reopening is the addition of four new restaurant concepts that feature a seafood restaurant (Seawater Grill), sushi and raw bar (Ocean Cafe), on-beach full-service chaise lounge (The Beach Club), and a juice/smoothie/coffee bar (The Market). The spa has also been refreshed along with the addition of a seawater swimming pool.