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The bad news, guys, is summer is ending.
The good news is, winter means opportunities to do things you couldn’t face in summer – like sleeping outdoors in India. Especially when it’s tiger season.
This month sees the (re)opening of three tented camps from Sujan in Rajasthan: Sher Bagh, in Ranthambhore, the Serai in Jaisalmer, and Jawai Leopard Camp.
Sher Bagh (top pic) isn’t new, but it’s been completely renovated for the 2014 season, with all tents getting their ensuite bathrooms refurbished and enlarged (yes, ensuite bathrooms being enlarged - as you can imagine, these aren’t your ordinary tents). Two new suites have also been created – one with a walled garden, one with a private pool (and both with butlers). The location, meanwhile, is tiger central – 81% of visitors last year saw at least two per day.
Hotel Renovations / Hotel Reopenings / Tiara Hotels / French Riviera Hotels / Cote d'Azur Hotels / Hotel Pools / → All Tags
We may have listed eight of our favorite Côte d’Azur hotel pools earlier this year, but not surprisingly there are many – many – more to choose from. Shortly after our little sample of where you can take a refreshing dip in the south of France, two additional pools joined the list of options with the April reopening of their respective, and renovated, hotels from a small brand we don’t hear much about: Tiara Hotels.
Both are located in Théoule-sur-Mer, a village just west of glitzy Cannes, with above Tiara Yaktsa, a name that conjures up images of Thailand or Indonesia more than it does la douce France for us. The 21 rooms and suites also looks further afield for inspiration, with “Middle-Eastern Moucharaby flair” and a mix of creams and vibrant pinks and purples.
There’s nothing like a little Hollywood style hype to draw some attention to the re-opening of a hotel. For two years, the Hotel Zoo in Berlin has been under serious wraps during its renovation and we don’t have much more to go on than we did when it closed. Recent announcements about the hotel’s big unveiling this October have got us curious, and clues about what the hotel may actually look like come from, none other than, Hollywood.
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August 1 will be a big day in Paris: not only is Peninsula Hotels finally opening its rather grand entry into Europe, the Plaza Athénée will start welcoming guests again after a closure of just under a year.
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As promised back in January, Hayman Island – the northernmost of Australia’s Whitsunday Islands – reopened last week fresh off of $80 million dollars’ worth of revamp, officially becoming “One&Only Hayman Island” in the process.
A lot has changed, as you would expect for that kind of cash, from updated rooms to a new spa and restaurants, but the basics are still there: a remote private island, a yacht transfer (or seaplane or helicopter, if you prefer) away from Hamilton Island, and the expanse of the Great Barrier Reef around you.
Hotel Reopenings / Venice Hotels / Venice Lido Hotels / Historic Hotels / Regent Hotels / Starwood Hotels / → All Tags
The Hotel Des Bains in its heyday
Che fortuna amici, che bella notizia. This is big news. Huge! Venice’s historic Hotel des Bains, the grande dame of the Lido that inspired Death in Venice, hosted a bajillion movie stars for the film festival, and was shuttered in 2010 and sentenced to be redeveloped as luxury apartments (vomit) – will most likely be refurbished into a hotel once more.
According to local paper La Nuova, the Des Bains and its sadsack teammate, the Excelsior, are no longer for sale. The owner? The Cassa Depositi e Prestiti – a government-owned company. Regent and Starwood are still battling it out to run the properties (Raffaele Costa is out), but whoever wins will be the operator, not the owner.
But most exciting of all is the news that it looks likely that the Des Bains will make a spectacular return. From La Nuova (our translation):
It seems probable that the Des Bains, after its refurbishment, will return to being exclusively a hotel, putting a stop to the project that would have transformed part of it into hotel-residences – as was the initial plan – because the market conditions and the convenience of taking it forward are no longer in existence.
Hotel Openings / Hotel Reopenings / Hotel Rebrandings / Mykonos Hotels / Greek Island Hotels / Starwood Hotels / → All Tags
Mykonos is already huge, of course, but it’s getting more attention from the luxury set this summer with BA launching direct flights from London (no more indirects/slumming it on SqueezyJet) and a whole host of new openings.
Starwood is (re)unveiling Santa Marina, a Luxury Collection resort, following a three-year renovation (picture below). The hotel is waterside in Omos Bay, and all rooms have at least a partial sea view. Designwise, they’ve gone for clean and contemporary – wood floors, neutral colors and oversized windows to keep the focus on the views. Rates start at €322 (£436).
Meanwhile, Small Luxury Hotels of the World have added three properties to their portfolio. Boheme, an all-suite hotel just outside Mykonos Town, combines sea views from on high with midcentury furniture to pep up the white color scheme. Rooms start from €180 ($244), with breakfast.
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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!
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Drake Devonshire Inn, opening this summer.
When we released our Master List of Worldwide Hotel Openings in 2014, our Canadian hotel section was sparse. Sorry. BUT, news has been coming in from our neighbo(u)r to the north about 2014 hotel openings so we've been able to expand on that section. We'll add this to the Master List soon (sorry again) but here's a dedicated look at what's in store for Canada. Looks like we need to make a trip up there soon, eh?
· JAG Hotel: Spring
· ALT Hotel Montreal Griffintown: Spring
· Fairmont Le Château Frontenac (reopening): June
The rest of the country below!
Manhattan power breakfasters and NYC-visitors alike won't have to wait much longer for the Loews Regency Hotel in New York to reopen: reservations are currently accepted for stays beginning on January 16, 2014. The highly-anticipated reopening of the Park Avenue property follows a comprehensive $100 million renovation, and includes a new restaurant, salon, spa and four new private meeting spaces.
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The Loews Regency Hotel on Park Avenue shuttered its doors last January leaving the NYC's power breakfasters suddenly homeless. But come January 16th, the landmark hotel will be making eggs and bacon again, amongst other things.
The hotel is finishing up an extensive $100 million renovation, that's been spearheaded by Jonathan Tisch, the chairman of Loews Hotels & Resorts, and which has overhauled 379 guest rooms (above) including 58 suites as well as created a new restaurant and a new salon and spa, along with new private meeting spaces and a fitness center.
While we already knew that the salon and anti-aging spa will be run by celebrity stylist Julien Farel, we're a little more interested in the return of the restaurant, especially since it was so well-loved by so many powerful people.
Loews promises a new dining concept managed by New York restaurateurs Gherardo Guarducci and Dimitri Pauli of the Sant Ambroeus Hospitality Group. (Their Sant Ambroeus restaurant on West 4th is favored by celebs and models alike.) Together they will work Executive Chef Dan Silverman to bring a market-fresh menu filled with "modern interpretations of classic dishes" combined with "international flavors and palates."
But will Larry King still be able to get his Cheerios with blueberries? We hope so.
Miami Hotel Mambo / Nakash Family / THompson Hotels / Hotel Reopenings / Hotel Rebrandings / → All Tags
The other week we could scarcely believe the news that the new owners of Gianni Versace's South Beach mansion-turned-hotel would want to merge their new acquisition with their existing hotel--The Hotel Victor. After all, we though the Victor was supposed to be property of the Pomeranc brothers, formerly of Thompson Hotels.
But no, the Victor is now solely under the Nakash family who owns Jordache Enterprises. We know, Jordache Jeans and Versace in one place? Only in South Beach.
As for the Victor, the hotel has officially reopened after an impressive $8 million renovation that gave the hotel more of a "beachhouse vibe" with new guestrooms and oceanfront suites as well as an updated pool scene and cabanas, and a new lobby designed by Yabu Pushelberg. Amenities now include free WiFi, communal computers and complimentary beach cruisers, which let's face it, is the fastest way to get around South Beach in high season. Unless you've brought your own rollerblades, of course.