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Natural disasters, like earthquakes, can paralyze travel plans, sometimes months and even years later. The February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, which pretty much closed down the city to tourism, was no different. But we've got good news--things are bouncing back, including the September 4th re-opening of the Ibis Christchurch Hotel, which has been closed for two years.
The South Island city of Christchurch experienced a 6.3 magnitude quake that caused 185 deaths. Slowly, but surely, the city has been rebuilt and people are moving back to the region.
It's been a long winter (and spring) but soon things will be getting back to normal on "Hotel Row" aka 44th Street in New York City with tomorrow's reopening of the revamped Algonquin Hotel at precisely 10am. After six months and an $18 million facelift, everything will be back in its place, except better than before. And that includes the hotel's resident guest--Matilda!
To celebrate the hotel's reopening and the return of Matilda, you can book the Matilda Package which includes To celebrate its re-opening, the Algonquin has updated its popular Matilda Package to includes accommodations; continental breakfast for two; a welcome cocktail in the lobby, a Matilda coloring book, a feline-focused book called "Fabulous Felines" by Sandy Robins, a plush stuff Matilda cat and chocolates for the kids and a "CATabulous" eye mask to help you with your catnaps.
Rates for Matilda package start at $329 a night not including taxes. Meanwhile, regular room rates for tomorrow start at just $229.
Wanna see what the new rooms of the Algonquin look like? GO HERE for our extensive photo gallery!
The Buckingham is turning into The Quin Hotel.
We've already told you that the Buckingham Hotel in NYC is turning into a new chic spot called The Quin but now we've got an estimated opening timeframe--Winter 2012.
Since that's Winter 2012 and not Winter 2013, we're guessing the place should open before the year is out. And with its location just blocks off Fifth Avenue and near big touristy spots like Lincoln Center, Museum of Modern Art and even Rockefeller Plaza, we bet the place will open right before the holidays to better cash in on the annual influx of holiday visitors.
Here's what we can expect when the hotel does reopen:
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The super-luxurious Ritz-Carlton Montréal is opening its doors once again on June 1 after an extensive renovation that saw it revamp its public areas as well as all of its rooms and suites.
This Grande Dame of a hotel has kept its belle époque style intact in its lofty lobby, Palm Court and Oval Room with coffered ceilings, much marble, and gold flourishes, but they’ve added a contemporary elegance by bringing in lots of whites, greys and textured woods.
The rooms and suites, too, are ritzy (sorry – we just couldn’t resist) with white, grey and yellow in abundance, modern lighting, and luxe decor. They’re a thing of beauty.
The Algonquin has been in the midst of a major spruce up since January, actually closing down for a few months for head-to-toe renovations. But before guests arrive on May 24 there's a part of the hotel that needs just a little extra time--the hotel's historic Blue Bar.
The venue has been expanded and updated with new lighting, banquette seating with black, white and navy fabrics and a jewel-toned blue carpet. The bar will open the first week of June.
The lobby area will keep its assorted sofas, chairs and loveseats for guests to sip cocktails, order light food or read a book. But the grouped seating will get new patterns and fabrics.
Rates for the hotel's reopening night are holding steady at $329 a night.
A Hoppen-designed room
There are few excuses we need to dream of Mauritius. Mauritius + celeb designer redoing a hotel? Super-excuse.
So thanks to Kelly Hoppen for signing up as designer for the LUX* Belle Mare. Not familiar with the property? It was called the Beau Rivage until December, when its owners Naiade Resorts rebranded as LUX*Island Resorts (going for the Wallpaper crowd, anyone?).
The redesign will be fully unveiled in September this year (she's already done the Honeymoon Suites and Pool Villas), but according to the hotel, the inspiration will be “Island Light” – or rather, a “lighter, brighter interpretation of luxury”. Think neutrals with bright – and we’re talking bright - accents of turquoise, fuchsia, apple green, orange, purple and Chinese red.
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Is that neon-lighting we see in the background?
Long operating hotels are working double time to keep up with their slick newer counterparts, undergoing minor facelifts or totally gutting their interiors to compete with fresh faced, showy young'uns. Truth be told, we often enjoy staying at places with a bit of time-worn character, but when a building's facade bears damage from World War I, even us history buffs think it's time for an extreme makeover.
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While the opening status of some hotels in Miami Beach like the Edition and the Cipriani have us scratching our heads, there is one confirmed hotel "opening" coming soon--The Surfcomber Hotel on December 1. Ok, so the hotel has been open for a long time, but come December 1st, the hotel will officially turn into a Kimpton Hotel (previously, it was a Doubletree.)
The rebranding made news back in April but the hotel has since undergone a top to bottom renovation that has sought to combine "the eclectic style of European Bohemia with a down home American front porch appeal." The 186 rooms now feature Frette linens and Ero bath toiletries but the hotel's outdoor pool area and its direct beach access remain unchanged.
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As you can see from this shot we snapped yesterday, there's lots going on at the Shelborne Beach Resort. The hotel's renovations are under way, and according to hotelier Keith Menin, right on track for the hotel's big reopening on November 30.
Finishing touches were still being added to the guest rooms, so we can't show you those just yet but we can tell you that they are smart, light and beachy with tons of natural light and simple, modern spins on the classic Deco hotel room. As Menin himself says, the idea is to create "a great, beachy, fun hotel" that will appeal to all kinds of travelers.
A laidback beachfront, poolside eatery, Lucy's Cantina Royale will help spread this good cheer to anyone strolling by and will be a place where you can grab a $6 taco or two and not feel like you're being ripped off.
And for something a little more upscale that you can dress up for, there's Vesper's Cafe & Brasserie. Here's a sneak peek...
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It's no secret that the eatin' and drinkin' in New Orleans is out of this world. Also, on game days, there is tailgating aplenty around the Superdome—and, now it's reopened, the Hyatt Regency New Orleans. But inside? There's even more yumminess to be had.
Our gallery has a little visual sampling of what's on offer, and here are the important deets on where to eat in the hotel:
8 Block Kitchen & Bar: Named for the eight blocks of Upper Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, the Hyatt Regency NOLA's signature restaurant is helmed by executive chef Eric Damidot, who joined the hotel from Caesar's Palace in Vegas. His menu is farm-to-table driven and blends international foodie favorites with traditional New Orleans flavors. Breakfast options include Fried Oyster Eggs Benedict and Beignets. Lunch and dinner specialties include She Crab Soup, Rotisserie Coq au Coin Farm Chicken Gumbo, Garlic and Pepper Crusted Gulf Shrimp and a Muffaletta sandwich.
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We love a new hotel opening. But what's even more exciting is a hotel reopening—especially when it's one as symbolic as this. On October 19, the Hyatt Regency New Orleans finally threw open its doors again, after a four-year top-to-toe refurbishment.
The hotel was badly damaged during Hurricane Katrina—and a highly visible sign of the storm, situated right behind the Superdome. Its return has locals beaming with pride and it couldn't come at a better time, with tourists back in force in Nola, and a slew of big events on the way, including the BCS National Championship in 2012 and the Super Bowl in 2013.
We checked in over the weekend, when the hotel was abuzz with Saints fans who filled up a large percentage of the 1,193 guest rooms. Here's our first peek at the hotel and an Executive Suite room. We'll have more on the hotel and its public spaces later this week...
We have been waiting for over two long and torturous years to step inside the legendary Hotel Bel-Air since it closed down for renovations. But today, we don't have to fret about whether or not we will be plucked from the waitlist to experience the hotel's new glamorous look.
That's because the hotel has graciously invited us to take a property tour. And knowing that this is a pretty major hotel event for hotel geeks, we've decided to bring you along!
That's right, HotelChatter is live-blogging the reopening of the Hotel Bel-Air! So sit back, relax and enjoy the show! And yes, there will be swans!