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There's really no hiding the fact that we are enamored with QT Hotels, the hip, Aussie hotel chain that had wowed us with singing elevators, free WiFi and yummy cocktails. But now we don't have to stick to Down Under to revel in their cool rooms and rad lobbies.
QT will be opening in New Zealand in Wellington for its first international adventure by acquiring the equally as unique Museum Art Hotel. The Capital city hotel is the brainchild of Chris Parkin, a local art collector and Wellington City Councillor who still operates the property today, which was physically moved in 1993 to save it from demolition.
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#Thatmomentwhen one of the most famous hotels in Europe gets sold and you start panicking that it’s the end of an era until you realize that everything’s going to be just fine and it’s just the owners, not the management, that are swapping keys.
That panic was all over us earlier this morning when saw a press release with the words “Gritti Palace” and “closing” in the headline. Could one of Starwood’s two flagship properties in Venice really be leaving the Luxury Collection?
Qatar’s Constellation Hotels Group – which already owns the Intercontinental Park Lane – has snapped up a 64% stake in Coroin, which owns the Maybourne Hotel Group (and is mainly owned by the Barclay brothers, who also own the Telegraph newspaper and London’s Ritz).
The all-inclusive Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa in Montego Bay was recently purchased by Sagicor Life Jamaica, owner of the three Jewel Resorts in Jamaica: Jewel Runaway Bay, Jewel Dunn's River and Jewel Paradise Cove.
However, no name change is taking place, at least for now. The 489-room resort will continue to operate as the Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa and will be managed by Aimbridge Hospitality. And Hilton loyalists, have no fear! Guests of the resort will continue to have access to Hilton benefits, including participation in the Hilton HHonors loyalty program.
However, there will be some upgrades happening to the resort. In a press statement, Dave Johnson, President and CEO of Aimbridge, talked (vaguely) about the future plans for the property:
The luck has gone from bad to worse to slightly better and then back to worse for the now-closed Revel Resort & Casino on Atlantic City's boardwalk. The Canadian firm who announced last month they would buy the resort for a bargain $110 million has decided to drop the deal.
Toronto-based Brookfield US Holdings LLC has simply said that it "terminated the Revel acquisition." The Press of Atlantic City first reported the news and said the reason for the termination was because " bondholders refused to rework debt connected to construction of Revel’s power plant." The power plant story is kind of a doozy. Read the Press' report to find out more.
So what does this mean for Revel? Well, a backup buyer was named at the bankruptcy auction, developer Glenn Straub. He even appealed the bankruptcy court decision to name Brookfield as owner. The good news is, he's still very interested but he doesn't seem keen to keep the aspect of Revel. Hey, something is better than nothing, right?
Keep reading for another update on the AC Hotel Scene
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But don't worry. It will remain a Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Hilton Worldwide, who unloaded the property, will remain in charge of the hotel's operations for the next 100 years.
Despite the property leaving Hilton's hands, the best news to come out of this sale is that THE HOTEL WILL FINALLY, AT LAST, GET RENOVATED. We've long known that the regular rooms at the hotel are total dogs. The Waldorf Tower rooms are more luxurious but still look a little stale and stuffy. No word on when the renovations will begin but we hope it's ASAP.
[Photo: HotelChatter Flickr Pool]
Just a few short weeks ago, we watched as Revel Resort & Casino, the strikingly modern casino on Atlantic City's boardwalk, closed down after just two years in operation. This closure was followed by more closures and more bad news. However, someone else's metal detector just went off in the sand and it could mean the resurrection of Revel.
Toronto-based Brookfield US Holdings LLC has agreed to buy the Revel Resort in a bankruptcy auction for just $110 million. The casino cost $2.4 billion to build. Brookfield US Holdings LLC (nice name for a Canadian company, eh?) also owns the Hard Rock Las Vegas and the casino at Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas.
There's a little bit of a hurdle for the new owners to overcome as they expect to be delinquent on an interest payment for their Hard Rock property. But a spokesperson said that shouldn't affect Brookfield's ability to buy the Revel. (Um? It probably should.) Anyhoo, tentative plans call for the resort to once again operate as a resort-casino. There's no timeline and there's no word on whether the name Revel will remain (indeed we suspect Hard Rock could come in here) but so far, this looks like much-needed good news for Atlantic City.
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The Excelsior, up for sale
Last week we learned that one struggling Venice island hotel had finally had its prince come along, in the shape of St Regis, and it got us thinking: what’s happening with the grande dames of the Lido?
The glorious old Hotel des Bains – which was the setting for Death in Venice and, more recently, one of the venues of the Venice Film Festival – closed in 2010, to be redeveloped into luxury apartments within a year.
But in Venice a few months ago, we couldn’t help noticing that it was still a building site.
According to Il Sole 24 Ore, everything is up in the air. There’s some complicated real estate fund stuff going on, but basically Est Capital, which bought the properties off Starwood, has foundered, and they’ve been passed to Hines Sgr, which is mulling over the options.
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Well, after only four years of operating under the Radisson Blu brand, the property has been bought by Riu Hotel & Resorts for $45 million and will undergo a name change to the Riu Palace St. Martin on June 1st.
While it has yet to be announced whether Riu will make any physical changes to the property, we do know that it will become an entirely all-inclusive resort under the new ownership. There was an all-inclusive option under Radisson, but it was not an all-inclusive property.
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UPDATE 9.6.13: A rep for the hotel emailed us to say, "We're having our most successful year on record since reopening in 2008. We're averaging over 80% occupancy a year and have the highest revenues in the history of Fontainebleau. In fact, Fontainebleau is one of the most profitable non-casino hotels in the world." In other words, party on.
It's unbelievable that even in the face of financial troubles, Miami Beach's legendary Fontainebleau is still partying like all's right in the world.
The hotel capped off their summer of BleauLive concertsthis past weekend with a performance by singer Robin Thicke and Grammy-winning producer/musician Pharrell Williams. The duo took to the stage and performed their monster summer hit, "Blurred Lines."
Meanwhile, the details are equally blurry regarding the upcoming sale of The Fontainebleau to South Florida developer Turnberry Ltd. Dubai World, who has 50 percent stake in the hotel, has already unloaded other assets to repay $25 billion worth of debts, with the SoBe hotel the most recent on the chopping block.
According to an article in Reuters, the sale of the hotel will be completed in a few weeks, but the price is being kept hush hush according to their source, and Dubai World's spokesman would not comment.
Depending on who you talk to, the sale of the trendy Hotel Le Bleu couldn't have come at a better time.
For some, the 48-room Park Slope property, which came on the scene in 2007, has steadily gone down hill despite being located in Brooklyn's up-and-coming Fourth Avenue neighborhood. Not only is it close to the Barclay's Center, home to the Brooklyn Nets, but also to the restaurants and bars in the increasingly popular Gowanus neighborhood.
So, why is Hotel Le Bleu on the market for $12 million?
To be clear, the eight-story property, owned and managed by family-owned, California-based Globiwest Hospitality Group, is not shutting down completely. No, GHG is merely seeking to transfer their 99-year lease, and set sights on other endeavors. Sean Kelly, a managing director for CPEX Real Estate, which is handling the sale told The Brooklyn Paper, owners "would like to roll that cash flow into some other real estate ventures.” This is a good thing, as it appears they aren't putting money into Le Bleu.
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The late Leona Helmsley's Park Lane Hotel is about to go out in history, just like its famous owner. It's in the process of being offloaded to a mysterious buyer who sought the help of New York-based developer Witkoff Group to help facilitate the private sale.
Once the $660 million (give or take $10 mil depending on your source) deal is done (the expected date is in November) word is the new owners intend to turn the prestigious hotel into…condos. Decisions are still being made on whether a hotel/condo model will work or whether to completely demolish the building and rebuild.
If these super-secret investors decide to continue on the real-estate route, they'll be building a tower of high-end condos thanks to the 46-story Park Lane's Central Park South location, but we can't help but feel sad this will be the end of an era in the hotel world. We were waiting to get just a little older to sit in Harry's Bar and order a $19 martini and not feel like an insolent kid for daring to be in such a grown-up place.