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You use already use Amazon.com to do everything you need from buying books, diapers and shoes to streaming TV shows and movies so it makes sense that the e-tailer will start allowing you to book hotels through them. But this won't be just another massive web hotel deals aggregator.
According to Skift's exclusive report about the forthcoming Amazon Travel service, hotel options will be curated and independent hotels. Here's how it will work from the hotel side:
Properties would load their room types, availability, pricing information, and photos into an Amazon extranet and would pay a standard 15% commission to Amazon for the prepaid bookings, the hoteliers at the independent properties said.
The properties would get notified by Amazon via email of bookings, hoteliers said, and they would update calendars on the extranet.
The hotels would generally list their properties at rack rates, but would be free to discount, one hotelier said.
Hoteliers would receive their payments from Amazon for the stays in two installments and could obviously attempt to negotiate a lower commission than the standard 15%.
Did you catch that part? Pre-paid bookings. But if the discounts are good and more importantly, the hotels are hand-selected, rather than being just hundreds of big hotel brands, this could be very attractive when searching for a reasonably-priced hotel that still has some personality.
Skift reports that Amazon Travel will start around January 1 in New York, Los Angeles and Seattle with other cities to roll out soon.
A B Hotel!
This is an interesting turn of events. The other day we reported that the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel, formerly The Yankee Clipper, would stop being a Sheraton on December 1 but there was no clue as to who or what brand would go in its place. Now, we have an answer. A tipster tells us that the hotel will be a B Hotel. And indeed, it's been confirmed on the B Hotels website with an opening date of December 1.
You might remember the B brand opened its very first hotel in Fort Lauderdale, but that has now changed into a Sonesta Hotel. B went onto open a spot in Orlando as well as Savannah and they launched their b2 brand in Miami.
No doubt all the B programming will be installed in their FLL spot, including mood lighting, free WiFi and variety of amenities and services that all start with B. Hopefully they will let the Yankee Clipper's Wreck Bar and the Dos Caminos restaurant just "b."
It's really happening! Gone is the wraparound red construction board at Chicago's eagerly anticipated hotel and in its place, a real live Virgin. Er, marquee.
That's right. Signage just went up at the Virgin Hotel Chicago and it is looking good. Of course, the entrance is predictably Virgin with its red sign lettering and the Virgin logo on the plaque next to the door, but still looking good. We're also chuckling at the cheeky window signage which says, "Is the plural of cheese, cheese or cheeses? Either way I could use a glass of wine." So could we. And some cheeses while we're at it.
Additionally, signage went up for Miss Ricky's All American Diner at the hotel, and a special VIP with some giant red lips stopped by to admire it. Lovely. And slightly scary.
Rates for the hotel, which opens on January 15 start at $219 a night for a Chamber King room.
Congrats to Virgin. Now just make sure the T, E, and L are always lit up. Otherwise, you'll have a real oxymoron on your hands there.
[Photo: Virgin Hotel]
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
Imagine this, with a Singapore map on the wall
But it turns out we’ve underestimated Premier Inn. They’re not just UK and Ireland anymore. They’ve gone global.
In Singapore the other week, we stumbled on this story about Premier Inn’s plans to open its first hotel in Singapore. How exciting! Except now we realize there are already Premier Inns in India and the Arabian Gulf. You guys!
Anyway, Premier Inn Singapore Beach Road will have 300 rooms with rates at the SGD $160-190 rate ($127-152), which is good-to-standard for the more budget end of the market (although Singapore has lots of beautiful budget hotels, which it’ll have to compete with). It’s currently being built on Beach Road, near Arab Street, and is gunning for an mid 2016 opening. There will be a pool, fitness center and meeting rooms, too.
Look. We're not stupid. We know that several, many, maybe hundreds of people have stayed in a hotel room before we got there. We know this.
Which is why we always throw the comforter or top blanket on the bed to the floor and why we avoid touching the remote control and never drink out of the bathroom glasses. But just when we think we had mastered the germs in hotel rooms, here's come another new report just reminding us how filthy hotel rooms can be, even after housekeeping has come by.
A new study from The Rossen Reports team went into hotel rooms at five major hotel chains after housekeepers finished cleaning the rooms and began conducting bacteria tests. They also waved the trusty old backlight over the room. Bacteria was found in the in-room telephones (Ew) and suspicious stains were found throughout the room (Ew but also, eh). However, the remote control proved once again to be the filthiest object in the room.
The former Roney Plaza/Gansevoort South/The Perry Hotel in Miami is almost finished with its $100 million renovation to turn into the naturally glam 1 Hotel South Beach, but you can reserve a room today for stays starting on March 1.
Not surprisingly for a luxury hotel in season in Miami Beach, the rooms are ridiculously expensive, with a king room going for $665 a night. Want a balcony with your room? That will be $712 a night. Prefer an ocean view? That will be $855 a night.
But we have to admit, these are some seriously good-looking rooms. Gone is the high-sheen of The Gansevoort and in its place is a eco-luxe look with reclaimed wood on the walls, natural poured concrete in the floors, overstuffed pillow on the couches, and peekaboo bathrooms. Don't forget, Chef Tom Colicchio is opening his restaurant downstairs while upstairs is a pool deck with similarly eco-luxe style cabanas and seating.
It was only a matter of time before British boutique chain Hotel du Vin would make its way to the capital, adding to its 15 existing hotels in secondary cities from Bristol to Birmingham and Winchester to Edinburgh. Now it has, but rather than a central London hotel, it has acquired Cannizaro House in Wimbledon, a country house just off of Wimbledon Common with a rather interesting history.
Cannizaro House has 46 rooms and suites, which as part of the transition to becoming Hotel du Vin will see a £1 million refurbishment (above an image of the Sophia Johnstone Suite, one of four suites the hotel has). While not mentioned outright, part of the investment will go to the restaurant, so it wouldn’t surprise us if a Bistro du Vin will appear as well.
The hotel will join the group next year, but isn’t featured yet on the du Vin website. We’d hazard a guess that they will aim to complete everything before the All England Lawn Tennis Club Championships, better known as just “Wimbledon”, between June 29 and July 12, 2015. Rates for a Double Room start around £200 ($300) in December, but expect those to spike during the championship.
[Photos: Cannizaro House]
You know the feeling. You’re checking into a hotel, maybe a little late. You get into the elevator a little wary. You emerge onto your floor, hoping that the room won’t be directly opposite the elevator door, or that it won’t be overlooking a rubbish dump, that it won’t be a disabled room if you don’t need it – hey, you might even be hoping for a particular layout or color scheme, we won’t judge.
Well, UK chain Thistle Hotels wants to quell your anxiety with its new “Choose Your Own Room” service, being trialed at its London Euston property. They reckon that 48% of British hotel guests have asked to change rooms before (this being Britain, we reckon that means at least another 48% have wanted to ask but felt too impolite to do so), and 40% feel some kind of anxiety about getting saddled with a dud pre check-in.
With Choose Your Own Room, you can, unsurprisingly, choose your own room, with 360-degree virtual tours of available rooms, so you can pick the one you want. According to the Telegraph, who gave it a whirl:
After booking a room at the Thistle Euston, guests are sent an email granting online access to the hotel floor plan. On a Wednesday night, I was given the option of picking between five different rooms available over two floors in my price category. There were also photos for each room, including a 360-degree interactive “tour”.
The photos included views and different color schemes, in order to pick the exact one you want. Which is almost more anxiety-inducing, in a way – what if you pick the wrong one?
Hotel Rebranding / Sheraton Hotels / Fort Lauderdale Hotels / Historic Hotels / Starwood Capital Group / Barry Sternlicht / Hotel News / → All Tags
Not long after Starwood Hotels dissolved its management of the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood, Fla. (the hotel is now known as The Diplomat and it's part of Hilton's Curio Collection), comes another big brand loss in nearby Fort Lauderdale.
The Sun-Sentinel reports that The Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel, remembered by most as the Yankee Clipper Hotel, will cease to be a Sheraton on December 2, 2014. However, no one knows yet what sort of brand, if any, will take over the cruise-ship inspired building which is also home to the Wreck Bar and Dos Caminos restaurant.
Interestingly, the building was sold in 2005 to the Starwood Capital Group, which is actually hotelier Barry Sternlicht's company and not Starwood Hotels'. So could this turn into a 1 Hotel or a Baccarat Hotel? Highly unlikely, as the building is rumored to be for sale, but we're dying to find out what will end up happening.
Got any inside scoop? Let us know!
[Photo: Sheraton Fort Lauderdale]
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Back in April, Four Seasons Hotels announced their own branded 757 private jet with three exquisite journeys beginning in February. But in case you didn't make enough money this year to afford one of the $100,000+ flights, which also include accommodations, meals, excursions and ground transportations, there's always 2016.
Four Seasons has announced their 2016 journeys, starting at $100,000. They are:
· Timeless Discoveries: An Around the World Journey: January 26 - February 18. USD $125,000. Flies to Los Angeles, Kona, Bora Bora, Sydney, Bali, Chiang Mai, Taj Mahal and Mumbai, Prague, and London
· International Intrigue: An Around the World Journey: April 14 - May 7. USD $125,000. Flies to Seattle, Tokyo, Beijing, Maldives , Serengeti, Istanbul, St. Petersburg, Marrakech and Boston
· Extraordinary Adventures: An Around the World Journey: September 17 - October 11. USD $130,000. Flies to Austin, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Sydney, Langkawi, Mauritius, Serengeti, Petra and the Dead Sea and Lisbon.
· Cultural Escape: Europe, Middle East and Africa: November 4 - 22. USD $100,000. Flies to London, Petra and the Dead Sea, Dubai, Seychelles, Serengeti, Florence and London.
[Photo: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts]
This is not the first time a hotel has done this (see The Grand Hyatt in Cairo) but it is the first hotel in London to do so. Also, given the boycott of the Dorchester Collection that happened this summer because its owner, the homophobic Sultan of Brunei decided to enact Sharia Law in his country but not at his hotels, pulling alcohol and pork was kind of a ballsy move.
However, a spokesperson for the hotel, which is part of the Bespoke Hotels collection, told the Huffington Post UK that same-sex couples will be allowed as guests. Right now, it's just alcohol that is no longer being sold but guests can bring their own alcohol. Pork products will stopped being offered after Christmas.
As of today, the hotel's website doesn't make it overtly clear that the hotel has stopped selling alcohol but they have changed the name of the GB Grill and Bar to just GB Grill. Rooms for this weekend are sold-out but next week rates are just 164 GBP a night.
[Photo: Bermondsey Square Hotel/Facebook ]