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In our 2013 WiFi Report, we took a special look at what are considered good working WiFi speeds at hotels. (One to 5mbps is a fairly good speed that will allow you to get all your basic internet activities done.) We've since been keeping track of hotel WiFi speeds on this story here.
Courtyard has already recognized the important of free WiFi (which they've offered for years) but now they're implementing certain internet standards for their general managers to follow. These include implementing definitive internet strategies for each property and working with certified internet service providers. (Hopefully, that will eliminate such mishaps as this one.)
Word is compliance for these standards will begin in July so by next year, Courtyard will not only have super cool new rooms but (fingers crossed), super cool working WiFi as well.
Earlier this month, Hilton announced it is planning to build a DoubleTree in Skopje, Macedonia. It might not seem like anything to write home about on the surface, but those who are aware of the steep uphill climb the country's capital has endured since it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1963 might understand why this is an especially big deal.
Most interestingly, the announcement comes during what is supposed to be the final chapter of the highly controversial Skopje 2014 endeavor, a multi-year government effort to restore the city's identity and, among other things, begin attracting tourists.
Quick backstory: The 1963 quake destroyed about 80 percent of the city, and most of the construction right after was, in a word, boring, lacking the personality it once had and evoking a socialist feel. In 2010, the city announced it would rebuild via the Skopje 2014 project, which was centered around the construction of new infrastructure along the Vardar River - think pedestrian bridges, historic statues, and the remodeling of town squares.
Swissotels is glamming up their hotels' executive lounges and to start, they've created a mini-version at their headquarters in Zurich. But unlike most hotel companies who keep their model rooms under lock and key, Swissotels is putting theirs on full display to the public.
The new DesignLab, as it's called, resembles a modern “Arvenstübli” or pine parlour which combines traditional Swiss design with contemporary design and technology. Here, DesignLab creator Karsten Schmidt and Director of Interior Design for Swissotels, breaks down the pine parlour elements:
“Drawers and furniture have been decorated with ornaments in the style of traditional Swiss Sgraffito, which is still to be found on the facade of many buildings in the Swiss canton of Graubünden.
The engravings and carvings originate from the Appenzeller wood-carver Roman Räss, who has created a name for himself outside of the well-known woodcarving town of Brienz, with his contemporary work and art projects. Selected design pieces such as the Bell Tables of Sebastian Herkner for ClassiCon, the book merry-go-round of Roderick Vos for Linteloo, the Etch Lights of Tom Dixon, the moooi chairs by Marcel Wanders or the Eames Rocking Chair of C. and B. Eames for Vitra, supplement the ambience in the new DesignLab."
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Ace Hotels opening in one of our favorite cities, London!
We stumbled upon this news yesterday as we were hunting down more info on their Los Angeles property, opening in the fall. The Ace's Facebook page posted picture of construction but not much else. Yet a link in the comments sent us to a jobs opening site for "London Shoreditch." Was this for an actual Ace Hotel or for some sort of Ace-related pop-up experience, we wondered? We got our answer almost immediately when we went to the Ace home page and saw a link for London.
The hotel is going up at 100 Shoreditch High Street, which is currently home to a Crowne Plaza. Now, that sounds very un-Acey as they usually choose older buildings for their hotels. But Ace is aware of this challenge and is going to do its best to give the site an Ace makeover. Here's what Ace Shoreditch has to say about the property:
We recently told you hotelier extraordinaire Ian Schrager would bring The London Edition to the UK in October. Now Schrager has finally released more coveted details on this project (the brand he created with Marriott International), as he returns to London after the 15 years since he introduced both the Sanderson and St. Martins Lane hotels.
The London Edition sets out to preserve the original Berners Hotel, built in 1835 as five luxury Georgian townhouses and turned hotel in 1908. But don't think that means this'll be another stuffy-puffy London property. Schrager makes it clear:
“The hotel is inspired by the grand traditions of Great Britain: the traditional, aristocratic English country manor and the quintessential London private gentleman’s club with a modern, edgy, urban feel.”
Hotel News / Four Seasons Hotels / Orlando Hotels / Disney World Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Florida Hotels / → All Tags
Well, color us surprised. Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World might still be a year away from opening, but hot on the heels of its GM appointment, the apparent interest in the 434-room resort is already so significant that a first series of rates for meetings and groups has been released. Talk about planning ahead.
We’ll get to those rates in a second, but alongside there’s an indication what us normal people will be paying to live it up with Mickey. Unfortunately, the same seems to hold true here as it does for Disney itself these days: bring your wallet. Rooms will start at $595 in September 2014, going up to $645 from October onwards. Family packages aside, with a room and one-day admission for four, you’re looking at a grand a day just like that. Eeeek.
Chicago Hotels / Hotel News / Aloft Hotels / Hyatt Place Hotels / Langham Hotels / Hotel Opening Rates / → All Tags
While we countdown the days until we can sip on cocktails on the roof of the Virgin Chicago, there's three more hotels opening up in the city, all in the next few weeks. Here's what on deck for the Chicago hotel scene:
· Hyatt Place River North Hotel: Opening on June 20, this new Hyatt just north of the Looop will feature a bi-level lobby, rooms with views of the river and all the amenities that come with a Hyatt Place including free WiFi, free breakfast, cozy sofa sleepers in each room and a 24/7 Grab n' Go case and Bakery cafe in the lobby. Rates start at $218 a night for an advanced purchase rate.
· Aloft City Center: Also opening the exact same day is the first Aloft for Chicago proper (there's already one by O'Hare Airport.) And again, all the Aloft amenities will be here as well including the W XYZ River North Bar, the re: mix lounge, the re:fuel pantry and even Arf, Aloft's pet-friendly travel program. Rates start at $239 a night for a prepaid rate.
· Langham Chicago: At long last, the Langham Chicago will open on July 10 and we're nearly giddy over the room amenities which include a 55 in. television, a deep soaking tub and La Bottega Dell Albergo toiletries.There's also a swimming pool in the hotel's Chuan Spa and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine served downstairs at the new Travelle restaurant. Rates start at $356 a night on opening night.
[Photos: Hyatt Place; Aloft and Langham Hotels]
Hat tip to Tony for the reminder!
The Missoni Hotel Edinburgh, which is a part of the Carlson Rezidor hotel group.
Club Carlson, the global hotel rewards program from Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, recently conducted a survey of a thousand people to get a grip on the public’s views and thoughts of hotel loyalty programs.
Logically enough, the study revealed that the ease and frequency with which one can earn free nights is the main motivator when it comes to joining a loyalty program. Free Internet, regular promotions, and the quantity of hotels at which to earn and redeem points were also major factors in participation.
The study found that disappointing experiences would cause 91 percent of people to discontinue their affiliation with a particular brand, and one in four individuals would join a competitor’s loyalty program after a single bad experience. On the flip side, two-thirds of those surveyed said it would take three or more good experiences to consider themselves loyal to a specific brand. Sounds like our experience in the dating world!
We’ve been aching for more details on what Peninsula Hotels has in store for us in Paris, having walked past the construction site on Avenue Kléber earlier this year and last spring. After playing around with their seriously high-tech bedside tablets, we finally have a few more details on what’s going to be inside the 1908 Beaux Arts building in the city’s 16th arrondissement come opening time next year.
First of all, say it with us: rooftop bar, rooftop bar! One of our favorite hotel pursuits will be possible at the Peninsula Paris, with a planned rooftop restaurant, bar, and terrace serving ‘modern French cuisine’. The terrace has capacity for 50 people, so we bet this is going to be one hot ticket once the sun is out. Equally, you can bet we will be getting our behinds up there toute suite after opening to tell you all about it.
Hotel News Briefs / Hotel News / Hotel Openings / Oberoi Hotels / Dubai Hotels / Hyatt Hotels / India Hotels / Tryp Hotels / Panama Hotels / Shangri-La Hotels / China Hotels / Singapore Hotels / Westin Hotels / Starwood Hotels / → All Tags
There's tons of hotel news flying around this week and we don't have time to give each and every story the love and attention it may deserve, so you will have to settle for some news briefs.
· Oberoi Dubai Is Now Open: We were so busy making popcorn in preparation for the opening of Dubai's first movie-themed resort that we almost forgot about Oberoi Dubai, the 252-room luxury resort that opened last week in downtown Dubai. Guest can expect all the usual Oberoi touches, like in-room check-in, 24-hour butlers, and two Presidential Suites that come with their own 1.5-meter plunge pools. In addition to that, there will be four restaurants—including Nine7One, which sources different cuisines from all seven (7) continents—and a 24-hour spa with Ayurvedic treatments. Rates from $272/night.
Gay Hotels / Hotel News / Jeff Klein / Naked Hotels / Clothing Optional Hotels / West Hollywood Hotels / → All Tags
We've always wanted hotelier Jeff Klein to open more hotels. After all, his Sunset Tower Hotel is one of the best hotels in LA, loved by celebs like Jennifer Aniston. Not to mention, with his City Club Hotel in New York City, he was a firm believer in offering free Wifi to his guests at a time when most hotels were still sending folks down to the business center to get online. But we're not quite sure about his latest acquisition.
Curbed LA reports that Klein has recently purchased a "a clothing-optional gay motel" in West Hollywood that's more known for being a drug haven. Eeek. The place is also adjacent, ironically, to a rehab facility called Klean. (Yes, that is correct.) But while Klein plans to keep the clothing optional aspect of the inn, he has now enforced a "zero tolerance" drug policy. Thank god.
However, he still has his work cut out for him. Check out this recent review of the inn on TripAdvisor reviews:
Update 11:50AM, 6.14.13: The board has voted! See results below!
Man, the Morgans Hotel Group cannot catch a break.
The parent company to such hip hotels like the Delano South Beach and The Hudson in New York has been sued again. This time, the lawsuit's been filed in Istanbul by a company called JMJ Development, LLC who is claiming Morgans Hotel Group, its CEO and a property owner engaged in "breach of contract, tortuous interference with existing and prospective contracts, intentional misrepresentation, conversion, fraud, and conspiracy." That's some serious stuff. You can read all the nitty gritty accusations on the press release but here's a snippet:
Without JMJ's knowledge or participation, Morgans and Coruk created a new Turkish company to own and develop the hotel, Morbel Hospitality, in which Michael Gross and Richard Szymanski, CFO of Morgans, are directors. According to a December 2011 press release, Morgans released $10 million to the new company under terms remarkably similar to the terms negotiated by JMJ. The parties conspired to circumvent the agreements to JMJ's detriment.