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We’ll start with the good news first: of the twelve hotel employees that were injured after the gas blast at the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill, only one remains hospitalized, with non-life threatening injuries. Having walked by the hotel, we can also confirm that statements about part of the building having “collapsed” seem exaggerated: as you can see in the photos further below, the building is intact, and only at the rear of the building does there seem to be any damage.
Unfortunately, the official statement on the hotel website, and the notices we saw, do say that the hotel is “currently closed for the foreseeable future”.
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On the first day of Christmas, Andaz Liverpool Street gave to me… a giant box that looked gorgeous on the outside but was ultimately empty, perhaps as a representation of the hollow emotional void of consumerism.
Nah, as if – this is the Festive Folly in the Andaz lobby, and it’s no damning take on modern society; rather, it’s an East London art installation. As you walk through the folly, its comforting glow will warm the cockles of your heart, and its festive scent – there’s a Fornasetti candle inside, plus it’s made of birch– will arouse your scent glands into a Christmas frenzy. Buy buy buy!
Some terrible news out of London just as the weekend was starting a few days ago: around 11.40pm on Friday night, a gas explosion occurred in the basement of the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill, injuring twelve hotel employees.
All guests were evacuated and accommodated at nearby hotels. Various news outlets, including the BBC, are referring to a few people being hospitalized, with the total number of guests evacuated at around 500. No guests were injured, according to a Hyatt spokesperson.
While The Telegraph opens with the blast having caused “part of the building to collapse”, the main structure of the building is intact. The London Fire Brigade, which responded to the incident, believes it due to a suspected gas leak, resulting in “extensive damage to the basement and the ground floor”.
We hope the injured will recover soon. We’ll keep you posted if there is a longer-term impact on the Hyatt, but leave you for now with the official statement from the hotel’s website:
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Top of the morning to ya. There is so much hotel news flying around this week and we just don't have enough time to focus on all of it. So here's a quick rundown to get you up to speed on the latest.
· HYATT TO OPEN FIRST HOTEL IN IRELAND?: Remember when we told you that the Four Seasons Dublin would be no more? Well, that's still true but Hyatt Hotels will move on in. The Independent has the details. Since Four Seasons will be out by the end of the year, we expect Hyatt to move in shortly after that.
· BUT HYATT IS ON THE WAY OUT IN OUBAAI: If you've ever been hoping to use your Hyatt Gold Passport Points in South Africa at the Hyatt Oubaai George in South Africa, we're sorry to say that the resort will be leaving the Hyatt portfolio on November 30. The details first emerged in a FlyerTalk forum and a note has been posted to the hotel's website. It will honor all reservations but not Hyatt Gold Passport program perks.
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There are many reasons why we’d recommend a trip to Tanzania: the scenery, the wildlife, the outdoor showers, we could go on. And if a trip in your eyes is only complete if it includes some beach time, then the island of Zanzibar (technically an archipelago) is only a short flight away.
From early next year, you can stay at the new Park Hyatt Zanzibar, right on the beach in Stone Town, the historic centre of Zanzibar City. Above a rendering of the 67-room hotel, but you can spy a real-life snap on the hotel’s Facebook page.
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We've been so dazzled by the new big name hotels opening in Miami over the next few months--Thompson, Edition, Sixty, Aloft and AC Hotels to name a few--it's been hard to keep up with all the others. But we've been doing our best, dishing what we know so far on hotels like The Gale Suites and Villa Bagatelle. And now we've got an update on the forthcoming Hyatt South Beach.
Even though we once hoped this hotel would be an Andaz, it is still going ahead as a Hyatt hotel, the first such branded hotel for Hyatt in South Beach (there's a Hyatt Regency in downtown Miami.)
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The Andazms won't stop coming!
We gave you a little update last week on the new Andaz Hotels expected to open in the next few years. Thanks to a connected tipster, we've got some scoop on one of those upcoming hotels--The Andaz Delhi in India.
The hotel will be close to the Delhi International Airport in a mixed-use project called, Aerocity. This will be the first airport hotel for the Andaz brand. According to the architect firm, the hotel will have seven stories, 446 guest rooms, ballroom space, meeting rooms, two rooms, gardens, fitness center, a spa and an outdoor pool. Sounds pretty swish for an airport hotel, we have to say. But you know, don't make this a thing, Andaz.
The hotel has no opening date but it is in pre-opening stages and already has a rather experienced general manager, which is a very good sign. In total, there will be three Andaz Hotels in India--Andaz Aerocity, Andaz Gurgaon and Andaz Jaipur. That's good for us, is it good for you?
[Renderings: BauerLatoza Studio]
There's one hotel we missed on our recent openings list--The Hyatt Herald Square New York, which is now officially open. Perfect timing, ahead of the holiday season, even Halloween, which to many of us is a bone fide holiday in itself.
Here's what to like about Hyatt Herald Square, so far:
· Close to Shopping. Herald Square has always been a
clusterF high-energy Manhattan neighborhood, with a history of both the fashion and publishing worlds to keep things current and looking good. While the publishing sector has mostly moved on, on-line that is, Herald Square is still home to big-brand fashion, including those celeb lines at Macy's.
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Were you one of the lucky ones to
wait in a line forever pick up an iPhone 6 last week? Congrats! You've now got a bendable phone in your pocket. Er, we mean, you can totally get bonus hotel rewards from The Grand Hyatt New York.
The hotel is offering iPhone 6 users complimentary Hyatt Gold Passport points, although there are a few catches. First, you have to actually stay at the Grand Hyatt New York with your new phone. Then, upon check-out, show the front desk that you posted a photo of your hotel stay somewhere on social media from your iPhone 6. You have to have tagged the hotel in the photo in some way too.
If all looks well, then 600 complimentary Hyatt Gold Passport points will be dropped into your account. If you don't have an account, the hotel will help you set one up. That's pretty cool, you know, if you were already planning on staying at the hotel.
The offer is available through October 16, 2014. Rates at the hotel start at $299 a night next weekend.
[Photos: Grand Hyatt New York/Facebook and Apple]
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As ever, there is more hotel news out there than we could possibly cover. Here are a few short updates to keep you up to speed with what’s happening in Asia.
citizenM Taipei: the first Asian citizenM, the Dutch group will open in Taiwan’s capital in the last quarter of 2016 with 260 rooms in the Ximending neighborhood. Future Asian cities on the radar are Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore, Jakarta and Bangkok. Yes, please.
You’re in your room in the middle of the day, taking shelter from the aggressive Palm Springs heat. There’s a knock on your door: “Housekeeping!” Urgh. What do they want?
You open the door. There is a man with a cart outside it. “Hello!” he says. “I’m part of the management team. I was wondering whether you would like anything from the cart? I have fruit, soft drinks, water and cookies.”
You look at him, suspicious. Is it a new, cookie-shaped travel scam? Is he going to murder you? Or just your wallet, once he tells you the markup he’s put on the cookies (don’t forget room service charge, service charge plus ‘optional’ gratuity)?
And then he notices your hesitancy and says a weird thing. “It’s complimentary.”
And once you ascertain that it is indeed free, and that he has not roofied the cookies, you pillage his cart as best you can and take your spoils back to bed and eat until the sheets are crackling with cookie crumbs.
This is no hotel-cookie-fetish fantasy, though. At least, it’s not if you’re staying at the Hyatt Palm Springs. Their “wow cart” (so called because that’s what most people say when they’re told it’s free) does the rounds of every room on property each afternoon, starting around 4pm (depending on how many people are in their rooms, it can take anything from 20 minutes to two hours to make the full round). It's normally staffed by management, like Josh here, who's Director of Operations. This is so they can also find out how your stay is going (this is a brilliant idea, since we had issues during our stay and chatting about them over a cookie would have been a much more pleasurable experience than having a go at the front desk staff in front of other guests).
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Since ride-sharing services are practically a part of everyday life in the big cities, it's not unusual for hotels to pair up with these taxi alternatives for special packages. Indeed, we've seen it done before. But Hyatt Hotels has gone to a whole 'nother level with their latest app update.
Now you can call up Uber from within the Hyatt app. An Uber button will appear under the "My Reservations" section of the app from the moment you check-in until the end of your stay. So let's say you have a
Tindr date business meeting across town. Once you finish with that, you can call up an Uber from the Hyatt app and it will have your Hyatt hotel's address already pre-set, thus saving you the time of having to figure out where your hotel is located. You know, in case you forget where you are staying and all. #biztravelerlife.
The Hyatt app will also show the regular list of available Uber options and the recommended prices for the trip. First-time Uber users will have to create their own Uber account but the usual Uber sign-up credit will apply.
The Uber upgrade is a nice add-on to the revamped Hyatt mobile apps as well as their new website which is way easier to navigate and has a useful "View Hotels Near Me Tonight" function. You can download the Hyatt app for iPhone here. For Android, go here. And remember, the Uber function only works in cities where Uber is active.
[Screenshots: Hyatt Hotels]