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Yesterday was the official last day of existence for the James Royal Palm Hotel in Miami.
Not much else has changed at the property except for its logo which is quite cute. Rates for this weekend for a superior king bed start at $546 a night (plus a $25 resort fee.) FWIW, it's an SPG Category 6 hotel, which means it will take between 20,000 and 25,000 Starpoints to stay here for free night.
So we guess that's that. Or is it?
Miami Hotel Mambo dances again!
The 393-room beachfront Collins Avenue hotel was recently sold to Chesapeake Lodging Trust, who have named HEI Hotels & Resorts as the manager with Starwood Hotels & Resorts as the franchisor. Here's the official farewell notice from The James as posted on their website:
While we maintain our commitment to community, art and design, we will be moving on from Miami - as of March 9, The James Royal Palm will no longer be part of The James Hotels. Endless thanks to the South Beach community, our local partners and especially to you - our guests - for supporting us as we evolve. During our time in Miami, we were proud to be acknowledged by Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Fodor’s and Forbes.
We hope you’ll join us for inspired James experiences in Chicago and New York, and look forward to welcoming you at The James Los Angeles in 2016.
All existing reservations will be honored, and we hope you enjoy your stay on South Beach. Should you have any questions about an upcoming reservation in Miami, please call the hotel directly at 305-604-5700.
For the Sake of Hotel Art / Hotel Art / SoHo Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / NYC Hotels / James Hotels / → All Tags
Hotel art: it’s sometimes expensive, usually exclusive, and normally kept well within the hallowed lobby walls.
Not so at the James New York, which has just unveiled a mural on its façade on Sixth Avenue. Created by Paul Wackers, a Brooklyn artist (below), and done in conjunction with the trendy Grey Area art boutique, “Slow Dance and the Daylight” is the first external artwork for any of the James properties.
The view from the Park Hyatt Chicago. Brrr.
Chiberia has already raised its icy head in Chicago with wind chills in the negative double digits and tourists running for cover. But there’s no need to suffer the elements this winter in Chicago--simply find a luxe hotel in downtown to hunker down. With these full-service posh options, you won’t have to venture out, nor will you want to.
The James: Drag yourself downstairs, away from the modern, comfy room to experience dry-aged steaks at David Burke’s Primehouse, which also serves breakfast and lunch. Feeling reclusive? David Burkes can be delivered right to your door via room service. One item not to miss: the bacon stick with black pepper and maple syrup. And if you wake up at 3 a.m. craving more bacon? No problem, room service operates around the clock. The Asha Spa offers a menu of treatments specifically for men so they can pretty themselves up before reentering society. Get a nightcap at the JIMMY bar or check out the happy hour special from 6 pm to 8 pm Wednesday through Friday with $6 wines by the glass and $5 appetizers from David Burke’s.
Holiday Hotels / Fashion Hotels / Hotel Fashion / Neiman Marcus / Daisy Knights / Furla / St Regis Hotels / James Hotels / Thompson Hotels / → All Tags
'Tis the season to be extra stylish at these fashion-minded hotels.
THE NEIMAN MARCUS CLOSET at St. Regis Washington, DC: Need the perfect dress for the holiday party but no time to shop? The Neiman Marcus Closet, as the service is called, will ask St. Regis guests a list of fashion questions before they arrive, such as "Who is your style icon?” along with sizes and body type. Neiman Marcus’ personal shopping team will then pick out a few items and set them up in the closet for the guest to try on and eventually, purchase. There is no cost for the service, which is arranged through the St. Regis Butler or the hotel's concierge. Guests only need to pay for the items that they want to wear, and of course, the room, which starts at around $300 a night.
We first heard of the grand hotel aspirations for Los Angeles' iconic Sunset Boulevard way back in 2010 when the news came out that the House of Blues would be replaced by a crazy hotel condo complex. Two years later, we learned an Edition Hotel was opening up at Sunset and Doheny. And now, it looks like both of these projects are coming to fruition, along with a few others.
Bloomberg News reports that the House of Blues will close down in the near future and make way for a 149-room hotel which will open sometime in 2017. The property will also have residences attached.
But the House of Blues is not the only spot to lose their presence on the Sunset Strip. Larry Flynt's erotic Hustler Store will also be closed up and replaced by a luxury hotel. Meanwhile, Ian Schrager and Marriott are still working on plans for their Edition Hotel at Sunset and Doheny. And a James Hotel is set to open at the corner of Sunset and La Cienega some time in 2016. Also opening near the Hustler store is yet another luxury hotel hotel with about 190 rooms.
We're not so good at math but to us, that looks like 5 new hotels for West Hollywood within the next three to four years. Way back when in 2010 we wondered if West Hollywood could even sustain two new hotels. But now with the area's hotels reporting 82 percent occupancy, we guess we have our answer.
For a better understanding of our Sunset Strip is being colonized by hotels, head over to Curbed LA which put together a nifty map.
James Hotels / Hotel Books / Hotel Literary Programs / Joel Stein / Hotel Services / Hotel Amenities / Hotel Coctails / → All Tags
While most hotels are introducing new services to guests via in-room tablets, James Hotels are going a different route.
The boutique brand has partnered up with writer, author and humorist Joel Stein, who we first fell in love with during his stint on VH1's "I Love The 80s" show, to create a new literary program for guests.
Stein has chosen four paperback books for each James location--New York, Chicago, Miami and the upcoming Los Angeles hotel--which guests can read during their stay. The books will be available in the living libraries at each hotel but in New York and Miami, the books can be also uploaded to the eReaders and Kindles that are available (So, it's still a tech-forward program.)
But that's not all. Master mixologist Johnny Swet who does the libations at JIMMY in New York, has created cocktails that pair with each city's corresponding books and personalities. Hmm, we're seeing a pattern here--James, Joel, Johnny. Maybe with my name, I could get a job too?
Here's what on the James summer reading list, as selected by Stein and the corresponding cocktail as crafted by Swet:
· The Big Short by, Michael Lewis: “Sure, there’s advertising and media, but this is actually a one-industry town and that industry is money. Michael Lewis explains how our economy depends entirely on a bunch of traders who don’t entirely know what they’re doing and how they messed up in 2008.”
· A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan: “Unfortunately, you have to finish the novel to feel all the disparate stories come together, but I hereby give you permission to steal it. I’m guessing I’m empowered to do that.” Heat by, Bill Buford: “Everyone in New York is a part-time restaurant critic. You’re going to spend a lot of time talking about where to eat and what you thought of where you ate. So you might as well read this and find out how hard it is to cook that meal.”
· From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by, E.L. Konigsburg: “Yes, it’s a kid’s book. But that’s exactly what you have time for in a hotel. And if you take the book’s advice and check out of this hotel, hide in the Met after it closes, sleep there and buy street food with the coins you find in the fountain, you’ll save your company a lot on your expense report.”
· New York Cocktail Pairing: Blood & Sand - a classic cocktail that blends Chivas Regal Scotch, Sweet Vermouth, Cherry Herring and Orange Juice.
Welcome to the brave new world of 2014. Where self-checkout stations at your local pharmacy are the norm, not the exception. Where you can text the restaurant with your dinner reservation. Where essentially every customer service innovation is designed to limit the annoyance that is actual human interaction. Because people, man —always yapping, amirite?
That said, even those of us who appreciate a little flesh-and-blood interfacing can’t deny that technology has its perks. The latest brand making use of it: The James Hotels, which just launched the James Pocket Assistant, a mobile app that basically puts a digital concierge in the palm of your hand.
Need a suggestion for dinner or shopping? The Assistant has a “curated insider’s guide” that maps out noteworthy restaurants, bars, and other attractions. Want to impress the wedding ring-less looker in Room 603 with your knowledge of the elevator art? The app offers a “self-guided art tour” throughout the art collections at James properties in Chicago, Miami and Soho. (Of course, it also covers the obvious basics like room reservations and spa appointments.)
We've long been a fan of James Hotels in Chicago, Soho and Miami, with their cool art, minimalist but comfortable rooms and happening nightlife so the news that they are coming to the West Coast has us, in short, thrilled.
The LA Times reports that The James Los Angeles will open in 2016 on the southeast corner of Sunset and La Cienaga boulevards in a new $300 million complex called, Sunset La Cienaga, which will also have apartments, retail and eateries.
The James itself will have 286 rooms done in a "warm modernism" interior style and two James-branded bars and restaurants, including a rooftop bar. Woot! Oh and don't forget, James Hotels also offer free WiFi. Even better.
The hotel already has a website up, although it only has a press release announcing the property. This marks a return to the west for The James which used to operate a hotel in Scottsdale, which then later turned into a Mondrian before finally becoming The Saguaro, a JDV Hotel.
The James Chicago has always been a bona fide "cool" spot for boutique hotel lovers as well as "food enthusiasts" but now it's destined to be the place for (refined) drinkers with its new JIMMY Chicago bar.
A spin-off of the popular spot JIMMY at the James Hotel in New York, this Windy City Jimmy is done by the same partners, David Rabin, Larry Poston and Johnny Swet. While it doesn't have a killer rooftop location, it does have a semi-secret entrance.
JIMMY is located behind the new Burke's Bacon Bar, the sandwich shop from Chef David Burke. And yes, that's located inside the hotel as well. Here are some step-by-step directions to getting into JIMMY:
Enter through the side of the hotel, then walk to the back of Burke’s Bacon Bar thorough a small vestibule room lined with sparkling chrome ball chain curtains.
Once inside, you'll find a "jewel box of a cocktail bar" designed by Thomas Schlesser, reminiscent of the 1970s with earth tones, bronze surfaces, lounge chairs, a wood-paneled bar and sexy low lighting.
But what will catch your eye the most is the cocktail menu, which is inspired by cinema. JIMMY partner and NYC star mixologist, Johnny Swet, has hand-crafted each drink such as the Bondsman (apple brandy, vodka, lime, cranberry juice, agave and seltzer) and the Mexican Julep (tequila, watermelon, lime, agave and cilantro muddled in a silver cup with crushed ice.)
When The James Royal Palm Miami opened last November, after much anticipation and a few delays, our first impressions were rather good. Back then we wrote this about the spot:
Getting a first-hand look at the lobby and the rooms (we had to forgo the pools, since we were there at night, and there weren't any guests swimming anyway), it's obvious that the James is trying to do something a little different from the other Collins Ave properties. You end up feeling like you're in someone's beach bungalow rather than an art museum. The furniture looks like it came out of some eccentric, but tasteful, neighbor's yard sale (we even spotted a bench made of plastic cups that sink under your weight when you sit down—nerdy but cool.)
Yet it doesn't look like the hotel owner was too happy with the finished product.
According to Law360.com, RP Hotel Holdings LLC has filed a lawsuit against Tatro Construction Co. LLC, claiming the contractor "failed to coordinate and supervise construction and failed to reasonably and timely perform the work." A-ha. So this probably explains why everyone was so touchy about the hotel missing the October 1 opening date.
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The hotel brand has teamed up with GlossyBox, a luxury beauty product line, to make a limited edition goodie
bag box full of environmentally-friendly, unisex—and, yes, travel-size—beauty products. The entire kit retails for $35 on the GlossyBox website, but to make things easier for guests, it will also be available for purchase in select suites at the hotels.
Read on to find out what's inside!