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The Viceroy symbol as seen in the elevator at Viceroy Miami.
More Hotel Rebranding news! The Kor Hotel Group has announced this morning that they have officially changed their name to The Viceroy Hotel Group. The change follows the 2008 partnership that Kor Hotels entered with Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Company, who is now funding the Viceroy Hotels expansions.
But while the name changes, the game remains the same. From the press release:
Viceroy Hotel Group will continue to seek premier hotel and resort opportunities around the world, based upon uncompromising standards for location and guest appeal. Viceroy Hotel Group will function as an umbrella company for the sister hotel brands that formerly fell under Kor, Viceroy Hotels & Resorts, The Tides and Urban Retreats.
Some of those Urban Retreats include The Chamberlain and The Avalon Hotel in Los Angeles but surprisingly not The Loden Hotel in Vancouver. Looks like Viceroy must have shed this hotel somewhere along the way. You will also want to change up your bookmarks as www.korhotelgroup.com does not work. Instead, go to www.ViceroyHotelGroup.com.
Now, maybe with the introduction of these new name, the Viceroy collection will institute some sort of loyalty program for guests.
Well, this was out of the blue! The blue on blue restaurant (sorry we couldn’t resist!) Kor Hotels’ Avalon Beverly Hills has transformed into oliverio. Still lowercase, we’re not sure why. Taking over from Chef Scott Garrett is new Executive Chef Mirko Paderno, formerly of L.A. hotspots Cecconi’s and All’Angelo. We don’t know what prompted the changeover, but we’ve gotten a first-look at what the new restaurant, which had a "soft opening" this week, will be like.
We have high hopes for Pederno, whose past accolades include "Best New Restaurant of 2007" in Esquire and "Top Ten New Restaurants of the United States" in Gayot. He describes his menu as "Italian food with regional touches." That sounds ambiguous enough to encompass whatever he wants, but some of the dishes we heard about include: tortelli with braised lamb, butter and sage; gnocchetti with fresh tomatoes and smoked mozzarella; and simple dishes like fritto misto, caprese, and salume served with homemade olive foccacia.
The dish with the most pizzazz has to be the chitarra spaghetti with spicy langoustines, which will go for $21, meaning the restaurant is remaining in the same price category as before.
It’s not often that we turn to The New Yorker to read about hotels, but thanks to Fashion Week, the September 14 issue of the high-brow magazine is the Style Issue—and it features Kor Group’s glamorous designer Kelly Wearstler. Having recently stayed at one of Wearstler’s signature designy-design hotels, the Viceroy Miami, we were eager to find out more about the “presiding grande dame of West Coast interior design.”
So last week, we landed a room at the Avalon for just $118 through Hotwire (booking through the hotel direct would have set us back $270). We had high hopes of sharing the poolside with Paris Hilton and Kathy Griffin, thereby scoring our first LA celeb spot. Unfortunately, it was a Monday night, and a quiet one at that. And so, as sod’s law would have it, there were no celebs. Never mind eh? We saw Billy Zane the next day in Bar Marmont. Anyways, here’s how the rest of it went down.
Lookswise, we loved the trashy-funk, motel throwback vibe of the whole hotel. The room itself was nicely underplayed – no kitschfest here, apart from the colourful bathroom, you wouldn’t know from the inside that you were in a motel-ly place – we liked the random bamboo column in the bathroom and the way the towels were rolled and racked (like the piles of baby towels posh hotels have in their bogs to dry your hands).
But after five minutes in the room, we realised that the walls were paper thin - we could hear our neighbours’ conversations as clear as if we were part of the chat. And they weren’t just bad at keeping noise out – we got a good few whiffs of how said neighbours spent their night, since we got stoned secondhand from the stench of weed filtering through into our bathroom late that night, and showered the next morning to tones of cheap deodorant (we’re hoping that was to cover the smell of weed, not actually for their pits).
So this week, needing to crash in LA for a couple of nights, we decided to let Hotwire do the choosing for us, and got hooked up with the Chamberlain for the first night, and the Avalon for the second. Review of the Avalon to come tomorrow; in the meantime, here’s what we thought of the Chamberlain.
We arrived late (about 9pm) and grumpy thanks to a malfunctioning car (National, you suck), but were considerably cheered by the nice man on the front desk telling us that we’d been upgraded – not bad, considering we’d already paid $70 less than the normal rate by booking on Hotwire.
The room was huge, with a step-down living area from the bedroom, a balcony (sadly no chairs) and a TV that spun between the two. The bathroom was quite small, with a sunken bath. It was also spotless. The only problem was it felt a little dark – those of a work bent could do with an extra light or two. But then that’s always a personal grumble of ours.
So we had to book a couple of nights in LA this week. Where to start? So many hotels to choose from, so little money to afford them was the general obstacle we came up against. Being fans of Andaz London, we were up for trying out the WeHo branch, but we lacked the $196 to do that.
So we went the Hotwire route. In the hope of scoring the Andaz for less, we asked for hotels in West Hollywood, where we found a 4 star for $121. We booked it for a night, thinking we could find out which it was and come back for more if we liked it.
Hotel Opening Rates / Hotel Openings / Viceroy Hotels / Kor Hotels / Ski Hotels / Aspen Hotels / → All Tags
It's official: The dreamy Viceroy designs will be a-comin' round (to) the mountain. The Viceroy Snowmass has promised that it will be up and running by this coming ski season located in the new Base Village area, just a few minutes from Aspen.
The new Viceroy has 173 guest rooms and residences; some have mountain views, and all (duh) get to take advantage of the kickass ski-in, ski-out location. Also, the building is designed to meet LEED Silver standards, with a fine-dining restaurant (with a display kitchen and an 87-foot glass bar and lounge that spills into the lobby), an après-ski bar and lounge, a full-service spa, a fitness center, and a swimming pool and pool café.
The hotel is now accepting reservations for the new season beginning November 25, and rates are starting from $370 a night (for a valley-view studio). And from the opening day until December 23, 2009, reserving one night will get you any additional nights at 50 percent off which is a seriously good deal. Hit the website to reserve.
Hotel Renovations / Kor Hotels / Beverly Hills Hotels / Hotel Packages / Hotel Weddings / → All Tags
Like all respectable Beverly Hills ladies, the Kor Hotel Group’s Maison 140 knows that she’s got to schedule a touch-up or two to keep up appearances, so she’s booked herself for a little facelift this October. All 43 rooms will undergo a cosmetic redecoration, and we’re told she’ll look rested and refreshed by December.
We got a sneak peek at the new look—and we’re calling a mix between naughty French maid and doting Miami Beach grandmother. That means classic bark-patterned glossy wallpaper with Parisian marble lamps, plasma flatscreens over pink faux marble desks, a mirrored wall reflecting a lushly tufted headboard, and a Louis XIV chair with a mohair throw to keep you warm when there’s a draft.
All that and more was handpicked as usual by Kors in-house designer Kelly Wearstler, and we haven’t even told you about the Chinoiserie-chic Bar Noir downstairs that’s a cross between an absinthe bar and a Boca Raton cocktail party.
The Chamberlain West Hollywood, that mid-century modern recluse of a hotel in the heart of Weho, is shedding its shut-in image and inviting the masses in for sun, supper and style.
Okay, maybe not the masses, but whereas the hotel used to be the sole domain of guests and their friends, now you can join the Kor Group’s "My Urban Retreat" program. Members can use the hotel facilities and get discounts on food, pool cabana rentals, room rates, parking and meeting room rentals--just call ahead to make sure you can get into the rooftop pool area.
Celebrity Scoop / Paris Hilton / Kathy Griffin / Kor Hotels / Beverly Hills Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
A hotel guest snapped this photo of Paris Hilton and "My Life on the D-List's" Kathy Griffin sauntering around the pool at the Avalon Hotel. Paris, fresh off the her Hawaii trip, was helping Kathy out by filming an appearance on her show at the hotel's pool area, Blue on Blue. Here is the scoop from the guest:
Paris and Kathy interacted well - talked for a good 30-40 min in a nice poolside cabana at blue on blue. Funny that Kathy G was waiting in lobby for Paris to join her to walk out around the pool to the cabana - and Paris finally came out in her bikini - spent a minute or so checking herself out in the mirror screen by the front door - finally was ready - a bunch of people were telling her she looked fab - and Kathy G immediately yelled "thank you" and "I know"!!! It got a lot of laughs. Kathy was really nice to everyone - talking and interacting. Paris - kept to herself and on-task.
Apparently, Hustle n' Flow's Terrance Howard was also at the hotel and popped in on the shoot to say hello to Paris and Kathy. Just another day in Beverly Hills folks!
Since first hearing about plans for the Viceroy Snowmass a couple of years ago, we’ll admit the hotel has been somewhat off our radar. But our apathy is over now that we have an update on when the hotel will open. So mark your calendars! Come December 2009, Viceroy is scheduled to glide into Snowmass (you know, that Colorado ski bunny town that's sort of like Aspen’s little sister who’s, like, suddenly hot).
And really, December’s not that far off, so we’ll commence hotel hype...now. Here’s what we know: The 268-room* ski-in/ski-out condo/hotel hybrid will anchor the new $1-billion Snowmass Base Village. It will be the first mountain resort for Kor Hotels, but it will still be designed “in the inimitable Viceroy style.”
Hotel Restaurants / Viceroy Hotels / Kor Hotels / Miami Hotel Mambo / Michael Psilakis / Ian Schrager / → All Tags
MICHELIN-starred chef Michael Psilakis and partner Donatella Arpaia, who own Anthos and two other hot Manhattan eateries, are branching out. The pair just inked a deal with Kor Hotel Management to launch a restaurant at the Viceroy Miami in developer George Perez's IconBrickell complex in the city's downtown. The as yet-unnamed 15th-floor dining spot will open next month and focus on seafood.
The duo apparently went to the Viceroy to seal the deal a few nights ago and celebrated with Kor Hotel Group founder Brad Korzen, his wife and the hotel's decorator Kelly Wearstler, Sharon Stone, Selma Blair, Mad Men's Jon Hamm, decorator Colin Cowie, and even Ian Schrager himself.
[UPDATE: A Viceroy rep just told us that Ian Schrager was not at the celebration as per Page Six's report. Let's hope he was off somewhere working on Edition.]