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Photo Gallery / Hotel Design / Hotel Renovations / Leading Hotels of the World / Luxury Hotels / Madrid Hotels / Spain Hotels / Europe Hotels / → All Tags
Don’t you love it when a hotel does a reno and decreases the number of rooms rather than increases them? The Hotel Villa Magna in Madrid (part of Leading Hotels of the World) renovated the property between 2007 and 2009 and we mean gutted it – demolishing everything but the building’s façade and the floors – and took the room count from 182 to 150 rooms and suites. This leaves you with some of the most spacious rooms in Madrid.
Madrid-based interior designer Thomas Urquijo is the master planner behind the design, which is best-described as contemporary elegance. There's a touch of Bauhaus, Viennese Secessionism and Louis XVI styles all thrown in there, with both public and private spaces bathed in earthy greys and off-whites. Furniture is a combo of restored antiques and modern additions, and one nice touch is the colorful artwork found throughout the hotel, all part of the private collection of the hotel’s Portuguese owners who, we were told, also own the Four Seasons Lisbon.
Found in the posh Salamanca district, right in the heart of Madrid’s ritziest shopping, the hotel’s rooms and suites are broken down into seven separate categories, starting with the Magna Room all the way to the Insignia Suites. But get this: the smallest room category, the Magna Room, is a whopping 376 sq ft. As a comparison when we stayed at the ME Madrid in one of their Energy Rooms (the last room category just before you hit the suites) it was only 265 sq ft. Sometimes bigger really is better.
See all of the pics in the photo gallery!
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Just in time for the New Year! It’s another Times Square hotel, but not Manhattan; this one is in Ho Chi Minh City, aka Saigon. The Reverie Saigon – the latest addition to the Leading Hotels of the World group – will open February 1.
It’s part of the modern Times Square building in District 1, taking over the 27th-39th floors of the building, and has 286 rooms. Don’t expect traditional Vietnam looks, though – it’s been designed by four Italians, who’ve lent it an opulent, almost Venetian feel. Rooms look very different from each other – you can go from an over the top frilly headboard and gilt mirror combo (above)…
Burma Week / Myanmar Week / Yangon Hotels / Leading Hotels of the World / Myanmar Hotels / Burma Hotels / → All Tags
Mingalabar! All this week we'll be focusing on one of the fastest changing hotel scenes on the globe: Burma, or Myanmar. (For Burma or Myanmar, see here - as fence-sitters, we'll be using the two interchangeably throughout the week.) We’ve already covered your hotel basics, and looked at Yangon’s most expensive hotel. Today, we’re sticking with Yangon, but checking in at one of Burma’s most historic properties.
Call it the pulling power of Belmond, but most tourists visiting Yangon have Governor’s Residence in mind as the landmark hotel here – whereas, actually, sitting quietly in the middle of town, is The Strand: a stately neoclassical building that opened in 1901 and has, over the years, hosted the likes of George Orwell, Rudyard Kipling, Somerset Maugham, and Noel Coward (or for those of you who like your celebrities of a more modern bent: Mick Jagger, David Rockefeller, Chelsea Clinton and the King of Tonga).
The Strand has a fascinating history: initially billed as “the finest hostelry east of Suez” and once owned by the Sarkies Brothers (of Raffles Singapore fame – in fact it looks a bit like Raffles), it fell into disrepair in the 1960s before reopening in 1993 as an all-suite, five star hotel with just 31 rooms. These days, it’s a member of Leading Hotels of the World (their only property in Myanmar). But with a renovation that has remained true to the original – no new wings, no swimming pool, no fitness center added – does it cut the mustard?
As we said yesterday, that probably depends on your requirements.
Hotel Cocktails / Hotel Bars / Hotel Tea / Spain Hotel / Madrid Hotels / Europe Hotels / Leading Hotels of the World / Melia Hotels / → All Tags
We just love a good play on words because while “staying dry” at Gran Meliá Fénix’s DRY Bar is possible, with an 84-page bar menu, it’s probably not the time or the place.
The bar, whose full name is the lengthy DRY Cosmopolitan Bar by Javier de las Muelas, has a tantalizing selection of bevvies that fall into categories such as DRY & Tonics, Exotiks, Sensory, and a full page of Beer Cocktails (remember we saw this as a trend during Cocktail Week?). But it’s really the Classics, as in martini classics, that the bar most wants you to try, because when you do, you join a select group.
Each person who orders the Extra Dry Martini (€13 or $17) officially becomes a—as in you get a certificate and everything—proud supporter of the “Javier de las Muelas Dry Foundation, created for the development of the cocktail world.” Your certificate states your martini order number, as does the martini counter above the Bar’s bar.
You’ll be drinking your lip-smacking, mouth-drying martini (gin is certainly the thing here with 60 varieties available) in a clubby, woody type of bar where you feel you can stay and sink into the furniture for a while.
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Remember hearing of the days when people traveled to European hotels and spas to “take the cure?” Well Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa in Baden-Baden (part of the Oetker Collection and Leading Hotels of the World) has set up three seven-day detox programs that harken back to those days of yore.
Brenners Vitality Detox – This is considered to be the starter package for detox virgins. As with all of the detox programs you get an interview with the Detox Specialist, a personalized menu plan and full board prepared in the Detox Vitalizing Kitchen, daily detoxifying tea and a green smoothie, daily yoga, and a five-course Gourmet Detox Dinner in the Michelin-starred restaurant.
The Vitality Detox package also includes spa goodies such as a De-acidifying Alkaline Bath to “support corporeal removal” and a body scrub with bio-virgin coconut oil and fleur de sel.
The Vitality Detox program starts at $3,430 Euros ($4,773) for seven days including accommodation in a Classic Single Room.
Brenners Organic Detox – This package combines spa treatments with a fitness program, and here’s where things start to get a wee bit funky. Along with innocuous sounding treatments like the sea mud compress with alkaline Epsom salts, we have the Flush-out Body Scrub with supporting Belly Button Massage. This makes us a little squirmy. You?
The Organic Detox program starts at $4,095 Euros ($5,698) for seven days including accommodation in a Classic Single Room.
And then we have their big gun: the Brenners Medical Detox. This ain’t for no sissy-baby spa goer (see below for more!)
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With all the brouhaha regarding the Government of Brunei’s archaic and decidedly evil new law approving stoning to death as proper punishment for being gay or having an affair, some celebs have either quietly or openly decided to boycott Dorchester Collection Hotels, which are owned by the Sultan of Brunei.
During our recent stay at Hotel Fouquet’s Barrière in Paris we were interested to hear that the last celebs to stay at the hotel were none other than Jay-Z and Beyoncé, formerly fans of The Dorchester Collection’s Le Meurice Hotel.
In fact, the couple is such fans of the food at the hotel’s restaurant, La Petite Maison de Nicole, we hear they have it delivered to wherever they are in the city.
Fouquet’s Barrière’s past is directly tied to the music and film industry. In 1898 Fouquet’s restaurant opened at the corner of the Champs-Elysées and Avenue George V (where it still is today). When the very first theaters opened in Paris in the 1930s, Fouquet’s was close by and became the go-to place for socializing for both the dealmakers and stars of the shows. Here contracts were signed, cast parties were held and films were premiered.
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As the grand finale to cocktail week here's Part 2 of our round-up of some of the nifty things we see going on in the world of hotel bars and bevvies. Don't forget to let us know what’s going on in your section of the world!
Beer is the new wine: Before some of you get stressed out, we’re not saying that wine’s going away, but we have noticed that beer is getting more attention these days. Some hotel bars are making beer their “thing,” some are making their own and some are getting it made for them.
Most of us tend to only hang out at airport hotels when we’re going to and from a place, but the Four Points by Sheraton LAX has a 100-beer beererie called Brewster’s that includes an ever-changing tap list of craft and microbrews. They have an on-staff Director of Brewer Relations who ensures the beer list is fresh and filled with rare brews, monthly beer appreciation nights, beer pairings such as Smoked Stone Porter with smoked salmon, beer turndown service that includes a beer-stocked minibar, and a recently-launched Hoppily Ever After package that lets the happy couple-to-be create their very own custom, brewed-to-taste beer for their big day—isn’t that just so romantic?
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The Hotel d’Angleterre in Copenhagen, part of Leading Hotels of the World, re-opened its doors in May after two years of renos. After being cosseted behind scaffolding during the reno, it felt like we were unwrapping a present when we walked in. What struck us immediately was the hotel’s chic elegance that is so often the trademark of Parisian hotels. The fact that Copenhagen’s hottest hotel bar is found here, and it’s a champagne bar to boot, only added to the feeling that we must be in Paris. And – oh wait – the hotel’s name IS Angleterre, which is French for England....
A tad disoriented? Pay no mind; let yourself appreciate the fact that you’re in Copenhagen, surrounded by lush purple flowers and furniture, modern art and beautiful people, in a lovely hotel that offers warm and friendly service.
Hotel d’Angleterre currently has 35 rooms and suites, with 55 more in the works. The rooms really are a hotel lover’s dream, whether you’re a technophile or a custom comfort nut: There is Bang & Olufsen A/V equipment in each room; beds are the Swedish luxury brand, Dux; the custom hotel scent is by Danish brand, Laura Bonné (whose cosmeceuticals are also used in the spa), and the high-tech Swiss Geberit douche toilets have more buttons on their remotes than do the TVs. The rooms even have butler cupboards -- leave your shoes to be shined and they’ll magically disappear and reappear again without any human interaction whatsoever, so continue to dance naked in your room if that’s your thing. Plenty of pics below!
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The sun is shining, the water’s warm and a girl needs a chi-chi bag that’ll be able to keep up with her stylin’ swimsuit. These three hotels make it easy for you to do just that and here’s how to get your hands on 'em.
If you’re a Starwood SPG member, this is your lucky day. Starwood has partnered with kate spade new york to come up with a line of beach totes inspired by four categories in the SPG Members' Favorite Resorts List: Best Spa Indulgence, Most Romantic Retreat, Best Island Paradise, and Best Golf Getaway. Each tote has its own punchy phrase, matched with its own punchy color, that represents each category. The bags are available at kate spade new york boutiques or online for $199. You can also enter the “Off We Go” contest until June 6 to win a trip to a Starwood resort along with a choice collection of kate spade goodies.
Hotel Openings / Hotel News / Dublin Hotels / Ireland Hotels / Leading Hotels of the World / → All Tags
It's about that time when folks start preparing for their European vacation. The quandary is always the same though--where to stay that won't break the bank, especially when airfares to cross the pond can get outrageous this time of year.
Luckily we've found a happy medium and it's called The Marker Hotel Dublin. Opened on April 2nd, the city's Dockland area has received its first five-star property. But despite the ritzy status (it's become part of the Leading Hotels of the World), the 187-room hotel appears to be quite down-to-earth, yet trendy with a fun cocktail bar, the biggest roof bar in Dublin, and of course, walls dotted with whimsical Irish art.
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We've started a series of what’s trending in hotels these days: What’s Out, What’s In. Do we like what we see? Think it's a dud? You be the judge!
What’s Out: Seaweed facials
What's In: Facials with gold, diamonds and other sparkly things
Diamonds and other precious metals and gems are sparkly and luminous; why shouldn’t your skin be the same? See what the hotel spas below are doing to make your skin radiate with good health.
The Dorchester Hotel in London offers the Carol Joy London Diamond Facial. Following ten years of research and three years of development, Carol Joy London products are created with some of the most precious beauty ingredients around (who knew that Golden Millet Oil was like pure gold?).
This intensive facial includes exfoliation with a diamond-head contraption that is said to be gentler than the traditional crystal ablater (we just like that word –- it sounds kind of bad-ass). While that’s going on, you’re being blasted with an Oxyjet machine that produces 95% pure oxygen to cool and soothe your skin and stimulate collagen production. The result? A firmer, clearer and more glowing you. The price for beauty, in this case, is £205 ($279).
Leading Hotels of the World / Celebrity Scoop / Hotel News / Conde Nast Traveler / Naomi Watts / Eva Longoria / Josh Flagg / Los Angeles Hotels / → All Tags
It was a starry night atop the Mr. C Hotel In Los Angeles on Wednesday night as celebs, travel folk and the usual LA party eye candy feted the Leading Hotels of the World's 85th anniversary. Yup, LHW is the same age as the Oscars.
And what better way to celebrate the joint birthday than by spotlighting movies shot in hotels? Leading Hotels of the World, of course.
Playing on loop on several flat-screen TVs throughout the party was a video montage of 85 Leading Hotels that have been featured in movies around the world over the past several decades. LHW has even created a new microsite, In the Movies, to show off all their fancy movie set hotels.
Party guests also got into the cinematic spirit by posing for photobooth snaps, sipping on wine cocktails made with Drew Barrymore's Barrymore wine label, taking candy from a movie concession stand and chomping on freshly made popcorn. Naomi Watts, Eva Longoria, Minnie Driver, Michelle Monaghan, Giada deLaurentis and even our own celebrity reviewer Josh Flagg made appearances. Head on over to Conde Nast Traveler, which co-hosted the event, to see more of the party snapshots.