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It’s over two years ago that Rocco Forte Hotels dropped The Augustine Prague from its portfolio, during some dark days before its current ambitious expansion plans. We had heard whispers that it would become a Park Hyatt hotel, but no: it is now part of Starwood’s Luxury Collection.
Historic Hotels / Hawaii Hotels / Oahu Hotels / Waikiki Hotels / Luxury Collection Hotels / Starwood Hotels / → All Tags
There is no escaping the modern day scale of development when you’re in Waikiki, but inside the 1927 historic wing of The Royal Hawaiian, we found a few things that remind you of a different age. One of them was this sign: the "Bather’s Elevator”. Despite 1920s bathing suits leaving the minimum amount of skin exposed, it was considered improper to take the normal guest elevators between room and swimming pool / beach. The solution: a dedicated elevator.
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It’s perhaps not such a surprise that Starwood Hotels would be well-represented among Waikiki’s major concentration of Hawaii hotels. When we did the math during a recent stay at The Royal Hawaiian, we were still a bit shocked by the sheer scale of things: four hotels, all virtually neighbors. Two Sheratons, a Westin, and a Luxury Collection hotel (the Royal Hawaiian). And 4,100 rooms between them – over four thousand rooms. Solitude and isolation you won’t find here, that’s clear.
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Every month, we tell you which hotel openings you need to know about (and which, inevitably, miss their deadlines). While we have a healthy list of arrivals around the world, there are a few places that are either consistently popular or having a bit of a hotel moment, so “new hotels for…” gives you a rundown of the openings you will want to know about for a particular destination.
Oh, Bali. Perennially popular you may have been indeed, but Julia Roberts cycling magically sweat-free through rice paddies must have really kicked it up a notch. Overcrowding be damned, the list of hotels we can think of that will come to your shores in the next five years (all to “unspoiled” and “pristine” corners, of course) easily runs up to the fingers on both our hands (and that’s with a bit of doubling up as you’ll find out). Here are ten hotels coming to the Island of the Gods:
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The Excelsior Hotel Gallia,now reopened
We’ve covered plenty of 2015 openings as they happened (scroll through here), but there are still some to come, and a couple that have quietly unlocked those doors since we checked in a few weeks ago. Here are the ones to watch:
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So much hotel news, so little time – here are a few snippets to keep you up to date with the latest news from around the world!
· Conrad Chicago, shown above, will cease to be a part of Hilton Hotels later this fall and will instead join Starwood's Luxury Collection group. No word yet on what the new name will be. [Source: Hotel News Resource]
· Fresh off opening their New York property, EDITION Hotels will open next year in Sanya, China; Thailand and Abu Dhabi with Shanghai and Times Square to happen in 2017 and West Hollywood in 2018. Paris has inexplicably dropped off the website although Edition folk say it is still happening. Also happening that's not yet listed? The Reijavkik Edition in Iceland. We cannot wait. [Source: Edition Hotels website]
· The 342-room JW Marriott Minneapolis, which will have direct access to the Mall of America, is set to open in November. However, the website is accepting reservations right now for stays from January 1, 2016 and beyond. [Source: JW Marriott Hotels]
· A tipster wrote into tell us that the W Retreat Kanai in Riviera Maya, Mexico, which last we heard was opening in July 2015, is now opening in January 2018, according to the W Hotels website. Yup, that seems about right for W Hotels. [Source: Tipster and W Hotels]
· After announcing a Hilton Garden Inn for Hawaii, Hilton is now going to install their DoubleTree by Hilton brand in the iconic Hilo Naniloa Hotel and Golf Club on the Big Island. The hotel is currently closed as it goes under a $16 million renovation. It should reopen as DoubleTree later this year. [Source: Pacific Business News]
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#Thatmomentwhen one of the most famous hotels in Europe gets sold and you start panicking that it’s the end of an era until you realize that everything’s going to be just fine and it’s just the owners, not the management, that are swapping keys.
That panic was all over us earlier this morning when saw a press release with the words “Gritti Palace” and “closing” in the headline. Could one of Starwood’s two flagship properties in Venice really be leaving the Luxury Collection?
Before and After / Hotel Renovations / San Francisco Hotels / Luxury Collection Hotels / Starwood Hotels / → All Tags
We love hotel renovations nearly just as much as we love new hotels. But what we really love about hotel renovations is seeing the transformation that happens when an old, tired and lackluster room gets a modern makeover and transforms into new, spiffed-up, stylish guest room. Or put more simply, we love comparing the Before and After.
When we think of The Palace Hotel in San Francisco, we think of its rather splendid Garden Court. What is now the Garden Court once was the Grand Court, an open air carriage entrance in the original Palace Hotel, which burned down in the 1906 earthquake that destroyed 80% of the city (for more on its long history, go here).
As much as we immediately think of the Garden Court, less of an instant image comes to mind when we think of the rest of hotel, including its guestrooms. Or at least we did, until we saw what The Palace is doing to its rooms this year, grabbing 2015 by the horns to bring them up to date in a big way. See both before and after below.
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At least that has now changed, and with a website come a few more renderings and the ability to make reservations from March 31 (opening is listed for March 23, though). That takes us right into the heart of sakura season, and the rates are… high. A Superior Room starts at JPY72,000; though with the weaker yen that now translates to about $600 rather than the $720 you’d previously be looking at.
If you want the additional experience of this lovely outdoor deck / garden with wooden bathtub, you’ll have to stump for a Deluxe Room, which will ring up another JPY10,000 ($82). A look at the interior of a room below.
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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?
WiFi options from a ferry 10 minutes away from St Mark's Square
Fast, free WiFi is, in our opinion, a basic hotel right. Mobile WiFi? That’s an amazing added extra. WiFi that’s so strong the signal stretches across the city? Monsieur, now you are really spoiling us.
* Out around the Biennale/Arsenale, coming in on the ferry from the airport (about a 20-minute walk from the Danieli);
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But will the new brand have eclairs like the Le Meridien does?
Last week, while everyone was so Hyatt Centric centric, news came out that Starwood Hotels will launch another "soft" brand that will be positioned somewhere in between the Luxury Collection Hotels and the newly acquired Design Hotels brand. (You can read about Starwood's takeover here.)
There has been no name or branding released and Starwood president and CEO, Frits van Paasschen, would only say that they are in discussion with hotel owners on the brand. But it looks like the brand will most likely be created by converting existing Starwood properties/brands.
Does Starwood, and the world in general, really need another hotel brand? No, most certainly not. But this news is also concerning because the purpose of this new unnamed brand sounds EXACTLY like what Le Meridien Hotels is attempting to do with their brand refresh, which is provide an upscale, design and culture-oriented hotel experience. (FWIW, it also sounds a lot like Loews' OE Collection.)
Of course, this new brand is still unfolding and it could fill a very real need for hotel guests. Also, the M word was also not mentioned and we're thankful for that. But still, this is very much to be continued....
Got any scoop on the new Starwood brand? Let us know!