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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);
Starwood Hotels / Hotel Hype / Le Meridien Hotels / Luxury Collection Hotels / Design Hotels AG / → All Tags
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!
There was a time when the Hyatt Regency was considered the high-end Western hotel in Kyoto, the former imperial capital of Japan. That changed with the opening of The Ritz-Carlton last year, where a more traditional Japanese experience is still very much possible though in its Tatami Suite. Four Seasons should have been there even before the Ritz, but these photos showed it is years behind schedule, which means the next big brand moving into ancient Kyoto will be Starwood Hotels.
Suiran, part of its Luxury Collection, should open already on March 31 and will be a ryokan-style hotel (a traditional Japanese inn) with just 39 rooms. Above a rendering of the hotel, set within the grounds of the Tenryū-ji temple, which will combine new accommodation with the restoration of historic structures “Enmei-kaku” and “Hasshoken”.
Just after we learned that Starwood’s footprint in London will be shrinking with The Lanesborough joining Oetker Collection early next year, here is the news that the same is happening an hour’s flight away in Amsterdam: Hotel Pulitzer, currently part of the group’s Luxury Collection, will depart on April 1, 2015.
That raises a few interesting questions given the limitations of the city’s hotel market (practically zero room for new development in its historic centre), recent arrivals and a few upcoming projects (Andaz, Conservatorium, Waldorf Astoria, Hoxton, and Hyatt), and the rumors we hear about other brands eager to get into the city.
While we have a soft spot for the Pulitzer (25 historic canal houses cobbled together in an unbeatable location on one of the city’s main canals, an interior garden, an annual concert held outside on the water, its own canal boat), it could use a refresh of rooms and public spaces. Could we see that happening, after which a big name will swoop in and raise its flag above the front door? Four Seasons Hotel Pulitzer perhaps? (Although we’ve heard whispers of an as-yet unspecified location further south for the Canadian brand).
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Need an excuse to start planning another trip to the wine country? Starwood Hotels has got your back, with the announcement that historic Acacia House, on Main Street in St. Helena, will be renovated and become Las Alcobas, one of its Luxury Collection Hotels.
True, you need a little bit of patience, with opening planned for somewhere between autumn 2015 and early 2016, but it’s never too early, right?
The renderings of the site and the building above are all we were able to dig out from the architect’s website, which shows how everything around the main house will be razed to make way for a number of new annexes that we presume will house the majority, if not all, 57 rooms. The above doesn’t scream luxury hotel to us, but we’ll reserve judgement until we’ve seen more. Meeting facilities, a signature restaurant, and spa with outdoor pool will be added as well.
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We’ve shown you the Selfie Spot at the Grande Bretagne in Athens and we’ve banned you from taking selfies. So what else can you do up there? Well, you can take glorious panorama photos of Athens and the Aegean Sea. Or you can drink.
The GB Roof Garden has a restaurant and a separate bar area with outside terrace. (NB: The bar area is right by the Selfie Spot, if you need Dutch courage to get your selfie juices flowing.) Cocktails vary from €14-€21 ($18-$27), there’s free WiFi, free (bottled) water served with drinks and some rather snazzy bar snacks including candied fruit. It’s all very civilized.
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If there’s one thing that’ll get us on a plane to Athens, it’s a designated selfie spot. We jest, of course – but the idea of a designated selfie spot was so
horrifying compelling that during an afternoon in Athens last week, we had to go and see it for ourselves.
The selfie spot is at the Grande Bretagne in Syntagma Square (Athens' main square), though to our relief, when we asked at the concierge desk where to find it, they had absolutely no idea what we were talking about. To save you the mortification of trying to explain the concept of a selfie spot to an Athenian - right there in the cradle of democracy, literature, philosophy and everything else that selfies run in the face of - just head to the rooftop bar and restaurant.
The selfie spot, it has to be said, is incredible in the flesh. Of course, an Acropolis view in Athens is no big deal - the majority of hotels have them from rooftop terraces, if not from the rooms themselves. But most Acropolis views are not like this (the only one that comes close, we reckon, is the Hilton, which is a little further out of the city center). The Grande Bretagne not only dominates the skyline around it, meaning you’re looking straight at the Parthenon, but glance to your left and you’re looking straight at the Greek Parliament, with the Evzones soldiers trooping around the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier every hour.
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This: The Castle Dalian, one of the latest additions to Starwood’s Luxury Collection (or at least that’s how we like to imagine the creative process went). Especially in CGI rendering, it has a more than a touch of Dreamworks to it, but it’s very real, and has hotel rooms inside that you can book. Check out the understated minimalism (not) you will find inside below.
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Hotel Bristol, your token five star
Warsaw. It may not be top of your European breaks wishlist (hell, it probably loses out to Krakow in your Poland wishlist, too), but it does have one thing going for it – it was recently judged the European city with the cheapest five star hotels.
Actually, there’s far more to say for Warsaw than that. Flights are uniformly cheap (last year we flew from London on Ryanair for £18, or $29 return – yes, total), and while some of the modern city is grim, the Old Town is gorgeous, plus there’s loads of interesting history, the 1944 Uprising Museum and Jewish Museum for starters.
So yes, you definitely want to go to Warsaw. And here are some of our favorite places to stay. They’re not all five star hotels – but then, you can probably find your own five star hotel, right?
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Starwood Hotels & Resorts has done exactly what they said they would do in their expansion into China and the Asia Pacific. There are, and have been for quite some time, more hotels in the works than we can keep up with. Almost all Starwood brands have or will soon have an address in China, including Element Hotels, which is opening next year.
We've tried to list all that we know of that's happening with Starwood in China on our Master Openings List, but as seasoned readers of the list know, things change quite a bit and most hotels, get pushed onto the next year.
However, Starwood has three important openings in China in September, with properties that are very big on design and luxury. Here they are: