Tag: Luxury Collection Hotels

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Before and After: The Palace Hotel San Francisco Mixes the Historic With the New

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  Site Where: 2 New Montgomery Street [map], San Francisco, CA, United States, 94105
April 16, 2015 at 12:35 PM | by | Comments (2)

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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Starwood's Ryokan in Kyoto Will Have Wooden Outdoor Bathtubs

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  Site Where: 12-1 Susukino-baba-cho, Kyoto, Japan
March 20, 2015 at 9:00 AM | by | Comments (0)

When earlier this year we first looked at Starwood’s foray into Kyoto, there was no website for Suiran, part of its Luxury Collection, despite a projected March opening.

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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This is What The Royal Palm in Miami Has Turned Into...

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  Site Where: 1545 Collins Avenue [map], Miami Beach, FL, United States, 33139
March 10, 2015 at 3:00 PM | by | Comments (3)

Moving out.

Yesterday was the official last day of existence for the James Royal Palm Hotel in Miami.

Today, the property is reborn as...wait for it...The Royal Palm Miami South Beach, a Luxury Collection Hotel from Starwood.

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?

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Does the Danieli Have the Strongest WiFi Signal in Venice?

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  Site Where: Castello 4196, Venice, Italy, 30122
March 9, 2015 at 8:59 AM | by | Comment (1)

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.

So hats off to the Danieli in Venice, whose WiFi signal is so astonishingly strong that we were picking it up all over Venice last week.

* 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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What's The Deal With Starwood Hotels' New Brand?

February 16, 2015 at 2:27 PM | by | Comments (0)

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!

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Starwood Will Be Next for Kyoto With Suiran, a Luxury Ryokan

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  Site Where: 12-1 Susukino-baba-cho, Kyoto, Japan
January 12, 2015 at 9:25 AM | by | Comments (0)

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”.

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Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam Is Leaving Starwood's Luxury Collection, What Will It Become?

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  Site Where: Prinsengracht 315-551, Amsterdam, Bangkok, Netherlands, 1016 GZ
November 28, 2014 at 9:02 AM | by | Comments (0)

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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Napa Valley's Historic Acacia House Will Become Las Alcobas, A Luxury Collection Hotel

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  Site Where: 1915 Main Street [map], St Helena, United States, 94574
October 14, 2014 at 8:57 AM | by | Comment (1)

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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What to Drink With Your Selfie At the Grande Bretagne In Athens

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  Site Where: Syntagma Square, Athens, Greece, 10564
September 24, 2014 at 8:22 AM | by | Comments (0)

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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The Selfie Spot At The Grande Bretagne In Athens Is Wasted On Selfies

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  Site Where: Syntagma Square, Athens, Greece, 10564
September 22, 2014 at 9:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

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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Your Fairy Tale Castle Awaits In Dalian, China

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  Site Where: No. 600 Binhai West Road, Shahekou District, Dalian, China, 116023
September 22, 2014 at 8:58 AM | by | Comments (3)

What happens when you throw Neuschwanstein, Shrek 2, the Princess Diaries, and the Queen of Versailles in a blender and take the result to China?

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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Where to Stay in Warsaw, Europe's Cheapest Five Star City

Where: Warsaw, Poland
September 10, 2014 at 9:32 AM | by | Comment (1)

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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