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About a year ago we asked the question whether the Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage, hovering in hotel-limbo since the ’08 financial crisis, would ever recover to the point of having an opening date and welcoming paying guests.
Our answer is here today: the hotel will actually, finally, truly open on May 15, just over a week after fellow chronic delay case the Shangri-La at the Shard. 2014 is proving to be quite the good luck charm for these hotels.
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While we're on the subject of hotel room keys today (or lack thereof), we noticed this super cool key system when we stayed at The Berkeley Hotel in the Knightsbridge neighborhood of London last week.
At check-in, (which is discretely done at individual desks off the lobby, with cushy chairs for the guest to sit in), we were handed two small plastic black keys. At first we thought, "Cool, old-school door keys." But when we arrived up to our room, the keys weren't used the way we expected.
Just off to the right of the door handle is a mirrored plate which has the room number. Below that is a little slot for the key, which is actually wired to the door. Once your key goes into the slot, a green light will appear at the top of the key, letting you know the door is ready to open. You can leave the key in the slot too so you don't have to simultaneously insert the key and push the door open.
Unless you're a billionaire, then probably not. But we're always on the lookout for some spectacular suites and today, we've got plenty of photos of the Lotte Hotel Moscow which at 490 square meters claims to have the largest suite in Moscow. That's over 5,000-sq.ft. in American measurements.
The Lotte Hotel, part of the Korea's Lotte Hotels and Resorts group, describes itself as a 5-star hotel in New Arbat, the financial and shopping center of Moscow. The exterior looks corporate-y but inside the 300-room hotel is a French restaurant, Les Menus from 3-star Michelin Chef Pierre Gagnaire along with a modern fusion Japanese restaurant called MEGU. There's also a Mandara Spa, an all-day lounge that does tea and late-night music and an outdoor terrace that's open from May to October. And clearly, guests love the spot as it's ranked #1 on TripAdvisor.
We won't even try to guess how many rubles the Royal Suite costs, we do know that the regular rooms (at 48 sq. meters) start at around $300USD a night. But given that it's a dicey time in Russia right now (to say the least), you may want to wait a little while to book.
[Photos: Lotte Hotel Moscow]
The Beeston hat inspired by Belgravia Suite 34 (£795 or $1,325)
The Goring has come up with a plan to save genteel ladies from the embarrassment of having their hat clash with their room's decor by introducing their very own hat collection by British milliner, Gina Foster.
This good news comes in good time for the quintessentially British summer "Season"--the Chelsea Flower Show, Royal Ascot, and plenty of Pimms--so, without further adieu, cue the designs of the The Goring Collection by Gina Foster.
Gainsborough -- This golden beauty was inspired by Room 58 and The Terrace. The hat is covered in the Gainsborough silk that adorns Room 58's walls, and the black ribbon trim mimics the ebonized furniture. And the good news is you'll also go with the décor in The Terrace, with its yellow walls, golden silk curtains and black accents. If you're feeling bold, you can flash a little of Gina's signature hot pink silk lining during a proper Afternoon Tea--so risqué. This smart little number is £750 ($1,250).
Three more winners of their class below!
This is rather unexpected: Orient-Express, which includes hotels like the Cipriani in Venice and the Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro, as well as a number of river cruises and train journeys around the world, will be known as Belmond from March 10 onwards.
The group has never owned the Orient-Express the name, instead licensing it from SNCF, the French transportation company; moving to Belmond will give them greater control and independence. Five million dollars is being invested in marketing in the first year, with an additional $10 million in the following years. The one element that will still carry the Orient-Express name is the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train.
One point we picked up on in the official statement is about making the group “attractive to property owners as we advance in our strategy of expanding into the third-party management of assets that complement our existing collection.” That sounds to us like we should be on the lookout for news of additional hotels joining Belmond in the future.
The current Orient-Express website will start redirecting to Belmond.com on March 10, the latter currently being a single landing page. Just in case you were looking for the website of Belmond, Iowa – the previous owner of the Belmond.com url – they’re now at belmondiowa.com.
Previously an Orient-Express hotel, where a Sunday afternoon at La Belle Terrasse is one of our all-time brunch favorites, we can expect a new spa, two new restaurants, and a new bar in addition to the redesign of all guestrooms and suites.
If this is a little too bold for your tastes, perhaps you prefer the more subtle way of incorporating the print in the window treatments as seen below, which also shows how different the color schemes and decoration between the various room types will be.
Our recent reminiscing about a French Riviera killer view, combined with the – quite literally – cold reality of winter in large parts of North America and Europe, has us dreaming of long summer days, bright blue skies, fragrant air, and a lot of lazy pool-side lounging, Côte d’Azur-style.
Join us for a few minutes of escapism as we look at 8 Côte d’Azur hotel pools that will make you seriously wish summer was here – and that you’ve won the lottery to fund a few weeks of leisurely living in the Mediterranean sun.
1. Cap Estel: a small hotel (just 28 rooms and suites) between Monaco and Cap Ferrat on its own private peninsula, with right at the tip a gorgeous pool for swimming while surrounded by the sea on three sides.
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A speck in the strikingly blue sea, there are no towns or high-rises, no major roads or cars (each guest, young and old, gets a bicycle), just white sandy beaches, that picture-perfect palm tree, and (what the resort promises is) blazingly fast and free internet, being the first test case for 4G capability in the Caribbean.
While we wait for its brand new hotel in Milan, Mandarin Oriental is giving us something new this spring in Barcelona: five rooms and 17 suites are being added to the converted bank on Passeig de Gràcia in April by expanding into a building next door.
That takes the total number of rooms up to 120, all done up by Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola, so we’re expecting a similarly understated look in the new accommodations as in the existing suite pictured above. Rooms and suites facing Passeig de Gràcia give you a view of Gaudi’s famous Casa Batlló across the street.
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The Premier Suite
All 135 rooms and suites will be completed by the end of the year and once again interior designer Adam D. Tihany is overseeing the new decor. While we're sad to see the scene of the Troop Beverly Hills camping trip (go to 4:51) get changed, it's much needed. Here's what in store for the beloved "Pink Palace":
The many new features and amenities showcased have been designed to enhance the feeling of modernity while keeping a chic residential feel. The elegant palette features soft leathers, luxurious mohair, and opulent silks in light cream and taupe shades with silvery blue, green, and yellow accents. Rich, ebonized walnut and cerused oak furnishings complement the classic color scheme. Bespoke wall coverings and light fixtures, custom artwork in all suites, and gracious lounge seating further enhance the stylish new spaces.
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We can’t believe we’re typing these words, but the Shangri-La at the Shard London has an opening date. For real!
May 6, 2014 will go down in the history books as the first day guests will be zooming up to level 35 of the Renzo Piano-designed Shard to finally explore the tallest hotel in Western Europe.
Level 34 and 35 will contain the sky lobby, linked together by a grand staircase and offering floor-to-ceiling windows. Guestrooms will be between floors 36 and 50, with views broken down by category, like we talked about just before the end of the year. Over a third of the bathrooms have windows as well, with Aqua di Parma toiletries to use while you soak and soak up the view.
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.
In a time where seemingly every high-profile Paris hotel has something going on, Sofitel Arc de Triomphe decided to jump on the bandwagon and go for an all-out overhaul: rooms, public spaces, the lot. Studio Putman was brought in to move from the rather intense cornflower yellow and heavy blue to something more modern and light – check out the result below.