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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:
We have seen the 360-degree view rooftop bar (ok, from the outside), we’ve seen the public spaces (that was back in October last year) and here we are today: renderings of the rooms inside ME Milan Il Duca, ready for you to book from May 22, in time for the Milan Expo (coincidence? We think not).
There are 98 rooms and 34 suites inside the hotel, dressed in “natural tones” and “based on the principals of yin and yang, as guests pass through a flow of gradual spaces”. Above an entry-level Aura Room, which has a mix of woods, browns, and greys; there is a sofa at the foot of the bed, creating a seating area with the chair next to the desk, and a freestanding minibar in the corner. We’d guess / hope / expect that those are large sliding panels that allow you to close off the hallway and bathroom.
We've got Milan on our minds today
The "young and rich" luxury brand that is ME by Melia is in the midst of a global expansion, making powerful modern design statements (to put it lightly) in each city it debuts.
With hotels like ME London, a futuristic class act by Foster + Partner; the recently opened sexy cool ME Majorca and ME Ibiza; and the mind-altering ME Dubai, coming in 2016, it should be no surprise that when ME Milan Il Duca opens next year, it, too, will be something very special.
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When we shared some early images of the upcoming ME Dubai back in March, it was hard to wrap our heads around the undulations and contortions that are a staple of Zaha Hadid Architects.
With this new batch of renderings, we continue to look (gasp) in amazement and wonder at the hotel’s visual evolution. If space is still the final frontier, then the ME by Melia, Dubai, opening in 2016, seems like a good prototype for a hotel in space--it is just that way out there. It's also gonna be expensive to build.
A signature of ME by Melia Hotels is the rooftop bar, and this well-positioned one from the upcoming ME Milan this should not disappoint. Interestingly, this perspective appears to be taken from terraces of the hotel across the street, which quite frankly will have one of the best views of this new design feature.
2015 will see two new ME hotels--the extreme ME Dubai and the ME Milan II Duca, a previous modern classic that will be re-affirmed. ME’s first hotel in Italy will be moving into the former Il Duca di Milano hotel, a simple yet balanced contemporary design by the late Aldo Rossi, a Pritzker Prize winning architect and designer, referred to as “a poet who happens to be an architect.” You don't hear that comparison often.
You’ve already had a chance to browse street art at ME London last year, but while at the time you were able to make some yourself, this month you can browse and buy: from today, an exhibition entitled “Stealing Banksy?” will display over $8 million of Banksy artworks in the hotel’s Norman Foster-designed space-age pyramid atrium.
The exhibition, “exploring the social, legal and moral issues surrounding the sale of street art”, includes pieces like ‘No Ball Games, ‘Liverpool Rat’, and ‘Balloon Girl’ (check them out here), which will all be auctioned off on April 27, with profits going to local charities.
Tickets are still available through this website and cost £17.50 ($25), which includes a charitable donation and a copy of ‘The Banksy Bulge’, a one-off Banksy newspaper created for the occasion.
We found a Vibe Room for just over $500 this coming Saturday, but special offers should be available if you are going to the exhibit by contacting the hotel directly.
[Image: Stealing Banksy]
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Thinking of heading to the Spanish Balearic Islands this summer? There’s some new hotel competition coming to town on Mallorca and Ibiza, with Mélia’s lifestyle brand ME Hotels arriving on both islands.
Opening in May, ME Mallorca is located on a beach in Calvià (it's the former Beach House Hotel), and being next door to Nikki Beach you won’t have to go far to party. Poolside lounging can be done at the hotel too, at one of two pools, with SkinC spa and fitness facilities. Aura Managers – “the driver of the vibe and the leader of personalised service” – are on hand to help you with whatever you want. The vibe you’ll find in the rooms? Check it out below.
Cancun, Cabo, Madrid ... and, er, Vienna ... ME Hotels sure do love to set up shop in the party places, so we are not surprised to hear where they will be making their next move: the Balearic Islands. Rave on!
ME will be bringing their super-cool vibe, minimalist design, Aura Managers and, we hope, 4AM DJ's to Ibiza in June 2014 and to Mallorca in May. The 200-room Ibiza property will be situated bayside in Santa Eulalia and will have direct access from boat to the hotel. There will be 21 ME+ Suites, which usually means a dedicated host looking after you and a complimentary spa treatment, and the hotel will have two pools, Bali beds, an on-site fitness centre and roof top Skinc spa. Don't expect to sleep because DJs at the rooftop cocktail bar will be playing Ibizan classics deep into the night. Rates start at £200 ($320).
Aside from its rooftop offering far-stretching views of the city, one of the most distinctive features of Foster-designed ME London is the giant marble pyramid that houses reception, shooting up from the first floor towards its glass pinnacle inside Radio bar up top. Already a regular backdrop for video projections of star-filled galaxies and floating jellyfish, the hotel is taking things a step further during its street art exhibition ‘The Outside In’, running until August 4. We stopped by for a preview last week.
Five international graffiti writers and street artists (BRK, Christiaan Nagel, Thierry Noir, RUN and Zomby – for those who are well-versed in this particular genre) are displaying their work throughout the hotel’s public spaces, including projection onto the 30-metre high white marble walls. If you’re keen to unleash the inner street artist in you, now is also your chance with a dedicated hotel package.
We’ve kept you up to date on ME London on its long journey from when we first heard about it, through fires, delays, its Aura Managers, and the view from the roof, all the way to the much-delayed soft launch.
Today, March 1, is a brand new day however as ME London really, truly, opens its doors. Check out that lobby above, stepping into which, given the pitch black corridors (below), we likened to floating out into space, especially with the galaxy-like video projections on the angular walls at the time.
It’s World Travel Market in London this week, and the soon to open ME by Mélia London used the occasion to host a preview of its Radio rooftop bar and terrace. We jumped at the chance to attend, having been tempted by ME with an experience that would “connect with each guest’s aura”.
Located on the corner of Aldwych and Strand, Radio certainly delivers when it comes to views: you get the full panorama over Somerset House (lit up in red above, with the skating rink being prepared for the winter) of the river Thames, down east to The Shard, Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s, and the City, with the London Eye and Big Ben to the west. On the other side Covent Garden and the West End stretch out in front of you.
Far be it from us to judge another’s idea of fun – that’s why they make chocolate and vanilla – but we’ve been having a good old-fashioned chuckle about the upcoming promotion from ME Cancun: A “pooch pawty” weekend getaway that pampers pets and their owners with what is essentially a couple’s spa experience with joint manicures, 'paw'-dicures, and massages.
It gets funnier. Each furry guest will have their photograph taken upon arrival, framed and given to their owners as mementos. After the treatments and feasting on a buffet of cookies, kibble, and liver, the duo can return to their room for relaxation, where dog amenities – a plush bed, blanket with hood, and toys – await. We do like that a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the local animal rescue, Tierra de Animales.