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Surrounded by two hectares of grounds in the modern Palmeraie district. A beautiful hammam. Eight beautiful suites, including some freestanding ones in their own pavilions. Like the Pavillon à la Rotonde, which is “romantic and secluded”, “ideal for an intimate getaway” with its “private garden and jacuzzi”. How glorious! Until you come to the booking page, and it describes it as “Poo Suite: Rotonde”.
Yes, of course this is an extremely juvenile thing to be giggling over. But it’s also a serious reminder to hotels to check through every page of your websites, and to keep names uniform across the site – because even if it said “Pool Suite: Rotonde”, we’d be wondering whether that was in fact the Pavillon à la Rotonde we’d so wanted to book.
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A five star property, locally owned (huzzah!) and designed by architect Christophe Pillet, it’s a clever cross between a riad and a resort: 50 rooms, two restaurants (one French, one Moroccan), a rooftop bar, Givenchy spa (the first in North Africa) and hammam and gym – but in a very beautiful, entirely Moroccan building. Oh, and since it’s perched on a hillside, it also has panoramic views from its rooftop terrace over the medina, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Anticipation continues to mount for the debut of Baccarat Hotels. We’ve been tracking the progress of Baccarat Hotel and Residences in New York which should open in December but today, we're checking in on the second Baccarat Hotel to open-- The Baccarat Hotel, Rabat in Morocco, whose completion is simply stated as “opening 2015.”
We’ve found a few renderings of this Baccarat Hotel yet it's hard to fully grasp what Baccarat’s second installation is going to look like. Nevertheless, here's our take and so far, we like what we see.
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And so the expansion of Four Seasons Hotels continues apace: we told you about Moscow (we’re still in shock over the prices), Boston round two, Kyoto being years off but in progress, and now Dubai (above) and Johannesburg are opening at the same time later this year. Having a little wander around the internet, we found reference to other Four Seasons Hotels coming to Puerto Rico, Oman, Barbados, and more as well.
Whether it’s a dose of winter sun in the Middle East, or summer sun and safari in South Africa you’re looking for, reservations are open from December 1 at either property.
In true Dubai-style, the Four Seasons at Jumeirah Beach does things big: 237 rooms starting at over 750 square feet, 10 restaurants and lounges, three swimming pools and spa, and a private beach. The design looks fairly typical Four Seasons, with all rooms having some form of outdoor space. Also big? Nightly rates, with an introductory offer ringing in at 2,204AED, or just over $600.
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Most high-end hotels take great care in creating impressive dining spaces, often luring in celebrity chefs and extra business along the way. But lately we have noticed a solid restaurant scene isn't always enough to draw in some extra business and hotels are going to greater lengths to bring in dollars, from opening up their pools so patrons can enjoy the sun and a cocktail, to installing full-blown art installations. Some hotels have taken to blending art and dining and the results certainly make for an eye-catching environment. Take a look at these six hotel restaurants where diners can take in both a five-star meal along with a helping of art and design:
SBE as a whole is an artsy and progressive name when it comes to hospitality and dining, working with big names to produce memorable venues like Katsuya and the SLS-branded hotels. The Bazaar by Jose Andres in Los Angeles is no exception with an eclectic design created, like most of their projects, by master Parisian designer of interiors Philippe Starck. Filled with seemingly random artistic pieces and a rainbow of colors, The Bazaar is anything but boring with a practically exhaustive small bites menu to match with everything from classic dishes to creations made using molecular gastronomy.
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People Magazine recently named Gwyneth Paltrow 2013’s "World's Most Beautiful Woman" and that set off a debate frenzy as to whether the actress deserved such a title. Even Paltrow herself has been quoted as saying that while she’s honored, it’s “obviously not true.”
Still, we’re more interested in where a woman with such a high honor go for a little R&R? Especially now after that much publicity. Well, we’re happy to say she’s a fan of some of our favorite places!
Viceroy Sugar Beach, St. Lucia
Paltrow visited the newly renamed and rebranded resort (it used to be Jalousie) with her children, Apple, 8, and Moses, 6. She wrote on her lifestyle website Goop.com, “We are just back from an amazing (and sadly short) holiday at Sugar Beach -- A Viceroy Resort in St. Lucia. It was heaven.” Oh, and she also had to clarify that Moses wasn't drinking a pina colada out of his coconut.
Read on for more of Paltrow's perennial favorites.
What's that you say? Television rots your brain? Makes you lazy? Au contraire!
We told you about the Game of Thrones' packages in Croatia, and LateRooms.com is now reporting that fans are being inspired into action, apparently motivated by the show's medieval city scenes and glacier exteriors. Morocco and Iceland hotels have seen an increase in bookings through the site without offering so much as a discount (sorry, Croatia!), some as much as 100%.
Okay, right, it's only one site, but we think it brings up an interesting component of advertising. Companies pay a lot of money for that 30-second commercial, but who's watching them anymore? People are more aware and avoid ads than ever before. Thanks to the decline of consumer patience when it comes to commercial breaks, the future of advertising is in the hand of product placement than anything else.
Maybe the travel industry can take advantage of that. It's currently working out really well for Iceland and Morocco. So what are the benefits?
Nearly three years ago the movie (or borderline international incident – sorry, SJP, but just. no.) Sex and the City 2 came out. Way back when, we reported on the backdrop for all the hotel-room scenes in the movie being the (then) future Mandarin Oriental Jnan Rahma, Marrakech, which substituted for Abu Dhabi in the film.
One delay to the first quarter of 2011 later and the hotel was taken over by Indian group Taj Hotels, still optimistically scheduled for the fall of that same year. Now, another year plus later, the Taj Palace Marrakech is finally ready for all those people who have been saving for an SATC-themed journey to Morocco.
Morgans Hotel Group / Hotel News / Delano Hotels / Mondrian Hotels / Marrakech Hotels / Morocco Hotels / Hotel Openings / → All Tags
Just last week we were reminiscing about the days when The Delano would strike out for the wilds of Las Vegas and Dubai but thanks to the great economy meltdown of 2008, those desert dreams were merely mirages. Same goes for these Delano duds.
But today, we've got word that The Delano, under parent company Morgans Hotel Group is actually giving it another go--this time in Morocco.
Morgans has partnered up with Moroccan entrepreneur Ahmed Bennani and Hivernage Collection to open a Delano Marrakech in September 2012 (this year!) followed by a Mondrian Marrakech in late 2013. Here's the brief description on the 73-room Delano Marrakech:
Following the footsteps of its South Beach predecessor, Delano Marrakech will provide world-travelers with another sophisticated world-class urban resort marked by unparalleled style and five-star service. As a self-contained destination, Delano Marrakech will offer a haven of luxury and relaxation in heart of the vibrant, magical city.
We're drooling over recently-released photos of Selman Marrakech, a new 56-room luxury resort that officially opens on May 1. In addition to completed rooms and suites, the 15-acre property also boasts a pool, a 12,000 square foot spa, and, bizarrely, sixteen Arabian thoroughbreds, which roam the property simply for guests to enjoy, and (occasionally) ride.
Our eyes, however, immediately fixated on the detailed craftsmanship that characterizes the walls, the floor, the furniture—from the looks of it, pretty much every surface here is marked by some little ingenious embellishment, from hand-laid mosaic tiles to arched columns to carved wooden balconies.
Our series on Marrakech concludes with the grandest suite we saw during our four day jaunt to the Moroccan city.
Dar Ayniwen, like Jnane Tamsna, is located in La Palmeraie, providing a sea change in terms of environment when compared to the Medina. The estate-turned-hotel that doesn't shy away from pomp and circumstance: stately excess best describes its decor, from the textured Berber rugs layered and peppered throughout its interior, to walls plastered with vintage travel posters, to the plush gardens surrounding it, with a variety of bird species chirping a natural soundtrack for the villa.
Removed from the frantic climes of Marrakech's Medina, Jnane Tamsna is located in the city's Palmeraie district, tucked away from other sizeable resorts in the area. We planned an afternoon sojourn to the grounds after learning about on-site cookery classes featuring staples of Moroccan cuisine. Fans of former Gourmet Editor-in-Chief Ruth Reichl may remember Jnane Tamsna's house chef, Bahija, featured on an episode of Adventures With Ruth.