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As ever, there is more hotel news out there than we could possibly cover. Here are a few short updates to keep you up to speed with what’s happening in Asia.
citizenM Taipei: the first Asian citizenM, the Dutch group will open in Taiwan’s capital in the last quarter of 2016 with 260 rooms in the Ximending neighborhood. Future Asian cities on the radar are Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore, Jakarta and Bangkok. Yes, please.
Ritz-Carlton Hotels have nabbed a stellar design team for its second hotel in the region, The Ritz-Carlton Mumbai, opening in 2016. While most of the luxury brands have already laid bricks in the Asia Pacific, Mumbai, as a growing center for finance, entertainment, and design—yes, design—seems to be the “it” destination and so the race is on.
According to HotelManagment, the 238-room Ritz Carlton is being developed by Oasis Realty in a joint venture of Oberoi Realty and Sahana Group. The hotel will occupy one of two new towers which will include Ritz-Carlton managed residences. The hotel will have an ocean-view bar (Arabian Sea,) two restaurants, spa, and enough event space for the average over-the-top Indian wedding.
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Two weeks ago, we ran a story on some of the details about a hotel room that bother the average luxury traveler. Have you ever flung open the drapes in a gorgeous room, only to see a brick wall a few feet away? Yeah, we should’ve added that to the list. Few things can be so disappointing. In complete contrast, when you score one of those oh-so-sweet views to die for, it can be the difference between an okay hotel stay and the memory of that room with the great view. So, in case you were out to make your next great memory, allow this list of killer hotel views to inspire you:
We begin with Capella Lodge (pictured above), located on the itty-bitty (11 kilometers in length) Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea. The landmass is located in the midst the world’s most southern coral reef, an area declared an UNESCO heritage site in the early ‘80s. Seriously, who wouldn't want to wake up like this?
Our resident celebrity hotel hopper, Josh Flagg, star of Bravo's Million Dollar Listing recently completed a trip to India. One of the stops on his luxury hotel itinerary? The Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai which has rebounded incredibly well after 2010's terrorist attack. Here's his elevator review of the place:
If the English dictionary had one picture to describe the word sophistication, The Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai would be upfront and center. Few hotels in the world really hit that nail on the head. The George V in Paris, The St. Regis in New York, The Peninsula Hong Kong all have it down, and now that I have stayed in the Taj Mumbai, I realize why it has stood the test of time.
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times: being the tallest or highest hotel in the city / country / world is a much coveted label (hello, JW Marriott Marquis Dubai!), and if that means killer views can be had, we’re not complaining.
This time next year, Mumbai will have a new contender for its highest hotel title, when The Aayu Mumbai opens on the top five floors of Kohinoor Square’s Central Tower, the tallest commercial building in the city.
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We have been spending so much time on cocktail culture (well, it has been a rough few months), we figured we should be a little more balanced with our beverage coverage.
We started a bit by paying some attention to another one of our favorite pasttimes--afternoon tea. That can mean a simple cuppa for some of you--a jolt of caffeine to carry you through the day, or for more leisurely sorts, a more elaborate weekend high-tea filled with all sorts of yummy delights. We want to focus on that one--so much more fun, yes?
Now that chillier climates prevail in many parts of the country, the call for afternoon tea is in full demand and these hotels put out what we think are mighty fine spreads. We’ve seen quite a few people duck in to a hotel around the 4’o clock hour and chill over a demitasse of Darjeeling, a curried-chicken finger sandwich, and a jam-filled tart. We heartily approve.
Just remember, pinkie's up!
Oooo! That got us excited as the W there is expected to open in the futuristic Namaste Tower (above) Yet when we checked on the hotel's website, it's opening date is not listed until July 2015. Ok. Obviously W and us have very different definitions of "opening soon."
W Hotels is playing a serious game of "Around the World" having just announced a W Hotel in Mumbai due to open July 2015. While Starwood Hotels kept mum on any other plans for the 350-room hotel, DNA India has the scoop on the location:
The property is part of an iconic mix-use development christened ‘Namaste Tower’. The construction site is the erstwhile Ambika Mills land parcel located a few hundred metres south of another soon-to-open luxury hotel, Shangri-La, atop the luxury retail mall Palladium at High Street Phoenix at Lower Parel.
The Namaste Tower design is actually meant to reflect the namaste yoga gesture where two wings of the hotel are clasped together like hands greeting the city of Mumbai. Ommmm....
Meanwhile, the W Mumbai already has its own website. Disappointingly there is no mention of "Bollywood cool." Hope they fix that copy up right quick.
Yesterday was India's Independence Day so it was a fitting day to welcome back the Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai, which reopened its Palace Wing yesterday. This part of the beloved hotel had been closed since the terrorist attacks of November 2008, which killed 166 people and also hit Oberoi Hotels & Resorts, a railway station and a cafe.
The Tower Wing of the hotel has been open for more than a year but now, with $37 million worth of renovations, the Palace Wing is now back in business as well. Part of the restoration project included work on the Taj's extensive art collection, which has been painstakingly restored for the reopening—with over 300 important pieces now hanging in the banquet hall, the lounge, and a bar off the main lobby.
Nearly 18 months after the terrorist attacks, the Oberoi Mumbai reopened on Saturday. Not even the volcano stopped proceedings (although it meant the European contingent couldn’t make it over for the do).
According to the press release:
The hotel has been transformed and will now offer a contemporary, luxurious ambience.
The new pictures do look gorgeous – especially the rooms that look out over the water. The only thing is that, for a business hotel, we’re pretty taken aback by the glass-walled bathrooms (lovely to look at the sea from the bath; not so nice to have your colleague in between).
One of the hotel's new restaurants. We’re thinking Ziya, presided over by a Michelin-starred chef
It’s been nearly 18 months since the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, but while the Taj reopened pretty quickly, the Oberoi has been closed to be completely gutted and transformed. And finally, it’s been announced, it’ll reopen April 24.
According to the press release:
The Oberoi Group’s luxury hotel on Marine Drive in South Mumbai has been completely transformed to offer fresh contemporary interiors, new facilities and the latest technology.
All guest rooms and suites have been renovated, and include spacious marble bathrooms.
She stayed at the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, which reopened last December after the devastating terrorist attacks, and had a party thrown for her by Bollywood actress Neha Dhupia at the Vie Lounge bar on Juhu Beach. According to the Daily Mail, she “fitted right in with India’s fashion elite.” Wonder if she cracked out the guitar as well?
Having gone down a storm and impressed everyone with her henna tattoo and bindi, she left Mumbai for London yesterday. We’re not jealous. Really.
[Photo: Daily Mail UK]