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Here is some news that will shake you out of your summer lull faster than even London’s unseasonably frigid temperatures could have: Singapore-based UOL Group Limited has acquired the site for the future Heron Plaza development on Bishopsgate and plans to open a hotel under its Pan Pacific brand inside.
Not only will that be the first Pan Pacific for Europe, and only the fifth outside Asia-Pacific (there is Seattle, Vancouver, and Whistler times two currently), it is also the end for what everyone had long accepted would be the third Four Seasons hotel in the city.
UOL paid £97 million for the land, which currently has planning permission for a 43-story tower with 109 residences, 190-room hotel, and retail. The group will “review” that configuration, so we assume that will mean room count will change.
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Visitors to Melbourne, Australia's second largest city, will be twice as lucky with an announcement for the city's newest Parkroyal Hotel. And best of all, this one is a bit closer to the action of the city then the current airport property.
Located in one of Melbourne's most up-and-coming neighborhoods, Parkroyal Melbourne will be sit on the doorstep of the city's action yet still be within walking distance from Etihad Stadium, Crown Casino and the Central Business District. Playing to its excellent location, the 37-story, glass-shrouded building will sport panoramic views of both the city and Victoria Harbour and since the hotel will take the first 18 floors, we expect some awesome Instagram #hotelview posts from this place.
Talk about annoying. After a long journey, you finally check into a luxury hotel and are handed your room card and minibar key. All is well, and for the $250+ late summer rate you're paying at the Pan Pacific Vancouver, the room comes with a lovely view and an enviable waterfront location. Still, something is amiss.
Perhaps 2012 can be known as the year we were sweet on Singapore. From The Raffles to the original Shangri-La and all the boutique hotels in between, "The Lion City" roared through the year and continues to do so, as another grandiose hotel prepares to make headlines with its December 2012 debut.
This property, the PARKROYAL on Pickering, will be the flagship for the PARKROYAL brand (part of the Pan Pacific group) and is already bragging that it's "Singapore's first-hotel-in-a-garden." We're sure the Shangri-La's Garden Wing would love to argue, but let's humor the PARKROYAL for a moment.
Pan Pacific Manila
Pan Pacific Hotels and Resorts launched a new loyalty program that tweaks the usual perks. For example, instead of only airline miles, members will get to go behind the scenes with Pan Pacific Kuala Lumpur International Airport air traffic controllers. Instead of a food and beverage credit, a Cantonese chef will give a dim sum cooking lesson.
The company's GHA Discovery program rewards you with "local experiences" every time your membership is upgraded or you stay at a new brand.
The Crowne Plaza Darling Harbour: Soon to be a ParkRoyal Hotel.
If you were a youngster in the Sydney suburb of Parramatta in the '90s, the Park Royal was your first port of call for hotel fun. Conveniently located near a strip of clubs and restaurants, it was the place to go for birthday parties, after parties, any party at all out in the 'burbs. Over time it lost the Park Royal name and became better known as a business hotel. But just like flannel shirts and Axl Rose, the Park Royal is coming back to stoke Parramatta's nostalgia!
Pan Pacific will also rebrand two other Australian hotels: the Crowne Plaza Darling Harbour will become the ParkRoyal Darling Harbour in November, and over on the other side of the country, the Sheraton Perth will turn into the Pan Pacific Perth in January 2011.
The 2010 Winter Olympics will kick off in Vancouver and Whistler, Canada in just a few short months and we fer sure thought that the city's and ski resort's hotel rooms would be long gone by now. In fact, wasn't someone planning to dock a cruise ship in Vancouver to increase the hotel room supply?
Well, thankfully you won't have to train your sea legs. You just have to dip into your savings. The Pan Pacific Whistler has released a limited supply of suites for "public consumption." (Yes, that's what the press release actually said.)
The rooms are open from February 11 to February 28, 2010 at both the Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside and Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre. Guests must reserve a five-night minimum stay. The average room rate is about $1,119 CAD a night for a 1-bedroom suite with a mountain view. Yes, we know. $1,119 a night. And in U.S. dollars it's not that much of a difference--$1,080.
The Pan Pacific Hotels group are at the start of a "growth strategy" for China – they sure aren't the only ones – and that means they're going to open their second hotel in China in January 2010.
After opening up the Pan Pacific Xiamen earlier this year, they will now be taking over and rebranding the Sheraton Suzhou Hotel and Towers in the east coast city of Suzhou. It's a 484-room place which Sheraton just added a brand new wing of 99 rooms to earlier in the year (obviously nobody told them they'd be handing it over).
Before the January reopening they'll be putting some Pan Pacific "brand standards" in place. And then the group will be looking ahead to its continued attempt to rule China, with its third hotel planned for Tianjin in 2011.
Vancouver is not necessarily the city that immediately comes to mind when we think of hotspots with outdoor rooftop pools, but the city's Pan Pacific Hotel has just re-opened its 8th floor terrace and the hotel's heated salt-water outdoor pool.
Apparently, this is the only one of its kind in all of Vancouver and because there's no chlorine, it's much easier on your eyes (literally) and on the environment too. The high temps in Vancouver in the summer only average about 74 degrees in the months of July and August, which is a little chilly for us but fortunately, the terrace also has a jacuzzi to keep you warm.
A bar and poolside dining service is also open, but just remember not to drink and jacuzzi. Wouldn't want to give your fellow pool-goers something to ruin that pretty view, would you?
The Pan Pacific Vancouver has rates starting at $335CAD, which includes breakfast for two.
On the heels of our Whistler Hotel Guide, we've learned that the ski resort's two Pan Pacific Hotels have announced new "value added preference" packages. Both the Pan Pacific Mountainside and Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre are giving guests “pre-paid internet special” with a “Lock in Your Exchange Rate” offer.
Starting at... $319CAD (about $253 USD) from January 4th through April 25th, those who book online at panpacificwest.com, will enjoy increasing savings for booking multiple nights, adding up to a free night’s stay for those reserving five consecutive room nights.
The ascending savings’ scale is as follows:
· 10 percent discount per night off any room type for three nights booked
· 15 percent discount per night off any room type for four nights booked
· 20 percent discount per night off any room type for five nights booked
The catch here is that you must pay in advance, thus locking in your currency exchange rate. It's also subject to limited availability and is non-refundable, non-cancellable. And remember, the Mountainside hotel is closer to the slopes so rooms will be more over there. All this is making us go..."eh." But the rooms do have complimentary internet, complimentary local phone calls, an in-resort shuttle and complimentary breakfast.
We're curious. Have you ever stayed at Pan Pacific Hotel before? What was it like? Let us know.
It's been a fruitful year for Kuala Lumpur's Pan Pacific International Hotel, whose 441 rooms essentially sit just off the tarmac of the city's airport. After winning "Best Airport Hotel in Asia" for the seventh year in a row, the full-service property has just claimed the additional title of "World's Leading Airport Hotel."
With open voting hosted by by Business Asia Magazine, ballots "... are cast by 167,000 travel professionals in over 160 countries across the globe with winning categories covering all sectors of the global travel, tourism and hospitality industry." So you see, this was way more than a suggestion box in the hotel's lobby.
Other World winners include:
World's Leading All-Suite Hotel - Burj Al Arab, Dubai, UAE
World's Leading Boutique Hotel - Saxon Boutique Hotel & Spa, South Africa
World's Leading City Hotel - Swissotel Krasnye Holmy Moscow
World's Leading Design Hotel - Adam & Eve at Belek, Turkey
World's Leading Hotel Brand - Marriott Hotels Resorts & Suites
Check out all of the winners, even regional, at The World Travel Awards website.
[Photo: The Pan Pacific Hotel]