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We might be tapping our feet impatiently for the opening of its property in Paris, but Peninsula Hotels made us all sorts of happy last week with the announcement of its plan to open a London hotel in swanky Belgravia, steps from Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace.
The Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited (HSH) – the parent company of Peninsula – has signed a non-binding agreement with Derwent, a property investor, to acquire its stake in the buildings at 1-5 Grosvenor Place, for £132.5 million ($205 million). Currently a rather unattractive (see above) office block, the announcement thankfully talks about planned redevelopment into something more suitable for a luxurious Peninsula Hotel.
We’ve been aching for more details on what Peninsula Hotels has in store for us in Paris, having walked past the construction site on Avenue Kléber earlier this year and last spring. After playing around with their seriously high-tech bedside tablets, we finally have a few more details on what’s going to be inside the 1908 Beaux Arts building in the city’s 16th arrondissement come opening time next year.
First of all, say it with us: rooftop bar, rooftop bar! One of our favorite hotel pursuits will be possible at the Peninsula Paris, with a planned rooftop restaurant, bar, and terrace serving ‘modern French cuisine’. The terrace has capacity for 50 people, so we bet this is going to be one hot ticket once the sun is out. Equally, you can bet we will be getting our behinds up there toute suite after opening to tell you all about it.
We like to keep it fun but informative here at HotelChatter so our series, What is This?, is devoted to odd-looking items in hotels that upon first glance look as if they serve only a decorative purpose. But everything happens for a reason, right? And we're here to tell you what these things really do.
There's quite a bit to explore at any Peninsula hotel, from bedside digital control panels to butler boxes, but the flagship property in Hong Kong has a few extra secrets waiting to be discovered. Take, for instance, this small slit of a window found not in a guest room or restaurant, but in The Peninsula Hong Kong's shopping arcade.
Pass the Goyard boutique (the only one in HK!), beyond Chanel and other big brands with guarded doors lies this peekaboo spot to tickle your curiosity.
Late last month, HotelChatter ambled by the upcoming Peninsula Paris only to find that much of it was still under wraps. Yet last week, we got the chance to meet stateside with some GMs and execs from Peninsula Hotels and we've got a few new things to chatter about with you.
Let's get the big news out of the way now--the hotel is opening in 2014. So we won't get inside their rooms this year. Triste! BUT when the hotel does open, it's going to have some crazysexycool technology--especially these proprietary bedside tablets which will not only control everything in the room from lights to temperature but will also allow you to stream TV channels from around the world.
Sorry, horses. You're not needed anymore, not even for those nostalgic horse-drawn carriage rides.
The Peninsula Beverly Hills, a hotel brand known for their cutting-edge technology and high-flying modes of transportation, is now ferrying their guests around town in these souped up motorcycle-drawn carriages from 7 Wheel Wonders. The hog portion of the vehicle usually resembles a classic car, while the coach part resembles the old coaches of Jane Austen and Cinderella's time. That's the '57 Chevy above and the Old Hollywood in red below. Each ride comes with two "coach concierges" along with drinks and hors d'oeuvres.
Right now, the rides are currently offered to guests partaking in the hotel's treasure hunt, i.e. mostly families, but there's a possibility the rides will be offered to all hotel guests who want to experience an old-timey mode of transportation with a little flair...and an engine roar. Rates at the hotel start around $450 a night.
Last week, Peninsula Hotels struck a deal to build a new luxury hotel out of the former Burma Railway Building in Yangon, close to the famous Scott's Market (a "major" tourist attraction.)
Specifics of the hotel, such as how many floors, guest rooms and even when it will open have yet to be determined, but the hotel will open as part of a mixed use development. Since the building's original architecture was created in an elegant colonial style (way back when the British called the country, Burma), Peninsula isn't going to mess with it too much.
Below, you can see a photo of how it looks today as well as a future rendering above.
This is a major hotel development for Myanmar, located in Southeast Asia and bordered by China, Thailand, India, Laos and Bangladesh. That's because up until 2011, the country had been under harsh military rule and its people severely oppressed.
Trade sanctions by the U.S. and the European Union were only recently lifted, thanks to the presence of a new civilian government, yet there have been some new incidents between the country's Buddhist and Muslim populations.
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There are many reasons why we are pretty excited about the upcoming opening of The Peninsula Paris. It will be the first European venture of the luxury group, and if the renovation efforts over in Hong Kong are anything to go by, accommodations should come with a technology and amenity overload.
Its arrival will see it go head to head with fellow Asians and relative newcomers Shangri-La and Mandarin Oriental, as well as all sorts of longstanding competition that is upping its game. First shots last year showed a monumental building (the former Hotel Majestic) on one of the city’s fancy avenues, proudly displaying giant Peninsula advertisements, yet shrouded under construction covers.
Just over twelve months on, unfortunately much of the hotel is still under wraps, with only a sliver of the back being visible. While opening is still set as a Q4 2013, the subject to change that comes right after has us wondering whether we will still be stepping inside Peninsula Paris this year.
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It's no secret that Mad Men has inspired a nationwide renaissance of classic, American-inspired cocktails (heck, AMC even dedicated an entire webpage to cocktails featured on the show). In honor of the two-hour season premier this Sunday, we've gone ahead and compiled a list of the top Manhattan hotel bars serving Mad Men-inspired drinks. Whom you invite back up to your hotel room afterward is entirely up to you.
One of our favorite chi-chi hideouts in New York is The Peninsula, whose second-floor Gotham Lounge offers seven different martinis. Alternatively, show off your insider knowledge and ask for the Ning Sling ($24, pictured), which consists of Absolut Mandarin, Soho Lychee liqueur, lychee and passion fruit juices, and fresh mint leaves—the drink is so exclusive, it isn't even listed on the menu.
Five more cocktails after the jump!
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Nobody does a holiday better than a hotel but the Peninsula Chicago has really gone out of its way for Easter again this year.
The luxury hotel on North Michigan Ave has decorated a MINI Cooper with bunny ears, a pink nose and whiskers and a poofy tail. The bunny mobile will ride around Chi-town with Peter Cottontail and the Peninsula mascot Peter Bear passing out candy and toy Peninsula bears (dressed up in their Easter finest) to kids throughout the city. So parents, if a car pulls up with a bunny and a bear looking to give your kid some candy, it's actually ok to let them.
Back inside the hotel, the Lobby restaurant and The Children's Lounge will feature children's activities and of course, an Easter egg hunt. Looking for a last minute room at the hotel this weekend? Rates start at $350 a night.
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Tea is a big thing. Really big, especially at hotels. Just last week, Shangri-La Sydney announced the introduction of a very special tea blend that is exclusive to their property and will brighten up even the perkiest of high tea services. The hand-picked single origin 100% pure Dilmah Ceylon tea is available in all 563 rooms and can be sipped in any of the restaurants including their new signature high-tea service. The special tea bags will also be found in all Shangri-La properties around the world.
The folks at the Shangri-La aren't the only tea connoisseurs. There are plenty of other exclusive brews at hotels around the world. Here's a sampling of what you can sample while staying or playing at these properties:
· The Langham: As the creators of the original English high-tea service, you could have imagine they would stake claim to one variety. In fact, the pink-hued hotels have four different house blends to tempt guests' taste-buds. The aptly named Langham Blend, Silk Road Blend, English Flower Blend and Palm Court Exotic Blend are all offered on their own or accompanying some freshly baked scones.
We sure hope last week's Four Seasons jewelry thief wasn't lurking around the Peninsula Bev Hills last night!
The Peninsula Beverly Hills must have been a hectic scene last night as hand-delivered suits and mysterious orange sacks began arriving at the hotel and immediately whisked up to VIP suites. "The bling is here!" the hotel announced on Facebook, as we pictured everyone from Jennifer Aniston to Catherine Zeta-Jones checking into five-star hotels all over Hollywood to get themselves dolled up for the big awards ceremony.
While we can't say for sure which stars were actually at the Peninsula, we guarantee a few of them were pretty big names. After all, what regular person would have multiple bags of expensive jewelry dragged up to their hotel suite on Oscars night? One starry-eyed Facebook commenter wrote: "I can only imagine what's inside!" One thing's for sure: nothing we'd be able to afford in a million gazillion years.
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As longtime hotel nerds, we're always excited when a new hotel opens. In fact, to ensure we don't miss an opening we compiled the Master Openings List of hotels expected to open in 2013. Not just in the U.S. or Europe, but around the world.
Out of this beast of a list, which we are constantly updating as we hear of new openings (and as we re-learn world geography apparently) we admittedly have a few favorites. Five to be exact. So here are 5 Hotel Openings We're Excited For in 2013. We hoped to get you every starting room rate, but alas, not all of the properties are taking reservations yet. But once they do, we'll let you know how much you're gonna pay!
Got an opening you're most excited about? Drop it in comments below!