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The Pestana South Beach Art Deco Hotel opened this morning in Miami where the old Hotel Milejan used to be (don't we sound like your grandparents?), becoming the first Portuguese-owned hotel to open in the States. The property offers 97 rooms and suites throughout four historically preserved Art Deco buildings, a retro cafe (see photo below) and a pool bar set on a 1940’s inspired patio with an outdoor pool (see above).
Pestana picked South Beach for the location of its initial US property because of the area's existing reputation and popularity among its current clients in Europe and South America.
“North America is a very attractive and strategic market for the Group Pestana. This is our first investment in this market and Miami is a natural starting point because it is a gateway for Europe and South America where our brand is quite strong,” said José Roquette, Pestana’s development director for the North American market.
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While Madonna's entourage shacks up in the modern room of the hotel, she herself likes four magnificent, chandelier-dripping, silk-lined suites in the older section. In a sitting room larger than most apartments and with a view to the river Tagus, the Material Girl might work through some dance steps on the inlaid wood floors but her preferred sleeping suite is the Dom Manuel with the huge bed fitted with Armani sheets. We're not sure what other requests she has but we're sure she still has plenty.
Now, here's a little history lesson on the hotel that you might enjoy:
River views from Hotel Rafayel
HotelChatter Questions: In which, the intrepid HotelChatter editors and our hotel maven readers answer hotel questions that pop into our inbox. Have a question for us? Send it along. Think you have a better answer than we gave, or better yet, want to give a vote of confidence to our answer? Comment away below.
We at HotelChatter are an accommodating breed and we always want to help rather than question, which was useful this morning when this reader question popped into our inbox:
Vauxhall, London: where should I stay with two kids and a bosswife (this summer)? Hotel? House/condo rental?
So instead of asking “why the hell Vauxhall?” (actually, we did ask – turns out they want to be near family who live there), we popped our thinking caps on. Where would we stay if we wanted to stay on a busy main road South of the River which has little going for it apart from a nice sandwich shop we once ate at and its banging gay nightlife?
Well, reader, hotelwise, it looks like Vauxhall is not your best option. There’s a Comfort Inn, but going by TripAdvisor, you could do better for your £88 (which is what itt’ll cost to shack up this quiet Sunday night).
Hey, maybe there is something to be said for the Battersea area becoming the fash new stretch of London’s South Bank. First, the Hotel Rafayel has been getting rave reviews, and now it’s the turn of the new Pestana Chelsea Bridge Hotel & Spa, which opened 1 March.
It’s technically under soft opening now, but by the looks of it, it’s pretty much there already.
TripAdvisor only has six reviews so far, but they’re all rave ones, talking about top notch soundproofing and comfy beds (and they don’t smell too much of PR guff either). We’re also particularly keen on the trippy wallpaper (we’re assuming that it’s not actually padded – that would be a bit too asylum-y…)
Budget Travel magazine recently ran a feature on 39 Affordable Hotel Chains Only Locals Know. "Only locals" might be stretching it a bit since more than a few Americans have stayed with Barcelo, Riu, and Fiesta Americana without going any further than Mexico. We did find quite a few new names in here ourselves though. Care for a night at the Fosshótel?
That chain is in Iceland as it turns out. (Moby Dick Pub at Fosshótel Húsavík pictured here.) Many of these chains stick close to home, in fact, which probably makes them both a better value and easier to manage. These include Dedeman in Turkey, Amari in Thailand, and Ginger in India.
Others have an eclectic footprint that seems to have come together by chance. Take this listing for Pestana Hotels & Resorts.
38 properties that include beachfront high-rises and spa resorts, with a variety of room sizes and styles--many equipped with kitchens--in Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, South Africa, Cape Verde, and São Tomé and Principe. Based in Portugal. Sample rate: $94, at the Pestana Atalaia, in Madeira, Portugal. pestana.com
Some of the choices are downright quirky. The five Cab Inn hotels in Denmark are modeled on cruise ship cabins and may come with bunk beds. The five Omena Hotels in Finland seem to have taken some lessons from Japanese love hotels: "guests check themselves in with a preset door code and contact housekeeping through interactive TVs." But hey, for $49, we'll take it.
· 39 Affordable Hotel Chains Only Locals Know [Budget Travel]