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The Hotel Des Bains in its heyday
Che fortuna amici, che bella notizia. This is big news. Huge! Venice’s historic Hotel des Bains, the grande dame of the Lido that inspired Death in Venice, hosted a bajillion movie stars for the film festival, and was shuttered in 2010 and sentenced to be redeveloped as luxury apartments (vomit) – will most likely be refurbished into a hotel once more.
According to local paper La Nuova, the Des Bains and its sadsack teammate, the Excelsior, are no longer for sale. The owner? The Cassa Depositi e Prestiti – a government-owned company. Regent and Starwood are still battling it out to run the properties (Raffaele Costa is out), but whoever wins will be the operator, not the owner.
But most exciting of all is the news that it looks likely that the Des Bains will make a spectacular return. From La Nuova (our translation):
It seems probable that the Des Bains, after its refurbishment, will return to being exclusively a hotel, putting a stop to the project that would have transformed part of it into hotel-residences – as was the initial plan – because the market conditions and the convenience of taking it forward are no longer in existence.
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It’s one of those places that’s been dubbed the hot new destination for a few years, yet still seems to keep reasonably under the radar, but things might all be about to change for Montenegro with the arrival of the Regent Porto Montenegro in Tivat, which has now confirmed an opening date of 1 August.
Actually, it probably won’t all change since the hotel will be tiny – just 35 rooms and 51 “residences” varying from one to three bedrooms. It’s more likely to be a change for Regent, who have never done “residences” before, only hotel rooms.
We’re not too keen on the building itself – a rather lumpy modern take on an Italianate palazzo – but the rooms look nicely fresh and modern (less staid than we might have thought) and the views over the marina and the Bay of Kotor are going to be dreamy. After all, when you’re inside, it doesn’t matter what it looks like on the outside, right?
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The Excelsior, up for sale
Last week we learned that one struggling Venice island hotel had finally had its prince come along, in the shape of St Regis, and it got us thinking: what’s happening with the grande dames of the Lido?
The glorious old Hotel des Bains – which was the setting for Death in Venice and, more recently, one of the venues of the Venice Film Festival – closed in 2010, to be redeveloped into luxury apartments within a year.
But in Venice a few months ago, we couldn’t help noticing that it was still a building site.
According to Il Sole 24 Ore, everything is up in the air. There’s some complicated real estate fund stuff going on, but basically Est Capital, which bought the properties off Starwood, has foundered, and they’ve been passed to Hines Sgr, which is mulling over the options.
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The Regent Montenegro
There’s tons of hotel news flying around at the moment, so we have another roundup of news bites for you today to get you up to speed on the latest from Oman to Cambodia and China to Argentina.
Starting with the Arab sultanate of Oman, its newspaper Muscat Daily (Muscat is the capital) reports that the country will have the first Aman Resort in the Middle East, in the remote coastal town of Shuwaimiya. The developer of the eco-resort has confirmed Aman Resorts will open, with the hotel group so far taking a confirm-nor-deny approach. Whether or not it will be the first in the Middle East remains to be seen, based on what we hear about an opening in Jordan.
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Deals: you want 'em, and surprisingly, everyone has 'em. Take a look at some of the latest hotel deals going around the internet today from booking sites, social media sites, flash sale sites and more. Don't forget to scroll down to see the HotelChatter-approved deal either. Who knows? You might just find what you're looking for. (But don't forget to tell us about your stay!)
DEALS, DEALS, DEALS*
· Unlimited Kids Club and More at The Regent Palms, Turks & Caicos: Right now the Caribbean resort is offering a "Double Your Credit, Double Your Fun" package that offers a third night free, $100 credit per night, full American breakfast, high-speed internet and unlimited use of Conch Kritters kids club during your stay. Call 866.877.7256 or visit regentpalmstci.com. Use code DYC to book.
· Soar Over Napa Valley at The Wydown Hotel: This 12-room boutique hotel on Main Street in St. Helena has put together a Soaring Over California package that includes a one-night stay and a sunrise hot air balloon flight over Napa Valley. The deal also throws in some pre-flight coffee and pastries, a champpagne breakfast at Michelin-starred Solbar at Solage Calistoga and roundtrip transportation. You can also upgrade the package to either the "Royal Treatment" which will get you a tour of the Castello di Amorosa, Dario Sattui's authentically-styled, 13th century, 121,000-square-foot Tuscan castle-winery or the "Vineyards by Horseback” which features a guided 90-minute horseback ride through the Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards and a wine-tastting. The package begins at $424 per person with the Royal upgrade for $26 per person and the horseback upgrade at $120 per person. For reservations, call 707-963-5100.
· The Luxer Side of The Waldorf Astoria, For Less: The original Waldorf Astoria in NYC is offering their high-end suites starting at just $699 a night for a Tower Suite. You can also pick the residential apartments from $1,299 a night or splurge on the penthouse suite at $1,999 a night. We found a regular Towers room for $599 a night in late September so just a $100 will get you a suite. For more information or to book now, go to www.waldorfny.com or call 800.925.3673.
· Desert Season Kicks Off at The Willows Palm Springs: The Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn will reopen for the 2013-14 season on September 11 with special rates starting at $275 a night (normally they are priced from $325.) Each stay also includes a three-course breakfast, evening wine and hors d’oeuvres and en suite and poolside snacks. But hurry as that rate is only good through the end of September. To make a reservation, call 800.966.9597 or reserve online at www.TheWillowsPalmSprings.com. Room selections are available on a first come, first-served basis.
Check out that balcony. Would a soak in that tub not immediately make you feel so much better about your day? Such is your option at the spa at the Regent Phuket Cape Panwa, specifically in one of the signature couple’s treatment rooms. Being the first new Regent hotel to open in a number of years, we swung by recently when we were in the area to check out how the renaissance of the group (now continued with a second opening in Bali) is coming along.
We arrived in the midst of a pretty impressive (and seasonal) thunderstorm, with sheets of rain cascading down like nobody’s business – when it rains in Thailand, it RAINS. Luckily those thunderstorms also tend to clear out in no time, chased away by the strength of the sun. Set in the far less developed south eastern part of Phuket, the hotel consists of 105 rooms – a combination of Pavilions, Suites, and Pool Villas – scattered on a hillside tumbling down to the Andaman Sea.
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The Regent Bali
While we continue to recover from last week’s ma-jah announcement of Tommie Hotels, the lovechild of Commune and Thompson, we have a roundup of news bites from around the world for you this Monday morning. Join us as we hop from Bali to Venice, Amsterdam to China, and Switzerland to Australia, for updates on everything from brand new Chinese brand Ahn Luh to the old school Gritti Palace.
Starting in Southeast Asia, Regent Hotels delivered on the promised opening of its new resort on Bali this past weekend, with 94 suites, one Regent Villa, 25 residences, and that inviting-looking infinity pool above. The Bali resort follows last year’s arrival in Phuket, which we swung by recently to see for ourselves how Regent’s first opening in years would stack up – more on that to come.
It looks like on June 1st, Regent Hotels will be making good on its promise to add a new resort in Sanur, on the south eastern coast of Bali; a welcome encore from its first opening in years in Phuket last December. And there’s no lack of ambition, with the hotel’s General Manager going on record to say that his ultimate goal is to make it “the number one resort in Bali”.
That will be a tall order on an island packed with noteworthy competition, including Four Seasons (times two), no less than three Aman Resorts, a St. Regis, and many others. So what kind of amazingness can we expect?
How about that? We mentioned it over the summer when we looked at new Asia hotels, but Regent Hotels will finally open its first new property in a long time early December: the Regent Phuket Cape Panwa, Thailand.
Set in its own private bay, 15 minutes away from Phuket town, the hotel features 105 rooms, suites, and villas. Entry-level pavilions start at 60m2, suites are a little larger and have an open plan lay-out with a view of either the bay or the ocean. Pool villas will give you 150m2 to roam around in, an outdoor deck with a private pool, butler service, and complimentary access to the Regent Club for breakfast and drinks throughout the day. All rooms come with an iPad and happily, complimentary WiFi.
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Remember when South Beach had a Regent?
Yes, we're talking a Regent Hotels Regent, although this was over five years ago, an eternity in the Miami Hotel Mambo game. If not, you may instead remember the Regent Bal Harbour--also no longer around.
Let them eat burgers
It must have been a difficult request for the hotel to accommodate. On Friday afternoon, hundreds of fans waited outside the Regent Taipei for the arrival of their queen, Lady Gaga. And though the Turquoise-Haired One managed to enter the hotel unseen, she made it clear that her commitment to her fans is as strong as ever.
Hours after she arrived, hotel staffers were instructed to deliver 100 burger-and-fries combos to the crowd waiting downstairs. Not every hotel is equipped with their own hidden hotel burger shop, so we're guessing some bellhops had to dash to a local fast food chain. But it sure beat Lady Gaga having to maneuver around the hotel in those mile-high platforms!
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While in France recently, we took a quick trip from Paris down to Bordeaux, which is literally quick as we’re talking about a train trip on Rail Europe's TGV that takes under 3 hours. The idea was to hang out in the UNESCO World Heritage city, otherwise known as the “Port of the Moon” thanks to its crescent shape along the Garonne River, but of course we had to have a great hotel too.
We decided to camp out at the city’s only five-star hotel, the recently restored Regent Grand Hotel Bordeaux—not least of all so we could try the fancy signature lobster dish prepared using a 30,000 Euro silver Christophle lobster press at the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Le Pressoir d’Argent—but in the meantime, we snapped this photo gallery and video of our Junior Suite: