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Not only did we ogle Rosewood London last week (hopefully just phase one in Europe for the group), we also picked up some additional news: a first few snapshots of the rooms at Rosewood Beijing (coming next year) and the exciting update that another hotel is being planned for Bangkok.
Both hotels sound like they will be rather unique; the building in Beijing “will recall a mountain profile with contrasting volumes and shapes” and Bangkok promises 650-square foot Pool Sky Villas, with large terraces and private plunge pools (!!).
Two months have flown by since we stopped by Rosewood London in August to get a first impression of what was to come for the 1914 Edwardian Belle Epoque building on High Holborn, and here we are: the hotel is now officially open (on time! It can be done after all).
Having spent an evening exploring the public spaces, from arrival in the dramatically-lit courtyard and the stunning rose-bronze entrance gallery to the book-filled, library-feel Bar and elegant Mirror Room, we are seriously impressed with how that $130 million was spent. It’s a tasteful, luxurious, and, most of all, interesting mix of design, furniture, fabrics, colors, and art that really worked for us. Read on for more.
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There's tons of hotel news flying around this week and we don't have time to give each and every story the love and attention it may deserve, so here is a quick rundown to get you up to speed on the latest.
Four Seasons goes to Seoul: the Canadian group just announced it will be adding a 317-room Four Seasons hotel in the Sejongro area of South Korea’s capital, due to open in May 2015 in a brand new 25-story building
One&Only goes Down Under: we had heard the rumor before, but it’s official now. Australia’s Hayman Island will be managed by One&Only, with a full re-launch in April next year. The resort, in the Whitsunday Islands near the Great Barrier Reef, will undergo extensive renovations. Private residences will be added as well
Having closed the doors of the former Chancery Court Hotel last week, Rosewood Hotels is putting the pedal to the metal on its $130 million investment to create Rosewood London. No guests means free range over the 1914, Grade-II listed building on High Holborn, which should come out the other end looking shiny and new - and as envisaged by designer Tony Chi - by mid-October.
Renderings were all we had seen so far, but now we can take you inside for a glimpse of what’s to come, having donned our hard-hat to see both massive construction as it was happening and a completely done-up Premier Suite. If you knew the Chancery Court in its Renaissance days, you will have to erase whatever notions or visuals you had of the hotel from your memory. From what we’ve seen, it will be quite something else later this year.
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Back in February, we received word that Rosewood Hotels would be planning its return to both the United Kingdom and Europe with the opening of Rosewood London in October this year. New hotel announcements usually aren’t followed by an opening in the same year, but Rosewood is achieving this by overhauling the (formerly Renaissance) Chancery Court Hotel on High Holborn.
That overhaul is now one step closer, with the hotel closing down as of end of July, ready to start feeling the full impact of the $130 million the group is spending on the transformation of the 1914 Grade-II listed building. How long it will take to spend that money? Just three months, as re-opening is promised for early October.
Hotel Art / Hotel Art Galleries / Hotel Artists / James Hotels / Raffles Hotels / Rosewood Hotels / Yotels / Andaz Hotels / → All Tags
Remember the old days where hotel art usually consisted of a bland landscape painting that was reproduced a hundred times over and hung in the same spot in every guest room? Thankfully, over the past few years, hotels have been paying close attention to the artworks they hang in their rooms and public spaces--choosing original art instead and even better, works from local artists instead of some mass-produced Van Gogh imitation.
But in the past month or so, we've noticed some hotels that are stepping it up even further when it comes to the art on display. Giant murals, entire galleries, and even live-in artists are among the trends we've begun to see.
For us, it's moreso about the overall vibe and decor of the hotel than it is about temporary art promotions and exhibits, although we do acknowledge that the latter can certainly contribute to the former. The personality of a property is as much of a selling point as, say, the hotel's location or the quality of its food, so it's no surprise hotels are quick to market their artistic aspects. Below, we've provided a roundup of what's happening this spring and summer at a variety of properties.
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The Westcliff Johannesburg
You guys, the hotel news keeps rolling in so fast we can barely keep up with it. In order to get us all up to speed, we’ll give you a brief rundown of some of the latest news & rumors for Four Seasons, Park Hyatt, Rosewood and SBE that have us mighty intrigued.
Starting in South Africa, Business Traveller reported last week the venerable Westcliff Johannesburg will move from Orient-Express to Four Seasons, and based on our own investigation, that does look to be happening. If you’ve had Sunday brunch at the glorious La Belle Terrasse, spent time at the pool, and wandered its cobblestone streets and lush gardens, you know this place is easy to fall in love with. If indeed ‘substantial’ renovations will be part of the transition, things will only get that much better.
Surprising as it might be, late next year will be the first time Four Seasons will get in on the luxury hotel action in Dubai, with a 237-room resort at the northern end of Jumeirah Beach. More in the Middle East should follow in Abu Dhabi, Oman, Bahrain, Doha, Jeddah, and Kuwait. Like Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons is also planning on Kyoto and Casablanca, and if that wasn’t enough, we’re hearing about South America (with a number of hotels in Brazil) and various rumors elsewhere as well.
And here's another one to add to the list: last Wednesday, Rosewood Abu Dhabi opened as the first Rosewood property in the UAE (though there are three others in the Middle East, with a Dubai property on the way). The 189-room hotel no doubt hopes to profit from an expected influx of visitors to AUH thanks to the opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi in 2015, and the Guggenheim in 2017 (both designed by Frank Gehry).
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We recently listed 5 Elopement Packages for those wanting a low-fuss wedding, but that doesn't mean one has to skip out on the time-honored tradition of The Bachelor Party. Of course, today is Fantasy Friday, so we've got to go a little over-the-top with the options, and boy have we found some. But don't worry, we've got some sensible back-up plans as well.
For Golf Lovers
Rosewood Mayakoba's $175,000 Ultimate Golf Experience is completely insane!During the week of November 11-17, 2013, the resort's El Camaleón Golf Club will host the OHL Classic, when the world’s top PGA Tour players will compete on the Greg Norman designed, 7,000-yard, 18-hole championship course. To celebrate this high profile tournament (and golf-nuts everywhere) the resort created an extravagant package that's a bachelor's ultimate last-hurrah.The groom and two of his besties will get a private lesson with world famous golf instructor Jim McLean, a round of golf with legend Greg Norman at Playa Mujeres (you'll take a private helicopter to and fro) as well as receive three positions in the OHL Classic at Mayakoba Pro-Am. Oh, and though this is already an all-suite resort, you'll stay in the 6,272 square-foot Presidential Lagoon Suite. Evenings mean sipping cocktails with the PGA Tour players (!), an invite to a private BBQ on the beach, and a tequila tasting of some of the country's best labels. This package is only available for November 12-19, 2013. Book via Rosewood.com
Not In Your Price Range?
Alternative: Head to Ponte Vedra and The Sawgrass Marriott Resort & Spa where from May 6 to 12, they'll be the host hotel for annual THE PLAYERS Championship at the world-famous TPC Sawgrass. Your group of guys can bask in the Florida sun in the place where some of PGA's greats like Vijay Singh, Fred Couples, and Matt Kuchar have played. This spring you'll see who'll be battling it out for a beaucoup cash purse ($9 million!) on the 18-hole, Pete Dye-designed course. Tickets start at just $15! When you're not playing yourself, feel free to spend time in the ornate Club House (we recommend indulging in the ridiculous brunch spread) where you can see Tiger Woods' 2001 tournament locker, have a few post-play cocktails, and generally feel like royalty before settling into the domestic life. Packages start at $349 per night, which includes daily breakfast, a round on THE PLAYERS Course, and other perks. In this special season and you'll generally feel like royalty before settling into the domestic life. Book through Sawgrass Marriott's special page.
FBI agent outside Helly Nahmad Gallery at The Carlyle Hotel
Looks like we've got another hotel heist on our hands, but this time it's of the legal variety instead of the unfortunate robbery that befell the Four Seasons. The latest target is the Carlyle Hotel, specifically the Helly Nahmad Gallery, which was raided by FBI agents on Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. The gallery, which is a separate business from the Carlyle, has been a tenant since the 90s, with an entrance on the hotel's Madison Ave and 76th Street side.
The historic Carlyle has other famous residents, including Paramount Pictures chairman Brad Grey. According to a New York Times article, the gallery,which was filled with multimillion dollars worth of art including masters like Picasso and Francis Bacon, had actually appeared closed before the raid--its windows covered with brown paper and a sign on the door reading “We are closed for renovation, please ring the bell or call.”
The U.S. Attorney in Manhattan is charging gallery owner, Hillel "Helly" Nahmad for racketeering, conspiracy, illegal gambling and money-laundering. Apparently the indictment details that Nahmad is behind a "high-stakes illegal gambling business run out of New York City and Los Angeles that catered primarily to multimillionaire and billionaire clients.” Nahmad surrendered to LA authorities yesterday.
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Don’t have time to commit to a book club? Not always able to get out for lunch? Well, New York's Carlyle has a compromise with their new Literary Luncheon Series, “In Conversation at The Carlyle”.
In conjunction with Random House Publishing Group, the legendary hotel is bringing three celebrated authors to have a three-course lunch, chats, and personalized book signings of their latest books with an intimate group of readers.
Right now there are three Lunch Series scheduled:
Monday, April 1: Legendary poet, writer, teacher, and director Dr. Maya Angelou kicks off the event.
Tuesday, May 7: Pulitzer Prize winner, New York Times columnist, and novelist Anna Quindlen will host.
Thursday, June 27: Best-selling author Curtis Sittenfeld, whose work has appeared in The Atlantic and Salon will lead the discussion.
The three-course luncheon begins at The Carlyle Restaurant at 12:30pm, then guests will move to Café Carlyle for the author discussion. Cost per event is $125 per person (inclusive of tax and gratuity) and includes the prix fixe menu, a glass of wine and a signed personalized copy of the author’s book.
For reservations call The Carlyle directly at 212-570-7109.
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Menus are great and all, but sometimes you want to feel like you're ordering something really special. We hunted around for Manhattan's best "secret" hotel cocktails. You won't find any of these listed on the menu, but they exist alright. Now, can you keep a secret?
Upstairs at The Chatwal, the red leather booths and jazz trio humming along in the corner certainly set the mood, but our favorite part about the Lambs Club bar is definitely the cocktails. Next time you go, try something different and order the Guillermo Wallace ($18), a tangy blend of Milagro Blanco tequila, lime, grapefruit, honey, a spritz of peated Scotch and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Yes, part of this cocktail's charm is watching the bartender add the final 'spritz and a sprinkle'—the other part is drinking it!
3 more off-the-menu cocktails after the jump!