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Not your usual hotel doorpeople
What happens when you hold an upmarket music festival in a place with no accommodation just outside a major hotel town or city? Neon everywhere and flower headdresses in totally unthinkable hotels, that’s what.
Yes, if you thought Coachella was
bad enough unique for colonizing Palm Springs, you clearly haven’t heard of Tomorrowland, a gargantuan EDM festival that takes place in Boom, an appropriately named town 20 miles outside of Brussels, over two weekends: this and last.
Boom doesn’t really have any hotels, which is where Brussels comes in. For two weekends of the year, the supposedly staid (it’s not, but more on that another time) centre of the European Union is full of dayglo, and three of the city’s poshest hotels get done up as rave accommodation, having been bought up by the festival for the exclusive use of their guests.
Take The Hotel, the European Union's hotel of choice for businessmen, diplomats, and President Obama, where we’ve spent the last few days. Normally, it’s full of suits; this weekend, it’s awash with fairy wings, bro baseball caps and t-shirts that read “Fuck off reality, we’re going to Tomorrowland”. The lifts are paved with fake grass instead of the normal marble, and there are butterflies and flowers 'embroidered' all over the lobby.
Photo Galleries / Hotel Openings / Sofitel Hotels / Sofitel So Hotels / Singapore Hotels / Karl Lagerfeld / → All Tags
While we still have to wait a little longer for a hotel in its entirety by the hand of Karl Lagerfeld, we can show you exactly how his touch comes to life at Sofitel So Singapore, having toured the hotel just a week after it first opened.
His Lion’s Seal can’t be missed, whether you enter the hotel through the So Heritage Wing (the historic half facing Robinson Road) or through the newly added So Hip Wing’s main driveway you see above. Read on for much more, including what pearl of wisdom Karl included on the “BooKube” in every room (and what it is, for that matter), a preview of the gold-tiled Hi-So rooftop pool opening in July, and a gallery bursting with photos of the quirky hotel.
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Just over a year after we first looked at the classic 1927 building on Robinson Road, Sofitel So Singapore has finally opened its doors this past weekend. We don’t think Choupette will be there to greet you in the lobby in the end, but the Lion’s Seal Karl Lagerfeld designed is around, down to an appearance on the hotel's bathrobes.
Those bathrobes are inside the 118 rooms and 6 suites, ranging from entry-level So Cosy Rooms (in the new So Hip Wing behind the original structure) to larger So Lofty Suites (above, with step-out balconies) and So VIP Suites. All are tricked out with Apple in-room technology, including iPad minis and iPhones.
One easy destination to explore near Singapore that doesn't require a trip back to Changi Airport is Sentosa Island. Just a few minutes out of the city, sun and beach lovers can wiggle their toes in the sand without the stress of overseas travel.
Aside from the beach, Sentosa is home for several golf courses as well as a Universal Studios theme park and other family-fun activities. Already there's several luxury hotels on the island, including W Sentosa Cove and Capella Resort Sentosa but soon there will be one more, Sofitel.
Currently named the Singapore Resort & Spa Sentosa, Managed by Accor, Sofitel is going to glam it up before stamping their name on the property. Over the next 18 months, the hotel's colonial, low-rise architecture will see a full refurbishment with rooms, public areas, spa, conference room and landscaping undergoing a refresh.
Once complete, the resort will be renamed Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa with 215 suites and villas and killer ocean views. Along with So Spa, their brand's signature spa, being added to the offering, guests will be able to chill beach-side since it will be one of the few hotels in the country actually located next to the beach.
[Photo: The Singapore Resort & Spa Facebook]
Speaking of hotel smartphone apps today, Sofitel Hotels' new app is giving its guests an easier way to reserve rooms, check loyalty programs balances and even get some inspiration for their next vacation.
Not to be mistaken for the Accor Hotels app, this one is strictly for those travelers that enjoy the lap of French luxury at Sofitels and want to top-up their Le Club account with stays at the prestigious properties.
After playing with the app for a little bit, we were blown away by the plethora of great photos each address offers up. Besides great snaps, the navigation is easy and simple to not only book a room, but check the destination's weather for the next week and even call or email the hotel with one touch of the screen.
Hotel Openings / Hotel News / Sofitel Hotels / Sofitel So Hotels / Singapore Hotels / Karl Lagerfeld / → All Tags
After November came March, and after March now comes May as the time when Sofitel So Singapore will start welcoming guests, albeit as a soft opening. Having heard this straight from the pre-opening team, we’ll take their word for it – and, we have some additional guestroom renderings to look at while we wait.
We had shown you what entry-level So Cosy Rooms look like, with 3-metre high ceilings, domed skylights, and a mix of modern design and classic wall paneling. Those skylights come courtesy of light boxes, featuring images of glass domes right above the bed. So Cosy rooms will be located in the “So Hip” wing, which is being added behind the "So Heritage" wing, the original 1927 structure on Robinson Road.
That’s where you’ll find the above So Suite, which has some of the same basic elements (ceiling height, wall panelling, skylight), but brings in herringbone floors and an unexpected princess canopy above the bed that we’re a little unsure of, with fabric draped down to the nightstands. The pink/purple-hued window treatments are pretty bold too.
We love hotel renovations nearly just as much as we love new hotels. But what we really love about hotel renovations is seeing the transformation that happens when an old, tired and lackluster room gets a modern makeover and transforms into new, spiffed-up, stylish guest room. Or put more simply, we love comparing the Before and After.
In a time where seemingly every high-profile Paris hotel has something going on, Sofitel Arc de Triomphe decided to jump on the bandwagon and go for an all-out overhaul: rooms, public spaces, the lot. Studio Putman was brought in to move from the rather intense cornflower yellow and heavy blue to something more modern and light – check out the result below.
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Hotel rebrandings happen – they are a fact of life in the industry, whether a result of lawsuits or some other drama, or just a desired change in direction or repositioning. The difference for guests can be substantial if major renovation is involved, and sometimes it is simply a case of one name on the door coming down and another going up.
We’re not entirely sure though what to call it when a hotel group loses half of its portfolio in the span of a single year, which seems to be the case for Concorde Hotels. Earlier this year, Hyatt swooped in and took over the management of four of its hotels (two in Paris, two on the French Riviera), newcomer The Set will be closing the Lutetia soon for yet another full-on French palace hotel renovation, and now Hilton is taking over Concorde Paris Opéra and Sofitel the Concorde Berlin. Seven hotels in twelve months is quite the stampede for the door marked “exit,” is all we’re saying.
Since New Zealand is really, really, really far away, one of the best ways to beat jet-lag is to head to the spa to work out your sore and fatigued muscles. Not surprisingly, this Sofitel's SoSpa has developed a massage specifically for weary travelers.
Before we get into the serenity of the treatment, we should let you know that the Sofitel's spas are re-branding to SoSpa as an extension of the luxurious and trendy brand, Sofitel So. (Coincidentally, Auckland will get its own Sofitel So hotel next year.) But in the meantime, the Sofitel Viaduct Harbour is still Auckland's first SoSpa and better yet, it still has the new-spa smell since it opened its doors just a few months back.
Tucked away in a back corner of the hotel and utilizing two floors, the spa is a the center of all things rejuvenation with cool blue colors, dark woods and Kiwi design elements. Upon check-in guests are greeted and allowed to change in separate change-rooms then treated to some fruit-infused mineral water. After a few sips, we also got to choose the scented essential oil that we would tickle our olfactory glands during the massage.
There are about 120 Sofitel Hotels, in about 40 countries, so that's a lot of Sofitels to get talking about. But with all major hotel brands, not all the individual hotels are created equal. We've had some great experiences at Sofitels in Asia and Europe and then just so-so ones here in America. Meanwhile, Sofitel is also expanding their So brand which is more design-conscious and art-centric while at the same time remaining luxurious. So Sofitel is a mixed bag indeed.
Now in the spirit of Thanksgiving, tell us which Sofitel Hotel you're most thankful for in comments below!
[Photo: JasonD For HotelChatter]
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Harbor-side rooms and plush rooms at Sofitel Viaduct Harbour; a HotelChatter Review
Spending a few days in Auckland sounds like a dream, but once you start to look at hotel options, you might get a little discouraged since the city doesn't have much selection. With limited international hotel brands that we can trust, we settled on Sofitel Viaduct Harbour but didn't expect some harbor living during our visit.
After a winding trip through the sleepy streets of the city's entertainment district, we finally make it to a mid-rise building situated directly on the inner-harbour surrounded by yachts and sailboat masts. With a sleek, tiled lobby that featured a handful of reflection pools, we struggled to be anything but awed by the framed view of the private mooring docks beyond the lobby. Then after a speedy check-in process, we were off to our room.
The hotel in May
We don’t really mean that of course: who are we to suggest the Kaiser would ever be late? But we couldn’t resist the alliteration, and the delay is very real for Sofitel So Singapore, now not opening until March 2014.
When we had a proper look around in May, we tried to give the hotel the benefit of the doubt when it came to a planned November opening (given the breakneck speed of construction in Singapore). Unfortunately, our innate skepticism was justified; now we are looking at another five months before this emblem, by the hand of Lagerfeld, will greet guests upon arrival.