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There is no escaping the modern day scale of development when you’re in Waikiki, but inside the 1927 historic wing of The Royal Hawaiian, we found a few things that remind you of a different age. One of them was this sign: the "Bather’s Elevator”. Despite 1920s bathing suits leaving the minimum amount of skin exposed, it was considered improper to take the normal guest elevators between room and swimming pool / beach. The solution: a dedicated elevator.
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Hello Thursday! Time for a quick roundup of news from around the world, because hotels never sleep. We’ve got Shanghai, Mumbai, Uruguay, and a few places in between. Onwards!
Rocco Forte Shanghai: Following the first small steps on the road to significant expansion taken in Jeddah, here is the confirmation that Shanghai (above) will follow in 2018. The first Rocco Forte hotel in China is also the first in Asia Pacific altogether, and part of the “Longhua International Aviation Service Centre, a new urban complex in Shanghai’s Xuhui Riverside area known as West Bund”. There is no official name yet, but it will be on the top 15 floors of a high-rise at 280 rooms and suites.
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Every month, we tell you which hotel openings you need to know about (and which, inevitably, miss their deadlines). While we have a healthy list of arrivals around the world, there are a few places that are either consistently popular or having a bit of a hotel moment, so “new hotels for…” gives you a rundown of the openings you will want to know about for a particular destination. Hey Boston! We probably don’t need to tell you this, but you have a major construction boom going on. Offices, (expensive) condominiums – the number of high-rises either in progress or being planned are set to change the city’s skyline dramatically. Among all those developments are a number of hotels; here are five of them that are headed your way.
The David Whitney building isn’t just in Downtown Detroit; it’s a historic 1915 skyscraper in Downtown Detroit, that locals told us was designed by Daniel Burnham, though Wikipedia says no. Either way, it’s a historic, 19-story building that used to be home to offices – doctors, dentists, even a plastic surgeon – and now has the Aloft on floors 1-9 and apartments above it. Before reopening (officially in April, soft opening last December), it was undergoing a four year restoration. Before that, it was derelict for 15 years. This is a pretty big deal.
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The Element Suzhou Science and Technology Town (which we first heard about in 2013) is in Suzhou, Jiangsu province (the Science and Technology Town is, fittingly, an “eco city” in the industrial tech zone. There are 188 rooms and suites, all with energy-efficient kitchen and oversized windows (less claustrophobic but also means you’ll light the room less). The decor is typical Element - slightly bland, definitely inoffensive but overall mildly pleasant. It looks like there are decent views, too.
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It’s perhaps not such a surprise that Starwood Hotels would be well-represented among Waikiki’s major concentration of Hawaii hotels. When we did the math during a recent stay at The Royal Hawaiian, we were still a bit shocked by the sheer scale of things: four hotels, all virtually neighbors. Two Sheratons, a Westin, and a Luxury Collection hotel (the Royal Hawaiian). And 4,100 rooms between them – over four thousand rooms. Solitude and isolation you won’t find here, that’s clear.
The other night during a party for the 2015 LE Miami Conference, a high-energy trade show for the luxury and lifestyle travel market, W Hotels offered a sneak peek into the clever humor of their most anticipated hotel opening--W Amsterdam.
Tucked away on the property of the W South Beach (arguably one of the best Ws in the world), a human chess board was set up, with the "pieces" dressed in high fashion as characters from Amsterdam's history with one carrying an interesting flag, featuring a crest and the letters, "W XXX." This same logo was found on the chess board as well.
The meaning behind this is not too hard to figure out. XXX has been the symbol of Amsterdam since 1505 and well, we all know what the W stands for--exciting and energetic hotels.
Indeed, Anthony Ingham, global brand leader for W Hotels, explained that the live chess board was the "first activation of the 'W + Amsterdam = W XXX'." Meaning we will see more of this symbol leading up to the hotel's opening on September 21.
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Every month, we tell you which hotel openings you need to know about (and which, inevitably, miss their deadlines). While we have a healthy list of arrivals around the world, there are a few places that are either consistently popular or having a bit of a hotel moment, so “new hotels for…” gives you a rundown of the openings you will want to know about for a particular destination. Looking at the first YOO Hotel recently, on its way to tropical Boracay Island in the Philippines, got us thinking about the country’s capital, Manila. Perhaps not a city that surfaces very often on our radar, there are a few big openings in the works that will add nearly 2,000 new hotel rooms over the next five years:
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We've been waiting a long time for The Aloft South Beach but it's really, truly, almost ready to open. Maybe.
Just a week ago, we had the opening (skeptically) pegged for June 4 but that has been pushed back again to Thursday, June 11. However, people seem to think it will really open this time so we'll see.
We snapped a few pictures of the hotel construction on Sunday. Indeed most of the hotel does look finished, even the pool deck but the entrance, which is being rehabbed from its life as the Motel Arkana, still needs a bit of work.
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Every month, we tell you which hotel openings you need to know about (and which, inevitably, miss their deadlines). While we have a healthy list of arrivals around the world, there are a few places that are either consistently popular or having a bit of a hotel moment, so “new hotels for…” gives you a rundown of the openings you will want to know about for a particular destination. Even on our Master List of Hotel Openings we highlighted Amsterdam as enjoying a bit of a renaissance – and so much has happened since then. Last year, Waldorf Astoria was the talk of the town, which followed the likes of Andaz and the Conservatorium. But in 2015, and the next few years, the Dutch capital is picking up steam, adding a range of interesting hotels. Tallying them up quickly took us to 12, and there will be more:
Earlier this year, Starwood Hotels freed the WiFi for all members of its loyalty program, Starwood Preferred Guest, so long as they booked directly through Starwood. However, that was just for basic internet usage.
Premium internet--which is fast enough for streaming services and heavy-duty uploading/downloading--still comes at a cost, unless you're a Gold or Platinum member.
But now there's another way to get it "free"--by signing up for the SPG American Express card. Automatically being a cardholder will get you that premium in-room internet you want. The benefit doesn't kick in until August 11 so you have some time to get your application in. The card will also free customers from foreign transaction fees as well as give them complimentary unlimited Boingo WiFi hotspot access. Which means you shall never pay for internet while traveling again.
Using the SPG Amex will also earn you more Starpoints during your stay at participating SPG Hotels as well as 1 Starpoint for all other purchases. And once you've spent $30,000 on "eligible" purchases on the card, you'll be automatically upgraded to SPG Gold status.
However, the catch is that that the annual fee for the card is set to go up to $95 on August 11 (previously it was $65.) Your first year of card membership is free, but after that you'll pay $95 annually.
[Photo: W Hotels]
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The best things in life, as mother always said, are free – especially when we’re talking stuff that actually costs money, not some crappy homemade cake.
The Royal Palm South Beach Miami is the first hotel under Starwood’s new Tribute Portfolio umbrella, but we’re less about the branding and more about the free s*&t that they’re providing for the beach.
The hotel is on Collins ‘direct access to the ocean’ Avenue, and guests get a fair bit more than a beach lounger (the chic orange ones pictured above). Each guest gets a Beach Box which contains water, fresh fruit and hand sanitizer. The selection (presumably of fruit, not sanitizing wipes) changes each day, and family boxes are available on request.