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Lake Como is so hot right now, and we don’t even have George Clooney to blame. Right in time for an overnight break from Milan’s Expo (an easy hour away), Starwood is hitting the lake this week with a Sheraton, while Hilton has announced plans for a hotel, too.
The Sheraton Lake Como is taking over the Grand Hotel di Como, a four-star hotel located between the lakeside towns of Como and Cernobbio, with 112 rooms, 4 suites and a ridiculously futuristic meetings space. The website mentions a “complete refurbishment” of the property, and indeed it looks pretty nice - the simple rooms may be nothing to write home about but the floor-to-ceiling windows, with views of the surrounding mountains, certainly are. There’s a pool, out in the garden, which should be lovely come summer, and there are three restaurants and two bars to choose from, too.
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At least that has now changed, and with a website come a few more renderings and the ability to make reservations from March 31 (opening is listed for March 23, though). That takes us right into the heart of sakura season, and the rates are… high. A Superior Room starts at JPY72,000; though with the weaker yen that now translates to about $600 rather than the $720 you’d previously be looking at.
If you want the additional experience of this lovely outdoor deck / garden with wooden bathtub, you’ll have to stump for a Deluxe Room, which will ring up another JPY10,000 ($82). A look at the interior of a room below.
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So when we were in town last week, we couldn’t help popping over to get a peek of both of them from the rooftop bar at the Hilton Molino Stucky.
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Yesterday was the official last day of existence for the James Royal Palm Hotel in Miami.
Not much else has changed at the property except for its logo which is quite cute. Rates for this weekend for a superior king bed start at $546 a night (plus a $25 resort fee.) FWIW, it's an SPG Category 6 hotel, which means it will take between 20,000 and 25,000 Starpoints to stay here for free night.
So we guess that's that. Or is it?
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The UK’s second (and third, and thereafter) cities don’t often get much of a look in when it comes to attracting Americans – whether visitors or investors. But all that might be about to change with the news that Aloft is preparing quite an aggressive British invasion.
WiFi options from a ferry 10 minutes away from St Mark's Square
Fast, free WiFi is, in our opinion, a basic hotel right. Mobile WiFi? That’s an amazing added extra. WiFi that’s so strong the signal stretches across the city? Monsieur, now you are really spoiling us.
* Out around the Biennale/Arsenale, coming in on the ferry from the airport (about a 20-minute walk from the Danieli);
It’s rendering time! Having semi-stalked W Amsterdam for well over a year now, with our latest look at the hotel just behind Dam Square showing discreet signage in place, the moment is here: an impression of what will be inside the 238-room hotel.
Take a gander at what is labelled as a Wow Suite above. There’s a lot to look at, but we're digging the 70s Amsterdam vibe, with the corner fireplace, the carpet, the dual-faced sofa, and the yellow / white / grey / black in the modular bookcase. Then there is the circular bed, with what looks like a sheer curtain that can be drawn around it. We’re not sure if that’s actually a balcony or just a ledge for the plants, but given what we’ve seen of the two buildings, we doubt there would be the kind of rooftop views the rendering would suggest. Keep reading for so. Much. More.
Hot hoteliers, listen up: Starwood is hiring!
Frits van Paasschen has resigned as president and CEO of Starwood Hotels. Director Adam Aron, 60, has been named the interim CEO while Starwood searches high and low (internally and externally) for Paasschen's replacement.
Paascchen was hired by Starwood in September 2007, despite not having any hospitality experience (he did, however, work on global expansion for Disney, Nike and Coors.) Just last week, Paasschen oversaw the earnings call for Starwood where he announced a new
unnecessary soft brand for Starwood. But despite that bit of news and despite the portfolio growth under Paasschen, Starwood has been underperforming compared to its rivals (cough, Marriott, cough) and thus, the board at Starwood decided it was time for a change.
Officially, Paasschen will "stay on as consultant" (#blessed) during the leadership transition but some of the remarks from his colleagues on his departure are way harsh. You can tell this did not end very well.
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After a busy 2014 that saw Denver's hotel scene hit its highest peak, the city is wasting no time keeping the momentum going, announcing yet another downtown hotel project, this time in the form of a dual-branded property.
This spring, Marriott and Starwood will team up to break ground on an 18-story building that will house an AC Hotel and Le Méridien Hotel. To be located at the corner of 15th and California, a block from the Convention Center, the two hotels will add a total of 491 rooms. Each will have its own separate entry, lobby, and restaurants.
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But will the new brand have eclairs like the Le Meridien does?
Last week, while everyone was so Hyatt Centric centric, news came out that Starwood Hotels will launch another "soft" brand that will be positioned somewhere in between the Luxury Collection Hotels and the newly acquired Design Hotels brand. (You can read about Starwood's takeover here.)
There has been no name or branding released and Starwood president and CEO, Frits van Paasschen, would only say that they are in discussion with hotel owners on the brand. But it looks like the brand will most likely be created by converting existing Starwood properties/brands.
Does Starwood, and the world in general, really need another hotel brand? No, most certainly not. But this news is also concerning because the purpose of this new unnamed brand sounds EXACTLY like what Le Meridien Hotels is attempting to do with their brand refresh, which is provide an upscale, design and culture-oriented hotel experience. (FWIW, it also sounds a lot like Loews' OE Collection.)
Of course, this new brand is still unfolding and it could fill a very real need for hotel guests. Also, the M word was also not mentioned and we're thankful for that. But still, this is very much to be continued....
Got any scoop on the new Starwood brand? Let us know!
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Let superstition be damned: Marriott Hotels is taking Friday the 13th head on by opening its JW Marriott Austin tomorrow. The largest JW Marriott in the United States (1,012 guestrooms) and second largest in the world (largest being the JW Marriott Marquis in Dubai, because everything is bigger in Dubai), there are some dazzling stats that come with its size, but we’ve mostly focused on its walk-up burger window.
A King or Double-Queen Room is still available from $299 a night on opening day, of which the website currently only displays the above artist impression. We like the factory-style rolling doors that return in the headboard design, with the rest showing an expected subdued mix of blues, greys, whites, and browns.
The 1,000+ rooms on East Second Street are only the beginning of a highly-concentrated hotel boom for Austin, with another 1,400 rooms arriving within blocks of the JW Marriott. First up is The Westin Austin Downtown, now scheduled for July 16th on East 5th – a relative lightweight with only 326 rooms. It is making good on its promise of a 2015 opening though, which cannot be said of The Fairmont Austin, now pushed back to 2017, half a decade after it announced its 1,000+ room hotel.
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The newest Aloft Hotel for Manhattan--the Aloft New York Financial District--was set to debut this week (according to our Master List of Hotel Openings) but now the fun, select service hotel from Starwood Hotels will open instead on March 5. This is a bummer but not surprising given Starwood's regular delays.
If the March 5 opening date still holds, then guests can expect all the usual Aloft accoutrements like funky but comfortable rooms; the w xyz bar and lounge; the re: charge gym; the re: fuel 24-hour pantry for quick bites; free WiFi; and a slightly north of Wall Street location, across from a Pace University campus and about a 15-minute walk to the September 11 Memorial and Museum.
However, we wouldn't put all our money into booking a room just yet. The website says the hotel will open on March 5, with reservations being taken for June 5. Eep. In the meantime, there's always the new Residence Inn. Or you know, one of the many other Starwood properties in Manhattan.