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When a decent hotel that was good quality and excellent value rebrands as an überluxury property, is that something to celebrate, or commiserate? That’s the question we’re pondering with the news that Taj has just rebranded its Rebak Island Resort as a Vivanta by Taj property.
Taj hotels are already really nice. Vivanta by Taj – of which this is the 29th – are super duper nice. And this one certainly has potential – it’s set on its own 390-acre island 4km off Langkawi proper with its own mini beach. The journey to the Langkawi ‘mainland’, on the hotel’s private launch, is a languid 15 minutes.
Our problem is that it feels like really posh hotels are everywhere in Malaysia (the Datai is just round the corner on the mainland, after all), and we don’t really need another one. In fact, when HotelChatter stayed before, we loved it for its “luxury on a budget” feel: it had the amenities of a seriously top hotel (private island, excellent service) but kept prices affordable by not being ridiculously luxurious. Rooms were relatively simple, and the resort was reasonably priced. We’d be sad to see that go.
Looks like Indian group Taj Hotels is grabbing 2014 by the horns and using a new year to clean up an old oddity in its London portfolio. For years it has owned two hotels on Buckingham Gate: 51 Buckingham Gate, with its Jaguar and Cinema Suites, and the Crowne Plaza St. James next door. Yes, that is Crowne Plaza as in the InterContinental Hotels Group brand.
Together, the two hotels occupy parts of eight six-story houses from the late 1800s: King’s, Queen’s, Prior’s, Falconer’s, Minister’s, Almoner’s, Duke’s, and Regent’s House, surrounding a shared courtyard. While the hotels will remain separate, the Crowne Plaza name is officially disappearing from the doors as of this week, with the hotel being reflagged as The St. James’ Court, A Taj Hotel.
Our resident celebrity hotel hopper, Josh Flagg, star of Bravo's Million Dollar Listing recently completed a trip to India. One of the stops on his luxury hotel itinerary? The Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai which has rebounded incredibly well after 2010's terrorist attack. Here's his elevator review of the place:
If the English dictionary had one picture to describe the word sophistication, The Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai would be upfront and center. Few hotels in the world really hit that nail on the head. The George V in Paris, The St. Regis in New York, The Peninsula Hong Kong all have it down, and now that I have stayed in the Taj Mumbai, I realize why it has stood the test of time.
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Just ten days from now, Award Season will reach its peak during Oscar weekend. We’ve already given you a set of drink recipes courtesy of hotel bartenders, and today we’re following up with five hotels with Oscar-worthy screening rooms.
Over in South Beach, the Delano only opened its fancy Media room last summer. Those sofas look perfect for curling up and settling in for the long haul (and we know that telecast gets a little wordy sometimes), and it’s already done a Weinstein Screening Series, which featured Oscar winners like The King’s Speech.
See four more schmancy hotel screening rooms after the jump!
Nearly three years ago the movie (or borderline international incident – sorry, SJP, but just. no.) Sex and the City 2 came out. Way back when, we reported on the backdrop for all the hotel-room scenes in the movie being the (then) future Mandarin Oriental Jnan Rahma, Marrakech, which substituted for Abu Dhabi in the film.
One delay to the first quarter of 2011 later and the hotel was taken over by Indian group Taj Hotels, still optimistically scheduled for the fall of that same year. Now, another year plus later, the Taj Palace Marrakech is finally ready for all those people who have been saving for an SATC-themed journey to Morocco.
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Will the Orient-Express hotels in Cusco keep their names? In three weeks we'll know for sure
This news appeared in our inbox this weekend from an unknown source and we weren’t sure whether it was fact or fiction. Orient-Express Hotels up for sale? Really? Trouble in paradise?
Add the news that the unsolicited all cash offer from Tata Group’s Indian Hotels of $12.63 Per Share (a 40% premium on that day’s closing share price), was a tad on the bold side and we were even more uneasy--why go so high? Yet that would mean a cool $1.86 billion sale for Orient-Express. At least they're getting a higher bid, unlike the discount Jetsetter.com had to offer for its company sale.
Subsequent news briefs confirmed the proposal was definitely real, bold, and that U.S.-listed Orient-Express Hotels Ltd., while in $615.6 million debt wasn't seeking bailout. However, in a statement the company said it will evaluate the proposal carefully and respond in due course in accordance with the best interests of the Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. and its shareholders.
You know what the beautiful thing about celebrity Twitter accounts is? Oftentimes, they actually are controlled by the celebrity, and wethe listening publicget to know what they really think. Very occasionally this even includes hints on hotels. Last week, Dita Von Teese shared her favorite Paris address, and this week it's designer Diane von Furstenberg with her favorite hotel...in the world?
Lake Palace in Udaipur could be the best hotel in the worldlove Diane— DVF (@DVF) March 26, 2012
Hotel Rebranding / Hotel News / Mandarin Oriental Hotels / Taj Hotels / Marrakech Hotels / → All Tags
Ladies, if you had your gilded hearts set on doing a Sex and the City/Real Housewives of New York trip to Morocco and staying at the new Mandarin Oriental in Marrakech we have some crushing news-The MO is no mo'.
A tipster tells us that the Mandarin Oriental, which was delayed last October for an early 2011 opening date then again until Summer 2011, has now been completely shelved and instead the property will be a Taj Hotel.
It will open this fall as the Taj Palace Marrakech. According to the Taj Hotels press release dated May 26th, the property will have 161 guestrooms, including 25 grand suites and one royal suite which is pretty much the same configuration the Mandarin Oriental was talking about.
Here's what else Taj has in store for the hotel:
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The newly opened Taj Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad, India, has a lot of cool features, like it is one of the country's last remaining grand palaces, and it's built entirely of Italian marble and in the shape of a scorpion. But the geeks that we are, we're digging its expansive library.
The hotel carries more than 5,900 books in its Imperial Library. You'll find tomes on literature, history and religion. Though the standout is a rare collection of the holy Quran.
What do you think of when you hear the word "Buckingham"? OK, yeah. Wills and Kate. But we're not talking Buckingham Palace--we mean 51 Buckingham Gate, the Taj Hotel that's not too far from the royal's HQ.
Even still, the word "Land Rover" is not one we'd usually associate with such a posh property. But off-roading is now on tap at 51 Buckingham, with the hotel's Land Rover at 51 Package.
The Ambassador, New Delhi, has joined the Vivanta brand.
Taj Hotels is known for its slew of properties in India, like the Rambagh Palace in Jaipur, where Katy Perry and Russell Brand will tie the knot, as well as its few stateside hotels, like New York's Pierre, San Francisco's Taj Campton Place and the Taj Boston. But the company is adding a number of its hotels into a Vivanta Collection.
Sixteen hotels joined the already existing three Vivanta hotels—Vivanta by Taj - Whitefield, Bangalore; Vivanta by Taj - Panaji, Goa; and Vivanta by Taj - Coral Reef, Maldives. The master plan is to get 30 of 'em in the next two years.
Hotel Weddings / Celebrity Scoop / Katy Perry / Russell Brand / Taj Hotels / Hotel Services / → All Tags
Reports say the duo have selected the Taj Rambagh Palace in Jaipur to be the site of their Hindu nuptial ceremony, after a three-day celebration on the edge of a tiger wilderness preserve at Aman-i-Khas. The Taj Hotel is actually the place where they got engaged last year.
But now, The Daily Mail has some pretty specific detes about the wedding ceremony:
The heritage palace was home to Indian royalty and is spread over 47 acres of tranquil, landscaped gardens. Funny man Brand is expected to ride through the palace gates on a lavishly decorated horse, escorted by camels and elephants.
Folk dancers are expected to welcome the couple with a traditional dance and fireworks. From here, Brand and Perry will travel in a horse driven cart to the main garden where a Hindu ceremony will be conducted in front of a small fire.