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UPDATE: Voting has now closed for the individual categories. Head over here to pick your favorite from the four finalists, and help us name the world's hottest GM!
This week, we're taking some time to highlight the world's hottest hotel General Managers. Why, you ask? Because there are some seriously sweet GMs out there, and we feel it's our duty to give them the love and attention they deserve. Well, not in that way...but, er, you get the idea.
Here's how it works: each day, we'll present a selection of handsome GMs for you to ogle. Pick out your favorite by voting in the comments or send us an email. At the end of the week, we'll tally the votes and come up with four finalists from four categories (NYC, Miami, California and International). Then, we'll narrow it down even further and ask you to help us pick the single hottest GM in the world. The competition is fierce, and the polls are officially open.
Are you ready to vote?
The new Hilton will be close to this museum
Something’s going on in Turkey these days, with hotels announcing openings every month (or so it seems...). Now, Hilton Worldwide has announced that a new Hilton will be opening in Istanbul in 2013 around the the late summer/early fall period.
The Hilton Istanbul Bomonti Hotel & Conference Center is, right now, set to be the largest hotel in this bustling city with 829 rooms. 829! That’s a lot of heads on beds for a city that’s not Vegas.
Still, Hilton is strategically opening up properties in the area. The Hilton Istanbul Bomonti will be their sixth hotel in Turkey, with the most recent hotel opening being their first ever dual branded property –- the Hilton Bursa Hotel & Convention Center and Hampton by Hilton Bursa.
No, it’s not, and more than that, it’s a treatment that challenges your sense of personal space.
But let’s start at the beginning. During our recent trip to Istanbul this year, it seemed that it would almost be a crime to not have a Turkish hamam in Turkey. So we headed to the Amrita Spa at the five-star Swissotel The Bosphorus hotel.
With a health club and indoor pool attached, we knew that this spa was a good choice because it was filled with locals as well as tourists. There was already a good vibe at the check-in counter, where you could see a dimly-lit pool within the inner sanctum of the spa. With our escort, we walked deeper inside until we reached the changing room with all its many amenities: showers, sauna, private rooms, etc. Once we were wrapped in our towels for modesty’s sake and ushered into the hamam, our coverings were removed and modesty was now forever damned. This was the exact point when the hamam experience became interesting.
There are some pretty swanky hotels found across this great big world, and Swissôtel Living in Istanbul is definitely one of them.
Swissôtel chose to launch their new extended stay concept hotel in cosmopolitan Istanbul, whose vibrant history is engraved in its culture. But as important as its traditions still are, Istanbul is definitely not a city stuck in the past, as evidenced by the makeover of this former residence and office rental building. Before the company took over the management of the property, located right beside its five-star Swissôtel The Bosphorus, the place was badly in need of a reno. After a top-to-bottom gut a la Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, it opened as the über-modern and luxe Swissôtel Living.
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2013, 2014, 2015, 2016...they're all on the distant horizon. While we've still got 2012 to get through, hotel companies are already planning their next moves and it looks like Dubai, Panama, Turkey and Tunisia will be getting some love!
First up are three gorgeous new properties from Swissôtels, which blew us away this year with the colorful new Swissôtel Dresden. Up next are two hotels in Turkey: a beach resort (pictured) and a city resort, both in Bodrum, which sits on the Aegean Sea across from Greece.
The beach resort will feature 66 rooms complemented by additional villas and terraces residences. Oh, and that pool? Yes please. Meanwhile, the separate 56-room city resort will be in the hills of Bodrum with incredible views of the surrounding city. Both hotels are scheduled to open in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
Plus, we're told today that in early 2016, the company's second Middle East hotel will open, the Swissôtel Jadaf Dubai. The luxury property will sit within a giant complex of 3 other hotels, residences, and retail outlets—because in Dubai, you're never more than five feet from a mall of some sort—and contain 280 rooms, an all-day restaurant, three specialty restaurants and a Purovel Spa.
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A Viceroy will be in these parts soon.
Fresh after adding Cassa New York to their collection and seeing the departure of president Nicholas Clayton to Jumeirah Hotels, Viceroy Hotel Group has just announced the Viceroy Istanbul will open in 2013, a year earlier than we expected.
The hotel will be a part of the rising Nef Bebeköy Development.
Spread across ten separate buildings and over 16 acres of land, offering 58 guest accommodations, Viceroy Istanbul will boast spectacular panoramic views of the Bosphorus, the strait that forms part of the boundary between Europe and Asia, and direct access to a tranquil outdoor garden and forest area. The property will offer guests and residence luxury services including a casual and signature restaurant, banquet and meeting facilities, an outdoor art gallery, and a state-of-the-art full service fitness center and spa.
The Bayram Hotel in the city of Van, Turkey, survived last month's 7.2 earthquake with just "some cracks and a damaged elevator," according to a report by AJC. But another quake last night, this one of a lesser magnitude, rocked the city again, bringing down about 25 buildings.
So far, seven have been declared dead, though dozens are still missing. In some cases, the victims were actually journalists who had traveled to the city to report on the wreckage from last month's earthquake, which killed 600. The Bayram Hotel, along with another unnamed hotel, were occupied during last night's quake, and rescue workers are still working to locate guests buried beneath the rubble.
Morgans Hotel Group isn't waiting for the Mondrian Soho to open on February 22 to get moving on its next projects: the brand has signed on to manage three new hotels, including a Delano Cabo San Lucas and a Delano Aegean Sea in Turkey.
We're gonna need more candles!
Here's another example of why those hotel star ratings and hotel awards sometimes don't mean all that much.
The Mardan Palace in Turkey, which is a seven-star hotel that beat out the Burj Al Arab and the Dorchester for the title of "leading luxury hotel" from the World Travel Awards, has had the power cut off because of unpaid bills.
The hotel is currently using generators to power up its 546 rooms and has only three weeks to pay off nearly $2.6 million in debts. However, the general manager has assured the press that the hotel will clear up the power snafu:
Aksam [newspaper] quoted the hotel's manager, Cumhur Ozen, as saying the issue stemmed from an end of year budgeting problem and promised to pay the debt.
"We are a large company. We invested 1.2 billion dollars. We won't be worn out by small debts," Ozen said. "We will pay the debt."
In the meantime, all the hotel employees have been asked to go on their annual leaves at this time. And we're guessing this hotel doesn't have any robots to take their place.
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Edinburgh...Kuwait...Oman...Brazil. The list of current and under-construction Missoni Hotels is an exotic one, and today we can add another city to the list: Antalya, Turkey. 2013 will bring a Missoni Hotel to the Turkish Riviera, and although this one will follow the pattern of the other Missoni by having the interior personally designed by Rosita Missoni, its exterior will differ greatly. It's going to have a celebrity-designed golf course!
Hotel MIssoni Belek, Antalya is bringing in Swedish golf champ Annika Sörenstam to create the 18-hole course, which will be just one of the attraction in the development around the hotel; there'll also be a country club, shops, residential villas and an olive grove. That last bit sounds much closer to Missoni's Italian heritage than gray days in Edinburgh.
But um, wouldn't sliding down that waterslide kinda hurt?
It's not April Fool's Day, is it? OK, just checking. We've heard of hotels that encourage guest nudity, you see, but never have we seen them in Turkey. Which makes sense, since the Adaburnu Gölmar Hotel—opening on May 1st—bills itself as "the first naturist hotel in Turkey."
It makes a little more sense when you realize that the, um, service, was designed for foreign guests—god bless those British and German tourists who just can't keep their clothes on.
Is it festival time already? We’re thinking not, given the weather in Europe is leaving a lot to be desired this week. But that means it’s probably time to start fantasizing about music festivals. But not muddy, grubby, campy festivals; we're talking posh festivals that take place in a five star hotel. Is that cheating? Don’t care. We want to go to the Antalya SunSplash Festival in Turkey.
The festival itself is about fairly clubby music, with big name DJs like Norman Jay and Gilles Peterson (of Radio One fame). But what we’re really interested in is its location, Design Hotel Hillside SU – a sparkling white (in-room lighting is what makes the place trendy rather than boring) resort for Euro hipsters.