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Now that Ace Hotels have crossed international waters to London and Panama, there's no stopping them. While they've still got Los Angeles and Pittsburgh as well as two new NYC hotels on tap, the hipster hotel brand is also thinking about expanding to the Far East.
A super secret hotel spy has given us the lowdown on the Ace's Asia hotel expansion plans but was reluctant to divulge the exact city. So now we're left to speculate. We actually think Beijing would be the perfect spot for an Ace Hotel, perhaps in the 798 Art Zone where art galleries and shops have sprung from former military factory buildings. But the Ace Hotel brand could also do well in Shanghai and Hong Kong too. Then again, maybe Ace will surprise us by opening in another one of China's big cities like Guangzhou, Chongqing, or Chengdu.
And it may not even be China. Maybe Tokyo is at the top of their list, especially now that the Summer Olympics are coming there. You never really know with Ace. But you can expect it to be in a historic building in a pre-revitalized area with a fascinating, if quirky, history. That's just the Ace way.
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It's no secret that we love drinking in hotels here at HotelChatter. In fact, hotels might be our favorite "local" bar. So all this week, we'll be pouring out some drinks for you during our first-ever Hotel Cocktail Week. All this week, we'll be posting specialty drinks, booze trends, mixology tips and most importantly, drinks recipes so you can recreate your favorite hotel drink at home. Everyone will be getting tipsy this week! But don't forget to tip your bartenders, in this case, us.
Raffles Singapore, the place where the famed Singapore Sling was created, has launched a cocktail menu designed to take you around the world while you still remain seated and sipping in their Long Bar, god bless ‘em.
Resident mixologist, Randolph Velasco, has come up with eight spiritus drinks inspired by a Raffles hotel destination, so come join us as we embark on our virtual journey through time and space. First stop? Seychelles.
The Seychelles conjures images of an island paradise with deep blue skies, sultry breezes and emerald seas. No surprise, then, that the Raffles Seychelles cocktail is an emerald green beauty created by combining Smirnoff Vodka with melon-flavored Midori and tangy Apple Sourz, then topped off with apple juice. Garnished with slices of star fruit and a lemon wedge, this is a sipper meant to be sipped in a rattan chair with one of those tropical ceiling fans swooshing slowly overhead.
Next, we go to Raffles Cambodia –- specifically, Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Phnom Penh and Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor. Using the Kingdom’s national fruit, the five finger banana (who knew?), this golden concoction consists of rum, banana and pineapple juice, but it’s the finishing touch of zesty kaffir and fresh, green pandan leaves (a herbaceous tropical plant) that gives this drink its aromatic and mysterious character.
The Raffles Philippines takes you to the newly-opened Raffles Makati in the heart of Manila’s financial district. A mix of Bacardi rum, juicy mango and pineapple are enhanced by a mere suggestion of basil and the tart, citrus flavor of calamansi, a wee fruit that bears a resemblance to a lime but is about the size of a kumquat. Calamansi is supposed to have some health benefits, so drink up.
Raffles Istanbul anticipates the opening of Raffles Istanbul Zorlu Center in late 2013 (no date as of yet) with a cocktail that evokes the complex flavors of Turkish coffee. Rich Kahlua is layered with potent Pisco, fresh lime juice and anise to create a boozy drink not quite appropriate for the morning but it does kinda taste like coffee, so we’ll leave it up to you. (Recipe below!)
MGM Resorts / MGM Hotels / Macau Hotels / Cotai Hotels / Hotel News / China Hotels / Hotel Hype / → All Tags
MGM Resorts International is planning their second property in China, this time it's a massive resort on the Cotai Strip in Macau, China's answer to Las Vegas. Except Macau is bigger and wealthier and way more intense when it comes to gambling.
In a quarterly earnings call yesterday, Jim Murren dished on a few details for the property, which is about halfway through the excavation stage.* The property will have an atrium three times the size of the Bellagio's and it will feature its own "over the top" Mansion.
If you don't know what The Mansion is, allow us to educate you. The Mansion is a super secretive hotel within the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Most people, including those who work for MGM, have never seen it. Others don't believe it exists. However, it's real. We saw it with our own eyes last month. We even went to the bathroom there.
We've told you about some hotels that want to send you exploring their city on a free bike and now we have a property that has the need for a bit more speed. Mandarin Oriental Pudong Shanghai has bypassed the bicycle and gone straight for guided tours of the area via the futuristic Segway.
The new hotel is perfectly located on the banks of Shanghai's Huangpu River and is an ideal location to catch some great photos ops of the towers financial district or the historic Bund across the waterway. These personal transporters make seeing the vast city a whole lot easier while reducing sore feet and the need for rest breaks; although, if your 'dogs' start barking, a trip to the hotel's garden-themed spa wouldn't disappoint.
Each 30-minute tour will kick-off as the heat begins to wane at 3:30 with the last tour leaving the hotel at 6:30pm, just in time for some stunning snaps of the setting sun making the city sparkle with colored lights. If your confidence on the two-wheeler isn't as great as you'd like, don't worry because there is free practice riding lessons at the start of the day's tours, giving even the least tech-savvy riders the ability to scoot down the promenade safely.
China Hotels / Hotel News / Hotel Openings / Chinese Hotels / IHG China / IHG Hotels / Intercontinental Hotel Group / Regalia Hotels / → All Tags
Crowne Plaza may not scream luxury in the West, but IHG is hoping that Crowne Plaza in China will find a new crop of loyal, monied guests. The 520-room Crowne Plaza Resort Xishuangbanna straddles the Mekong River, surrounded by Xishuangbanna's lush forests. The hotel's overarching theme is that of a Dai palace--the Dai are one of China's 55 ethnic minority groups--and while we wouldn't say it's subtle, neither is it over-the-top...unless you count the two 1,600 sqm. Presidential Villas and the hotel's very own temple.
Most travelers come to Yunnan for its stunning nature, but given all the offerings at the hotel, we could see it being tough to leave the grounds. There are six food and beverage venues, an enormous outdoor pool and, should you find yourself down south for work, MICE spaces galore. Take advantage of the free kids' club by dropping off your offspring and heading out for an elephant trek. Rates for a superior room start at around $140 a night.
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We can hardly keep up with all the new SLS Hotels that have been announced. So far, we've got New York, Las Vegas, Chicago, Seattle and a second hotel in Miami in Brickell. And now we must add Shanghai, Beijing, Wuxi, and Kunming to the list. Oh yes, hotelier Sam Nazarian is taking his SLS brand to China.
The SLS hotels will launch in China by 2015 as part of a partnership with the Chinese company, Palace Hospitality, who have a proven track record for growing hospitality projects. Hence, the four planned hotels and not just one.
The SLS hotels in China probably won't look the same as the ones in the U.S. as they are being tailored for the Chinese market (at least from a design standpoint) but you can expect the SLS trademark combo of restaurants + nightclubs to remain. If all goes well, SLS could open in more additional Chinese markets after the initial four.
Meanwhile, in the China announcement, we noticed a bit on SLS Philadelphia which is expected to open within the next three years. Sheesh. We knew Sam Nazarian had grand plans for 2013 but we really weren't expecting all this. Now, we just need to wait for opening day. That should happen first in Las Vegas sometime next year.
Two of our favorite hotels in China, The Upper House in Hong Kong and The Opposite House in Beijing, are getting a sibling late next year, with parent group Swire Hotels announcing The Temple House Chengdu. Chengdu is the capital of the Sichuan province, situated pretty much in the middle of China, and one of the most important economic centers of the country.
Scheduled to open towards the end of 2014, the hotel will have 100 rooms and 42 serviced apartments, forming part of a conservation project surrounding the thousand-year-old Daci Temple in the heart of the city. The hotel itself will mix the old and the new, with the entrance in a restored Chinese courtyard building from the Qing Dynasty, and combining traditional Chengdu architectural elements.
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There's tons of hotel news flying around this week and we don't have time to give each and every story the love and attention it may deserve, so you will have to settle for some news briefs.
· Oberoi Dubai Is Now Open: We were so busy making popcorn in preparation for the opening of Dubai's first movie-themed resort that we almost forgot about Oberoi Dubai, the 252-room luxury resort that opened last week in downtown Dubai. Guest can expect all the usual Oberoi touches, like in-room check-in, 24-hour butlers, and two Presidential Suites that come with their own 1.5-meter plunge pools. In addition to that, there will be four restaurants—including Nine7One, which sources different cuisines from all seven (7) continents—and a 24-hour spa with Ayurvedic treatments. Rates from $272/night.
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The Regent Bali
While we continue to recover from last week’s ma-jah announcement of Tommie Hotels, the lovechild of Commune and Thompson, we have a roundup of news bites from around the world for you this Monday morning. Join us as we hop from Bali to Venice, Amsterdam to China, and Switzerland to Australia, for updates on everything from brand new Chinese brand Ahn Luh to the old school Gritti Palace.
Starting in Southeast Asia, Regent Hotels delivered on the promised opening of its new resort on Bali this past weekend, with 94 suites, one Regent Villa, 25 residences, and that inviting-looking infinity pool above. The Bali resort follows last year’s arrival in Phuket, which we swung by recently to see for ourselves how Regent’s first opening in years would stack up – more on that to come.
It's worth a try!
Whenever we do the Master Openings List at the start of the year, we get a little exasperated by the amount of Sheraton Hotels opening in China. This year we counted 13 of them! We know China is a big country and all but really, 13 new Sheratons? In addition to the other dozens of Sheratons that have already opened there?
Then we saw this tweet from @SPG and now we're dying to check out this Sheraton--The Sheraton Huzhou Hot Springs Resort, a tropical resort with 321 guest rooms, including 44 suites and 39 villas, all with private balconies. And um, yeah, we want to stay in that awesome ring-shaped building. (It's meant to symbolize "everlasting happiness."
While rooms are going for around $390 a night and include the Sheraton Sweet Sleeper bed, the aforementioned private balcony and a scenic view of Lake Taihu, you will have to pony up extra for WiFi in your room--about $15 a day.
[Photo: Sheraton Hotels]
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Next up in our Sweet Suite series is this gem from the Hotel Indigo Shanghai on the Bund. Now, we've fallen in love with this place before—specifically, the lobby, with its book-lined shelves, curvy walls, and that lonely yellow bicycle.
But today, we're heading upstairs to the Glamour Suite, which is one of three "Icon suites" located inside the hotel. How did this one get to be so glamorous, you ask? The designers had originally wanted to create three major suites (Shanghai past, present, and future), but the hotel decided to "take things to the next level," and ended up naming the suites Shanghai Deco, Shanghai Glamour and Shanghai Future.
As you can see from the photos, everything—from the mirror-paneled nightstand to the turquoise couch to the marble martini bar—is way over the top. But in a good, life-is-short-so-why-not? kinda way.
The fixtures are designed to "reflect contemporary Shanghai's glamour".
They're also meant to make you feel more glamorous. For example, if you suddenly get inspired to throw a private cocktail party, you can gather in the 12-seat dining room, which has giant windows overlooking Pudong. On top of that, there's also an outdoor terrace that can hold up to 20 people, with views over the Bund.
Ever feel like glamping would just be sooo much cooler if your tent was completely see-through? Well, a France-based company called BubbleTree has gone ahead and designed one. It's called a "Bubble", and it's made of clear vinyl that allows plenty of sunshine (or, in other cases, nosy neighbors) to filter through.
To acquaint Chinese customers with the product, RocketNews reports that BubbleTree installed one of their bubbles on a street corner in Chengdu last weekend. And to make things really realistic, there was even a young girl living inside it for two days, going about her business like reading an iPad and reclining on the bed.
Unsurprisingly, the stunt worked: the bubble hotel sparked the interest of hundreds of passersby (and just as many iPhone cameras).
Inside, the girl sprawled out in her fully-furnished, 100% see-through hotel room (bed, table, dresser, armchair, ottoman all included) and showed the world how wonderful it was to be seen by…the world.
Kinda makes you think twice about the expression "killer view", doesn't it?