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Fall has only just begun but there's a very good reason to start thinking about your winter getaway to South Beach now--the opening of the Metropolitan by COMO Hotel.
We've heard that the opening date is now December 15th although the website is not taking reservations just yet so no hint as to what the rooms will cost on opening night (to make your rezzies, email email@example.com.)
The 71-room hotel will open inside the former 1930s-era Traymore hotel. HotelChatter swung by the site in early August and reported on what's to be inside:
Like most COMO properties, the hotel's design will be understated, but still ooze luxury. The particular peppermint green and grey colors and contemporary white marble and chrome interior come courtesy of Italian designer Paola Navone, who amazingly enough is simultaneously working on the Point Yamu by COMO resort in Phuket, scheduled to open in November.
In addition to direct beach access (a door which will no doubt be guarded heavily from public foot access) and a 20-meter private pool, there will be a top-floor COMO Shambhala Urban Escape spa with four treatment rooms, a rooftop hydrotherapy pool, and free daily yoga and Pilates classes. Plus there will be a juice bar where guests can take in the ocean-blue view while sipping smoothies.
They're expanding and bringing their upscale brand to U.S. for the first time--and they've chosen Miami's historic Collins Avenue to do so. Taking over the former 1930s Traymore hotel--the plan is to transform it into the 74-room Metropolitan by COMO, Miami Beach Reveal date? December 2013, just in time for high season, when everyone's looking to escape the cold. Pretty ambitious given the project only started in January, but thanks to the hiring of two construction companies, the development is progressing nicely.
HC was recently in towni getting the scoop on all the Miami Hotel Mambo going on, and we were allowed to take a hard-hat tour of the upcoming beachside beauty.
We'll be honest, we're unsure the Metropolitan can adhere to the COMO Shambhala wellness concept made famous at some of our favorite tranquil places like the brand's Parrot Cay and Bali resorts. After all, this is South Beach, not exactly known for its zen environment. But if COMO has been able to bring a piece of peace to its hotels in London and Bangkok, we suppose we should have some faith.
Here's some show-and-tell on what COMO has planned for their Miami Beach baby.
Getting away from the sandy shores of Denpasar, we trekked up to the inland town of Ubud. Along with being considered the cultural center of the island, we found the ultimate in rejuvenation at Como Shambhala Estate surrounded by lush jungle and tiered rice-paddies.
We aren't looking for sympathy, but it's nice when the only thing that you need to worry about is missing your yoga class overlooking the river gorge or snoring during your Balinese massage.
Each grouping of four villas boast a view like this and also come a communal "living-area" that is bordered by a gorgeous pool for cooling off or just relaxing. The private environment had us thinking we we were the only ones around until our personal butler came to see if we needed anything beyond the fruit basket and bottled water.
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COMO Shambhala Estate - Ubud
Traveling the world doesn't mean that your faith needs to have the out-of-office autoreply. Last year we showed you the hotel temples of Thailand. Now, we bring you the religious corners of the hotels we visited in Bali.
Bali, unlike other islands in Indonesia, is predominantly Hindu in faith and each hotel and resort in Bali has it's own temple to pay respect to gods. On our recent trip to the tropical island we took note of the prominently placed temples at our accomodation.
We're still talking about our trip to Parrot Cay and that was over a year ago. So, we totally understand how the beach-posh beauty of the resort inspires people to move there (what's up, Bruce Willis? You, too, Donna Karan?)--and now, design a resort-wear collection inspired by the place.
Surprisingly, the designer in question is not Karan--although she does sell the divine COMO Shambala beauty products in her Urban Zen boutique in NYC. The new Parrot Cay pieces are from Heidi Klein, a Brit known for creating swimwear that 'exudes a barefoot chic confidence'.
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It's hot in Bangkok, and often unbearably humid. The Metropolitan Bangkok knows this, which is why there are refresher towels waiting just inside the entrance to the lobby. Which is why there's an expansive indoor fitness facility complete with his and hers spa hottubs. Which is why there's a resort-quality outdoor swimming pool. Bangkok's urban tropical environment mean that guests at The Metropolitan are here for a multitude of reasons, from business to a getaway.
We were there as your usual tourists to Thailand, taking in every bit of the place and we've already shown you our Metropolitan room, but we also managed a peek into the Penthouse and COMO Suites while we were at it.
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So everyone who's everyone knows The Metropolitan London and its modern interiors, members-only Met Bar and prime location, but do you know it's got a sister site in The Metropolitan Bangkok? It's true; there's a sleek white hotel sitting a little off bustling Sathorn Road that also lights the logo of The Metropolitan, and it's just as cool, just as comfortable with two huge differences.
Big difference number one: this Metropolitan is a world away from London in Bangkok, and you'll know it through Thai elements in the rooms and an award-winning Thai restaurant, called nahm, which serves things like durian ice cream.
Big difference number two: the room rates are very affordable, but of course this is because we're talking Bangkok versus London here. We stayed for two nights via the Tablet Hotels private sale for $91 per night.
So you're going to Southeast Asia. So you're going to experience the putrid, spiky, fruit that comes with a reputation: Durian. Whether it's your first or your thirty-first brush with the fruit that smells so bad it's banned on subways on airplanes, there's always a new way to enjoy it. We think we found the bestas Durian ice cream!
At nahm at the Metropolitan Hotel Bangkok, this is totally an option (but of course, so is the classic mango sticky rice). Deny the temptation of the sticky rice! You're at the Bangkok branch of London's famous Michelin 3-starred nahm by Chef David Thompson, so you're already living a little dangerously.
Here's a fun little story. Last time we stopped into the Metropolitan London, we were on a hunt for a free WiFi signal and they had one. Well that working over the free WiFi signal morphed into an expensive, decadent evening at the Met Bar, owing to the comfy-cozy bordeaux booths and menu items like bacon-wrapped dates.
Now, you have a chance at taking that sort of hotel-specific experience home, since the Metropolitan is selling off the contents of the Met Bar to make way for a total renovation of the space. We kind of can't believe it, but then all proceeds will go to the charity Teens UniteFighting Cancer.
The bar has been doing its thing since 1997, so it's seen its share of high-profile partying. The press release drops a few names: "Everything is for sale including the famed private booths, the DJ decks used by renowned DJs and artists including Oasis, Roger Taylor, Boy George, and even Bruce Willis, and glassware, tables, chairs, and bar stools." Yes, but what isn't clarified until you check out the eBay listing is that they're selling off the bar as one piece, with a starting bid of 5,000 GBP ($8,195).
iPads, be damned, we're loving our stroll through print land and our ongoing look at a dying hotel amenity--The Hotel Magazine. Sure, most hotels stock their guestrooms with the trendy magazines of the day or at least place some localized publication on the desks but there are actually a few hotels out there that still publish their own magazine. We've got our hands on a few copies of these rare breeds and we'll be documenting our finds for you here. Know of a hotel magazine we should see before it goes out of print? Send it to us!
But now we're back at home, we've been perusing the COMO Hotels magazine, Home From Home, and it's seriously making us wish one of these resorts was our home.
Since everyone else seems to be on vacation and we're not, we're doing the next best thing and reminiscing about the break we had in July—specifically, we're reliving the amazing Indian Head Massage we had at Parrot Cay's COMO Shambala Spa.
Frankly, it was hard to tear ourselves away from our terrace with the Killer View, but when we finally did stroll over to the spa, we were not disappointed.
From the moment you step into the lobby (pictured above), your brain registers that you're going to have to shut off now, thank you very much. But it's in no way stuffy, claustrophobic or sceney, the way many spas can be. The quiet but friendly service of the resort extends to the spa, and the new two-story building overlooking the island's wetlands is as gorgeous as everything else here.
The prices are going as simple as the decor
The political unrest in Thailand may have stabilized, but bookings must still be down because the Metropolitan Bangkok is reaching out to people to come back out there with special rates.
The Good Morning Bangkok package gets you bed and breakfast, a daily fruit plate and free access to the gym, pool and yoga classes. So far, so blah – until you realize it’s going for $130 (£86) a night, and rooms used to start at $260 (£173).
It’s valid till the end of the year, and if you wait till after September, you’ll have the added bonus of Nahm restaurant opening up (it’s currently at sister hotel The Halkin in London).