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From the outside, The Delano is still the best-looking building on Collins Avenue, built in 1947, at the time the tallest art deco tower in Miami. It was completely renovated on the inside in 1994 by one Philippe Starck. The inside remains largely unchanged since Starck had his way with it. The billowing curtains still dance with the breeze in the lobby and the oversized furniture still greets guests at the entrance. But we particularly loved the back patio of the hotel, just before the pool area begins, which has an interesting topiary arrangement.
The Delano still commands a high rate, especially now as we move into "the season" ($600 and up) but service can be spotty and the white-on-white guest rooms are pretty small, according to recent TripAdvisor reviews. Then again, that sounds about right for a hotel in Miami Beach.
Update: Morgans Hotel Group has sent over this statement regarding the situation:
"Morgans Hotel Group reached the difficult decision to terminate its management agreement for Delano Marrakech and discontinue all affiliation with the hotel, including the removal of the Delano name and management of the property, effective November 12, 2013. This unprecedented action was taken as a result of severe and recurring breaches of contract by the ownership group. Morgans Hotel Group took this necessary recourse to preserve Delano’s reputation, the integrity of the company and the high standards that our guests expect from the Delano brand."
Just a little over a year after the Delano Marrakech opened, we've now got word that the Delano Hotels brand is OUT at the property. The hotel 71-room hotel has reverted back to its original, pre-renovation, name--The Pearl.
We're not sure of the details behind the departure (if you've got them, let us know) but Delano Marrakech has been removed from the Morgans Hotel Group website. Interestingly, Delano still has plans to expand to Las Vegas, Cesme (Turkey), Moscow and Cartagena.
In other Morgans Hotel Group news, the company still hasn't officially appointed a new CEO since Michael Gross stepped down in early September. Jason Kalisman, whose investment firm OTK Associates, is the company's largest shareholder, has been appointed interim CEO. This, after he led a takedown of the Morgans board and its celebrity investor, Ron Burkle. Now, Burkle has offered to buy the hotel group for $8 a share. No word yet on whether Morgans will accept.
So with all that going on, we can kind of understand this recent development. But what does it mean for all those future Delanos? We're not sure and we're not so sure we want to find out.
[Photo: Delano, er, The Pearl Marrakech]
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The hotel that launched a thousand
ships pages of court filings
According to Bloomberg News, investor Ron Burkle threatened to "crater" some of the hotel group's other deals (like in Moscow and Las Vegas) if the Morgans board members did not approve the Delano South Beach buyout bid from his Yucaipa companies as well as his proposed recapitalization plan.
One of Morgan's largest shareholders, OTK Associates, has already filed a lawsuit against other Morgans board members to stop this arrangement. OTK also wants to overhaul the board and in effect, the company. Meanwhile, Bloomberg News reports that Morgans with its 13 hotels has lost money in every quarter since 2007.
If this sounds terribly confusing, it is. Essentially two board members are fighting each other over direction of the company and who gets most of its assets. Like we said last month, this may not immediately affect your experience at a Morgans Hotel right now, but it certainly could in the future.
More importantly, if the hotel group hasn't turned a profit since 2007, we're not so sure how many of their new hotel projects will actually come to life. To be continued....
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Last week we were stunned to hear that Morgans Hotel Group was selling off its prized possesion, The Delano South Beach. But once we waded through the legal mumbo-jumbo and found that the Delano would remain the Delano and that Morgans would still be running the shop, we were cool with all of it. But we shoulda known better. These hotel sales are never easy.
OTK Associates LLC, the largest stockholder of Morgans Hotel Group Co., has now filed a lawsuit to stop Morgans from re-arranging The Yucaipa Companies interest in the company. (Currently, Yucaipa holds Morgans stock, stock warrants and convertible notes. Morgans' directors want Yucaipa to take ownership of the Delano and the Light Group instead.) OTK Associates believes that the switcheroo would favor the Yucaipa company over other stockholders (like OTK) and is also, you know, like totally illegal according to Delaware law.
OTK also has issues with the looking to stop the postponement of the company's annual meeting which is usually held in May but which is now set for July because OTK believes that stockholders will be denied the right to review the transaction.
As of this afternoon, OTK actually secured a right of postponement on the "recapitalization plan" and released this statement:
OTK is pleased that the Morgans Hotel Group agreed to delay the rights offering, as OTK had requested in its motion for a temporary restraining order. All shareholders should be deeply troubled by the current board of directors’ continued waste of corporate assets to advocate for a coercive and dilutive transaction that OTK believes is invalid. Further, the use of company funds to change shareholder voting rules and diminish voting rights calls into question this board’s fiduciary duties and responsibilities.
Again, we don't think this is going to affect your next Morgans Hotel stay but you never know what might happen in a few months. Lawsuit and other problems at the top always trickle down, even down into your hotel room.
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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!
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The original Delano Hotel in Miami.
Another day, another hotel to cross off the Master List of Worldwide Hotel Openings
Today, it's the Delano Las Vegas which was set to open in Mandalay Bay's THEhotel by December 2013. But now VegasInc.com reports the opening will most likely happen in the first quarter of 2014. The hotel's own website is actually saying "January 14" but we know better than to trust that. However, once the renovations are complete, the Delano will stick around for at least ten years. In case you need a refresher, here's what Delano has in store for Vegas:
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Some very lucky people got to enjoy never-before-slept-in rooms at the Delano Marrakech this weekend, as the brand new 71-room hotel—and its four dining spaces, including Bon R, by Michelin-starred chef Michel Rostang—celebrated its official opening on Friday. As we reported last month, this was quite a quick turnaround for Morgans, who only announced the hotel as recently as June.
What we don't get—but are very, very happy about—is the new "special offer" Delano Marrakech is advertising on its website: for a limited time, guests can book a room at the swank hotel for just $197/night. That's a good chunk of savings right there that can go directly toward your plane ticket to Morocco (which will cost significantly more, in case you had any doubts).
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All this talk about IKEA getting ready to sweep Europe with a new chain of budget hotels got us thinking about some of the other cool brands out there. And it's a good thing there's so many of them—because while certain brands have managed to deliver on their promises, others have yet to open a single property. And yet we still remain hopelessly glued to the screen...
Take a look at these six other hotel brands we're most excited about, and see which openings are coming to a theater near you.
The world finally exhaled when Virgin made the announcement that the location of its first-ever hotel would be in Chicago. It's going to have a modest 250 rooms, and it will open in the city's historic Dearborn Bank Building, which will hopefully make good on Richard Branson's promise that all Virgin properties will become "the hippest most comfortable in any city." Well, sir, we'll hold off on judgment until we see one actually open. Construction began in May, with a projected opening date of Fall 2013.
Delano Hotels are not joking around with their expansion plans. After announcing Delano Marrakech which opens next month and the Delano Las Vegas which will open at the end of the year, the Delano has now gone public with their plans for Delano MOSCOW.
Morgans Hotel Group’s newest Delano will be part of The Capital Group’s OKO project within Moscow City, a new development that will offer premium spaces designed for luxury living, business and entertainment. An example of innovative urbanism presented by American architectural bureau SOM (Skidmore, Owings and Merrill), OKO will also feature an 85-story skyscraper and a 49-story office tower that soar from a 7-story single transparent crystalline structure at the base of the complex.
Plans for Delano Moscow include 160 beautifully appointed guest rooms, extensive fine dining and nightlife outlets and top-of-the-line hotel facilities and guest amenities.
The hotel will open in 2015. But Delano ain't done yet.
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UPDATE: For more detes on what will change at THEhotel when it turns into a Delano, head over to VegasChatter.
Several years ago, there was a much-hyped Delano Hotel from the Morgans Hotel Group planned for Las Vegas, right on the Strip in the middle of all the action, in a fancy new complex called Echelon on the site of the old Stardust casino. But thanks to the economic woes, that Delano never materialized and the lot on Las Vegas Boulevard where the Delano was to be built has been vacant ever since.
But today comes HUGE NEWS about the Delano's return to Las Vegas--THEhotel at Mandalay Bay will cease to exist next year and in its place will be The Delano Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay. Here are the official announcement details:
As Delano’s second outpost in the United States, Delano Las Vegas will transport the iconic brand from the shores of South Beach to the Las Vegas Strip. Once completed, guests will experience the Delano lifestyle, and its unique blend of effortless luxury and impeccable service at the world-renowned Mandalay Bay.
In addition, Morgans Hotel Group plans to introduce several new food and beverage concepts at Mandalay Bay to be managed by The Light Group. Venues will include a casual American bistro by Chef Brian Massie, a Japanese dining destination by celebrity chef Akira Back and a new vision for Red Square. The Light Group will once again reinvent Las Vegas nightlife with a revolutionary nightclub. All venues are scheduled to open in 2013.
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Wow, that was fast! We only found out that Morgans Hotel Group was opening a Delano Hotel in Marrakech just the other month. And now we learn that hotel is already accepting reservations for its September 21 opening.
We found rates on the hotel's website for opening night at 4,090 MAD which is roughly $453. That's for a 400sq.ft. deluxe room with a king bed and a Juliette balcony which also includes free WiFi, breakfast and parking. Those perks are rather unusual for a Morgans Hotel! And if you book more than 21 days in advance you can get that room for just 3,440 MAD or about $380.
There's not much photography on the website yet but the hotel--designed by Jacques Garcia-- will have 71 rooms total, 30 of which are suites as well as the Bon R restaurant from Michelin-starred executive chef Michel Rostang and a Mediterranean Italian concept from Giancarlo Morelli. There will also be a 20,000-sq.ft. spa called The Pearl and a Sky Lounge bar.
This all sounds very swank indeed. So now, who's going to Marrakech on September 21st?
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Just last week we were reminiscing about the days when The Delano would strike out for the wilds of Las Vegas and Dubai but thanks to the great economy meltdown of 2008, those desert dreams were merely mirages. Same goes for these Delano duds.
But today, we've got word that The Delano, under parent company Morgans Hotel Group is actually giving it another go--this time in Morocco.
Morgans has partnered up with Moroccan entrepreneur Ahmed Bennani and Hivernage Collection to open a Delano Marrakech in September 2012 (this year!) followed by a Mondrian Marrakech in late 2013. Here's the brief description on the 73-room Delano Marrakech:
Following the footsteps of its South Beach predecessor, Delano Marrakech will provide world-travelers with another sophisticated world-class urban resort marked by unparalleled style and five-star service. As a self-contained destination, Delano Marrakech will offer a haven of luxury and relaxation in heart of the vibrant, magical city.