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It's been almost four years since the announcement of a luxury hotel planned on the estate of the iconic Palace of Versailles. The news of a hotel next to, alongside rather, one of the world's greatest architectural treasures generated quite a buzz as well as induced mixed feelings from the public. It seemed that everyone was talking about it (including us) but then it dropped off the radar, leaving us wondering if this was just another great hotel idea gone six feet under.
NON! The Hotel Du Grand Controle, originally slated to open in 2012, is back on and approaching a new finish line.
The 23-room, possibly five-star hotel will occupy a 17th-century dressed stone mansion (adopting its original name) that was once the home and offices of the treasurers to the kings of France. It's worth a note, so to speak, that money minders to royalty always seem to have really nice digs. But sometimes even a treasurer's digs need a little TLC, so the mansion has been undergoing a thorough and historically sensitive restoration, under the watchful eye of one of France's leading preservation architects.
Hotel News / Historic Hotels / Starwood Hotels / Luxury Collection Hotels / Napa Hotels / → All Tags
Need an excuse to start planning another trip to the wine country? Starwood Hotels has got your back, with the announcement that historic Acacia House, on Main Street in St. Helena, will be renovated and become Las Alcobas, one of its Luxury Collection Hotels.
True, you need a little bit of patience, with opening planned for somewhere between autumn 2015 and early 2016, but it’s never too early, right?
The renderings of the site and the building above are all we were able to dig out from the architect’s website, which shows how everything around the main house will be razed to make way for a number of new annexes that we presume will house the majority, if not all, 57 rooms. The above doesn’t scream luxury hotel to us, but we’ll reserve judgement until we’ve seen more. Meeting facilities, a signature restaurant, and spa with outdoor pool will be added as well.
Manhattan may have something to say about this.
There’s a new hotel opening in Manchester next year. It’s retro, it’s art deco-ey and it’s a brooding old Victorian towerblock. Its name? Hotel Gotham.
Taking over a Manchester landmark – the former Midland Bank HQ on King Street – in April 2015, Hotel Gotham will have a restaurant and club as well as 60 rooms – spread over seven floors above a Jamie’s Italian restaurant. While the website is all retro New Yorky, the rooms, apparently, will “take their cue from art deco”. And, here’s where it gets weird – the Manchester Evening News reports that the overall design will be “Japanese and Tuscan inspired”. Too much? Not according to the owners, who are already calling it “one of the sexiest hotels in Europe”.
It was a time when its Doric columns over the porte cochère symbolised the elegance within, and the fountain outside was as thrilling as the Bellagio Fountains of the 21st century.
Yes, it’s Throwback Thursday, and we’re in Palm Springs, courtesy of a vintage postcard from the Palm Springs Visitor Center (they sell them for $1.99). It’s the 1960s, and we’re at the Riviera, that Ratpack favorite that opened in 1958 as the first hotel in the US to be built in a “spoke wheel” shape. Back then, it was every bit as sophisticated as Las Vegas.
Of course, Palm Springs is still sophisticated, even if we can’t say the same for Vegas. The Riviera has undergone a snazzy refurbishment with some seriously beautiful decor in the rooms, but to us, it’s still the most Vegassy of Coachella Valley hotels – when we stayed, we were surrounded by a hard-drinking, scantily-clothed and pool partying contingent.
Scotland Hotels / Scottish Border Hotels / United Kingdom Hotels / Historic Hotels / Historic Inns / → All Tags
The Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh displays both the Union Jack and Scotland flags and will continue to do so.
It’s official-- the United Kingdom is still a family of four, now that Scotland's independence was voted down by the people. (The UK also includes Wales and Northern Ireland.)
There are important arguments that could still be made in defense of Scotland and the situation is still quite tense, but for now, the Royals don’t lose a huge fan base, soccer matches between England and Scotland will sell out before they are scheduled, and hotels (hey, we needed a segue) will not have to spend money reprinting anything that has their address on it.
Given the events of this week, one of most interesting places in the UK right now is the line of separation between England and Scotland, known as the Scottish Borders. We’ve put together a list of some great hotels and inns in the borders that should be hopping for some time, so if you’re traveling in the area, stop and have a pint in the pub, some sure to be interesting conversation, and of course, a room for the night.
Now, this week, the hotel officially broke ground on construction. Well, actually it was just a ceremonial groundbreaking since the hotel will be rise within the bones of the historic Old Post Office building.
Here's a snapshot of the Trump family of hoteliers--The Donald, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump--along with DC dignitaries Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Mayor Vincent Gray, D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser, and Norman Dong, Commissioner of the Public Buildings Service for the U.S. General Services Administration. Is it just us, or are those shovels plated in gold? #trumplyfe.
Our former front desk has given us many helpful tips from how to deal with getting walked and how to effectively complain to the front desk. He's even doled out some tips for hoteliers too. Now he's back with some ways to enjoy a grand old dame...hotel.
Staying at a historic hotel is one of the most exciting and rewarding ways to experience a city and get engulfed in its history.
Many hotels carry with them fascinating stories of yesteryear from being World War shelters to long-term residences for prolific authors and politicians to venues of scintillating scandals and tales. Most of these hotels are over 100 years old with marvelous exterior architecture and opulent interiors, of which guests can spend hours staring at. These historic properties are often protected by dogged conservationists, who want to ensure the protection of the city’s culture and heritage.
Unfortunately, sometimes with the history come challenges in standardized hotel operations and the ability to provide consistent service and product across all guest rooms and public areas. Having worked in multiple historic hotels, I have come to not only appreciate these challenges but also have tried to identify ways for guests to really get the most out of these historic wonders and be transported back in time!
Hotel Okura might be preparing itself for a multi-year closure–demolition–redevelopment cycle next year (if the Monocle petition to keep it won’t throw a spanner in the works), but another iconic Tokyo hotel will have shrugged when they read that news and thought: been there, done that, way ahead of you.
Above is what Palace Hotel Tokyo looked like in late 2008, presiding over its own moat in its second incarnation, after starting life as the government-run Hotel Teito just after WWII. The following year it closed and reinvented itself over the span of three years into something worthy of the theme “Before and After” – check it out after the jump.
Hotel Board Games / Manhattan Hotels / Fairmont Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Eloise / Historic Hotels / Central Park Hotels / → All Tags
Looking for a new board game to play during rainy days this summer? If you're a hotel nerd like us, then look no further than the Plaza-opoly from The Plaza Hotel in New York.
The iconic hotel has created its own version of the famous Monopoly game using Plaza-inspired instructions, themed board spaces, and game tokens inspired by residents and amenities of the hotel (Eloise's dog Weenie, a champagne bottle and a tea cup). Here's how the game kicks off:
After checking in at the Front Desk, players roll the dice to move around the entire board and begin their journey through the wondrous world of The Plaza via The Rose Club, The Eloise Suite, The Plaza Food Hall and even Home Alone 2-- a pop culture favorite filmed at the hotel.
Players can take their winnings straight to the bank and purchase their favorite Plaza destinations such The Champagne Bar, explore The Great Gatsby in The Fitzgerald Suite, The Grand Ballroom and The Shinn Murals. Each space has a corresponding Title Deed Card that provides a value and details of each of the location.
Gamers are further drawn into the world of The Plaza with cards such as “Order Room Service,” “Carriage Ride in Central Park,” The Grand Army Plaza and more. However, gamers have to play their cards right to avoid being sent to Hotel Security.
And whoever picks up the most expensive suites and other themed spaces, wins.
Hotel Renovations / Switzerland Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Katara Hospitality / Wellness Retreats / Historic Hotels / → All Tags
Nestled 1600 feet up from the shores of Lake Lucerne in Switzerland, a luxury resort is recreating itself--The Burgenstock Resort, scheduled to re-open in 2017. When all is said and done, there will be three hotels: The Burgenstock Hotel; the circa 1906 Palace Hotel; and the Waldhotel, a medical wellness destination. Add to that a spa the size of a football field, a conference center, residences, and several dining options.
The Burgenstock Resort is being developed by Katara Hospitality, who are also presently transforming the Royal Savoy Lausanne. Katara has again retained London-based MKV Design to take on the interiors of the Burgenstock Hotel, as well as the Palace Hotel renovation and the mega Alpine Spa. Right now, we're getting an early look at the Burgenstock Hotel.
Hotel Reopenings / Venice Hotels / Venice Lido Hotels / Historic Hotels / Regent Hotels / Starwood Hotels / → All Tags
The Hotel Des Bains in its heyday
Che fortuna amici, che bella notizia. This is big news. Huge! Venice’s historic Hotel des Bains, the grande dame of the Lido that inspired Death in Venice, hosted a bajillion movie stars for the film festival, and was shuttered in 2010 and sentenced to be redeveloped as luxury apartments (vomit) – will most likely be refurbished into a hotel once more.
According to local paper La Nuova, the Des Bains and its sadsack teammate, the Excelsior, are no longer for sale. The owner? The Cassa Depositi e Prestiti – a government-owned company. Regent and Starwood are still battling it out to run the properties (Raffaele Costa is out), but whoever wins will be the operator, not the owner.
But most exciting of all is the news that it looks likely that the Des Bains will make a spectacular return. From La Nuova (our translation):
It seems probable that the Des Bains, after its refurbishment, will return to being exclusively a hotel, putting a stop to the project that would have transformed part of it into hotel-residences – as was the initial plan – because the market conditions and the convenience of taking it forward are no longer in existence.
Historic Hotels / Waldorf Astoria Hotels / Waldorf Astoria Collection / Amsterdam Hotels / Luxury Hotels / → All Tags
Having walked by and peered through the windows at Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam on a number of occasions, we finally had a chance to look inside the six 17th and 18th century canal houses on the city’s Herengracht that were converted into the hotel.
That included these beautiful sculptures, part of a rather pretty staircase with skylight inside the "Marot" house at number 548, now the main entrance of the hotel. The six houses were cobbled together to offer 93 rooms and suites and a host of other facilities, including an unusually large and private garden, all opened just shy of two months ago.