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The most eyecatching feature of the new Westin Hamburg is the seafaring wavy roof. We're guessing that means no helipad.
Hamburg, Germany’s second largest city, is getting larger and that means more hotels. According to HotelProjectsWorldwide, there are 23 new hotels in development in Hamburg, thanks in part to the revitalization of former riverfront warehouse district HafenCity. In 2016, HafenCity will be home to the new Westin Hamburg, located in one of the most highly anticipated new buildings worldwide— the Elbe Phiharmonic Hall.
A strange email popped into our (personal) inbox the other week. The sender called itself “Hotel Naming Study”, and it purported to be from polling company YouGov, on behalf of Fairmont Hotels. “With your input they can continue offering unique experiences designed around your travel needs,” it said. Spam or real? We clicked.
”We are interested in your opinions on potential names that have been created for a new program,” it said. “On the following seven screens, you will see a total of seven names. Please use a few lines to describe what associations come to mind.”
What excitement! What new program, and what new names? We could hardly wait. Until we clicked through. The seven names under consideration were:
When we had our first drink at Gŏng at Shangri-La at the Shard a few weeks ago, we spied a number of cranes across the river working on neighboring hotel projects 10 Trinity Square and citizenM Tower Hill, and made a mental note to have a closer look on the ground.
So we did this past weekend, with above the imposing façade of the former Port of London Authority, due to become mixed-use complex 10 Trinity Square, with 120-room hotel, restaurant, club, spa, and 41 residences. The glass building you see poking out on the left is the car-melting Walkie-Talkie tower on Fenchurch Street.
The Number Sixteen Hotel, London
Back in March it was announced that Starwood Hotels& Resorts Worldwide, Inc. intended to enter into a dominating agreement with Design Hotels AG. While it’s not officially a done deal yet, it got a whole lot closer this month, with the majority vote approval received by Design Hotels’ Management Board.
We may not fully grasp the legal details of such an agreement – though reference to “dominating” got our attention— we imagine there will soon be another logo at the bottom of the Starwood Hotels web site. This is big news and here’s how we see it from a design perspective.
We told you back in March that the Soho House Chicago would be opening in August and well, wouldn't you know? The Chicago spinoff of the London members-only club--with hotel rooms attached--is actually opening next month, on August 11 to be exact.
Located in the West Loop nabe in an old warehouse that was once home to the Chicago Belting Factory, the Soho House Chicago will now offer 40 rooms, ranging in sizes Small, Medium and Medium Plus.
The small rooms, which are going for $240 a night on opening night, start at 300-sq.ft. and include free WiFi; complimentary tea, coffee and homemade biscuits; and Cowshed products in the bathroom. The website also says a hair straightener will be included with the hair dryer. Score one for the curly-haired ladies out there.
The Medium rooms offer 450-sq.ft. of space while the Medium Plus rooms bump up to a generous 650-sq.ft of space with a bathtub in the bathroom. (The other rooms only have showers.) Rates for these rooms are going for $350 on opening night. Sadly, there are only illustrations of the rooms online and not real photographs. Hopefully, we can get some of those for you to peep real soon.
When you hear the name Motel One, what do you think of? A city-center, budget-chic hotel high on style and low on cost along the lines of citizenM, Qbic, and The Z Hotels? Yeah, neither do we, but that is what the originally German brand is hoping to bring to the British capital with its first English hotel, opening at the end of the year.
It reminds us a little of CityInn, which had two great hotels in the city that were rebranded as “The Mint” as a result of ‘misconception’ in the market about what the brand stood for, before becoming DoubleTree by Hilton. We’ll have to see how the name fares, but construction on the 258-room hotel is coming along nicely on Minories, directly opposite the Indigo at Tower Hill.
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UPDATE 11.15am: Response from hotel at the bottom of the post. Also, there were two clients with Mr Heaton, though the bill is as described, and the minimum spend refers only to the terrace of the Crystal Bar, not the bar itself. The hotel also says it has apologised to Mr Heaton (presumably not via Twitter).
How much would you pay for a small bottle of water at a five star hotel? $5? (That’d be our personal limit.) $10? (Maybe if we were really thirsty.) Nothing, because water should be from the tap and free? (You’re clearly American, welcome to Europe.)
How about $127? Yes, one hundred and twenty seven dollars. For three miserable bottles of sparkling water. Sadly, this is not a joke.
Ten days ago, at about 4pm, businessman Edward Heaton sat down at the outside terrace of the Crystal Bar at the Wellesley Hotel in London. He was meeting two clients, and it was the middle of the heatwave. Between the three of them, they ordered three small bottles of sparkling water. He says there was no menu, they just ordered direct from the server.
Meeting finished, they requested the bill. £75 ($127) for those three small bottles of water.
Was the water laced with crushed diamonds? No, it was San Pellegrino. Was it served in a golden goblet? Can't be sure, but presumably it was in a glass made of glass.
Here’s the breakdown. £16.50 ($28) for the water (already obscene). £8.33 ($14) for the service charge (let’s hope they threw in a lot of bar snacks). And £50.17 ($85) for “1x minimum spend”.
Minimum spend? Ah yes. According to the Wellesley, anyone who sits down at the terrace of the bar - though not the bar itself - after 4pm must meet a minimum spend of £25 per head. Have you ever heard of that? We haven’t, and we’re pretty partial to our £6 cups of London hotel tea. The only hotel bar in the world that we’ve ever encountered a minimum spend at is £10 at the Montage Beverly Hills ($50 minimum spend for world class cocktails). It simply does not happen in London.
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Here's just another reason why it pays to become a member of a hotel's loyalty program--access to cool technology that will make checking in a smooth transition after a long day of travel. Or so we hope.
Hilton Hotels has announced a new update to its HHonors app that will allow guess to select their own rooms, right down to the floor and room number. By the end of the year, this app function, along with digital check-in, will be in place at all 4,000 Hilton Hotels worldwide. Here's how it works:
The renderings for London’s former Bow Street Magistrates Court had us seriously excited for its rebirth as a 99-room hotel when we discovered them earlier this year, and now it looks like there is a similar project in progress further east.
The Old Street Magistrates Court, a five-minute walk east of Old Street roundabout and next to Hoxton Square, will become a “5-star boutique hotel styled to fit with the new modern art and media image”. We’re not exactly sure what that means, but we guess the target market is the Shoreditch artsy media set. There will be 128 rooms between the Edwardian structure and a new-built block behind; what that looks like you can see below.
Not your usual hotel doorpeople
What happens when you hold an upmarket music festival in a place with no accommodation just outside a major hotel town or city? Neon everywhere and flower headdresses in totally unthinkable hotels, that’s what.
Yes, if you thought Coachella was
bad enough unique for colonizing Palm Springs, you clearly haven’t heard of Tomorrowland, a gargantuan EDM festival that takes place in Boom, an appropriately named town 20 miles outside of Brussels, over two weekends: this and last.
Boom doesn’t really have any hotels, which is where Brussels comes in. For two weekends of the year, the supposedly staid (it’s not, but more on that another time) centre of the European Union is full of dayglo, and three of the city’s poshest hotels get done up as rave accommodation, having been bought up by the festival for the exclusive use of their guests.
Take The Hotel, the European Union's hotel of choice for businessmen, diplomats, and President Obama, where we’ve spent the last few days. Normally, it’s full of suits; this weekend, it’s awash with fairy wings, bro baseball caps and t-shirts that read “Fuck off reality, we’re going to Tomorrowland”. The lifts are paved with fake grass instead of the normal marble, and there are butterflies and flowers 'embroidered' all over the lobby.
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.
Bigger is always better, of course – or mas grande, mas bueno, as
people who don't speak Spanish they say in Madrid. Because not content with the three Novotels Accor already owns in the city; they’re getting another – and this one is going to be the biggest Novotel in the world.
The Hotel Convención – a gargantuan four star hotel a few blocks away from Retiro Park – is going to be completely redesigned, refurbished and will debut as a Novotel in 2016. Plans include a rooftop pool, business floors, and a children’s corner.