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China, bless its little cotton socks, is not a country that we’ve traditionally associated with a thriving boutique hotel scene (the recently opened Jade Gallery Boutique Hotel in Chengdu, for instance, has an onsite casino!). But while the rest of the world busies itself with the millennial market, it looks like China is focusing on its boutique properties.
The latest to open is the Sofu Hotel in Beijing. It’s a fun location, on Huguosi Hutong (Street), a traditionally styled shopping street, which is also home to one of Beijing’s most famous snack bars.
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And now it’s here! The Chelsea Star is no more; the hotel silently riffed into its new incarnation earlier this month (no big statement opening? Not very 80s). All rooms are now renovated, and they’ve even installed a (temporary) 12ft high Santa in the courtyard. The verdict?
It may not be your first choice for an Italian trip… yet. But Milan is going to be so hot next year with the Expo Milano 2015, which will draw people from all around the world.
In preparation for the Expo, expect lots of hotel openings and renovations. Following the man-meat of Moxy, two of the first to come through are the B&B Hotel Milano Cenisio Garibaldi, which supposedly opened last week (though it’s not showing availability till 1 January), and the Lagare Hotel Milano Centrale which is scheduled for February.
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An institution providing medical and surgical treatment and nursing care for sick or injured people
That’s not what the Hospital Club in London is, though. They will care for you, of course – care for you beautifully, in fact. You don’t have to be sick to go there, but you do have to be a member.
Or, at least, you did have to be a member. Because from January, the hospital is getting a hotel wing, and it’s open to us all. Just as you were starting to think Soho House was the only private members’ club that mattered!
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A new boutique hotel has opened in Tel Aviv and, from the looks of it, it's a keeper. The Norman Tel Aviv, in the heart of "White City," blends its local history with modern art and design, while taking a much hipper approach to elegance. Just the way we like it.
Retro right down to its window frames. That’s the verdict on The Marker, which just opened in Key West – in fact, it’s the first new-build hotel to open in the Old Town in 20 years.
Yes, new-build. Not that you’d know from the photos. Coffered, whitewashed ceilings, art deco-style stucco around the windows, rattan sofas and leopard print armchairs. It’s deco meets 1950s meets the present day, and the result is 100% delicious. In fact, can we say Kimptony?
More photos after the jump!
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When you think of skiing close to Mont Blanc, France’s Chamonix will probably come to mind first of all, but if you have a case of been-there-done-that, there is a new hotel to check out this season in the Italian town of La Thuile, which will still give you the proximity to Il Bianco, or “the White One” as the mountain is called.
And if it’s new experiences you are looking for, Nira Montana, as it’s called, fits the bill in other ways too: you may not have yet had a chance to stay at a Nira Hotel, a small group with only a few properties, disparately encompassing Nira Alpina (in the Swiss ski resort of St. Moritz), Shanti Maurice (a beach resort on Mauritius), and Nira Caledonia (a city hotel in Edinburgh, of all places).
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A “globe-trotting, design-loving clientele”. A fashion theme. Lots of communal spaces. Uh oh - this can only mean one thing. A hotel tailored to millennials.
Where is the latest city to suffer the indignity? Why, it’s poor, beautiful Florence. The Hotel Garibaldi Blu, which opened last week on Piazza Santa Maria Novella is themed around jeans – yes, jeans – which, actually, originated in Genoa. What that means, basically, is that the palette is blue.
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Notting Hill may have found a permanent place in the London visitor’s heart due to one minor Hugh Grant / Julia Roberts movie (by the way, are you ready to feel old? Yes? It was released fifteen years ago), but the number of (interesting) hotel choices in the area has always been limited.
The list of options will have a new addition by next summer though, with the planned opening of The Laslett on Pembridge Gardens, around the corner from Notting Hill Gate tube station and close to the bottom end of famous Portobello Road. Set within five Victorian mansions, The Laslett is named after Rhaune Laslett, a local community activist and organiser of the Notting Hill Festival, the predecessor of the current annual Notting Hill Carnival.
From the people behind Living Rooms, a small collection of apartments for short and long stays, The Laslett will have 51 rooms and suites, meant to give you the sense you’re staying in a friend’s stylish townhouse rather than in a hotel. The first image we have (above) does seem to strike that balance well, with a nice deep grey on the walls, carefully misaligned artwork, and the odd bit of color and pattern thrown in. The ground floor will be “part coffee shop, part bar-kitchen, part gallery, part concept store”.
We’ll have to wait to see more from inside The Laslett, but we can tell you that opening rates will start from £215 ($335) a night. Blame Hugh and Julia for Notting Hill having become so expensive.
[Photos: The Laslett]
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Dat rose chandelier though...
Now that was a surprisingly discreet way to launch yourself on the world. Last time we checked in on The Exhibitionist Hotel in South Kensington, it was gearing up to launch without a proper website and by advertising on flash sale site Secret Escapes. We feared this meant it would be a bit woeful when launch came.
We were wrong (if you discount that rose-petal chandelier). Because now there are pictures. And it looks GOOD. Behold:
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Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937) was a Marxist politician and co-founder of the Italian Communist Party, who was imprisoned by Mussolini and died soon after his release. He is still a god for Italy’s Left. So what better thing to do with his former home than convert it into a luxury hotel?
Uhh, quite. This is what’s kicking off in Turin at the moment, where the four star NH Collection Torino Piazza Carlino opened on Monday to major controversy in the city. Last week, people protested – again – with their red flags outside the building, as they have done for the past two-and-a-half years, during its conversion.
This is the fifth NH hotel in Turin (who knew?) and has 160 rooms, which are suitably spartan, in a way, with understated hardwood floors, plain white walls and the palest of neutrals for the curtains.
There are two rooftop terraces (from which views should be great, as this is plum in the city center), with a bar and aromatic herb garden up there; a fifth floor panoramic fitness room, another ground floor bar on the square below, Piazza Carlina. The building itself is an enormous, grand palazzo dating back to the 17th century, with a plaque outside noting the working class Gramsci link.
First look at a Mod Pod
The doors are open and the photos are in of the Dean Dublin, which opened last week.
What we like:
· Rooftop restaurant Sophie’s, with its 360-degree views of Dublin and what appear to be olive trees growing inside;
· Deft touches like Smeg fridges and old-style telephones in the rooms;
· The colors and textures – deep blues and velvet sofa-style wraparound headboards in the tiny Mod Pod rooms – trendy yet chic;
· Wraparound windows and massive desks in the Hi-Fi rooms – perfect workstation or what;
· Local elements like trays of “Irish munchies” and Grafton Barber toiletries;
· The €250m worth of local art about the place, and the ability to purchase some of it.
What we don’t like: