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Twelve months ago, we listed six London hotels to watch out for, and waited patiently for each of them to arrive over the course of 2014. In a world of perpetual hotel delays, we didn’t do so badly, with only one out of six not opening as promised.
With last year’s success rate in mind and finding ourselves in a year that ends on five, it only seems right to take a look at five new London hotels that should make their debut between now and December. Noticeably absent from the list? Clermont London, the one hotel that prevented us from scoring a six out of six last year. Silence on the transformation of the Royal Horseguards Hotel continues, with no update since we first wrote about it in late 2013. Who knows, it may catch us by surprise and open this year, but having been fooled once, we’ll focus on the following for now.
The Lanesborough: closed for well over a year, a “Spring 2015” return came with a fresh website and the news that the Hyde Park Corner hotel would join the Oetker Collection. Renderings show the 93 rooms and suites to stay close to the original Regency décor, but despite Albert Pinto’s classic take, technology should be very 21st century. As much as we would love to believe a March completion, the hotel continues to be obscured by scaffolding last we saw, so we’ll say a hopeful June(ish) for reopening?
Every time we turn our heads away, a Paris hotel opens. Last week we had news of the ridiculously expensive La Réserve and the far more affordable Hilton Paris Opera; this week, we’re salivating over the opening (or should that be reopening?) of the Hôtel Les Bains.
Once a public bathhouse, then a cult nightclub, Les Bains, in the Marais district, was built in 1885 as Les Bains Douches, and was initially the most famous thermal spa in Paris – Marcel Proust took the waters here! Fast forward to 1978, and Andy Warhol and his ilk were living it up in the baths-turned-nightclub (designed by the then unknown Philippe Starck), which became the Studio 54 of Paris. The club closed in 2011, when it became a full-immersion art installation and artists’ residency. And now – draw breathe – it’s about to be a hotel.
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Mindfulness – or mindful meditation – is all the rage right now and it looks set to stay that way. What better way to cash in on the trend than by opening a ‘mindful hotel’?
An eco-resort owned by fashion designed Marco Murzilli, it’s a simple place – “eremito” means “hermitage” in Italian, and the place has the ascetic feel of a monastery (it was built from scratch, but using 13th-century masonry techniques). There are just 14, pared back rooms based on monk cells – whitewashed walls, arches, no extraneous décor, sheets made of hemp, definitely no minibars. There’s no connectivity – no internet, no phone, no TV, no business center. There’s even no coupling – rooms are strictly for single occupancy. (If you're wanting to come as part of a couple, they suggest you book adjoining cells.)
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That’s what’s on the menu this spring in Italy, where both Starwood (by way of St. Regis) and Marriott (by way of JW Marriott) are entering the Venetian hotel scene with a splash (ha!) on Isola di San Clemente and Isola delle Rose, respectively. But who will be victorious? Let’s look at what each brings to their corner before things get real around March / April time.
We’ve established they're fighting for your attention in the same category: private islands, ensuring the ultimate Venice experience of hopping on a complimentary shuttle when you want to be whisked away from the crowds on San Marco. We’ve known for a while that the JW Marriott would be opening in March, but the St. Regis is now confirmed for the month after. If all goes as planned, then Marriott will have a (minor) head start.
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Paris hotels – they’re just like buses. You wait months for one swanky new one to open, and then two come along at once. Mon dieu!
Yesterday we showed you La Réserve, Jacques Garcia’s ridonkulously expensive new project in the 8th arrondissement. Today, let’s look at something far, far more affordable: the Hilton Paris Opera, which has just concluded its renovations.
The hotel is indeed near the Opera Garnier, also in the 8th arrondissement, near the Gare St Lazare. Formerly the Concorde, Hilton have poured €44m into the refurbishment, and the property now has 268 rooms, of which 29 are suites.
First, the good news: after a two-year wait, La Réserve Paris, Jacques Garcia’s latest project for hotelier Michel Reybier, opened this week. The first, and very lucky, guests checked in Monday.
And now for the bad: with rates starting from $1,262, it’s likely you’ll be waiting a little longer to try it out.
You know the story already, of course, but this joins Geneva and St Tropez for the La Réserve brand, it’s in the 8th arrondissement, just off the Champs Elysées near Place de la Concorde, and is a petite place with just 40 rooms. We say “rooms” but 26 of these are suites, and four are presidential suites.
In a foodie city such as Chicago, it's great news when a hotel takes their food and beverage offering serious. That's why we're pretty excited to catch a flavor of (wayyyyy) South of the border at the new Loews Chicago once they open in March.
Previously unreleased, the hotel has picked hometown chef, Jose Garces, to tempt the taste-buds of guests and locals as he chars up some of his Argentinian faves in the themed restaurant. Featured as a central focus for the eatery is the parrilla, or grill, Rural Society's menu will explore cooking more than steak on an open flame creating an authentic and refreshed experience using quebracho, an Argentine hardwood to cook the meats.
Remember when we told you Kempinski Hotels sat down for 60 days with 60 designers from around the world to come up with the above, the Sunrise Kempinski Hotel, meant to resemble the rising sun as well as a scallop (no, really)?
At the time, opening was scheduled for mid-November, which obviously didn’t happen – then just before the weekend, we got excited by some actual photography from inside the hotel on its website, as well as a ticker that showed only two days left to go. Checking back in today, ready for a cheerful “Now Open!” in its place, we’re faced with the setback of opening another ten days away. Boo… We’ll make do with those photos for now then.
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Good news for the cost-conscious business traveller to London: a few weeks from now, there will be a fifth Tune Hotel to choose from, this time among Canary Wharf’s corporate high-rises. Four and a half years after we first tested its Westminster location, this 130-room hotel will bring some new interior design to go with the same low, low, low rates the group is known for.
Above a double room with window, of which there are 85. Another 22 doubles do without the exterior aspect, while for the 20 twin rooms the only choice is the windowed kind. Three accessible rooms (also with window) take it to the total of 130 rooms, walking distance from Canary Wharf tube station (the Jubilee line will take you to the heart of the West End in less than half an hour) and West India Quay for the DLR overground.
Rendering of the soon-to-open Godfrey Hotel Boston
The Oxford Capital Group announced last week that the Godfrey Hotel Boston will open its doors this fall in the historic Amory and Blake buildings of the city's Downtown Crossing neighborhood.
The property's exterior will maintain its pre-war brick and stone facade but the interior design will contrast the historic with oak paneling, porcelain flooring, and contemporary furniture. The hotel will have 242 rooms as well as an in-house restaurant, coffee shop, lobby bar, fitness center, and most importantly, free WiFi. No word yet on whether the employees' uniforms will be designed locally, as is the case with the Chicago property.
Naturally we had to do a room rate check. Here's what you can expect to pay on March 27. Break out the dollar bills!
Baha Mar Resort & Casino: At the main resort on site, you can expect to pay $350 a night for a seriously stylish deluxe king room with ESPA toiletries, a 48-inch flat screen TV, a Nespresso coffee make and a full or step-out balcony. The special opening offer also throws in a $100 in resort credit, which helps make the $40 resort fee plus 17.5 % tax per day a little more bearable. (But not really.) That resort fee includes: In-room Internet access, In-room Coffee, In-room Bottled Water, Unlimited Local calls, Health Club Access (2 per day), Non-motorized beach equipment.
Sorry the resort credit cannot be applied to the resort fee.
A rapidly growing yet totally bespoke trend in boutique hotel design--rough lux--(it's ok to roll your eyes) will have another unique offering this March, with the opening of the all-suite G-Rough in Rome.
G-Rough, a member of Design Hotels and now by association, a Starwood property, is the sister hotel to the glam-packed PalazzinaG in Venice and the second hotel from partners Gabriele Salini and Emanuele Garosci. PalazzinaG was the Italian debut for Philippe Starck back in 2009. Had to throw that in.