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We often found that while most East Coast people are wiling to go West, to the land of sun and
empty happy people, it is hard to make West Coasters go East, to the land of brutal winters and rude strong-minded people and stay there. (Or maybe that's just our own experience.)
But West Coast brand, Joie de Vivre Hotels, is taking its California hotel style to the East Coast, opening in Miami Beach and NYC's Bowery hood in the next couple of years.
The Hall will open this summer at 15th Street and Collins Ave, prime Art Deco in a building originally designed by architect L. Murray Dixon. Now, Miami-based architectural firm ADD Inc. and interior design firm Robert McKinley Creative are "renewing" the landmark property to create a 164-room JDV hotel with a courtyard, indoor/outdoor restaurant, a library bar, a swimming pool and in a city of craft cocktails, a beer garden. We're already thirsty.
We always love a hotel opening but we really love an earlier-than-expected hotel opening which is what happened with The Epiphany Hotel in Palo Alto, Calif. when it opened its doors yesterday, instead of on the scheduled date of April 1st. This totally makes up for the hotel not opening last summer.
Staff at the JDV Hotel greeted guests wearing super stylish Taylor Stitch custom-designed uniforms (which hardly look like uniforms considering they are dark denim jeans paired with oxford button downs) and happy faces. Not surprisingly, the first guest at the hotel was a VP of a software company based in Palo Alto.
The 86 rooms at the Epiphany Hotel, which is located a block off from University Avenue (as in Stanford University), come with complimentary high-speed internet access (obvi), Frette linens, Malin & Goetz toiletries, Illy espresso machines, honor bar and dry bar, a work desk with ergonomic chair, 47" Samsung TV and a G-link iPod docking stations which will wirelessly stream movies and video games to guest rooms TVs. There's also 24-hour room service and a turndown service too.
And the hotel is still promising the service of a Technology Concierge who will help you with all thing tech-related. But can they hook you up with a website designer or app developer for a new start-up venture? That remains to be seen.
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When we compiled our Master Openings list this year, we had a spot reserved in Palo Alto, Calif. for The Epiphany Hotel from Joie de Vivre Hotels. The hotel was supposed to open over the summer but now it's set to open next year, on April 1st. But already, the hotel is positioning itself as the must-stay hotel in Silicon Valley. In their own words:
Get wired. In the heart of downtown Palo Alto, surrounded by the hottest VC firms, the fastest-growing companies, plus the creative dynamism of Stanford University—this is where you need to be staying.
Clearly, the hotel's WiFi is going to be free and fast and full of plenty of bandwidth. The hotel is also promising the services of its own technology concierge. Sweet! No doubt this concierge better know his or her tech specs before starting the job. Yet given the hotel's location near Stanford, we don't think this will be too hard.
But what else can we expect from The Epiphany in regards to more traditional hotel amenities? For starters, there's 24-hour room service, regular concierge services, pet-friendly rooms, Frette linens, Malin & Goetz toiletries, Illy espresso machines, honor bar and dry bar, a work desk with ergonomic chair, 47" Samsung TV (55" ones in the suites) and a G-link iPod docking stations which will wirelessly stream movies and video games to guest rooms TVs. Housekeeping will also do a turndown service and will use green cleaning products too.
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We labeled it one of ten hotel openings we were psyched about and voila, the previously unnamed JDV Hotel in Hawaii is now open.
The Shoreline Hotel Waikiki opened its doors on April Fool's Day but it is serious about welcoming new guests. The 70s-inspired boutique hotel sits in the middle of some of Diamond Head's best shopping and restaurants. (The actual ocean shoreline is just under a mile away.)
While the vibe may be 70s inspired, the 135 rooms are outfitted with some of today's best modern amenities like flat-screen TVs and free WiFi. Rounding out the amenities are a Cha Cha Cha Mexican restaurant and bar, 24-hour front desk hosts and a Welcome Lei upon arrival.
And rates are totally affordable too. The hotel is celebrating its opening with a special room rate of $159 a night. Regular room rates won't be that much more starting at $195 a night. Go here to book.
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We're only two months into 2013 and while we've had our share of disappointments, there's still a bunch of new hotels to start saving your pennies for. So because we can't get enough of that new hotel smell, here are 10 More Hotel Openings To Get Psyched About:
W VERBIER: There are only two W Hotels opening in 2013 and this winter wonderland in Switzerland is one of them. This will be the very first "alpine escape" from W and will feature 123 rooms and suites, each with their own fireplace, balconies and signature W beds. Being cold has never gotten us so hot.
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Welcome to Palm Springs. We hope you like bright colors and sunshine, because that's the specialty of the The Saguaro Palm Springs. This is only the second Saguaro, after the The Saguaro Scottsdale, but it comes from a company with a very large collection of hotels: Joie de Vivre.
The Saguaro Palm Springs opened in February 2012 and used to be a Holiday Inn, a fact immediately evident from the classic, motel-style architecture. Still, one can't help but imagine how Holiday Inn execs would think of the place nowthey'd probably regret having lost it! The Saguaro is a cheerful hotel that fills a gap in the Palm Springs hotel scene, for new family- and pet-friendly accommodations of modern design and amenities at a reasonable price.
This JDV Hotel has been a fave of HotelChatter's for nearly a decade, but we haven't physically checked in on the place since 2007. But instead of giving you some laborious hotel review, we'll make it short and suite (ha!).
Here are 5 Things You Should Know About the Hotel Vitale: (pics included!)
1. Splurge on the Water View Rooms: We said it way back in 2005 and nearly eight years later the same still holds true--the water view rooms are the ones to book. From your little perch, you can admire the stunning San Francisco Bay with the iconic Bay Bridge in the distance as well as the San Francisco Ferry Building. During our stay, these were going for about $308 a night with an AAA discount.
2. But Ask for a Higher Floor: We were placed on the third floor which still offered great views of the Bay Bridge and the Ferry Building but the Embarcadero is especially noisy in the morning. We found ourselves up at around 7am despite vowing to "sleep in" 'til 830am.
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Looks like the old saying still stands true: One man's trash is indeed another's treasure.
At least that appears to be the case at Hotel Lincoln in Chicago. The boutique hotel in Lincoln Park, which recently underwent some renovations, has installed what they're openly referring to as the "Wall of Bad Art,"--essentially a bunch of reject artworks placed closely together on a lobby wall.
Apparently it's so bad, it's good. (Sort of like the movie Bio-Dome).
Hard to believe it's been exactly nine months since we first learned that Joie De Vivre (JDV) and Thompson merged under one brand known as Commune. In March, Thompson announced their takeover of the historic 5 Beekman building in the Financial District (making it Thompson's sixth Manhattan hotel).
But now it sounds like things are really picking up over at Commune HQ, with two big announcements coming out in the past few weeks. First off, the company appointed a new CEO, Niki Leondakis, who, interestingly, comes straight out of Kimpton, where she served as COO.
Secondly, and this is the biggie: TravelWeekly tells us that JDV will be opening their first-ever New York hotel, a 250-room property. No deets on location, rates, or opening date yet, but—we're excited.
After all, New York could do with a little joie de vivre right about now...
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How far into the summer are we again? That's rightthe season is nearly two-thirds over and Chicago's first Joie de Vivre property, the Hotel Lincoln, just finally opened its open-air rooftop bar yesterday evening.
Though the debut was touted everywhere from Thrillist to Daily Candy, we made our way despite thinking everybody and their moms would be up there. Luckily, we arrived pre-sunset and scored a table just after ordering a first drink at the bar. Blessedly there is no cover, nor is there a dress code (like some other hotel rooftop bars that have gotten too big for their britches, ah hem).
A further pleasant surprise: the bar, though located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood at the intersection of Lincoln/Wells and Clark Streets, is so far douche-free. We can't promise it'll stay that way for long (especially after the Thrillist mention), but one can hope.
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We were excited to step into the lobby at San Francisco's Hotel Carlton, part of the
Joie De Vivre—ahem, Commune—family, mainly because the hotel offers a free wine tasting every afternoon from 5:30pm to 6pm. Very Kimpton of them, indeed.
But we got more than we bargained for. Yes, the wine was wheeled out on the dot at 5:30, and, sure enough a crowd (comprised mainly of middle-aged Dutch and German couples) began to form there in the Middle Eastern-decorated lobby.
What we weren't anticipating: Theo, one of the hotel's Front Desk agents, setting up in the corner of the lobby with aviator sunglasses, a Yamaha keyboard, and some of the sickest synth beats we've heard since Flight of the Concords was still airing on HBO.
It would be hard to come up with a single genre to classify the strange music we were bopping our heads to, though if we had to pick a word that best sums up the whole experience, it would be this: snazz.
Primly perched above one of the city’s most coveted lakefront neighborhoods and paired with a reclaimed design that nods entirely to local color and history, Hotel Lincoln is bound to be a game changer for the booming Chicago hotel scene. Oh, and it’s kind of taken our breath away.