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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.
And by that we mean, the Japanimation-inspired Hotel Tomo in San Fran's Japantown has gone from a Joie de Vivre Hotel to a Kimpton Hotel. (For those not in the know, JDV's loyalty program is called Joy of Life while Kimpton's is called Kimpton Karma.)
So far, it doesn't seem like anything has changed from the JDV days (except possibly the toiletries in the bathroom which were once Japanese but are now from LATHER.) Here's a more in-depth TripAdvisor review from a Kimpton Karma member who stayed there as the changeover was happening:
I was happy to learn at check-in that Hotel Tomo is now a Kimpton Hotel as I'm a huge fan of Kimpton.
The changeover literally took place the day we arrived so there are still many, many things that need to be ironed out before Hotel Tomo satisfies Kimpton's usual standards.
The staff were very friendly and accommodating. We were given an upgrade which was nice. The room was quite large, especially by San Francisco standards. The view from our room on the eighth floor was great.
What Hotel Tomo looked like in 2010 when HotelChatter visited
Joie de Vivre Hotels is the latest hotel brand to debut a new, friendlier website that goes way beyond looking at room photos and making a reservation.
Instead of being a cold-hearted point of transaction, JDV's new site wants to take you on a "joy ride" with their "Explore" tool which seeks to match up an ideal hotel for you based on where you want to go and what your interests are. (This is pretty much Yvette, JDV's friendly matchmaker, for the millennial generation.)
Speaking of millennials, the site has "enriched social integrations", meaning Instagram feeds show up, and there's even a new Joy Ride" travel blog, chronicling all aspects of life in cities where JDV hotels can be found.
The design, done by NYC-based digital advertising and marketing agency, Sideways, is top-notch and the site is also "optimized for all devices," meaning it's easy to read from your phone and tablet. But it's not exactly the high-stakes adventure you think of when you hear the words "joy ride." That said, the photos are big and pretty so you can see up close what's in a room. And that's still the most important function we want from a hotel's website.
Considering it’s right on Venice Beach (or pretty much right on Venice Beach, anyway), the Hotel Erwin was always going to have top notch views of the Pacific from its rooms.
But, on a recent visit to the rooftop bar, High, we couldn’t help but noticing that not all views are created equal.
From High, the coastline was spectacular – both north, towards Santa Monica, and south, beyond LAX – and the whole rooftop was in the sun.
We've long known that Airbnb wants to "disrupt" (gag) the hotel industry but we found this recent social media posting from its founder, Brian Chesky, rather bold.
Captured by Valleywag on the Frontback app, the image shows a picture of Chesky's girlfriend in an Airbnb pad with a note attached to a bouquet of flowers that says, "Fuck Hotels."
Hmm...we wonder what Chesky's partner, Chip Conley would have to say about that, given that Chip made his fortune off of his Joie de Vivre hotel company, which he later sold off but in which he's still a part-owner of about 15 hotels. #notcool
Social media takedown aside, Airbnb is incredibly useful in many ways--for folks on a budget, or for hosts who have extra space in their houses and apartments and in areas with limited hotel rooms or too-high hotel rates. But we hope Chesky realizes that he can never stay in a hotel ever again. Never.
And now, we'll be waiting for a hotel's answer to Airbnb. (Hint: you can start with that room and its dubious comforter.)
[Image via Valleywag]
Commune Hotels / Thompson Hotels / Joie de Vivre Hotels / Tommie Hotels / Jason Pomeranc / Hotel News / → All Tags
The other week, we were searching hard for information about the reopening of the Thompson Ocean Drive hotel in Miami Beach yet we were met with absolute silence when it came to the matter of the hotel's name change--would it go ahead with the Thompson name or stick with the original moniker, Hotel Victor?
Well, today's HUGE news from Commune Hotels has answered that question. No, it will not be a Thompson hotel in name, mainly because Thompson Hotels' founders--Jason Pomeranc and his brothers, have sold out the rest of the company, including the Thompson name, to Commune. Get comfortable, because this is going to take a while to explain.
Way back in 2011, Joie de Vive Hotels linked up with Thompson Hotels and the two formed Commune Hotels and Resorts. Joie de Vivre was fresh off its own acquisition from Geolo Capital, founded by Hyatt heir, John Pritzker (he has nothing to do with Hyatt Hotels today btw.) The two companies, Geolo Capital and Thompson BP, were equal partners in the formation of Commune Hotels although Thompson Hotels would be its own brand, as would Joie de Vivre, as would the spin-off brand of Thompson Hotels, Tommie Hotels.
Fast forward to today and all brands are expanding to new locations as everyone hoped they would. Commune even managed to snag Niki Leondakis away from Kimpton Hotels. And now, Commune has bought out the Pomeranc brothers. Here's the parting statement Jason Pomeranc gave today: "After nearly 15 years, my brothers Lawrence, Michael and I are incredibly proud to see how Thompson Hotels has evolved into an enormously impactful global hospitality brand," said Jason Pomeranc. "We now look forward to exciting new endeavors and wish John Pritzker and the entire Commune family well."
"After nearly 15 years, my brothers Lawrence, Michael and I are incredibly proud to see how Thompson Hotels has evolved into an enormously impactful global hospitality brand," said Jason Pomeranc. "We now look forward to exciting new endeavors and wish John Pritzker and the entire Commune family well."
So the pressing question is, who gets what in the deal? Here's how it all shakes out:
It's time for a walk down memory lane with a HotelChatter Flashback!
Three years ago today, we heard the news that Chip Conley's indie boutique hotel chain, Joie de Vivre Hotels, would be expanding outside of California for the very first time, thanks to a new partnership with investor, John Pritzker, heir to the Hyatt Hotels chain and his Geolo Capital private equity firm. This was a big deal back then as JDV was strictly a California-based hotel company.
Fast forward to today and Joie de Vivre is now a part of the bigger Commune Hotels which is also made up of the too-cool lifestyle hotel brand, Thompson Hotels, and the just-announced new hotel brand, Tommie Hotels.
JDV has still made good on its 2010 promise to expand opening hotels in Chicago, Scottsdale (above) and even Hawaii, although California still makes up a good deal of its heart and soul. We're not sure if JDV will ever break out into Seattle, Miami or New York as it will probably leave that up to Commune but you never know...
Getting surfers and skateboarders to stay at the Hotel Erwin in Venice, Calif. has never been a tough sell for the hotel, thanks to its beachfront location along the Venice Boardwalk, its spunky style (a wall of grafitti art greets guests upon their arrival) and a killer rooftop scene like no other on the beach.
But now there's a whole new way for skaters to go all out at the hotel--The Red Bull Dogtown Suite.
For $1,500 a night, guests can stay in this 750-sq.ft. suite decked out with surf and skateboard decor, a 52" TV, a big round bed and a giant two-person tub. The suite also has a large private balcony with killer ocean views and even a custom DJ turntable should guests want to spin some tunes. And of course, it's stocked with cans of Red Bull.
Thompson Hotels / Commune Hotels / Joie de Vivre Hotels / Mexico Hotels / Hawaii Hotels / Hotel Hype / Hotel News / → All Tags
We hope you like these rooms, because there's more of 'em coming!
Yesterday's news of the sixth Thompson Hotel coming to Manhattan was surprising enough but not nearly as surprising as Thompson's expansion plans, which are no doubt being made possible by its new parent company, Commune Hotels and Resorts. (If you aren't up to speed, Thompson and Joie De Vivre Hotels merged back in October and their new parent company, Commune, debuted last month.)
Indeed, the company's CEO Stephen Brandman told us yesterday, "Global expansion will happen before you think." But it seems like it's already here.
Aside from 5 Beekman and the newly opened Thompson Belgraves in London, Thompson Hotels is also running The Sutton Place Hotel in Chicago (which will be relaunched as the Thompson Chicago in late 2013 after renovations) and the Hotel Victor in Miami (which will go by Thompson Ocean Drive after its renovations are finished). But there's even more.
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[This story has been updated from yesterday's, which was originally posted on 2/21/12 at 3:28pm.]
We've been anxiously anticipating the new name for the newly merged Joie de Vivre Hotels and Thompson Hotels as the temporary name, JT Hospitality, was not very original and also conjured up a line of hotels from Justin Timberlake.
Nevertheless, the wait is over as the announcement comes today that the hotels will now fall under the new company name...COMMUNE HOTELS AND RESORTS. (And yes, the website is already up and running.)
"Our ethos is about individuality, community, locations that are authentic to their environment, and the kind of service that exceeds guests' expectations and makes travel exciting again," the three executives wrote in a statement. "We believe celebrating individuality is the best way to elevate the guest experience."
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Even though the Saguaro Palm Springs just opened the other week, we decided to eschew the two-hour drive from Los Angeles and instead, hop on a plane to Scottsdale and check out the original Saguaro.
We've been obsessing over this hotel's bright color scheme for months now and indeed, driving towards the hotel we let out a little yelp when we saw the brightly colored walls on the guestroom balconies. Yeah, we're nerdy like that. But how did the hotel measure up in living color? Read our review and peruse our galleries to find out!
Well, it looks like our guessing game from yesterday wasn't very hard at all. Yes, the shiny, bright and happy pool scene indeed belongs to the colorful Saguaro Scottsdale. Now that we've given you a peek at the pool scene, allow us to take you inside one of the hotel's garden suites located on the ground floor with private patios that lead out to the hotel's two pools. We hope you like the color pink!
This is room 4109 which features a king-sized bed, separate sitting area, a large bath room with a soaking tub and a separate shower, two flat-screen TVs (one in each room) and two mini-patios that lead out to the hotel's main pool.