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The Excelsior Hotel Gallia,now reopened
We’ve covered plenty of 2015 openings as they happened (scroll through here), but there are still some to come, and a couple that have quietly unlocked those doors since we checked in a few weeks ago. Here are the ones to watch:
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So much hotel news, so little time – here are a few snippets to keep you up to date with the latest news from around the world!
· Conrad Chicago, shown above, will cease to be a part of Hilton Hotels later this fall and will instead join Starwood's Luxury Collection group. No word yet on what the new name will be. [Source: Hotel News Resource]
· Fresh off opening their New York property, EDITION Hotels will open next year in Sanya, China; Thailand and Abu Dhabi with Shanghai and Times Square to happen in 2017 and West Hollywood in 2018. Paris has inexplicably dropped off the website although Edition folk say it is still happening. Also happening that's not yet listed? The Reijavkik Edition in Iceland. We cannot wait. [Source: Edition Hotels website]
· The 342-room JW Marriott Minneapolis, which will have direct access to the Mall of America, is set to open in November. However, the website is accepting reservations right now for stays from January 1, 2016 and beyond. [Source: JW Marriott Hotels]
· A tipster wrote into tell us that the W Retreat Kanai in Riviera Maya, Mexico, which last we heard was opening in July 2015, is now opening in January 2018, according to the W Hotels website. Yup, that seems about right for W Hotels. [Source: Tipster and W Hotels]
· After announcing a Hilton Garden Inn for Hawaii, Hilton is now going to install their DoubleTree by Hilton brand in the iconic Hilo Naniloa Hotel and Golf Club on the Big Island. The hotel is currently closed as it goes under a $16 million renovation. It should reopen as DoubleTree later this year. [Source: Pacific Business News]
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#Thatmomentwhen one of the most famous hotels in Europe gets sold and you start panicking that it’s the end of an era until you realize that everything’s going to be just fine and it’s just the owners, not the management, that are swapping keys.
That panic was all over us earlier this morning when saw a press release with the words “Gritti Palace” and “closing” in the headline. Could one of Starwood’s two flagship properties in Venice really be leaving the Luxury Collection?
Before and After / Hotel Renovations / San Francisco Hotels / Luxury Collection Hotels / Starwood Hotels / → All Tags
We love hotel renovations nearly just as much as we love new hotels. But what we really love about hotel renovations is seeing the transformation that happens when an old, tired and lackluster room gets a modern makeover and transforms into new, spiffed-up, stylish guest room. Or put more simply, we love comparing the Before and After.
When we think of The Palace Hotel in San Francisco, we think of its rather splendid Garden Court. What is now the Garden Court once was the Grand Court, an open air carriage entrance in the original Palace Hotel, which burned down in the 1906 earthquake that destroyed 80% of the city (for more on its long history, go here).
As much as we immediately think of the Garden Court, less of an instant image comes to mind when we think of the rest of hotel, including its guestrooms. Or at least we did, until we saw what The Palace is doing to its rooms this year, grabbing 2015 by the horns to bring them up to date in a big way. See both before and after below.
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At least that has now changed, and with a website come a few more renderings and the ability to make reservations from March 31 (opening is listed for March 23, though). That takes us right into the heart of sakura season, and the rates are… high. A Superior Room starts at JPY72,000; though with the weaker yen that now translates to about $600 rather than the $720 you’d previously be looking at.
If you want the additional experience of this lovely outdoor deck / garden with wooden bathtub, you’ll have to stump for a Deluxe Room, which will ring up another JPY10,000 ($82). A look at the interior of a room below.
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Yesterday was the official last day of existence for the James Royal Palm Hotel in Miami.
Not much else has changed at the property except for its logo which is quite cute. Rates for this weekend for a superior king bed start at $546 a night (plus a $25 resort fee.) FWIW, it's an SPG Category 6 hotel, which means it will take between 20,000 and 25,000 Starpoints to stay here for free night.
So we guess that's that. Or is it?
WiFi options from a ferry 10 minutes away from St Mark's Square
Fast, free WiFi is, in our opinion, a basic hotel right. Mobile WiFi? That’s an amazing added extra. WiFi that’s so strong the signal stretches across the city? Monsieur, now you are really spoiling us.
* Out around the Biennale/Arsenale, coming in on the ferry from the airport (about a 20-minute walk from the Danieli);
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But will the new brand have eclairs like the Le Meridien does?
Last week, while everyone was so Hyatt Centric centric, news came out that Starwood Hotels will launch another "soft" brand that will be positioned somewhere in between the Luxury Collection Hotels and the newly acquired Design Hotels brand. (You can read about Starwood's takeover here.)
There has been no name or branding released and Starwood president and CEO, Frits van Paasschen, would only say that they are in discussion with hotel owners on the brand. But it looks like the brand will most likely be created by converting existing Starwood properties/brands.
Does Starwood, and the world in general, really need another hotel brand? No, most certainly not. But this news is also concerning because the purpose of this new unnamed brand sounds EXACTLY like what Le Meridien Hotels is attempting to do with their brand refresh, which is provide an upscale, design and culture-oriented hotel experience. (FWIW, it also sounds a lot like Loews' OE Collection.)
Of course, this new brand is still unfolding and it could fill a very real need for hotel guests. Also, the M word was also not mentioned and we're thankful for that. But still, this is very much to be continued....
Got any scoop on the new Starwood brand? Let us know!
There was a time when the Hyatt Regency was considered the high-end Western hotel in Kyoto, the former imperial capital of Japan. That changed with the opening of The Ritz-Carlton last year, where a more traditional Japanese experience is still very much possible though in its Tatami Suite. Four Seasons should have been there even before the Ritz, but these photos showed it is years behind schedule, which means the next big brand moving into ancient Kyoto will be Starwood Hotels.
Suiran, part of its Luxury Collection, should open already on March 31 and will be a ryokan-style hotel (a traditional Japanese inn) with just 39 rooms. Above a rendering of the hotel, set within the grounds of the Tenryū-ji temple, which will combine new accommodation with the restoration of historic structures “Enmei-kaku” and “Hasshoken”.
Just after we learned that Starwood’s footprint in London will be shrinking with The Lanesborough joining Oetker Collection early next year, here is the news that the same is happening an hour’s flight away in Amsterdam: Hotel Pulitzer, currently part of the group’s Luxury Collection, will depart on April 1, 2015.
That raises a few interesting questions given the limitations of the city’s hotel market (practically zero room for new development in its historic centre), recent arrivals and a few upcoming projects (Andaz, Conservatorium, Waldorf Astoria, Hoxton, and Hyatt), and the rumors we hear about other brands eager to get into the city.
While we have a soft spot for the Pulitzer (25 historic canal houses cobbled together in an unbeatable location on one of the city’s main canals, an interior garden, an annual concert held outside on the water, its own canal boat), it could use a refresh of rooms and public spaces. Could we see that happening, after which a big name will swoop in and raise its flag above the front door? Four Seasons Hotel Pulitzer perhaps? (Although we’ve heard whispers of an as-yet unspecified location further south for the Canadian brand).
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Need an excuse to start planning another trip to the wine country? Starwood Hotels has got your back, with the announcement that historic Acacia House, on Main Street in St. Helena, will be renovated and become Las Alcobas, one of its Luxury Collection Hotels.
True, you need a little bit of patience, with opening planned for somewhere between autumn 2015 and early 2016, but it’s never too early, right?
The renderings of the site and the building above are all we were able to dig out from the architect’s website, which shows how everything around the main house will be razed to make way for a number of new annexes that we presume will house the majority, if not all, 57 rooms. The above doesn’t scream luxury hotel to us, but we’ll reserve judgement until we’ve seen more. Meeting facilities, a signature restaurant, and spa with outdoor pool will be added as well.
Hotel Cocktails / Hotel Bars / Athens Hotels / Hotel Selfies / Luxury Collection Hotels / Killer Views / → All Tags
We’ve shown you the Selfie Spot at the Grande Bretagne in Athens and we’ve banned you from taking selfies. So what else can you do up there? Well, you can take glorious panorama photos of Athens and the Aegean Sea. Or you can drink.
The GB Roof Garden has a restaurant and a separate bar area with outside terrace. (NB: The bar area is right by the Selfie Spot, if you need Dutch courage to get your selfie juices flowing.) Cocktails vary from €14-€21 ($18-$27), there’s free WiFi, free (bottled) water served with drinks and some rather snazzy bar snacks including candied fruit. It’s all very civilized.