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Not particularly eagle-eyed readers of HC will know we love the Parker Palm Springs with a passion that verges on the stalkeroo, but that our passion is burning a rather large hole in our pockets.
So join with us in rejoicing that the Parker is turning 10 years old on October 1, and to celebrate, it’s inviting us all over for a party at a pretty spectacular rate: a four-course dinner at Mister Parker’s and a room for just $75 per person.
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As ever, there is more hotel news out there than we could possibly cover. Here are a few short updates to keep you up to speed with what’s happening in Asia.
citizenM Taipei: the first Asian citizenM, the Dutch group will open in Taiwan’s capital in the last quarter of 2016 with 260 rooms in the Ximending neighborhood. Future Asian cities on the radar are Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore, Jakarta and Bangkok. Yes, please.
We highlighted both the rooms at Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem and St. Regis San Clemente Palace Venice recently as examples of luxury hotels that failed to inspire with their design. The Waldorf landed on a palette of browns that escapes us and the St. Regis didn’t look like we’d expect it after a €25 million do-over.
Turns out we weren’t wrong to be disappointed: while the Venetian island resort has joined Starwood under the St. Regis brand earlier this year, the closure period that will see those €25 million making a splash starts this October and lasts until spring 2015.
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Hotel Bristol, your token five star
Warsaw. It may not be top of your European breaks wishlist (hell, it probably loses out to Krakow in your Poland wishlist, too), but it does have one thing going for it – it was recently judged the European city with the cheapest five star hotels.
Actually, there’s far more to say for Warsaw than that. Flights are uniformly cheap (last year we flew from London on Ryanair for £18, or $29 return – yes, total), and while some of the modern city is grim, the Old Town is gorgeous, plus there’s loads of interesting history, the 1944 Uprising Museum and Jewish Museum for starters.
So yes, you definitely want to go to Warsaw. And here are some of our favorite places to stay. They’re not all five star hotels – but then, you can probably find your own five star hotel, right?
At the start of the year, we were raving about how Starwood Hotels was piloting a program for Starwood Preferred Guests members to use their smartphones to open hotel room doors. Recently, we heard that Marriott International, which already allows its guests to check-in and check-out via smartphone, was working on smartphone room entry as well.
But all that effort just got a little more complicated now that Apple has unveiled the Apple Watch, which will do the exact same thing.
During Apple's keynote today, it was revealed that the watch is partnering with Starwood's app to open room doors. Surely, the technology won't be limited to just Starwood, so we fully expect this to branch out to other hotel brands.
As with the smartphone room entry, two things need to happen in order for the doors to actually open. First, the doors themselves need to equipped with
RFID technology the technology that Apple Watch will be using which is NFC/Bluetooth (which was actually in place in a hotel in Sweden in 2010.) Most new hotels are built with RFID technology so that you simply hold your key card up to the door and it unlocks. (Here's what it looks like.)
But a lot of older hotels, even ones from a few years ago, will need to updated. And that costs money.
Second, the hotels need to create their app which is also a big investment. And because not everyone will fork out $350 for the Apple Watch when it hits stores later this spring, hotels will still need to keep up with their smartphone apps. Oh and don't forget the masses of people who still love the old room keys. (For another reason why the technology won't be universal, read the second comment below.)
We're not saying watch and smartphone entry are impossible. We truly believe it's going to happen and will happen quickly but it won't be universal.
Will you open your hotel room door with the AppleWatch? Sound off in comments below!
[Photos: Gizmodo and HotelChatter]
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This will be the third W Hotel in Thailand and fortunately, it does seem a bit different from the other W hotels out there, at least in terms of layout. The interior offerings are W all the way.
Here's how the property is described:
W Retreat Phuket will be located on Koh Yao Noi, one of the largest islands in the Phang Nga Bay archipelago between the eastern coast of Phuket and western coast of Krabi on the mainland. The W Retreat will provide an integrated lifestyle experience with 79 standalone villas, starting from 155 square meters in space. All villas will feature private outdoor areas and plunge pools as well as superlative views of the limestone cliffs that dot Phang Nga Bay.
W Retreat Phuket - Phang Nga Bay will also offer a lobby lounge, an all-day dining restaurant and a specialty restaurant and bar. It will feature 120 square metres of modern meeting and event space; FIT, a well-equipped workout facility and swimming pool; and a contemporary spa with six treatment rooms. The W Retreat will be accessible from both Phuket International Airport (HKT) and Krabi Airport (KBV), with a fleet of high speed sea vessels, a private jetty and helicopter landing pad for ease of guests transfers.
And don't forget about Whatever/Whenever service! We'll circle back with more news on this property...in 2017.
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Last time we checked in with W Hotels' plans to relaunch the brand down under, Melbourne was the city to be rumored in the running for W's return to Australia (W once had a property in Sydney for a few years in the early aughts.) That fell through, so the folks over at W decided that Oz'z third largest city, Brisbane, would be the perfect place. Hence W Brisbane, opening in 2018.
In an announcement last week, W said the hotel would be a par of a brand spanking new building complex on the western side of the central business district, just steps from the city's namesake river. The entire development will result in three tower rising from the ground, with W Brisbane staking claim to one of them; the other two will be office spaces and luxury high-rise living.
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Part of a mixed-use development called Gateway Gardens, the hotel is just over 2 miles from the airport terminal. TripAdvisor reviews haven’t made it onto the site just yet, but a first few questions regarding airport shuttles (there is one 24 hours a day) are being answered by the hotel.
You may have realized by now that the Parker Palm Springs is one of our favorite hotels on earth. You may even have noted that one of the best ways to stay is through the Spa Junkie package, which gives you credit to PSYC (Palm Springs Yacht Club, the spa) with your room rate.
The package used to cost $199 plus tax, and give you $200 spa credit. This year, they changed it to a $250 room rate and $250 credit – not so cool, since the taxes and fees take it up to $324.
However, the Parker just announced it’s dialing back the prices for September - $199 for your stay, $200 spa credit. The deal is bookable until midnight tomorrow by clicking here.
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This looks like a nice bathroom, right? Granted, the toily is a little close to the shower, and we’d prefer a proper bidet to a hose that someone else might have done who knows what with, but overall it looks good. Props for the separate tub, sexy streak of brown marble and omg-yes-gimme-dat dinnerplate showerhead.
Except the hotel left out one thing. A panel of glass.
This was the tweet that alerted us to the problem recently, from friend of HC and intrepid traveler, Jonathan Khoo.
hey bathroom designers (hotel & otherwise), ALWAYS a bad idea to just have a shower out in the open with no wall, tub, curtain, lip, etc.— Jonathan Khoo (@jonk) August 14, 2014
Yes, as much as we may bitch about peekaboo bathrooms, there is a worse bathroom sin, and that is the bathroom that leaks everywhere.
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Starwood Hotels & Resorts has done exactly what they said they would do in their expansion into China and the Asia Pacific. There are, and have been for quite some time, more hotels in the works than we can keep up with. Almost all Starwood brands have or will soon have an address in China, including Element Hotels, which is opening next year.
We've tried to list all that we know of that's happening with Starwood in China on our Master Openings List, but as seasoned readers of the list know, things change quite a bit and most hotels, get pushed onto the next year.
However, Starwood has three important openings in China in September, with properties that are very big on design and luxury. Here they are:
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Maybe the very du jour white sheets are a bit of a giveaway, but would you honestly think that this is a luxury hotel room less than four months old? We just can’t muster up any excitement for a design that strikes us already as dated and if anything seems intent on incorporating every shade of brown imaginable.
Brand-new the room is though, and you find it inside the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem, a hotel we were very excited about when it opened in April, nearly a year late. The image is displayed both for a King Superior room and a Twin Deluxe Room, the latter seeming somewhat implausible, but a look on TripAdvisor at some traveller photos confirms this is very much their “contemporary opulence” look, as the hotel describes it. They’re not cheap either, with rates starting over $600 a night (that does include free Wifi).
We have a similar sense of disappointment when we look at what turned out to be true photos of the rooms at St. Regis San Clemente Palace; photos we dismissed two months ago as being generic placeholders.