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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.
The Number Sixteen Hotel, London
Back in March it was announced that Starwood Hotels& Resorts Worldwide, Inc. intended to enter into a dominating agreement with Design Hotels AG. While it’s not officially a done deal yet, it got a whole lot closer this month, with the majority vote approval received by Design Hotels’ Management Board.
We may not fully grasp the legal details of such an agreement – though reference to “dominating” got our attention— we imagine there will soon be another logo at the bottom of the Starwood Hotels web site. This is big news and here’s how we see it from a design perspective.
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The hot spring pool at The Spring
We knew Starwood had big plans for its health-oriented, eco-conscious Element Hotels brand, with Frankfurt Airport getting the first European outpost on a list that ranges from Flushing, Queens to Muscat, Oman.
With Frankfurt opening less than two months from now (September 1, to be exact) comes the news that London will have its very own Element as well, opening in a Boston-esque dual-brand development with an Aloft Hotel in 2017 at the Tobacco Dock area in Wapping, East London. It will be the second Aloft hotel for the city, after Aloft London ExCel further east.
Element London Tobacco Dock (the darker brown building on the right above) will have 77 studios, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom suites with kitchens, modular furniture, desks with open shelving, bathrooms with rain showers and dual-flush toilets. We’re hoping the free breakfasts, WiFi, and 24-hour fitness center will make an appearance as well.
Hotel Reopenings / Venice Hotels / Venice Lido Hotels / Historic Hotels / Regent Hotels / Starwood Hotels / → All Tags
The Hotel Des Bains in its heyday
Che fortuna amici, che bella notizia. This is big news. Huge! Venice’s historic Hotel des Bains, the grande dame of the Lido that inspired Death in Venice, hosted a bajillion movie stars for the film festival, and was shuttered in 2010 and sentenced to be redeveloped as luxury apartments (vomit) – will most likely be refurbished into a hotel once more.
According to local paper La Nuova, the Des Bains and its sadsack teammate, the Excelsior, are no longer for sale. The owner? The Cassa Depositi e Prestiti – a government-owned company. Regent and Starwood are still battling it out to run the properties (Raffaele Costa is out), but whoever wins will be the operator, not the owner.
But most exciting of all is the news that it looks likely that the Des Bains will make a spectacular return. From La Nuova (our translation):
It seems probable that the Des Bains, after its refurbishment, will return to being exclusively a hotel, putting a stop to the project that would have transformed part of it into hotel-residences – as was the initial plan – because the market conditions and the convenience of taking it forward are no longer in existence.
Ever wonder how environmentally friendly reusing those towels and switching off the lights in your hotel room makes you? The new Westin Singapore has the answer, in the form of that little red indicator you see on the left of the in-room TV screen: it compares your energy use to that of an average hotel guest, based on analysis of elements like electricity, water, and so on. Moving up or down, you can track just how ‘good’ you are being green.
Opened last November, The Westin sits on top of Asia Square, a two-tower vertical city of 12,000+ office workers in the financial district southwest of Marina Bay Sands. With Singapore’s highest hotel lobby (on level 32), and rooms up from there, there are some good views to be had, but the best way to enjoy them is from the gorgeous infinity-edge swimming pool. Check it out after the jump.
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Every hotel brand out there seems to muscle its way into the Istanbul scene at the moment, with St. Regis and Raffles both opening a brand new hotel just after the summer. While we were ready to include Viceroy on that list, when we checked its website a week ago it still said “early 2014”, but since has completely disappeared. Trouble in paradise?
Starting with confirmed openings, The St. Regis Istanbul (above) will be opening on October 15 in the city’s Nişantaşi neighborhood, on the European side of the Bosphorus strait. The hotel will have 118 rooms and suites, with four suites featuring “custom interiors by world-renowned designers”. All the usual features you’d expect will be here, including a rooftop restaurant, something very quintessentially Istanbul. Reservations aren’t open yet, but expect rates from €400 ($545) a night and up.
Hope you packed your fat pants. Sunday, June 22 is National Chocolate Éclair Day.
And because it would be a travesty to let such a day go uncelebrated, the Le Méridien hotel brand will roll out its new culinary treat: a global éclair program developed in partnership with Johnny Iuzzini, the James Beard award-winning pastry chef also known for his stint as head judge of Top Chef: Just Desserts, tattoos, and rockabilly sideburns. Meow.
This month guests at all the brand’s properties will find four éclair varieties available at each Le Méridien Hub, the space previously known as “lobby.” (They’re increasingly tricked-out social spots now.) There will be three staple flavors: Milk chocolate, coffee, and vanilla. And each property will also have a special treat inspired by its unique location. For instance, the Texas Honey Pecan Éclair at Le Méridien Dallas by the Galleria, a coconut-infused éclair at Le Méridien Panama, and at Le Méridien Munich a savory éclair with goat cheese, cranberry and pumpernickel crumbs — which sort of sounds like something that would be used to lure Hansel and Gretel to a deceptively innocent penthouse suite. But we digress.
In conjunction with the new program, chef Iuzzini will ride a motorcycle around several global cities to gain inspiration for eight additional varieties that Le Méridien properties can add at their discretion. (Also, because nothing melts hearts more than a man who rides a hog and can bake you a dainty French pastry.) Dubbed “The Éclair Diaries,” the tour kicks off in San Francisco on Thursday, July 10 and has already been approved by sexually frustrated housewives everywhere. Stops to develop additional recipes will continue throughout 2014 and 2015, and you can keep track of various éclair-related info on social media via hashtag #LMeclairs.
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Mykonos is already huge, of course, but it’s getting more attention from the luxury set this summer with BA launching direct flights from London (no more indirects/slumming it on SqueezyJet) and a whole host of new openings.
Starwood is (re)unveiling Santa Marina, a Luxury Collection resort, following a three-year renovation (picture below). The hotel is waterside in Omos Bay, and all rooms have at least a partial sea view. Designwise, they’ve gone for clean and contemporary – wood floors, neutral colors and oversized windows to keep the focus on the views. Rates start at €322 (£436).
Meanwhile, Small Luxury Hotels of the World have added three properties to their portfolio. Boheme, an all-suite hotel just outside Mykonos Town, combines sea views from on high with midcentury furniture to pep up the white color scheme. Rooms start from €180 ($244), with breakfast.
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The Excelsior, up for sale
Last week we learned that one struggling Venice island hotel had finally had its prince come along, in the shape of St Regis, and it got us thinking: what’s happening with the grande dames of the Lido?
The glorious old Hotel des Bains – which was the setting for Death in Venice and, more recently, one of the venues of the Venice Film Festival – closed in 2010, to be redeveloped into luxury apartments within a year.
But in Venice a few months ago, we couldn’t help noticing that it was still a building site.
According to Il Sole 24 Ore, everything is up in the air. There’s some complicated real estate fund stuff going on, but basically Est Capital, which bought the properties off Starwood, has foundered, and they’ve been passed to Hines Sgr, which is mulling over the options.
British-born, NYC-based artist Shantell Martin has designed a stream-of-consciousness-type summer tote exclusively for W New York. As an added bonus it's filled with sweet treats and summer essentials for a weekend getaway:
- Sugarfina Candy Cubes (Champagne Bubbles, Martini Olive Almonds, Peach Bellinis, Sugar Lips, Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels, and Robin’s Egg Caramels)
- Kiehl’s Super Fluid UV Defense Sunscreen
- Never Hungover hangover prevention
So how do you get ‘em? It’s remarkably simple: stop in at the W New York’s newly reno’ed Living Room on Fridays between 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., order a cocktail, and presto! A tote bag arrives. This will only last until supplies run out, but we’ve been promised that they have a goodly sum available.
[Photo: W New York]
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If there were one major European city where we’d pick a hotel for its far out, rather than central, location, Venice would probably be it. La Serenissima, as everyone who’s elbowed their way through the crowds on the Riva degli Schiavoni or queued to walk across the Rialto bridge will know, is anything but calm in the touristy bits.
That’s why the San Clemente Palace – far from the madding crowd on a private island, only accessible by its own shuttle – has always sounded ideal to us. A 17th-century monastery (though island life dates back to the 1100s), it sits in the lagoon between Giudecca and the Lido – about a 12-minute boatride to San Marco on the hotel’s private shuttle.
And now it’s got a little more ideal with the news that, following an 18-month, €25m refurbishment after it ran out of money in 2012, it’s reopening as a St Regis property – mmm, butler service – on June 15. (Somehow, Starwood has won out over Four Seasons, which initially was slated to take it on.)