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Nearly a year has passed since we last walked by the upcoming W Amsterdam, right behind the city’s Dam Square, due to open sometime in the Fall of 2015. We’re glad to report that aside from news about expansion into an additional building (more on that in a second) W Hotels is making lots of progress.
On the left the 1903 Telephone Exchange Building as it was twelve months ago, on the right what it looks like today: a series of windows has been removed (you can just about make out the brick inserted on the right), the all-glass rooftop floor that will house Living Room, restaurant, and bar is clearly visible (go here for a rendering), and of course, the W is proudly displayed on the corner. More photos, including of the KAS Bank Building next door the hotel will spread out to, below.
Go ahead. Update your TPS report from your guest room.
The time we champions of free hotel WiFi have longed for has finally, FINALLY!, come. No longer do you have to put down the Snickers bar, hurriedly throw on sweatpants and scurry down to the lobby to access the free WiFi to answer an important work email at Starwood Hotels.
The company just announced they will be offering property-wide complimentary WiFi to all SPG Members, of all levels, starting on February 2. Previously free WiFi was only given to Gold or Platinum members.
But there is a catch. You have to book your stay through Starwood, whether it be the website, the mobile site or the SPG app. Which really you should be doing anyways so you can earn points to your SPG account.
We've been waiting for this moment for a long time, or well, since rival chain Marriott announced they would be giving free WiFi to all their Marriott Rewards members at least.
Now travelers looking to stay at Starwood Hotels, which include W, Westin, St. Regis and Le Meridien, will have to decide what's a better deal--the discounted rate on a booking site or a last-minute booking app or paying the rack rate on Starwood and getting free WiFi. We say, the latter. Always. We just hope the WiFi is fast.
[Photo: Starwood Hotels]
The W London always brings a bit of color to its Leicester Square location, whether frosty white during the day, or something more vibrant at night, but the bright red you see above was for a specific occasion: World AIDS Day on December 1.
Now W Hotels have taken things a step further, with a collaboration with (RED), the organization founded in 2006 by Bono and Bobby Shriver to engage businesses and people in the fight against AIDS. At the Ws in London, Paris, Barcelona, Istanbul, or Verbier, there have been and continue to be a number of things to see and do, and a number of ways to add your support, from film screenings and art installations to drinking a (RED) cocktail, the proceeds of which will to the Global Fund.
If you upgrade your room at the W London, 15% of the difference in price will go to the Global Fund, and you’ll get two cocktails to boot. At the W Paris, a (RED) suite package comes with a whole range of perks and goodies, with 20% of all proceeds going to the Global Fund. Check out the W Facebook page for more.
Rooms at the W London start at a hefty £400 ($623) a night this coming Friday. That is super steep but just try to remember it's for a good cause.
[Photo: W Hotels]
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The uber-eco friendly Element Amsterdam is wonderfully--or dangerously--close to a shopping mall, but you can still feel good about "going green" while spending some green.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts is bringing two of its design-driven brands to one of Europe’s hippest cities, with Element Amsterdam and W Amsterdam both opening next year. Here’s the latest on these upcoming hotels. Just two more reasons to love Amsterdam.
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).
Bloody Mary is looking pretty spry at 80 years old. The cocktail was born when a St. Regis New York Hotel bartender named Fernand “Pete” Petiot spiced up a tomato juice and vodka libation with celery salt, pepper, cayenne, lemon and Worcestershire sauce – reinventing his simple cocktail formerly enjoyed at Harry’s Bar in Paris. The name “Bloody Mary,” though, was deemed too vulgar for the hotel’s elegant King Cole Bar patrons in 1934 and it was re-named the “Red Snapper.”
To celebrate the 80th birthday of this most-ordered cocktail at The St Regis New York (it’s so popular, in fact, that as Starwood opens new St Regis properties around the world, they introduce a local version of the cocktail in each destination), they’ve bottled the bevvie so that you can take it home with you and wake up to it the next morning (there are worse things you could do).
The Red Snapper Bloody Mary mix is bottled in a limited-edition bottle designed by renowned fashion illustrator, Bil Donovan, and produced by Arrowhead Farms, celeb event designer Bronson van Wyck’s cocktail line. You can get it at the Arrowhead Farms online boutique for $28 starting Nov 26.
Now if you prefer to stay over at The St Regis New York and just enjoy a morning-after Bloody Mary cocktail on the premises (no judgment) a room will set you back $665 per night in January.
[Photos: St Regis Hotels & Resorts]
We feel so much better now! Forget the disappointing images from inside St. Regis San Clemente Palace in Venice; we finally have some renderings that show what the hotel will look like following its €25 million renovation.
Gone are the golden-hued walls, the dark wood, and, most importantly, that wonky bed skirt. Instead, we have much lighter décor, a purely white bed, a beautiful coffee table, and a few pops of blue in the furniture and pillow. The Grand Deluxe room above has a low headboard and statement mirror, while the one below goes for something with a bit more flourish and replaces the blue accents with green.
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We may have known that The Lanesborough London was going for a full-scale renovation (including auctioning off all furniture and trinkets from inside the hotel), but in a surprising twist on the road to its reopening next year, it will no longer be a St. Regis Hotel, but become part of the super-posh Oetker Collection instead.
That means a whole range of things: an exit for St. Regis from the London market, Starwood being one property down (Luxury Collection’s Park Tower is a few minutes west, Sheraton Park Lane a few minutes east), and Oetker Collection debuting another major capital property in addition to its Parisian palace Le Bristol (the seven other hotels lean towards resorts, like the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc).
Along with the announcement, we have a first glimpse of the Albert Pinto-designed interiors, with a rendering of a suite above. While brand new, the interiors look to stay true to the Regency era the hotel took its design cues from before. The suite brings in red / burgundy tones, while a room rendering below goes for a warm green.
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The “Northern England Hotel Scene” has hitherto not been a phrase that slips easily off the tongue, but the northern cities are killing it this year, with a Beatles hotel, a football hotel and a retro Manhattan hotel all journeying north of the Watford Gap.
You’ll find no Beatles murals here. Instead, you get a magnificent conversion of a grand 1903 building which was on English Heritage’s At Risk register, and had been closed for 20 years, before Starwood jumped in and turned it into the UK’s second Aloft.
Because of the history, the 116 rooms are pretty much all different (there are 97 room types, according to the Liverpool Echo). All, though, have high ceilings, ‘floating’ beds and Bliss amenities - and "Savvy" rooms have more architectural features, while "Aloft" rooms are more standard. And then those public areas – stained glass windows, wood-paneled conference rooms, and a stucco-roofed lobby. What more could you want?
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UPDATE: Hilton Hotels also announced a "mobile room key deployment" today for four of its brands – Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts and Canopy by Hilton. HHonors members can open their hotel room doors via smartphones starting in spring 2015.
Back then, you had to be an SPG member (duh) and an Aloft reservation, but also, you had to apply to be a tester of the keyless entry. Now, starting on Wednesday, November 5, all you'll need is the SPG app on your smartphone and a reservation at one of the participating W, Element or Aloft Hotels, made directly through Starwood.
Here's how it works (you can watch the video above or read the step-by-step instructions below):
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What’s more, we actually have a photo from inside the hotel: we present to you, above, what a Spectacular Room looks like. A step up from entry-level Wonderful Rooms, they run at $318 under the “Extraordinary W Offer”. That shoots up to $451 for a fully flexible rate. The room comes in at nearly 540 sq ft, with the prerequisite open plan bathroom and some interesting purple herringbone-style art-slash-headboard. That pattern comes back in the hardwood floors and what we think could be quite a pretty blue area rug.
The exterior of the hotel leaves no doubt about this being a W either: check it out below.
We were thrilled to hear earlier this year that London’s Sheraton Park Lane would be getting its long overdue makeover, ripping out dated and faded guestrooms and freshening up public spaces. Now we can we show you a bit more of what you can expect post-renovation in the 303-room hotel.
Starting with accommodation, by mid-next year all rooms will look like the above, a huge leap forward compared to today. There is the Sheraton Sweet Sleeper Bed at the heart with the requisite fresh white sheets, Art Deco influences in lighting fixtures and furniture, and what looks like an etched glass mirror panel above the bed.