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The landscape of Aussie hotels will be changed for the better this month when the newest brand of hotels opens its doors. If you're planning a trip down under and don't want to smash your piggy bank doing so, then remember this name: Atura Hotels.
The newest option comes to us from a group called Amalgamated Holding Limited, but you might know them better by the work they've been doing with QT Hotels and Rydges Hotels. But instead of resting on their laurels with the cool edginess of QT and the family-resort of Rydges, they've gone a created a new concept that will be appealing to business travelers and those that don't want to miss out on cool hotel design to save a few bucks. (Which is like, everyone everywhere.)
Atura's first property is already checking in guests in Sydney's inner-suburb of Blacktown. Aside from cool design, guests will get free in-room movies, coffee machines and a business center completely outfitted with iMacs. But if you'd rather stay connected on the go, there is free WiFi throughout the hotel and in every guestroom. If you've ever been to Australia, you know this is a big deal since hotels charge a pretty penny for some connectivity.
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Nevertheless, this hotel is a feast for the visual senses since the restored building marries vintage charm with edgy design and comfort. Named after the year that Kodak launched their first box and roll camera which, coincidentally, was the same year the building was built. Freaky!
With little doubt, the hotel's public spaces and rooms are an Instagrammers dream, 1888 is planning to attract even more "snap happy" guests with an Instagram contest.
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Any hotelier who looks at their elevators as merely a necessary function by which to transport guests between the lobby and their rooms is missing an opportunity, because if our hotel has a quirky elevator, we're probably going to talk about it. Here are ten of the best hotel elevators we've come across over the last few years.
The giant beach-side hotel will get a funky facelift and a high-design room renovation to reflect the QT style that has put them on the map. Just like QT Sydney, (and its four other QT hotels around Oz), the Bondi property will showcase the designs of Nic Graham of g+a Interiors. Not sure if that new elevator gimmick will be in place.
The building will still cater to overnight guests looking for a resort getaway on the beach but it will also feature QT Residences. The residences will sport about 150 fully-contained, fully furnished apartments for quintessential beach living. From the sounds of it, the decor will be a mix of the Gold Coast (60s beach-chic) and Sydney (trendy and urban loft) properties.
Picture the scene: you're in the elevator going up to your hotel room, Elvis is singing Are You Lonesome Tonight when the door opens and another guest slips in. Eyes straight ahead, you've just settled into ignore the stranger mode when the elevator music switches to Just the Two of Us.
Awkward? Yes. Coincidence? Not if you are staying at the QT Sydney where the elevators are no mere vehicles to transport you between the rooms and the lobby, but 'interactive installations'. Those songs were not played by chance but selected from the hotel's own set-list and triggered by the number of bodies occupying the space.
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If you're a fan of anything and everything Ritz-Carlton, you might remember the hotel brand having a property in Sydney that has since been merely part of fond memories of luxury digs and top-notch service in the upmarket inner-suburb of Double Bay. Now, some deep pockets are giving the old hotel new life by turning it into an InterContinetal Hotel.. This will be the second InterContinental Hotel for the city.
The new owners will fork over a wad of cash to transform the derelict building which was built as Australia's only Ritz in 1991 and eventually became the destination for the likes of Princess Diana, Madonna and Bill Clinton on their visits Down Under. In 1997, the hotel made an infamous list when INXS lead-man, Michael Hutchence, was hung himself in room 524 causing the hotel's reputation to nosedive. In 2001, it was turned into Sir Stamford which then closed in 2009 causing the building to go in ill-repair.
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If you ask most teens, family trips can be pretty lame and boring, as evidenced by their audible sighs and eye rolls captured on home video and in those embarrassing vacation snaps. We've already seen Omni Hotels cater to some of the toughest teen-travelers, and now it's time for Marriott Hotels in Australia to make them feel right at home with a dedicated concierge suited for their tastes.
The entire portfolio of Aussie Marriotts will be recruiting their youngest concierges in the hopes of creating a hotel stay that any teeny-bopper will enjoy. These won't be your traditional hotel-helpers that sit behind a desk and make dinner reservations for you, these are virtual concierges that can be reached on--what else?--social media.
Properties in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and the Gold Coast will call upon the teen experts to create original content and compile the best of social media in city-guides that are geared towards visiting teens. These "
hot cool tips" will then be passed along to the guests, hopefully, eliminating a nightmare argument with their parents when the inevitable "what do you want to do?" question gets asked. We wonder if parents can tailor-fit the recommendations prior to check-in?
We chatted a little bit last month on the massive, $1.5 billion mega-casino complex coming to Sydney but now there's word that the Crown Sydney has just gotten the green light from the government. From the same owners of the Crown Metropol and Crown Towers in Melbourne and Perth, the Crown Sydney will offer some seriously luxe digs to go along with those baccarat tables.
Aussie businessman, James Packer, is the man behind the success of the other two Crowns and no doubt, he hopes to duplicate his success in Sydney. And he won't have much competition. Currently, the city has one casino complex, The Star, which is home to super flashy hotel, The Darling. The Crown's gaming destination will feature two new luxury hotels featuring 350 six-star rooms and 80 luxury apartments competitively positioned right next-door to the existing Star Casino in the popular Darling Harbour and Pyrmont neighborhoods.
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Good Charlotte's front-man was hanging out down under as a judge on the country's version of The Voice, all the while staying at Sydney's casino-turned-urban-resort. Now that the show has concluded and the winner has been crowned, Joel may have wanted to let off a little steam while relaxing overlooking the Sydney Harbour and sparked up a doobie. Hey, we might have to add that to our list.
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The whole of Australia is a flutter with Brad Pitt touching down this week to promote his new movie, World War Z. Though this is Brad's first visit down under, he opted to leave Angie at home and take little Pax, possibly to pat some koalas or feed some kangaroos.
While in Sydney, father and son are staying in the lap of luxury at the centrally located, Intercontinental. The hotel is located smack dab in the middle of the city's most popular area, Circular Quay, and no doubt while Dad was busy doing his interviews, Pax and his carer hopped on a ferry to the Taronga Zoo for a quick Aussie animal fix.
Yet as busy as Brad can be on his inaugural visit, he did seem to attract some attention with the fans, and we're not talking about the good kind. One fan was hanging out in the basement parking garage waiting to catch a glimpse of Brad and, maybe get an autograph. After the fan approached Brad and Pax, the star's bodyguards quickly stepped in and tackled the man. Eventually, the police came to issue a 'move-on order' (the Aussie equivalent to a slap on the wrist) to the fan and the boys were off to their yacht cruise around the iconic harbor.
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The Regent Bali
While we continue to recover from last week’s ma-jah announcement of Tommie Hotels, the lovechild of Commune and Thompson, we have a roundup of news bites from around the world for you this Monday morning. Join us as we hop from Bali to Venice, Amsterdam to China, and Switzerland to Australia, for updates on everything from brand new Chinese brand Ahn Luh to the old school Gritti Palace.
Starting in Southeast Asia, Regent Hotels delivered on the promised opening of its new resort on Bali this past weekend, with 94 suites, one Regent Villa, 25 residences, and that inviting-looking infinity pool above. The Bali resort follows last year’s arrival in Phuket, which we swung by recently to see for ourselves how Regent’s first opening in years would stack up – more on that to come.
Who would have thought that faux fur and babies would actually go together like peanut butter and jelly? Well, the folks Down Under at the swanky QT Sydney have come up with the perfect package for those looking for the trendiest Babymoon.
Appealing to more parents like Brangelina or Posh and Becks, the QT has introduced the perfect package for fashion-forward parents looking to get get away from it all with, of course, the children. The creative offer features daily breakfast for the grown-ups and freshly made baby-food for the little ones and a spa treatment for both mom and dad. If the sexy digs aren't enough to relax, the room comes with a bottle of sparkling wine to calm the nerves of new (or old) parents.