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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, from shiny new things in Paris to reservations in Milan and new global partnerships.
Viceroy Hotels joins Global Hotel Alliance: starting at partnerships, in a move we did not expect, Viceroy has signed up to join Global Hotel Alliance (GHA). While Kempinski and Pan Pacific are two brands we usually think of when we hear GHA, the list is a lot longer than that, including brands like Anantara, Per Aquum, Omni Hotels, QT, and more for a total of 31 brands and 550+ hotels. Now if Viceroy would move on with its plans for L’Ermitage Bevery Hills and Viceroy Istanbul, we’d be all sorts of happy.
Pulitzer Amsterdam picks Preferred Hotels: we knew Hotel Pulitzer was leaving Starwood’s Luxury Collection, but our wish for something as exciting as Four Seasons Hotel Pulitzer to happen (after a mega renovation, of course) was not to be. Renovations will happen, but the hotel has joined Preferred Hotels new LVX collection (pronounced “Lux” and yes that irks us too). If you want to know more about Preferred’s new collections, go here.
Avalon Hotels / Hotel Rebrandings / Viceroy Hotels / Proper Hospitality Group / Palm Springs Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
Time to change up the welcome mat!
Remember last month's news that Proper Hospitality Group would be taking over Viceroy's Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills and the Viceroy Palm Springs and using them to create a new hotel brand, Avalon Hotels? No? That's ok. Here's the recap.
Anyways, tomorrow, April 7, is the day for the Palm Springs hotel to drop all Viceroy association and turn into an Avalon. Here's the note from the Viceroy Palm Springs hotel website about the change:
Effective April 7, 2015, Viceroy Palm Springs will no longer be managed by Viceroy Hotel Group. On this date, the hotel name will change to Avalon Hotel Palm Springs and Proper Hospitality will take over hotel management. As a guest of Avalon Hotel Palm Springs, you will receive the same services and amenities that you would have received under the previous management.
Indeed, considering the recent reviews on TripAdvisors are rather amazing, we doubt Avalon will change up anything. We also hear that Avalon Hotels will unveil their new brand website shortly which will be fun to look at as well.
Meanwhile, actually staying at The Avalon in Palm Springs this weekend will be an expensive stay. There are only suites available starting at around $1,700 a night. However, rates for next weekend are a bit more reasonable at $500 a night, plus a $30 resort fee per day which includes valet parking, WiFi, and coffee in the morning.
Do you have new hotel brand fatigue? Sorry, there's nothing anyone can or will do about it.
In today's new brand news, Skift reports that Viceroy Hotels' ultra-chic, ultra boutique property, the Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills, will be spun-off under former Viceroy founder but now current Proper Hotels founder and CEO Brad Korzen and his newly formed Proper Hospitality Group. (Korzen's Kor Group parent company already owns the Avalon.)
Yes, this is rather confusing. We were going to break down the whole transaction for you, complete with a flow chart, but really, all you need to know is that Avalon Beverly Hills will move over to the Proper Hotels group as a part of the new Avalon Hotels. Additionally, the Viceroy Palm Springs will rebrand into the Avalon Palm Springs. Skift says you should be able to book the either hotel from the new Avalon Hotels brand site in April.
In short: Proper Hotels now includes Proper and Avalon Hotel brands. Viceroy Hotels include only Viceroy Hotels and Resorts (along with the L'Ermitage. No idea when that name change will happen.)
Meanwhile, the first Proper Hotel will properly open in San Francisco later this year.
Chicago is absolutely not slowing down its hotel scene anytime soon. The latest hotel brand to set its sights on the Windy City is Viceroy Hotels.
The Viceroy Hotel Group officially announced this morning they will open The Viceroy Chicago in the city's Gold Coast nabe in 2017. The announcement was extremely light on details but here's what it said:
Working in tandem with Convexity Properties, the powerhouse luxury hospitality brand will unveil the Goettsch Partners and TAL Studio-designed property, located conveniently for guests on State Street in the Gold Coast. The area occupies the central part of a flourishing neighborhood, quickly gaining momentum as one of the most sought-after modern luxury destinations in the city.
Known for creating authentic and inspired experiences, Viceroy Hotel Group will be using design, art, style and culture to infuse the new property with all the amenities and services of a top-luxury hotel, while simultaneously working to maintain a distinct sense of place for guests eager to explore and experience the Chicago landscape.
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Lo and behold, Skift.com has picked up the official scoop on the new brand from Viceroy's founders. And brace yourselves. The new brand is called Proper Hotels, but surprisingly, it's not for millennials but rather folks used to boutique and lifestyle hotels, but more "high-end."
The new brand was created and is being fostered by Brad Korzen, the founder and former CEO of Viceroy (Proper, however, is not a part of Viceroy Hotel Group.) This is a good thing as everyone knows how much The Viceroy in Santa Monica changed the boutique game on the West Coast, bringing together high design, cool style and a sexy social scene. (Unfortunately, service was way off.)
Korzen is also keeping his wife, Kelly Wearstler, as interior designer for the brand. We enjoy Weartsler's colorful and whimsical style but she may need to dial it back a bit as Proper is going after the start-up crowd, who may not appreciate her luxe decor, oft mimicked by Real Housewife-types.
But we're getting ahead of ourselves here. Let's talk about where Proper will open properly:
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Remember that bright red phone that went straight to Batman’s cave, summoning him whenever crime was afoot and a superhero was required? Well, Viceroy Sugar Beach Resort in St. Lucia has one of those. Except it’s not red, necessarily. And it doesn't summon Batman, but rather, your butler.
But this one works from the beach. And if you find yourself in a dire champagne emergency — well, let’s just say that not all heroes wear capes.
We recently spent some time at Sugar Beach, a resort replete with amenities throughout its luxury villas--from infinity plunge pools overlooking the sea below, to full wet bars stocked with local beers and rum. (Also awesome: private terrace views of a spectacular Caribbean sunset flanked on each side by the lush Piton mountains.)
One of our favorites, though, is the handy provision of Firefly mobile phones. The brand is typically treated as a “starter cell” for kids, since the phones are restricted to dialing among a handful of pre-programmed numbers. Sugar Beach, however, cleverly repurposes them as service bells, basically.
It's been a while since we've heard from Viceroy Hotels but today's announcement is rather grand--Viceroy Algarve at Quinta Da Ombre will open in Portugal in 2017.
The resort will have 147 "stylishly-curated hotel guest rooms" along with 99 Viceroy-branded residential units in apartment, villa and townhouse configurations. There will also be seven dining venues, two outdoor swimming pools, an 18-hole golf course with designated clubhouse, a spa, a children's center a library lounge and over 6,000-sq.ft. of event and meeting space. The property will be designed by architectural design firm WATG, with interiors done by Wimberly.
All we have right now to look at is a watercolor painting of the area but Viceroy promises the resort will mix a "classic villa aesthetic" with "sleek, modern decor." As for Quinta da Ombria, it's a major development project by Pontos Group in the Algarve region, Portugal which is about two hours south of Lisbon and just 25 minutes from the Faro airport. It's still under construction but Viceroy is already hyping up its proximity to neighboring villages which are described as "centuries old." And that's what this Viceroy seems to be about--mixing the very old with the very new.
Now that Viceroy has broken into the European market, we expect more locations to be announced. We've also heard a rumor that Viceroy Hotel Group might be creating another brand.
Beverly Hills / Hotel Rebrandings / Los Angeles Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Viceroy Hotels / → All Tags
It’s astonishing to us we have to go as far back as early 2010 for the news that Raffles L’Ermitage would become Viceroy Beverly Hills, with a “significant refurbishment” to follow in the months after.
That relaunch date soon became “early 2011”, but three and a half years later, the hotel still carries its L’Ermitage badge, rooms shows essentially the same décor, and the group’s directory has it listed as a “future Viceroy”.
But! It looks like half a decade is a lucky window for L’Ermitage, because the latest we hear is that renovation is meant to start in January. While we hate thinking about it too much as the year passes us by, that’s only three months away. Details and visuals of what the interiors will look like are still to come, and while we expect a more Californian vibe, taking a cue from Viceroy New York’s stylish rooms we’d have no issue with. We'll keep you posted as we find out more.
As for the official name change to Viceroy Beverly Hills, we haven't received official confirmation but a new name to go with a new look could be nice.
In the meantime, a Deluxe King with balcony at L’Ermitage starts about $430 a night in November.
[Photo: Viceroy Hotels]
There's been an influx of new hotels near Central Park lately such as The Quin, The Viceroy and the upcoming Park Hyatt New York and the 1 Hotel. Aside from giving visitors more choices for their overnight stays, these new hotels are also giving visitors more choices of places to eat. After all, every new hotel must have a desirable dining concept attached.
We popped into the hotel's Kingside restaurant on the ground floor The Viceroy New York last week for lunch and quite liked the lack of pretentiousness that typically comes with a boutique hotel restaurant. When we asked for a table for one, we weren't relegated to a hightop table at the front near the bar but instead given a nice spot in the corner of the main (although small) dining room. Other diners included other tourists, Real Housewives-types and work colleagues. Our server was down-to-earth friendly and there were zero service issues. The decor seemed more downtown than uptown and also appeared to be inspired by both the nautical and the rustic lifestyles.
But as soon we looked at the menu--from chef Marc Murphy, the man behind Landmarc--we could not take our eyes off the listing for a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich on an onion roll, topped with slaw and jalapeño mayo ($17.) Done and done.
That said, the menu is extensive, ranging from crudo to burgers, fritto misto and charcuterie. The vibe probably changes at night but for a drop-in, mid-day, mid-week, we thought it was just right.
Tour the rest of The Viceroy, including the guest rooms, right here.
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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.
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You learn something new every day. And today, we're learning that Manta Ray Season has officially begun in the Maldives. And at The Viceroy Maldives you can spy on the Manta Rays as they get "cleaned up" on the coral reefs around the resort. Don't worry, you won't have to put on rubber gloves to get involved.
Manta Rays descend on the coral reefs in the Maldives to be cleaned by little "cleaner fish." Here's how the process works, according to Best Dives Maldives which operates the Viceroy's dive center:
A manta pulls up to the reef and either open its mouth wide or positions its body in a special way that signals it would like a cleaning. Then the fish get to work cleaning the plankton from the manta ray's gills and mouth and other parts of the body. #NowYouKnow
Rate at the Viceroy vary depending on the length of stay and how many people are in the room but you can budget at least $800 a night for a stay here. A single-person dive at the dive center is about $110 but there are snorkeling options available too.
[Photo: Best Dives Maldives]
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If you’re looking to heat things up at night, this may just be the turndown service for you.
The Viceroy Riviera Maya is now offering a new Plunge Pool Romantic Turndown that involves aromatherapy, candles and lanterns, music, food, and drink – all set under the stars on your private terrace with its own plunge pool.
At the prescribed time, the hotel’s Concierge arranges for the turndown with the options you’ve pre-selected:
• Aromatherapy choice includes Relaxation, Romance and Rejuvenate
• Mood music may be anything from love songs, Latin rhythms or your own iPod playlist
• Lanterns and flower petals rim the perimeter of the pool, and candles are floated in it
• Choice from the special turndown food and beverage menu, from champagne and fruit to after-dinner drinks and dessert creations by the pastry chef
• Plush robes and towels to cozy up in
The Plunge Pool Romantic Turndown is $99. Other romantic options are available for an additional cost, such as a bouquet of three-dozen red roses for $105.00 and Chocolate Fondue for $25.
The 41 villas at the Viceroy Riviera Maya start at $393 in July for a Sun, Sea and Solitude package in a Deluxe Villa, which includes breakfast and a $100 resort credit.
[Photos: Viceroy Hotels & Resorts]