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A Controversial Hollywood Development (and Its Hotel) Remains On Shaky Ground

November 11, 2014 at 1:15 PM | by | Comments (0)

One of the most talked about mixed-use developments in the history of Hollywood is having a hard time getting off the ground, mostly because of what is going on below the ground. Millennium Hollywood, aka "MillHoll," is an ambitious live-work-stay destination that aims to add about a million square feet, and a 200-room luxury hotel, onto a couple of vacant parking lots. MillHoll is located next door to the iconic Capital Records Tower, which is to be a highlighted feature of the mega-urban project.

The hottest issue that may be keeping MillHoll from advancing past renderings form is whether or not the land is sitting on top of an active earthquake fault. If it's true, that's one hell of a "no-no."

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W Beijing Is Opening Tomorrow, Here's What's Inside

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: No.2 Jianguomennan Avenue, Beijing, China, 100022
October 31, 2014 at 9:25 AM | by | Comments (0)

The day has (almost) arrived: the W Beijing Chang’An is, at long last, opening. Not only are we able to make online reservations, rooms are still available on opening night tomorrow from $242.

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.

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Corpses, Cemeteries, and Tarot Cards are On Offer at The W New Orleans in the French Quarter

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 316 Chartres Street [map], New Orleans, LA, United States, 70130
October 28, 2014 at 2:49 PM | by | Comments (0)

This hotel may have missed the mark with its insane asylum themed floor but the The W New Orleans is making the most of its location in the French quarter this Halloween with a "Feel the Spirits" package that is just the right amount of spooky.

The package includes a two-night stay in a Tarot-inspired guest room along with two tickets to the creepy Walking Cemetery Tour by Gray Line Tours and two Corpse Reviver cocktails from the hotel bar, SoBou. The Corpse Reviver is made with equal parts gin, Lillet, lemon and Cointreau and served in a glass misted with Absinthe, designed "to bring you back to life." You'll also be close to the city's Krewe of Boo Halloween parade on the 30th.

Rates for the package start at $391 a night on October 30 and 31st for a wonderful room and $401 for the Mega room with the tarot them. This room is actually available year-round so if you can't make to Nola for the Halloween festivities, you can go another time and have the same creepy experience.

[Photo: W New Orleans French Quarter]

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Opening This Month: New Hotels for October 2014

October 8, 2014 at 1:17 PM | by | Comments (0)

Finding a hotel room is easy. Simply go on the Internet or use your smartphone and voila! You're booked. But if you are only interested in new hotels, then that's a different story. Luckily, you have us. And we're obsessed with new hotels. Here's a list of hotels that have opened or are opening this month (and a few that aren't going to make it.) Got a new hotel to add? Send it to us!

OPENING THIS MONTH
· Rosewood Beijing: We've been eying this property for quite some time and now we're excited to see it will open on October 23. The first Rosewood for China, the Rosewood Beijing will have 283 rooms opposite the twisting CCTV Tower by Rem Koolhaas. There's a Sense Spa on site (complete with Spa Suites that you can book) and six restaurants and bars to choose from. Rates start at 2,050 CNY a night for a deluxe room with a king bed. That's about $334 USD.

· AC HOTELS BY MARRIOTT NEW ORLEANS : The first stateside AC Hotels by Marriott is promising to open in the Big Easy this month. But for now, no reservations are being accepted on the website. We plugged in dates in October and November and the dreaded "unsuccessful sell" came up. However, we do know that the hotel will be opening by November 12. So it's just a matter of getting the reservations system done.

NOT GONNA MAKE IT

· W BEIJING: We've been skeptical of the W Beijing's opening date for a really long time. Last we heard, they would open in September but now the hotel is saying it will open on November 1 instead. We're already starting to lose interest.

· HOTEL ZOO BERLIN: The reopening of the historic Hotel Zoo in Berlin will not happen this month. Instead, the new look will be unveiled on November 3 with rates start at 121 euros a night. We've been kept in the dark on the design details of the renovation but these rooms pics are showing off some pretty luxe spaces. We likey.

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W Hotels Are 'Hooker Havens', Alleges New Lawsuit Against Starwood

October 6, 2014 at 11:03 AM | by | Comments (7)

Someone mentions "hooker havens" and we're all ears.

A South Jersey couple filed a personal injury lawsuit against Starwood Hotels & Resorts last year after the woman half of the couple was attacked in the lobby of the W South Beach by a bunch of drunken prostitutes who thought she was creeping on their turf. The woman's face was slammed into a stone wall, then she was thrown to the ground (a marble floor.) They are asking for $75,000 in damages.

There was a little bit of a legal tussle after the suit was filed with a judge denying a request of venue change as well as sealing some documents but a few things have been leaked out, namely this "discovery"--the couple hired undercover investigators to "infiltrate W hotels across the country" and those investigators found that W Hotels are "hooker havens." Here's why, according to a recent court filing which was posted on Philly.com:

"These agents engaged Starwood and W Hotels employees who openly, and without hesitation, procured the services of prostitutes for the agents," the filing said.

"When asked about getting caught and being prosecuted by law enforcement, the employees reassured the agents there was no risk of discovery.

"Starwood and W Hotel employees enticed the agents by sending them provocative pictures of prostitutes able to service them at W Hotels. . . . At one such W Hotel, a prostitute used the concierge desk to charge her cellphones and store her purse."

That sounds bad but then it gets worse.

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The W South Beach Just Unveiled A Hotel Wedding Package to End All Other Hotel Wedding Packages

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 2201 Collins Avenue [map], Miami Beach, FL, United States, 33139
October 3, 2014 at 10:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

We thought yesterday's story about the resort that wants you to take the honeymoon suite home with you was pretty insane, but the W South Beach has come up with the most ridiculuxe hotel wedding extravaganza that we have ever heard of--The Million Dollar Wedding Package.

Before we go any further, allow us to answer the question that's just about to come rushing out of your mouths--Yes, the wedding costs a million dollars. Actually, according to the hotel rep, it's a little over a million dollars. Alright, now with that out of the way, here's what a million dollar W Hotel wedding includes and how much each items costs. Emphasis is ours but if we had our way, we'd really just bold the whole darn package, all the way to the bottom.

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The W Marrakech is Happening (But Not Until 2017)

September 30, 2014 at 12:39 PM | by | Comments (0)

Two signs that Marrakech is a hot destination? One, the newly-married Clooneys are honeymooning there and two, a W Hotel is set to open in the cosmopolitan city in 2017.

Located in the city's Hivernage district, the W Marrakech will have 148 guest rooms nd suites, include one Extreme WOW suite, along with residences. there will also be a signature restaurant, an all-day dining venue, a bar, an outdoor bar, WET pool deck, an Away Spa and FIT, the W's branded fitness center. And of course, Whatever/Whenever will also be in place.

GA Design International, the folks who did the W Taipei and the St. Regis Osaka, will handle the interiors fror the property which is expected to be "cutting-edge" and "contemporary lifestyle." In a hotel scene, that's dominated by old world luxury hotels, we think this W will be very much necessary.

Up next for W Hotels? Quite a lot, actually. The group plans on opening 15 hotels by 2018.

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Domingo Zapata Has Brought His Artist's 'Studio' to The W Union Square

Where: 201 Park Avenue South [map], New York, NY, United States
September 18, 2014 at 3:44 PM | by | Comments (0)

Two years ago, The W Hotel Union Square in New York debuted a new lounge concept for the space once occupied by Underbar, which in its heyday of the early aughts, was the place to see and be seen. Called Lilium, the space operated as a small nightclub with hand-sculpted steel lilies hanging from the ceiling and video art played on a loop on a flat-screen TV behind the bar.

Today, Lilium is out and Studio is in. The space, officially opening tonight, is a partnership between the Gerber Group (who also ran Underbar and Lilium) and contemporary artist, Domingo Zapata, who designed the club's interiors which are inspired by Alice's Adventures In Wonderland. Here's how the space is described:

Upon arrival, guests will descend into Zapata’s richly imagined interior world, falling down a veritable “rabbit hole” as they experience Alice-inspired murals leading down to a subterranean lounge. Once inside, a continuous, vaguely narrative mural runs through the space’s perimeter. Inspired by the style of his own Gramercy Park studio, Studio’s shadowy enclaves and seating areas are reupholstered in rich velvet red fabrics, and allude to a glamorous old New York feel contrasted by the rawness of open ceilings and untainted floors.

We call the Queen seat.

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W Hotels Announce Another New Property, This Time in Phuket

Where: Phuket, Thailand
September 9, 2014 at 11:01 AM | by | Comment (1)

2018 is still a long time away but W Hotels is getting very excited for it. Just after announcing plans for W Brisbane, the Starwood design brand has announced W Phuket Phang Nga Bay.

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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W Hotels to Return to Australia with the W Brisbane

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 300 George Street, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, 4000
September 8, 2014 at 12:12 PM | by | Comment (1)

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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Starwood Hotels to Open 3 Very Important Hotels in China Next Month

Where: China
August 22, 2014 at 11:16 AM | by | Comments (0)

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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Keep Up With the Joneses With These Cocktail Trends 2014: Part 1

August 15, 2014 at 4:34 PM | by | Comments (0)

As Week 1 of HotelChatter Cocktail Week(s) wraps up, here's a run-down of some of the nifty things we see going on in the world of hotel bars and bevvies. What do you see goin’ on out there? Let us know in the comments below!

There’s so Much More to Syrup Than Maple –
If you’re into cocktails there’s a pretty good chance you’ve made your own simple syrup but these hotels are going beyond the norm and creating some pretty exotic specialty syrups.

At Fifteen Beacon’s Mooo (a Preferred Hotel) they make all of their syrup’s in-house, but we particularly liked the sound of the House made Celery Lemongrass Syrup that they use in their Celery 75 cocktail, made with Berkshire Greylock gin, Prosecco, strawberry, and the syrup, of course.

Cost to imbibe: $14
Cost to stay at the hotel 'cause you've imbibed: Starts at $479

And here’s an exotic beauty from the W Bangkok: the Chor Muang cocktail. You have absolutely no hope of making this drink at home since it’s made with Butterfly Pea Flower House Made Syrup – a flower that has become so rare that it’s difficult to find it in Thai markets. This elusive ingredient, however, makes it popular with guests who want something authentically Thai, and with locals who want the same. Other ingredients in this cocktail include Butterfly Flower-infused raspberry vodka, lime juice, and it’s garnished with – here we go – a 24-carat gold dust-dipped Butterfly Flower.

Cost to imbibe: THB $275 ($9)
Cost to stay at the hotel 'cause you've imbibed: Starts at THB 4,788 ($150)

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