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Looks like the order in which Waldorf Astoria’s latest hotels are coming across the opening finish line is Beijing – Jerusalem – Amsterdam in the end. A few months ago, when we doubted Amsterdam would be completed by March, the official word was still exactly the other way around, but Beijing is open (pretty parasols and all), Jerusalem caught us by surprise by being ready a few months’ early (though there is very limited view of what it’s like inside yet), and Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam is now scheduled for May 1.
Spread across six historic town houses that date back to the 1600s on one of the city’s central canals, the hotel will have 93 rooms and suites. The restaurant still awaits its name, but there will be the usual Peacock Alley, in this case on the Bel Etage, the principal floor of the town house accessed by a grand staircase from the entrance. Other things to look forward to are the private garden, the indoor swimming pool, and the Vault Bar, taking advantage of the building previously housing a private bank.
Reservations start from May 7 at the moment; we found a King Deluxe Room on that day for a not-inconsiderable €445 ($615). You can shave just over $90 off of that if you are willing to book an advance purchase rate. The 1,324 sq ft Brentano Suite will set you back €3,735 ($5,163) a night.
[Rendering: Waldorf Astoria Hotels]
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Maybe we had the date wrong but we could have sworn the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem was opening in August, not April (after missing a Summer 2013 opening date.) But whatever the reason for the mix-up, we don't care. Because the luxury hotel is now OPEN.
The Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem was built on the site of the former Palace Hotel within walking distance to the Old City and Jaffa Gate. Here is a gushing description of the hotel from the press release:
The breath-taking centrepieces of the hotel are the grand entry and lofty atrium promenade, featuring a retractable glass ceiling which floods the hotel with natural light throughout the day. Complemented by arched windows, this open-air architectural style creates the atmosphere of a Jerusalem city street. Drawing on the rich heritage of Waldorf Astoria, a towering, iconic clock rests in the atrium expanse, with four sets of numbers covering its four bold faces. Blending Greco-Roman, Gothic and Ottoman architecture, the hotel is a wonderful mixture of cultures, creating a fascinating space beyond the hotel’s beautifully preserved 80-year old façade.
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Last night, Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts threw a glam poolside soiree at The Beverly Hilton to celebrate the long-awaited announcement of the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. While we were momentarily distracted by the offerings at the chocolate bar and the drinks bar, not to mention the appearance of the ethereal and normal-sized Christina Hendricks, we did manage to study a scale model of the planned 12-story, 170-room hotel. Like many things in Beverly Hills, it's an expensive beauty, worth about $200 million.
The hotel has been a long-time dream for developer Beny Alagem who also owns The Beverly Hilton. Plans to bring the luxury brand to the city back in 2008 didn't quite work out thanks to concerned residents and the ensuing economic crash but now, the dream is finally becoming a reality. And in case you didn't already understand, having a Waldorf Astoria in Beverly Hills is a huge deal in the luxury hotel world.
"We are steps away from Rodeo Drive. This is "Ground Zero" for luxury," said John T.A. Vanderslice, Waldorf Astoria’s Global Brand Head. "And the fact that we are opening a Waldorf Astoria in here is out of this world."
But just how will this five-star hotel set itself apart from the other five-star hotels in town, some within walking distance like the Peninsula, The Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire and The Montage?
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What a difference six years can make. Back in 2008, plans for The Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills to open next to the Beverly Hilton were firmly squashed by Beverly Hills residents and to some extent, the recession. Today, we learn the project is back on again. And it's really, really, really happening this time. But there will be some changes to the Beverly Hilton.
The hotel's Oasis Court, Lanai guest room buildings and its south parking structure along with the building that once housed the Trader Vic's restaurant, will be torn down to make way for the 170-room Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills Hotel and its accompanying residences. Here's a bit more info from the LA Times on what to expect:
The new hotel will be clad in curving white stone inspired by Streamline Moderne style with bronze accents. Guest rooms will have floor-to-ceiling windows that open onto landscaped private balconies. The rooftop swimming pool deck will include greenery, cabanas and a bar and grill exclusive to hotel guests. There will be an upscale restaurant open to the public, stores including jeweler Graff Diamonds and a Waldorf Astoria Spa. The hotel will also include meeting space and a ballroom that will hold as many as 200 people.
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We can rattle off a handful of hotels opening in Bali in the next few years without much effort (there is the Regent, Ritz-Carlton, Ritz-Carlton again, Starwood (Luxury Collection and Westin), and Six Senses, among others), which, together with everything that’s already there, raises the pressure once again to slow down hotel development on the island.
While the discussion on overcrowding and what is right for Bali continues, so do the announcements of new openings, with this week the addition of a Waldorf Astoria resort in 2017. Only a short transfer from Ngurah Rai Denpasar airport, the resort will have 96 villas on a cliff facing the sea.
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The upcoming Waldorf Astoria Beijing actually wasn't on our radar when we released our Master List of Hotel Openings last month (mea culpa!) But with its March 1 opening just a few weeks away, we're honing in on what is expected to be the brand's most contemporary and art-conscious hotel to date.
Located in downtown Beijing, across from the Peninsula Hotel and within walking distance to the Forbidden City, the Waldorf Astoria is a brand-new building with an unusual bronze exterior, giving it a crazy cool effect. And according to general manager, Marlene Poynder, the bronze will cause the exterior's color to change over time. Even cooler.
Poynder also filled us in on some of the amenities expected inside the 176-room hotel such as AppleTV hookups (not available for sale in China), Salvatore Ferragamo toiletries and Samsung tablets that controls nearly everything inside the room.
The hotel's interiors were done by design firm Yabu Pushelberg but they still incorporate elements of Chinese design such as traditional dressers, intricate rugs and silk-paneled walls. The hotel is also filled with contemporary Chinese art including the Waldorf Astoria Clock (found in each Waldorf Astoria hotel) which "appears weightless while resting in its glass cabinet, creating the illusion that it is floating, or of 'time being suspended.'"
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While lots of hotels are cashing in on the Winter Olympics spirit with speciality cocktails and patriotic packages, the Waldorf Astoria Park City is actually bringing a bit of the Sochi Olympics to its guests.
One of their valet staffers, Patrick Meek, just competed for the U.S. National Speedskating team over the weekend (He finished 20th in the 5000 meters race.) And now guests can book a lesson with Meek while staying at the hotel. The lesson lasts for two hours and costs $120. Rates at the hotel start at $839 for a king bed with a gas fireplace this weekend. (Meek will probably be back at the hotel in a few weeks.)
Meek is employed at the hotel as part of the Hilton HHonors Team USA athlete career program, which works around his busy training schedule. Since Park City is a training ground for winter sports, the place is probably crawling with past, present and future Olympians. Learn more about Meek and the program in this video here.
DON'T MISS HOTELCHATTER'S OWN SURVIVAL GUIDE TO PARK CITY HOTELS RIGHT HERE
[Photo via Patrick Meek/Facebook]
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What's the Super Bowl without a few drinks? We're not talking a weak can of Bud, this year you can sip on a specially created Super Bowl themed cocktail from the following Manhattan hotels:
At JAZZ at KITANO at the Kitano New York house mixologist Pablo Villareal has created two special cocktails in honor of each of the teams:
Gridiron Margarita (Inspired by the Seahawks) $16. Pictured above.
2 oz. Don Julio Anejo Tequila
1/2 oz simple syrup
1 red chili pepper
1 lime slice
Muddle strawberries, lime & chili with simple syrup. Add tequila and ice, shake. Serve in rocks glass on ice. Garnish with sliced strawberry and chili pepper.
Zone Blitz (For the Broncos) $16
2 oz Absolute Pepper Vodka
Top off with lemon lime soda
Splash of blue caracao for color
Serve over crushed ice in a rocks glass.
Anthony and Josephine Fioravante, better known as Tony and Jo, spent their wedding night back in 1948 at the Waldorf Astoria and last weekend they celebrated their 66th anniversary with a night at the same hotel for $15.75! How so? Because Tony and Jo kept their reciept from that special night six decades ago and the Waldorf, which has a tradition of honoring the original rate for couples celebrating an anniversary of 50 years or more, not only honored it but upgraded them to the exclusive Towers of the Waldorf Astoria. Lucky! Rates in the Towers usually start at $399 a night.
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Having scoped out the other big Amsterdam opening that starts (and ends) with a W, we kept on walking and turned down the city’s Herengracht canal until we hit up the row of patrician houses that is being transformed into the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam.
About this time last year we gave you the first preview of the 94-room hotel, which is planned for a March 2014 opening. What we could see through the windows does not tell the full story of the hotel’s progress of course, but the public spaces and the downstairs kitchen we spied certainly seemed to need some work still. Let’s just hope that March opening will be happening, especially as it should kick off three consecutive months of openings for the brand, with Beijing and Jerusalem scheduled for April and May.
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The Regent Montenegro
There’s tons of hotel news flying around at the moment, so we have another roundup of news bites for you today to get you up to speed on the latest from Oman to Cambodia and China to Argentina.
Starting with the Arab sultanate of Oman, its newspaper Muscat Daily (Muscat is the capital) reports that the country will have the first Aman Resort in the Middle East, in the remote coastal town of Shuwaimiya. The developer of the eco-resort has confirmed Aman Resorts will open, with the hotel group so far taking a confirm-nor-deny approach. Whether or not it will be the first in the Middle East remains to be seen, based on what we hear about an opening in Jordan.
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Looking at cocktails menus these days, it’s clear bartenders (or mixologists as they like to call themselves), are shaking and stirring drinks intended to warm your insides—perfect for the crisp, fall weather many of us are experiencing.
These are some seasonal sips from some of our favorite hotel bars.
If you’ve never heard of “Movember” before, you can read about the male mustache-focused charity here. This year the Waldorf Astoria Chicago is supporting the cause with its Whiskey & Whiskers drink served at their Bernard’s bar. 20% of the proceeds from the $16 drink will be donated to the Movember Foundation. We love the mustache-stencil garnish created with sprinkles of ginger-cinnamon powder.