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While it is not the sexiest part of town, it makes sense that so many tourists decide to stay in Midtown, especially those visiting for the first time. Not only does it provide direct access to the major attractions of Times Square, the Empire State Building, and Madison Square Garden, but its central location makes it just as easy to go to Central Park as it does Brooklyn.
Last weekend, we swung through to check out what's happening at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel on 34th and 8th, which was rebranded as a Wyndham earlier this year and has since kicked off a 5-year renovation plan as it makes the change. (The hotel's iconic New Yorker Hotel sign will of course, remain.)
The outside is sporting the scaffolding as an exterior revamp is underway, yet most of the rejuvenation will be felt indoors. Fifty-seven guest rooms will be added by the end of the year to bring the total to 1,083, as well as a new wine bar (fall 2014), a spruced up lobby, and the introduction of the Wyndham personality.
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The Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach in Miami is in the midst of some major renovations (to the tune of $150 million) but when it re-opens in June, the staff might be looking like they came off a movie set.
That's because the iconic Collins Avenue hotel has enlisted Hollywood costume designer, Carol Ramsey, to create 1950's-inspired uniforms for all front of the house employees. Ramsey has a bit of experience in the realm since she worked on the show, "Magic City", which is set in a Miami hotel in the late 1950s.
Here's what she has in store for the Shelborne (heads-up to Shelborne job applicants, you are gonna need some fit legs.)
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The New Yorker Hotel has seen some ups and downs in its 84 year history: from fashionable hotspot that drew the likes of Joan Crawford and Muhammad Ali; to scene of Nikola Tesla's death and, in recent years, status as a lowly Ramada.
But the iconic Art Deco-style hotel entered a new era last week when it joined the Wyndham Hotel brand, which, with a 1,083 room count, makes it the biggest hotel in the Wyndham portfolio.
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OK, so it's hard to get too excited about a new Howard Johnson hotel, but as all-too frequent riders of the AirTrain, we can appreciate this new one's location.
A tipster pointed out that a new HoJo opened last week on Archer Avenue in Jamaica, Queens, which is actually just a few minutes' walk to the AirTrain's Jamaica Station -- putting you within a 30-minute commute of JFK. Not a bad idea for those early morning flights.
Rates start at $110 and that includes breakfast, WiFi and access to a fitness center. You'll earn Wyndham Reward points, too, so you can save up for something with a bit more pizzazz: like the Dream Dubai
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Dreams do come true...in Dubai, where Vikram Chatwal's Dream Hotels will open in late 2014. But this won't be some regular old hotel on a city block. No, this is Dubai, where everything is done not just bigger and better, but biggest and bestest.
So in following that logic, the Dream Dubai will be housed in the Marina 101, which is on track to be one of the largest super towers in Dubai and which will make the Dream Hotel the tallest hotel tower in the world when it opens. (Sorry, JDubs. You've got competition.)
We know it doesn't look like much now, but this shrouded warehouse building has some big shoes to fill in the future. If all goes to plan, by the middle of next year, this vintage brick structure will get a new makeover and become Australia's first Tryp by Wyndham.
Tryp Brisbane will bring an edgy and locally-inspired design to Australia's third largest city. Situated in the city's Fortitude Valley area, guests will be within walking distance to the area's hottest nightclubs, boutique shops and trendy restaurants. But if you don't want to leave the hotel, the lobby will feature a ground-floor restaurant and hip bar, that's posh enough for Brisbane's elite scene as well as gives travelers a taste of the local nightlife.
[UPDATE, 5.14.13: Wyndham Hotels has given an explanation of what's going on with the hotel. Scroll down for that statement. UPDATE, 5.16.13: Menin Hotels have also given us a statement saying that would retain ownership of the hotel. Full statement is below the Wyndham statement.
Could there soon be one less hotel in Miami, a town that's been riding a recent hotel boom? Possibly.
We got a tip last week from one of our trusted South Beach spies saying that the Wyndham-operated Shelborne South Beach hotel would be closing and instead would reopen as a condo building. (Already the hotel is partially made up of condo units which are typically rented out to visiting guests.)
Sure enough, we headed to the hotel's website and found this note:
The Shelborne will have a limited number of rooms available June 1 - October 31, 2013 during its amazing transformation into South Beach’s newest lifestyle luxury resort, the Shelborne Wyndham Grand-South Beach.
Despite this "limited number of rooms" mention, we've got word that the hotel is indeed closing completely during the renovations and there are still whispers that it will reopen only as a timeshare. We're still sifting through the Shelborne shards but this is what we do know:
The hotel underwent a renovation back in 2011 so at first glance, it may seem too soon to have yet another facelift. But the reality is, some of those condo-hotel units are in bad shape as the owners were not obligated to renovate their units. HotelChatter saw how dire some of those rooms were when we stayed at the property back in December. This was our take on the place:
The Shelborne's suite had last been furnished in the early 1990s, the dining chairs were broken, the mattress was so old you could feel the springs, the tables were scratched and water-damaged, the art was like that of a greasy strip mall generic Asian restaurant, the floors felt so dusty we were relieved to have brought slippers from our last hotel, and the power outlet actually shocked us as we tried to plug in our phone charger. Firetrap much?
Need more convincing of the shifty state of the Shelborne? Just take a gander at some of the hotel's recent TripAdvisor reviews.
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There's tons of hotel news flying around this week and we don't have time to give each and every story the love and attention it may deserve, so you will have to settle for some news briefs.
· The Next Radisson Blu Will Be In Philly: In other Radisson news today, the Radisson Plaza Warwick in Philadelphia is undergoing a $17 million renovation that will see the hotel converted into a Radisson Blu property by this summer. This will be the fourth Radisson Blu to open in America, after this month's Mall of America opening. The Warwick, which originally opened in 1926, contains 297 rooms, 4 suites, a fitness center, 3 dining venues, and is even listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
For more juicy hotel news, read on!
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There's tons of New York hotel news flying around this week and we don't have time to give each and every story the love and attention it may deserve, so you will have to settle for some news briefs.
· CitizenM Times Square Is On Track For Summer 2013: European-based budget hotel chain CitizenM have been circling for a while now on a yet-to-open CitizenM Times Square property on 50th and Broadway. At the beginning of 2011, we were told the brand was shooting for a 2012 opening in Times Square (which obviously never happened). Now, CitizenM executive Michael Levie tells USA Today that construction is well underway, and that the 24-story, 240-room tower is set to open by next summer. What else? The company is also planning a second NYC location in Soho, set to open the following year.
Didn’t we go on and brag about how you could live it up like Bruce Wayne at Hotel 71 in Chicago, and now has the hotel gone and been sold? Yep, Hotel 71 is set to be purchased by Hospitality Properties Trust with plans for Wyndham Worldwide to manage it. The hotel underwent a $15 million dollar renovation back in early 2011 which lifted the face of the lobby and rooms.
Since opening, it's had an unfortunate round of luck that started with an owner (Robert Falor) and his dream-turned-nightmare of a condo hotel plan. Defaulting on over $125 million in debt, the hotel was then sold to Canyon Capital Reality Advisors back in 2009 for $34 million. The official word isn’t out yet on what HPT is now paying to aquire Hotel 71, but one insider estimated about $87 million.
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Now, let's not make a big deal about this, but summer is kinda...sorta winding down. And coming up is back-to-school season, which for NYC, is usually one of the busiest times of the year, hotel-wise.
But another thing to look forward too, of course, is new hotel openings! This year, Manhattan is adding a new boutique hotel housed inside an old hat factory, known as more ›
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Update: We just want to reiterate that the Dream Downtown's possible sale to the Sahara Group is just speculation at this point. Now get back to your regularly scheduled Dreaming.
Everyone's going down, down, down downtown, including some deep-pocketed Indian investors who recently fronted $570 million for a controlling stake in the Plaza.
The Sahara Group, who also picked up the JW Marriott Grosvenor House in late 2010, is reportedly on a spending spree, and New York hotels are hot, so hot right now. The NY Times reports that Sahara Group may be about to acquire Chatwal's Dream Downtown.