Tag Archives: Hotels & Resorts

skyline Macau

Karl Lagerfeld to design Macau hotel

Karl Lagerfeld and a Macau casino operator announced plans on Friday for the Chanel designer to create his first hotel.

skyline Macau

Expected to open in 2017 as part of the Lisboa Palace luxury development, the Karl Lagerfeld hotel will feature 270 rooms created by the 80-year-old, with a mix of 19th century and more modern design features.

“I have more houses than I need and I don’t want to do any anymore. So I can, how could I say?, get rid of my frustration by doing hotels,” he said.

Grand Lisboa

The deal has been signed with Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (SJM), the company that is also building the upcoming Palazzo Versace Macau, a 20-storey hotel complex in Macau.

The property will also have a a multi-purpose theatre for events, Michelin-starred restaurants and a themed retail mall. The resort will also have up to 700 gaming tables and 1,200 slot machines.

Macau Luxury Hotel suite

Karl has previously worked with the Sofitel hotel group to design the logo for their 5-star Sofitel So Singapore hotel, and also oversaw the decor of Monte-Carlo’s Hôtel Métropole.

A bed from Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Four Seasons offers customised beds

FOUR SEASONS HOTELS AND RESORTS has introduced the first fully customizable hotel bed in partnership with leading bed manufacturer Simmons.

A bed from Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

According to a Sleep Survey conducted by Ipsos in late 2013, 92% of respondents expressed a definite preference on the firmness of their bed.

This inspired the development of a new type of mattress that can be altered depending on guests’ needs.

A guest bedroom at Four Seasons Hotel Toronto

The Four Seasons Bed will feature a new mattress system that can shift between three levels of firmness. After guests choose between soft, medium or firm mattress toppers, a selection of pillows and other bedside amenities will be available to completely customize the experience before arrival.

Four Seasons Beijing Room

The new Four Seasons Bed, which is available at several locations in the U.S., will replace beds at all Four Seasons locations over the next few years.

Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh Bedroom

If guests like the bed, they will also be able to purchase it, along with a range of pillows and bed linens.

North Island Seychelles spa

Six Senses to debut in the Seychelles

Six Senses Hotels, Resorts & Spas announced that it will open an exclusive resort on Félicité Island in the Republic of Seychelles.

seychelles

The Six Senses Zil Pasyon will be built on Félicité Island, 55 km from the archipelago’s main island, Mahé. Guests will reach the resort from the international airport by boat or by helicopter.

The Zil Pasyon will include 28 one-bedroom villas, two two-bedroom villas and 17 private residences, each with its own private swimming pool.

honeymoon in Seychelles

Guests will enjoy two restaurants, a bar, a large spa, an entertainment center and various swimming pools within the resort. Reception halls will be available for events of all kinds, from weddings to business meetings.

The resort will occupy less than one third of the 652-acre private island. Guests will be able to observe the lush vegetation and abundant wildlife of Félicité Island, and will even have the possibility of swimming with sea turtles.

swimming with sea turtles

Six Senses Hotels, Resorts & Spas currently manages nine resorts and 28 spas worldwide.

Hotel Indigo Neighborhood Guide

Hotel Indigo launches virtual concierge service

Hotel Indigo, part of the InterContinental Hotels Group, has launched a new guest service they call “Neighborhood Guide,” an interactive touch screen that will be installed in hotel lobbies across the system.

Hotel Indigo Neighborhood Guide

Much like a virtual concierge, the display allows guests to look up local attractions, restaurant recommendations and interact with guests from other properties around the world.

Hotel Indigo Shanghai Suite

But what makes the service particularly interesting is that recommendations aren’t carbon copied from guidebooks, but curated from hotel staff: everyone from the bartender to the room attendant contributes addresses of their favorite hangout, like the best place in the city for a burger or late night jazz.

Hotel Indigo Shanghai bedroom

“Our guests want to experience something unique and different when they travel. For them, it’s not about doing what’s trendy or popular.”

“They want to be with interesting people and make a meaningful connection to the neighborhood,” said Americas brand manager Mary Winslow.

Hotel Indigo Shanghai Bund

Integrated Google maps also allow guests to send directions from the Neighborhood Guide directly to their mobile phone by email or by scanning a QR code, while photo-sharing features enable travelers to share their photos with the other 54 Hotel Indigo properties around the world.

Shangri-La Hotel The Shard

Shangri-La London opens in the Shard

The new Shangri-La at the Shard will open on May 6, with the luxury hotel boasting unmatched views of London from the city’s most striking skyscraper.

As the tallest hotel in Western Europe and the first high-rise hotel in London, the Shangri-La occupies levels 34 to 52 of the 72-storey Shard.

Shangri-La Hotel The Shard

Guests will be escorted in a high-speed elevator from the hotel’s dedicated entrance on St. Thomas Street to the sky lobby on level 35.

The 202 rooms and suites all feature marble-clad bathrooms with heated floors, separate bathtubs and showers, Acqua di Parma amenities, and mirrors with integrated television screens. A third of the bathrooms will have floor-to-ceiling city views — right next to the bathtub.

Bathtub with a London view.

Although the hotel will open in May, three signature suites will still be under development until September.

That includes the flagship Shangri-La Suite, with a sweeping 180-degree view of London taking in the Palace of Westminster, Big Ben, the Tower of London and River Thames.

The hotel will offer three restaurants and bars. TĪNG, derived from the Chinese word for a living room, is the restaurant and lounge on level 35 and LÁNG – the Chinese word for ‘pathway’ – is a deli on the ground floor.

GŎNG on level 52 will be London’s highest bar. It takes its name from ‘dougong’ – an ancient Chinese structural element of interlocking wooden brackets that will be a component of the bar’s interior.

Level 52 will also be home to a 24-hour gym and London’s highest infinity pool, and along with GŎNG, level 52 will open from 1 July.

Shangri La Shard bedroom

The luxury hotel will be the Hong Kong-based hotel group’s third in Europe, following debuts in Paris in 2010 and Istanbul in 2013.

Rates start from £450 per night. Bookings for rooms, restaurants and events will be available from March 17.

TOP 10 Most Amazing and Unusual Hotels 2014

An opulent sandcastle built in the Indian desert has been named the most extraordinary place to stay on the planet by editors of Lonely Planet.

Mihir Garh

The palatial boutique hotel called Mihir Garh built atop a sand dune dedicated to the warrior God near Jodhpur that harkens the decadent life of maharajas.

And according to editors of Lonely Planet, the mirage-like oasis takes the top spot as the most exceptional and memorable hotel experience in the world, outranking a mountain lodge in Tasmania, a spherical suite in the rainforests of British Columbia, and a treehouse in Laos.

Mihir Garh courtyard

With each of the nine suites spanning 1,700 sq ft (160 sq m), the Mihir Garh also features private terraces, courtyards, plunge pools and a Jacuzzi.

The fort-like structure took two years to build and showcases the skills and talents of more than 100 area artisans and craftsmen who built the mud walls, sculpted the ramparts and fashioned fireplaces using cow dung and clay, in the local tradition.

Mihir Garh infinity pool

The hotel also offers a unique equestrian program featuring Marwari horses, an ancient and indigenous breed, as well as tented al fresco picnic outings and cooking classes exploring traditional Rajasthan cuisine.

Mihir Garh sitting area

“Few hotels are created without compromise. Mihir Garh is a rare example,” said contributor James Kay. “This is not just a unique place to stay, it’s a shrine to the artistic and architectural traditions of Rajasthan in general and Jodhpur in particular.”

Here are the Top 10 extraordinary hotel stays according to Lonely Planet:

1.      Mihir Garh, Rajasthan, India

Mihir Gahr Rajasthan India

2.      Planet Baobab, Gweta, Botswana

Planet Baobab Gweta Botswana

3.      Prendiparte B&B, Bologna, Italy

Prendiparte B&B, Bologna, Italy

4.      Qasr Al Sarab, UAE

Qasr Al Sarab

5.      Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge, TAS, Australia

Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge, TAS, Australia

6.      Free Spirit Spheres, British Columbia, Canada

Free Spirit Spheres

7.      Taskonak Hotel, Goreme, Cappadocia, Turkey

Taskonak Hotel Goreme Turkey

8.      Thonga Beach Lodge, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa

Thonga Beach Lodge

9.      Saugerties Lighthouse, New York state, USA

Saugerties Lighthouse, New York state

10.    The Gibbon Experience Treehouse, Bokeo Reserve, Laos

The Gibbon Experience Treehouse

Riviera Resort & Spa

Top 10 most romantic hotels in the US

A relaxing, romantic beach holiday is the most popular form of vacay for American lovebirds, followed by city breaks and island escapes.

Riviera Resort & Spa

That’s according to a TripAdvisor survey that looked at how couples plan to celebrate their nuptials, anniversaries and love for each other in 2014.

Riviera Resort SpaTerre

The majority of respondents – 61% — said they plan to hit the beach or the ocean as part of their vacation plans, while 39% said they plan to take in some culture and shopping in a big city.

About a quarter of respondents said they’re off for an island getaway.

Bardessono hotel

San Francisco also emerged the most popular domestic destination for couples, followed by Las Vegas, Honolulu, New York City and Miami.

And if you haven’t made any Valentine’s Day plans yet, consider booking a stay at the hotels listed below!

Koa Kea Hotel and Resort Poipu Hawaii

Here are the Top 10 most romantic hotels in the US

1. Honor Mansion, A Wine Country Resort, Healdsburg, California
2. Desert Riviera Hotel, Palm Springs, California
3. Bardessono, Yountville, California
4. Hotel California, Palm Springs, California
5. Adobe Grand Villas, Sedona, Arizona
6. Marquesa Hotel, Key West, Florida
7. Alhambra Beach Resort, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
8. Olea Hotel, Glen Ellen, California
9. Koa Kea Hotel & Resort, Poipu, Hawaii
10. Orchid Key Inn, Key West, Florida

Mandarin Oriental luxury resort Bali

Mandarin Oriental Opening Luxury Resort in Bali

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group is planning to open a new hotel and resort complex on the Indonesian island in 2016.

Mandarin Oriental luxury resort Bali

With 97 villas and 24 spacious guest rooms, the Mandarin Oriental Bali promises to be a haven for those looking to get away from it all.

Located on the Bukit Peninsula at the southern end of Bali, the resort hotel will offer an extraordinary view on the Indian Ocean and direct access to an isolated and protected beach with white sands.

Each of the 97 villas will have a private pool of between 10 and 15 meters, while the 24 rooms have a view over the ocean.

Mandarin Oriental has entrusted the interior architecture of its new resort hotel to Jean-Michel Gathy of the firm Denniston International. The style is expected to combine contemporary trends with traditional Balinese elements and touches of East Asian inspiration as a nod to the hotel group’s heritage.

The Mandarin Oriental Bali will include three dining establishments, including a flagship cliff-top restaurant, another restaurant offering breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a more informal beachside bar and grill.

Couples will even be able to celebrate their wedding in one of the resort’s numerous reception halls.

Bukit Peninsula

Guests at the Mandarin Oriental Bali will relax in a 1,725 square meter spa with eight treatment rooms, a sauna and a steam room. A fitness center and a 100m outdoor pool round out the resort hotel’s wellness offer.

In terms of activities and entertainment, guests can drop their children off for a day of fun at the Kids Center and enjoy a game of golf on the 18-hole course, or relax with a book from the extensive library.

The Hong Kong-based Mandarin Oriental hotel group, specializing in high-end accommodations, currently manages luxury hotels and resorts in 20 cities worldwide, including seven cities in the US.

Aerial view luxury Burj Al Arab

The most luxurious suites in the world: 10 extravagant hotel bedrooms to book for your vacations

For globetrotters who only stay at the very best hotels and suites, a website has created a package that includes stays at 10 of the most lavish properties around the world.

Aerial view luxury Burj Al Arab

Launched by VeryFirstTo.com, the 21-day trip circles the world from New York, Paris, Dubai and Hong Kong for the princely sum of £359,000. At the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, for instance, couples will be booked for the Royal Suite, which comes with a personal butler and a solid gold iPad.

Burj Al Arab gold ipad

At the Westin Excelsior in Rome, couples stay at the Villa la Cupola, the largest hotel suite in Europe, which stretches across 1,100 square meters. The Presidential Suite at the Intercontinental in Hong Kong offers views of Victoria Harbor and a rooftop infinity pool and Jacuzzi, while the Ritz Carlton Suite in Tokyo is located on the 53rd floor of the city’s tallest building.

intercontinental hong kong

The cost includes business class flights, airport transfers and accommodation.

Here’s a list of the 10 destinations

1. The Penthouse Suite, Four Seasons George V, Paris

george v penthouse

2. Royal Suite, Burj Al Arab, Dubai

Royal Suite Burj Al Arab

3. Bridge Suite, The Atlantis Resort, Bahamas

Bridge Suite The Atlantis Resort

4. Ritz-Carlton Suite, Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo

ritz tokyo

5. Villa La Cupola, Westin Excelsior, Rome

Villa La Cupola

6. Two Story Sky Villa, Palms Casino Resort, Las Vegas

Palms Casino Resort, Las Vegas

7. Ty Warner Penthouse, Four Seasons Hotel, New York

Ty Warner Penthouse

8. The Royal Suite, Madarin Oriental, London

Royal Suite Madarin Oriental London

9. The Sultan’s Suite, Çiragan Palace Kempinski, Istanbul

Sultan suite Ciragan Palace Kempinski

10. The Presidential Suite, InterContinental, Hong Kong

InterContinental Hong Kong infinity pool

sutton place hotel

A $500,000 Valentine’s Day hotel package

Aptly called “The Once In a Lifetime” package, the Canadian brand Sutton Place Hotels has launched the extravagant deal for lovers who may also be in the market for a luxury sports car and wardrobe overhaul.

sutton place hotel

Here’s what $500,000 will buy you in the deal:

First, you and your partner will be chauffeured in a limo and taken to the presidential suite, where you’ll be greeted by a personal butler with a bottle of Dom Pérignon and hors d’oeuvres.

Next, you’ll be served a six-course meal in a private, candle-lit dining room to set the mood.

The following morning, while lounging in your personally monogrammed terry robes, you’re served another champagne-soaked breakfast-in-bed.

After that, the package includes a helicopter tour of the city — be it Edmonton, Vancouver or the Revelstoke ski resort where the brand is located.

After a romantic Valentine’s Day weekend, the hotel will also ‘throw in’ a personalized Maserati car, $50,000 worth of jewelry, and a $100,000 shopping spree at upscale Canadian department store Holt Renfrew.

Couples will also receive weekly deliveries of fresh flowers to their home and weekly couple’s massages for an unspecified length of time.

hotel du continent room

New Paris hotel designed by Christian Lacroix

Following a soft launch in December, the Hôtel du Continent with its 25 rooms and globe-trotting atmosphere, will hold its grand opening on February 3.

hotel du continent room

French couturier Christian Lacroix designed the interior of the three-star establishment and each floor in the hotel is dedicated to a different continent.

hotel du continent Paris room

Europe, Africa, Asia, America and Oceania are represented “far from any anthropological or strictly ethnic preoccupation, but rather with this fanciful distance known to ancient travelers who brought back with them not only scientific information but tales and dreams too,” Christian Lacroix said.

hotel du continent bedroom

Located on Paris’s Right Bank, near the prestigious Place Vendôme, the Hôtel du Continent offers guests 25 rooms in three different sizes.

hotel du continent Paris

Guests can expect to pay around €125 ($170) for a fully equipped room of around 10 square meters (110 sq ft). Nightly rates for the extra-large rooms (up to 31 sq m/333 sq ft) can reach up to €400 per night ($542).

Information and reservations: en.hotelcontinent.com

hotel du continent bathroom

This is not the first time the French couturier has lent his design sensibilities to the interior design of a hotel. Lacroix headed up the interior design of areas of the Sofitel So Bangkok hotel in Thailand, including its VIP lounge.

Four Seasons Hotel Toronto

Forbes releases top hotel picks for 2014

Hong Kong, Macau, New York City and London have emerged as leaders in Forbes magazine’s latest travel guide, with each city boasting seven 5-star rated hotels.

Four Seasons Hotel Toronto

In the 56th edition of the Forbes Travel Guide Star Ratings list, inspectors bestowed new stars to properties like the Four Seasons Hotel Macao and The Pierre, A Taj Hotel in New York, expanding the five-star group to 97 hotels.

The Four Seasons luxury hotel chain emerged as the leading hotel brand, boasting the most five-starred properties with 18 hotels across 11 destinations making the cut and tripling its number of winners over the last decade.

New to the club this year is the brand’s flagship hotel The Four Seasons Hotel Toronto, the first in Canada to own bragging rights to holding a five-star status with Forbes and five stars with AAA.

four seasons toronto room

Recently, the luxury hotel received a star boost when it recruited  chef Daniel Boulud to open an outpost of his restaurant empire within the property.

The Forbes guide includes 97 five-starred hotels, 48 restaurants and 41 spas. In the 4-star category, it lists 296 hotels, 186 restaurants and 149 spas.

Meanwhile, in TripAdvisor’s ranking of top hotels in the world, Italy boasted the largest number of top-rated hotels.

Chinese clients hotel

Chinese tourists crave personalized hotel services

Tourists from around the world seem to be increasingly demanding when it comes to what they expect from their hotel, and many are looking for their experience to come with personalized treatment.

Chinese clients hotel

And according to an international survey carried out by Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), tourists from emerging countries are among the most exacting.

In a survey of 7,000 travelers, IHG found that in addition to demanding the high quality amenities typically offered by a global hotel chain, guests also expect their hotel to be relevant in terms of local lifestyles and customs.

Furthermore, the survey revealed that a majority of guests expect hotels to provide personalized services tailored to their individual preferences.

Overall, 59% of travelers surveyed say that their stay will be “significantly more comfortable” if personalized services are offered, while more than one out of two people say that such services make them feel more respected.

Expectations vary by age group. While the 18-34 set would like to be offered personalized content during their stay, traveling seniors (aged 65 and up) expressed a desire for healthier food and drink options.

The survey indicated that travelers from emerging markets have a stronger desire for personalized services than travelers from more developed nations.

Over 60% of Chinese (64%) and Brazilian (62%) travelers expect a hotel to customize their experience according to their personal needs, compared to just 43 percent of Americans and 42 percent of Britons surveyed.

Limousine service

For travelers from emerging markets, which IHG refers to as the “new global explorers,” this form of personal attention is seen as a sign of respect.

“62% of Chinese travelers, 54% of Brazilian travelers and 46% of Emirati travelers agree that personalization makes them feel respected compared to 39% of travelers from all countries surveyed,” states IHG’s report.

Finally, the survey also revealed some preferences according to nationality. British travelers are fond of surprises, Americans would like to be able to choose their check-in and check-out times, while the Chinese are keen on interactive applications for finding local points of interest.

Russians, meanwhile, expressed a desire for tourist guides in their language.

Grand Hotel Kronenhof

TripAdvisor’s Top 10 hotels of 2014

The Grand Hotel Kronenhof in Pontresina, Switzerland, tops TripAdvisor’s list of the top 10 hotels in the world for 2014.

Grand Hotel Kronenhof

In the site’s latest Travelers’ Choice Awards, Italy boasted the most unique hotel winners with 152 properties given top marks by TripAdvisor travelers.

The UK followed close behind with 145 accommodations listed, while the US and France tied with 144 award-winners.

More than 7,120 properties were given honors across seven categories spanning top hotels, bargain hotels, bed and breakfasts, family, luxury, romantic and small hotels.

The Grand Kronenhof hotel lobby

The Grand Hotel Kronenhof is a five-star, ultra-luxurious property located 1,800 meters above sea level near the resort town of St. Moritz in Switzerland. The hotel received a 97 percent approval rating among guests.

“Few grand hotels seamlessly blend old-world charm and modern conveniences as well as the Kronenhof. The property is as impressive as the surrounding mountains,” wrote one enamored guest.

grand hotel kronenhof spa

Registered as an historic landmark, the Kronenhof dates back to 1848 and rises spectacularly from within a forest of pine and larch trees.

In lavish, neo-baroque style, gold-gilded rooms at the palatial property offer panoramic views of the mountains as well as the Bernina and Roseg glaciers.

Top 10 Hotels in the World

1. Grand Hotel Kronenhof, Pontresina, Switzerland
2. The Upper House, Hong Kong, China
3. Gili Lankanfushi Maldives, Lankanfushi, Maldives
4. Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
5. The Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur, India
6. Casa Gangotena, Quito, Ecuador
7. Lindos Blu, Lindos, Greece
8. The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort, Punta de Mita, Mexico
9. The Oberoi, Mumbai, Mumbai, India
10. Trump International Hotel & Tower Toronto, Toronto, Canada

The Grand Kronenhof

And the winners in select categories also include:

Top Luxury Hotel in the World
Akademie Street Boutique Hotel and Guesthouse, Franschhoek, S. Africa

Top Luxury Hotel in the U.S.
The Grand Del Mar, San Diego, California

Best Bargain Hotel in the World
Castlewood House, Dingle, Ireland

Best Bargain Hotel in the U.S.
Desert Riviera Hotel, Palm Springs, California

Best Hotel for Families in the World
Cavallino Bianco Family Spa Grand Hotel, Ortisei, Italy

Best Hotel for Families in the U.S.
Floridays Resort Orlando, Orlando, Florida

Best Hotel for Romance in the World
The Place Luxury Boutique Villas, Koh Tao, Thailand

Best Hotel for Romance in the U.S.
Honor Mansion, A Wine Country Resort, Healdsburg, California

Top Small Hotel in the World
Akademie Street Boutique Hotel and Guesthouse, Franschhoek, S. Africa

Top Small Hotel in the U.S.
La Maison Hotel, Palm Springs, California

Best B&B and Inn in the World
Bindon Bottom B&B, West Lulworth, England

Best B&B and Inn in the U.S.
Historic Oak Hill Inn, Natchez, Mississippi

Up There suite Ice Hotel

Frozen Paris is the theme of new ice hotel suite

The romance of Paris and the wilderness of the Arctic Circle might seem worlds away from one another, but they have been brought together thanks to a new suite at the Icehotel in Sweden.

Up There suite Ice Hotel

Created by French design duo Les Ateliers de Germaine, ‘Up There’ features the skyline of Montmartre carved into its icy walls. The suite features jagged rooftops and the basilica of the Sacré-Coeur, along with chimney pot ice sculptures, backlit windows and a bed frame made of blocks of ice.

Partners Luc Voisin and Mathieu Brison wanted to represent the “magical city, legendary city, romantic city, poetic city, symbolic city” that is Paris, and celebrate its position as a source of inspiration for artists and a destination for billions of tourists from all over the world.

Ice Hotel Up There suite

“More than a design, more than an architecture, it’s a trip to the heart of one of the historical districts that we offer,” claim the pair. “You can feel the people living all around you, you might even see them if you’re curiously peeking out the window. You are part of the city, you are the city.”

It is one of ten suites specially designed ‘art suites‘ for the 24th edition of the Ice Hotel, Jukkasjärvi, the world’s largest hotel built from snow and ice which is rebuilt every year.

Paris suite Ice Hotel

Other art suites include ‘Mind the Gap’ by Marcus Dillistone and Magdalena Åkerström, which features an ice sculpture of an underground train, and ‘Pole Dancing’ by Christine and Natalie Close, which counts a huge polar bear sculpture amongst its interior décor.

For more information about the Icehotel, see www.icehotel.com

Afternoon Tea with Jimmy Choo

Jimmy Choo afternoon tea comes to Munich

The Mandarin bar at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Munich is offering an afternoon tea menu created in partnership with luxury shoe and accessory brand Jimmy Choo.

Afternoon Tea with Jimmy Choo

The menu includes a pastry inspired by the famous brand’s “Sundays” pumps and a chocolate treat shaped like the “Charlize” handbag, in addition to chocolate-raspberry macarons and small glasses of gourmet creations with grapefruit, lemon and caviar.

This assortment of treats is served with your choice of tea (€39) or a glass of champagne (€55). All guests will receive a complimentary gift set from Jimmy Choo: Jimmy Choo flash fragrant surprise.

This is not the first time Jimmy Choo has collaborated with the hotel group. Last April, the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong served up a variety of pastries inspired by the designer’s Spring 2013 collection.

The hotel even offered a package including a one-night stay, afternoon tea and a pair of shoes.

Hotel Ritz Paris

Sneak Peek At the Newly-Revamped Ritz Paris

Closed for renovationsince summer 2012, the famous Parisian hotel is scheduled to reopen in 2014. In the meantime, the Ritz offers a sneak peek at its updated décor through its brand new website.

Ritz Imperial SuiteFans of the Ritz can catch a glimpse of the Imperial Suite, the luxurious indoor pool at the spa, and the Michelin-starred L’Espadon restaurant through colorful sketches by illustrator Damien Cuypers.

A video takes the website’s visitors behind the scenes of the renovation:

In addition, the new website allows the Ritz to present its legendary history, describing how Coco Chanel took up residence at the hotel in the 1930s, how Ernest Hemingway “liberated” the hotel bar in 1944, and how legendary French chef Auguste Escoffier was present from the Ritz’s founding in 1898.

Ritz Teasing Espadon

The two-year renovation covers everything from the hotel’s rooms and suites to its manicured gardens and gourmet dining facilities. The facelift should allow the historic hotel to maintain its prestigious reputation in the face of competition from major hotel groups such as Shangri-La or Mandarin Oriental, both of which have established a presence in the French capital in recent years.

Instagram

Instagram and Pinterest are changing the hotel industry

Hotel chains are increasingly leveraging the power of Instagram to reach a broader audience, with Starwood the latest to integrate the photo-sharing feature across its nine brands around the world.

Instagram

Using the hashtag #SPGLife, guests can now add photos of their Starwood experience at properties like the St. Regis, the Westin, Le Meridien, Sheraton and W to an Instagram guest gallery.

It’s estimated that Starwood guests staying at the chain’s 1,150 properties around the world capture and share an average of 40,000 images a month on Instagram.

Currently, photos on the guest gallery include beachfront photos of the W Maldives as well as food porn of a traditional English breakfast at the St. Regis Singapore.

W Hotel Maldives

Perhaps one of the biggest Instagram pioneers of the hotel industry, however, remains the 1888 Hotel in Sydney, Australia, a boutique property that billed itself as the world’s first Instagram hotel for hinging its decor and services on the photo-sharing app when it opened this year.

In a bid to attract and serve a digitally savvy clientele, the hotel offers a free night’s stay to Instagram users with more than 10,000 followers — in other words, lots of clout — and has likewise dedicated a “selfie space” where guests can take photos of themselves, hashtag it #1888hotel and see their photo appear instantaneously on screens near the reception desk.

1888 hotel

Similarly, the Four Seasons claimed authority on the photo sharing site Pinterest, with the Pin. Pack. Go feature. After a traveler creates boards pinned with photos of their ideal vacation and specifying their destination city, a virtual concierge from the Four Seasons will offer personalized recommendations and itineraries based on the user’s Pinterest board.

Meanwhile, both Condé Nast Traveler and luxury travel company Cox & Kings predict that geolocating mediums like Facebook and Instagram will play increasingly bigger roles in the travel industry in 2014, either as an advertising platform for hotels or as a “Wish you were here” postcard by guests.

New York Palace lobby

Martin Katz Jewel Suite at New York Palace Hotel

In lieu of a complimentary fruit basket or bottle of bubbly, a luxury hotel in New York City is giving away diamond rings with your reservation. The catch? A one-night’s stay costs $25,000.

New York Palace lobby

Guests of The New York Palace’s Jewel Suite, designed by jeweler to the stars Martin Katz, stay in a 5,000-square foot, three-level apartment bedecked in gemstones and rich, plush fabrics on the building’s 53rd floor.

New York Palace room

The suite, complete with its own private roof-top deck and garden with an elevated spa, offers an unparalleled view of the NYC skyline.

New York Palace suite dining room

Guests of the Martin Katz Jewel Suite are treated to exclusive amenities including a complimentary, original Martin Katz Diamond Microband Ring, valued at $2,500, a rare private consultation with Katz himself, champagne, white roses, Michel Richard white chocolate diamond truffles, a Maybach house car service, and Maître d’étage service to fulfill guest’s every whim.

Jewel Suite Living RoomJewel Suite Jewel Suite Viewing RoomJewel Suite Stair caseNew York Palace suiteJewel Suite Hot TubJewel Suite Terrace

Residence Inn Sarajevo

Marriott Moves Into Sarajevo

In another sign that interest in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a tourist destination is growing, Marriott International has announced plans to open its first hotel in the region by late 2014.

Residence Inn Sarajevo

The Residence Inn Sarajevo is located 20 min from the airport near the old city and feature 75 suites. When it enters the market next year, Marriott International will become the only internationally branded hotel in the country. The move also points to Sarajevo’s potential as an evolving business destination.