Tag Archives: luxury hotel

NYC Landmark Returns to Life as The Beekman Hotel

The Temple Court complex has returned to life as The Beekman hotel and it is more luxurious than ever. One of the earliest skyscrapers in the Big Apple (it has nine stories which was pretty impressive back in the 1800s), the building has been returned to its former glory much as it was in 1881. Having been a regular office building for most of its existence, this revamp sees the landmark located between the East and Hudson Rivers become a new luxury hotel and dining destination. Beekman-hotel-new-york-3

Step through the doors and guests are greeted by a soaring nine-story Victorian atrium and pyramidal skylight; this atrium was Temple Court’s claim to fame when it opened and remains impressive today. Another ode to its Victorian-era past are cast iron railings, balustrades and dragon-shaped cast iron brackets. The 287 rooms within the hotel are decorated with vintage furnishings from around the world, sourced from antique dealers. Custom-designed oak beds will welcome guests along with a bathroom that is tiled in Carrara marble.Beekman-hotel-new-york-2

Apart from luxurious amenities for guests from out of town, the hotel also boasts a two dining options. The first is Fowler & Wells by celebrity chef Tom Colicchio that serves up modern American dishes such as lobster Thermidor and beef Wellington that pay tribute to cuisine of turn-of-the-century New York City. The second is a brasserie-style restaurant, Augustine, by Keith McNally. Featuring French classics, a special rotisserie and grillades section for meat, fish and poultry, it is set to be a treat for those choosing to dine here.

The Upper House, Hong Kong: Top of the World

Located at the heart of Hong Kong’s business district is Swire Hotel’s luxury hotelThe Upper House. Sitting atop Pacific Place, The Upper House is equipped with 117 hotel rooms (including 21 suites and 2 penthouses), and also premiere lounges and facilities. Designed by renowned Hong-Kong based architect Andre Fu, The Upper House is as calming as it is contemporary. The breath-taking views of the harbour, Kowloon and the surrounding hills that can be seen from the rooms add to this relaxing and luxurious experience.

The Upper House Hong Kong

Entrance Doors

Another notable feature about The Upper House is its size. These spacious rooms, ranging from 730sqf to 1,960sqf, are not commonly found in Hong Kong, where compact living is the norm, and is the perfect haven for whether you’re in town for work or play, to re-charge and breathe before you take on the city again.

The Upper House Hong Kong

Main Dining Hall

Then there’s Café Gray Deluxe, arguably the best thing about The Upper House. Located on the 49th floor, Café Gray Deluxe is a grand café and restaurant that serves signature European dishes by Chef Gray Kunz, and offers a glorious view of the Victoria Harbour. Its bar is stocked with some of the best wines in the world, and serves amazing cocktails to boot. So whether you’re looking to dine exquisitely, or wine down feeling like a king, Café Gray Deluxe is the place to be.

The Upper House Hong Kong

Studio with Harbour View

Now art lovers listen up: The Upper House is also a home to a collection of contemporary artworks and installation on display. Both local and international artists such as Mang Fung Yi (Hong Kong), Armen Agop (Egypt) and Hiroshiwata Sawada (Japan) to name a few, have their works showcased around the hotel lobby and in the suites. In addition, The Upper House is located a stone’s throw from the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) where Art Basel Hong Kong is held every year. And just a little bit further is the Central District, where most of Hong Kong’s best art galleries are located.

The Upper House Hong Kong

Bathroom with night view

Recently, the Upper House announced an upcoming partnership with the luxury lifestyle store Harvey Nichols, which is also found in the Pacific Place Mall, to offer both a unique hotel-stay and shopping experience. “At The Upper House, luxury service defines an environment which is not only about a beautiful surrounding but also a service and anticipation of service. We always work hard to go beyond guest expectations and to make every guest feel at home” said Marcel Thoma, General Manager of The Upper House, Hong Kong. He added, “What sets us apart is that mastering the skill of becoming an expert observer, actively taking note of any routine or preferences your guest may have, from the bag they carry to the way they shake your hand. Each clue provides an insight on the bespoke type of service they would appreciate.”

The Upper House Hong Kong

Double Vanities

Now take all of the above and add to it a tight-knit family of some of the best service staff in the world, always there at your beck and call for your every need, no matter how small… it really doesn’t get any better than this.

The Upper House, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Hong Kong – +852 2918 1838

Lotte New York Palace

Top 10 ‘Pokétels’ New York City: Catch ‘Em All

Listen up Pokémon Go fans: One hotel-booking site has found one major city with a host of Pokéstops and Pokégyms that any fan of the game would be happy to hear about. Hotels.com now provides users with a list of what they call the best “Pokétels” in the US with several found in New York City.

Alright, we grant you that it is slightly unusual for us to cover a game such as Pokémon Go. Needless to say, the global phenomenon is so powerful that it has swept up major names in luxury such as The Peninsula, the Four Seasons and the St. Regis. Yes, Pokémon Go has indeed come to the rarefied world of high end living, ready or not.

With nine out of 10 New York hotels making the list, it is clear that the city is a hotspot for those looking to get their fix for their addiction to the game. Cashing in on the craze, the site reveals that the top spot is occupied by none other than The Towers at Lotte New York Palace. With 11 Pokéstops and Pokégyms within 500 feet and another 231 within a 1.25-mile radius, the area is certainly a hotspot for those looking to expand their collection.

The geo-location-based game has taken off in various locations in recent weeks, which gets players off their couches and out exploring the world. Venturing out to see the city landmarks, monuments and public spaces, the game has even gotten players considering visiting new destinations. The majority of respondents agreed they’d take free Wifi over free breakfast if they had to choose, and expressed a booking preference for hotels that are Pokéstops.

While New York is the city to beat in the US, it is in fact Paris that holds the title of home to the most Pokétels, with six out of 10 spots taken by the French capital. We bring you the full Hotels.com list of top 10 US hotels within 500 feet of Pokéstops and Pokégyms:

Wynn Palace, Macau

Wynn Palace Opens in Macau

It has been six years in the making but we will soon be able see the Wynn Palace, a highly anticipated luxury hotel, opening its doors to guests in Macau. After numerous delays, the floral themed hotel is set to make its debut next week in the casino capital of Asia.Wynn Palace, Macau

With 1,700 rooms all centered around a colorful floral theme and large-scale displays including a Ferris wheel decorated with 103,000 flowers by floral designer Preston Bailey. To ferry guests across the eight-acre lake and into the resort are air-conditioned “SkyCabs”. Within the resort, Wynn Palace features a collection of rare and contemporary art.

One piece that we would personally love to see is a painting by Jeff Koons of a bouquet of tulips. With big-spenders descending on the city possibly every day, the hotel tries to think of everything to keep them in a good mood. The Wynn Palace is even fitted with the largest spa in Macau that features an impressive menu. Luxurious facials using crushed diamonds and gold-leaf mean that it is difficult to say that one will not be pampered like a high-roller at the Wynn Palace.Wynn Palace, Macau

Top-tier Garden Villas span up to 743 square meters (8,000 square feet) and feature outdoor gardens, swimming pools, grand pianos, a 24-hour butler service and two to three master suites. With amenities by Molton Brown, the hotel also boasts audio systems by Bang & Olufsen. Ok, neither of those are particularly exclusive but all in all, these are comforts that world travelers expect to find. However, the Wynn palace isn’t just about providing guests with a comfortable stay. Instead “Wynners” can look forward to a dozen dining options such as ramen from the world’s only Michelin-starred ramen chef Yuki Onishi, who designed the menu.Wynn Palace, Macau

The Wynn Palace was originally set to open in March but delayed its debut till August 22. Factors that are said to have contributed to this include the-now famous economic slowdown in China and Beijing’s anti-corruption campaign, which resulted in a drop in gambling revenue for Macau. The Wynn Palace is the second integrated resort property by the company after Wynn Macau, which opened in 2006.

 

4 Luxury Asian Hotels: Banyan Tree X SilkAir

Asia has a lot to offer, and if you’re planning a trip to this very diverse continent (which you shouldn’t even think of as a single place), count yourself lucky. In a partnership with SilkAir, Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts has rolled out a range of promotions to seven idyllic properties in four iconic Asian destinations. Think of it as less planning on your part: the package includes full-service SilkAir flights, exclusive discounts of up to 30%, complimentary upgrades, dining offers and experiences at spas and Laguna Golf Clubs.

Banyan Tree Lijiang at Lijiang, China

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Luxe meets tradition in Banyan Tree Lijiang, where once can bask in China’s history while taking a retreat located 2,400 meters above sea level and framed by the majestic Snow Jade Dragon Mountain. One can pick from a Garden Suite, Mountain View Suite, or Jet Pool Villas, and indulge in activities like yoga or play tennis on outdoor courts. In fact, one is reconnected with nature in this hotel – Lijiang isn’t a UNESCO heritage site for nothing.

Rates begin at $283 per night, inclusive of breakfast. Discounts of up to 30% are offered on best available rates, spa treatments, gallery products and complimentary upgrades when presenting the boarding pass on arrival. This offer is valid until 30 March 2017.

http://www.banyantree.com/en/cn-china-lijiang

Banyan Tree Phuket at Phuket, Thailand

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Phuket has increasingly a spot on many’s travel itineraries in recent years – and rightly so. Breath-taking coastal views, pristine waters and stretches of glisteneing sand can all be found at the charming Bang Tao Bay, a stone’s throw from Banyan Tree Phuket. Opt between a variety of Pool Villas, ranging from the Banyan Lagoon Pool Villa to the Grand Two Bedroom Villa. In between dipping into pools and long, leisurely walks down the shores, one can indulge in cooking classes, golf classes, and even a turtle club for children.

Rates begin from $627 per night, inclusive of breakfast. Discounts of up to 25% are offered on F&B, best available rates, spa treatments, gallery products and golf green fees at Laguna Golf Phuket when presenting the boarding pass on arrival. This offer is valid until 20 December 2016.

http://www.banyantree.com/en/ap-thailand-phuket-resort

Banyan Tree Lang Co at Lang Co, Vietnam

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Picture dramatic vistas spread across a rugged landscape of unspoiled nature. Nestled in the heart of UNESCO World Heritage sites, eco-diverse mountains and spectacular national parks, Banyan Tree Lang Co is an all-pool villa resort. Visitors can stay in a Lagoon Pool Villa, Sanctuary Pool Villa, Beach Pool Villa and Seaview Hill Pool Villas of up to three-bedrooms in size. It is not all just pools, however; this hotel also boasts meeting rooms, a Laguna Sea Sports Centre and Marine Lab, as well as a gym and yoga pavilion. Having stayed at this location ourselves, we recommend it heartily and whole-heartedly. Although, as with all Banyan Trees, the fact that the best restaurant is the signature Saffron (Thai cuisine) is a little jarring.

Rates begin from $258 per night, inclusive of breakfast. Discounts of up to 20% are offered on best available rates, spa treatments, gallery products and golf green fees at Laguna Golf Lang Co, when presenting the boarding pass on arrival. This offer is valid for bookings until 15 August 2016 and for stays until 22 December 2016.

http://www.banyantree.com/en/ap-vietnam-lang-co

Angsana Maison Souvannaphoum at Luang Prabang, Laos

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Steeped in old-world charm, one is surrounded by breath-taking natural landscapes as they seemingly take a trip back in time. More than just vintage charm, however, the hotel also has royal origins: it once belonged to Laos’ four-time Prime Minister Prince Souvanna Phouma. Live in classic French colonial interiors in the Garden Wing, Residence Twin to the Maison Room. Enjoy spas, al fresco dining at the Elephant Blanc restaurant and in-room dining while on stay.

Rates begin from $120 per night, inclusive of breakfast. Discounts of up to 30% are offered on best available rates, spa treatments and gallery products, plus a complimentary traditional Laos set menu dinner with a minimum stay of two nights). This offer is valid for bookings until 31 August 2016 and for stays until 23 December 2016.

http://www.angsana.com/en/ap-laos-maison-souvannaphoum

Terms and conditions apply.

Connaught Bar Named World’s Best 2016

The Connaught Hotel in London might just boast one of the finest penthouses in the city, which makes it the ultimate dream accommodation for travelers, but definitely has the best watering hole, the Connaught Bar. Over the weekend the hotel’s bar helped cement its status in the world of luxury hotels, having been named the world’s best bar 2016. Seriously, the bar is so famous that it is just called the Connaught Bar, with nary a thought for the hotel that hosts it.

As part of the “Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award”, the event saw 100 industry experts’ award winners in five main categories. With finalists from America and around the world, the awards recognized the efforts of mixologists, cocktail menus and bars. The event also saw the Connaught Bar walk away with the award for best international hotel bar.connaught_bar_drinks

Located in one of London’s most desirable and fashionable neighborhoods, the bar boasts a luxurious interior and a carefully concocted menu. The bar was designed by David Collins, the man responsible for the interiors of restaurants such as Marco Pierre White, Marcus Wareing, The Wolseley and Gordon Ramsey. Apart from restaurants, the interior designer has also been the creative mastermind behind retail interiors such as Jimmy Choo and Harrods as well as Madonna’s New York and London apartments.

At the Connaught Bar, guests can look forward to plush leather seats amidst 1920s inspired décor as they sip their cocktails. Yes, because people with class sip… Surrounded by silver leaf walls decorated in pink, pistachio and lilac, bartenders in spiffy suits, white-gloves, crisp white shirts and black vests serve up some interesting concoctions. From the Mulata Daisy, made of eight-year-old rum, creme de cacao and fennel seeds to the Sakura that is created with Pear Williams EDV, cherry blossom liquor and plum wine, the cocktails promise to give you that tingly feeling.connaught_bar_bartenders

Other winners include:

Best American Restaurant Bar: Saxon + Parole (New York)

American Bartender of the Year: Jeffrey Morgenthaler of Clyde Common (Portland)

Best American Cocktail Bar: Smuggler’s Cove (San Francisco)

Best American Hotel Bar: The Elephant Bar at The NoMad (New York)

Best New American Cocktail Bar: Sweet Liberty (Miami Beach)

Best International Bar Team:American Bar at the Savoy (London)

Best International Restaurant Bar: Hawksmoor Spitalfields (London)

International Bartender of the Year: Hidetsugu Ueno of Bar High Five (Tokyo)

Best International Cocktail Bar: Happiness Forgets (London)

Le Roch Hotel & Spa Now Open

France welcomes another luxury hotel and spa to its stylish capital, with the opening of Le Roch Hotel & Spa earlier this week. Located on a prime plot of real estate, the 37-room hotel is just steps away from iconic Paris locations such as the Place Vendôme, the Opéra Garnier and the world famous art gallery: the Louvre.Le-Roch-hotel-and-spa-suite

The spanking new hotel is housed in a heritage structure in the 1st arrondissement that dates back to the 19th century, which adds to its charm where sophistication meets modern design. The talented individuals behind the interior of the hotel are none other than interior designer Sarah Lavoine and architect Vincent Bastie. With amenities such as a sun-lit courtyard, a library a restaurant and an exclusive spa, Le Roch is a slice of Parisian heaven.Le-Roch-hotel-and-Spa-bathroom

The aesthetics of the hotel reflect the vibe of the neighborhood, while boasting colors such as sage, chartreuse and milky green. Furniture and fixtures are anything but boring, proving that the designer has a keen eye for detail. From pieces designed by Lavoine herself and crafted by Cassina, to the Carrera marble, solid walnut wood flooring right down to the bathtubs and basins by Kaldewei, each element blends together to create a stylish living space.Le-Roch-hotel-and-spa-hammam-shower

If a spacious en-suite wasn’t enough, Le Roch provides a private hamman steam bath in each suite — perfect for resting those tired muscles after a day of travel. Complementing the bath are cosmetics from Codage that are specially commissioned for the hotel and spa. To be truly well rested and ready for the real world once again, the hotel provides guest with a 75-minute top-to-toe facial and body massage. To ensure that guests make the most of the signature in-house treatment, they are given a one-month supply of Codage’s ready-to-wear skincare line that combats jetlag and the effects of travel (Score!)Le-Roch-hotel-and-spa-dining-rooms

France being an international culinary hub means that the hotel has a restaurant steeped in world-class gastronomy. In the capable hands of chef Arnaud Faye, the restaurant provides guests with a menu that is anything but traditional French fare. Instead, the dishes use vegetables and botany for a truly gastronomic experience. While the meals are designed to be shared, we certainly wouldn’t complain about having a plate all to ourselves.

Le Roch Hotel & Spa – 28 rue Saint Roch, 75001 Paris

Huus Hotel, Switzerland Opens December 2016

Some hotels may boast the finest amenities with luxurious interiors but few can truly feel like a home away from home. At the Huus Hotel in Switzerland, slated to open at the end of this year, the concept is what makes the hotel so special. Even its name stems from the Swiss-German word for ‘home’.Huus-Hotel-Switzerland-room

This hotel combines themes that focus on comfort, adventure and taste to give guests a stay that will simply have them torn between snuggling up on that oh-so-inviting bed and exploring the areas around the hotel. Situated between Schönried and Saanen, the 131-room hotel will offer views of the Alpine peaks, waterfalls and high moors. “At the heart of Huus Hotel is our sentiment “come up, slow down””, says Günter Weilguni, CEO of Huus Hotel. “Guests will find themselves back to serenity, back to an active immersion in nature, and firmly rooted in the unparalleled spectacle of the alpine mountain region.”Huus-Hotel-Switzerland-Spring

For those who love all things sporty, the luxurious retreat away from the hustle and bustle of urban living boasts numerous expertly guided outdoor activities. Adrenaline junkies can look forward to 250km of slopes and trails in the winter. Come spring to fall, The Huus Hotel entertains guests with biking, hiking and rafting. Like any perfect vacation, there are also options that allow guests to wind down and relax and the hotel does not disappoint.

Huus-Hotel-Switzerland-PoolFine restaurants, a spa that is steeped in both comfort and luxury, and adventure lounge along with a fully fledged family area ensure that the amenities cater to all. With the award-winning Swedish design firm Stylt Trampoli behind the interiors, the hotel blends nature with contemporary elements. The rich, organic tones are coupled with natural and locally sourced materials that bring that feeling of nature into each room.

Huus Hotel, Gstaad-Saanen Schönriedstrasse 74 3792 Sanen-Gstaad – +41 33 748 04 04

Greece, Italy Top Luxury Hotel List

London and Geneva may boast Europe’s highest costs of living but when it comes to luxury hotels, Italian and Greek cities are in a league of their own. According to a Luxury.Hotels.com study published Monday, the most expensive place in Europe to take a holiday this summer is southern Greece. At €1,779 a night, the Amanzo’e in Kranidi, Greece tops this year’s summer chart.

In second place is Le Dune in Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy (€1,645 a night) and while the Cap Estel on the French Riviera rounds out the top three (€1,596 a night) it is the only hotel located anywhere other than in Greece or Italy to make this year’s top 10.

Beyond the top three, 12 of the top 20 hotels in this year’s list are in Italy, three can be found in Greece and a further three in France leaving just 16th place for the Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons in Oxford, in the UK and 18th place for the Mandarin Oriental in Bodrum, Turkey. This seems perfectly in line with what we discovered in our own story recently. We’ll be delving into the good times to be had on the Greek islands soon…

Revamped Peninsula Beijing Boasts Larger Rooms

For those who love sprawling hotel rooms with ample space for everyone’s steamers and trunks, The Peninsula Beijing may be your new home away from home. The hotel now boasts the largest luxury hotel rooms in the Chinese capital since they revamped their 525 rooms to actually create fewer rooms and suites – there are now 230. A small sacrifice really, for luxury. However, ‘small’ is definitely not the name of the game here.Peninsula-Beijing-renovations-master-bedroom

The smallest rooms start at 60 square meters (645 square feet), going against trend in the industry. That is to say, most hotels maximize space to earn as much revenue as possible by creating as many rooms as possible.

With a little inspiration from luxury yachts and a few cultural elements, guests can trust that the rooms are both comfortable and sophisticated. The rooms feature hues of cream while artworks from Chinese artists adorn the walls. Like most luxury yachts, the rooms are fitted with furnishings from luxury Italian designers and a few hand-finished pieces from local designers. Peninsula-Beijing-renovations-dining-room

The experience doesn’t stop there. Guests have full control of the lighting, temperature and can even order room service via the tablets that are found on the bedside and on room desks. The most luxurious suite in the hotel is The Loft that commands the top floors of the hotel. Spanning two stories, the suite has floor-to-ceiling windows that provide breath-taking views of the city below.

The hotel has created another tier of suites by combining 17 room to create living spaces that measure up to 165 square meters (1,883 square feet). The suites also come with large living and dining spaces, dressing quarters and a master bedroom.

Park Hyatt Vendôme Offers Best Value Luxury

While the term ‘affordable luxury’ may seem an oxymoron, a recent study conducted by the research firm Consultourisme has discovered which luxury hotel offers the best value out there. The 5-star Park Hyatt Vendôme was discovered to be the least expensive option out of all the ‘Palace’ hotels located in Paris.

The vaunted ‘Palace’ status is only awarded to the most prestigious hotels in the country. The city of Paris itself happens contain eight of these ‘Palaces’ – out of a total of 16. Consultourisme (which did the study for Tourmag.com) did a first comparison of rates in February for a two-night stay in a double room from April 1 to 3. A second comparison was carried out mid-May for a weeknight booking for the following day for a one-night stay in a double room with breakfast. From this, the researchers managed to check out which of the Paris ‘Palaces’ offered the best in terms of price.

In both cases, the Park Hyatt Vendôme proved the least expensive option at a rate of €1,394 for two nights booked in advance or €868.80 for a single night booked last minute. On the other hand, none of the hotels really stood out as the most expensive. The priciest two-night stay booked in advance came in at €3,167.50 at the Plaza Athénée, whereas the Royal Monceau topped the list for last-minute one-night bookings at €1,316. Of course, all this is dependent on the season and events being held in Paris, such as the popular fashion weeks. Prices are also dependent on whether it’s on a weekends or weeknights.

One of the great things about all the Paris ‘Palace’ hotels are their locations – they’re all found somewhere in the 8th and 16th arrondissements. This puts them in close proximity with the city’s major tourist sights, like the Louvre or the trendy shops set along the Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré. For those of you interested in visiting the City of Lights with a bit extra to splurge, you might want to consider the Park Hyatt Vendôme as the spot to check out.

Paris Ritz Reopens After Renovations, Fire

Finally, after four years of renovations and a major fire that necessitated restoration, the landmark Paris Ritz hotel will be reopening its doors to guests. The new Ritz, situated on the Place Vendome, will only have 142 rooms and suites, compared to 159 previously, and not all of them will be immediately available as the final touches are still being applied. The hotel boasts a legendary history – with names such as Charlie Chaplin, Coco Chanel and Ernest Hemingway having visited since its founding by Cesar Ritz in 1898.

Hemingway, especially, was enamored with the place, once making the statement that: “When I dream of afterlife in heaven, the action always takes place in the Paris Ritz”. The writer famously rallied a group of Resistance fighters to go and liberate his beloved hotel which had been requisitioned in June 1940 by the Nazis and occupied by German brass. However he was too late as the Nazis had already left, so he took to the bar where he is said to have run up a tab for 51 dry martinis. The hotel was also the place where Princess Diana spent her last hours before her tragic car accident while being chased by paparazzi.

The refurbishment started in 2012, with an estimated $150 million brought together to spruce up the whole establishment. Although it was slated to re-open in March this year, a fire ravaged a section of the building and caused delays. All that is over now though and the new Ritz is ready for business, boasting a summer restaurant under a movable glass canopy, a larger ballroom and the latest technology in its rooms.

If you’re interested in finally being able to experience the atmosphere of the Paris Ritz, you can check out their website over here. Bear in mind that rooms are severely limited and demand is projected to be unreasonably high…

Unique Suites at Hotel Pitrizza, Sardinia

Overlooking the crystal-clear azure waters of Sardinia, Hotel Pitrizza (a Starwood Luxury Collection hotel) sits in its own cozy corner of Costa Smeralda in a setting of untouched natural splendor. The hotel isn’t new and our focus here is on something called the Unique Suites, which were recently completed. These suites are so-named because no two are identical of course.

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The suites are designed to blend harmoniously into the surroundings. Keeping the traditional Sardinian style in mind, Hotel Pitrizza used local materials such as wood and granite for a rustic charm. Inside, each suite features a stunning bedroom, with a spacious bathroom, living room, dining area and terrace, all boasting breath-taking views of clear skies, white sandy beaches and aquamarine waters.

Unique Suite - Taphros

Hotel Pitrizza also romances with its uncompromising 5-star services. Amenities such as your own private solarium and seawater pool, and 24-hour butler service make the posh seafront hotel your refuge away from home. Starwood Preferred Guests should take note that their privileges definitely come into play here.

Unique Suite - Sandan

While you’re there, check out the vibrant Costa Smeralda Season, which kicks off in May with the Porto Cervo Wine & Wine Festival. The extravaganza, which runs through to the end of September, focuses on the best Italian wine and food, with traditional gala dinners and glamorous concerts at the Cala di Volpe attracting international music stars the likes of Elton John and Robbie Williams.

Cannes Hyatt Deploys Hawks to Battle Seagulls

An uninvited guest is never a good thing during a meal and when the guest is question is an opportunistic seagull, it is time to bare the claws, literally. The Grand Hyatt Cannes Hotel Martinez has deployed a team of trained hawks to keep the gulls away —Heroes do come in all shapes and sizes, after all. Grand-Hyatt-Cannes-Hotel-Martinez-PRINT-(1)

The measure is mainly to ensure that the seagulls do not trouble the rich and famous on the scenic French Rivera, who might be in town for the Cannes Film Festival. “If a gull that weighs a kilo lands on a table, knocking over glasses — keeping in mind that celebrities walking the red carpet are wearing unique dresses — if a drink spills on a dress, it’s all over,” said professional hawker Christophe Puzin. “We basically send our birds of prey to attack seagulls. During the day, when we serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we’re watching to make sure no seagulls land on the tables.”

One of the five winged heroes, happens to be a five-year-old Harris’s Hawk that answers to the name Tsunga. The environmentally friendly solution to the gulls, poses no threat to the guests of the hotel. While we’d like to attribute this to the hawks being super professional but it is probably because humans are too big — sea gulls however are no match to the feathered security team. Grand-Hyatt-Cannes-Hotel-Martinez-PRINT

“We have seen a gull try to take a guest’s steak before. And others come to get peanuts or other things,” said Alessandro Cresta, general manager of the hotel.

“Of course, it is also partly the guests’ fault. They have started taming them by feeding them regularly. After a while, birds get used to the presence of humans and lose their fear.”

St. Regis Kuala Lumpur Opens Doors

The famous St. Regis brand of hotels has finally touched down in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, providing a new standard of luxury for guests. Well, new in the sense that the city – in fact the country – lacked a St. Regis, which is a shame really as it is among the best Starwood has to offer. Located in the Sentral Precinct, otherwise known as KL Sentral, the 208 rooms and suites of the hotel aims to cater to the heart’s desire of any guest.

The array of suites on offered by the hotel range from 678 to 4,000 square feet, from vanilla guestrooms all the way up to the opulent Royal Suite. It isn’t quite as fancy as the St. Regis Abu Dhabi but more on that in bit. In terms of dining, St. Regis aims to satisfy a wide range of tastes, with a choice of six restaurants and bar spaces, as well as menus from three-Michelin-starred chef Takashi Saito from the Sushi Saito.The-St.-Regis-Kuala-Lumpur-Deluxe-Room_1

As for the rest of the services, you can expect all of the bells and whistles that the St. Regis is well known for. Each room will offer walk-in wardrobes, butler services and complementary daily unpacking, pressing and an in-room coffee and tea service. The Royal Suite, in particular, comes with private elevator access, leading directly into a suite featuring an outdoor terrace, a show kitchen, a massage room, and a gym.

“The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur’s strategic location, tech-forward facilities, and sophisticated services will offer the finest guest experiences imaginable, crafted for today’s luminaries who make our hotels their home away from home,” said Jim Petrus, Global Brand Leader, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts. For those familiar with the hotel’s reputation, it promises not to disappoint.

Focus: Architect Isay Weinfeld

Arguably Brazil’s best-known architect since Oscar Niemeyer, Isay Weinfeld has been designing private homes, luxury hotels and furniture since he founded his multidisciplinary practice in 1973. From the beginning, the Sao Paolo native has designed projects from the largest to the smallest scale and across a variety of programs; including civic, commercial and residential architecture, as well as interiors. Recently his firm has completed the Fasano Hotel in Uruguay, a private residence for the Royal family of Monaco and a line of office furniture for Herman Miller.

Fasano Las Piedras Exterior

Fasano Las Piedras Exterior

Fond of using concrete and simple shapes, many of Weinfeld’s private residences seem to float above the landscape with boxy, cantilevered living spaces that open to the outdoors. Although the architect has designed a multitude of them over the past 35 years, he still approaches each, with great specificity. “A house should exactly fit its user,” he says, and he signs on only after listening to prospective clients describe how they wish to live. “What do you do when you wake up in the morning?” he’ll ask. “How do you spend your day?”

In 2011, Weinfeld developed a strong rapport with a young couple looking to build a home in Sao Paulo’s Jardins, an area known for its trendy shops and restaurants. The pair wanted an informal, light-filled dwelling where they could live with their three children and Brazilian art collection — something modern, but comfortable. Weinfeld’s design features a series of serene rooms punctuated by diverse textures.

Fasano Las Piedras Bedroom

Fasano Las Piedras Bedroom

While Weinfeld generally dismisses the label of Tropical Modernism, his designs share the movement’s flair for the tactile and a look that is both sensual and stark. At the Jardins Villa his restrained palette features weathered-wood paneling, iron-gray concrete and raw granite steps, while splashes of color come from the art pieces and from the lush green garden. In the living spaces, muted mid-century furniture includes a coatrack by Le Corbusier, Hans J. Wegner dining chairs and leather armchairs by Danish designer Ib Kofod-Larsen.

Fasano Las Piedras Pool

Fasano Las Piedras Pool

At a recent hotel project in Uruguay, the architect created a series of concrete bungalows that appear like stones scattered across the area’s rugged landscape.  The project, Hotel Fasano Las Piedras in Punta del Este, combines private houses, hotel bungalows, a golf course, polo fields and a three-kilometer long beach over 480 hectares of arid, rocky land.

After a detailed study of the program, Weinfeld opted for a structure made up of single units designed and distributed as isolated modules almost “landing naturally” on the ground like the rocks themselves. From the outside the bungalows look like low-slung rectangles; on the inside the design features large open spaces, endless unframed glazing’s and pure white surfaces that combine with rustic woods, saddle leather and eclectic furniture pieces.

Jardim Exterior, New York City

Jardim Exterior, New York City

The project is not the first Weinfeld has designed for the Fasano Hotel Group. He designed the original Fasano Hotel, which opened in 2003 in São Paulo and was named one of the “50 Best Hotels of the World” by Condé Nast Traveler. He also designed several subsequent properties under the Fasano brand, including the upcoming Fasano Hotel and Residences at Shore Club in Miami. Developed by HFZ Capital Group, the project is located in South Beach and when complete in 2017 it will include a revamped Shore Club with a 100-room hotel and 75 luxury condominium residences designed by Isay Weinfeld.

The project marks Weinfeld’s first large scale project in Miami. He is also, currently working on his first multifamily project in New York City. Jardim, which means ‘garden’ in Portuguese, will be located in West Chelsea overlooking the High Line Park. The project design features a simple, monolithic structure rendered mostly in brick and concrete with latticed wood screens and a generously planted second-floor terrace that envelops the site.

Jardim Living Room, New York

Jardim Living Room, New York

The apartments themselves are a classy mix of smoked oak, marble, brass and limestone and prices average about US$2,500/sq. ft. (or $2 million for one-bedroom units.) Douglas Elliman Development Marketing is handling the exclusive sales and marketing. Jardim, also incorporates a private driveway and 2,000 sq. ft. of gardens across two levels. On the ground floor, the courtyard is viewed through tall windows that provide a leafy backdrop for the front desk. Glass skylights in the second floor terrace allow natural light to filter through to the residence’s swimming pool and gymnasium below.

The project is a welcome departure from the flamboyant architecture that surrounds it, including the soon to be completed 520 West 28th Street, a spaceship-like condominium by Zaha Hadid Architects. “This isn’t a kind of architecture that shouts, it’s an architecture that speaks low,” Weinfeld said in a recent interview. “What is very important for me is to have a very well-designed plan. For me, the function of a project is very important. It’s not a question of beauty. The building has to work to make sense.”

Fasano Hotel and Residences at Shore Club

Miami has long been a favored destination for well-heeled Brazilian travelers, now Brazil’s top designer and hotelier are teaming for a luxury development in South Beach. Isay Weinfeld is converting The Shore Club, a historic hotel in Miami’s Art Deco district, into a luxury complex with condominiums, hotel rooms and poolside bungalows, while Fasano Hotel Group will operate the hotel and residences.

Fasano Hotel at Shore Club Exterior

Fasano Hotel at Shore Club Exterior

The Art Deco building, which is located on the waterfront in South Beach, was originally built by Miami architect Albert Anis, in 1939. Weinfeld is preserving and transforming the Central Tower, the Shore Club’s original 22-floor structure designed by David Chipperfield and adding external living spaces. New renderings show glass-lined balconies, light-colored materials and lush landscaping. There will also be a converted eight-story North Tower and two-story poolside and beachfront bungalows. The re-design will feature a total of 100 hotel rooms and 75 apartments, many of them offering expansive views of the beach and Atlantic Ocean.

The South Tower will house the main hotel lobby and retain many of the property’s original details while also bridging the indoors with the outdoors via a mix of terrazzo, concrete, steel and lush landscaping. Outside, the new swimming pool, will be the largest in South Beach measuring about 250 feet long and over 9,500 sq. ft.

For the condominium units, Weinfeld is creating a look of quiet, laid-back elegance by combining wood grain with white stone finishes. He has also designed expansive outdoor living areas, some terraces larger than 3,000 sq. ft., and used wide oak floors to transition seamlessly from inside to the outdoor areas.  All residences will have floor-to-ceiling windows and Bulthaup kitchens complemented by a full Gaggenau appliance suite. The condominium units range from one to one to four-bedrooms and 800 sq. ft. to over 4,000 sq. ft. There is also one tri-level penthouse and a selection of two-story bungalows. Buyers enjoy access to the new amenities building that will house a gym, yoga rooms and a spa. Prices start at $2 million.

Story Credits
Text by Sophie Kalkreuth
Images by Douglas Elliman

This article was originally published in PALACE 15

Hilton and Marriott Top Hotel Rewards Ranking

A new report reveals Hilton and Marriott to be the top hotels in terms of rewarding guests for their loyalty. Looking through the responses of nearly 3,100 consumers in the US, the Hilton HHonors and Marriott Rewards program tied for first with an overall satisfaction score of 741, out of a maximum 1,000. These were improvements to the brands’ score compared to the previous year, and it also marks the second year that Hilton HHonors has taken the top rank in the report from the market research group J.D. Power.

The report measures customer satisfaction based on six factors: account maintenance and management; ease of redeeming points; ease of earning points; variety of benefits; reward program terms; and customer satisfaction. The overall satisfaction with hotel loyalty programs also spiked across the board, improving from 701 in 2015 to 711 this year.

“At Hilton, customer experience is at the heart of everything we do. Our team members around the world are passionate about delivering impeccable, personalized service to our guests and that is why it’s an honor to once again be recognized by J.D. Power,” said Mark Weinstein, senior vice president and global head of Loyalty & Partnerships, Hilton Worldwide, in an article by BusinessWire.

These are the top hotel rewards programs as ranked by J.D. Power:

1. Hilton HHonors
2. Marriott Rewards
3. IHG Rewards
4. La Quinta Returns
5. Best Western Rewards
6. Choice Privileges
7. Omni Hotel Select Guest
8. Club Carlson
9. Hyatt Gold Passport
10. Fairmont President’s Club

Life Is Suite: The Carlyle

Staring out of my window at The Carlyle and appreciating the stunning view of the Manhattan skyline, I couldn’t help but reflect on how I had spent my time in New York up till that point. To put things in context, it was my first trip to the Big Apple and I was eager to soak up as many experiences as I possibly could.

I spent the better part of my two-week trip living out of an apartment in the hipster district of Williamsburg, Brooklyn and taking the L-train every day to the city. I walked up and down the entire Times Square stretch, twice, where I got tricked into taking a photo with an Asian Elvis, something that cost me $5. I strolled through Central Park and witnessed no less than two marriage proposals in the span of half an hour. I even queued up for 45 minutes to have dessert at Serendipity 3 – the famous dessert café where John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale fell in love in 2001’s rom-com Serendipity, a movie that, I proudly and freely admit, helped me through a particularly rough breakup.

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All in all, it had been a pretty action-packed trip and I didn’t think there was much else I had yet to experience. And then, I was invited to spend the last couple of nights of my trip at The Carlyle. To be honest, I hadn’t even heard of it prior to receiving the invitation. But, as I later found out, that is what The Carlyle secretly wants.

Built in 1930 and named after British essayist Thomas Carlyle, the 35-storey hotel prides itself on being a time capsule of art and culture. Its rooms and suites boast of classic Louis XVI style with audubon prints, architectural renderings by Piranesi, and English country scenes by Kips on the walls, Nero Marquina and Thassos marble finishes, and even Steinway and Baldwin grand pianos.

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But above all else, The Carlyle is proudest of its discreet nature. Situated in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, The Carlyle is surrounded by galleries such as the Guggenheim and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and designer boutiques on New York’s posh Madison Avenue. Its classy, albeit unassuming front may just make you walk past it without realising what is it or the immense history and heritage that lay within in.

Over the years, the hotel has housed just about everyone – from politicians to business moguls, film stars to musicians. Every American president since Truman has stayed there. Visiting royals and heads-of-state include the likes of the late Princess Diana and Kings and Queens of Denmark, Greece, Spain, and Sweden. It used to be the meeting place for Frank Sinatra and George Harrison and continues to be a regular haunt for people like Mick Jagger, George Clooney, as well as fashion figures such as Vera Wang and Carine Roitfeld.

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Café Carlyle has made an indelible mark on the entertainment and social landscape of New York since its opening in 1955, playing host to legendary talents such as Bobby Short, Woody Allen, Elaine Stritch, Steve Tyrell, Eartha Kitt, and Judy Collins. Bemelmans Bar, on the other hand, is where artist and author Ludwig Bemelmans’s childhood fantasies are given free rein, with fine works of art and drawings of books including his children’s series, Madeline.

Having gone down the list of The Carlyle’s VIPs, guests might visualize a movie-like scenario that sees them rubbing shoulders with Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, sipping cocktails with Emma Watson, nodding to fashion designer Michael Kors and former Vogue creative director Grace Coddington chatting at the next table, while Mariah Carey walks up to sing a tune simply because she felt like it.

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But The Carlyle isn’t a place to go just to see and be seen. Instead, it is a place to immerse yourself and engage in its heritage and tradition-rich stories rather than simply bearing witness to them. It is a place to make your home away from home and to create your own narratives.

At the end of day, you want to be able to say, “I stayed at The Carlyle on the 15th floor suite that overlooks the Upper East Side, sat at the Café Carlyle listening to Steve Tyrell sing It Had To Be You, before taking an elevator that Marilyn Monroe used to ride on her many secret visits to John F. Kennedy’s duplex suite to rest your head on your very own pillow with your initials embroidered in gold on it.”

That’s the Carlyle way of life.

Story Credits

Text by Patrick Chew

This article was originally published in Men’s Folio

Grand Hyatt Opens in Rio de Janeiro

Looking out upon the sands of the Barra da Tijuca and the blue span of the ocean from a post of luxurious comfort sounds like the ultimate plan for any dream tropical vacation. The Grand Hyatt Rio de Janeiro provides exactly that comfort, with its 436 guestrooms kited out for any tourist’s desire. Among these rooms are 40 suites, two separate 1,561 square foot Presidential Suites and an even larger Penthouse Suite, at 2,100 square feet with a 1,248 square foot terrace with a lounge area and pool.

The interior of the Grand Hyatt Rio was designed by Yabu Pushelberg and Brazilian design firm Anastassiadis Arquitetos, while outside it has 17 gardens created by Brazilian landscape architect Burle Marx. Three signature restaurants allow for a plethora of dining choices while a 24-hour fitness center and a full-service spa allow for one to keep both health and beauty in tip top shape.

The Barra da Tijuca, where the hotel is situated in, is considered one of the most exclusive areas within the city, and is known for its beautiful beach. All rooms will feature balconies and great views of the Atlantic Ocean or the Marapendi Lagoon.

For more information, you can check out the hotel’s site over here.

Hyatt Launches Indie Hotel Label

The Hyatt Hotels Corporation, parent company of the Hyatt range of hotels, is finally venturing into the boutique segment, trailing on the heels of Hilton, Marriott and Starwood. Travelers who shun the cookie-cutter hotel experience, where rooms are decorated to be as inoffensive as possible in varying shades of beige and black, may want to look up properties in Hyatt’s newly launched brand which curates historic landmarks, boutique hotels, resorts and contemporary properties around the world.

Dubbed “The Unbound Collection by Hyatt,” the new portfolio is targeted towards modern travelers who seek unique experiences, says Hyatt.

That means properties that may boast an historic past, an exclusive location, innovative design or an award-winning dining experience.

So far, properties in the collection include the Hotel du Louvre in Paris; The Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas; the Carmelo Resort & Spa in Uruguay; and the Coco Palm Resort in Kauai, Hawaii.

Hyatt is playing catch-up in the hotel industry, which has seen its fair share of behemoth hotel groups try and edge their way into the boutique hotel market.

Hotel du Louvre, Paris

Hotel du Louvre, Paris

Marriott’s The Autograph Collection has been rounding up independent hotels to their portfolio since 2010, and today counts more than 90 properties around the world.

In 2014, Hilton Worldwide launched Curio – A Collection by Hilton, four- to five-star hotels chosen because they represent the local area and offer authentic experiences unique to the destination.

Properties include the SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino; The Sam Houston Hotel in Houston, Texas; Hotel Alex Johnson in Rapid City, South Dakota; and The Franklin Hotel in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

The Starwood Tribute Portfolio also launched last year as a collection of independent hotels that includes The Royal Palm South Beach Miami, the Great Northern Hotel in London, UK, The Hermitage in Jakarta, Indonesia, and The Kiroro Resort in Hokkaido, Japan.

But one of the original curators of independent hotels, however, can be traced back to France’s Relais & Chateaux founded in 1954, whose members are often historic or heritage landmarks like castles or manors, set in unique, often rustic areas in the world. Properties are admitted based on factors such as ‘charm’ and ‘character.’