Tag Archives: luxury hotel

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.’

Macau’s The 13: Most Expensive Hotel Ever?

At the startling cost of $7 million per room, Macau’s The 13, with its 200 baroquely crafted suites, fancies itself as the hotel for the one percent of the one percent. This ridiculous exercise in excess, which reportedly cost in excess of $1.4 billion (divide this by 200 and you get the per room cost above), was spearheaded by the infamously flamboyant Stephen Hung, the hotel czar with a taste for the highly decadent who earned his fortune from investment banking and real estate.

To provide some context here as far the price goes (because this story is frankly unbelievable), the 13 Hotel is not the most expensive hotel in Macau even. The hotly anticipated Wynn Palace Cotai cost a reported $4.1 billion but, at 1,700 rooms, the per room cost there is a mere $2.4 million. The secret sauce here is clearly exclusivity. Just a look into the premises already calls to mind visions of Brian De Palma’s Scarface, just with more gilt and less gunfights.

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The Internet seems to be divided about what this Louis XIII Holdings Ltd (yes that is the name of Hung’s company and the reason for the hotel’s name) property means for humanity. Stunned disbelief is probably an adequate summary. In our opinion, Hung seems to be on a determined goal to minimize the energy expenditure of the guests as far as he possibly can. The suites are accessed by private elevator. A 24-hour butler service staffed by professionals (trained by MCM Palace Consultants in Paris and certified by the English Guild of Butlers) is available. Red Rolls-Royce Phantoms are used as VIP shuttles. You get the feeling that if Hung had enough resources, he would have hired personal palanquin bearers for every guest as well.

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Every inch of the hotel seems to be embellishment: baroque inspired frescoes on the ceiling; gold-fringed drapes hanging across the room; black and white marble checkered floors; stained glass windows; neo-classical columns; crystal chandeliers. One might think that even aristocrats in the past had some sense of restraint. Likewise, in the taste department, there are six Chinese, French and Japanese restaurants & bars. The hotel even has a private invitation-only shopping space called L’Atelier – featuring exclusive bespoke products by high-end luxury brands.

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“This was a labor of love,” Hung declared in a statement, “The team and I put every ounce of creativity and passion we had into this project to ensure every detail was perfect. Our guests, I believe, will find the result truly remarkable and beyond anything they have previously experienced.”

A new kind of experience indeed. Guests will definitely be feeling Hung’s efforts penetrating into every inch of their senses for days to come.

Affluent Travelers Favor Hotels with Gyms: Report

According to the results of the 2016 Luxury Travel Report prepared by consultancy firm Resonance, fitness centers are twice as important to America’s richest travelers compared with regular travelers (40 percent versus 20). While the results here are only for one nationality, hotel operators everywhere will want to see how this relates to the one-percenters of the world. For example, Euromonitor reports that the spa market is thriving in China, with all travelers.

For the Resonance survey, 1,667 Americans travelers in the top one percent and five percent of household income and net worth were interviewed.

Compared to the 60 percent of regular US travelers who say they use the health and fitness facilities at the gym, the survey found that among the top one percent, that figure jumps to 78 percent.

Over the years, hotel chains have been responding in kind, helping frequent flyers and business travelers maintain their health on the road.

One of the best examples is the EVEN hotels chain, a brand centered entirely on wellness and health. Every room is designed to include a designated ‘gym zone,’ and comes with a yoga mat, exercise ball, foam roller, resistance bands, and library of fitness videos.

Runners who stay at select Westin hotels can also participate in a running program with a resident running concierge who will take guests on 5-mile runs (8 km) around the city. Guests who forget their shoes can borrow a pair of New Balance runners for the nominal fee of $5.

Likewise, the Fairmont Hotels & Resorts hosts will lend out workout kits that include fitness apparel, yoga mats, stretch bands and running shoes.

The Trump Hotel Collection also lends out Under Armour-branded gear and offers a low-calorie menu for health buffs.

The luxury hotel brand that gets the stamp of approval for its spa and fitness facilities from the world’s most finicky, one percent guests? The Four Seasons.

Likewise, while 31 percent of US consumers will travel to participate in an athletic competition, that number spikes to 46 percent among the wealthy.

Hong Kong is Most Visited City in the World

For the sixth year in a row, come rain or high water as they say, Hong Kong is the most visited city on the planet. With 27.8 million international arrivals, the Special Administrative Region tops the Euromonitor International’s Top 100 City Destinations Ranking for 2014. Yes, 2014 because apparently the data has just been compiled for that year according to the AFP report on it. The numbers reported are based on overall arrivals, not just high net worth individuals and a UBS report on the most expensive cities to visit in 2015 lists London (five-star hotel rates at $400 per night) ahead of Hong Kong ($250 per night). In Asia, Tokyo ($500 per night) and Shanghai ($470 per night) are both ahead of Hong Kong. Hong Kong is also cheaper, all-costs included, than either of those cities – $640 versus $1,000 (Tokyo) and $670 (Shanghai); the 2015 UBS report excludes Singapore.

Speaking of which, London ($750 per night, all costs in) surpassed Bangkok and Singapore to take second place on the Euromonitor list. London is the top European city in terms international arrivals followed by Paris ($890 per night, all costs in) in fifth, which is exactly in line with news reports citing London as a city of choice for Chinese travellers. North America’s most visited city and the only one in the top 10 was New York ($1,030 cost per night, all-costs-in, to visit) in eighth. By our count, this makes London, Paris and New York the most popular and most expensive cities to visit. We are not sure if “most expensive” is a tag any city really wants to have though…

Rio de Janeiro showed the highest jump in international arrivals with a 46.6% increase due to the FIFA World Cup and will likely see similar jumps in 2016, thanks to the Olympics. Greece had a record year in 2014: three Greek cities made the Top 100 with Athens seeing double-digit growth.

Kiev did not make the Top 100 for the first time due to geopolitical tension in the region. Saint Petersburg and Moscow saw double digit declines.

The United States and China top the rankings with seven cities each in the ranking.

For more information and the complete list of Euromonitor’s Top 100 City Destinations Ranking, you can find it here.

Lodge at Sea Island Named Best US Hotel

Interest in the best the world has to offer explodes once again as The Lodge at Sea Island, Georgia, is crowned top hotel in the USA. The US News & World Report is responsible for this latest ranking, looking at hotels and resorts in the US, the Caribbean, Canada and Mexico. According to a variety of press reports, the ranking is based on guest reviews, industry awards and expert opinion on 2,500 properties. Winners apparently represent just the top 10 percent of this total.

We have no information as to why an organization that has the word “World” in its name only looks at regional properties. What we do know is that the awards have been ongoing since 2011 and that this is the second time the Georgia property has won top honors. According to TripAdvisor, a room at The Lodge costs between $350-$700 per night, roughly.

Ritz-Carlton Montreal

Ritz-Carlton Montreal

Here are the top winners in all regions:

  • Best hotel in the US: The Lodge at Sea Island, Sea Island, Georgia
  • Best hotel in the Caribbean: The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman
  • Best hotel in Canada: Ritz-Carlton, Montreal
  • Best hotel in Mexico: Rosewood Mayakoba

From Concentration Camp to Luxury Resort

When Montenegro announced plans to transform a dilapidated Austro-Hungarian fortress island into a resort, while simultaneously preserving its heritage, no doubt it did not expect a backlash. Of course, the fortress-island in question, Mamula, also served as a WWII concentration camp so perhaps the authorities should have anticipated trouble. Now this is a relevant discussion to have, especially because in our part of Asia, we have our own troubled history with the wounds of wars and dictators past. In the example of Mamula island, the Montenegro government leased out the uninhabited island to Swiss-based Orascom Development Holding AG for 49 years. The hope was that the 15 million euro project would create 200 local jobs and pay for the preservation of the site, which might be the only island-fort built by the Austro-Hungarian Empire of old. However, even before the final plans were submitted to authorities, the local residents – some of whom are descendants of those held prisoner on Mamula – have protested this development, according to this report. Clearly there are two sides here with valid points of view but it appears to boil down to a choice between preserving the Mamula in some form (as promised by Orascom) or leaving it to disintegrate under the weight of time.

13 Hotels We are Waiting for in 2016

From the highly anticipated opening of a Toy Story-themed hotel at Shanghai Disney, to the grand reopening of two iconic Parisian landmarks, 2016 will be a big year for the luxury hotel market. While tens of thousands of new properties will open their doors for the first time in 2016, here is a selection of properties that are noteworthy for raising the bar in luxury, marking a milestone, or helping to transform the local tourism landscape.

Europe

In the last few years, Paris saw the temporary shuttering of two of its most iconic and luxurious hotels, the Ritz Paris and Hotel Crillon. This year, they will compete for attention as both are slated to re-open their doors after extensive and lengthy renovations.

Ritz Paris (March, 2016)

The hotel has been undergoing renovations since July 2012 – the biggest makeover in the hotel’s 117 year-old history. The refurbishment includes a new spa by luxury fashion brand Chanel, called “Chanel au Ritz Paris.” The hotel began accepting reservations for stays starting March 14, 2016.

Hotel de Crillon, Paris (2016)

With a history dating back to 1758, the Hotel Crillon (pictured above) is a veritable institution in Paris, located at Place de la Concorde where the Champs-Elysees begins. In 2013, it was announced that Rosewood Hotels & Resorts would take over the management of the property. The restoration will entail a contemporary overhaul led by Lebanese artistic director Aline d’Amman and architect Richard Martinet. It was also announced that Karl Lagerfeld has been commissioned to design two suites. An exact opening date has yet to be disclosed.

Nobu Hotel, Shoreditch, London (First quarter of 2016)

Nobu Hospitality (pictured below), co-owned by Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa and actor Robert De Niro, has announced plans to open its first European hotel in London’s trendy Shoreditch area in 2016. Expected to open in the first quarter of the year, the hotel’s five storeys are fractured into angular balconies and cantilevered steel beams using printed layered, glass and reflective facades to play with reflection and light. The hotel will be comprised of 156 rooms while the dining options will be helmed by chef Matsuhisa.

Il Sereno Lake Como, Italy (Spring 2016)

This five-star boutique hotel will be the sister establishment of the luxurious Le Sereno Saint Barths. Located 6 km from the center of Como and 50 minutes from Milan, the design of the new 30-room hotel has been overseen by Patricia Urquiola, who has focused on natural materials to create an aesthetic that is both timeless and full of character, intimate and casual. Urquiola’s studio will also design the interior of the ferry that will shuttle guests around the lake. Room rates will range from 600 to 4500 euros.

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Nobu Hotel

Africa

The Oberoi Marrakech (Third quarter of 2016)

Located 20 minutes from the city center, the luxurious property is built within 25 acres of citrus orchards and ancient olive groves. Each villa and suite comes with a private pool and views of the Atlas mountains, while rooms are spacious, modern and feature handcrafted Moroccan design features. The brand’s signature spa is built on a private island on a lake within the orchard, and offers Ayurvedic and Moroccan-inspired treatments. Facilities also include Moroccan hammams, yoga studio and outdoor pavilion.

Americas

Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown (mid-2016)

Billed as the little sister to its flagship New York property in Midtown, the second Four Seasons hotel will open in the Tribeca district, a short stroll from the new World Trade Center, Wall Street and the Soho neighborhood and serve as a dual residential and hotel property. The 185 rooms are designed by Yabu Pushelberg. Dining will be provided by Wolfgang Puck and his CUT steakhouse restaurant and bar.

The James Hotel, Los Angeles (2016)

Once construction is complete in 2016, The James Hotel will open the doors to the first new ground-up hotel in West Hollywood in 30 years. The boutique property will open in the heart of Sunset Strip at the corner of Sunset and La Cienega Boulevards, and house 286 rooms, two restaurants and a rooftop and lobby bar. The LA location will be the third for the brand after locations in Chicago and New York. The brand’s philosophy embraces wellness, sustainability, local art and culture.

Il Sereno Lake Como

Il Sereno Lake Como

Middle East

Four Seasons Abu Dhabi, UAE (2016)

Located in the heart of the new Central Business District, the opening of the Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island will mark the first hotel for the chain in the Emirati capital. The property will open along a stretch of prime waterfront, and house a retro-modern Chicago steakhouse, cocktail bar, and poolside restaurant. Along with 200 rooms, the property will also feature 124 private and serviced residences.

St. Regis Cairo, Egypt (October 2016)

Organized as two towers, the St. Regis will house 292 lavish rooms that includes 63 suites. The mixed use property will also offer 99 guest apartments and 117 residences. Located on the north end of Corniche Road, rooms will offer views of the Nile River and in proximity to the pyramids and retail area.

Asia

Wynn Palace Cotai, Macau (June 25, 2016)

Originally scheduled to open in March 2016, the ambitious Wynn Palace Cotai will be delayed by another three months for a set date of June 25. The $4.1 billion, floral-themed property features 1,700 rooms spanning 28 storeys, and an artificial lake. To enter the grounds, guests will board air-conditioned SkyCabs that cross the 8-acre Performance Lake into the heart of the resort. Like its predecessors, the Wynn Palace will house an opulent spa, salon, luxury retailers and gourmet dining restaurants.

Mandarin Oriental, Bali (End of 2016)

Located on the southern Bukit peninsula, the luxury hotel group’s newest property will be built on elevated terraces to offer commanding views of the Indian Ocean. The resort will be comprised of 97 villas, each with a private pool and 24 guestrooms. The signature restaurant will be a cliff-top, cantilevered dining space with sweeping ocean views. Guests will also be able to indulge in luxurious spa services that include Balinese treatments.

Shanghai Disney (Spring 2016)

After experiencing construction delays, the opening of Disney’s third theme park in Asia after Hong Kong and Tokyo is expected to open its pearly gates in spring. When it does, the park will also open the doors to two highly anticipated themed hotels, The Shanghai Disneyland Hotel and a Toy Story Hotel. Not particularly encouraging is the image supplied for this story but we digress! At the Art Nouveau-inspired Shanghai Disneyland Hotel, guests will be greeted by bronze statues of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, while Toy Story fans will find Woody and Buzz Lightyear at the hotel courtyard.

Rosewood Phuket (2016)

To open on Emerald Bay in Western Phuket, the luxury property will be comprised of 80 villas and 32 residences that are designed to blend in with its natural hillside forest surroundings. Retractable glass walls will provide guests with unobstructed views of their environment, while garden rooftops and cantilevered structures will help the villas meld with the landscape. Dining options include a rustic Thai seafood eatery on the beach, poolside eatery, bistro and terrace bar, while a Sense spa will feature six spa villas and a swimming pool.

Shanghai Disney

Shanghai Disney

Claridges Christmas tree 2015

Christopher Bailey’s Claridge’s Christmas tree revealed

Fashion designer has been getting into the festive spirit with his latest project — a Christmas tree for Claridge’s hotel in London.

The Burberry Chief Creative and Chief Executive Officer’s “Claridge’s Christmas Tree 2015” has been unveiled in the hotel lobby, and the result is in striking contrast to the art deco design of the venue.

Exploring the concept of light interaction, the tree draws inspiration from Burberry’s longstanding heritage of providing protection against the elements, and the brand’s history in pushing digital boundaries through its physical experiences. The motion-responsive structure features almost 100 umbrellas, each finished in bespoke gold and silver metallic fabric. It also features the interactive element of 77,000 individual lights, which will be triggered as guests walk by, sending thousands of twinkling beams into the hotel’s lobby.

“It is so wonderful to see the tree in such an incredible setting as part of Claridge’s seasonal celebrations, I hope that it helps to bring guests a sense of festive fun,” said Bailey.

In true Burberry social media-savvy style, the UK fashion house has designed a Snapchat geo-filter that will enable all Snapchat users to frame their snaps with metallic Burberry umbrellas inspired by those on the Christmas Tree. The filter, which launches Monday, will be accessible to all Claridge’s visitors throughout the festive season, and is part of an on-going creative partnership between Burberry and Snapchat.

Claridge’s designer Christmas tree has become something of a festive tradition over the past six years, with previous creatives including Dolce & Gabbana. Christopher Bailey and Claridge’s will be hosting a private event on the stairs of the hotel’s lobby on Wednesday, November 18. Images from that event are here.

Claridges Christmas tree 2015

 

Burberry also co-hosted an exclusive star-studded party in celebration of the collaboration with Claridge’s. Click to view the story here.

Ritz-Carlton most popular luxury hotel brand

Ritz-Carlton hotel in Jakarta

The  has topped a new report that ranks the most popular luxury hotel brands.

For the list, analysts used data from TripAdvisor’s public review forum, looking primarily at how a hotel was ranked against the competition in its city. And according to TripAdvisor, travelers are happiest with their stays at the Ritz, a Marriott-owned brand.

In Quebec, the Ritz-Carlton ranks first out of 164 hotels. In London, the brand is ranked 22nd out of 1,052 hotels, and its Central Park location 46th out of 469 hotels in New York.

Rounding out the top three spots are traditional luxury brands at the top end of the high-end spectrum such as the Oberoi Hotels & Resorts and Raffles Hotels & Resorts.

The top 10 list is conspicuously absent of well-known, established brands such as the Four Seasons, Peninsula, St. Regis and Waldorf Astoria.

The World’s Most Popular Luxury Hotel Brands, 2015 are:

1. The Ritz-Carlton
2. Oberoi Hotels & Resorts
3. Raffles Hotel & Resorts
4. Langham Hotels and Resorts
5. Rocco Forte Hotels
6. Dorchester Collection
7. Capella Hotels and Resorts
8. Park Hyatt
9. Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts
10. Armani Hotels & Resorts

Sheraton Grand

Sheraton Grand officially launched

Sheraton Grand

Starwood Hotels and Resorts has moved to clarify the consumer confusion surrounding what a Sheraton hotel actually represents by launching the Sheraton Grand brand for top-tier properties.

It’s actually a significant development for tourists looking to make the most of a luxury holiday around the world. In this case, travelers will now direct themselves to the “Sheraton Grand” catalog to choose their stays.

This new division guarantees tourists “an exemplary hotel offer.”

Only establishments equipped with extraordinary gyms, spas that dreams are made of and rooms with “sophisticated design and precision workmanship,” and that are in specific locations “ranging from big cities to spectacular beaches,” can be a part of this network of addresses. They must also stand out in customer satisfaction.

100 hotels are set to receive the “Sheraton Grand” label before 2017.

The first to be so designated are the Bangalore Hotel – Brigade Gateway in India, the Beijing Dongcheng Hotel in China, the Sheraton Hotel Dubai, the Sheraton Hotel Edinburgh in Scotland, the Rio Hotel & Resort in Brazil, the Sheraton Grande Ocean Resort in Japan, the Sheraton Sukhumvit in Thailand, the Sheraton Taipei Hotel, the Tokyo Bay Hotel and the Sheraton Grande Walkerhill in South Korea.

Château de Versailles Orangerie

New Luxury Hotel Planned for Versailles

Château de Versailles Orangerie

Imagine opening your hotel room window to gaze upon the lavish grounds and famous palace of Versailles after spending a night on the estate itself.

That prospect could soon be reality — at least for some of the wealthier visitors to France — after a government body that manages Versailles put out a tender to build a hotel alongside the fabled grounds.

CHATEAU DE VERSAILLES SAYS NO TO SELFIE STICKS

There are plans for three 17th century buildings on the border of the palace property to be converted into a luxury hotel, according to officials who confirmed a report in the newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche.

Guests will have to enter the hotel from a road outside the estate, and not all the rooms will give on to the grounds.

But those that do will have a view across the Versailles gardens and, by craning necks to the right, a bit of the palace.

The company that wins the tender will have operating rights for 60 years, but will have to pay between eight million and 11 million euros to fix up the buildings’ walls and roof, and touch up the interior.

The cash-strapped government has increasingly been forced to turn to the private sector to keep its heritage in a good state.

A source close to the managing body for Versailles said the plan was part of a culture ministry policy “to renovate and add value to historic monuments’ spaces and installing economic activities”.

One of the buildings served as the finance ministry under Louis XV, and up to the Revolution of the late 18th century.

Leading French hotel group AccorHotels, which reportedly is competing in the tender launched two weeks ago, told AFP it was a “logical” choice given its strength in the sector.

It is not the first time a hotel has been planned at the site. In 2010, a company called Ivy International won a 30-year contract to build a 23-room hotel, but failed to go through with the scheme.

intercontinental hong kong

InterContinental Sells Hong Kong Hotel for $938 Million

intercontinental hong kong

InterContinental Hotels Group has agreed to sell its ownership interest in InterContinental Hong Kong to Supreme Key for $938 million.

Supreme Key has made a further commitment to invest in a significant refurbishment of the hotel. This is expected to commence in 2017 and will take place over a period of approximately 18 months.

intercontinental hong kong

IHG will retain a 37-year management contract on the hotel, with three ten-year extension rights, giving an expected contract length of 67 years.

InterContinental Hong Kong infinity pool

The hotel is internationally-acclaimed as one of the world’s most famous hotels, with a five-star rating from the Forbes Travel Guide, three Michelin-starred restaurants, and a wide range of meeting and banqueting facilities.

intercontinental hong kong

It is situated on the Kowloon waterfront, with unrivalled panoramic views of Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong’s skyline. The Hotel opened in 1980 and has 503 guest rooms, including 87 suites, and has been wholly owned by IHG and operated under the InterContinental brand since 2001.

Mandarin Oriental Milan

Mandarin Oriental Opens in Milan

Mandarin Oriental Milan

A ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the inauguration of The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group’s newest addition in Milan.

Mandarin Oriental Milan bedroom

The new hotel, located on Via Andegari, features contemporary Italian décor, the work of interior designer Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel Interiors, whose previous projects include the Bulgari Hotel in Dubai.

Mandarin Oriental Milan bathroom

Offering 73 rooms and 31 suites, the hotel is home to the Mandarin Bar and the Seta restaurant, headed by Antonio Guida, and offers a selection of food that fuses Tuscan flavors with French and Asian influences.

Mandarin Oriental Milan bar

The new hotel’s amenities include a spa that’s nearly 10,000 square feet in size, with a gym, indoor pool and hair salon.

Facade Ritz Hotel Place Vendome

The Ritz Paris Takes Reservations [VIDEO]

Travelers can now book rooms at the newly renovated Ritz Paris for dates starting next year.

The reopening of the five-star hotel looks set to roll out at the end of 2015, but travelers wanting to make reservations may have to wait, as bookings are now available for dates starting March 14, 2016.

The Ritz Paris has been undergoing renovations since July 2012, and the project is the biggest makeover in the hotel’s 117 year-old history.

The refurbishment includes a new spa by luxury fashion brand Chanel, called “Chanel au Ritz Paris.” Rooms start at $985 per night.

Facade Ritz Hotel Place Vendome

Great Scotland Yard

Scotland Yard police station turned into luxury hotel

Great Scotland Yard

Great Scotland Yard, an historic landmark where London police once tried to solve the grisly murders carried out by Jack the Ripper, will be turned into a luxury hotel where rooms will cost a whopping £10,000 a night.

The building is set to undergo a major £50 million ($78 million USD) refurbishment that will turn London’s first police headquarters into an ultra-luxurious hotel property that will span seven storeys.

Opulent suites, two bars, restaurants, a library, lobby and entertaining room will occupy more than 92,000 square feet (8,550 square meters) of space.

Developers say they’ll preserve the building’s Edwardian Imperial red brick and stone facade as well as its name, The Great Scotland Yard, in order to build on the landmark’s storied history.

Inside, the decor will be “contemporary and stylish.” In addition to a five-star setting, the hotel will aim to attract guests with its rich history: It was here that, in the late 19th century, British police officers pored over notes and revisited the grisly murders committed by Jack the Ripper.

The station is also immortalized by novelists such as Charles Dickens and Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

The hotel is scheduled to open in early 2017.

First Six Senses resort opens in Chengdu, China

Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain

Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, has opened a new property in the Qing Cheng Mountains in Chengdu province, China.

Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain spa

Set at the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage & Natural Cultural site at Dujiangyan, the Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain offers 113 guest rooms and suites ranging from semi-detached suites in duplex villas with balconies and verandas, to courtyard suites, and garden and pool villas.

Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain bedroom

A collection of four suites may open on to a central courtyard, enabling them to be individually occupied or grouped into a private community compound for friends and family.

Read More @ adelto.co.uk

Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain bathroomSix Senses Qing Cheng Mountain suite Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain bar  Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain bridge

Google Hotels

Google testing new instant hotel booking feature

Google Hotels

Google is beta testing a new feature that will allow users to instantly book a hotel room without leaving the search page.

Instead of simply delivering results for a particular hotel, the search page aggregates room rates from popular sites such as Hotwire.com, Booking.com and Hotels.com, as well as rates from the hotel itself.

When booking directly with the hotel, however, instead of being redirected to the property’s website, users will complete the reservation on the Google page for a more convenient booking experience.

The new service is being launched in partnership with travel technology company Sabre and is currently in beta.

For users, the new feature is touted as more convenient as it eliminates the need to leave the website and navigate different web pages.

For hotels, the new service reduces the “abandonment rate” commonly seen when consumers have to switch sites to complete a transaction.

The concept is similar to hotel aggregator sites such as Trivago and TripAdvisor, which pull up rates from several different booking sites.

The biggest difference, however, is that while Trivago and TripAdvisor hand off the completion of the transaction to the booking site, users can check out directly from the Google page if booking directly with the hotel.

Oberoi Udaivilas Udaipur

Palatial resort in India is best hotel in the world 2015

Oberoi Udaivilas Udaipur

The world’s best hotel for 2015 is a palatial resort fit for a maharaja, built on the edge of a fairy tale lake in Western India.

Coronated with the illustrious title by readers of Travel + Leisure magazine in their latest ‘World’s Best Awards,’ the Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur was given a near-perfect score of 99 by readers of the US publication.

Oberoi Udaivilas Udaipur

Located in a city widely described as the most romantic destination in India, the Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur capitalizes on its lake-front setting and the city’s old-world mythology — historic palaces, forts, temples and bazaars —  to offer a dreamy stay in a domed, marbled and lavish setting.

Oberoi Udaivilas Udaipur private boat

Designed to harken Udaipur’s royal past with decorative fountains, private courtyards and manicured gardens, guests arrive at the property by private boat and are greeted with lush purple bougainvillea trees and sweeping views of the Aravalli Hills across the lake.

Oberoi Udaivilas Udaipur semi-private pool

Modern conveniences and room décor are offset by touches of local Rajasthani accents and colors.

Activities at the hotel include culinary classes, yoga, Henna lessons, art classes, lake cruises, camel ride, sightseeing tours and luxury on-site spa treatments.

Oberoi Udaivilas Udaipur Spa Suite

The property, which served as hunting grounds 200 years ago, also features a wildlife conservatory that is home to Indian spotted deer, wild boar and peacocks.

Oberoi Udaivilas Udaipur cascading stairway

World’s Best Hotels | Travel + Leisure

1. Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur, India
2. Hotel Castello di Casole — a Timbers Resort, Casole d’Elsa, Italy
3. Ashford Castle, County Mayo, Ireland
4. Triple Creek Ranch Darby, Montana
5. Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur, India
6. Four Seasons Hotel, Istanbul at Sultanahmet, Turkey
7. Singita Sabi Sand, Kruger National Park Area, South Africa
8. Farmhouse Inn, Forestville, California (three-way tie)
8. The Peninsula Shanghai
8. Sunset Key Guest Cottages, A Luxury Collection Resort, Key West, Florida

Yoga at the spa pool