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While Paris doesn’t have the upcoming Olympics to hurry hotel openings along (though we’re expecting many Olympics-attendees to tack on a few nights in the City of Lights to their London trip), the city is welcoming a handful of exciting newcomers at a respectable clip. And, boy, are they swanky.
Mandarin Oriental The luxury brand opened its much-anticipated Parisian outpost in the First Arrondissement (a stone’s throw from the Louvre and the Garnier Opera) in June 2011. Two restaurants are helmed by Michelin-starred chef Theirry Marx. Rooms range in style and color schemes, but are all tres chic and come with humungous bathrooms. Rates from €795/night. www.mandarinoriental.com Read more
The Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston is set to turn 100 years old in August, but the celebrations are already starting – $20 million of renovations are underway, and the hotel is also offering themed packages to guests. The hotel’s head-to-toe improvements, set to be completed in the spring, include a revamp of all guestrooms and suites, including the Fairmont Gold rooms and lounge; updates to the grand lobby and ballrooms; an entirely new health club on the rooftop; and the addition of a new restaurant in the space formerly occupied by the Oak Room. (The Oak Room and Oak Bar have been relocated to the St. James room.)
The two themed packages on offer are both available now. If you’re particularly interested in the hotel’s 100 year history, consider the “Celebration of a Century” package, which starts at $200/night for a Fairmont Room. Included in the package is one night in a newly renovated room, a private history tour of the hotel, and a history booklet. The package is offered through December 31, 2012.
Officially opening on February 1, Palihotel Melrose will offer designer digs, a killer location (especially for shopaholics) on Melrose Avenue, and insanely affordable rates. 32 rooms, though petite at 250 square feet, come with major Boho personality: brown and blue walls, distressed wood furnishings, and balconies (in some). The cafe-style Palikitchen will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Intro rates start from $150/night. www.pali-hotel.com
Following the recently opened Saguaro Scottsdale, The Saguaro Palm Springs, the second Saguaro from Joie de Vivre, debuts this February. Like its predecessor, the hotel will feature a vibrant color palette, envisioned by architects Peter Stamberg and Paul Aferiat, a playful vibe, and a Jose Garces restaurant. 249 rooms have patios or step-out balconies and simple modern furnishings that offset the colorful striped bedspreads, purple carpeted floors, and orange-and-pink accents. Pre-opening rates start from $99.50. www.jdvhotels.com
Marriott International announced today that it will open five new hotels for Edition – the company’s boutique, luxury lifestyle brand – on three continents. Plans are underway for Editions in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Bangkok, while contracts have been signed for additional hotels in Los Angeles and Gurgaon, India. Marriott Edition enlisted the help of Ian Schrager, hotelier and real estate developer, to pioneer the creative design and positioning of the hotels. Schrager is well known for Studio 54 and the Mondrian Hotel in West Hollywood, among others.
Manhattan’s Clock Tower building, on Madison Avenue, will be home to the New York Edition; the renovation and transformation of the historic building are set to begin in late 2012. The Bangkok Edition, opening in 2015, will be in one of the tallest buildings in the city, and will be part of a mixed-use development. Read more
Aspiring art thieves, I’ve got good news for you – you can legally hone your thievery skills in Melbourne, Australia, at least until January 15. Melbourne’s Art Series Hotels (the Cullen, the Olsen, and the Blackman, each of which are designed around the work of iconic Australian artists) are about midway through a contest that encourages you to steal the art right off the walls. Well, some of the art, anyway. The hotels are (rather fittingly) currently offering up “Pulp Fiction” by renowned England-based graffiti artist Banksy, if you can steal it.
The artwork can only be stolen by a pre-paid guest of one of the hotels staying any time through January 15th, and only the Banksy piece is up for theft. The full terms and conditions can be found here, but notable rules include: “Be cool. Art thieves are always cool,” “Look the part- we prefer it if you are wearing black tie or a really stunning frock,” and “Banksy we really don’t want you to steal it. It would just be too twisted so please don’t.”
2011 has been a big year for hotels—we’ve scooped dozens of exciting hotel openings across the globe. On the flip side, we must bid farewell to a few monumental hotels that have closed. Here are a few of the goners we’ll miss most. A moment of silence, if you will.
Sahara Las Vegas (closed May 16)
One of Sin City’s last Rat Pack-era hotels has closed for good. The landmark casino-hotel held court on the northern Strip for 59 years. Scads of musical legends had graced its ballroom stage (Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Bobby Darin, Judy Garland, Dean Martin, and Liza Minnelli, to name a few).
Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya (closed June 6)
We know Mexico tourism has taken a beating these last few years, but is the Mandarin’s closing an upshot? The luxury beach resort had been enduring increasingly low occupancy rates. Perhaps there’s hope—the property’s website indicates that the hotel will re-open in due course. We shall see.
The Chelsea Hotel (closed in August)
The historic artist enclave was sold to developer Joseph Chetrit and closed in August, save for its 100 permanent residences. Future plans are vague but Chetrit intends to keep the Chelsea a hotel. Phew! We can only hope that the history-packed rooms retain their legendary rocker grit post renovations.
The Plaza’s Oak Room (closed in May)
The celebrity-loved Oak Room will no longer host its famously outrageous afternoon parties, thanks to a rent dispute between restaurant operators and hotel owners. No word yet of what will become of the historic space.
Ritz Paris (temporarily closing in summer for renovations)
The oh-so-fancy Parisian landmark is, in truth, not so ritzy at the moment. The old gal is looking a little tired and will close for two years this summer for an extensive refresh.
Not grateful for that homemade knitted sweater your Aunt Eileen gave you this holiday? Instead of putting on a happy face and thanking her for her generosity, you can submit it to the Wyndham Rewards’ “My Horrible Holiday Gift” contest. The contest puts you in the running for some awesome prizes, with the grand prize being two million Wyndham Reward points (which equates to nearly a year’s worth of free nights at the brand’s hotels around the world, an $8,000 shopping spree, or more tickets than you can count to your favorite concerts or sporting events).
To enter the contest, Wyndham Rewards members can upload a photo of their ugly sweater or other unfortunate gifts and provide a little description on why it isn’t the new iPad they were hoping for. Submit your photos before January 10, 2012 in order to be considered. Online voting will take place from January 17-23. Even if you didn’t get a lousy gift this holiday, feel free to relish in other people’s misfortune by voting!
Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on hotels, flights, vacation packages, and more travel deals.
The Saguaro, the first Joie de Vivre property outside of California, opened in downtown Scottsdale in November. Departing from the commonplace adobe white-washed architecture in the area, Stamberg Aferiat architects played off the colors of local wildflowers to create a vibrant, eye-popping palette. The resort’s 194 rooms come with balconies or patios and views of either the Old Town or Civic Center Mall, pool area or garden; custom contemporary furnishings from Mexico; and accents in colorful hues right out of a Georgia O’Keeffe painting. Two heated pools are surrounded by yellow loungers and umbrellas. Iron Chef Jose Garces developed the menus at both of the hotel’s restaurants: Old Town Whiskey, a saloon-style bar (try the burger with bourbon-glazed cipollini, rogue blue cheese, applewood bacon, and foie gras); and Distrito, a Mexican restaurant and tequila bar with a tapas-style menu of Mexican favorites. For its first 100 days open, the resort is offering promo rates of $100/night (available for 100 rooms per week); use promo code PROPEN. Offer is valid until March 1. Regular nightly rates start from $194. www.jdvhotels.com
For general trip-planning info, see our Phoenix Travel Guide.
Surfcomber The totally renovated and rebranded Surfcomber (now a Kimpton Hotel) opened yesterday on Collins Avenue. The 186-room oceanfront hotel has a playful vibe, stylish accommodations, and Kimpton’s personalized service and amenities. The pool deck and bevy of cabanas look inviting, as do the opening rates from only $149/night. www.surfcomber.com
Shelborne South Beach This Art Deco mainstay which spent the last two years under renovation reopened Wednesday. The look is retro glam, the vibe is sexy. The hotel’s own exhibition “Art of Night” features intimate celebrity images from nightlife photographer Seth Browarnik, but the catwalk runway connecting the two beachfront pool decks seems like the ultimate stage for eye candy. Opening rates here start from $159/night. Note: not all rooms have been renovated so be sure to request one. www.shelborne.com
For general trip-planning info, see our Miami Travel Guide.
If you’ve ever stayed at a Hilton property and wonder where your leftover soap goes, here’s your answer: The soap is shipped to the warehouse of Global Soap Project, a soap recycling nonprofit, where it’s sorted and reprocessed, then molded into new bars that go to the people who need them – refugees, orphans, and disaster victims around the world. Hilton Worldwide announced its new partnership with Global Soap Project earlier this month.
Why soap? According to the Global Soap Project, “the number one cause of preventable death of children in Africa is unsanitary living conditions mostly due to lack of soap and potable water,” and around the world children die from diseases like pneumonia that can be largely prevented with better hygiene conditions. In addition to providing soap for those in need, the Global Soap Project also prevents unused soap from being thrown out, increasing the sustainability of participating hotels.
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