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Marriott International

W Hotels debuts first luxury hotel in Aspen in 25 years

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
W Hotels debuts first luxury hotel in Aspen in 25 years

The 88-key luxury W Aspen, designed by interior design firm NEMAWORKSHOP and architects Rowland + Broughton, is the town’s only year-round mountainside rooftop venue…

Following the opening of W Hotels first hotel in Oman, Marriott International Inc. has announced the much-anticipated opening of W Aspen & The Sky Residences at W Aspen, located at the base of the world-renowned, eponymous mountain.

With ski-in/ski-out access to some of the world’s most coveted slopes, 360° mountain views and striking architectural and interior design, W Aspen is the second W Mountain Escape globally, following W Verbier in the Swiss Alps. Poised to carve out a new era of luxury in Aspen, the brand is bringing its bold point of view to the iconic mountain town for year-round access to alpine adventure.

“Aspen’s people, vibrancy and natural beauty make this year-round mountain town the perfect place for the W lifestyle,” said Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide. “W Aspen reimagines the traditional ski chalet and allows people to experience the town in a way they never have before, through evocative design, inclusive programming and a social scene that is sure to become an essential stop on the global jet-setting calendar. The first new build W Escape in the USA for 10 years, W Aspen marks a milestone in the brand’s reinvigorated focus on North America.”

W Aspen & The Sky Residences at W Aspen are owned by Northridge Capital of Washington, DC, the owner for 16 years of the former Sky Hotel situated on the same site, and co-developed by Northridge and local partner Sarpa Development. “After more than five years of hard work,” commented Northridge’s owner and president Dave Jackson, “we are thrilled to finally be opening the W Aspen for the enjoyment of its guests and the local community, and grateful to our partners at W Hotels, Haselden Construction, and too many other team members to name for their tireless efforts to reach this goal.”

“W Aspen centres on the natural beauty and bounty of the mountains and the historical context of the city it surrounds.”

W Aspen brings a luxurious, playful style to the historically-rich town of Aspen. Designed by global interior design firm NEMAWORKSHOP and Aspen-based architects Rowland + Broughton, alongside the W Brand’s award-winning design team, W Aspen centres on the natural beauty and bounty of the mountains and the historical context of the city it surrounds.

It begins with the exterior: a modern mountain chalet with long, sloping roof lines that draw inspiration from the Rocky Mountain landscape. The essence of the outdoors continues throughout the interior, where the Welcome Desk wood formations echo the Rocky Mountains and intricately-detailed terrariums represent seasonal Aspen activities from hiking and biking to skiing and snowboarding.

On the second floor is The Living Room, which serves as the central point of the Escape experience and showcases a grid-pattern display on the bar – a nod to traditional millwork structures used to create mine tunnels in Aspen during the silver boom. Seating in The Living Room features brass and polished rods that surround plush, velvety cushions synonymous with Aspen’s bohemian counterculture of the early ’70s. Along the side, stadium seating leads to an iconic suspended DJ booth that takes its cue from the largest silver nugget discovered in Aspen at the turn of the century. Continuing to honor Aspen’s role in the Colorado Silver Boom, light fixtures are informed by the look of a miner’s headlamp and floors are swept with curving patterns that echo the soil found at the bottom of a smuggler’s cove. At sundown, The Living Room’s outdoor fire pit acts as a beacon at the base of the mountain – signaling to the skiers above it is time to après.

Art reminiscent of iconic Americana paintings of the Rocky Mountains layer the walls of W Aspen. Commissioned artists impart a more modern vision through the lens of classic landscape paintings like those done by Albert Bierstad and other greats. Longtime W collaborator Gaia showcases a series of works throughout the Escape that tease an infatuation with American landscape paintings but are superimposed with local millennial fragmented culture spirit guides – adding a contemporary veil to the traditional. Accent pillows in the Living Room and guestrooms are inspired by artists Herbert Bayer and Thomas Benton and pay homage to the historical residents of Durant Street, named the ‘Soiled Doves of Durant’.

“Selected rooms feature a W design first, quad-queen bunk beds, which can sleep up to eight to cater to a younger adult clientele.”

W Aspen features 88 guestrooms and 11 W-branded residences, along with four WOW suites and one Extreme WOW suite that can be a one, two or three bedroom, all of which offer modern takes on Ute patterns and furniture inspired by the decadence of ‘70s Aspen “pleasure palaces.” All guestrooms and suites are playfully marked with room plates in a style reminiscent of the pop culture icon Bob Ross, while interiors reference the cozy warmth of Swiss chalet architecture through the use of rustic wood finishes, sloped rooflines and a fireplace-inspired W MixBar. Each guestroom features pit and platform lounge seating that nods to the plasticity of mile-high bohemia and is complete with Ute-inspired accent pillows. Selected rooms feature a W design first, quad-queen bunk beds, which can sleep up to eight to cater to a younger adult clientele, as well as offer a wink to the more hedonistic qualities of Aspen’s past.

The two-bedroom Extreme WOW Suite is inspired by Aspen’s mountain culture and is the quintessential location to play and stay. The suite features modern industrial touches, rich ski-wear fabrics, a central fire pit surrounded by curved pit seating, a hot tub open to the living area, a crystal and glass barrier embracing a circular bed on a pivoting platform, and a DJ booth with a mini LP vinyl player and curated music library – all playing on vintage luxury. The plush reds, blues and oranges in addition to psychedelic detailing add extra electricity to this warm mountain escape.

39 Degrees, a legendary après ski bar in the former Sky Hotel, returns as an underground ultra-lounge cocktail bar and grotto inspired by the famed Red-Light District of Aspen. Outfitted with platform and pit seating, crushed velvet touches, cheeky Gonzo-style posters and pillows and a W-commissioned, Gabriel Alcala mural that portrays an Aspen landscape through the lens of ‘excess,’ this hidden spot will keep the energy going late into the night.

“The buzz and excitement for the debut of W Aspen has been building for some time and we could not be readier to bring the infectious energy, spirit and programming of W to this iconic American town,” says Greg Durrer, General Manager, W Aspen. “We know that W Aspen will not only serve as a year-round destination for travellers but that it will bring a bold new point of view to the local social scene and become the latest player in the legacy of this incredible cultural mecca.”

Image credit: Marriott International

The Sky Residences at W Aspen offer an exclusive shared ownership opportunity with 11 W-branded Residences located slope-side on Aspen Mountain. With a limited collection of only six three-bedroom and five two-bedroom Residences, owners have access to a private, owners-only roof deck with a spa, lounge seating, BBQ grills, outdoor kitchen and fire pit. In addition, owners can enjoy all of the Escape’s amenities and services at W Aspen, including Welcome Ambassadors and round the clock security; in-residence dining and STYLE housekeeping services; WHEELS valet service; FIT® state-of-art fitness facilities; two WET® Deck pools; and W’s signature Whatever/Whenever® service promise, providing residents and hotel guests alike with whatever they want, whenever they want it! The Sky Residences at W Aspen are currently offered for sale by Forte Aspen. “The Sky Residences at W Aspen feature compelling statements of space and design that defy expectations,” said R.J. Gallagher, Jr. of Forte Aspen. “It’s where an owner can get away from it all, while having it all. Effortless ownership, where quality time with family and friends is the only order of the day. And night.”

The hotel’s opening further marks W Hotels and Marriot International’s commitment to add more than 30 luxury properties to its portfolio this year. W, a significant element to the planned expansion, is defying expectations and breaking the norms of traditional luxury wherever the iconic W sign lands. With a mission to fuel guests’ lust for life, W ignites an obsessive desire to soak it in, live it up and hit repeat. The brand’s provocative design, iconic Whatever/Whenever service and buzzing Living Rooms create an experience that is often copied but never matched.

Main image credit: Marriott International

Madrid welcomes new tech-driven, Rockwell-designed Aloft Hotels property

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Madrid welcomes new tech-driven, Rockwell-designed Aloft Hotels property

Aloft Madrid Gran Via embraces the brand’s new future-proofed design formula, complete with a rooftop pool featuring 360-degree views of Madrid’s skyline…

Aloft Hotels, Marriott International’s hotel brand for music fans and tech-savvy travellers, brings a new beat to Spain with the opening of Aloft Madrid Gran Vía. Located in the vibrant heart of the capital, the new 139-key hotel is a stone’s throw from some of the city’s most popular hotspots.

Designed by world-class architecture firm the Rockwell Group, the property’s tech-forward, future-proofed design is aimed at the next generation of travelers, juxtaposed against the rich history of Gran Vía.

“Madrid has long topped destination wish-lists for travellers in Europe, thanks to its spirited culture, ” said John Licence, Vice President Premium and Select Brands, Europe at Marriott International. “Aloft Hotels is set to put its own unique spin on the capital’s social scene with live music programming, the hottest emerging artists, and great signature cocktails.”

Image credit: Marriott International/Aloft Hotels

Staying true to its roots as an innovative incubator brand, Aloft Hotels, in partnership with the Rockwell Group, developed a cohesive design strategy for Aloft Madrid Gran Via that draws on the sense of humor and the vivid color story the brand is known for. In a nod to the brand’s focus on tech and bold use of color, the property’s free-flowing design embraces the “glitch” design trend to aestheticise digital or analog errors, materialising in design details from distorted city art throughout the public spaces and guestrooms. The always-on, buzzing communal areas reflect the eclectic spirit of the city and respond to the needs of the modern traveller, allowing guests to seamlessly transition between work and play.

“Rockwell Group’s design concept celebrates Madrid’s vibrancy and energy,” said Elisa Rodriguez, Studio Leader, Rockwell Group Madrid. “We were inspired by the idea of seeing the city and its people through a kaleidoscope, rendering the resulting images as pixelated, blended, and multifaceted, to create dynamic moments throughout the hotel.”

Each of its 139 spacious guestrooms feature Aloft’s ultra-comfortable beds in the brand’s signature artful, clutter-free and innovative loft layout, 49-inch televisions with Plug & Play connectivity, fast and free Wi-Fi. Additional amenities include the Re:chargeSM fitness centre and Splash pool; Tactic, an interactive private creative meeting space with natural light equipped with modern audio-visual hardware; and Re:fuelSM by Aloft, a convenient 24-hour cafe for a quick bite on the go. Marriott brands were the first in the industry to introduce Mobile Key, the industry’s first keyless entry system. Marriott Bonvoy members can use the Marriott Bonvoy app on their smartphone or Apple Watch as their room key wherever available.

The brand’s signature Re:mix Lounge and W XYZ bar provide vibrant hubs for locals and travellers alike to socialise and enjoy live music performances as part of the Live At Aloft Hotels music series. The hotel programming will range from cultural, design and tech events, offering a new perspective in this vibrant city.

There are currently 161 Aloft Hotels in 25 countries and territories around the world. In Europe specifically, Aloft Hotels is present in key city-break destinations such as Dublin, London and Liverpool with expected openings in The Hague, Munich and more.

Main image credit: Marriott International/Aloft Hotels

Autograph Collection Hotels debuts in Kenya

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Autograph Collection Hotels debuts in Kenya

Autograph Collection Hotels debuts in Kenya welcoming Sankara Nairobi to its dynamic portfolio of Passionately Independent Hotels…

Autograph Collection HotelsMarriott International’s distinctive collection of passionately independent hotels, today welcomed Sankara Nairobi to its diverse and distinguished portfolio around the world, marking the debut for the brand in Kenya.

Set in the heart of Westlands, Sankara Nairobi lies in the epicentre of the city’s commercial, retail, and entertainment quarter and boasts quintessential Kenyan charm and hospitality, contemporary interiors and carefully curated modern African art throughout the hotel.

“We are thrilled to welcome Sankara Nairobi, a distinctive hotel which evokes the spirit and heritage of this vibrant city, to our portfolio,” said Alex Kyriakidis President and Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International. “As the first Autograph Collection Hotel in Kenya, Sankara Nairobi is a significant addition to our rapidly growing portfolio in the region and a testament to our conversion friendly strategy. The hotel perfectly embodies the brand’s unique perspective on design, craft, hospitality and its Exactly Like Nothing Else philosophy. This rebranding is in lockstep with the growing demand from consumers and their desire for differentiated experiences wherever they travel.”

Just a short drive away from the city centre and the United Nations Headquarters, and within easy access from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and the Wilson Airport, the hotel is situated at the heart of the city’s vibrant social and business life.  It comprises 168 thoughtfully designed rooms, a tempting choice of authentic and award-winning restaurants, destination bars, social and meeting spaces, and fitness facilities. The newly refurbished guest rooms including a brand-new Presidential Suite captures the hotel’s personality with signature elements showcasing a unique character and a defining sense of place.

“We are excited to join the brand’s global portfolio of iconic hotels around the world and deliver a thoughtfully curated and authentic experience,” said Krishna Unni, Group General Manager of Sankara Hotel Group. “Socially and culturally immersive, Sankara Nairobi creates a vibrant and warm character that is deeply ingrained in the art, culture and lifestyle of Nairobi. We are confident that Sankara Nairobi will soon emerge as a preferred choice for travellers to Nairobi welcoming both Marriott International’s loyal members as well as new guests”.

Autograph Collection Hotels advocates for the original, championing the individuality of each of its over 171 independent hotels located in the most desirable destinations across more than 30 countries and territories.

Marriott International announces three-year growth plan

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The hotel giant Marriott International’s growth plans include the openings more than 1,700 hotels around the world… 

Marriott International has presented the company’s three-year growth plan, which includes opening more than 1,700 hotels around the world, at its meeting with institutional investors and security analysts at the New York Marriott Marquis.

The hotel giant has outlined its plan to add between 275,000 and 295,000 rooms by 2021, supported by the strength of its record 478,000-room pipeline, including roughly 214,000 rooms already under construction. The company disclosed that its new room openings during this period could contribute $400 million in fee revenue in 2021 and $700 million annually when stabilised. The company’s three-year growth plan assumes, but does not forecast, comparable hotel revenue per available room (RevPAR) growth of one and three per cent, compounded annually.

“Starwood has made us a more formidable competitor, providing a more valuable loyalty program, brands with strong appeal to loyalty members and owners, talented associates, terrific locations, particularly in the fast-growing Asia Pacific region, significant cost synergies and meaningful scale,” said Arne Sorenson, Marriott International president and chief executive officer. “We launched our newly branded loyalty program, Marriott Bonvoy, just last month. The program reached 125 million members as of year-end 2018 adding roughly 50,000 members per day.”

Given the assumptions for its three-year plan, the company could produce the following results:

  • Diluted earnings per share of $7.65 to $8.50 by 2021, a compound growth rate of 11 to 15 per cent over 2018 adjusted results;
  • Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (adjusted EBITDA) increasing by six to nine per cent compounded, with net income increasing by five to eight per cent compounded, each compared to adjusted results in 2018;
  • Cash available for shareholders could total $9.5 to $11 billion for the three years (2019 through 2021);
  • Shareholders could see $1.9 to $2 billion in dividends, assuming a continued 30 percent payout ratio, and $7.6 to $9 billion in share repurchases over the three-year period.

Marriott’s growing pipeline of new hotels is fueled by the strong profitability of its hotels, the broad selection of powerful brands available for development, its rich loyalty program, lower costs from the company’s meaningful scale, and the strong confidence of its owners and franchisees. The company disclosed that 70 per cent of its portfolio of open and signed pipeline projects is held by owners with multiple Marriott properties, and roughly one-third is held by owners with ten or more Marriott branded hotels. Marriott’s development pipeline reflects an increasing number of legacy-Starwood branded hotels. Since the merger date, the pipeline of legacy-Starwood brands has increased nearly 25 per cent to represent nearly one-third of the legacy-Starwood portfolio’s system size.

“In 2018, Marriott launched a new Sheraton brand strategy, guestroom prototype and design approach.”

The company will also discuss its success improving the Sheraton brand. With more than 155,000 rooms, Sheraton is the company’s most geographically diverse brand and the company’s third largest brand globally measured in both rooms and fees. The brand contributes significantly to Marriott’s overall scale and effectively reduces costs for all the hotels in Marriott’s worldwide system. More than one-quarter of Sheratons are already under renovation or committed to a renovation. In 2018, Marriott launched a new Sheraton brand strategy, guestroom prototype and design approach, and just a week ago, unveiled the new Sheraton logo, signaling change to owners, operators, guests and Sheraton associates. Since the acquisition, Sheraton’s RevPAR index has improved to over 100.

“Our new three-year plan, with Starwood fully integrated, demonstrates how our fee-based, asset-light business model generates even stronger and more sustainable cash flows. This allows us to invest profitably in our core business at high rates of return and also return significant amounts of capital to shareholders,” said Leeny Oberg, Marriott International’s executive vice president and chief financial officer. “Our proven business model combined with opportunities to leverage our significant scale from the Starwood acquisition uniquely position us for additional shareholder value creation.”

Main image credit: Marriott International

EDITION arrives in New York’s Times Square

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The Times Square EDITION is the brand’s second hotel to open in New York…

There simply has never been anything like it before in New York City’s famed cultural and entertainment mecca. Ian Schrager, in partnership with Marriott International, has introduced the sophisticated The EDITION Times Square, which will shelter the first Michelin-starred chef ever to grace the neighborhood, along with the creation of a new form of Cabaret theatre and a complete reinvention of billboard art.

Throughout the decades, Times Square has seen myriad changes and has taken on many iterations. By World War I, it was the center of culture, nightlife and entertainment. By the 40’s and 50’s, the Latin Quarter Nightclub presented festive floor shows that featured chorus girls and can-can dancers, Frank Sinatra, Frankie Laine and the Andrew Sisters. There was Tin Pan Alley, the Copacabana and the Theater District. There was Roseland, Birdland, Ella Fitzgerald, marathon dancing, hot jazz, Doo-Wop and the pop rock of the Brill building as well as the invention of the now gossip columns. It was a democratic “meeting place” and nothing exemplified the disorder of the city or the dichotomy of high and low art than Times Square. Sadly, however, the Great Depression and World War II took its toll on the area and Times Square began its decline. From the 60’s onward, the area was riddled with adult entertainment, prostitution, drugs, and crime. It wasn’t until the mid-80’s when the Marriott Marquis opened its doors and Disney debuted The Lion King at The New Amsterdam Theatre that the clean-up began with the redevelopment of new theaters, retail, hotels and eateries.

Despite Times Square’s notorious reputation, it has managed to maintain itself as a symbolic global, geographic and cultural icon. It had long been home to media giants as well as the center for theater, music, culture and entertainment. This adventurous mold-breaking, however, has disappeared. Today, Times Square and its overindulgent commercialisation that lacks the substance and sex-appeal that once distinguished its streets. It is hungry for a Renaissance and The Times Square EDITION will usher in a new era. The hotel and all of its unique offerings seek to preserve the essence of the area during its Golden Age when it was the microcosm of the best New York City had to offer.

“The Golden Age of Times Square elicited the feeling that anything was possible. New York was the City of Dreams, Times Square at its heart, where everyone came together with a common purpose,” said Schrager. “The Times Square EDITION is the embodiment of this storied past, resurrected for the present, providing hope for the future of this most beloved neighborhood.”

black armchair infront of black wallcoverings

Image credit: EDITION Hotels

From the moment you enter the hotel’s doors on 20 Times Square at West 47th Street, guests are transported to another world—a decompression zone. A long ivory hall with venetian plastered walls and ceiling and a floating custom green mirrored stainless sphere inspired by Anish Kapoor and the colors of Jeff Koons await you. Once gusts arrive at the Lobby and Lobby Bar, a series of black and white spaces, which is worlds away from technicolour scenes located on the streets. Each of these two extremes serves the other yet each stands on its own. But together, something new, original, and even stronger is created. Indeed, with this alchemic symbiosis, a new reality and a virtual fourth dimension is created. As guests move in and out continuously, the space becomes boundaryless. This clash of worlds, this surreal sense of space and time is best experienced on the outdoor terraces, appropriately named the Bladerunner Terraces, that frame the various public space floors. On the terrace off the Lobby Bar, guests can choose to be in your own private oasis escaping in a cocoon-like area or face the brilliance of flashing light and color of Times Square for the best light show in the world.

“The hotel is an oasis of sophistication brought to you through the insight of the incomparable Ian Schrager, my friend and partner.” – Arne Sorenson, President and CEO, Marriott International.

Off the Terrace Restaurant, a similar feeling awaits on expansive terraces that were inspired by the L’Orangerie at Jardin des Tuileries in Paris. The outdoor space in totality with thousands of plants, trees and ivy is perhaps the biggest indoor landscaping effort in the country was designed by Madison Cox and is literally, multi-level gardens in the sky. The public space interiors with their rich woods, lush velvets, waxed leathers, polished marbles and smooth metals are combined to create a chic, simple, hip, serene and luxurious setting, an antidote to the hectic life just outside the hotel’s doors.

“The Times Square EDITION is an entirely new lens on Times Square. From an aerie above the hubbub below, you can engage, observe or withdraw. The hotel is an oasis of sophistication brought to you through the insight of the incomparable Ian Schrager, my friend and partner. There is simply nothing like it.” Arne Sorenson, President and CEO, Marriott International.

The first Michelin-starred chef ever in Times Square, John Fraser, is spearheading the food and beverage at the hotel to create a cacophony of dining experiences. The fine dining restaurant named 701 West is a gastronomic gem in a jewel box-like setting that is an explosion of color.

The Terrace Restaurant and Outdoor Gardens is an original take on a four meal, 18 hour-a-day restaurant inspired by traditional French brasseries and American chophouses but taken in a completely new direction by Chef Fraser.

The entrance to the Terrace restaurant will host the debut exhibit of specially curated candid portrayals of “the real New York City”, the one not seen by visitors, capturing energetic, gritty and poetic street and neighborhood scenes by renowned photographers Helen Levitt, Elliott Erwitt, Bruce Davidson, Ruth Orkin, Arthur Leipzig and Cornell Capa to name a few. The following exhibit will shift to more current street scenes illustrating the culture and diversity that pervades the city today. The space will continue to house rotating photography and art exhibits by various well-known photographers and artists.

The Paradise Club is an inventive, chaotic, high production spectacle perfectly suited for Times Square. The brainchild of Anya Sapozhnikova, Justin Conte, Matthew Dailey and Kae Burke of House of Yes in Bushwick, Brooklyn, this edgy and provocative modern-day Cabaret manifests the disorder of the City and adds a whole new dimension to the hotel and to Times Square.

The shows will be part theatre, part performance art with talent across many disciplines including dance, voice, aerial acrobatics, choreography, costume design and magic. There will be a regular ongoing performance based on William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. With no formulas, rules or any specific structure, but not for shock value, each performance at Paradise Club will be different from the previous one and different from the next. For a new twist on dining and entertainment, the menu will be original and creative from hot dogs to caviar and everything in between.

“Paradise Club is a place of aspiration… Invention and reinvention… A refuge to enjoy life and forget life and the perfect place to escape into fantasy,” said Schrager.

This one-of-a-kind cultural entertainment space also features the most sensational, immersive, colorful and kinetic lighting effects designed by Tony and Academy Award-winning Fisher Marantz of Studio 54 fame and inspired by a Lenny Kravitz video, as well as bespoke hand painted murals inspired by Bosch and Dali–a modern successor to the world famous Maxfield Parrish’s King Cole mural on Fifth Avenue. Perhaps the most spectacular element of the space is the full-blown production studio and control center that allows for live simulcasts and broadcasts around the world, as well as locally to a “Best in Class” 17,000 sf-8K-8mm Jumbotron outside of the building and a high definition digital screen on the stage. The exterior Jumbotron will also display rotating art by current video artists, cinematographers and animators.

Main image credit: EDITION Hotels

W Hotels arrives on The Palm, Dubai

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The 350-key W Dubai – The Palm opens, complete with disruptive interiors, to design its own narrative and lead the ever-changing hospitality scene in the Middle East forward… 

“The desert just got hotter,” is how W Hotels Worldwide, part of Marriott International Inc., announced the opening of W Dubai – The Palm, located on the Palm Jumeirah, the largest man-made island in the world and one of Dubai’s most iconic attractions.

With its electrifying style, evocative design and eclectic destination restaurants, W Dubai – The Palm is the newest W Escape, the W brand’s playful spin on the traditional resort experience, is set to add a new beat to the already dynamic and pulsating city.

Guestroom overlooking Dubai

Image credit: W Hotels Worldwide

“Much like W has redefined modern luxury, Dubai is a city that is firmly in charge of writing its own narrative, fearlessly embracing the future through design, technology and global culture,” said Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide. “The energy and marvel of this incredible city make it the perfect destination for a W Escape – our unique take on a resort holiday – where the bold style, iconic service and signature scene of W come to play.”

“It begins with the hotel’s iconic “W” sign patterned to resemble an evaporated desert river bed.”

The dynamic design of W Dubai – The Palm celebrates the evolution of one of the most dynamic cities in the world, seamlessly juxtaposing the organic, natural curves of sand dunes and coastline with the marvel of the geometric lines of the city’s skyscrapers. It begins with the hotel’s iconic “W” sign patterned to resemble an evaporated desert river bed and the WHEELS (valet) area reminiscent of a falage, a cavernous riverbed covered by palm fronds. Leading guests into the hotel is a stunning display of Orsoni glass tiles in colors inspired by overgrown foliage which reflect the golden sun on the horizon. A head-raising, five-story atrium envelopes the Welcome Desk, a nod to desert fortresses and citadels of long ago. Golden trusses comprised of framed boxes sparkle throughout the space, representing different stages of modern construction in Dubai, a common sight of the ever-changing cityscape, and sit upon carpets that depict the island’s surrounding waters reflecting both construction and clouds. Completing the dramatic entrance is “The Soundwave” – a 6.5 ton, 30m long visual vector that represents a W sound wave. With 640 glass pieces, the towering fixture puts on a show of its own, illuminating in alternating intensities and colors to reflect the beats of the DJ in the neighboring W Lounge.

View of the pool and exterior of the building in Dubai

W Hotels Worldwide

The W Lounge (lobby) is a stage to see and be seen and celebrates the city’s well-known love of opulence with several geometric fixtures that mimic the raw, natural form of gold. An artistic interpretation of a traditional fire pit sits in the center of the W Lounge, signifying the bonfires that Bedouin tribes would gather around during their desert travels years ago. Connecting the W Lounge to the nearby VIP Lounge is a 13.5-meter sofa in muted earth tones, representing a desert mountain range – the skyscrapers of the past.

Vibrant bathrooms at W Dubai - The Palm

Image caption: Vibrant bathrooms at W Dubai – The Palm

All 350 guestrooms and suites offer uninterrupted views and dreamy amenities. Curved walls are intricately tiled to glisten like the lights and colors of the sea at various times of the day, bringing the shoreline into each room. Modern graffiti adorns the walls of every room, featuring lyrics in Arabic from an iconic song by Lebanese singer, Fairouz.

Arial perspective of a render of the W Dubai - The Palm site

Image cation: Aerial perspective of a render of the W Dubai – The Palm site

The hotel features a multiple of pools that sit in a wave-like pattern in the center of the Escape to form the W brand’s iconic WET® Deck experience, beach-facing, with views of the Dubai skyline. The W brand’s signature AWAY® Spa invites guests to ‘Stroll in and Strut out’ offering ten treatment rooms, a steam room, sauna, experiential showers, a hammam and a couples’ suite. Guests are treated to a design inspired by the underwater perspective of a pearl diver, where iridescent shells reflect the sunlight that peeks through the ocean above. Lastly, guests can sweat it out at FIT (gym) which boasts state-of-the-art equipment overlooking the WET Deck, beach and skyline views, featuring abstract art inspired by the graceful forms of both jellyfish and the parachutes of adventure-seeking skydivers.

“As our first W Escape in the region, W Dubai – The Palm combines the city’s unique allure with the brand’s bold design and dynamic lifestyle and gives it a locally relevant twist.”

W Dubai – The Palm is set to infuse even more decadence into Dubai’s booming, multicultural culinary landscape with six beverage and food destinations. Translated as “I will be right back,” Torno Sobito is the first restaurant outside of Italy by global culinary genius, Chef Massimo Bottura – whose Osteria Francescana has been feted as the “World’s Best Restaurant.” The dishes and design of Torno Subito lean in to Dubai’s reputation for all things playful. Guests dig into Massimo’s favorite bites inside converted rescue boats and pedalos (paddle boats) and can choose a flavor from the roving gelato cart. Massimo, like W, has an eye for irreverence, which is evident in the options for decadent pasta bowls ordered by size: medium and large. Guests dine in a 60’s-esque wonderland, decked with woven green chairs, life sized beachfront imagery, bold metallic accents adorning the ceilings and walls, and lighting reminiscent of dressing rooms and marquees from the golden age of Hollywood.

Torno Subito at W Dubai - The Palm

Image caption: Torno Subito at W Dubai – The Palm

“We are excited to bring the W brand to Palm Jumeirah with the highly anticipated opening of W Dubai – The Palm,” said Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International. “As our first W Escape in the region, W Dubai – The Palm combines the city’s unique allure with the brand’s bold design and dynamic lifestyle and gives it a locally relevant twist. With game-changing style, amplified entertainment and innovative culinary offerings, this W Escape will inject a fresh vibe into the local hospitality scene and offer the most sought-after luxury getaway for locals as well as global jet-setters.”

SoBe (short for South Beach) is an adults-only playground inspired by the eclectic and vibrant spirit of Miami. This is the only rooftop bar in Dubai where guests can watch the sun sink into the Arabian Sea with 360-degree views to watch as the Dubai skyline lights up each night. Serving up eclectic live DJ performances, imaginative cocktails, and even tattoo artists, there will be nothing else like it in the city.

LIV offers guests greener, lighter, fresher and brighter options for breakfast, lunch and dinner and was designed using only upcycled materials, meaning no new materials were created to build the venue. The restaurant is sprinkled with artwork inspired by the patterns left on beaches by sand bubbler crabs, the official mascot of W Dubai – The Palm.

W Dubai – The Palm adopts a bold approach to take events from ordinary to extraordinary. Featuring more than 2,000 square meters of event space, W Dubai sets the stage for any elaborate occasion. The sprawling 1,215-square-meter Great Room boasts an extraordinary oval shape, sensually designed with rotating walls letting in (or blocking out) the dazzling Arabian sun. Custom lighting features allows W Dubai to personalize each event, lighting up the scene with a myriad of colors. The Green Room serves as a holding area for events and weddings and features light pendants reminiscent of wedding bands and carpeting adorned in henna-like patterns.

Courtyard by Marriott expands its UK portfolio with Oxford opening

Hamish Kilburn

The first hotel to opening following the aim to expand portfolio in the UK to seven hotels will be Courtyard by Marriott Oxford South… 

Courtyard continues to grow its UK presence with the opening of Courtyard by Marriott Oxford South. Inviting the modern traveller to work and play, the hotel features the latest Courtyard by Marriott design to ensure a refreshing and productive hotel experience. Design company Urban Reef imagined the stunning, futuristic, exterior of the property, and the interior design showcases artwork and murals inspired by the county of Oxfordshire.

Owned by EQ Hotels, the hotel is located within easy reach of Oxford city centre and its historic and cultural attractions, Bicester Village shopping outlet, and premium science and business hub Milton Park.

“Courtyard by Marriott Oxford South is an excellent gateway to discover the unique attractions of this historic area,” said John Licence, Vice President Premium and Select Brands Europe at Marriott International. “Whether our guests are in Oxfordshire for business or pleasure, they are sure to enjoy an authentic local experience that inspires them to both work and play.”

The 170 welcoming guest rooms feature complimentary Wi-Fi, 55-inch TVs with Chromecast technology, rainfall showers, comfortable Hypnos beds, and Nespresso machines. Guests can also unwind in the state-of-the-art fitness centre.

Luxury bedroom with white interiors and statement yellow cushion on bed

Image credit: Marriott International

The hotel’s signature all-day dining restaurant, The Oxen Bar & Grill, presents seasonal British-inspired and international cuisine in a relaxed setting with its open pizza kitchen, all-weather alfresco dining terrace, and urban lounge bar.

Courtyard Oxford South is the ideal venue for a memorable event or conference. Four spacious meeting rooms, with natural daylight and equipped with the latest technology, offer 185 square metres of versatile meeting and function space, with the largest area able to cater for 120 delegates.

The addition of Courtyard Oxford South brings the brand’s footprint in Europe to over 60 hotels. Further hotel openings are anticipated over the next couple of years in key growth markets including Germany, UK, and France, as well as new markets including Armenia, Iceland, and Finland.

Main image credit: Marriott International 

EDITION Hotels arrives in Shanghai

Hamish Kilburn
Celebrated designer Ian Schrager brings the celebrated EDITION brand to the metropolis of Shanghai, with an unprecedented blend of leisure and entertainment within one luxury hotel…

Times change, people change, cultures change. Few cities move as fast or adapt as quickly as the city of Shanghai. Ian Schrager, the inventor and innovator of the boutique hotel concept, now brings the modern luxury of the EDITION Hotels brand to Shanghai.

“The Shanghai EDITION is housed in one of the city’s finest buildings.”

Following the success of the EDITION Hotels in London, New York, Sanya, China and Miami Beach, The Shanghai EDITION represents a new kind of innovation and authenticity in luxury travel; a modern oasis of comfort at the heart of one of the world’s most populous cities. By understanding that a hotel is more than just a place to sleep—it’s a hub, a meeting place, a culture of commerce, work, life and play—Schrager creates not just a hotel but a seamlessly integrated experience, a small city within a city. It’s an international ethos with a local product: World-renowned architects, designers, chefs, mixologists, fabricators and artisans have come together at the meeting point of unmistakable Shanghai culture. This one-of-a-kind modern meeting point innovates and extends the very concept of hotel: dining, recreation, entertainment, work, relaxation, meeting point and landmark in one.

Combining two very distinct yet complementary buildings, The Shanghai EDITION is housed in one of the city’s finest buildings; the former headquarters of Shanghai Power Company on Nanjing Road, along the tree-lined Huang Pu River port on the Bund. This Art Deco monument houses the public area of the hotel, comprising a magnificent lobby, Michelin starred Chef Jason Atherton’s new restaurant, Shanghai Tavern, and a world class spa as well as multiple bars, night club, rooftop and meeting and event areas. As well as being updated and renovated, the heritage-protected historical building now flows into the state-of-the-art skyscraper development, designed to coexist and harmonise with the historical structure, while bringing it into the present day. This multi-dimensional space creates a synergy, designed for movement and flow. In the new tower, 145 rooms and suites, many with unrivalled views of the Bund, will be accompanied by an array of wining and dining spaces, including HIYA, a new Japanese restaurant by Jason Atherton on the 27th floor and Shanghai’s stylish incarnation of Punch Room, the sophisticated cocktail lounge first made famous at The London EDITION and ROOF, a garden rooftop bar with 360 degree views of Shanghai.

“Yet, it was essential that the hotel’s spaces and interiors were infused with a contemporary, sophisticated design vernacular.”

The historical pedigree of the development and renovation are rich. As well as the local heritage of the Shanghai Power building, the public spaces were created with an eye to an old-world sensibility; the likes of a traditional, English country estate or the quintessential London private gentleman’s club.

Lobby area of The Shanghai EDITION

Yet, it was essential that the hotel’s spaces and interiors were infused with a contemporary, sophisticated design vernacular. In Schrager’s signature style, The Shanghai EDITION possesses a dynamic fusion of old and new, embodied by the dual nature of the buildings’ development. The striking Lobby and main entrance to The Shanghai EDITION features a centerpiece light custom designed by the French architectural and decorative designer Eric Schmitt. The glowing sphere, held delicately in the grasp of gently curved metal prongs, hangs elegantly like a piece of jewelry in the center of the lobby. The atmospherically designed space includes a programmable LED feature on the underside of a cantilevered canopy, which welcomes guests in from the cobblestone driveway. The 9.5 meter high Grey stone walls establish sense of grandeur and solidity in contrast with rich walnut fittings which provide a sense of intimacy and warmth. This dichotomy is a signature of the EDITION brand. In keeping with Ian Schrager’s philosophy of the hotel lobby as ‘a new kind of gathering place’, the Lobby Bar, one of nine in The Shanghai EDITION is inset with a bespoke plaster relief artwork inspired by carvings typically observed on Shikumen (stone-gated) housing, which is unique to the fast-disappearing, traditional Shanghai urban typology.

The 145 guest rooms and suites at The Shanghai EDITION bring laid-back modern luxury to a new era. Every room features the conveniences travelers and revelers have come to expect and rely on. State-of-the-art beds are adorned with imported luxury Anichini linens and unique and custom designed furniture with carefully selected textiles. The bathrooms are finished in white marble, detailed in contrasting black metal, with custom-scented Le Labo amenities as standard. The slanted windows, all of which give breathtaking views of Shanghai and The Bund, add to the feeling of insulated calm within the rooms. The walls and floor of the bedroom and living areas are clad in light oak, creating a sense of warmth and domesticity.

Beyond the home-away-from-home accommodation, guest amenities raise the stakes of contemporary hotel offerings. On level 5, the swimming pool has been modelled as though carved from a solid mass of Pietra Serena from an ancient Roman mountainside, and overlooking the urban landscape. The gym, meanwhile, on level 7, does away with the crowded utilitarian standard of contemporary gyms, and combines wellness and holistic design into the need for physical exertion, open 24 hours. The state-of-the-art gym equipment was selected, no expenses spared, by renowned fitness experts, and installed on a smoked oak skin that lines the floor and walls. The indoor gym gives onto a large outdoor terrace, where guest can rest, meditate and practice tai chi, yoga, and cardio against an urban backdrop.

On the 27th floor of the skyscraper sits Jason Atherton’s HIYA a Japanese lzakaya-inspired restaurant, designed by Neri & Hu. Meaning ‘Clouds in the Sky’ HIYA is slick, sophisticated and glamorous, taking cues from Atherton’s London restaurant, Sosharu, to become a nighttime destination for Shanghai’s elite. Rising up the grand spiral staircase from the Shanghai incarnation of The London EDITION’s award- winning Punch Room, a modern reincarnation of London’s 19th-century private clubs, and on the Mezzanine is the ROOF. As guests enter the Roof they behold one of the most spectacular panoramic views of Pudong from the Bund. The main bar and high seating is enclosed within a wooden trellis intertwined with climbing ivy, where an open-air lounge area offers guests a comfortable and intimate setting for casual drinks with a view. From here, a range of EDITION’s classic and innovative libations will be served, focusing on champagne and champagne-based cocktails.

The threshold that connects the heritage building and the postmodern tower is the Urban Lobby. Acting as a portal between the accommodation section and the public entertainment sections of The Shanghai EDITION, this magnificent space is home to a hanging garden, its lush greenery suspended from the ceiling. The back wall is covered by an awe-inspiring 7-story antique mirror, sourced and refurbished specially for this space, heightening the spatial illusion that one is walking beneath a floating, indoor forest. As a spectacular centerpiece to the contemporary space, the bronze spiral staircase winds continuously down three floors from the rooftop garden, giving access to a spectacular 3-level eating and drinking area with commanding views of the Bund.

The heritage building accessed through the hotel’s Urban Lobby and through a separate public entrance plays host to multi-level experience for dining, drinking, dancing and amenities starting with Shanghai Tavern, Jason Atherton’s all-day dining, brasserie style restaurant located on the first level. Drawing on Elliot Hazzard’s period architecture and magnificent coffered ceiling, the design seeks to reference the layers of history behind the Shanghai Power Company Building; a communal space that has been interior designed for pocketed intimacy. One floor above hosts Canton Disco, a traditional Cantonese restaurant concept by the celebrated Black Sheep Group, with a contemporary update at its fore. The high energy atmosphere, addictive cuisine and unpretentious service paints a perfect picture of modern Shanghai throughout the main dining room as well as the five exclusive private rooms. The next level provides a dedicated multi-purpose space for meetings and events for up to 200 guests  followed by the Club Room on level five – a gentleman’s club-inspired lounge area that exudes a sense of warmth and exclusivity. The sophisticated Club Room features two indulgent lounge areas, with a nine-seat bar as well as a screening room and a KTV karaoke room.

The Spa at The Shanghai EDITION on level 6 reflects a sophisticated approach to beauty, wellness and wellbeing with an inspired blend of luxury and comfort. The Spa features a total of six treatment rooms and suites, manicure and pedicure services, sauna, an expansive relaxation area with fully equipped bar and a retail boutique. Showcasing the best wellness and beauty practices, The Spa delivers authentic Asian treatment inspired by western rituals featuring top-shelf products by Amala and Intraceuticals – designed exclusively for EDITION’s well-travelled and elegant guests.

Level seven plays host to the brand new nightspot: Electric Circus, a fresh kind of club and VIP lounge for Shanghai. Conceived in the Studio 54 tradition, with its dramatic lighting, otherworldly interior and signature EDITION cocktail mixology, Electric Circus will play host to some of the world’s top DJs and performers, destined to become an unmissable venue in the Shanghai nightlife scene. For discerning guests requiring the utmost in discretion, Electric Circus houses the city’s ultimate private room with its own dual-access private entrances to maintain privacy.

On the rooftop, situated on the 8th level   of the modern building, sits a fully landscaped Roof Garden, a perfect oasis, and one of few urban green spaces in Shanghai. Composed of a patchwork of brick and lawn terraces of differing heights, the roof garden mixes Chinese greenery with luscious, tropical horticulture. The richly planted rooftop features an under-the-stars movie theatre, a games area for lawn bowls and croquet, daybed seating, as well as the service of a full bar with, food and snacks on the roof.

The Shanghai EDITION distills the most central and desired services with precision, doing away with the obsolete, dated baggage of the prim, regulated hotel environment. This highly stylised hotel functions as a “home away from home,” catering to the modern-day traveler by providing comfort and ease with refinement: now a signature that defines the EDITION brand.

Top 5 stories of the week: Turning 50, Scottish jewels and one important countdown

678 574 Hamish Kilburn

As the sun sets on June, editor Hamish Kilburn wraps up on what has been a tech-driven month full of interviews and looking into the future…

It’s important in our industry to know when to celebrate. This month has been all about recognising significant milestones in both hotel groups and technology.

In this month alone, we welcomed a new hotel brand, voco, while we also celebrated THE Park Hotels’ 50th anniversary. From a tech point of view, we explored why there’s a growing demand for wireless power in hotel design, while also exploring whether or not Alexa was welcome in the guestroom (the jury is still out, it seems).

Wrapping up the month, here are our top five stories of the week.

1) 50 years young, THE Park Hotels and the woman behind the brand

Portrait of Priya Paul

Our most-read article of this week’s context is all about celebrating success. Priya Paul, the businesswoman with much to celebrate, joined me for a afternoon tea to discuss 50 years of THE Park Hotels and how the Indian hotel landscape has changed…

2) Checking in to Gleneagles, Scotland

Pastel palette in Legacy Suite

Intrigued to find out to what extent the power of interior design can lift a building, we checked in to review the one and only jewel of Scotland, Gleneagles… My first impressions to what I thought would be an overly stuffy and ‘far too posh’ hotel were immediately erased the moment I stepped foot in the building.

3) Competition watchdog puts hotel bookings sites under the spotlight

It’s all over the mainstream news, and the names of the bookings sites are yet to be released. Hotel booking sites are being advised by the UK’s competition watchdog to review the way in which they rank and display rooms online…

4) Leading design firms, hotels and suppliers to attend Meet Up North

Terrace of King's Street Townhouse

The countdown has started. With less than a month to go until the inaugural Meet Up North kicks off in Manchester’s King Street Townhouse on July 18, Hotel Designs has announced the stellar line-up of designers, architects, hotels and suppliers who will be attending.

5) Marriot International leads global hotel construction pipeline

Image credit: Marriott International - Cape Town

Image credit: Marriott International – Cape Town

The Lodging Econometrics (LE) global construction pipeline trend report suggests that Marriot is leading the franchises in the global construction pipeline.

The construction pipeline that compiles statistics for every country and market in the world, states that the total pipeline stands at 12,714 projects/2,139,002 rooms, up seven per cent by projects year-over-year (YOY).

Stunning conservatory public area

First look: Collaboration is king to open Moxy Chelsea

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Leading firms Lightstone, TAO Group, Rockwell Group and Yabu Pushelberg rejoin forces following the successful launch of Moxy Times Square to deliver Moxy Chelsea…

Said to be New York’s new secret garden, the lifestyle hotel Moxy Chelsea will open this Autumn with inspiration from the urban jungle, blending botanically-inspired design with Italian romance. The hotel, developed by Lightstone and part of Marriott International’s Moxy Hotels brand, will rise 37 stories above New York City and features 349 thoughtfully designed guestrooms that are flooded with natural light and are complete with a touch of wit for good measure.

Designed by architects Stonehill Taylor, the building honours the neighbourhood with its industrial façade and soaring, greenhouse-style atrium. TAO Group will debut brand-new dining and drinking concepts in partnership with Francesco and Lorenzo Panella of the legendary Antica Pesa in Rome and Brooklyn, including a ristorante, caffè, pasticceria, as well as a cocktail bar and lounge offering a gourmet take on Italian street food.

“TAO Group is thrilled to once again partner with Lightstone and introduce brand-new dining and entertainment concepts within Moxy Chelsea,” says Noah Tepperberg, Partner of TAO Group. “After the success of Legasea, Egghead and Magic Hour at Moxy Times Square, we are eager to unveil our new venues at Moxy Chelsea and a very unique collaboration with Italian culinary stars Francesco and Lorenzo Panella.”

Moxy Chelsea marks the second collaboration by Yabu Pushelberg and Rockwell Group, the team behind Moxy Times Square. As guests enter through the fragrant, overgrown flower shop, designed by Yabu Pushelberg, they will be welcomed by four butcher blocks suspended dramatically from the 12-foot ceiling, acting as check-in kiosks, replacing a traditional reception desk. Other characteristically playful entryway design features include a digital word-play LED art installation on the ceiling, flashing phrases like “Good Morning, Stranger” and “You Love Me, You Love Me More” as well as a sculptural wood-cast concrete staircase leading from the check-in area to the lobby lounge.

The ground floor café, ristorante and second-floor lobby, designed by Rockwell Group, unfold as a collection of dining and lounging spaces that transform seamlessly from work to play throughout the day. Tucked into the bustle of Manhattan’s historic Flower District, guests encounter a botanically inspired design and crafted romance seen through a thoroughly modern lens. Spanning the front façade, the glass-enclosed conservatory will envelop guests in sunlight and lush vegetation, with a three-story-high living wall and greenhouse-style windows. Beyond the two meeting studios and co-working lounge will be an outdoor garden terrace with vintage Italian flair complete with a Neapolitan-style pizza oven and made-for-Moxy bocce drinking game.

King guestroom with soft furnishings and quirky lighting

The playful guestrooms, developed by Yabu Pushelberg, are filled with whimsical details, while reflecting a careful consideration of space and functionality. Ten-foot ceilings and full height, wall-to wall windows, drench the rooms with sunlight. A restrained, muted colour palette conveys a feeling of openness—warm, wood-like floors, army-green mosaic tile, striped drapes, and wax-dipped canvas headboards convey notions of hand-wrought craft, honest materials, and nostalgic wit. Each cosy, exceptionally efficient bedroom will include custom-designed, multipurpose, foldaway furniture, which hangs on an open pegboard wall. Bathrooms will feature walk-in rain showers with cheeky phrases printed on its tiles like “Some Regrets” and “Wild Thing.” Room types will include king rooms, double/doubles and quad bunk rooms as well as a hospitality suite with two adjoining king rooms, aptly named the MONDO Suite.

Mondo Suite

Topping off the hotel, on the 35th floor, is a glass-enclosed rooftop lounge designed by Rockwell Group with spectacular, expansive views that stretch from the Statue of Liberty to the Empire State Building. At the touch of a button, a retractable window wall will transform the lounge into an alfresco sky veranda.

Moxy offers a new way of traveling which is smaller in concentration, yet not a reduction in experience. The brand caters to today’s free-spirited traveller who is looking for a hotel with friendly service and premium comforts in an environment that allows them to connect with relevant and authentic local experiences. Moxy’s creative brand identity aims to engage business and leisure travellers with a warm, thoughtful and playful guest experience.

“Moxy colours outside the lines when it comes to the traditional hospitality experience, and working hand-in-hand with Lightstone, we are set to disrupt the New York hotel scene once again with the opening of Moxy Chelsea,” said Vicki Poulos, Senior Global Brand Director, Moxy Hotels. “The combination of best-in-class in design, culture and food & beverage, as well as a killer price point, will no doubt deliver the fun and playful hotel experience guests have come to expect from Moxy Hotels, while reflecting the unique spirit of Manhattan’s Flower District.”

“Moxy Chelsea brings a fresh vibrancy to the historic Flower District, where culture and commerce converge. It’s set to become a destination where visitors and locals can connect in a natural and inclusive way,” says Mitchell Hochberg, President of Lightstone. “Like Moxy Times Square, Moxy Chelsea offers guests affordability, without any sacrifice to style or comfort.”

Lightstone, the hotel’s developer, debuted the Moxy brand in New York with the opening of Moxy Times Square in September 2017 and will be developing four other Moxy properties planned for New York City, Miami, and Los Angeles, each with its own unique local spin. “In New York City, people have so many hotel options,” says Hochberg. “You need to give them something more. They’re looking for experiences, but at a reasonable price, and Moxy Chelsea will provide both—a great value and a canvas for exciting, serendipitous moments.”

Moxy Chelsea is located at 105 W 28th Street (at 6th Avenue) and will open this autumn.

 

Image credit: Marriott International - Cape Town

Marriott International leads global construction pipeline

750 500 Hamish Kilburn

The Lodging Econometrics (LE) global construction pipeline trend report suggests that Marriot is leading the franchises in the global construction pipeline.

The construction pipeline that compiles statistics for every country and market in the world, states that the total pipeline stands at 12,714 projects/2,139,002 rooms, up seven per cent by projects year-over-year (YOY).

The leading five franchise companies in the global construction pipeline by project-count are: Marriott International with 2,381 projects/398,238 rooms, Hilton Worldwide with 2,180 projects/322,857 rooms, InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) with 1,600 projects/234,807 rooms, AccorHotels with 781 projects/140,396 rooms, and Choice Hotels with 629 projects/153,992 rooms. The leading brands for each of these companies are: Marriott’s Fairfield Inn with 357 projects/38,826 rooms, Hilton’s Hampton Inn & Suites with 599 projects/75,642 rooms, IHG’s Holiday Inn Express with 709 projects/86,836 rooms, Accor’s Ibis with 156 projects/22,361 rooms, and Choice’s Comfort Suites with 126 projects/10,983 rooms.

According to the economics experts, there are currently 5,952 projects/1,115,288 rooms under construction, up eight per cent by projects YOY. Projects scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months, at 3,988 projects/584,433 rooms, are up six per cent while projects in early planning at 2,774 projects/439,281 rooms are up five per cent YOY.

Rendering of the hotel's pool

Westin Hotels & Resorts to debut in the UK

600 400 Hamish Kilburn

Poised to set a new standard for wellbeing in the Heart of the Capital, The Westin London City, designed by Dexter Moren Associates, is scheduled to open in 2020…

Marriott International, Inc. has announced plans to debut the Westin brand in the United Kingdom. Owned by 4C Hotel Group and managed by RBH, The Westin London City is set to open in 2020 and will boast a prime riverfront location in the heart of the City of London.  This hotel signing illustrates how the global demand for well-being continues to propel Westin’s growth around the world, with recent openings in Australia and upcoming debuts in Malaysia and the Maldives.

“Transforming the way travellers experience wellness continues to be a powerful proposition for Westin, and one that has become increasingly important as people integrate well-being more holistically into their lifestyle,” said Brian Povinelli, SVP & Global Brand Leader, Westin Hotels & Resorts. “We are thrilled to not only debut the brand in London, but also to open this marquee hotel on the iconic River Thames, where travellers and locals alike are staying active every day.”

The Westin London City will be a key part of the redevelopment of the former Queensbridge House site, as well as an independently operated destination restaurant. The site stretches from Queenhithe Dock – the oldest in London – and runs north to south, bridging across Upper Thames Street and giving it a prominent position over one of the primary arterial routes through the City of London. Highly visible from the South Bank, the hotel will also benefit from panoramic views over the River Thames and will complete the northern riverbank walkway between the Tower of London and Millennium Bridge.

“This is an exciting chapter for the Westin brand,” said John Licence, Vice President Premium & Select Brands, Marriott International Europe. “It is clear that there is a strong appetite for the brand’s wellness positioning, innovative programming and premium accommodations. With its commanding riverfront location in the commercial and historic heart of the City of London, The Westin London City is sure to offer a reviving and memorable stay for guests in one of the world’s most dynamic cities.”

Led by international architecture and interior design practice Dexter Moren Associates, the thoughtfully designed hotel is fluid and sculptural with a biophilic-focus, suggesting that a connection to nature enhances well-being. Upon arrival, guests enter into an atrium space that is at once open and airy, yet residential and intimate.  The lobby leads into a riverside bar and restaurant, which opens onto the new public walkway affording spectacular views across the river towards Shakespeare’s Globe and the South Bank.

“We have been working on this project for almost a decade and it’s great to finally be on site with a new-build hotel on such a landmark river frontage City of London site, providing a new public link between St Pauls and the Thames,” said director Dexter Moren. “Of the many hotel projects we are delivering in UK & Internationally this ranks as one of the most exciting.”

Associate Director Neil Andrew (lead interior designer on the project) said: “DMA Interiors are appointed to design the guest rooms and public areas which include the lobby areas, executive lounge, conference area, spa, restaurant and bar. The Westin brand has been interpreted in a modern and minimal approach. Textures are introduced via natural materials and layered fabrics and refined palettes present an air of sophistication and respect the views to the River Thames beyond.”

The hotel’s 220 guest rooms, including 29 suites and Presidential Suite, are designed to offer guests a nature-inspired respite in the centre of a bustling city, expertly balancing a calming palette of natural colours with contrasting tones, textures and materials.  All rooms will feature Westin’s signature services and amenities, such as the world-renowned Heavenly™ Bed and reviving Heavenly™ Bath experience.

The hotel’s prominent location, combined with excellent airport, train and underground links, will appeal to the business and meetings market. 830m² of ultra-modern meeting and event space will be available, including a Junior Ballroom and four meeting rooms, as well as a 24-hour business centre.

 

W Ibiza confirmed for summer 2019

1024 683 Katy Phillips

Marriott International subsidiary W Hotels Worldwide has confirmed that it will open a 162 room W Ibiza in Summer 2019 in Santa Eulalia del Río.

Owned by Inversions Hoteleres Ebza S.L., W Ibiza will have a beachfront location with three distinct design concepts for dining, drinking and relaxing, complemented by a rooftop sunset bar and adults only WET Deck (the brand’s signature take on poolside entertainment). A second WET Deck will have direct access to the beachfront promenade and Santa Eulalia beach.

There will also be a 4,000 square foot Away Spa with seven private treatment rooms and the brand’s signature FIT gym.

W Ibiza will join a portfolio of more than 50 W Hotels around the world, including recently opened locations W Shanghai – The Bund and W Goa.

Spain is on track to have four W Hotels by 2021, with the opening of W Madrid (2019), W Ibiza (2019) and W Marbella (2021) slated to join the W Barcelona. In total, W Hotels says it’s on track to have 75 hotels globally by the end of 2020.

“With its playful energy and bohemian spirit, Ibiza is an ideal destination and perfect match for W Hotels,” said Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide. “We have been present in Ibiza since 2010 with a variety of W music events and partnerships, so we’re thrilled to be finally opening a W Hotel on the island that we know our guests love. Following the success of W Barcelona and the forthcoming debuts of W Madrid (2019) and W Marbella (2021), W Ibiza will remix the expected and provide a new take on the (in)famous island.”

Rome welcomes back Le Méridien Brand

Marriott announce ‘momentous move’ as they relaunch Le Meridien brand in Melbourne

1024 576 Adam Bloodworth

Hot on the heels of Marriot’s giant global expansion – which Hotel Designs revealed would expand their luxury footprint with 40 new hotels in 2018 – the group have revealed their latest project in Melbourne.

Marriott have been re-energising their Le Meridien offshoot with openings in China, US, Italy and South Korea, and the latest will be in Melbourne.

Le Meridien Melbourne will take over a property that previously served as the Melbourne Palace Theatre. The historic building will be given an extensive face-lift, but won’t end up feeling all that modern, as the interior style will be mid-Century.

“Light hearted yet sophisticated” 

Global Brand Leader Brian Povinelli called the style “light-hearted yet sophisticated”.

“We are delighted to re-introduce the brand – born in Paris during an era of glamorous travel – to global guests and locals alike”, he said.

The hotel will open in 2020 in downtown Melbourne, in the heart of the city’s creative district, surrounded by art galleries and boutique galleries, cafes, restaurants and shops.

“A momentous move for Marriott International”

Rome welcomes back Le Méridien Brand

Richard Crawford, senior development director for Australia, said: “The arrival of Le Meridien brand into Australia is a momentous move for Marriott International.”

“It comes at a perfect time. Alongside Melbourne’s growing demand from domestic travellers, new international direct routes from the United States, Asia-Pacific and South America are driving continued growth in international visitation.”

Le Meridien Melbourne will have 235 rooms, two bars, a restaurant and a heated swimming pool.

One of the strings of the Marriott International Bow, there are almost 150 Le Meridien properties in 40 territories.

Editor’s note: the images used in this article are from other Le Meridien properties.

JW Marriott Baku - Henry Chebaane

Marriott International ‘grow luxury footprint’ as they reveal massive 40 hotel roll out in 2018

919 595 Adam Bloodworth

Marriott have revealed ambitious plans to extend their luxury footprint in 2018 with a giant 40 hotel roll out.

Global Brand Officer Tina Edmunson has written a statement insisting Marriott’s luxury expansion understands the “global shift in perception around luxury”.

“We are uniquely positioned to provide personalised and truly differentiated experiences that resonate with this next generation jetsetter,” she said.

There are eight distinct brands within the Marriott portfolio. They include The Ritz Carlton, Ritz-Carlton Reserve, St. Regis, W Hotels, The Luxury Collection, EDITION and JW Marriott.

Marriott will launch in new territories in 2018 including Iceland, Nepal and Cuba

JW Marriott - Marco Island

If 40 new hotels sounds like steep growth, Marriot have some 200 hotels “in the development pipeline”, across the 60 countries currently represented by Marriott, and further afield, having taken on an extra 25 countries.

Some of those countries include Iceland, Nepal, Cuba and The Philippines.

Tina’s statement went on: “From former palaces in Venice and Vienna, to skyscrapers in Hong Kong and Dubai, to intimate, remote escapes in the Maldives and Mexico, the breadth of our portfolio is incomparable and allows us to surpass the expectations of our guests around the globe.”

Authentic experiences are the bedrock of the modern day luxury seeker 

The hotel are keen to promote the work of travel intelligence platform Skift, whose research suggests authentic experiences are the bedrock of the modern day luxury seeker.

Tina Edmundson agrees. She thinks “today’s global luxurian defies traditional stereotypes, moving far beyond the antiquated notion of ‘time’ being the ultimate luxury. Our guests are on a journey towards personal fulfilment, seeking meaningful and purposeful travel experiences that speak to their inner, idealized selves. Whether that be creating a signature dish at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman’s Culinary Studio, prioritizing wellness by tapping into on-demand fitness with JW Marriott’s Behind the Barre program, recharging in an over-water villa at The St. Regis Maldives or exploring one of the world’s most energetic cities through a W Insider.”

Marriott International to open 40 luxury hotels in 2018

Marriott International to open 40 luxury hotels in 2018

850 541 Daniel Fountain

Marriott International has reported that it will open almost 40 luxury hotels in 2018, catering to what it calls a new ‘affluent traveller’.

Marriott also said it will expand its luxury footprint further with 200 hotels in the development pipeline, including 25 new countries, from Iceland and Nepal to Cuba and the Philippines.

Marriott’s luxury brands include The Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, W Hotels, The Luxury Collection, EDITION and JW Marriott.

“We see luxury as a launchpad for self-actualisation, with bucket lists evolving from where you want to go to who you can be,” said Tina Edmundson, global brand officer.

“With data showing a global shift in perception around luxury, we are uniquely positioned to provide personalized and truly differentiated experiences that resonate with this net-generation jet-setter,” she added.

Marriott completed its acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide in September 2016, bringing its total hotel properties to more than 5,700 worldwide.

www.marriott.com

W Hotels to Debut in Italy with W Rome Hotel

W Hotels to Debut in Italy with W Rome Hotel

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W Hotels Worldwide, part of the Marriott International group, has announced the signature of a hotel in Rome, its first hotel in Italy.

This hotel, the first by W in Italy, is set to open by 2021 in the Via Veneto neighbourhood. It has been renovated and will be operated in partnership with Omnam Group.

The W Rome Hotel will have 159 rooms and suites, including a presidential suite called Extreme WOW.

A rooftop bar, as well as a restaurant and a reception hall, as well as a spa and workout facility are among the hotel’s equipment. This announcement confirms the development of the W Hotels group in Europe, where it currently operates seven properties.

Laylow Waikiki Hotel on Oahu

Oahu’s first Autograph Collection hotel heralds new era in Honolulu

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Autograph Collection Hotels has announced the grand opening of The Laylow following an extensive $60 million (£46.5 million) renovation. Bringing the brand’s values of vision, design and craft to the island of Oahu, The Laylow joins a distinguished portfolio of more than 100 independent hotels around the world.

Heartfelt Hawaiian Design with Nostalgic Sense of Place
Perched above the revitalised Kuhio Avenue in the heart of Waikiki, the 251-room hotel blends mid-century modernism with its Hawaiian roots, melding the island’s melting pot of cultures and the post-war architecture movement that shaped modern Honolulu.

Laylow Waikiki Hotel on OahuThe hotel’s creative design was led by Fritz Mesenbrink and Jeremy Pelley, co-founders of Official Mfg of Portland, Oregon who drew upon works by mid-century visionaries to inspire the aesthetic of guestrooms, suites and public spaces while Hawaiian furnishings from the period have been reinterpreted to give the hotel a hint of whimsy and its distinct sense of place.

“Hawaiian mid-century modernism is the heart that beats at the core of The Laylow,” explains Mesenbrink. “Architect Vladimir Ossipoff’s signature work, the Liljestrand House overlooking Honolulu, exemplified that design movement in Hawaii and was the jumping off point that inspired the interior design and furnishings as well as the exceptional character of The Laylow Hotel.”

Upon arrival to The Laylow, guests rise above Kuhio Avenue to the open lobby level replete with simple, elegant mid-century furnishings and a stunning terracotta breezeblock wall, sculpted in graphic patterns reminiscent of Hawaiian tapa and open to the trade winds, preserving the flow of air and energy throughout the space. Furniture includes refurbished antiques and custom pieces inspired by mid-century modern classics, created with reclaimed woods and vintage style accents throughout the hotel. A hotel greeter with a tray of chilled local pineapple bites and oshibori, chilled towels, offers instant refreshment to weary travelers.

Each well-appointed guestroom and suite boasts bold, custom-created monstera leaf wallpaper, inspired by vintage bark cloth patterns, perfectly capturing and refreshing the motif of the time period. Surf nostalgia photography books, art tomes and an authentic ukulele line the shelves. The colour palette blends warm earth tones and textural neutrals for a calming ambiance, while pops of burnt orange, cobalt hues of the ocean and tropical pinks add bursts of eccentric flair.

www.laylowwaikiki.com

The Blackstone to join Autograph Collection

Chicago’s Blackstone Hotel joins Autograph Collection

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Autograph Collection Hotels, part of Marriott International, has announced The Blackstone will join the brand’s diverse and distinguished portfolio of more than 100 independent hotels around the world on June 7, 2017. A hallmark of hospitality and history in the Windy City, the hotel shares the brand’s values of vision, design and craft and it’s ‘exactly like nothing else’ mantra.

“The Blackstone has found its home as part of Autograph Collection Hotels given its rich history, exceptional design and iconic reputation,” said Julius Robinson, Vice President and Global Brand Lead, Autograph Collection Hotels. “Our one-of-a-kind hotels are known for providing differentiated, standout guest experiences, and we are thrilled to welcome global travelers and Chicago locals alike to this latest addition to our dynamic portfolio.”

Following the hotel’s large scale architectural restoration of $139 million (£107 million) in 2008, this multi-million dollar renovation led by Chicago-based firm The Gettys Group refreshes the original work of renowned Chicago architectural firm Marshall and Fox, highlighting the early twenty-first century grandeur and craftsmanship while incorporating state-of-the-art technology and modern amenities. A Chicago landmark on the city’s Cultural Mile along Michigan Avenue, the hotel’s refreshed interior design carries through to the hotel’s 335 guestrooms and suites, which feature marble accents, plush bedding and dynamic textiles. Upgraded accommodations up the ante with unobstructed views of Grant Park and Lake Michigan spanning from Navy Pier to Soldier Field.

“The Blackstone has long been the cornerstone of hospitality in Chicago,” says Kim Corrigan, General Manager of The Blackstone. “The opportunity to join Autograph Collection Hotels amplifies this same distinctly hospitable and cultural spirit coupled with the unique design elements of our architecturally-stunning property.”

The creative spirit of The Blackstone is brought to life through uniquely-curated art pieces by more than 1,600 local artists placed throughout the hotel, including in the Art Hall, guest rooms and public spaces, as well as woven throughout various guest touchpoints including the bespoke room keys, in-room amenities, and more.

A NOTABLE AND NOTORIOUS HISTORY IN THE HEART OF CHICAGO
Living up to its distinction as the “Hotel of Presidents” for over 100 years, The Blackstone has hosted US presidents and foreign dignitaries, scandalous political and mob exchanges, a star-studded array of actors, and more than a dozen movie productions. In 1920, The hotel became known for the Smoked Filled Suite following the Republican Party leaders’ secret meeting to nominate Warren G. Harding as their candidate for president.

Additionally, the hotel’s Suite of Presidents saw the likes of President Dwight Eisenhower watching his nomination for president from the room in 1952, and President John F. Kennedy preparing for DC negotiations on the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. In turn, The Blackstone also became known as the location of Chicago gangster Al Capone’s barbershop, nestled below street level in a “barbershop” lounge that still remains today.

The hotel honours these illustrious and notorious tales through “Back in the Day” Turn Down & Other Stories available in each room, encouraging guests to create their own history while staying at The Blackstone Hotel.

theblackstonehotel.com

autograph-hotels.marriott.com

www.gettys.com