The Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., recently announced that the company and its owners are investing $200 million to renovate and restore some of its most celebrated hotels in Europe. The brand is already off to a strong start with the reopening of two iconic hotels in Spain this year: Hotel Alfonso XIII in Seville and Hotel Maria Cristina in San Sebastian. This will be followed by the debut of the restored Gritti Palace in Venice and Prince de Galles in Paris in 2013. “The Luxury Collection has an intimate understanding of today’s luxury travellers who, more and more, aim to stay with a brand that offers a consistent level of impeccable service, while celebrating each hotel’s heritage and unique character,” said Paul James, Global Brand Leader, The Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts, St. Regis and W Hotels Worldwide. “We are delighted to reintroduce these historic icons, carefully restored by some of the world’s most renowned architects, interior designers and craftsmen who have preserved the authentic elegance and distinct personality so beloved by its guests, while bringing the landmark hotels into the 21st century.”
The Luxury Collection is an ensemble of more than 80 of the world’s finest hotels and resorts around the world, spanning 30 countries, offering the brand’s signature concierge service, luxury amenities and indigenous cultural experiences. There are currently 40 Luxury Collection hotels in Europe, Africa and Middle East and the four restored hotels in Spain, France and Italy will reinforce the brand’s distinguished portfolio as portals for guests to discover new, exciting destinations throughout the region.
“As part of Starwood’s strategy to strengthen our Luxury Collection brand portfolio and as the world’s leader in luxury hospitality, we are making major investments to renovate and restore some of our most distinguished hotels,” comments Roeland Vos, President, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Africa and Middle East. “The refurbishment of these legendary hotels allows us to continuously exceed guest experiences by offering unparalleled service and authentic experiences that reflect the local spirit of the destination.”
Hotel Alfonso XIII, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Seville (reopened March 2012)
Located on the historic Calle San Fernando in the heart of Seville, Hotel Alfonso XIII is considered to be one of the grandest hotels in Europe and was commissioned by King Alfonso XIII for the 1929 Ibero-American Exhibition. The restoration spanned 10 months and was led by renowned Sevillian architect Demopolis, with interiors designed by The Gallery at HBA London. Recently recognised for “Best Historic Renovation” at the annual Gold Key Design Award, Hotel Alfonso XIII is a magnificent showcase of Moorish architecture and regional Andalusian design infused with Arabic accents. The hotel features 151 luxuriously-appointed guest rooms and suites and distinct culinary experiences, including Spanish cuisine at Bodega Alfonso and Andalusian specialties at San Fernando, the poolside Taifas restaurant and bar, and the Art Deco-inspired American Bar.
Hotel Maria Cristina, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Sebastian (reopened July 2012)
The renovation of Hotel Maria Cristina was completed in time for its 100th anniversary in July, celebrating a century of elegance renewed. Situated in the storied city centre of San Sebastian, Spain’s culinary capital, this Belle Epoque gem was originally designed by famed French architect Charles Mewès and was christened in 1912 by its namesake, Queen Maria Cristina. Carried out over nine months, the refurbishment was led by Idom Engineering & Architecture, with interiors restored by The Gallery at HBA London. The hotel’s 107 lavish guest rooms and 29 suites are dressed in sophisticated pastel tones and decorated with elegant gold furnishings, evoking the élan and striking presence of all the leading ladies who have graced the environs of the hotel. Following the restoration, the hotel introduced haute Chinese cuisine at Tse Yang, complemented by Basque and international selections at Easo Restaurant and excellent cocktails at DRY bar.
The Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Venice (reopening 31 January 2013)
Located along the city’s enchanting Grand Canal, the historic Gritti Palace is slated to open on 31 January next year, in time for the city’s celebrated annual carnival and the Venice International Biennale of Contemporary Art, following a significant 15-month restoration. Working closely with the renowned Venetian fabric house Rubelli and leading interior design firm Donghia, the restoration will return the hotel to its former glory using rare archival fabrics and stunning chandeliers and glassware from Murano. The hotel’s design is inspired by the Gritti Palace’s origins – dating back to 1475 as a private home for the noble Pisani family followed by the distinguished Doge of Venice, Andrea Gritti – to provide a home away from home for global travellers. In addition to the hotel’s famous terrace, The Gritti Palace will feature 61 guest rooms and 21 sumptuous suites as well as Club del Doge restaurant and the restored Bar Longhi. Soon to be unveiled are the reintroduction of the iconic culinary school, The Gritti Epicurean School, the new Acqua di Parma Blu Mediterraneo SPA and the Explorer’s Library at The Gritti Palace.
Prince de Galles, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Paris (reopening Q2 2013)
Built in 1928 along Avenue George V, Prince de Galles is one of the finest addresses in the City of Lights. The celebrated Art Deco treasure is set to offer the epitome of elegance and understated luxury when it reopens in the second quarter of 2013 following an extensive two-year renovation. With the acclaimed Pierre-Yves Rochon leading the design direction, the iconic hotel will feature 159 exquisite guest rooms and 44 suites in authentic Art Deco style, reviving its original grandeur and splendour. The hotel’s famous mosaic courtyard will be fully restored and together with a new signature restaurant led by acclaimed Chef Stéphanie Le Quellec, set the stage for an intimate Parisian social scene.
Starwood Strengthens Luxury Position
In the last five years, Starwood has doubled its global luxury room count to meet growing global demand. With more than 150 luxury hotels operating under the St. Regis, Luxury Collection and W brands, Starwood has the largest footprint of luxury hotels in the industry.
In addition to its commitment to restore some of the Europe’s most emblematic hotels, The Luxury Collection is enhancing its extraordinary portfolio with historic and contemporary icons around the world. The brand continues its remarkable global growth and is on track to surpass 90 hotels by 2014, including nine new hotels and resorts that are slated to open in Asia Pacific in the next two years.