It’s the weekend, and you know that that means – it’s time for “Hotel News We Noted,” your annual wrap up of the best, wackiest and downright odd hotel news of the week. Spring has sprung in the hotel world, and we’re seeing tons of openings from major brands and boutique properties alike, as well as a slew of packages, many of which incentivize travelers to book early for summer stays. Time is running out for Memorial Day bookings in prime locations, but you’ll still find some great last-minute specials in major cities. Of course, don’t forget that Mother’s Day is this weekend. It’s not too late to snag a special at an area hotel there either – Saturday night stays and Sunday brunch offerings abound.
So without further ado, here’s the news you need for this week:
Crazy Hotel Package: Cockle Fishing (With your TOES!) at Hermitage Bay in Antigua
We’ve heard of hotels that will take guests out to “catch” their dinner, but never one quite like this. The ultra-luxe Hermitage Bay in Antigua will escort guests cockle fishing in in a hidden mangrove near the property. What is a cockle, you ask? It’s a small saltwater clam that lives in the deep, swampy mud. Desi, the Chef, and a local fisherman named Deon take guests hunting for the sweet things. Guests stand submerged to mid-thigh, calf-deep in mud, and find the clams by wiggling their toes! This sure brings new meaning to the idea of working for your home-cooked meal.
Haute Hotel Openings & Re-Openings
There are so many hotel openings this week and last, we simply can’t whittle down the list. Here are a few of the world’s most notable.
Located on the southwest coast of Bali, Starwood Le Méridien Bali Jimbaran is housed in a tranquil location that once was home to a small fishing village. The property features 119 guest rooms and suites that open around a unique 1,300-square-meter saltwater lagoon-style pool, as well as four restaurants and bars onsite. The hotel also features a six-room spa, a kids club and an exclusive rotating art program.
Istanbul is hot, hot, hot this year. The latest luxury property to hit the scene is Shangri-La Bosphorus, opening tomorrow. Located on the European side of the Bosphorus Strait, the hotel is housed in a former tobacco warehouse from the 1930s boasting a six-story Neo-Classical facade and a 350-year-old Sycamore tree in the courtyard. Expect a three-story Atrium, an 18-foot silk painting commissioned for the hotel, a CHI spa with eight private spa suites and the most spacious guest rooms in the city, ranging from 452 to 646 square feet, plus 17 suites with large private terraces.
In renovation news, the Hotel Gritti Palace in Venice is re-launching this year after a 15-month, $55 million restoration. Part of an overall $200+ million renovation for The Luxury Collection’s hotel’s in Europe, the newly revamped property features 61 rooms and 21 suites all carefully redone with an eye to the hotel’s historic beauty.
In New York City, the Langham Place has opened their first hotel in North America in the building that was The Setai Fifth Avenue. While at the start, the hotel, dubbed Langham Place Fifth Avenue, will look much the same, the well-known British name in hospitality brings an exciting new brand into New York City and a potential for further acclaim for the property. We’ll keep an eye out for more updates, which include the re-launch of the hotel’s spa in 2014 and a new bar, Measure, later this year.
Great Gift: Hotel Stories
Need a great gift for the luxury travel lover in your life? Luxury book publisher Assouline has just launched the latest in their collection of amazing coffee table books. Part of a partnership with The Luxury Collection, the book, called simply “Hotel Stories,” tells the tales of some of the world’s most famous hotels and their celebrity inhabitants.
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[Image Credit: Hermitage Bay]