Hotel News We Noted: September 14, 2012

andaz napa exteriorTemperatures are getting cooler, but the hotel scene is still hot, hot, hot. Here’s your news of the week, courtesy of “Hotel News We Noted.

Hotel Openings: Andaz Napa
Wine country is getting a bit cooler this week with the opening of the Andaz Napa, formerly the Avia Napa. The downtown hotel has the traditional Andaz lobby as well as a cheeky wall-long map of Napa – all the better to help you map out your wine tasting adventure.

Tech Troubles: What Happens to Hotel iPod Docks?
iHome and iPod docking systems have become nearly ubiquitous in hotels around the country, and the release this week of the new iPhone 5 is causing some major headache in the hotel industry. It’s not because they’ll have to update apps or re-vamp websites (although they likely will, in order to match new screen resolutions and the new operational updates) but because of a change in equipment. The new phones will have a different charging port, and hotels are now scrambling to figure out how soon, if at all, they’ll need to have these adapters onsite to connect to their docking stations. A Wall Street Journal article supposes that these adapters “could soon replace bathrobes as the hotel collectible of choice.” At nearly $30 a pop, we’re inclined to agree. Why, Apple, why???

Food & Beverage: Fairmont Gets Saucy
Fairmont is putting the focus on food, encouraging their chefs to get in with the craft food movement. We’re pretty sure that means good things for us, at least for those of us who don’t count on being able to steal the mini-bottles of Heinz from in-room dining. Is there a theme of theft in this column? Perhaps. Anyway, at Fairmont Pacific Rim, expect house-made condiments (Sake Kasu Cream Cheese Aioli, anyone?) and pickled veggies, Empress peanut butter with honey and milk chocolate at the Fairmont Princess or peanut miso with local Virginia peanuts at the Fairmont DC. In this case, being “saucy” sounds like a very delicious thing.

Celebrity Hotels: Gordon Ramsay Does Hotel Design?
Answer: only when he’s getting paid to do so. Celebrity chef turned television personality turned suite designer Gordon Ramsay has launched his very first room at San Diego’s Keating Hotel. Dubbed the “Victory Suite,” the room is really more of a promo ad for his series, “Hotel Hell,” but it’s pretty darn awesome nevertheless. The suite features exposed brick walls, vaulted ceilings and glass-encased bathrooms. The hotel and suite will appear on a future episode of the series, where Ramsay redesigned the lobby, the Victory Suite and also offered up a new menu for the hotel’s MerK Bistro. Thanks to Elite Traveler for the tip.

Kimpton lets you buy a leg up on the competition with Gordon Ramsay MasterChef package at Palomar DC

kimpton hotel palomar dcSo you think you can … cook? Kimpton is making it easier for those with a hunkering for reality TV fame to have their shot at tryouts with FOX’s MasterChef with Gordon Ramsay with an exclusive Friday night package.

Kimpton’s Palomar hotel in Dupont Circle is offering a limited amount of special “MasterChef” packages, which offers an overnight on Friday, November 11th and a VIP pass that allows them to skip to the front of the line at MasterChef Auditions at Trinity Washington University on Saturday, November 12 to give the best audition possible.

There are only five available and each package comes with only one VIP pass – so if you want to show off your skills, we’d suggest booking soon. The package starts at $339 for a deluxe room and can be booked with code MCHEF online.

Want inspiration? We’d suggest having dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, Urbana, on Friday. It’s one of our all-time favorites, filled with Mediterranean-inspired and seasonally-influenced dishes (try the pork belly – it’s amazing). Don’t skip the house-made gelato for dessert, especially if the mint flavor is on the menu!

Gordon Ramsay to host new hotel makeover show

Gordon Ramsay to host new reality television show on Fox called Hotel HellWhile mostly known for his angry outbursts on reality cooking and restaurant-themed shows such as Hell’s Kitchen, MasterChef, and Kitchen Nightmares, the screaming Scottish chef apparently also has talent in hotel management. While no air date has been set, Gordon Ramsay has been chosen to host a new Fox reality show called Hotel Hell where he will partner with hospitality experts to revive struggling properties around the United States. Apparently, Ramsay has taken college courses in hotel management and has also been in charge of several hotel-based restaurants.

According to Entertainment Weekly, in a statement about the new project Ramsay said, “These are stories that everyone can relate to, because virtually all of us have had a bad hotel experience that’s turned a holiday or business trip into a total disaster. It’s time to put the hospitality industry to the test.”

Seven new hotels around the world from Fairmont in 2010

This year promises to be exciting for fans of the Fairmont. New properties are set to open in London, China and many other cities, each with a distinct style. There’s no question that the Fairmont has the art and science of hospitality mastered, so these new properties are going to be exciting to watch.

1. The Savoy
With a design nodding toward Edwardian and Art Deco, the hotel reopens after a restoration program costing more than GBP100 million. The property has 268 guestrooms and a new luxurious Royal Suite. The Savoy Grill is going to come back … under the management of Gordon Ramsay Holdings. Look for the doors to swing open in the second or third quarter of this year.

2. Fairmont Peace Hotel
This Shanghai landmark will reopen in the second quarter of this year, with 269 guestrooms over 12 floors. The hotel faces the Pudong area over the Hangpu River, making it a great spot.

3. Makkah Clock Royal Tower
The Makkah will open in Saudia Arabia in the third quarter, where it will be the focal point of the Abraj Al Bait Complex. With 858 rooms, there will be plenty of space near Masjid al Haram, the Islamic holy site. The hotel stretches 76 stories high and will be the world’s tallest upon completion. The Makkah opens in the third quarter.4. Fairmont Pacific Rim
The 377-room luxury property will open this quarter in Vancouver and will include 175 residential condos. The property will be near the ocean, with great views, and the Willow Stream Spa and Fitness Center will make a commitment wellness easy to maintain. The Pacific Rim is scheduled for a first quarter opening.

5. Fairmont Pittsburgh
The new hotel, with 185 rooms, is intended for LEED certification, demonstrating Fairmont’s commitment to corporate social responsibility. Look for a mix of environmental concern and palpable luxury … and easy access to theater, entertainment and financial districts. Look for this property to open in the first quarter of this year.

6. Fairmont Beijing
Located close to The Forbidden City, the 222-room Fairmont Beijing is a solid location for visitors who worry about being intimidated by the scope of the city. After you’ve experienced the excitement of China’s capital, head back to the Willow Stream spa to have your muscles rubbed back to normal. The Fairmont Beijing is going through a soft opening already.

7. Fairmont Zimbali Resort
Enjoy views of the Indian Ocean from this South African resort, which is tucked between a forest reserve and the sea. The 154-room hotel is intimate and infused with luxury. Look for it to open in the first quarter. This property is scheduled to open in the second quarter.

[Photo courtesy of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts]