Hotel News We Noted: October 20, 2012

What a week it has been! We’ve been busy reporting the latest hotel series here on Gadling, “Birth of a Hotel,” as well as meeting with friends from some of our favorite hotels and travel groups around the world. As we head deep past the midpoint of October, we’re already being bombarded with holiday pitches. It’s enough (along with the explosion of pumpkin-themed goodness everywhere) to put us in the holiday spirit … or at least a bit more jolly than usual. We hope this week’s news will put you in a good mood too … whether you’re geeking out over the latest digital news or dreaming of a fair weather spa weekend.

Drama Drama: Eden Roc South Beach
Long story short, Eden Roc was, until earlier this week, a Marriott-managed property … a Renaissance, to be exact. That was, until the ownership group attempted to overthrow them in a predawn raid (yes, we said raid) on Oct. 14. Really, this isn’t out of a movie. Like Katie Holmes serving Tom Cruise divorce papers, they were all set up for a new hotel, arranging for a new website, name and all … alleging mismanagement of their darling property. But things didn’t go as planned. Marriott sued and won a restraining order against the ownership group. As of today, the property is still firmly in Marriott control. Perhaps they’d had practice in situations like this before. Remember the Edition in Waikiki? Drama, drama. We’ll keep you posted.

On the Digital Front: Fairmont Gets a Facelift

We admit, we secretly (or not so secretly, if you’re reading this) geek out with joy when a hotel joins the 21st century and gets a new, user-friendly website. Maybe because, in our other life, we actually help hotels develop usable content strategies, but that’s besides the point. We like the look! It’s sleek, clean and image-driven … and uses a very similar font to Four Seasons, whose website we reported on back in June. The “Enhance Your Stay” section that allows for add-ons right within the booking window offers everything from breakfast and massages to hot air balloon rides.

Romantic Room Service: Inn at the 5th
When we’re on a romantic weekend (ha, that’s rare) we love a good room service expedition. Who doesn’t? That’s why we’ll be ordering our eggs benny from Eugene, Oregon’s Inn at the 5th, where rooms feature private butlers’ doors so that orders can be completed without ever revealing your true identity (or ugly pajamas). What an ingenious idea for those who want their meals in complete privacy.

News from ‘Cross the Pond: Churchill’s Classy New Digs
Hyatt Regency London at the Churchill has a new hot spot, their soon-to-open Churchill Bar. We had breakfast this morning with Henny Fraser, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing, and she told us about the hotel’s new bar concept, which takes the former cigar lounge and transforms it into a open a contemporary bar and lounge space based on what hotel muse Winston Churchill would have loved as a young man. Focused on gin, local cuisine and high-touch service, this sounds like a place we’d love to enjoy a cocktail … you can too, starting November 24.

[Photo Credit: Inn at the 5th]