Hotel News We Noted: June 22, 2012

It’s finally summer, and outside isn’t the only thing that’s warm in this week’s edition of Hotel News We Noted. Here, we explore some of the world’s most sizzling new hotels and promotions, as well as cool amenities that can keep you traveling in style.

As always, if you have a suggestion or a comment, feel free to email us.

Hotel Trends: U.S. Hotels Catering to Chinese Travelers
Chinese travel to the United States is up 36 percent over last year, to the tune of more than $1 million. This article from the Seattle Times explored what that means for hotels. Chains like Marriott and Hilton have already rolled out special programs for tourists, while Starwood and The-Ritz Carlton have relocated managers to China to help them gain cultural awareness. Fairmont has just rolled out a new Chinese menu. Just one example includes the nation’s strict hierarchy – employees should not be placed on a higher floor than their boss, no matter the room type. Chinese guests are also not housed on floors with the number four, which sounds like the word for “death” in Mandarin – a strange request for a U.S. audience, but something that these tour groups have greatly appreciated. And, at the tune of $5.7 billion per year spent by the Chinese in the United States, or $6,000 per traveler, hoteliers can’t afford not to take note.

Cool Perk: Leave the Workout Gear at Home, Thanks to Westin
Westin is making it easier than ever to stay fit on the road (and still avoid checked bag fees). For $5, guests can get an entire New Balance outfit – from a sports bra to shoes – delivered to their room as part of an exclusive gear-lending partnership with New Balance.

Money We Wish We Had: Larry Ellison Buys Lanai, Two Four Seasons
Oracle CEO and billionaire Larry Ellison has gone and done it again. This time, he bought Lana’i, one of Hawaii’s seven islands, which has not one but two Four Seasons Resorts. Purchased are the 236-room Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay and the 102-room Four Seasons Resort Lana’i, The Lodge at Koele. We didn’t realize this was even possible, but apparently it is – he purchased the island to the tune of $500 or $600 million from David Murdock, another billionaire.

Unique Amenity: An On-Site Bagpiper
Guests at Sea Island’s (image of their luxe property The Cloister above) can relax after a day of shooting school or playing one of the resort’s three championship golf courses and enjoy the sounds of the resort’s resident bagpiper, who plays on the golf course every day at sundown. Shockingly, this isn’t the only U.S. hotel to offer the amenity – the Inn at Spanish Bay near Pebble Beach has the same thing. Who would have thought?

Soon-to-Open: Hotel BPM, Brooklyn
It’s no shock to us that Brooklyn will be the home base for the boutique Hotel BPM, or Hotel Beats Per Minute in Sunset Park. The hotel, opening August 1, has one cool program we’re keeping an eye on – guests can request one song that will be played throughout the hotel sound system at some point during their stay. At just $139 a night for the opening rate, it might be worth it to go and request something terrible like “Ice Ice Baby” or country music just to see the reaction of other guests. Sorry, we’re terrible.

Group buying gone upscale: Half off $20,000 penthouse suite at the Fairmont San Francisco

Group buying sites like Groupon and LivingSocial may be better known for their affordable food discounts and cheap manicures, but that doesn’t mean they don’t dabble a bit in the more upscale offerings.

One of the deals on LivingSocial right now is a Penthouse Suite package at the Fairmont San Francisco. For the bargain price of just $10,000, you get one night in the Penthouse Suite, free Wi-Fi, permanent platinum status in the Fairmont’s Presidents Club, an in-room four course meal and all day access to your private Maserati. Oh, and free robes! The suite features three bedrooms, a dining room for sixty people and a two story library. There is no pressure to buy right away as the deal is valid for another six days.

Normal price for this package is $20,000, but don’t think of it as spending $10,000, think of it as saving $10,000.

The best part? According to the site, they have already sold 2 of these packages. Need something a little less extravagant? You can also pick a night in the presidential suite for just $2,000. Got the cash lying around doing nothing? Save $10,000 and order your package here.

Daily Pampering: $15,000 Penthouse Suite at the Fairmont San Francisco

In 1926, the penthouse at the Fairmont San Francisco leased for $1,000 a month. Today, the 6,000 square foot of luxury space goes for $15,000 a night.

The Fairmont San Francisco began revitalizing the iconic penthouse (currently valued at $20 million) in August 2009 and a year later, the grand dame of San Francisco suites reopened to guests.

Spanning the entire eighth floor of the historic Main Building of The Fairmont San Francisco, the penthouse offers three large bedrooms, a living room with grand piano, a formal dining room seating 60 people, a kitchen, a two-story circular library crowned by a rotunda where a celestial map is rendered in gold leaf against a sapphire sky, a billiard room covered in Persian tile from floor to vaulted ceiling, and an expansive terrace with views of San Francisco. A secret passageway concealed behind bookshelves on the library’s second floor lends a sense of intrigue to the fabled suite (and used to lead to the rooftop of the hotel for the ultimate in star and skyline gazing).

The penthouse has welcomed everyone from royalty to rock stars, including President John F. Kennedy, Prince Charles of Wales, Mikhail Gorbachev, King Hussein of Jordan, Mick Jagger, Elton John, and Tony Bennett. And why not? For the $15,000 fee a night, guests get a private butler, private chef, private masseuse, private personal trainer, private house keeping and access to an extensive wine cellar featuring some of the world’s best vintages.


Daily Pampering: Shanghai’s Peace Hotel opens with $1,000 room rates

Shanghai‘s Peace Hotel finally reopened last week after three years of restoration, and according to some the wait was absolutely worth it.

The iconic hotel, which has accommodated high-end guests and celebrities for years, spent HK$500 million (approximately $64 million USD) to restore the building. The result: 270 refurbished rooms, including the so-called Nine Nations Suites; six restaurants and lounges, including the Jazz Bar frequented by former U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

The Peace Hotel, also known as the Fairmont Peace Hotel, is welcoming guests at starting rates of 2,300 yuan (approximately $340 USD) and go as high 7,000 yuan (approximately $1,000 USD) or more for a night. The cost of staying in one of the most preserved peace-keeping hotels in the world? Priceless.

[via Bloomberg]

London’s The Savoy to reopen Oct. 10, 2010

Almost three years later, London’s famed hotel The Savoy will reopen in the heart of the West End theater district. The landmark hotel opened in 1889 and was shut down in 2007 to undergo a major £100 million (almost $150 million) restoration that includes a complete rebuilding of the property, including all public areas and the guest rooms. Now comes word the iconic hotel will reopen on Oct. 10, 2010.

Here’s what we know:

  • All of the hotel’s 268 rooms and suites have been redecorated and redesigned with a combination of Art Deco and Edwardian. Of the guest rooms, 58 will have river views.
  • All rooms offer an extensive array of modern amenities
  • The Reading Room will be an intimate, comfortable area for guests
  • The new glass dome floods the Thames Foyer with natural light
  • The iconic American Bar will once again be serving some of the best cocktails in London
  • The Front Hall entry is being restored, including the famous “Idyll of a Golden Age” frieze (the architecture that surrounds the doorways and windows).

In addition to the renovations, the new Savoy will be void of check in/check out hassles — the hotel is eliminating paper bills for guests to sign and moving to a completely electronic system. The hotel will be staffed with personal assistants including butlers for rooms, transportation services and more for all guests. There will be a fitness center, pool and spa. Three different restaurants, two bars and a tea shop will grace the hotel, as well as private event space for up to 440 people. And of course, as part of the Fairmont family, The Savoy will be part of the group’s eco-program and green initiatives.

Check out more of The Savoy’s renovation project here.