Hotel News We Noted: February 22, 2013

Welcome to this week’s edition of “Hotel News We Noted,” where we round up the week’s best, most interesting and just downright odd news of note in the hospitality world. Have a tip? Send us a note or leave a comment below.

The hotel world has been buzzing this winter with new and planned openings, extreme amenities and packages galore. Here’s our take on what you need to know this week:

Quirky Hotels We’d Love To Visit: 134-Year-Old UK Fortress, Spitbank Fort, Now a Luxury Hotel
A mile off the Hampshire coast in the United Kingdom, the 134-year-old Spitbank Fort used to defend the English shores. Now it’s a nine-room luxury hotel featuring three bars, three restaurants, a rooftop champagne bar, wine cellar, library, rooftop hot pool, sauna and sun decks. There’s a private boat or helicopter option for arrival and rent-out options for “ultimate” weekends away. A night starts at $565. Check out the photos – we’re pretty sure this sounds like a place we’d love to visit.
Buzzy Hotel Destination: The Bronx
If the New York Times has it right, the newest destination for a luxury hotel just might be … the Bronx? A philanthropist has revamped a 10-room hotel called The Andrew Freedman, charging between $130 and $250 for a room, The Empire Hotel Group is planning a $10 million renovation of a historic opera house, turning it into a 60-room luxury property, and Marriott will open a Residence Inn in 2014. Is the transformation of this area best known for crime and poverty a good idea? The article has mixed reports. See for yourself here.

Travel Trend: Experiential Hotel Stays
A new article in the Wall Street Journal details how luxury hotels are attracting guests by offering one-of-a-kind experiences like private cooking lessons, celebrity makeup artists and even alligator tracking experiences. Would you pay more to stay somewhere that offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? The article thinks so.

Pampered Pooches: SoHo Grand Creates a Dog Park
There are dog menus and dog walkers and even dog massages, but what about a hotel with an on-site dog park? SoHo Grand is the first hotel in New York City to create a special outdoor area for furry friends, including cherry trees, boxwoods and ornamental kale. The park opens May 1. Will you be bringing Fido with you to the Big Apple? (h/t Luxury Travel Magazine)

Haute Packages: Oscar Ready
Even if you can’t make it to Los Angeles to celebrate the Academy Awards, you can enjoy special offers and packages at some fun hotels around the country. Here are a couple of our favorite packages related to Oscar-nominated films:

  • Beasts of The Southern Wild at The Blake Hotel, New Orleans. It’s a simple promo, but an effective one if you’re traveling with kids: mention code “Beasts” at check in and you’ll receive free VIP passes to the Audubon Institute, which features an amazing zoo, aquarium, insectarium and butterfly garden.
  • Lincoln at W Washington, DC. What better place to celebrate a president than in Washington, D.C.? This overnight package ($399) includes a chauffeured tour for two and visit to historic locations including Ford’s Theater, the Petersen House, the Lincoln Memorial, and President Lincoln’s Cottage at the Soldiers’ Home.

[Photo by Spitbank Fort]