Photo Courtesy of Jumeirah HotelsJumeirah launches its first European property in Mallorca, Park Hyatt debuts in India and Montreal’s Ritz Carlton unveils $200 million worth of renovations.
Alongside new openings in Doha, Alappuzha and Phuket, a host of existing properties have this month re-launched, following significant periods of refurbishment. As the luxury hotel category accelerates and becomes a spoilt-for-choice marketplace, the need for design, delight and differentiation has never been so strong. Even a brand as iconic as the Ritz Paris will shutdown for up to two years of ‘unprecedented renovation’ in Summer 2012.
Speaking recently with Forbes, EVP and Chief Brand Officer of Starwood Hotels, Phil McAveety explained the need to move beyond ‘owning bricks’ to ‘owning the hearts and minds of customers’ in the hotel business. At the centre of his philosophy is design, which allows the creation of ‘experience and ambience’ and enables a brand to connect with guests.
“We developed a multi-disciplinary brand design team that includes interior designers, architects, graphic designers, and digital designers,” he explains. “We create a design language that can be interpreted the same way everywhere in the world. This matters, because people who travel around the world have consistent expectations of the brand, and a lot of it is consistent design, food, music, fashion.”
Vasundhara Sarovar Premiere, Alappuzha
Sarovar Hotels has announced the opening of a luxury resort, Vasundhara Sarovar Premiere, in Alappuzha Southern India. The 7 acre 5-star resort rests on the banks of Vembanad backwaters, offering 60 lake facing rooms, including floating cottages and heritage villas, alongside poolside café, bar and luxury spa. (Sarovar Hotels)
Sofitel So, Bangkok
Sofitel has debuted its second hotel under its Sofitel So brand, this time in Bangkok. Renowned Thai architect Smith Obayawat called upon five of Thailand’s most well known interior designers, as well as fashion designer Christian Lacroix, to execute 238 rooms and suites. Guests enjoy an infinity swimming pool overlooking the city, and a So SPA created to resemble a mythological forest. (Sofitel Hotels)
Hilton Hotels & Resorts has expanded its global portfolio to 80 countries with the opening of Hilton Doha, its first hotel in Qatar. The 309-room Hilton Doha is located on the headland of the capital city’s prestigious Corniche, featuring six restaurants and bars, an outdoor swimming pool, a private beach and the first eforea: spa at Hilton in the Middle East. (Hilton Hotels)
Park Hyatt, Hyderabad
Hyatt Hotels has chosen Hyderabad as the location for its very first Park Hyatt hotel in India. Situated in the Banjara Hills area, only fifteen minutes away from so-called ‘Hi-Tech City’, the eight-storey, 185-room lodge offers fine dining and spa facilities, alongside spacious rooms – each no smaller than 45 square metres. (Park Hyatt)
Keraton at The Plaza, Jakarta
Starwood’s Luxury Collection Hotels & Resort has announced the opening of its 80th hotel with the debut of Keraton at The Plaza, Jakarta. The first property in the Indonesian city features 140 sumptuously appointed guest rooms and suites, realised by SCDA Singapore and BuregaFarnell Pte. Ltd interior architects and supported by the brand’s signature Luxury Collection Concierge service. (Starwood Hotels)
Jumeirah Port de Sóller, Mallorca
Dubai-based Jumeirah has chosen Port Sóller, Mallorca, for its first European resort location, the Jumeirah Port Sóller Hotel & Spa. The hotel is built into a cliff and features eleven buildings, featuring a Sunset Lounge with 360-degree panoramas, and 120 rooms and suites overlooking mountains, marina or Mediterranean, from private balconies or terraces. (Jumeirah Hotels)
The Ritz-Carlton, Montreal has undergone a $200 million transformation overseen by Quebec architectural firm Provencher Roy + Associes, where the building’s facade was preserved and restored, as were the lobby, fitness centre, indoor pool, greenhouse, terrace and the hotel’s famed garden. 98 rooms and 31 suites received high-tech upgrades such as smart thermostats and motion sensors. (Ritz-Carlton Hotels)
Starhotels Collezione has completed extensive renovations to boutique hotel Castille Paris, completely refurbishing 40 rooms in the Opéra Wing, realised by group interior designer, Andrea Auletta and Ms. Elisabetta Fabri, the owner, President & CEO of Starhotels International. The revamped hotel features Robert Doisneau prints, elegant soft furnishings and finishes in marble and oak. (Castille)
Swissôtel Resort Phuket has launched with 180 well-appointed suites, each with a separate living room and private balcony. Guests can also enjoy a lagoon-style pool, spa and fitness centre, an adventure club for families with children and an array of recreational activities, as well as eight versatile function rooms and conference capacity of 450 square metres. (Swissotel)