When asked about the world’s most exciting new hotels, on the floor at the Leading Hotels of the World reception in New York last week, Dan Beschloss, executive director of industry relations for Valerie Wilson Travel, said: “The Seven Pines Resort in Ibiza is one of the newest ultra-contemporary properties; the Nobu has become a brand unto itself; the Drisco Tel Aviv is very unique and different; and the OneAldwych in London has reinvented itself in contemporary elegance, and brought back its opening GM.”
As exciting as those are, though, they were just a few in a long list of new openings and property enhancements hitting the luxury hotel scene as the spring and summer travel seasons approach. And, some of the talk at the event (and also among the Washington, D.C. properties that were in town for a separate press conference), was about interesting amenities, a strengthening side-skirmish in the battle for high-end customers. Regarding amenities, Beschloss said, “So much of hospitality in the luxury sector is about individuality. Not everyone is the same; not everyone wants a bottle of wine. We encourage travel advisors to speak to the property and arrange for something meaningful.”
Here are a few of the highlights of property openings and enhancements announced at the reception.
The Nobu Miami Beach has three new penthouse suites opening, but the big news is the new property coming to Chicago’s West Loop. And since “you can never really know a property until you see it, fam trips are encouraged,” said Sales Manager Andrew Fiorenzi. “I encourage you to give us a call.”
Guestroom at Nobu Chicago.
The historic Drisco Tel Aviv, the first hotel to be built outside the walls of Jaffa, has been lovingly restored over the past 12 years after 55 years of abandonment. It’s full of art and history — Mark Twain, Kaiser Wilhelm, and General Allenby all slept there — and “we’re always interested in talking to travel agents,” said VP of Sales Neri Eldar-Terem.
The new Seven Pines Resort in Ibiza has 186 two-story private suites with private pools, with up to four bedrooms. A U.S. promotion going on now offers 25 percent off the best available rate plus special amenities, and “we are working on fam trips for travel agents.”
Suite exterior at Seven Pines Resort.
After 10 years in Beverly Hills, the Mr. C brand is expanding with two new properties; the New York Seaport hotel opened in June, and Coconut Grove in Miami will debut this month. In a quiet residential area, this design-oriented hotel will offer rooms with private balconies, a rooftop bar, meeting and event space; and free amenities, including the house-specialty bellinis, dry cleaning, and bike rentals to explore the neighborhood. “It’s all about the little, simple things that are useful and meaningful to our guests,” said Sales and Marketing Director Claudia Marulanda. “We’ll definitely be extending opportunities to travel advisors to visit.”
Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina this month is rolling out Beach Boot Camp for Wellness, with high-intensity training using functional fitness; Aqua Barre in the pool; guided runs with a running coach across the bridge; and a seven-mile Bikes to the Beach program in cooperation with Schwinn.
The 93-year old Brazilian Court Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida, whose suites are named after former guests like Hepburn and Garbo and Astaire, is rolling out its largest suite ever, with four bedrooms, to accommodate intergenerational groups and families traveling with a nanny.
The Brando - Lanai Suite at Brazilian Court Hotel.
The Wheatleigh Berkshires is becoming a year-round venue for corporate retreats because of its proximity to Tanglewood, whose new $60 million addition will now offer programming beyond just the summer months. The hotel’s 19 elegant rooms offer “your own five-star hotel” — and with Massachusetts legalizing marijuana, guests can stop in town and pick up a different kind of cocktail than is normally served in luxury properties.
In a busy year for Japan, with the Rugby World Cup, a new emperor being crowned, and the Summer Olympics next year, the Imperial Hotel is rapidly filling with global visitors. Still, it has renovated some rooms to interconnect them to host larger groups.
The iconic Hotel Helvetia & Bristol in Florence, closed for a major renovation, will reopen on Apr. 15; and by the end of the year, also will add an extension with a wellness center and indoor pool.
Hotel Helvetia & Bristol in Florence.
In a bold move, the Unico Riviera Maya is taking a broad definition of “all-inclusive,” and is including its full spa menu as complimentary services for guests.
The newest property on Copacabana Beach in Brazil, the Emiliano, offers spectacular views from its rooftop bar; private butler service for all guests; and a team of concierges who know everything that is going on in the city and can arrange private or group tours.
Leading Hotels of the World, meanwhile, has more than 400 members globally grown from 80 members to 90 members over the past year; and has introduced a loyalty program where guests earn rewards for staying at any member property. For travel partners, the program as rolled out a new system that is compatible with Sabre Synxis and that will offer “a much easier booking experience for travel agents,” said Hakan Ozakbas, director for the Americas, Leading Hotels of the World. For travel partners, the booking experience remains the same. Agents are still be able to book eligible rates on behalf of the Leaders Club member by including the Leaders Club member ID in the GDS reservation, or by calling LHW’s Reservations and Service Centers. As with today, the travel agent community continues to be an integral part of the loyalty program experience in the new program.