The Most Beautiful Hotel in Every State in America

November 7, 2017

Maryland: Inn at Perry Cabin by Belmond This seaside escape is the most picturesque way to experience Maryland’s coast from a perfectly airy room overlooking the marina. With the option to arrive by chartered yacht and on-site sailing lessons, Inn at Perry Cabin is the nautical getaway of your dreams. belmond.com   Washington, D.C. – Melrose […]

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The Most Beautiful Hotel in Every State in America

November 7, 2017

Maryland: Inn at Perry Cabin by Belmond

This seaside escape is the most picturesque way to experience Maryland’s coast from a perfectly airy room overlooking the marina. With the option to arrive by chartered yacht and on-site sailing lessons, Inn at Perry Cabin is the nautical getaway of your dreams. belmond.com

 

Washington, D.C. – Melrose Georgetown Hotel

In addition to Melrose’s modern decor, the hotel delights guests with a museum-worthy art collection, which includes works from local artists, giving each guest a taste of the area. melrosehoteldc.com

Don Rico’s puts finishing touch on Hilton’s $25 million renovation

October 28, 2017

DAYTONA BEACH — Adorned in eye-catching flamingo pink and aqua, accented by nautical touches, the new Don Rico’s Fresh-Mex Grill has debuted as a colorful finishing touch to a $25 million renovation at the 744-room Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort, the area’s largest hotel. The new restaurant, specializing in a fusion of American and Mexican […]

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Don Rico’s puts finishing touch on Hilton’s $25 million renovation

October 28, 2017

DAYTONA BEACH — Adorned in eye-catching flamingo pink and aqua, accented by nautical touches, the new Don Rico’s Fresh-Mex Grill has debuted as a colorful finishing touch to a $25 million renovation at the 744-room Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort, the area’s largest hotel.

The new restaurant, specializing in a fusion of American and Mexican cuisines, fills the space formerly occupied by Legends Sports Bar, just north of the Hilton’s main lobby. The new theme, decor and menu emerged from roughly a month-long renovation that began after Hurricane Irma hit Volusia County on Sept. 10 and 11, said Tiler Theisen, the hotel’s marketing manager.

“We opened up the space a lot more from Legends, which was very closed in,” Theisen said of the restaurant that opened on Oct. 19. “Part of the renovation was opening it up a bit, so now there are more windows and some ocean-view seats. We wanted to create a really fun, vibrant setting, playing off a nautical theme. We wanted a posh ambience with casual dining, a place to come have a margarita after the beach.”

Although the sports-bar theme has been updated, Don Rico’s still features seven flat-screen TVs in the tropically decorated bar area that holds nearly three dozen patrons. Don Rico’s will offer weekly “NFL Sundays” specials that feature deals on wings, beer and burgers, Theisen said. On Mondays, $5 margarita specials also are available, she said.

The restaurant’s signature cocktail is a Rico’s Rita ($12), which combines Avion Reposado, Patron Citronge, fresh lime juice and simple syrup, accented by a salted rim and lime slice, Theisen said.

Elsewhere on the menu, tacos and burritos share the spotlight with entrees that add a Tex-Mex twist to traditional favorites such as grilled salmon and crab cakes.

Don Rico’s Ribeye Steak ($29), for instance, is served with a salsa verde steak sauce that adds additional kick, said Tony Johnson, the restaurant’s executive chef. Other signature menu items include street-style tacos with shredded lettuce, cotija cheese and house-made salsa ($15), and Don Rico’s Crab Stuffed Avocado ($15), an appetizer with crab stuffing, queso, cheddar and jack cheeses and Sriracha sauce.

Also among the appetizers, Street Corn ($8) features corn boiled in butter and milk and char-grilled with cotija cheese, lime mayo and tajin Mexican seasoning, Johnson said.

“Our whole concept is strong flavors that will really stand out,” said Johnson, who leads a kitchen staff of 25-30 employees. An additional 15-20 employees will work front-of-house as servers, hostesses and bartenders, Theisen said.

“As the final piece of our $25 million renovation, Don Rico’s is the culmination of all things fresh and new at our oceanfront resort,” Jim Berkley, the hotel’s general manager said by email. “From the colorful menu selections to the vibrant decor, Don Rico’s is a fun dining environment for hotel guests and the community alike.”

Other noticeable changes as part of the $25 million renovation include a new pool deck with fresh landscaping, a more contemporary pool design and fixtures. The redesigned pool area also features a new, unobstructed view of the Atlantic Ocean created by removing the former poolside Pelican Bar.

That poolside bar was replaced by The Blind Turtle, on the deck just north of the pool. It features soft seating, fire pits and its own menu of street fare-themed dishes, specialty cocktails, local and imported beers and wines by the glass.

The Clocktower Lounge, the resort’s former lobby bar, has been redesigned and renamed as McCoys Rum Room to reflect its mid-century modern vibe with Caribbean-inspired accents.

The renovation also yielded changes in the hotel’s 30 beachfront cabana suites, the area hardest hit by Hurricane Matthew’s storm surge and winds. Cabana updates include new beach-washed porcelain tile flooring, drapes, furniture, bathroom fixtures and tile, as well as glass-enclosed showers that replaced bathtubs present in the former design.

Changes also are evident on the outside of the hotel, where guests are now greeted by new signage and a fresh coat of paint, Greek Villa Vanilla, on the hotel’s towering exterior walls that Berkley praises as brighter than the hotel’s former Earth tones.

“When you’re coming over the bridge, you’re seeing this big white building,” Berkley said. “We think it will stand out more.”

Westin celebrates $50 million renovation

October 22, 2017

The Westin Grand Cayman is ready to show its new face to the world. The luxury hotel nestled along Seven Mile Beach recently completed a two-phase renovation that cost $50 million, and it welcomed the community Friday night to see the final product. All of the hotel’s 343 rooms and suites were updated, and extensive […]

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Westin celebrates $50 million renovation

October 22, 2017

The Westin Grand Cayman is ready to show its new face to the world.

The luxury hotel nestled along Seven Mile Beach recently completed a two-phase renovation that cost $50 million, and it welcomed the community Friday night to see the final product.

All of the hotel’s 343 rooms and suites were updated, and extensive effort was put into reshaping the corridors, public spaces, pool deck and retail gallery. Even the elevators in the hotel are new, and the lobby bar features floor-to-ceiling glass windows that offer a view of the ocean.

The Westin staged a Business After Hours event Friday night, allowing partners, investors and community members to see the new renovations and tour the newly refurbished rooms.

Morty Valldejuli, a vice president and managing director for Pyramid Hotel Group, welcomed the groups to the hotel Friday night and thanked everybody who was a part of the renovation process.

“As you know, it takes a village to put something like this together,” said Mr. Valldejuli. “It’s been the culmination of years since 2016 when we started Phase One planning and construction.”

The Westin now has four one-bedroom suites and four two-bedroom suites, including two dubbed the “Presidential Suite.” The Presidential Suite comes compete with a 1,500-square-foot terrace looking out onto the ocean, complete with amenities like a grill, fire pit and foosball table.

Inside the Murray Hill Marquis, LeFrak’s hotel-to-rental conversion

August 28, 2017

There’s been a Murray Hill real estate boomlet of sorts happening in the past year or so, with several new developments, both rentals and condos, rising in the neighborhood. Though the area is largely known as a haven for young, recent college grads, the new wave of residential projects—including, most notably, JDS’s American Copper Buildings—are attempting to buck that […]

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Inside the Murray Hill Marquis, LeFrak’s hotel-to-rental conversion

August 28, 2017

There’s been a Murray Hill real estate boomlet of sorts happening in the past year or so, with several new developments, both rentals and condos, rising in the neighborhood. Though the area is largely known as a haven for young, recent college grads, the new wave of residential projects—including, most notably, JDS’s American Copper Buildings—are attempting to buck that trend.

But one of those developments, the Murray Hill Marquis, may likely still attract those who are taking their first post-college baby steps; its 260 apartments are all studios and one-bedrooms, priced from a (relatively) budget-friendly $2,500/month. The project involved taking the former Affinia Dumont hotel, which developer LeFrak acquired earlier this year, and transforming its more than 250 rooms into apartments.

New photos of the model units show off the fruits of that conversion; while there’s no mistaking the parts that are possible leftovers from its past life (PTAC units!), the apartments themselves look less like nondescript hotel rooms, and more like, well, nice apartments.

A studio apartment and kitchen.

The units have gotten new, much nicer kitchens, which come with high-end appliances, Caesarstone quartz countertops, and dishwashers. Floorplans have been reconfigured, with seven different layouts (which you can see on the project’s website); the smallest measures 408 square feet, while the largest is a one-bedroom that’s just over 700 square feet.

A studio apartment.
A bedroom in a one-bedroom unit.

Amenities are, according to the project’s website, “designed to make your busy life a little less, well, hectic,” with the usual perks (fitness center, laundry room) complemented by more millennial-friendly features. Those include a dedicated coworking space, along with a residents’ lounge that has TVs, a wet bar, and more.

Leasing in the building began earlier this month, and many of the units that are available come without a broker’s fee and a month of free rent—no surprise considering the rise of concessions on rentals this year.

First Finish Begins Major Renovation of Sheraton Steamboat Resort

June 19, 2017

Guest rooms will be converted to timeshare villas for Vistana Signature Properties   First Finish, Inc. recently began work on the Sheraton Steamboat Resort in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The upscale resort will see a conversion of the west tower guest rooms into timeshare villas for Vistana Signature Properties. Situated in the winter-sport haven of Steamboat […]

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First Finish Begins Major Renovation of Sheraton Steamboat Resort

June 19, 2017

Guest rooms will be converted to timeshare villas for Vistana Signature Properties

 

First Finish, Inc. recently began work on the Sheraton Steamboat Resort in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The upscale resort will see a conversion of the west tower guest rooms into timeshare villas for Vistana Signature Properties.

Situated in the winter-sport haven of Steamboat Springs, the ski-in/ski-out resort property will remain operational for the 26-week construction period. The project is comprised of extensive exterior and interior work. The conversion of 198 guest rooms to 112 villas consists of new sliding doors, curtain wall windows, and Juliet balconies to add more square footage in the timeshare villas. Following an eight-week preconstruction period, construction is currently underway and is expected to be completed in November.

Located on Mount Werner, Steamboat Springs is a world-renown, winter ski resort destination. Sheraton Steamboat Resort is the area’s only ski-in/ski-out resort, and was recently awarded the Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor for 2016. For more information about the Sheraton Steamboat Resort or to make reservations, please visit the hotel’s website at http://www.sheratonsteamboatresort.com/.   

ABOUT FIRST FINISH, INC.

Based in Columbia, Maryland, First Finish, Inc. is a full-service general contractor specializing in the successful delivery of fast-track hospitality renovations nationwide and in the Caribbean. First Finish manages every aspect of a hotel renovation project—from due diligence pricing, preconstruction, model room development, material selection input and sourcing to construction, interior finishes, and installing FF&E. For more information, please visit www.firstfinish.net and follow us on LinkedIn.  

Bamford Haybarn Spa at 1 Hotel South Beach

April 20, 2017

South Beach is known for many things, but until recently, offering a pastoral relaxation escape had not been one of them. That all changed with the December opening of Bamford Haybarn Spa at 1 Hotel South Beach (FL), where spa-goers are transported to the English countryside within the 4,500-square-foot, 12-treatment-room retreat. The spa is the […]

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Bamford Haybarn Spa at 1 Hotel South Beach

April 20, 2017

South Beach is known for many things, but until recently, offering a pastoral relaxation escape had not been one of them. That all changed with the December opening of Bamford Haybarn Spa at 1 Hotel South Beach (FL), where spa-goers are transported to the English countryside within the 4,500-square-foot, 12-treatment-room retreat. The spa is the first U.S. outpost for the British lifestyle and wellness brand Bamford, and it takes its design and treatment inspiration from its flagship spa in south England’s rural Cotswolds. “We wanted to give a very natural feeling by bringing rustic elements of the interior to put the visitor in close proximity with nature,” says spa director Alena Stavnjak. “The result is highly unusual, calm and beautiful, rustic yet contemporary.”

A far cry from the area’s buzzy beaches, the spa is a haven for sustainable serenity, with wood acting as the main design element—log walls from reclaimed ash trees, hickory floors from recycled timber, and willow bundles from salvaged trees are some of the highlights. “Memories of woodland walks are evoked with tree trunks, branches, and logs,” says Stavnjak. “Wood slices are reminiscent of piles of cut logs ready for the fire.” The spa is also home to a relaxation area called The Woodland Room, which features cozy places for contemplation and a bespoke central water fountain. “Our spa design brings the outdoors and nature inside,” she adds.

Nature and holistic healing are also at the heart of the spa menu, which features impactful services performed primarily with Bamford’s own natural and organic skincare line that is certified by the UK’s Soil Association, which means that at least 85 percent of the product, excluding the water, needs to be produced organically. “It is a very tough set of standards to meet,” says Stavnjak. The spa’s other brand partners—Comfort Zone, Knesko Skin, and NuFace—were also selected for being natural, organic, sustainable, paraben free, and never tested on animals. Other green efforts include organic linens and a laundry service that uses green detergents. “All of this is in line with 1 Hotels’ mission-driven brand, focusing on eco-sustainability and wellness, encouraging travelers to live well, do better, and connect with the world around them,” says Stavnjak.

Another hallmark of the Bamford brand is simplicity, which is evident in a spa menu that offers straightforward and effective offerings. “In our case, less is more has been a successful model in making all of our services productive,” says Stavnjak. “We train our staff in fewer treatments, so they execute them better and in line with our standard protocols.” Highlights include the Bamford Bespoke Facial ($160, 50 minutes), which incorporates hot and cold jade stones with ancient yoga breathing techniques, and the Jade Hot and Cold Stone Treatment ($235, 80 minutes), a massage that uses organic oils combined with warmed and cooled jade stones. The menu also offers an assortment of services specifically for men and expectant mothers, as well as a range of massages and body treatments that appeal to clients’ various healing needs. Stavnjak says the secret to the success of these services—and the reason that many clients come back for more—is the training of the 25-member team and the consistency of service. “We hired staff that has extensive therapy background and has worked for luxury brands,” she says. “We also made sure the team was adaptable in working with a brand that is more standardized for treatment consistency versus freestyle techniques. Bamford has a very specific approach to training, and all of our services are created in sequences.”

Also enticing to clients are the spa’s unique branded Bamford retail offerings. In addition to skincare and bodycare products, the spa’s store includes the company’s ready-to-wear and accessories lines, made with natural fibers and sourced from artisans from around the world, as well as candles. Other standout efforts include teaming with the hotel’s concept restaurant, Plnthouse, for healthy cuisine pairings, and the onsite Spartan Gym, the 14,000-square-foot fitness center created in partnership with the Spartan Race obstacle course-based workout.

So far, Bamford’s stateside foray has proven to be successful, and a second Bamford Haybarn Spa will be debuting this fall at the recently opened 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge in New York. Turns out, city-goers, as well as beach-goers, love being able to connect with nature in the middle of the urban jungle.

Get to know the spa director in our Spa Talk interview with Alena Stavnjak.

 

Owners

1 Hotel South Beach and Bamford

 

Spa Director

Alena Stavnjak

 

Opened

December 2016

 

CLIENT BASE

65% female

35% male

 

SPACE

4,500 square feet; 12 treatment rooms

 

PRODUCTS

Bamford, Comfort Zone, Knesko Skin, NuFace

 

EQUIPMENT

Living Earth Crafts, Majestic International, The Madison Collection

 

ARCHITECT AND INTERIOR DESIGNER

Spencer Fung Architects (London)

 

SPA CONSULTANT

Genevieve Summers (Miami)

Hilton debuts Curio in D.C. with The Darcy, a new boutique hotel

April 12, 2017

By: Rebecca Cooper, Senior Staff Reporter Washington Business Journal When The Darcy hotel opens near Logan Circle next month, it will bring with it a ton of local tie-ins, from restaurants from D.C. celebrity chefs David Guasand Robert Wiedmaier to a pop-up from District-based online flower retailer Urban Stems. It’s all with an eye toward creating […]

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Hilton debuts Curio in D.C. with The Darcy, a new boutique hotel

April 12, 2017

When The Darcy hotel opens near Logan Circle next month, it will bring with it a ton of local tie-ins, from restaurants from D.C. celebrity chefs David Guasand Robert Wiedmaier to a pop-up from District-based online flower retailer Urban Stems.

It’s all with an eye toward creating a hyper-local scene at a hotel property that, in its former life as a Doubletree by Hilton, had anything but.

The transformation is the result of a total renovation of the hotel, located at 1515 Rhode Island Ave. NW. The project, which began when the hotel closed in October, took the property down to the studs — reconfiguring some meeting space and adding six additional guest rooms for a total of 226, of which 37 are suites.

The property was purchased by KHP Capital Partners last May for $65 million. Rather than keep it a Doubletree, KHP decided to fold the hotel into Hilton’s recently launched collection brand, Curio, in order to give it a more independent identity.

Creating The Darcy in order to add it to Curio is the reverse of how a property is typically brought in. Usually, a hotel that already has a well-established, independent identity is added to the collection in order to keep its unique brand but still be connected to the Hilton system.

But KHP felt strongly that a local, independent feel was essential for a hotel near the Logan Circle neighborhood, according to Kelly McCourt, director of sales and marketing for The Darcy. (She works for Sage Hospitality, which is managing the property.)

That’s why the hotel courted local favorite chefs to run restaurants there. Wiedmaier’s seafood-focused Siren will open when the hotel opens, most likely in May, and Guas’s more casual restaurant and cafe, Li’l B, will open a couple of months later. Both restaurants are leases, rather than management agreements, which gives the chefs more control over the eateries.

“It was very deliberate, from the design to pulling the local community into the property,” said McCourt. “It was very important for the hotel’s positioning.”

In addition to the locally-led restaurants, The Darcy will have a cocktail cart that can be ordered to rooms featuring locally-produced Green Hat Gin and other spirits from New Columbia Distillers, as well as Element shrubs — infused vinegars that have become popular in cocktails.

Other local offerings include a fashion program curated by Read Wall, a men’s clothier based in Shaw, which will provide ties, pocket squares and other accessories for loan if a guest forgot to pack an item.

And hotel’s patio will also be home to an occasional UrbanStems pop-up shop for the first few months, offering flowers for purchase to local residents — and guests the ability to pick up one of the online flower dealer’s signature bouquets. The hotel plans to host a flower-centric happy hour event twice a month through the summer with the tag line, “pick flowers, not fights,” on one of the outdoor patios that will offer drinks and the ability to pick up a bouquet.

The Darcy is currently accepting reservations for mid-May, but the hotel and Siren may open earlier, depending on the final construction schedule, according to McCourt.

Rebecca Cooper covers retail, restaurants, tourism and the arts.

1 Hotel South Beach rebrands top suites as Retreat Collection

February 8, 2017

The 425-room 1 Hotel South Beach has rebranded its 22 premium suites as the Retreat Collection. The suites will feature a heightened level of personalized service from airport arrival to departure, thanks to the creation of a new Personal Guru feature. The Personal Guru, which is only available to guests of Retreat Collection suites, is […]

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1 Hotel South Beach rebrands top suites as Retreat Collection

February 8, 2017

The 425-room 1 Hotel South Beach has rebranded its 22 premium suites as the Retreat Collection. The suites will feature a heightened level of personalized service from airport arrival to departure, thanks to the creation of a new Personal Guru feature.

The Personal Guru, which is only available to guests of Retreat Collection suites, is a hybrid of travel planner, butler and concierge who coordinates all aspects of a guest’s visit, including coordination of all on-property and destination activities and private check-in process. Guests are surveyed prior to arrival so that their Guru can stock the room with preferred beverages, groceries, international newspapers and reading material, etc. Unpacking and pressing services are offered, as well.

Included in the Retreat Collection rate are an array of benefits, including airport transfers (coordinated by the Personal Guru), use of a cabana at one of four pools on premises for one day during the stay, breakfast for two daily at Beachcraft by Tom Collicchio and priority seating to all three of 1 Hotel’s restaurants.

“We are delighted to be able to offer an alternative, more personalized style of accommodations at 1 Hotel South Beach,” said Milton Sgarbi, 1 Hotel South Beach managing director. “Guests are increasingly requesting more on-demand services that are a step above more traditional hotel offerings, and we’re responding to them with the ultimate travel experience with the Retreat Collection.”

An oceanview bedroom in one of the Retreat Collection suites.
An oceanview bedroom in one of the Retreat Collection suites.

The Retreat Collection includes two-, three- or five-bedroom suites ranging from 950 to 3,500 square feet, each with a balcony with views of either the Atlantic Ocean or the Miami skyline. Staying true to 1 Hotels’ ethos, the suites are inspired by nature and designed by Brazilian architect and designer, Deborah Aguiar.

Rates start at $3,000 per night for a two-bedroom, home-style suite; $15,000 for the sprawling Meyer Davis-designed Presidential Suite, also known as the Beach House, with views of the beach and amenities well-suited to entertaining, including a media room, pool table and large dining area; and $20,000 for the five-bedroom Penthouse.

The 1 Hotel South Beach is a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Silver-Certified property and features the recently opened Spartan Gym (the first of its kind) and a Bamford Haybarn Spa (the first in the U.S.).

Renovations upgrade the W Hotel, Renaissance Fort Lauderdale and B Ocean Resort

February 5, 2017

Three large hotels in Fort Lauderdale have undergone major renovations ahead of the busy winter season. New York-based Related Companies just finished upgrades to 517 guest rooms at the W Hotel & Residences Fort Lauderdale, part of an ongoing $55 million renovation of the property expected to continue until fall. Guest rooms at the W got […]

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Renovations upgrade the W Hotel, Renaissance Fort Lauderdale and B Ocean Resort

February 5, 2017

Three large hotels in Fort Lauderdale have undergone major renovations ahead of the busy winter season.

New York-based Related Companies just finished upgrades to 517 guest rooms at the W Hotel & Residences Fort Lauderdale, part of an ongoing $55 million renovation of the property expected to continue until fall.

Guest rooms at the W got new carpeting, window treatments and furnishings.  Public-space upgrades to the property include a redesign of the lobby area on the fourth floor.  Ongoing work at the hotel-condo building includes a ballroom renovation scheduled for completion by May 1 and construction of new porte-cochere entrance to the property at 401 North Federal Highway.

A renovation of the B Ocean Resort Fort Lauderdale that began in 2015 has upgraded the property’s 484 rooms and suites.

The renovation of the B Ocean Resort at 1140 Seabreeze Boulevard, which  opened in 1956 as the Yankee Clipper hotel, also includes a redesigned lobby and a new coffee bar, plus enlarged meeting space, two suites for spa customers, and a two-story penthouse with a private elevator.

The hotel’s Wreck Bar has been expanded with the addition of a sushi bar, and the bar will start featuring a new burlesque mermaid show on weekends (for adults only) starting Feb. 10.

The Renaissance Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port Hotel near Port Everglades underwent a $5 million renovation that improved the property’s lobby area, meeting space, pool area and lighting. Several new food and beverage locations also opened at the hotel including Bistro 17, Calusa Coffee Bar and R Lounge.

Atlanta-based Noble Investment Group purchased The Renaissance for $48.1 million in 2015.  [Sun-Sentinel] Mike Seemuth