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- 28 Jan 2014
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The Latest Hotels: Sofitel, Langham & Ritz Carlton

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Sofitel The Palm, Dubai


Langham, Fairmont and Ritz-Carlton flock to second and third-tier Chinese cities, as Hyatt and Viceroy unveil new properties in New York City

“Everybody has to check in, but we are all doing it pretty much the same way we were 100 years ago,” recently remarked Christopher Nassetta, chief executive officer for Hilton Worldwide Holdings.

“Hotels have never been known for being in the forefront of technology,” echoed the Wall Street Journal. “The industry is often a laggard, in part because many hotels are owned and managed by separate companies, making investments in technology more complicated.”

But 2014 could mark the tipping point, as groups such as Starwood, InterContinental, Hilton and Marriott unveil digital alternatives to traditional check-in processes and optimise room-keys for mobile.

When you consider what can be achieved from one’s smartphone these days, it does seem that the traditional hotel model of physical check-in is somewhat dated, or at the very least lacking optimisation.


 Digital can often hinder the service process just as much as it has the capability to enhance it 


We can select our own seats on flights or trains, we can organise private jet charters using an app. We can book hotels online with the swipe of a screen, yet rarely can these now-integral devices be used to communicate with hotel staff or order room service or book a spa appointment.

But perhaps this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially in the case of the most luxurious of hotels. In our digital-day reluctance to pick up the phone, digital can often hinder the service process just as much as it has the capability to enhance it.

When delivering exceptional service is a cornerstone of your business, personal interactions with skilled human beings may be far more effective than a handful of algorithms. And technical difficulties rarely bode well with clients expecting the most seamless of luxury experiences

And perhaps this is why – at least at this stage – these tech concepts are being rolled out within deliberately youth-or-tech-oriented hotel brands – Aloft (Starwood) & Andaz (Hilton) – in deliberately tech-savvy locations – Manhattan & Silicon Valley (Aloft).

It will be interesting to see how these initiatives fare, and if any of the top-tier luxury hoteliers will follow suit.



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Ajman Saray Resort, Ajman

Ajman Saray Resort is the latest Luxury Collection property, opening on February 1st 2014. The Starwood hotel will feature 205 rooms, including 24 suites with views of the Arabian Gulf, alongside a 1,250sqm spa, outdoor swimming pool and a range of water sport activities.

Website: starwoodhotels/luxury
Source: CPP Luxury



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Ritz Carlton, Almaty

The Ritz Carlton Almaty has opened in the former capital of Kazakhstan, atop the 37-story Esentai Tower. The new 145-room luxury hotel is the latest collaboration between Capital Partners and The Ritz-Carlton, featuring a lavish Club Lounge, three restaurants and a luxury spa by Six Senses.

Website: ritzcarlton.com/Almaty
Source: CPP Luxury



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Four Seasons, Buenos Aires

Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires has unveiled the final phase of a year-long USD $49 million renovation with a new summer outdoor venue “Nuestro Secreto,” the first all-glass enclosed restaurant in Argentina, new CIELO Spa and seven new meetings and event spaces.

Website: fourseasons.com/BuenosAires‎
Source: Luxury Travel Magazine



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Ritz-Carlton, Chengdu

The Ritz-Carlton, Chengdu, has opened within a 41 story building on Tianfu Square, featuring 353 rooms with interior design inspired by traditional Chinese courtyard homes. Designed by Hirsch Bedner Associates, the 2,300sqm Ritz-Carlton Spa and Fitness Centre occupies an entire floor of the hotel.

Website: ritzcarlton.com/Chengdu
Source: CPP Luxury



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Sofitel The Palm, Dubai

Sofitel Luxury Hotels celebrated the inauguration of Sofitel The Palm Dubai, set amongst lush outdoor gardens and a 500-metre-long private beach. The hotel offers 361 guest rooms and suites, as well as 182 serviced residences, alongside a multitude of international food and beverage outlets.

Website: sofitel.com/Dubai‎
Source: Gulf News



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Waldorf Astoria Palm Jumeirah, Dubai

Hilton’s Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts has opened the 319-room Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah, marking its second venture in the UAE. Positioned on the East Crescent of the Palm Jumeirah man-made island, guests at the hotel will be able to choose from a selection of six restaurants and bars, and a comprehensive range of recreational facilities.

Website: waldorfastoria.hilton.com
Source: Hotelier Middle East



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Langham Place, Guangzhou

The 500-room Langham Place, Guangzhou stakes its place as the eighth hotel for the group in Mainland China. Designed by global architects Aedas, the exterior of the 22-storey hotel conjures the vivid imagery of unfolding of wings. Curated contemporary art by local and international artists feature in all the guest rooms and public spaces.

Website: guangzhou.langhamplacehotels.com
Source: Hospitality Net



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Ace Hotel, Los Angeles

The Ace Hotel brand has debuted in downtown Los Angeles, housed inside a 1920s tower, complete with a 1600-seat theatre. Ace Hotel’s in-house design team worked with local firm Commune Design to restore and renovate the building formerly used by film studio United Artists, located in LA’s Broadway Theatre District.

Website: acehotel.com/losangeles‎
Source: Dezeen



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Anantara, Mozambique

Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort & Spa has opened 30km east of mainland Mozambique, on the Bazaruto Archipelago of protected national park islands scattered across the turquoise Indian Ocean. The resort offers a boutique collection of 44 villas, ranging from 90 to 330sqm.

Website: bazaruto.anantara.com
Source: Hotel News Resource



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Fairmont, Nanjing

As part of a new luxury residential and commercial development, Fairmont Nanjing has debuted with 359 rooms and suites, located on the upper floors of the 62-storey Jin Ao Tower. Each guestroom, equipped with top-of-the-line amenities, has views of the Yangtze River and the city.

Website: fairmont.fr/nanjing
Source: Red Luxury



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Hyatt, New York City

Hyatt Times Square New York has opened, marking the seventh hotel to be added to the Hyatt-branded portfolio in Manhattan. The 487-room hotel stands 54 stories high, making it the tallest newly built, freestanding Hyatt hotel in the United States.

Website: timessquare.hyatt.com
Source: Hyatt Hotels



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The Viceroy, New York City

A new-construction 29-story, 240-room tower at 120 West 57th, rooms at The Viceroy have warm wood and leather accents, with bespoke furniture created by the architects and designers, Roman and Williams.

Website: viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/newyork‎
Source: NY Observer



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Langham Place, Ningbo

Langham Hospitality Group has unveiled its 8th property in China with the opening of Langham Place Ningbo Culture Plaza. The hotel’s 143 guestrooms and 13 suites blend contemporary style and bespoke elements, alongside a curated art collection.

Website: ningbo.langhamplacehotels.com
Source: Hospitality Design



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Waldorf Astoria, Ras Al Khaimah

Waldorf Astoria’s first Dubai property has debuted with 346 rooms and a range of unparalleled facilities including stylish dining and entertainment venues, sophisticated conference and event facilities, luxurious spa experiences, an 18-hole championship golf course and a 350m private beach.

HBA London crafted the interior design concept, envisioned as an escape from the windswept sand dunes to the tranquil waters of the Arabian Sea. The lobby’s design and palette are derived from the centuries-old practice of pearl diving in the islands’ sparkling waters.

Website: waldorfastoria.hilton.com
Interior Architect: Hirsch Bedner Associates



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Ritz-Carlton Herzliya, Tel Aviv

The Ritz-Carlton, Herzliya is a contemporary resort situated above the Marina with accommodations including 115 rooms and 82 suites and residences. Located atop of Ritz-Carlton’s 85th property is a rooftop pool, enveloped by a 360-degree view of the Mediterranean coast and the sandy beaches of Herzliya.

Website: ritzcarlton.com/Herzliya
Source: Luxuo



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Ritz-Carlton, Tianjin

The art deco style property is the 10th Ritz-Carlton property in China, featuring 277 luxurious guestrooms and 53 suites created by luxury hospitality designer, Pierre-Yves Rochon. The property will also introduce a new Ritz-Carlton Club designed as a residential concept, featuring private dining rooms and lounges, with access to dedicated concierge and check-in services.

Website: ritzcarlton.com/Tianjin
Source: Pusuitist



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W Hotel, Verbier

W Hotels has debuted in Switzerland with the opening of W Verbier and The Residences at W Verbier, owned by Les Trois Rocs. Four traditional wooden chalet-style buildings are each connected by a contemporary glass atrium, as all guest rooms and suites boast balconies, many offering spectacular views of the surrounding mountainscape.

Website: wverbier.com
Source: Starwood





For more in the series of The Latest Hotels, please see our most recent editions as follows:

- The Latest Hotels: Anantara, Kempinski & Amanoi
- The Latest Hotels: The Langham, Four Seasons & Grand Hyatt
- The Latest Hotels: Fairmont, Oberoi & Banyan Tree


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If you are interested in being featured in our next edition of The Latest Hotels, kindly send details of your opening to editor@luxurysociety.com