Christina McCale is the author of six books, editor of 12 books, author/co-author of more than 45 academic papers and presentations, and developed course materials for more than 22 courses or textbooks. You can learn more about her writing at christinamccale.com or amazon.com/author/christinamccale
To be sure, the Aldo-Liberis designed building is certainly “different looking.”
But there is one thing no one can deny: the views. They’re spectacular. The “full service, resort level experience” hotel offers vistas fit for a king: guests will wake up in the morning with all of Manhattan (or Brooklyn or Long Island) visually laid at their feet: floor-to-ceiling windows and stunning balconies attached to every room.
The views – and their relative importance – are no small detail in the hotel. No matter if it’s from a guest’s balcony, or from the 15,000 square garden promenade, or the 60-foot outdoor pool (with 5,000 square feet of garden space), or the hotel’s rooftop bar, Westlight, the hotel’s vista point is set to advantage.
Just as obvious is the hotel’s attention to detail: from the metalwork detailing to the handcrafted drinks in the bar, the hotel strives to bring a sense of service and luxury just as lofty as its views. Higher ceilings, hardwood floors, and sleek, designer furnishings give the rooms a light, open feeling of elegance that is simultaneously clean and tailored.
The William Vale gives a nod to its historical location through its name (a 19th century Brooklyn resident whose property boundaries the hotel), while looking to the future in its art and architecture. The hotel capitalizes on certain trends in the industry: offering pet-friendly rooms and featuring local artists — both trends we’ve noted in previous articles.
But, of course, what we’re just crazy about is the black and white detailing in the bath areas. Clean, crisp and clear, the baths evoke the modern scheme found throughout the hotel.The baths capitalize on the best use of space and design, with every attention to detail addressed, while leaving out the rest.
“The development team has allocated a specific budget to enliven The William Vale with local, Brooklyn-based art. Art will be a strong component of the brand as it works to cater to a refined community that’s deeply rooted in the Brooklyn arts scene,” said General Manager Sebastien Maingourd, as shared with hotelbusinessdesign.com.
While hotel baths are usually pretty utilitarian, they don’t have to be. And apparently, the folks at Architectural Digest think so, too. Here is the gorgeous bath from Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island in Australia. While the amazing view is clearly the focal point of the room, we’re pretty enamoured with the granite tub and heated limestone floors.
Old historical building renovations can go one of a few ways.
They can be atrocities, without care or consideration for the historical context and relevance of the building.
They can be predictable, without any imaginative forethought to current or future users of the space.
Or, they can be respectful, yet creative rediscoveries of both a bygone era – while still cognizant of modern sensibilities and future needs: a perfect blend of honor, nostalgia, practicality, and vision.
After a 20-month closure, The InterContinental New York Barclay $180M restoration, lead by Stonehill & Taylor architects, found that breath-taking balance. And it was worth the wait.
The 1926 building, originally a residential hotel, has a storied past. Originally funded by the Vanderbilt family, the Barclay was home to a range of luminaries: from Gloria Swanson and Bette Davis, to Ernest Hemingway and Jimmy Durante. Then-Presidential Candidate Bill Clinton’s 1992 Campaign Headquarters even called the Barclay “home.” The hotel even featured a train ticket window in the lobby, with a spiral staircase leading down to one of Grand Central Station’s train platforms (which is even still in existence.)
The Midtown hotel, evocative of “Federal-style elegance” now boasts both restored as well as bespoke period details that set the perfect scene for anyone looking to absorb the rich ambiance that is so emblematic of turn-of-the-century New York City. For example, the revolving door is decorated with brass warblers and branches, an homage to the original birdcage that graced the hotel lobby until 1995. Hudson River styled murals grace guest rooms. With an eye towards homeyness and comfort, the design team created custom linens and furniture, along with replacing all of the windows to seal out the street noise from below. Add in modern touches like expanded bathrooms and 42″ LED TVs, and you have all the appeal of a grand historical building, but with the creature comforts of a modern traveler in desperate need of a “home-away-from-home.”
The revolving door is decorated with brass warblers and branches, an homage to the original birdcage that graced the hotel lobby until 1995. Hudson River styled murals grace guest rooms. With an eye towards homeyness and comfort, the design team created custom linens and furniture, along with replacing all of the windows to seal out the street noise from below. Add in modern touches like expanded bathrooms and 42″ LED TVs, and you have all the appeal of a grand historical building, but with the creature comforts of a modern traveler in desperate need of a “home-away-from-home.”
With an eye towards homeyness and comfort, HOK and IHG’s in-house design team created custom linens and furniture, along with replacing all of the original windows with double-paned,
We, of course, are always interested in the baths. Expanded from their original footprint, the baths provide generous counter space and lit mirrors and a choice of walk-in showers or shower/tubs. Argon gas insulated windows to seal out the street noise from below as well as the New York stifling heat and bitter winters. Add in modern touches like expanded bathrooms and 42″ LED TVs, and you have all the appeal of a grand historical building, but with the creature comforts of a modern traveler in desperate need of a “home-away-from-home.”
An aging infrastructure, water shortages, and increased demand spell a recipe for increasing water costs for commercial property owners, including hotels.
However, a recently released white paper points to a possible solution.
The Chicago Faucets white paper offers a solution as part of a thorough water conservation plan—replace a building’s older manual faucets with new electronically metered low-flow faucets. Advancements in technology and the decreasing costs make this a remedy many commercial properties may find more palatable than rising water bills.
The Wyndham Garden® brand is revealing its first global hotel prototype, designed to make travel easier and more carefree while delivering greater returns for hotel owners through operating efficiencies.
The new offering exceeds its usual upper-midscale hotel segment through an upscale experience with modern architecture with functional design elements.
With roughly half of all Wyndhams located near airports, the firm knows it has a unique opportunity to serve its guests. Kate Ashton, brand senior vice president of Wyndham Garden said, “Travelers deserve respites along with amenities that provide added convenience and comfort. With this philosophy steering the brand in all that we do, we’ve developed a serene environment with purposeful design choices, a lens on the details and meaningful offerings to make our guests’ travels as easy and stress-free as possible.”
Nine new concept hotels are currently under construction in markets like Winter Haven and Orlando, Florida; Edinburg, Texas; and South Bend, Indiana, with the first opening in Bridgeport, West Virginia in mid-2017.
As reported in GreenLodgingNews.com, the group’s new prototype is a LEED-certifiable design, featuring low-flow water fixtures, five electric car charging stations and greenery in all guest areas. The hotel will have filtered water stations on each floor, thus reducing wasteful bottled water. The new design features ample natural light and guest-controlled temperature gauges — both of which cuts back on energy use. The new concept will also locally source menu items lend to a more sustainable food process.
For more about the Wyndham expansion, read more here.
Cornell has gathered information from more than 8000 hotels worldwide so they can benchmark how their hotels are managing their environmental impacts. As reported on greenlodgingnews.com, “The results are presented in the CHSB2016 Index report, where users can obtain the range of benchmarks for energy consumption, water consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions for hotels within specific segments and geographic locations.”
As sustainability is a vital issue in our industry, and the Cornell study is of vital importance to hotel firms looking to improve their performance and be able to compare their performance to other firms. As Denise Naguib, Vice President, Sustainability and Supplier Diversity, Global Operations, Marriott International shared, “The travel and tourism sector has an incredible opportunity to drive sustainability around the world. The CHSB benchmark provides hotels the information that they need to know where they stand among their peers, and to apply that information to drive improvements and promote their own efforts to customers.”
The Riu Plaza, opened in early 2016, offers sleek suites with modern European sensibilities in the heart of Manhattan.
But perhaps one of the biggest selling features to this hotel is, as any real estate professional might describe, “Location, location, location.”
Set in the heart beat of iconic New York: from Central Park to Restaurant Row, Broadway Theatre to extraordinary shopping, the Riu Plaza is a natural springboard for the traveler. For a total immersion into all that is New York…
I mean, really? Could a better location be had?
While Riu is typically associated with “sun and sand” hotel locations, the hotel chain has started a new concept: The Riu Plaza New York Times Square becomes the second urban “city hotel line” in the US, and the first $100MM non-union construction project in New York City’s history.
The streamlined suites include just enough modern conveniences to keep the connected traveler satisfied: wifi to allow guests to stay in touch with their modern, busy lives, knowing that they’re likely going to be “out and about town” rather than “retreating” or cocooning in their suite.
The International Tourism Partnership have announced a jointly agreed upon method for measuring water use in the hotel industry.
The 18-month project has resulted in “a free methodology and calculation tool which will enable hotel companies and individual properties to measure and report on water consumption in a consistent way.”
Consistent is the key word: up until now, while companies did measure water consumption, each firm had its own methods that may have included (or excluded) certain sources or uses of water. Also key was that the initiative would be “free and easy to implement.”
The initiative was started in response to “one of the most pressing global issues hotels need to address is their consumption of water, and the understanding that “what gets measured gets managed.”
The 18 global hotel groups, some of the biggest brands in the lodging industry, include: Accor, Carlson Rezidor, Diamond Resorts, Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, Hilton Worldwide, the Hongkong & Shanghai Hotels, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, InterContinental Hotels Group, Las Vegas Sands Corp., Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Marriott International, MGM Hotels & Resorts, NH Hotel Group, Soneva, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Taj Hotels, Resorts & Palaces, Whitbread, and Wyndham Worldwide Resorts.
The hoteliers worked with KPMG as technical consultants and included with input from the international expert community, including the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), Water Footprint Network, CDP and CEO Water Mandate.