|the newly renovated Extreme WOW Suite|
The Istanbul hotel scene is red-hot, with sizzling new openings causing much excitement among hotel-obsessed travelers. The latest news is that the W Istanbul has unveiled a big makeover. When we visited the hotel after its debut (back in 2009), the hotel was working on finding its identity in a town known for happening nightlife and a trendy bar scene. Now, after a major overhaul, the W Istanbul aims to attract a hip local crowd alongside its well-heeled, party-loving clientele.
The official press release describes “a stunning new social scene that captures the energy of the cosmopolitan city by acclaimed Turkish designer, Mahmut Anlar.”
Noteworthy additions include the new interactive art installation at the hotel entry, a new Cool Corner Suite on the third floor, plus a fitness center and two-room Day Spa using Caudalie products.
With 140 guestrooms and suites, the W Istanbul was the first hotel in Europe for the brand.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has announced plans to expand its Luxury Collection's European portfolio by four properties: Augustine in Prague, Caresse Resort & Spa in Bodrum, Falisia Resort & Spa in Portopiccolo, Italy, and Grand Hotel River Park in Bratislava.
Augustine, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Prague (opened June 30)
Located in the Malá Strana district in the city’s UNESCO World Heritage center, Augustine is adjacent to Wallenstein Garden and within walking distance of Prague Castle and Charles Bridge. With over 100 guestrooms and suites, the hotel occupies seven historic buildings, the largest of which is the 13th century St. Thomas Monastery - still home to the friars of the St. Augustine order. Set against architecture of Baroque, Renaissance and Gothic styles, the hotel’s interiors reflect the building’s monastic history, complete with furnishings inspired by the 1930s Czech cubism movement. The hotel also has a ballroom, four meeting rooms, fitness center and spa. Guests can enjoy The Augustine restaurant, as well as cocktails and beer in the Refectory Bar 1887, a barrel-vaulted hall that used to be the monastery refectory. Owned by Augustine Management, Augustine marks the entry of The Luxury Collection brand into the Czech Republic.
Falisia, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Portopiccolo (opening July 18)
Falisia Resort & Spa is located in the Portopiccolo Sistiana beachfront development in northeastern Italy on the Adriatic coast. The resort will have 65 rooms and suites, a private beach with an infinity pool, two restaurants, a lounge bar, a dedicated spa and three meeting rooms. Falisia Resort & Spa will become part of a contemporary and sustainable village, poised to become a coastal retreat with residential units, a beach club, marina and several retail and dining venues. Offering sea views, the resort is situated near the airports in Venice and Trieste, and close to the borders of Slovenia and Croatia. Falisia will be the seventh Luxury Collection hotel in Italy.
Caresse, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Bodrum (opening July 24)
Marking the entry of Starwood and The Luxury Collection brand into Bodrum, Turkey, Caresse Resort & Spa has 84 rooms, suites and residences with panoramic views of the bay. Caresse offers five culinary venues, including all-day dining restaurant Glass and Glass Lounge, La Plage beach restaurant and a sushi bar. Leisure facilities at the resort include a 17,000-square-foot spa, offering ESPA products and relaxing treatments; a yacht for private excursions; indoor and outdoor pools; a fitness center; as well as tennis and basketball courts. The resort’s white sand beach and overwater deck are designed for events for up to 500 guests, while the two meeting and board rooms are suited for business presentations.
Grand Hotel River Park, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Bratislava (opening July 31)
Designed by the Dutch architect Erick van Egeraat, Grand Hotel River Park is at the heart of a city development project, which includes residences, offices and retail shops. Located on the bank of the Danube, the hotel is 10 minutes on foot from the old city center. Grand Hotel River Park has 231 rooms and suites, two restaurants and a lobby bar, an indoor pool, as well as a fitness center and spa, two ballrooms and five meeting rooms.
Vacation club Exclusive Resorts has announced that it will open 15 new villas across Europe’s most popular destinations by next year.
New villas sleep from two to seven guests and are located in top vacation spots like Paris and St-Tropez in France; the Amalfi Coast, Florence and Lake Como in Italy; and San Sebastian in Spain.
Exclusive Resorts’ newest Paris property is just three blocks from the iconic Eiffel Tower, while its St-Tropez residences include private pools, views of the ocean and an on-location Michelin-starred restaurant.
In Italy, guests can cruise through the Amalfi Coast, enjoying spacious villas and panoramic views of the sea. Exclusive Resorts’ Florence property invites guests to experience the art and architecture of the city from the comfort of their living room, which has a fresco-inspired painting on the ceiling. On Lake Como, guests can enjoy private wine cellars, pools, boats and gardens in all of the location’s two-to-seven-bedroom villas.
Recently named Europe’s 2016 Culture Capital, San Sebastian, Spain, offers festivals, events and four Michelin-starred restaurants for visitors. The property’s three-bedroom apartment is near the Old Town, as well as the Basque city’s beach.