Exclusive: What's New at Swissotel?

Our New York offices were visited yesterday by Eva-Maria Panzer of Swissotel Hotels & Resorts, who was eager to tell us about the new Swissotel Living extended-stay suite concept at Swissôtel The Bosphorus, Istanbul.

The first Swissôtel Living, an exclusive extended stay suite concept by Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts, debuts at Swissôtel The Bosphorus, Istanbul in time for the internationally recognized property’s 20th anniversary. A $28 million, 2.5 year undertaking, the 63 new suites are next door to the Swissotel, and guests can use all of the hotel's facilities. (It doesn't go both ways, though—guests at the Living building have their own private pool that hotel guests can't use, for example.) The suites range in size, from studios to 1, 2 and 3 bedrooms, and can be booked for a night or a year. (Apparently, one person has moved in and is planning on renewing the year's booking indefinitely.)

More Swissôtel Living residences are planned for the future in other Swissôtel destinations—Panzer said that the Odessa property may be next.

Beyond the new Living label, Swissotel is launching a new spa brand, Purovel Spa & Sport. These spas will probably not take over existing spas in existing hotels (although some may be adapted), but will be used for new builds going forward, Panzer said.

And there are quite a number of new builds in the works, too: Dresden will get a new hotel this year; Kiev and Odessa are slated to get new properties in 2012 or 2013; and Bangalore and New Delhi will get new Swissotels in 2013 or later.

Perhaps most interestingly, a new Swissotel will open in Makkah (also known as Mecca) later this year (pictured above). Its rooms, Panzer said, will look out over the Kaaba, the most holy site in all of Islam, and guests can pray directly from their rooms. But don't pack your bags yet: Makkah only allows Muslims within its walls, and no non-Muslims can enter the city. Even the president of Swissotel, Meinhard Huck, can't go check out his own hotel there, Panzer laughed.