In recent hotel news, a classic Atlanta property gets rebranded; Marriott cuts the ribbon on a big convention hotel in Chicago, and Viceroy Hotels adds a property there; a trendy independent property makes its debut in LA’s West Hollywood district; Hilton adds a major location in Manhattan, near the United Nations; and Marriott/Starwood adds a dual-branded hotel in Austin.
Atlanta’s Ritz-Carlton Buckhead, across the street from Lenox Square in Atlanta, has been a fixture of the city’s upscale Buckhead district for 30 years. It was even the brand flagship when the company had its HQ in Atlanta. But it will be rebranded within a matter of weeks. The hotel’s owner, Host Hotels & Resorts, has reached an agreement with Ritz-Carlton parent Marriott to take the property out of the Ritz-Carlton group and convert it into a property “under independent operation” called The Whitley. But it will still be part of the huge multi-brand Marriott family: The deal calls for The Whitley to be a part of Marriott/Starwood’s Luxury Collection when it changes its name December 1. Existing reservations will be honored, as will Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Marriott Rewards redemption nights, the companies said. Have you stayed at the R-C Buckhead lately? How was it?
The largest hotel to open in Chicago so far this year is the brand-new Marriott Marquis, located next to (and connected to) the huge McCormick Place convention center. The 1,204-room, 40-story Marriott Marquis Chicago is the city’s sixth-largest hotel; in addition to its modern glass-walled tower, the hotel also includes the historic red-brick American Book Company building next door. True to its convention-oriented location, the hotel boasts 93,000 square feet of meeting space, including a pair of 25,000-square-foot ballrooms. The hotel’s Woven & Bound Restaurant is an American brasserie open for three meals a day. Guest amenities include an M Club Lounge with workspace, snacks and drinks, open to Marriott Rewards members (or non-member guests for a fee); a 24-hour fitness center; a big grab-and-go market; business center and FedEx office; and fiber optic high-speed Internet. Rates start around $299, but can vary considerably based on the level of convention activity.
Farther north, in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood, Viceroy Hotel Group has opened the 180-room Viceroy Chicago, a luxury property on the site of the former Cedar Hotel. It’s at the corner of Cedar and State streets, just south of Division Street. The 18-story Viceroy has a rooftop pool and year-round rooftop lounge, and an adjacent restaurant called Somerset run by chef Lee Wolen, a James Beard Award finalist. Guest rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, and the hotel will offer guests weekly classes in meditation and yoga starting in October. Opening rates start at $281 for bookings made by September 30.
At the corner of Sunset and La Cienega boulevards in Los Angeles is The Jeremy West Hollywood, a newly opened 286-room (including 50 suites) property. Its owners say the hotel has “an iconic cool presence that cultivates the best of WeHo’s notable culture.” The hotel’s all-day Etcho Café offers up “Cali-fresh cuisine” that is locally sourced and its JOAO Bar features “elements of old Hollywood.” The Jeremy also has a pool, fitness center, and a pair of large conference rooms. Rates start at $269.
Members of Hilton’s Honors program have a new lodging option in New York City. A hotel at One United Nations Plaza on the east side of Midtown Manhattan (across from the UN Headquarters) has become a member of the Hilton family. The 439-room hotel opened as a Hyatt in 1976, then became the Millennium UN Plaza after it was acquired by Millennium & Copthorne Hotels in 2000. A few years ago, it was renamed the One UN New York, and now it is under Hilton Hotels management, and has been renamed the Millennium Hilton New York One UN Plaza. It’s the seventh Hilton Hotels property in New York. Rates start at $290.
In downtown Austin, Texas, it’s one building but two new hotels. Marriott’s Starwood Hotels division has cut the ribbon on a dual-branded property that includes both an Aloft and an Element hotel, at Congress Avenue and Seventh Street, a few blocks south of the State Capitol. Both brands offer free Wi-Fi, and they share a 24-hour fitness center, business center, and 1,380 square feet of meeting space. The 32-story building includes a 278-room Aloft Austin Downtown along with a 144-room Element Austin Downtown. There’s also an on-site restaurant/coffeehouse/bakery called Caroline’s, and an “urban background playground” and bar called Upstairs at Caroline’s with live music. The Aloft offers high-ceilinged, loft-like accommodations with platform beds while the Element features studios and one-bedroom suites. Rates start at $349 at both hotels.