The Algonquin Hotel
At the beginning of 2012, the famed Algonquin Hotel in New York City closed its doors to undergo an extensive $15 million renovation project—the largest in the hotel’s history. The project consisted of major changes to the 110-year old building including completely redoing property bathrooms, updating plumbing, upgrading elevators and making the heating and cooling systems more energy efficient. The guestrooms and suites also received a new look with “picture window” headboards featuring classic scenes of New York, and the hotel’s historic Blue Bar was given new lighting, banquette seating, and a jewel-toned blue carpet. Although Matilda, the Algonquin’s beloved resident cat, was removed from the property during the renovation, she reclaimed her throne behind the front desk when the hotel reopened in May.
In June, the Enchantment Resort in Sedona, Ariz. revealed the results of a two-year $25 million renovation that touched on every area of the resort. All 218 guestrooms were enhanced, the property’s Meeting Village was expanded, and new retail boutiques were added. The project also included the launch of new restaurants and bars, Che-Ah-Chi , View 180, and a Wine Bar. But the real jewel of this renovation was the expansion and update of the property’s outdoor space, which featured an expanded pool deck with new chaise lounges, umbrellas, and private cabanas where guests can relax and enjoy the beauty of the red rocks.
With the continued success of Miami hotels and numerous new properties showing up on the scene, the InterContinental Miami wanted to make itself stand out. So, the 641-room hotel received a $30 million overhaul, which debuted this fall. The large-scale project included upgrading and redesigning guestrooms, calling in Venus Williams’ design firm to redo the hotel suites, and implementing exciting new lighting and technology features throughout the hotel. The property’s iconic sculpture “Spindle” by Henry Moore still holds its place in the lobby, but will is now accented with lights and patterns. The exterior of the hotel received the biggest transformation and functions as a digital canvas that lights up the 19-story building with all kinds of colors, images, and marquees.
After being closed for five years, the Weekapaug Inn in Rhode Island reopened this fall following a $20 million transformation. The property’s 27 guestrooms and four two-bedroom suites received a design overhaul by Nancy Taylor Designs, a firm that implemented whimsical fabrics and furniture with modern amenities. Guestroom bathrooms were upgraded to include heated floors and towel racks, and public areas now include wood-burning fireplaces. Guests can also enjoy the property’s lap pool, fitness center, and access to the Inn’s sister property, the Ocean House.
The Lafayette Hotel
In May of this year, the historic Lafayette Hotel completed a 4 million renovation. The hotel, which has a history of entertaining famous guests such as Bob Hope, Ava Gardner, and Betty Grable, made big improvements to its lobby and public areas with the design help of Anjum Razvi and furnishings from Home by Baja. The renovation also consisted of exposing the original 1946 terrazzo lobby floor and replacing the hotel's period-era, red-shingled roof. Beside just aesthetic updates, the property installed a ClearEdge Power fuel cell system which is expected to reduce the annual energy costs of the property and cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.
W New Orleans French Quarter
The W brand made a commitment to reinvigorate 11 of its North American properties, and the W New Orleans French Quarter received a facelift this year to the tune of $9 million. Nemaworkshop, a New York City-based architecture and design firm, helped transform the guestrooms and public spaces of this Big Easy hotel into flavorful spaces. The new room designs were inspired by jazz music and tarot-card reading, and feature floor-to-ceiling murals and bright colors. The property also expanded its amenities, adding a Sweat fitness center, as well as SoBou, a contemporary Creole cuisine restaurant.
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