The Top Hotel Renovations of 2016

The Ritz Paris

Among all the new hotel openings developing throughout the world, it might be easy to forget about some of the great existing properties already available to us. Did you know, 2016 was a great year for hotel renovations? Here are 16 amazing re-dos to add to your travel bucket list for next year. 

Athenaeum Hotel, London – The five-star hotel has completed a total revamp to its public spaces. Among the transformations are the building’s façade and entrance, which now has floor-to-ceiling double-height windows looking out to Royal Greek Park, and a south-facing front terrace, which allows for outdoor dining. The furnishings were updated without leaving behind the hotel’s Art Deco style: public spaces now have golden “Meshmatic” chandeliers, “Paravento” alloy partition screens, and “Valet” mirrors and benches. The renovated restaurant remains under the helm of Michelin-starred chefs and brothers Chris and Jeff Galvin. The brothers have additionally taken over the entire F&B program, including the hotel's nifty Afternoon Tea service. 

The Ritz, Paris – After a lengthy closure, which was delayed even further by a fire last January, the Ritz Paris finally reopened in June. The $450 million top-to-bottom overhaul included: A tunnel from the parking garage to the hotel; a reduction from 159 to 142 rooms, all of which received marble bathrooms with heated floors – some interconnected; the world’s first Chanel Spa; a retractable roof over the garden; and a third floor of the Ecole Ritz Escoffier, the hotel’s chic cooking school. The Ritz Paris even brought in Michelin-starred chef Nicolas Sale of Courchevel. Good things to know: Head sommelier Estelle Touzet at The Ritz now curates a cellar of 50,000 wine bottles and the new Salon Proust offers Afternoon Tea with treats provided by pastry chef François Perret.

Flemings Mayfair, London – Each guest room here received $100,000 worth of investments, including bespoke "silver-stained fiddleback sycamore" furniture and 1930s period bronze features; several rooms have seen their original ceilings restored. What we love: Some studio suites were fitted with gin bars as well as cocktail-making equipment, recipes and advice cards, with period crystal glassware provided by experts Joel Harrison and Neil Ridley (who also formulated Flemings’ signature gin brand) so that guests may make their own drinks. The townhouses, apartments, and penthouse were given a private entrance from Clarges Street. Top Tip: Michelin-starred Jersey chef Shaun Rankins has just opened a restaurant at the hotel. The Drawing Room, a tea room and small bar, also recently opened.

Four Seasons Lanai – In 2012, billionaire Oracle owner Larry Ellison purchased 98 percent of Lanai in Hawaii, and began a major renovation on the Four Seasons Lanai at Manele Bay. Every floor and walkway has been refinished with wood, slate, or stone; the gardens have been replanted with native plants; each of the 217 room received hand-woven wool rugs, iPad Airs, wearable key wristbands, and 75” platinum bezel TVs hanging on teak and zebra walls, while the bathrooms all received TVs in the mirrors. Roughly 25 percent of the rooms are now suites with the Alii (“Royalty”) Suite taking the cake – the three-bedroom suite is located above the adults-only grotto-style pool and waterfall, and has a three-room-long lanai overlooking Hulupoe Bay. The hotel also got a helipad on the roof.

Grace Santorini, Greece – This luxury boutique hotel reopened on May 2 after hotel-wide refurbishments. Updated bathrooms now have double vanities, marble-carved basins and rain showers. Guest rooms now have in-room bars with their own cocktail-making kit, and two new suites were built with plunge pools. The F&B program underwent a major overhaul, as well. The new champagne and cocktail lounge, 363 (located 363 meters above sea level), showcases fine champagnes, spirits, and signature dishes. The restaurant, Vassalti, is now led by executive chef Spyros Agious. Finally, the hotel increased its health and wellness offerings with a new full-service spa and yoga and Pilates studio, connected to a fitness center. Yoga sessions will be offered twice daily on a complimentary basis for guests, or in private sessions.

Hotel Pulitzer, Amsterdam – The two-part renovations of the 400-year-old buildings have been completed and voila! All 225 guest rooms along the Keizersgracht canal were updated with marble bathrooms, cocktail mixing facilities, and bike repair kits, with no two rooms being identical. Public spaces like the lobby, two-story gym, and inner gardens also received face lifts. Adjacent to the lobby, a library holds a selection of Pulitzer Prize-winning books. In addition, Jansz, a new restaurant, and Pulitzer’s Bar also opened with the completion of the renovations.

Intercontinental David Hotel Tel Aviv – The focus of the renovations at this luxury abode in Israel was the 135 club rooms, 15 suites, and public spaces on the third floor. Club rooms were given a more residential feel, and now have a 37” flat-screen TV and double-door closet. Suites received smart alarm systems and docking stations, while the Royal Suites were given bespoke furnishings, a jet walk-in rain shower, and a soaking tub. Additionally, the spa and fitness center have been upgraded, including a new “Health and Harmony” program.

The Berkeley, London – The five-star London hotel updated its façade with a cantilevered glass, steel, and carbon fiber canopy. Blue Bar, originally designed by David Collins, underwent a makeover, which was extended into a glass pavilion, given new furnishings, and now uses a color-coded menu (green drinks are weak, red is stronger). The blue paneling and lighting remains the same. The Caramel Room, now the Collins Room, was updated with marble, chandeliers, and hand-painted chinoiserie wallpaper by de Gournay. The Berkeley additionally received a new collection of suites, which includes The Grand Terrace Suites, the Apartment, the Park Suite, and the Gallery Suite, named so for its curated collection of artwork, among others.

The Gleneagles Hotel, Scotland – The 30 newly renovated guest rooms at The Gleneagles Hotel are now offering guests a country estate vibe. Since its initial opening in 1924, the Gleneagles has always been a luxury escape, and its new renovations certainly reflect that. New additions thanks to the renovations include the hotel’s new Dormy Clubhouse, a bar created by British design house Macauly Sinclair. The updated guest rooms, featuring all new furnishings, were created by designer Goddard Littlefair. While taking in the hotel’s new look, we suggest VIPs take part in some of the hotel’s top experiences, including indoor tennis, equestrian school and off-roading. Not changed during the renovation? The three championship golf courses at Gleneagles, inspired by James Braid and Jack Nicklaus. Don’t change what’s already perfect, right?

The Langham, London –  Langham Hotels & Resorts announced plans to expand its London property back in June of 2016. In the announcement, the brand explained how the Langham London was slated to undergo renovations expanding the hotel by an additional 115 guest rooms, including 25 suites and five residences with design kitchens. The new guest rooms and suites, which launched in July, are all located in the main building facing Portland Place and offering views of BBC and All Souls Church. One of Europe’s original Grande Dame hotels, the Langham London has maintained its prime spot at the top of Regent Street in the city for over 150 years. We also hear that each of the suites and residences in the updated property will be attended by an extensive team of butlers. The butlers will be able to help guests plan a variety of bespoke experiences in London.

The Logan, Philadelphia – Formerly the Four Seasons, The Logan celebrated its grand opening in December of 2015, but really took center stage this past year. The 391-room Logan is part of Hilton’s “Curio Collection,” which means though it’s a Hilton property it retains its individual branding. Cue: an artistic image inspired by the nearby Philadelphia Museum of Art, decked out with local sculptures and paintings. A garden courtyard that has been equated to “an outdoor living room” is available for guests, as well as other on site facilities including a spa, ballroom and reception rooms for meetings and events, in addition to a variety of culinary concepts: The Commons and Library; The Courtyard; and Urban Farmer, which is a steakhouse focusing on local ingredients. If you’re really missing the Four Seasons, though, don’t worry – the brand has a plan to open a Philadelphia luxury hotel in 2018 within the new Comcast skyscraper.

The Nai Harn, Phuket –  During an 18-month renovation, the former Royal Phuket Yacht Club in Vietnam was transformed to the new luxury property, Nai Harn. The newly reimagined hotel now has 130 rooms and suites, most with private terrace barbecues overlooking Nai Harn Beach. Guests will find updated fitness facilities and a spa, as well as a swimming pool, beach-side butler service and a water sports center, where guests can arrange to hit the seas for snorkeling and scuba diving. There are also four food and beverage options within the property as well. Frank Grassman, the resorts new General Manager, made a statement commenting on the renovations and how he is hoping to reposition the resort to offer more authentic destination experiences and curated connections to the best of island life and local culture.

The Peninsula Beijing – In mid-2016, The Peninsula Beijing revealed the results of a massive renovation. The outcome? The number of hotel rooms went from 525 to 230, meaning there's much more space in each and oh, so much more luxury. Located in the Chinese capital, the hotel’s 169 rooms and 61 suites are now the most spacious in Beijing and are among some of the largest in the country, starting at 645 square-feet per accommodation. The rooms are designed to more closely resemble suites, featuring separate bedrooms, living rooms, bathrooms and wardrobes. Spa like bathrooms are spacious and marble lined, complete with soaking tubs and separate rain showers. All room amenities at the hotel are customizable: 24-hour check-in/check-out options, bedside and deskside tables to control room functions, printer/scanners, a portable VoIP phone and other “room-as-office” accommodations. For the ultimate luxury experience, we suggest booking The Peninsula Suite, measuring in at 7,104 square feet, accessible by private elevator and complete with its own gym.

The Ritz-Carlton, Hotel de la Paix, Geneva, Switzerland – After signing a partnership with The Ritz-Carlton Group to become a Ritz-Carlton Partner Hotel, the Hotel de la Paix in Switzerland began operating as the new The Ritz-Carlton, Hotel de la Paix, Geneva. The renovations, which started in May 2016 and are expected to be completed in May 2017, will adjust the property’s number of rooms from 86 to 75, creating a more intimate setting for guests of the historic property. Opening January 9, 2017, will be the hotel’s newly renovated restaurant and bar, the Living Room. Ran by head chef Alessio Corda, the culinary concept will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as afternoon tea, brunch and bar drinks seven days a week. Since its initial building in 1865, the hotel has played host to a number of world events and notable guests, including Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco.

The Watergate, Washington, DC – The renovations of Washington’s iconic Watergate Hotel have been under watch for a few years now (since its closing in 2007), making the 2016 post-renovations opening one of the most anticipated of the year. After a $125 million overhaul, the hotel now has 336 guest rooms, expansive terraces overlooking the Potomac River and a rooftop bar where guests can mix and mingle. Other places to grab a drink include the Next Whisky Bar, which features a wave-like metal sculpture, glowing with whiskey bottles, designed customized for The Watergate. On site facilities include the Argentta luxury spa, an indoor saltwater pool, 27,000 square feet of meeting and event space and two new restaurants: Kingbird and Top of the Gate. Staff of the five-star hotel will sport retro-inspired uniforms designed by  Janie Bryant, Emmy Award winning TV costume designer.

Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills – Following its 10-month renovation, Viceroy Hotel Group unveiled the Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills, formerly known as L’Ermitage Beverly Hills. Led by interior design team Smith/Firestone Associates (SFA Design), the new property includes 116 redesigned suites and an upgraded arrival space, as well as new meeting areas and the addition of a new contemporary French bistro, Avec Nous. Rooms at the all-suite property each come with Venetian cut-glass mirrors, white onyx marble details and a variety of bespoke artwork.  Amenities of the rooms include bedside USB ports, a Nespresso machine and a custom mini-bar, stocked with Sugarfina, Compartes, Herban Essentials and Dean & Deluca goods. Coming up, the hotel is slated to unveil its new “in-residence” series, which is rumored to included programming from “celebrated tastemakers.” Can't wait.