Luxury Hotels


Instant images of a ‘brand’ are changing fast. Who, ten years ago, could have envisioned that an Intercon would look like this?  The rendering above is Bellevue WA’s forthcoming 208-room INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL – BELLEVUE AT THE AVENUE.  Announced yesterday, it will occupy nine floors of a 26-story tower within the sprawling mixed-use complex at the heart of Bellevue’s retail and cultural district.Developer is Fortress Development Group LLC, whose CEO Andy Lakha recalls growing up next to INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL KARACHI.

Ah Girlahead remembers that hotel well. It was a traditional ‘Intercon’, with a rooftop grill where flambees were a specialty. Fire departments would have a fit these days!

But think how brand images have changed across the board. The stunning month-old MARRIOTT RESORT PALM JUMEIRAH DUBAI is a case in point. Owner-designer Mohamed Ahmed Al Moose deliberately set out to do something different. It seems to be a 14-floor glass house that has 608 bedrooms, minimum size 41sq m and all looking out to the resort’s own beach and out to sea.   There are ten dining places, including a brasserie that has wine, yes wine, on tap. The whole place is FUN – and GM Gerrit Schmitt wears sneakers.

Perceptions are changing the whole time.  Even a Marriott sibling brand, Ritz-Carlton is evolving. The first time Girlahead was aware of a new look was at RITZ-CARLTON BAL HARBOUR, designer Yabu Pushelberg.

 And now, apparently, RITZ-CARLTON NEW YORK NOMAD is the one to watch. Once again Yabu Pushelberg is among the designers – others include Martin Brudnizki and David Rockwell. Hotel GM Bastian Germer came from EDITION.  Plus ça change.