2006 at Famous Hotels
This was 2006 at The Most Famous Hotels in the World
JANUARY In January we started working on our new edition of The Oriental in Bangkok and discovered a so far unknown brochure from the 1920s. For the frist time we were able to establish a connection between Dan Sweeney and The Oriental. A seasoned illustrator, Sweeney drew posters for leading Asian hotels, among them the the Grand Hotel Metropole in Hanoi, the Astor House, The Peninsula, the Palace in Shanghai, the Manila Hotel and the Continental Palace in Saigon. The brochure also shed light on the interior design of the hotel in the 1920s, in particular the 'Lounge' in today’s Authors Wing, a verandah adjoining a bedroom, the modern facilities of the bathrooms and a bedroom with electric light and a mosquito net covering the bed.
Unveiled as "The Waldorf-Astoria Collection," the new, elite brand designation will build upon the legend that company founder Conrad N. Hilton called "The Greatest of Them All," the Waldorf-Astoria. Luxury resorts that will be newly managed by Hilton inlcude Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa on the island of Maui in Hawaii, Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Arizona, La Quinta Resort & Club in La Quinta, California
FEBRUARY Madrid, Spain: at the Ritz general manager Anton Küng and his staff are busy preparing the hotel for a state visit. Used to US security standards the expected guest tops it all. It's Russia's president Vladimir Putin who arrives with remarkable pomp and circumstance. Putin later noted that “a winter night in Madrid is the same as our summer nights.” - the difference in temperature between Madrid and Moscow at that moment was 45 degrees Centigrade. The terrace restaurant of the Ritz in Madrid (above) is the most elegant address in the Spanish capital. After visiting the fabled museum Prado with its astonishing Goya collection you are in the right mood to enjoy a Merlot Cabernet as an aperitif, along with exploring a tasty secret of the bar, olives stuffed with anchovies. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: The Rolling Stones rock the Copacabana and turn the Orient Express hotel Copacabana Palace into their backstage dressing room. Within hours after it had been know that the Stones come to Brazil, the Copacabana Palace had been sold out. The hotel became the epicentre of the whole circus. Outside: an audience of one and a quarter million. Inside: Fans in the lobby and on hotel balconies were dancing away, helicopters were flying around, film cameras everywhere - a party in full swing!
While the Stones were rocking Brazil, another popstar visited the Excelsior in Florence, Italy: Michael Jackson & family came to stay at the hotel next to the river Arno.
MARCH Springtime for us as publishers of fine books about famous hotels! The Mena House Treasury (Cairo Egypt) becomes the new best selling book in the Treasury series. The Imperial New Delhi receives the French edition of its book (above. At The Oriental in Bangkok the 2006 edition causes much stir, showing for the first time original Sweeney graphics from the 1920s, together with a host of never before published historical photographs. Cornell University stocks all our books in the library.
APRIL Bern, Switzerland: Hotel Schweizerhof closed its doors for 18 months for major renovations. The famous Jack’s Brasserie will remain open during this period. In Zurich, the Dolder Grand is still closed to the general public, its re-opening scheduled for spring 2008. Hilton Hotels Corporation announces that the company is introducing a new luxury hotel line that will extend the cachet of New York's legendary Waldorf=Astoria hotel.
To the left Starwood Area Director and Senior Vice President Erhard Noreisch, to the right Imperial Vienna General Manager Thomas Schön, both welcoming the President of France, Jacques Chirac. In July the Rolling Stones arrive. This year General Manager Thomas Schön also welcomes the chancellor of Germany Angela Merkl, author John Irving, conductor Ricardo Muti, Germany’s president Horst Köhler and his wife Eva Luise, the president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, to name but a few.
Hanoi, Vietnam: The only Select Member of The Most Famous Hotels in the World in Hanoi, the historic hotel Metropole, launched its fully renovated 157-room ‘Opera Wing’. This is another triumph of this hotel under general manager Gilles Cretallaz. Just look at the classic bath tub. The fine tuning of the Opera Wing was only topped by the long awaited re-invention of the side walk café, which - as I am proud to announce - is now back in place!
Budapest, Hungary: 110th anniversary of the Grand Hotel Royal. Our book in The Most Famous Hotels in the World series presenting a rich history researched over the past two years is launched.
Idea and propeller behind the project: former general manager Cornelia Kausch Presenting the project: current general manager Adrian Ellis.. Guest editor Noemi Sally Coaching PR manager: Diana Doczi. Owning company Corinthia chairman Alfred Pisani leads the Hon. Dr Michael Frendo, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Malta, through the exhibition 110 Years Grand Hotel Royal. (famoushotels.org successfully launched its exhibition services! 16 exhibition plates, from 1896–2006 - four languages captions, turn key project for the hotel). The next evening the chairman throws a gala dinner for 200 invited guests at the Grand Ballroom.
JUNE Thailand: In Bangkok the celebrations of His Majesty the King of Thailand's 60th Anniversary of His Ascension to the Throne bring dignitaries from all over the world to The Oriental. General Manager Kurt Wachtveitl greets HM Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Muizzaddin Waddaulah and Queen of Brunei, their Majesties King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain, HRH the Prince Consort of Denmark (Prince Henrik), His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa and Prime Minister of Bahrain and Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde of Belgium. Also seen at the Oriental in 2006: Mick Jagger, Designer Anna Sui, Sacha Baron-Cohen ("Borat" /"Ali G") and Isla Fisher, Kenny G, Kung Fu megastar Jackie Chan and Nicolas Cage. Royal arrangements of a similar spirit take us to Trondheim/Norway: At the Britannia Hotel members of the Norwegian Royal Family gathered (King Harald is the grandson of King Haakon. Photograph with his wife Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon and Princess Mette-Marit Tjessem Hoiby.) You should know that the royal line began when the Crown Prince's great grandfather, Haakon VII, came to Norway in 1905 after the dissolution of the union with Sweden. This summer the Prime Minister and the entire Norwegian Government celebrated King Haakon VII’s coronation, which took place in June 1906. Then the Britannia Hotel hosted all guests. This time, they did it again: 'We were responsible for the dinner that was served in the Royal Family’s house in the centre of Trondheim. The Princesses and all the members of the Government stayed at Britannia Hotel (the hotel is only 2 minutes from the Erkebispegården which is the King and Queen’s home in Trondheim). The happening lasted two days!' recalls Trine Steinsbø Egelie, Sales and Marketing Manager.
JULY St Petersburg, Russia; Grand Hotel Europe. During the lovely Russian summer, General Manager Thomas Noll welcomes the participants of the G8 summit including the Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (Brazil), Dr. Manmohan Singh (India), Hu Jintao (China), Vicente Fox Quesada (Mexico), Joseph Kabila (Congo), Thabo Mbeki (South Africa). Special apprearance: UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
AUSTRIA, Salzburg:It's Festival time in Europe - and Salzburg is one of the most famous venues! The Salzburg Festival brings celebrities from all over the world to the Hotel Goldener Hirsch. Here we have Her Royal Highness Princess Caroline with her husband, the Prince of Hannover, posing with general manager Herbert Pöcklhofer (centre) and restaurant maitre d'hotel Hermann Bauer (left).
At the dawn of the twentieth century, as the so-called ‘golden age’ of travel was in full swing, a unique hotel rose from the banks of the Yangon River. That hotel was The Strand. Modern and luxurious, it quickly gained fame as one of the legendary maidens of the Orient – those magical hotels that offered travellers a window into the myths of the exotic East. . . .
UUUps - sorry, I got carried away. Our first e-book was published this summer. It is a colourful journey to the Hotel Strand in Yangon, Myanmar. You can download this journey to one of The Most Famous Hotels in the World and enjoy it online or print it out and read it in front of your cosy fireplace!
The Strand Yangon (Myanmar) follows the publication of our hard cover book THE STRAND YANGON. It is the first e-book by famoushotels.org.
Go to www.famoushotels.org/books/548
Vienna, Austria: The privately owned famous Hotel Sacher opens its long awaited stunning rooftop spa and suites overlooking Vienna. Facts: 42 new rooms & suites added plus business area. Design: interior designer Pierre Yves Rochon, in co-operation with Elisabeth Gürtler, all rooms feature wireless LAN, a Dolby surround system, roof terraces, marble bathrooms with separate showers and toilets | some also with bidet | as well as two wash-basins, floor heating, illuminated mirrors, and plasma TV.
NOVEMBER Paris, France: the exclusive private Hotel Raphael is the choice of His Majesty Norodom Sihamoni, King of Cambodia, during his state visit to France, meeting President Jacques Chirac at the hotel.
The jury of The Most Famous Hotels in the World meets during World Travel Market days in London. The new website www.famoushotels.org is launched. All hotels are listed under www.famoushotels.org/hotels
DECEMBER The Ritz-Carlton, Boston prepares a major restoration of the Grande Dame, adding new vitality to its classic grandeur. Nice touch: The Children's Suite to pamper youngest guests. ---------------- The Excelsior in Florence, Italy not only had Michael Jackson & family, but later also the President of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano, while opposite, at the Grand Hotel (we produced a book about it) James Brown took up residence. Brian Adams who was traveling incognito and also Helmut Schmidt, Valery Giscard D'Estaing, and ex President of the Italian Republic Carlo Azeglio Ciampi paid a visit during 2006. ---------------- Winter destination Grand Hotel Kronenhof (Pontresina/Switzerland) enjoys highest occupancy in years under new management: Kronenhof opened its doors in the 1850s and remained one of the most elegant 'British' hotels in the Swiss Alps. General Manager couple Heinz E. and Jenny Hunkeler (left) announces generous renovations currently under way. A car park, new apartments and a splendid Spa are added to the historic structure. ---------------- Malta based Corinthia Group (Grand Hotel Royal Budapest) introduces Tony Potter as new chief executive officer.
The Imperial in New Delhi, India, welcomes His Majesty King Abdullah II and Her Majesty Queen Raina Al Abdullah – Kingdom of Jordan (briefing Indian businessmen on Jordan's plans to open special investment zones in the Kingdom, like the Aqaba Special Economic Zone, expressing Jordan's readiness to facilitate Indian investment). This year this grand hotel of India had seen HRH Penlope Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck Crown Prince of Bhutan, two former US presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, H.E. Mr. Girija Prasad Koirala, Prime Minister of Nepal and Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie, who, with Brad Pitt, was filming the new movie, A Mighty Heart.
And about 2007? Send your story to [email protected] HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of you!