17 new hotels in 2017
Story by Nicholas DeRenzo | Hemispheres May 2017
For Road Warriors
21c Museum Hotel, Oklahoma City
In a city where converted car dealerships and tire shops account for an outsize portion of the revitalized downtown (see the upscale Automobile Alley district), it's fitting that the Oklahoma capital's newest boutique hotel would occupy an iconic auto industry edifice: the onetime Fred Jones Assembly Plant, where Ford Model Ts were built. Opened last June in the 101-year-old Albert Kahn–designed building, the 21c Museum Hotel Oklahoma City shows off its heritage in ways big and small, from the original water tower on the roof to the 135 guest rooms' generous casement windows to the massive concrete columns still marked with codes denoting their positions on the factory floor. Like other properties in the 21c Museum Hotels mini-chain, the property's claim to fame is its renowned contemporary art collection. A standout here is James Clar's continually rolling, assembly line–inspired acrylic piece River of Time, at the entrance to Mary Eddy's Kitchen x Lounge, which occupies the former automobile showroom.
For Rock Stars
Sir Adam Hotel, Amsterdam
Sir Adam Hotel
As the home to the local offices of Gibson guitars and Sony, plus a real-life school of rock for kids, the imposing A'DAM Tower is something like Amsterdam's answer to LA's Capitol Records Tower. This January, the tower welcomed the Sir Adam Hotel, a member of the rapidly expanding Sir boutique chain, which also includes the Sir Albert, housed in a former diamond factory across town, and new or in-the-works properties in Berlin, Hamburg, and Ibiza. Complete with Bluetooth-enabled Crosley Cruiser turntables, Gibson electric guitars, and a curated vinyl collection, the 108 industrial-chic guest rooms (expect lots of raw concrete) are decked out with concert posters and mirrors etched with classic lyrics—the ideal crash pads for jet-lagged rockers on their big stadium tour.
For Summer Campers
The Suttle Lodge & Boathouse, Sisters, Oregon
Earn your merit badges—in kayaking, fishing, Nordic skiing, and arts and crafts—at the lakeside Suttle Lodge & Boathouse, which opened last August in central Oregon's Deschutes National Forest. The Mighty Union, the hospitality team behind Portland's trendsetting Ace Hotel, created a Moonrise Kingdom for millennials, complete with Pendleton blankets and toiletries by OLO Fragrance in scents inspired by the surrounding Cascade Range. Because it wouldn't be Oregon without a love for all things locavore, the owners have also brought along another Portlander to create the menu, chef Joshua McFadden of the award-winning Ava Gene's. Despite McFadden's James Beard nominations and inclusion on Bon Appétit's best new restaurants list, don't expect anything fussy: It's all about the potato-chip-crusted trout sandwich, salmon-and-trout chowder, and Oregon-made beers, wines, and ciders.
For Beach Bums
The Asbury, Asbury Park, New Jersey
Opened last Memorial Day just a guitar-pick toss from Bruce Springsteen's beloved Stone Pony, The Asbury is this Jersey Shore resort town's first new hotel in decades, taking over a long-disused Salvation Army building. Conceived by Anda Andrei, Ian Schrager's former head of design, the airy, bungalow-inspired rooms pair blond wood furnishings and crisp white linens with black-and-white vintage photos of beach and boardwalk scenes. In keeping with the breezy seaside decor and fun-loving spirit of this summer playground, the space is brimming with whimsical amenities, such as a carless rooftop “drive-in" theater, pinball machines in the lobby, and a curated library of VHS tapes, audio cassettes, and vinyl records.
The Warehouse Hotel, Singapore
The Warehouse Hotel's Singapore Sazerac
The Lo & Behold Group hospitality firm's first hotel venture opened this January in an 1895 godown (warehouse) on the banks of the Singapore River. Though the surrounding Robertson Quay is now rather well-heeled, the area was once a red light district known for its underground distilleries and opium dens. The 37-room hotel cleverly nods to this seedy past with its Minibar of Vices, which is divided into gluttony (salted egg yolk chips), vanity (Alexiares & Ani Mattifying Sunscreen), and lust (take a guess). For more indulgence, head to the on-site restaurant, Pó, which features chef Willin Low's “Mod Sin" menu and cocktails that play on the area's spice trade past, such as the Singapore Sazerac with pandan leaf bitters and the chamomile-whiskey-based High Tea.
Nekupe Sporting Resort & Retreat, Nandaime, Nicaragua
The view from the Nekupe Sporting Resort & Retreat
It's not surprising that Nicaragua's first luxury mountain resort takes its name from the indigenous Chorotega word for “heaven." Creating a slice of Paradise was precisely the goal of Theresita and Alfredo Pellas Jr., who constructed this 1,300-acre nature reserve by building greenhouses, installing solar panels, planting organic farms, and reforesting with more than 14,000 trees. Located 30 minutes from colonial Granada, in the shadow of a dormant volcano, the resort is an old-school sporting getaway, perfect for skeet shooting, horseback riding, ziplining, or communing with sloths, howler monkeys, and 73 species of bird.
For Architecture Buffs
The Poli House, Tel Aviv
An eclectic staircase at The Poli House
Tel Aviv's White City district is home to an eclectic collection of more than 4,000 Bauhaus and other structures, built in the 1930s by German-Jewish architects escaping persecution. Nitza Szmuk, the conservation architect who helped the district achieve UNESCO World Heritage status in 2003, next turned her attention to the restoration of the Polishuk House, a curvy 1934 beauty by Swiss architect Shlomo Liaskowski that has since housed offices, shops, and even a secret political printing press. Last October, it reopened as the 40-room Poli House, which designer Karim Rashid has filled with witty decor flourishes such as egg-shaped chairs upholstered with yolk-yellow fabrics, a pink neon “HELLO" sign, and Op Art floors that might make you a little woozy after a cocktail at the rooftop pool bar. Keep an eye out for a particularly meta touch: a landmark Bauhaus stairway with a mural based on Oskar Schlemmer's 1932 painting Bauhaus Stairway.
Explora Valle Sagrado, Urquillos, Urubamba, Peru
Opened last July in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, between Cusco and Machu Picchu, the 50-room Explora Valle Sagrado consists of a series of low-slung wooden structures that seem to melt into the surrounding ancient cornfields. (A nearby colonial mansion once owned by War of Independence revolutionary Mateo Pumacahua houses the spa.) While the lodge is filled with smart references to Andean culture, such as alpaca-wool blankets, it's best to think of it more as a base camp for Explora's 26 guided tours to off-the-beaten-path spots, including Incan archaeological sites, salt mines, indigenous Quechua communities, and llama-filled pastures.
Explora Valle Sagrado
For Social Butterflies
The Robey, Chicago
You've always hung out in Chicago's Wicker Park, but now you can finally sleep there. The Robey, a sleek and masculine boutique property from Grupo Habita—a Mexico City–based hotel chain known for promoting a young, communal vibe—opened in November at the epicenter of the city's coolest 'hood, in the 1929 Art Deco Northwest Tower, the only skyscraper in the area (a sister hotel, The Hollander, occupies the 1905 warehouse next door). The well-appointed rooms (Woolrich blankets, marble accents) may be short on square footage, but high ceilings and uninterrupted views of downtown make them feel airy. Think of the hotel's four restaurants and lounges as your extended living room: Meet friends for breakfast at the first-floor Café Robey, make new friends over cappuccinos in the spacious second-floor lounge, and then join all of them for martinis at Up & Up, the sexy rooftop cocktail bar, where you can toast to not having to cab anywhere.
For Seafood Lovers
Thompson Seattle, Seattle
The views from the Thompson Seattle
You can practically see the salmon-tossing fishmongers of Pike Place Market from your bed at the Thompson Seattle, which opened two blocks from the historic venue last June. The glass-and-steel design by award-winning area firm Olson Kundig Architects is all about transparency, meaning the 158 guestrooms can often feel like the world's chicest fishbowls. Twelve stories up, at The Nest rooftop cocktail lounge, take in views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. And back down on solid ground, at Scout PNW—which is kitted out with Douglas fir furnishings and Northwest-appropriate plaid upholstery—sample the bounty of these surroundings, including smoked trout tartine; maple-cured crudo with raw beets, yuzu, and pickled berries; and a killer chowder made with mussels, clams, and Dungeness crab.
For Design Heads
Il Sereno Lago di Como, Torno, Italy
Unlike the Neoclassical grande dames that dominate nearby stretches of George Clooney's favorite lake in the foothills of the Italian Alps, this minimalist all-suite hotel, which opened last August in the tiny village of Torno, would look more at home an hour's drive south, in fashion-forward Milan. That's very much by design. Spanish-born, Milan-based designer Patricia Urquiola—twice named designer of the year by Wallpaper—had a hand in creating almost every aspect of the property, from the bespoke furnishings to the floating walnut lobby staircase to the silk scarves worn by the staff (a nod to Como's long history as the silk capital of the world). Urquiola is even responsible for the interiors of the hotel's Vaporina del Lago boat, custom-made at the family-run Ernesto Riva boatyard, which has operated across the lake in Laglio (home to La Casa di Clooney) since 1771.
Huus Hotel, Gstaad, Switzerland
Gstaad's newest hotel, opened in December, trades in the posh town's usual ostentatious glamour for a homier aesthetic—hence the name, Swiss German for “house." The 136 lumberjack-chic rooms incorporate mismatched plaids, polished pebbles from the River Saane, and, yes, cuckoo clocks, plus Mammut backpacks and Zeiss binoculars to explore the craggy peaks and green valleys of the Bernese Alps. After all that skiing and snowshoeing (or summertime rafting and rappelling), refuel with fondue and raclette at Chalet Hüüsli, the cozy garden restaurant.
Coombeshead Farm, Cornwall, U.K.
The morning spread at Coombeshead Farm
British chefs Tom Adams (who brought American-style barbecue to London at Pitt Cue) and April Bloomfield (who earned a Michelin star for New York's The Spotted Pig) teamed up last July to open this five-room inn in a 1748 Georgian farmhouse on 66 acres in Cornwall. At the communal table, guests dine on locally grown, cured, and foraged fare, such as mutton from the farm's flock of Hebridean sheep and honey from Cornish black bee hives. And befitting two pig lovers (Bloomfield wrote a book called A Girl and Her Pig), it's only natural that their prize possession is a herd of rare, woolly Mangalitsa pigs, whose ruby-red, marbled meat is often called the Kobe beef of pork.
For Boat Enthusiasts
Off Paris Seine, Paris
The pool at Off Paris Seine
Ernest Hemingway dubbed Paris a moveable feast, but chances are he never imagined that the City of Light would someday welcome a moveable boutique hotel. Opened last June, the Off Paris Seine is built on a custom-made catamaran that was constructed in Normandy and towed more than 200 miles upriver to its current home on the Left Bank near the Gare d'Austerlitz railway station. The interiors of the 58-room floating hotel—the largest vessel moored in the Seine—play off the boat's aquatic surroundings; a salvaged-wood check-in desk evokes driftwood, while 8,800 metal panels on the lounge's ceiling reflect the glimmering river surface. Speaking of glitter, while the city's old-guard hotels aren't above a little gilding, the gold accents here are just a bit more playful, taking the form of an inflatable swan in the pool that runs down the boat's center and oversize Fatboy beanbag chairs on the deck.
For Mid-Century Modernists
The Dwell Hotel, Chattanooga, Tennessee
The Dwell Hotel's leafy lobby
Hoteliers the world over are smitten with the timeless lines of 1950s Modernist furnishings, but few have taken full advantage of that other mid-century design staple: deliriously bold patterns and colors. Built in the shell of a 1909 hotel on the site of a Civil War–era stone fort, this city's first luxury boutique property, which debuted its new incarnation last spring, is brimming with authentic period trappings that owner Seija Ojanpera sourced from estate sales, thrift stores, and eBay. Expect velvet chairs, lucite tables, brass wall hangings, and shaggy textile art, all in a palette of poppy oranges and canary yellows and jade greens. But the true showstoppers in the Dwell Hotel's 16 bespoke rooms are the retro patterned wallpapers—bees and flamingos, dandelions and banana leaves—which would have looked right at home in the Draper family house.
The Pendry, San Diego
Just in time for the Gaslamp Quarter's 150th birthday, San Diego welcomes an amenity it has been sorely lacking: a modern luxury boutique hotel. Enter the Pendry, the flagship in Montage Hotels' new design-driven lifestyle brand (a Baltimore property is set to follow this year). Think of this place as an urban take on the resort model—multiple dining outlets, a spa, a pool, and a club, all neatly tucked into one city block. You could spend an entire vacation stuffing yourself without leaving the premises: avocado toast at Provisional, a café and curated boutique; brats and microbrews at Nason's Beer Hall; oysters and nigiri at Lionfish; cocktails at Fifth & Rose—and then another two or three at Oxford Social Club, the basement lounge.
For Fish Out of Water
Palafitos Overwater Bungalows at El Dorado Maroma, Riviera Maya, Mexico
The bungalows at El Dorado Maroma
You don't need to fly to Tahiti or Bora Bora to stay in an overwater bungalow anymore, thanks to last September's opening of this first-of-its-kind-in-Mexico collection of 30 standalone suites within an existing Karisma Hotel resort. Each 800-square-foot palafito (stilt house) boasts glass floor panels so you can spot passing needlefish from the comfort of your bed, as well as snorkeling gear for rent when you're ready to dip a toe in. Design inspiration comes from the ancient Aztec homes built over Lake Texcoco (now buried beneath modern Mexico City), with palapa-style thatch roofs and furnishings made with local zapote wood—plus more modern amenities, such as outdoor and indoor showers and private infinity pools.
Jessica Kimbrough, currently Labor Relations and Legal Strategy Managing Director, will take on the new role of Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Managing Director.
Jessica assumes this new and expanded position to focus on global inclusion and equity as part of our enhanced commitment to ensure best practices across the business to strengthen our culture.
In this role, Jessica will be responsible for helping United redefine our efforts on diversity, equity and inclusion – ensuring that our programs and approach are strategic, integrated and outcome-oriented, while we continue to build a culture that reflects our core values. She will report to Human Resources and Labor Relations EVP Kate Gebo.
"Jessica's appointment to this role is another critical step our executive team is taking to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion remains a top priority at United," said CEO Scott Kirby. "Given her drive, experience and commitment to champion collaboration and allyship among our employee business resource groups, she is uniquely qualified to take on this position and I look forward to working closely with her."
As Labor Relations and Legal Strategy Managing Director, Jessica worked closely with senior management to create and maintain positive labor relations among our unionized workforce, providing counsel on labor litigation, negotiations, contract administration, organizing issues and managing attorneys who represent United in labor relations. Previously, she served as Labor and Employment Counsel in our legal department.
Jessica has a passion for creating a pipeline of diverse lawyers and leaders, and was honored as one of Chicago Defender's "Women of Excellence" for excellence in her career and civic engagement in 2017. She currently serves as President of uIMPACT, our women's employee business resource group.
Jessica's new role is effective immediately.
By working together and strengthening partnerships during these unprecedented times, our global community has overcome challenges and created solutions to keep the global supply chain moving. As COVID-19 continues to disrupt the shipping landscape, United and our industry partners have increasingly demonstrated our commitment to the mission of delivering critical medical supplies across the world.
United Cargo has partnered with DSV Air and Sea, a leading global logistics company, to transport important pharmaceutical materials to places all over the world. One of the items most critical during the current crisis is blood plasma.
Plasma is a fragile product that requires very careful handling. Frozen blood plasma must be kept at a very low, stable temperature of negative 20 degrees Celsius or less – no easy task considering it must be transported between trucks, warehouses and airplanes, all while moving through the climates of different countries. Fortunately, along with our well-developed operational procedures and oversight, temperature-controlled shipping containers from partners like va-Q-tec can help protect these sensitive blood plasma shipments from temperature changes.
A single TWINx shipping container from va-Q-tec can accommodate over 1,750 pounds of temperature-sensitive cargo. Every week, DSV delivers 20 TWINx containers, each one filled to capacity with human blood plasma, for loading onto a Boeing 787-9 for transport. The joint effort to move thousands of pounds of blood plasma demonstrates that despite the distance, challenges in moving temperature-sensitive cargo and COVID-19 obstacles, we continue to find creative solutions with the help of our strong partnerships.
United Cargo is proud to keep the commercial air bridges open between the U.S. and the rest of the world. Since March 19, we have operated over 3,200 cargo-only flights between six U.S. hubs and over 20 cities in Asia, Australia, Europe, South America, India, the Caribbean and the Middle East.
A message from UNITE, United Airlines Multicultural Business Resource Group
Fellow United team members –
Hello from the UNITE leadership team. While we communicate frequently with our 3,500 UNITE members, our platform doesn't typically extend to the entire United family, and we are grateful for the opportunity to share some of our thoughts with all of you.
Tomorrow is June 19. On this day in 1865, shortened long ago to "Juneteenth," Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce that the Civil War had ended and all enslaved individuals were free. For many in the African-American community, particularly in the South, it is recognized as the official date slavery ended in the United States.
Still, despite the end of slavery, the Constitutional promise that "All men are created equal" would overlook the nation's Black citizens for decades to come. It wasn't until nearly a century later that the Civil Rights Act (1964) ended legal segregation and the Voting Rights Act (1965) protected voting rights for Black Americans. But while the nation has made progress, the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd have made it undeniably clear that we still have a lot of work to do to achieve racial parity and inclusion.
Two weeks ago, Scott and Brett hosted a virtual town hall and set an important example by taking a minute, as Brett said, "to lower my guard, take off my armor, and just talk to you. And talk to you straight from the heart."
Difficult conversations about race and equity are easy to avoid. But everyone needs to have these conversations – speaking honestly, listening patiently and understanding that others' experiences may be different from your own while still a valid reflection of some part of the American experience.
To support you as you consider these conversations, we wanted to share some resources from one of United's partners, The National Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum will host an all-day Virtual Juneteenth Celebration to recognize Juneteenth through presentations, stories, photographs and recipes. The museum also has a portal that United employees can access called Talking About Race, which provides tools and guidance for everyone to navigate conversations about race.
Our mission at UNITE is to foster an inclusive working environment for all of our employees. While we are hopeful and even encouraged by the widespread and diverse show of support for African Americans around the country – and at United - we encourage everyone to spend some time on Juneteenth reflecting on racial disparities that remain in our society and dedicating ourselves to the work that still must be done to fight systemic racism. By honoring how far we've come and honestly acknowledging how far we still must go, we believe United – and the incredible people who are the heart and soul of this airline - can play an important role in building a more fair and just world.
UNITE (United Airlines Multicultural Business Resource Group)
Together, we are facing an unprecedented challenge. United Together, we rise to meet that challenge.
Calling all AvGeeks and travelers! Here's a fun way to take your next video call….from a United Polaris® seat, the cockpit or cruising altitude. We're introducing United-themed backgrounds for use on Zoom and Microsoft Teams, video conferencing tools that many people are using to stay connected.
So for your next meeting or catch up with friends and family, download the app to either your computer or mobile device to get started. If you've already downloaded Zoom you can skip ahead to updating your background image (see instructions below).
To use on Zoom:
- Start here by downloading your favorite United image to your computer or mobile device. Just click "download" in the bottom left corner of the image.
- Next go to your Zoom app (you'll need to download the app to access backgrounds) and click on the arrow to the right of your video camera icon in the bottom of the screen.
- From here select, "choose virtual background" to upload your uniquely United photo.
- Start by downloading your favorite United image to your computer. Just click "download" in the bottom left corner of the image.
- If you're using a PC, copy the image you want to use into this folder:
- C:\[insert your device user name here]\AppData\Microsoft\Teams\Backgrounds\Uploads
- If you're using a Mac copy the images to this folder on your computer:
- /users/<username>/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Teams/Backgrounds/Uploads
- If you're using a PC, copy the image you want to use into this folder:
- Once you start a Teams meeting, click the "…" in the menu bar and select "Show background effects" and your image should be there
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This is why we fly.
20 UCSF Health workers, who voluntarily set aside their own lives to help save lives, are on their way to New York City.
We are humbled by your selfless sacrifice.
In celebration and appreciation of all first responders and essential workers. 👏🏻👏🏼👏🏽👏🏾👏🏿
This is the story of Jason and Shantel. You see, Jason and Shantel love each other very much. They also love traveling and they love the classic Adam Sandler film, The Wedding Singer.
It all began when Jason reached out to United's social media team, hoping for assistance with his upcoming plan to propose. Some phone calls and one borrowed guitar later, the stage was set for Jason. Put all that together, mix in some helpful United employees and, voila, you have a truly memorable marriage proposal. Congratulations to this fun-loving and happy couple, and here's to many more years of making beautiful music together.
A big thank you to Chicago-based flight attendants Donna W., Marie M., Karen J. and Mark K. for making this proposal come to life.