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Travel News: Openings, Renovations, and New Trips to Book This Week

The buzziest happenings in the world of travel.


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Hotel Joaquin Opens in Laguna Beach

Robert McKinley, the design mind behind the Surf Lodge in Montauk, New York, has brought his brand of seaside cool to Laguna Beach. Hotel Joaquin, the newest property in boutique hotel collection Auric Road, has a California beach bungalow meets French Riviera pied-à-terre vibe. Moroccan rugs, rattan furniture, and flea market finds from Paris and Normandy can be found in each of the 22 rooms. Vinyl record players replace televisions and a gear garage, equipped with surfboards, snorkel equipment, and beach games, encourages guests to unplug and get outside to play. A seafood-centric Mediterranean restaurant takes a healthy, sustainable approach to cuisine, with dishes like avocado confit wit flaxseeds and dehydrated kale and octopus carpaccio with harissa aioli and black garlic. From $359.

South India’s Oldest Hotel Reopens After Renovation

After an extensive, year-long renovation, the Taj Connemara has reopened with a new look that blends tradition and modernity. South India’s oldest hotel, dating back to 1854, is a relic of the colonial era. The refreshed design draws on an eclectic mix of architectural influences including Classical Colonialism, Art Deco, and elements of Tropical Modernism. Each of the 147 rooms and suites are appointed with four-poster beds, vintage prints, and objets d’ art. The hotels original features, including wood carvings sourced from 16th- and 17th-century temples of Mahabalipuram, have been carefully restored. The Lady Connemara Bar & Lounge—the city’s first licensed bar—is certain to reclaim its place as the place to be seen in Chennai. From $176.

Chablé Resort Opens a Sister Property in Riviera Maya

Chablé Resort & Spa put Mérida on the map with the wellness crowd. Fans can now bliss out at its sister property, Chablé Maroma, on Mexico’s Riviera Maya. The five-star beach resort, nestled between a tropical jungle and mangroves and the sparkling Caribbean, features 70 suites, each with its own private pool and outdoor terrace, as well as more than 650 feet of private beach. Chablé Maroma will boast similarities to its sister property including cuisine by world-renowned chef Jorge Vallejo and a massive 17,000-square-foot spa. The resort will also feature a yoga pavilion, fitness center, and beachside pool with private cabanas sprinkled along the shore. If you can pull yourself off the massage table, there’s also paddle boarding, kayaking, cultural adventures, and jungle tours. From $650.

citizenM Opens Second Location in New York City

Boutique brand citizenM, known for its affordable, design-savvy hotels, has debuted a 300-room sister hotel to the citizenM Times Square in New York’s historic Bowery neighborhood. Soaring 246 feet, the hotel is the tallest building in the Bowery, and features a rooftop bar and terrace with 360-degree views of Manhattan. Glass walls stream in daylight and open to a view of the park outside, mirrored inside with benches and picnic tables. citizenM commissioned the nearby New Museum, and its incubator NEW INC, to supply art for the guest rooms and throughout the property guests will find furnishings by the likes of Verner Panton and Hella Jongerius. The opening marks the brand’s second property in the U.S., with plans to roll out a dozen more hotels in cities including Boston, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Miami. From $219.

Autograph Collection Hotels Announces Screenwriter in Residence Program

Autograph Collection Hotels has partnered with actress Maggie Gyllenhaal for its Screenwriter in Residence program focusing on powerful female voices who are shaping the industry. Gyllenhaal was inspired by Virginia Woolf’s famed feminist 1929 essay “A Room of One’s Own” to help transform the residency program this year. The work’s message of refuge evokes the same sentiment the brand’s Indie Film Project aims to give emerging screenwriters. The actress selected three female screenwriters from Hollywood’s buzzed about Black List—Sarah Jane Inwards, Amanda Idoko, and Chiara Towne—to spend a week at an Autograph Collection Hotel of their choice. Guests don’t need to follow the festival circuit to view their work. Autograph Collection Hotels has a dedicated digital film channel streaming the latest indie films in its hotels across the U.S.

The Berkeley London Debuts New Pavilion Suites

Internationally renowned interior architect André Fu and his studio AFSO are responsible for the striking new Pavilion Suites at the Berkeley in London. The Pavilion suites—The Crescent Pavilion and The Grand Pavilion—are uniquely encased within glass, affording guests sweeping views overlooking Belgravia, Knightsbridge, and Hyde Park. Some of the largest suites in the city, the Crescent and Grand Pavilion have been designed to feel like a residential home. Guests have access to a full-time Berkeley Butler, culinary service from two-Michelin-starred-chef Marcus Wareing, and 24-hour access to one of the hotel’s top Blue Bar mixologists to create cocktails in the privacy of their own suite. From $21,015.


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