The pandemic may have slowed and shut the hospitality industry down, but the world’s largest independent hotel brand, Preferred Hotels & Resorts, has been busy upgrading some of its best-known properties behind closed doors. These include all-new spa offerings in Spain and Switzerland, new guestroom launches in St. Andrews in Scotland and London, and a variety of new F&B and event space renovations, scaling up facilities and services to meet the new interests and ambitions of travellers planning trips in the coming months.
“We’re thrilled that these member properties in Europe have taken the initiative to invest and reimagine aspects of the guest experience during a time of low or non-existent occupancy,” said Brenda Collin, Executive Vice President of Europe. As we prepare for an imminent travel rebound and a brighter future for the hospitality industry, luxury independent properties like these are leading the way to offer guests even more memorable experiences when they are able to travel again.”
Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa (St Andrews, Scotland): Located in picturesque St Andrews with views across the Scottish coastline, the historic hotel is home to one of the most iconic golf courses in the world and an award-winning spa. Following an extensive multimillion-dollar refurbishment, the hotel is set to reopen its doors this summer with an additional 31 bedrooms and suites, making the total 175, including a chic new penthouse with its own private balcony featuring cosy seating and a firepit. Additional enhancements include the expansion and refurbishment of various event spaces, using neutral tones to complement plenty of natural light, and the launch of a glass-fronted contemporary restaurant and bar. Offering incredible views across the golf course and West Sands beach from its adjacent terrace, the new restaurant compliments the hotel’s additional six restaurants and bars, offering a range of dining experiences using the finest local Scottish produce.
Hotel Wellington (Madrid, Spain): Located on the corner of Velázquez and Villanueva streets in Salamanca, one of Madrid’s most exclusive neighbourhoods, the hotel is comprised of 250 elegant rooms and suites, and boasts several fine dining restaurants including the Michelin-starred Kabuki, offering a Japanese fusion menu. Following nearly a year of closure, the hotel reopened its doors in January 2021 with a fresh new look and the largest remodeling since it first opened in 1952, costing over $8 million. The most exciting aspect of the refurb is the launch of the luxurious Spa Le Max Wellness Club Wellington, featuring an indoor swimming pool, a whirlpool spa, ice fountain, sensory showers, steam room, sauna, and spacious gym. A range of wellness treatments and fitness activities are on offer including CrossFit, Wattbike cycling, and yoga. Additional refurbishment highlights throughout the wider property include a refresh of the reception and shared guest areas and updates to the equipment and professional appliances used in the restaurant kitchens.
The Beaumont Hotel (London, U.K.): Inspired by the great hotels of the 1920s, the 72-room luxury hotel is set in an Art Deco building on a quiet garden square in Mayfair, close to boutique shops, galleries, and museums. Scheduled to reopen this spring for its exciting new chapter, the hotel has used the time spent closed to work with world-renowned designer Thierry Despont on some long-planned multi-million-pound refreshments. The hotel is launching a large, light-filled, first floor one-bedroom suite with views of Brown Hart Gardens; enlarging the gym with new, state-of-the-art new equipment; and undertaking a soft refurbishment of its lobby, Colony Grill Room and bars, relocating the iconic Magritte Bar, as well as creating a new Library lounge and outdoor dining terrace. Work has also commenced on a two-year project to add a 30-room extension in a beautiful Art Deco-styled warehouse building adjacent to the hotel.
Hotel Waldhaus Sils (Sils-Maria, Switzerland): Perched in the forest high above the Alpine village of Sils-Maria with views across the valley, the historic 140-room retreat has made extensive updates over the past four years including its latest creation of a stunning three-level spa. In 2020 the hotel invested $13 million to finalise the spa centre, designed by Basel architects Miller & Maranta, who have also updated other F&B spaces within the hotel. The prominent Austrian spa specialist, Susanne Kaufmann, also assisted with the launch by creating a range of wellness treatments using her own line of eco-alpine plant products. A temple of tranquility, the spa features a variety of saunas, steam rooms and baths, an outdoor whirlpool, a cold-air grotto, relaxation areas, seven treatment rooms, an extensive gym, a cembra pine pool, and a large heated indoor pool with views across the snow-covered mountains. The spa’s futuristic architecture, featuring crystal glass mosaic tiles, fits harmoniously into the overall design of the hotel and its surroundings, and offers guests the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate following a day of skiing or hiking in the surrounding countryside.
Experience a stay in a historic palace in Florence, donning a fresh new look – Bernini Palace Hotel (Florence, Italy): Set to reopen in May after more than $2 million in refurbishments, the 15th century palace turned luxury boutique hotel features 74 elegant rooms and suites just steps from Piazza della Signoria and the Uffizi Gallery. Over the lockdown Bernini Palace Hotel finalised all of the new updates, which include refreshed guestrooms that align with the authentic and lavish style paramount throughout the property and include all new furniture and furnishings. Additional updates have been made to the plumbing, air-conditioning, and heating systems. The hotel is also set to launch a variety of new exclusive experiences for guests to enjoy this summer including private cocktail masterclasses with the hotel’s head mixologist, a trip to the Tuscan countryside for truffle hunting, and a wine tasting experience, to name a few.
Eight Irish hotels are part of the Preferred group: The Dylan and Fitzwilliam hotels in Dublin; The Europe and Great Southern hotels in Killarney; The K Club and Kilkea Castle in Kildare; Dromoland Castle in Clare and Hayfield Manor in Cork.