News Recap for October 3, 2013

This week’s news recap includes insight to more changes along New York City’s 57th Street corridor, new hotel launches in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, the launch of new luxury hotel and private residences brand, Clermont, and finally good news for the troubled Hard Rock Hotel San Diego.  Plus, more stories from Los Angeles, Toronto and New York.

Read More News Recap for September 26, 2013

This week’s news recap includes the introduction of Peninsula Hotels’ first residences (in Shanghai), a $40 million penthouse sale at Fairmont Pacific Rim Vancouver, a troubled auction for Trump Toronto,  new project updates for the Cayman Islands, Sarasota, and Regina, Saskatchewan… plus, could Starbucks make the next great hotel brand?

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Enjoy Every Season at these Year-Round Mountain Resorts

Entirely different from their snow-covered winter selves, mountain retreats are often at their most glorious in the summertime. The clean air and stunning vistas create a serene retreat that helps man reconnect with nature. Reknowned as winter wonderlands, these three mountain destinations offer adventure and relaxation all year round, with some of the finest luxury hotel residences available for sale west of the Mississippi.

“Ski all winter, play all summer!”  That is the motto at Montage Residences Deer Valley, where they feature more than 30 creative activities for warm weather fun. Visitors and residents alike can explore the surrounding terrain and take in the dramatic Wasatch Mountain Range or enjoy guided hiking tours, horseback riding, river rafting or fly-fishing.  Residents and guests can make reservations and have the on-site activity professionals at Compass Sports make sure they are equipped with the latest gear and equipment.

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Design & Style: Rougemont Interiors Takes Chalet Chic To the Next Level

On a recent visit to the Swiss snow paradise of Gstaad, founder Dan August Cordeiro caught up with interior designer Pascale Mangiardi-Heuberger of Rougemont Interiors to talk about design trends and what the wealthy are looking for in their mountain and country retreats.

Dan August: Pascale, you grew up here in Switzerland. How did you get interested in interior design?

Pascale: I always loved creating a feeling of home, and living in different locations has helped me to articulate what creates makes a home special. While I am originally from Switzerland, I studied interiors in the bustle of New York City and also enjoyed the estates of Greenwich [Connecticut] and the Hamptons [on Long Island]. Learning how to adapt and make each home your own – whether a mountain chalet, a city apartment or a traditional cottage – is what I try to achieve.

Dan August: You have a lovely shop here in Gstaad called “MOODS” by Rougemont Interiors. What are your clients looking for in their mountain homes?

Pascale: Every client is unique, and I try to first understand who they are and how they live. Sometimes that is complicated when multiple generations of the same family all have a say in the decision making, as is often the case when a chalet or apartment has been passed down through the family. But generally I can say that many of my clients are looking to create an overall ambience for their chalets which embody the holiday home spirit. This must be a comfortable and relaxing place for the owner.

Dan August: And how to you create this ambience?

Pascale: Generally, we look to help our clients slow down, and to do this we mix different textures to create an interesting visual effect. For example, in many of the older chalets, there is often a great deal of beautiful antiqued wood. We like to contrast this with metals like chrome or dark brass which reflect these details and capture light in an interesting way. This helps to inspire the imagination of the residents and make them pause – after all, that is what holiday homes are for!

Dan August: You mention contrast, but you also seem to work in neutral tones.

Pascale: It’s true, neutral tones are inherently more comfortable and are thus more suited to holiday homes. Warmer neutral colors help to keep modern design feeling human. Sometimes my clients come to me wanting to create an ultra-modern concrete and glass box, but generally they are much happier when we integrate a lighter palette and natural materials.

Dan August: Which other colors are you using right now?

Pascale: As in fashion, in the world of interiors we also have colors and materials “à la mode.” So currently I am really fond of aqua and the turquoise family for objects d’art, pillows and accent pieces. They look great in different times of day and in both natural and interior lighting.

Dan August: You are quite multi-faceted, having both a design studio and a retail shop. What else are you up to?

Pascale: We are really relationship focused, and most of our clients are or become personal friends or acquaintances. We may do a family chalet in the Alps and then also renovate their house in Provence or update their city apartment. Accordingly, sometimes we are involved in styling one room, or involved in a top-to-bottom renovation. We work closely with the architects, engineers, contractors and planners to make sure things go smoothly during any major project. In addition to the shop, we also do a fair amount of custom upholstery and searches for those unique design pieces that become focal points and inspire the rest of the design work.

Dan August: What will be your next move?

Pascale: Maybe I feel this way because of springtime, but I adore gardens! While we often get involved in the furnishings for terraces and pools, I am more and more interested in landscape design. For many country houses, the outdoor space is the primary living area for much of the year, so I am looking to help the same ambience inside extend out into the landscape.

Dan August: Thanks so much for speaking with Last question – if you could own an apartment at any hotel in the world, which would it be?

Pascale: That is a tricky one. Perhaps the new Alpina Hotel in Gstaad. It has all the hallmarks of Alpine style, but incorporates some of the best elements from the American west, with huge stone fireplaces. And I could use their outdoor terrace as my living room!

These Incredible Outdoor Fire Pits Will Bring Out Your Inner Caveman

For around two million years, fire has been bringing mankind out of our caves and into a social setting to warm up, share stories, and enjoy food and drink. Thus, it is no surprise that new hotels and residences are wooing buyers with their dramatic outdoor fire pits that appeal to our inner caveman.

In Colorado, owners at the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton Vail can gather together around its stone-walled fire pit to warm up in the cool mountain air for marshmallow-roasting, sing-alongs, or stargazing. And if the mood is right, residents can hop in the nearby hot tub or retreat to one of the oversized private residences, ranging from two- to five-bedrooms and priced from US$2.34 million.

For beach lovers who have enjoyed the sun all day, the Residences at the W Fort Lauderdale can enjoy cool evenings around its fire pit with spectacular ocean views. Only steps from the white sandy beach and the W’s two distinct pool areas – one with an active scene and the other a tranquil oasis – residents may be inclined in one of the lavish cocktails served to a distinctive DJ. After all, the hotel was rated the #1 trendiest in the US by Trip Advisor. For those cavemen that prefer a sea view, pricing starts at US$975,000.

However, one of the most spectacular outdoor fire pits we can find is located on the après-ski terrace at The Residences at the St. Regis Deer Valley. It features a 40-foot long “garden of fire”, where large boulders radiate warm heat while tired skiers soak up the 180-degree mountain panorama. Given the extensive services such as an attentive ski valet, owners will never worry about forgetting their skis and poles while partying into the night. And with homes up to 3600 square feet available, the after-party may move to your suite.

Whether in a large group sharing tall tales or a couple sharing an intimate moment, the glow of an outdoor fire pit can warm the soul. And despite all the trappings of luxurious modern conveniences, our inner caveman will still enjoy an evening by the fire before retiring to his luxurious five-star cave.

Earth Day Special: Branded Homes with Eco-Friendly Features

In celebration of Earth Day, is taking a look at those hotel-branded residences that are not only leading the way in luxury, but also in environmental preservation.

Some developers sacrifice everything to create exclusive luxury environments with exotic finishes and extravagant services. These three top developments prove that luxury hotel residences and environmentally-sustainable methods are not mutually exclusive.

The Residences at Sugar Beach is a Viceroy-branded resort and residential development on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, designed to provide an experience defined as “barefoot chic by the shore.” This mentality extends from a down-to-earth approach to five-star services through to its environmental ethos. Indeed, it may have been difficult to ignore caring for the environment given its spectacular setting in a rainforest with volcanic mounts above a pristine beach, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.

The design of the Residences at Sugar Beach is distinctly West Indian and many local materials have been used in the construction to minimize energy for long-distance transportation. Other methods to reduce waste on the property include re-using “graywater” for landscaping irrigation, and composting food waste for use as fertilizer. Set in a lush garden environment, each of the residences feature terraces with dramatic sea and mountain views and their own infinity pools. Pricing for the villas ranges from US$2.4 million to over $9 million.

Meanwhile in the Rocky Mountains, the Montage Residences Deer Valley is slated to become the first silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified hotel/residential development in the state of Utah. Several measures are being taken to ensure that the construction is done with care for the environment, including nearly half of the materials being recycled or sourced from within 500 miles of the site. This luxury ski-in, ski-out resort even features its own Director of Sustainability to coordinate all of the initiatives in operation, including comprehensive waste, paper, and energy reduction programs. Available residences range from an oversized two-bedroom apartment for US$2.995 million to a 4864-square foot four-bedroom penthouse for US$8.675 million.

Down in the Southern Hemisphere, the Four Seasons Private Residences, Anahita, bring eco-luxury to the Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius. The 45 villas are set in lush gardens with sea, mangrove or golf course views and two to six bedrooms each. The structures have been designed to maximize both natural light and cooling sea breezes. Special care has been taken to source local materials, while reducing waste through reusing graywater for irrigation and compost as fertilizer. Remaining villas for sale range from 207 to 610 square meters (2228 to 6566 square feet) in size.

For some, a luxury residence with the stamp and service of a major hotel brand is not enough. Being able to sleep easy knowing that your beach hideaway or mountain lodge is respectful to its surroundings and will help keep them pristine goes a long way to completing the full luxury package.

An Optimistic 2013 Ahead for Andermatt

As part of “Mega-Project” week, has the following update on one of the most ambitious real estate developments in western Europe, the massive redevelopment of Andermatt, Switzerland.

Nestled in the Swiss Alps just an hour south of Zurich and two hours from Milan, the village of Andermatt occupies an enviable position at the foot of some of the country’s best snow-packed ski trails. Dating back to the neolithic period, the village today has an official population of just 1300, but is slated for major growth through an extensive investment of nearly one billion Swiss Francs by Orascom Development Holding led by its largest shareholder, Samih Sawiris.

Upon completion, the development is slated to include six hotels, 500 apartments, 30 villas, an 18-hole golf course, an expansion and upgrade of the ski facilities and extensive leisure and entertainment offerings. The project’s design has incorporated various environmentally-minded elements, starting with the exclusion of cars from the new village areas, as well as an entirely renewable energy sources and low-waste construction processes. Since breaking ground in 2009, work has commenced on overall site infrastructure, initial residential buildings, the golf course, and the new five-star hotel known as The Chedi Andermatt.

Managed by Singapore-based GHM Hotels, this will be the fourth Chedi-branded hotel to be opened by GHM, with other properties operating in Muscat, Oman, Chiang Mai, Thailand and Bali, Indonesia, and future openings planned in Morocco, India, Japan, China and the United Arab Emirates. Scheduled to open for guests in December 2013, The Chedi offers 64 condominiums, 42 apartment residences, 6 maisonette penthouses and 7 lofts for sale to private individuals. The variety of homes available includes hotel suites that can be rented by the hotel when the owners are not in residence, as well as private residences that can be used by the owners year-round. Particularly important for properties in Switzerland, the development is exempt from the country’s Lex Koller laws, allowing for purchases by non-Swiss residents.

Eyes are now turning to the development’s second phase, which includes a new Radisson Blu Hotel and Convention Center. This four star hotel will comprise 265 hotel rooms, a restaurant, bars and lounges, a spa and beauty area, a leisure and reading area, internet access and satellite TV, storage space for sports equipment, a children’s play area, 24-hour room service, a concierge service, and valet parking. The hotel’s studio to two-bedroom suites are now available for purchase as freehold apartments. Owners can utilize their unit up to 30 days per year, and receive around half of the net rental income when not in residence.

The Andermatt redevelopment has not been without its challenges, however. The ongoing European financial crisis and the strong Swiss Franc have been challenges to sales and financing. As reported by NZZ in March, the project has recently undergone a restructuring with Mr. Sawiris acquiring a majority stake from Orascom and committing to inject an additional 150 million Swiss Francs through 2017. But as the vision of Andermatt starts to become a reality in 2013, we share Mr. Sawiris’ optimism and look forward to toasting with the new homeowners at The Chedi by year’s end.

Let the Ski Valet Take the Hassle Out of Skiing at These 3 Rocky Mountain Resorts

There is nothing better than standing atop a snow-covered mountain on a beautiful sunny day, knowing that you can ski directly into your slope-side villa or lodge. And there are few things more aggravating than digging skis, boots, poles and your Gucci ski goggles out of some inconvenient basement storage locker while your children complain about wearing last season’s Montcler jacket.

For those of us wanting to enjoy the slopes without the hassle of fussing with ski gear, thank goodness for the invention of the ski valet! This highly coveted service is becoming ever more common at five-star resorts that benefit from the rarified access of ski-in/ski-out ability.

With a simple phone call from your residence, the ski valet with not only retrieve your skis and prep them for a day on the slopes, but will also place your boots within warmers and meet you at your doorstep. You simply click in and go. When you are done for the day, some resorts greet you with warm cookies and hot chocolate, while others cater to your specific tastes and preferences.

These top projects offer luxury residences for sale complete with ski valet services and more:

1. The Residences at the St. Regis Resort Deer Valley not only promises a ski valet that meets you slope-side with all your equipment, but also has plans to delivered warmed-up boots, and will meet you when you have finished for the day to collect your equipment. Given the resort’s hot après-ski scene – including an Alpine ski beach, heated stone terrace, swimming pool and hot tubs – be grateful that your gear will be safe and sound while you go from slope-side to pool-side.

2. At the Residences at Viceroy Snowmass, the ski concierge team is as well as well versed in snowboards as skis, and is fully prepared to tackle waxing, repairs, storage and rentals – and that is not all. Forgot your lip sunblock? They have it covered. Latest weather tips? They know where the powder is best and the sun is shining. Need a transfer to meet friends in Aspen? Viceroy’s ski concierge team is there to make your ski day effortless.

3. At the Ritz Carlton Residences Vail, owners are not just afforded a ski valet but a full clubhouse known as Arrabelle. Its offerings are as tempting as the slopes themselves, with luxurious locker rooms, hot tubs, sauna and steam, a rooftop pool, year-round storage in designated lockers, and complimentary continental breakfast for those early risers.

Monty the Bernese Mountain Dog Welcomes Buyers to Montage Residences Deer Valley

Get more pictures and information from the Montage Deer Valley Facebook Page

Get more pictures and information from the Montage Deer Valley Facebook Page

Hotels are long known for warm welcomes, but buyers at the Montage Residences Deer Valley will be greeted by Monty, the Bernese mountain dog that serves as the “canine ambassador.” While licks from man’s best friend may not suit all tastes, the property itself is undeniably remarkable.

At 8,300 feet, the Montage Residences Deer Valley is located at one of the highest points in Park City, Utah with commanding views of both the ski slopes and the valley. It is perfectly situated, slope-side, in Empire Pass – Deer Valley’s latest desirable enclave. Occupying the top floors above the new Montage hotel, buyers have the option of fully-furnished residences on floors eight and nine or unfurnished homes on floors ten through thirteen. Select furnished residences provide the option of a “lock-off” bedroom that can be rented out through the hotel, providing flexibility for last minute houseguests, or to generate income and offset the costs of irresistible room service or spa treatments!

The services and amenities are tempting, including a fitness center with yoga room, 35,000 square foot spa with a heated indoor swimming pool, a year-round outdoor heated pool, multiple outdoor hot tubs, a private residential lounge with dedicated concierge, bellmen, housekeeping, and plenty of cafes, restaurants and specialty shops.

But most residents will come for the skiing, and the services for the sports enthusiasts will not disappoint. Owners have access to Compass Sports, providing year-round valet service and storage of sporting equipment including skis and mountain bikes. Also on-property is Paintbox, an activities-based program for children in half- or full-day sessions.

With 23 residences closed, the property is now 28% sold. Ed Rehill, Sales Director  for Montage Residences Deer Valley, recently stated the property was “bringing in a lot of new buyers to Park City who otherwise would not have come. They would have gone to Aspen or Vail or somewhere else.” That is not surprising given the unique location and amenities as well as current incentives including season ski passes, pre-paid Montage Resort credit and benefits with Sentient Jets.

Currently available residences start at US$2.995 million for a furnished two-bedroom to over US$8 million for a top floor four-bedroom penthouse, and are now ready for occupancy.

Montage Residences Deer Valley

Montage sales top $88M

Mountain News: Canary chirps but none too loudly