There’s a new movement sweeping through hotels: More brands are adding to their portfolios by assuming management of or taking over already-existing boutique hotels. The owner of Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Peabody Memphis, Belz Enterprises, announced plans to form Peabody Hotels & Resorts, with the intention to build out a brand of luxury hotels that resemble the ambiance and elegance of the iconic Memphis hotel. Could these big-brand buyouts mean the end of boutique hotel personality, or will merging these smaller hotels with big brands help boost their boutique image and generate a larger fan following? Time will tell, but for now, we’ve rounded up a few of the brand expansions you can expect to see on your star-rated travels.
It’s not unlike the Donald to take over grand grounds and expansive real estate. His hotel empire already includes palatial properties throughout the U.S. and South America, but his European expansion is what’s turning heads these days. Earlier this year, Trump purchased the luxurious Lodge at Doonbeg, and the resort’s Greg Norman-designed links course, in County Clare, Ireland. Doonbeg Golf Club soon will be renamed Trump International Golf Links, Ireland. The changeover will mark the 12th hotel and 16th golf course in Trump’s hospitality portfolio.
Making Room for Montage
Rounding out the end of 2013, Montage Hotels & Resorts announced it was heading into the East Coast, thanks to the buyout of Inn at Palmetto Bluff, which was effective Feb. 1, 2014. Now called The Inn at Palmetto Bluff, A Montage Resort, the Four-Star South Carolina estate will undergo an expansion, which includes an additional 150 rooms and the addition of Spa Montage and a state-of-the-art fitness center.
Expansion With Grace
The boutique brands are also making a play at expanding their portfolios. Case in point: Grace Hotels, the privately owned luxury boutique hotel group, announced it would acquire The Mayflower Inn and Spa in Washington, Connecticut. Grace Hotels — clearly eyeing New England as a pivotal place to plant roots — also said that Mayflower’s sister hotel, Four-Star The White Barn Inn in Kennebunk, Maine, will become part of its portfolio. The two new hotels will join Vanderbilt Grace in Newport, Rhode Island, to create a trifecta of New England estates for the Grace Hotels group. Under their new management, the hotels will be renamed The Mayflower Grace and The White Barn Grace.
Everything Old Is New Again
Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Old Edwards Inn and Spa is turning a 49-room facility (formerly known as Mountain High Lodge) on Main Street in Highlands, North Carolina, into 200 Main. When the doors open in June 2014, the mountain-chic lodge will have an all-new look and feel, including a renovation of floors, guest rooms, bathrooms and even replacing shutters on windows. Upping its luxury status, the new property will also have a heated outdoor mineral pool, a patio, a redesigned lobby with a fireplace and social area, and exterior enhancements, including a fresh coat of paint and a new tin roof. To help boost its parent company’s eco-friendly status, 200 Main will also incorporate green features and operations such as recycling, eco-conscious bath amenities and radiant heating in floors.
Ocean House Making Waves on Watch Hill
Five-Star Ocean House revealed it would expand to a new property, Watch Hill Inn. Located just steps from each other in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, Ocean House will assume management of Watch Hill Inn and renovate it into an all-suite villa property. The new Watch Hill Inn is scheduled to reopen Memorial Day weekend. Each renovated suite will be outfitted with a custom kitchen, private laundry facilities and high-tech touches (such as in-room iPads and Apple TV). Additionally, guests at Watch Hill Inn will have access to all of the amenities at Ocean House.
Photos Courtesy of Old Edwards Inn And Spa and Mayflower Inn and Spa