Saudi Arabia will soon be home to the largest hotel in the world, Abraj Kudai, Arabian Business reported yesterday. Set to be completed in 2017, the luxury hotel, designed by architectural firm Dar Al Handasah will house 10,000 rooms in 12 separate towers. Luxury hotels are nothing if not for their amenities, and this one will feature 70 restaurants, a shopping mall, rooftop helipads, and a full-size convention center. The 3.5 billion dollar site is not-so-coincidentally located 2 kilometers away from Mecca’s holy mosque, Masjid al-Haram, and parts of the complex will be dedicated to Hajj visitors.
The artist rendering of Abraj Kudai (pictured above) shows how its design is meant to depict a “traditional desert fortress.” The center dome will soon be one of the largest in the world (but who’s keeping track?), and of the towers that surround it, 10 will have certified four-star accommodations and two will be five-star, catering to the elite of the elite. So far, its pastel hues and literal towering height make it a very plausible setting for a Grand Budapest Hotel sequel set in the Middle East. Although instead of a funicular, there are car parks and a bus stop.
When it opens, the luxury hotel will upstage the MGM Grand in Las Vegas as the largest hotel in the world, which has a little over 6,100 rooms.
Unexpectedly grand entry, with big lobby and mezzanine, connected by glass staircase spiraling around a fat column of tropical fish swimming to the beat of live music (JK, fish have no rhythm). Upstairs, find stylish rooms finished with marble and granite. Lush linens, iHome entertainment system, mix of Jacuzzis and Swiss rainfall showers. Bathroom TVs, because you’re classy like that.
Petit Trianon to the Versailles that is Wall Street. Chic-sleep Thompson crew does another stylish stunner, fully exorcising Holiday Inn ghosts and wallpapers. Private library, champagne bar, Slim Aarons photographs. Sferra linens, Frette robes, Dean & Deluca stocks your mini bar. Continental ‘40s and ‘50s vibe more mod-rustic than anally modern. Live out your Gilded Age fantasies within easy stumbling distance of Jeremy’s.
Ian Schrager is gone, but remaining are the tapestries, velvet, extravagant chandeliers, and impossible air of romance. Contemporary art collection is staggering. Hallways and rooms are low lit and mysterious. The rooftop Gramercy Terrace is a charmer, and downstairs the lavish, candlelit twin bars Rose and Jade are still a major nightlife draw.
Hilton alights in the Garment District, calls it the Fashion District. Nods to F.I.T. proximity with “woven” floor patterns, front desk inspired by cutting room tables. Plum location just half a block from studios of Martha Stewart and Tyra Banks. Posh rooms come with Frette bedding, pillow top mattresses, LG flatscreens. RARE View up on the roof, in case you’re seeking additional perspective, fashion-friendly mingling.
Wins points for location near nightlife-heavy LES and shop-heavy Soho. Competent temporary crash site for dazed-looking Chinese businessmen and Bowery Ballroom-bound rockers on budget-conscious indie labels. Don’t come for amenities, come for a bed to stumble on to.
A truly internationalist affair, Mexican architect Enrique Norten’s metal mesh facade nods to the area’s industrial heritage, while French designer Arnaud Montigny (noted for his work on Paris’ Colette boutique) has given the rooms an almost rustic Japanese feel, complete with platform beds. For romantics, some even feature fireplaces and soaking tubs. But the Carlos Couturier and the Micha brothers don’t want you to get too much sleep: Americano flaunts the La Piscine rooftop restaurant, with pool and cabanas, an eponymous French brasserie, and a sexy basement lounge, El Privado.