3 Epic Makeovers for 2015


For me, 3 legends of hospitality jumped out among the 23 hotels listed by Forbes Travel Guide as the most anticipated renovations of 2015. Even the most jaded of high-end groups will be licking their chops to see:

Ritz Paris

Ernest Hemingway said it best: “When I dream of afterlife in heaven, the action always takes place in the Paris Ritz.”


Founded in 1898 by Cesar Ritz himself, the hotel went on to host some of the most celebrated parties of Paris in the 1920s. Auguste Escoffier practiced his culinary art at the Ritz for 20 years. Cole Porter wrote “Begin the Beguine” there. Coco Chanel, Wallis Simpson, Charlie Chaplin, and countless other cultural icons considered it home as well. Now, following three and a half years of shuttered renovation, the Ritz will unveil the results of its makeover at the end of this year. Epic.

Thierry Despont, the same architect and designer who updated New York’s Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel and London’s Dorchester, heads the design team. You can expect more suites and fewer, larger rooms; a revamped ballroom; a summer garden and lounge; expansions of the spa and Ritz Escoffier cooking school; a new chef, Nicolas Sale, heading Michelin-starred L’Espadon; and the legendary Colin Peter Field back at his Bar Hemingway post.

Eden Roc Miami Beach

This resort should make quite a splash when it relaunches in the second half of the year. By November or December, it will have an über-chic Nobu Hotel onsite.

Hosting the glitterati on a prime stretch of Miami Beach since the 1950s, Eden Roc currently divides its lodgings between the Morris Lapidus–designed Legendary Tower and the ultramodern Ocean Tower. Nobu, operating as a hotel-within-a-hotel, will claim the top floors of the Legendary Tower and contribute two pools, a Nobu restaurant and bar (the world’s largest), additional beachfront dining, and redesigned spaces for meetings and events.

Nobu Hospitality owners Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, actor Robert DeNiro, and movie producer Meir Teper opened their first Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, in 2013—with a great deal of help from designer David Rockwell. For Miami, Rockwell plans a fusion of natural materials and inspiration from Japanese design and the sunny seaside locale.

Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

New ownership by Singapore’s ABR Properties led to a major facelift for the Arizona Biltmore late last year. Smith & Firestone Associates, a California-based design firm, swept in to update the property for today’s elite tastes.


The Phoenix landmark dates from 1929. A student of Frank Lloyd Wright, Albert Chase McArthur, designed it, incorporating Wright’s site-specific philosophy in everything from the construction blocks (molded onsite) to the Arizona-copper roof. While past guest-room renovations tended toward the Southwest mission style, Smith & Firestone brought in clean-lined, architecturally inspired furniture and a lighter, cooler, more subtle color scheme.


It also brought new decor and technology to the meeting rooms and spa, leaving the grand dame of Phoenix decidedly ready for her close-up.



Annette Burden

Annette Burden

Annette Burden has written and edited for Elite Meetings International since 2007. In addition to writing on travel for other publications, she founded and edited Meeting Traveler, Resorts & Great Hotels, and Destination Weddings & Honeymoons magazines.

Leave a Comment