From Miami to Madrid and Boston to Beijing, cities around the world are running out of space. As populations grow and available real estate shrinks, developers more and more are being forced to adopt a vertical instead of horizontal mindset. This is especially evident in the hospitality sector, where urban hoteliers increasingly are leasing out floors within towering skyscrapers instead of building their own low- or mid-rise hotels.
The latest example: British hotelier InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), which last week announced plans to open a new Voco hotel in Melbourne, Australia. Scheduled to debut in July 2020, the hotel -- Voco Melbourne Central -- will reside in "380 Melbourne," a new development comprising two 67-story towers that will reach a total height of 714 feet. The towers -- whose façades appear as a "cascade of silver ripples," according to developer Brady Group -- will include 728 luxury apartments, ground-floor retail, a game room, a rooftop garden, a 25-meter heated pool and spa, private dining rooms, a gym, a yoga room, a movie theater with a bar, and a karaoke room.
The hotel will have 252 guest rooms, a seventh-floor sky lobby, a pool, a gym, a restaurant and bar and an unspecified amount of meeting space.
"Voco is inspired by the Latin for 'come together,' so we are excited to introduce a place for Melbournians, Australians and guests from around the world to do just that," said Abhijay Sandilya, IHG's senior director of development for Australasia.
Added Brady Group Managing Director Tony Brady, "Melbourne is famous for its distinctive, individual character and standing out from the crowd. 380 Melbourne is Brady Group's largest project to date and will be an icon on the Melbourne skyline, so we knew we needed a distinctive brand like Voco to complement its high-end residential and retail. The Melbourne tourism market continues to have a strong outlook and we think that Voco, powered by the global IHG engine, will give business and leisure guests a reliably different way to stay in the heart of the city."
IHG launched the upscale Voco brand in June; Voco hotels, it said, will "combine the informality and charm of an individual hotel with the quality and reassurance of a global and respected brand." Properties will showcase "a bold, distinctive identity, informal service style and thoughtful touches," with three specific features in each Voco hotel: a "Come On In" welcome experience that includes fast check-in with a locally-inspired welcome treat; "Me Time" guest rooms that encourage guests to take a moment for themselves with amenities like plush bedding, rejuvenating aerated showers and internet-connected smart TVs; and "Voco Life" bar and lounge spaces that infuse Voco hotels with a sociable vibe.
IHG plans to open more than 200 Voco hotels around the world over the next 10 years.
Four More Sky-Scraping Hotels for High-Altitude Groups
Voco Melbourne Central isn't the only new hotel that takes guests to new heights. Here are four others that have either recently opened or are coming soon:
• InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown (Los Angeles): The InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown is celebrating its first birthday this month. Located in downtown Los Angeles' historic financial and arts district, it's part of the of the $1-billion Wilshire Grand Center, an 1,100-foot-tall skyscraper that is the tallest building not only in Los Angeles, but west of Chicago. The 73-story building has offices and meeting rooms on its lower floors, bars and restaurants on its uppermost floors, and the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown in between. The hotel -- which occupies floors 31 through 70 -- has a 70th-floor sky lobby, 889 guest rooms and 95,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including 33 meeting rooms and a 21,000-square-foot grand ballroom.
• Waldorf Astoria Bangkok (Bangkok, Thailand): Hilton's storied Waldorf Astoria brand made its Southwest Asia debut in August with the brand-new Waldorf Astoria Bangkok in Bangkok, Thailand. Located inside Magnolias Ratchadamri Boulevard -- a mixed-use high-rise that has 60 stories spanning 794 vertical feet -- it boasts 171 guest rooms, two bars, three restaurants, a lounge and an 8,000-square-foot ballroom for up to 700 guests on the 10th floor. The tower, whose design was inspired by the magnolia flower, also includes office suites and 316 luxury residential units whose occupants enjoy access to an onsite swimming pool, children's pool, Jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, fitness center, business center, residents' lounge, library, jogging track and garden.
• Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center (Philadelphia): The next few years will see the ascension of even more skyscraper-hotels. One of them will be Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center, opening in mid-2019 in Center City Philadelphia. Located atop the 60-story Comcast Technology Center -- the tallest American building outside of New York or Chicago -- the hotel will be the highest hotel in the country. Occupying the tower's upper floors, it will have a sky lobby on the 59th and 60th floors; 219 guest rooms; four restaurants, including a fine-dining restaurant by restaurateur Jean-Georges Vongerichten; a 57th-floor spa with a fitness center and infinity pool; and 15,602 square feet of meeting space, including two ballrooms. Below the hotel will be offices for cable company Comcast, a cafeteria and an earthy lobby with live trees growing inside it.
• Rosemont Hotel and Residences Dubai (Dubai, UAE): Also coming in 2019 is the Rosemont Hotel and Residences Dubai in Dubai's Al Barsha Heights district. Part of Hilton's Curio Collection, the hotel will encompass one of two 53-story towers that will rise from a single shared podium. Designed to resemble a flowing river, the hotel tower will have 448 guest rooms, robotic luggage handlers, a sky pool, a health club, three restaurants and meeting space. Its sibling tower, designed to resemble a shell and pearls, is home to 280 serviced apartments. The five-story podium on which both towers sit will be home to a bowling alley, a trampoline park, a laser tag arena, a sandless beach and a 75,000-square-foot manmade rainforest complete with waterfalls, streams, and a sensory rain system that mimics a rainforest's climate.