Making their mark from US to Europe

Making their mark from US to Europe
The exclusive Huntington Hotel in San Francisco (above), acquired by Singapore-based Grace International in 2011, will close for a $15 million renovation starting today, and will reopen in May

SAN FRANCISCO - For 66 years, the Huntington Hotel & Nob Hill Spa in San Francisco has been a landmark property, known for its long-standing tradition of high standards, gracious service, and quiet, understated luxury.

Before it became a hotel, the former Huntington Apartments was the first steel and brick high-rise west of the Mississippi.

In keeping with Nob Hill's exclusive ambiance, the building was described as "the last word in luxury … the finest apartment facilities with the most up-to-date hotel service, offering a combination of features never before attempted in the West."

In 2011, the Huntington Hotel was acquired by Singapore-based luxury hotel group Grace International.

Starting today, the beloved Huntington Hotel will close for a $15 million renovation, and will reopen in May.

Renovations at The Huntington Hotel will include enhancements to public spaces, guestrooms and suites, meeting facilities and the Big 4 Restaurant. A modernisation of the hotel's original guest elevators, installed in 1922, will serve as the cornerstone of improvements.

Fong Kah Seng, group chief executive officer of Grace International, says that with the hotel's renovation, he hopes to "hark back to the days when Nob Hill was the coveted place to see and be seen in San Francisco, introducing a new level of grace, prestige and luxury for the discerning, into the illustrious neighbourhood."

Besides Grace International, which owns The Scarlet on Erskine Road, two other Singapore hospitality companies also manage heritage properties overseas.

In Paris, Ascott Limited manages the Citadines Suites Louvre Paris, which opened last March. The property was built in 1908 and features an Art Nouveau facade made from dressed-stone and adorned with balconies, sculptures and colonnades. Ascott spent 5.9 million euros (S$10.2 million) and nine months to transform it into Citadines Suites Louvre Paris, which opened earlier this year with 51 luxurious apartment suites, while preserving the historic building's unique European features.

It also manages another property, the Citadines Suites Arc de Triomphe Paris, which comprises two buildings, one of which was built in the 19th century. The property is currently under refurbishment and will open later this year.

Millennium & Copthorne manages nine properties housed in heritage buildings, spread across the United States, the United Kingdom and France.

In the US it includes the Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles, which opened in 1923. The hotel was where eight Academy Awards banquets were subsequently held in the 1930s, with legends like Clark Gable and Ginger Rogers accepting their awards on the Biltmore stage.

Over in Europe, there are the Millennium Hotel London Mayfair, formerly a magnificent 18th century mansion, and the Millennium Hotel Paris Opera which opened in 1927.

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