by Loren Edelstein | October 11, 2017
"I think this is a great moment for independent hotels," said Nicole Trottier, director of group sales, Southeast U.S., for Leading Hotels of the World Ltd., during IMEX America Tuesday in Las Vegas. In a consolidating marketplace, she noted, "People are looking for different experiences." In its continuing effort to capitalize on that desire, the fast-growing global consortium has added eight new members this year to its collection of more than 375 independent luxury hotels.
Added Trottier, "So much of what is going on in the hotel market is real-estate driven. But that's not the case for the Leading Hotels. So many of our hotels are family-owned, and the owners are not looking to turn them around; they're like a treasure. I think that's important."
In announcing LHW's new members in a statement this summer, Deniz Omurgonulsen, vice president of membership, said, "We are delighted to welcome these celebrated new members to the Leading Hotels of the World. Our guests are in search of quality and distinctiveness when staying with us, and these global properties deliver both seamlessly. With the exciting new additions, our travelers can stay in a Venetian palace on the Grand Canal, a shikumen-lanes home in Shanghai, a historic mansion in Montreal or St. Petersburg, or the fifth tallest high-rise in the world in Seoul." 
Following are the newest LHW members:
• The 90-room Le Mount Stephen in Montreal opened this past May in the Golden Square Mile. The property's entrance and dining venues are in the George Stephen House, a mansion built by Lord G. Stephen, the first president of the Canadian Pacific Railway. All guest rooms and sky-loft suites feature floor-to-ceiling windows.
• The 102-room Bürgenstock Hotel and Alpine Spa opened open in September in Obbuergen, Switzerland, and features views of Lake Lucerne and the Alps. The contemporary property is part of the Bürgenstock Resort; amenities include a spa, a healthy-living center, 12 restaurants, numerous boutiques and a nine-hole golf course. 
• On the Greek island of Zakynthos, the 65 guest rooms at the Lesante Blu Exclusive Beach Resort, which opened this past May, all face the Ionian Sea. The adults-only property features private pools, state-of-the-art suites, two restaurants and two bars. The Essence Spa offers Germain de Cappucini treatments. Helicopter transfer is available to the resort.
• In a 16th-century villa, the 18-room Palazzo Venart Luxury Hotel in Venice, Italy, began welcoming guests in August 2016 after being closed for nearly 50 years. Original features, including Renaissance frescoes and marble fireplaces, have been restored by local specialists and are complemented by antiques and custom furnishings. Award-winning chef Enrico Bartolini created the property's Glam Restaurant, which serves classic Venetian fare.
• Set on a private cove, the 162-room Gran Meliá de Mar on Mallorca in Spain is also an adults-only resort. All guest rooms have balconies and views overlooking the sea. Fine dining featuring Majorcan cuisine is available at four restaurants, and a Luxury Spa by Clarins offers the latest treatments. 
• The 150-room Lotte Hotel St. Petersburg in Russia is on St. Isaac's Square with a view of the city's cathedral, the Moika River and the Blue Bridge, and is within walking distance of the Hermitage Museum, Nevsky Prospect and Mariinsky Theatre. The hotel opened this past July in a mansion that was built for Maria Yakunchikova, a Russian painter and graphic artist. John Quincy Adams, the first U.S. ambassador to Russia and the sixth U.S. President, lived in the house from 1810 to 1811. On-site are the Lounge restaurant and the Japanese Megumi restaurant, as well as two banquet halls and a Balinese Mandara Spa.
• In the cultural preservation zone called the Xuhui District, the Capella Shanghai, Jian Ye Li, opened in September following a restoration and conversion project. The zone comprises lanes of more than 200 two-story houses dating back to the 1930s. The buildings blend traditional Shanghainese and French architectural styles. The hotel has 55 three-level villas and is home to three-Michelin-star chef Pierre Gagnaire's only restaurant in Mainland China, Le Comptoir, which is run by the chef's protégé, Romain Chapel. 
• The 235-room Signiel Seoul opened this past April in the South Korean capital's Gangnam area. Part of the Lotte World Tower, the fifth tallest high-rise in the world, the hotel's guest rooms offer skyline views in a setting that combines classic and contemporary design. Bar 81 serves selections from what is said to be the largest champagne collection in Korea. An Evian spa, a fitness center and a swimming pool are among the on-site amenities.
In other LHW news, the 81-room Hôtel Barrière Le Fouquet's in Paris reopened this past July following a six-month renovation. Fouquet's famed brasserie on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées once again is dishing out chef Pierre Gagnaire's bistro cuisine.