FROM nobility to science-fiction royalty, the Wood Norton, a country house hotel on the edge of the riverside town of Evesham and the Cotswolds in Britain, has a pedigree like no other.
Reopened after a £4 million ($6 million) refurbishment, the 50-bedroom hotel has historic suites and bedrooms in the Hall and modern accommodation in the adjacent Stables.
Bought by a Frenchman, Duc d'Aumale, in 1872 and used as a hunting lodge, the estate was passed to his great nephew, the Duc D'Orleans, in 1897. The wedding of Princess Louise of Orleans (grandmother of King Juan Carlos of Spain) and Prince Charles of Bourbon took place there in 1907.
Acquired by the BBC in 1939, it became the largest broadcasting centre in Europe by the beginning of 1940, with about 1300 programs a week. Fast forward to the early 1970s and Wood Norton was used for some of the filming of the Doctor Who serial Spearhead from Space, starring Jon Pertwee, and later for the series Robot, starring Tom Baker. Photographic memorabilia is displayed in the hotel.
Rooms in the Stables cost from £85 a night. Hall suites are from £235 a night. See www.thewoodnorton.com.
Melbourne city hub
STRIKING out from its Hong Kong base, the Ovolo Group has opened its first overseas hotel in Melbourne's Little Bourke Street.
The 43-room boutique accommodation comprises studio apartments and luxury penthouses with private terraces, pinball machines and boxing bags. Chalkboard walls and shaving mirrors in the showers are added quirks.
It's 100 metres to Parliament House and Fitzroy Gardens beyond and a short walk to restaurants including Longrain and Gingerboy and other treats in Chinatown.
Above all, Room Service likes the idea that wi-fi, mini-bar and breakfast-to-go — with pastries, fruit and tea and coffee — is included in the rate.
Ovolo's hotels in Hong Kong include Central, Aberdeen and West Kowloon.
Studios cost from $195 a night. See ovologroup.com.
Bed, bath and ironbark
EXPOSED brick walls and a seven-storey light-well will feature in an 8Hotels site at Pyrmont, in what the boutique operator says will be the most unique and contemporary in its collection.
Due to open in March 2013, the $30 million, 90-room hotel 1888, built in that year, and used for wool storage and more recently offices, will also include polished concrete, steel, bronze and marble in the fitout.
Ironbark found on the site will be used in the lobby and in room shelving.
The hotel, at 139 Murray Street, will also house a 60-seat bar-restaurant and conference facilities. Also in the 8Hotels stable are Diamant in Potts Point and the Altamont in Darlinghurst.
From $200 a night. See 8hotels.com.
Thai-style family affair
KRISSADA Sukosol Clapp's curriculum vitae includes membership of Thai pop band Pru (favourite band in the 2002 MTV Asia Music Awards) and actor in The Adventure of Iron Pussy and Bangkok Loco.
He's also creative director of Sukosol Hotels in Thailand.
The latest move of the family-owned hotel group, which includes boutique digs The Siam, on the banks of Chao Phraya River, is last month's relaunch of The Sukosol in Bangkok after a 70-million baht ($2.19 million) renovation.
A rooftop pool, fitness centre and garden retreat services 470 rooms and suites in the hotel. Restaurants include local, Cantonese, French and Japanese fine dining.
A marble sculpture in the lobby depicting the achievements of Thailand's great kings is one of a number of artefacts in the traditionally Thai-styled hotel.
The hotel is next to the Phaya Thai Skytrain Station and is two stops from shopping at Siam Square, Central World, Paragon and MBK. Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport is 30 minutes away on the Airport Rail Link Phaya Thai Station.
Rooms cost from $US231 a night.
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