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Marriott’s new safari camp, Barbie’s Malibu DreamHouse and other hotel news you missed

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It’s summer, which means people are headed to the beach, to their favorite city destinations and to every type of hotel on the way and in between.

Like always, we’re constantly trying to provide you with the most up-to-date hotel news, including the latest on the lawsuit regarding Marriott and “junk fees,” Marriott launching its 32nd brand and the top destinations Hilton Honors members are traveling to this summer.

In between those big stories, some hotel news gets bookmarked to share in this monthly news roundup so you can feel informed and knowledgeable about what’s happening in the hotel space. From new hotel openings to one-of-a-kind suites, here are some of the most exciting hotel updates you might have missed in June.

Move over Barbie — Ken’s taking over the Malibu DreamHouse


Airbnb is well known for its over-the-top, once-in-a-lifetime pop-up stays — and now Barbie’s Malibu DreamHouse is back. This time, it’s been totally revamped with Ken playing the role of host.

To celebrate the July 21 premiere of the new “Barbie” movie, two lucky guests will get the chance to spend the night in the pink pad. It’ll be complete with Ken’s wardrobe, a dance floor with a disco ball, a pool with a waterslide, and even yellow-and-pink rollerskates and surfboards.

The chance to book happens July 17 at 10 a.m. PDT at the house’s dedicated website.

Dolly Parton’s opening a new hotel — and reservations are now open


Here at TPG, we’re big fans of Dollywood, whether we’re visiting the theme parks or spending the night on Dolly’s retired tour bus. While the park and its DreamMore resort are practically perfect, it’s all about to get better: HeartSong Lodge & Resort, an all-new place to stay, will open in the Smoky Mountains.

Set to open to guests Nov. 23, the new resort will feature 302 rooms, including rooms with bunk beds and fun themes. The property will also offer a full-service restaurant, indoor and outdoor pools, priority access and free transportation to Dolly’s parks, and Dollywood TimeSaver passes to skip the lines.

You can reserve a room now — and you know we’ll be there when it opens to share the experience. If it’s half as good as DreamMore and Dollywood, you know it’ll be perfect. Until then, check out what Dolly herself recently shared with TPG about the future of her “Tennessee Mountain Home.”

JW Marriott’s heading on a Tanzanian safari

Marriott Bonvoy loyalists who have been dreaming of a points-based safari better save some dates in 2026. That’s when an all-new JW Marriott is set to open in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. Right now, the details of the camp are light (and there are no renderings yet), but we know that it will feature 30 private suites, including two presidential suites, all with private pools.

This isn’t JW Marriott’s first foray into safari lodges. Marriott recently opened the JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge in Kenya, where you can book award nights starting at 77,500 points.

Related: How to choose a sustainable African safari

This NYC Pride-themed hotel suite is sticking around until September

Pride month may have come to an end, but travelers to New York City can still experience a suite-turned-art gallery at the Innside by Melia New York Nomad.

In collaboration with the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art — a space dedicated to LGBTQI+ artists — artist Tura Oliveira transformed a suite into an out-of-this-world, science fiction-themed suite centered around “queer futurity.” Oliveira painted murals, dyed textiles and curated books, furniture and other interesting objects to bring the space to life. (Not to mention, the suite has a massive deck with beautiful views of the Uptown skyline.)

Rates for the suite — which is available through Sept. 23 — start at $399 per night and come with tickets to the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art.

A new designer hotel is finally open in Rome


There’s no place like Rome, the Eternal City — and few cities have such a booming hotel scene.

The city recently celebrated the opening of Bulgari Hotel Roma. The hotel, in Campo Marzio near the Tiber, has 114 rooms and suites in a 1940s building that has been updated and restored. The hotel, part of Marriott, has a Bulgari Spa, an indoor swimming pool, Italy’s first Bulgari sweets shop, a rooftop terrace bar with breathtaking views of the city and the brand’s signature restaurant, Il Ristorante — Niko Romito.

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