Hotels & Resorts
Benefit Inn announced today that the Biltmore Hotel in Miami has joined its network. Benefit Inn is a travel program that gives independent hotel employees, as well as their family and friends, the opportunity to stay at other member properties at employee room rates. Membership in Benefit Inn allows the Biltmore Hotel to increase employee satisfaction and increase revenue by offering rooms to employees of other independent hotels.
The AAA Four Diamond hotel features 275 guest rooms, a Donald Ross-designed 18-hole golf course, 10 lighted tennis courts, the country’s largest hotel pool and private cabanas, the signature Palme d’Or restaurant and the Biltmore Spa.
Sheraton Hotels, in cooperation with Wine Spectator magazine, has announced the global rollout of its signature wine program to 430 hotels around the world. In celebration of the program’s success, Sheraton, Wine Spectator and its valued wine partner Ste. Michelle Wine Estates are hosting a 24-hour “Toast Around the World” at Sheraton hotels and resorts across the globe, including Edinburgh, Mexico City, Bali, Bangalore and New York.
Sheraton also announced the launch of the Sheraton Social Hour Event series, six experiential, premium wine-tasting events across the United States featuring some of the world’s top winemakers. Slated to debut at the Sheraton Chicago in June, the wine series will travel to key cities across the country including Seattle, Boston and Chicago.
Available exclusively through Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI), a new sale is designed to help meeting professionals, association executives, incentive specialists, business executives and organizations save on their 2013 programs. The sale provides one complimentary room for every 30 rooms booked for new business actualized between June 1 and Dec. 31, 2013. The program must have a minimum of a three-night stay and 30 rooms or more on peak night. Member hotels include Four- and Five-Diamond meeting and incentive resorts, city hotels, exclusive smaller hotels, golf resorts, historic and landmark properties, island destinations, resorts with spas, properties in international destinations, and hotels with gaming and entertainment.
Over the weekend, Shangri-La Bosphorus officially opened on the waterfront between the Dolmabahce Palace and the Maritime Museum in Istanbul, Tukey. The property features 186 guest rooms, a spa, a three-story atrium and a bohemian chandelier spanning two stories.
Patrons will be able to witness an incredible history, as the Shangri-La Bosphorus is built on the site of an old tobacco warehouse from the 1930s. A 350-year-old sycamore tree grows in the hotel’s main courtyard.
The property claims to have the most spacious guest rooms in Istanbul, featuring custom artwork, marble bathrooms, heated floors and Bulgari toiletries. Onsite amenities include IST TOO, the hotel’s global cuisine restaurant; Shang Palace, its Chinese cuisine restaurant; and CHI, an eight-suite spa with a traditional Turkish Hammam Jacuzzi.
As part of the recently launched BON Hotels group, Hotel Verde, slated to open this month, sits just outside of Cape Town International Airport and is being dubbed “Africa’s greenest hotel.” Eco-initiatives include solar panels positioned to provide shade as well as power and a sophisticated grey-water recycling plant that will contribute toward a 75 percent reduction of potable water use.
In addition to the architectural systems in place, Hotel Verde will also feature green incentives for guests, such as credit notes and bar tabs for those patrons who utilize towels more than once or don’t use their air conditioning.
Following the completion of a two-year, multimillion-dollar renovation due to the significant damage from Tropical Storm Lee in 2011, the DoubleTree by Hilton Binghamton has reopened its doors. Formerly Binghamton’s Riverwalk Hotel and Conference Center, the DoubleTree by Hilton Binghamton boasts a fresh, modern design highlighted by large picture windows throughout the lobby and public spaces. Serene surroundings provide views from any of the 207 guest rooms. Located just 10 miles from the Greater Binghamton Airport, the DoubleTree by Hilton Binghamton offers 32,000 sq. ft. of conference space, a courtyard and a garden terrace, along with 17 breakout rooms and a state-of-the-art amphitheater that can accommodate up to 50 guests.
This week, the W New York–Union Square hotel unveiled the results of a $15 million renovation. The work includes a redesigned open-space lobby, the W Living Room, with expanded seating areas available for business and social mingling. The hotel also remodeled all 270 guest rooms and suites, as well as its Olives New York restaurant and Lilium nightclub. The hotel has more than 7,000 sq. ft. of conference facilities. The renovation is part of an ongoing $100 million project involving 11 W hotels across North America. businesswire.com
With an average room rate of $823 per night, the St. Regis New York is the most expensive hotel in New York City according to a ranking released by newyorkhotels.org. The survey looked at the cost of a standard double room at all luxury hotels in the city over a one-year period ending April 30. The 10 hotels with the priciest average during that time were:
1. St. Regis New York: $823
2. Mandarin Oriental New York: $814
3. Four Seasons Hotel New York: $765
4. The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park: $764
5. Trump International Hotel & Tower New York: $745
6. The Peninsula New York: $744
7. Crosby Street Hotel: $678
8. Hotel Plaza Athenee New York: $646
9. The Setai Fifth Avenue (now Langham Place Fifth Avenue): $639
10. The Towers of the Waldorf Astoria New York: $635
Rates varied greatly over the course of the year—by more than $400 in the case of the St. Regis hotel. On average, the survey showed prices were lowest in July. hotelnewsresource.com
The Langham Place brand made its North American debut this week, as Langham Hospitality officially assumed management duties at the former Setai Fifth Avenue hotel. The Langham Place Fifth Avenue is the brand’s ninth hotel and its first outside of China, although parent company Langham Hotels International of Hong Kong currently operates properties in Boston and Pasadena, Calif., under another brand. The New York hotel features 214 guest rooms and almost 4,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including a 2,394-square-foot ballroom that can be divided into three sections. Constructed in 2010, the 57-floor building continues to house Ai Fiori, Chef Michael White’s Michelin-starred Italian restaurant. A new lounge, Measure, opened on Tuesday. Future plans include a spa to open in 2014. Langham hotels take their name from The Langham, London, one of the city’s best-known luxury hotels, which opened in 1865. hotelnewsresource.com
Officials in Aurora, Colo., have found a developer to revive a large convention-hotel project that fell by the wayside after Gaylord Entertainment Co. got out of the hotel-development-and-management business last year. Ride Development Corp. of Houston and Area Property Partners of New York—the same partnership responsible for the Marriott Marquis hotel under development in Houston—agreed to step in and take over after nearly a year of searching and negotiations by the Aurora Economic Development Council.
The $824 million project will build a 1.9 million-square-foot complex on land in the Denver suburb’s High Point development south of Denver International Airport, with construction due to begin in late 2014 or early 2015. It would open in 2017 as a Gaylord hotel operated by Marriott International, which purchased the brand in a massive $210 million deal. With 1,500 guest rooms and 400,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, the facility would be roughly comparable to the Gaylord properties that Marriott operates in Kissimmee, Fla.; Grapevine, Texas; and National Harbor, Md.
The Marriott-Gaylord deal threw the development into question just two weeks after the Colorado Economic Development Commission approved it for tax incentives. The former Gaylord Entertainment Co. subsequently reorganized itself as a real-estate investment trust called Ryman Hospitality Partners that continues to own the existing Gaylord properties. Marriott jump-started the Aurora project earlier this year when it expressed an interest in expanding the Gaylord brand, making it easier to secure a developer and financing. denverpost.com
The Turks and Caicos Islands will be the location of the second JW Marriott hotel in the Caribbean. At this week’s Caribbean Hotel and Resort Investment Summit, the brand announced that it intends to build a nine-story, 380-room hotel and casino on Grace Bay on the north coast of Providenciales Island. Marriott International will operate the property under a long-term agreement with a group of regional investors. Plans call for about 14,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. The Caribbean’s first JW Marriott property will open next year in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. prnewswire.com
The Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont, Ill., has found a way to make the ride from the airport to the hotel a bit more productive. The Chicago-area hotel has started putting employees equipped with iPads on its shuttle buses to greet guests, check them in and hand them a key card before they arrive at the hotel, which features 110,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Hyatt Hotels Corp. recently recognized the hotel’s new approach to the check-in process by awarding it the very first CEO’s Award for Innovation, presented by Hyatt President and CEO Mark Hoplamazian. The company will present future awards to teams that find creative ways to improve guest satisfaction. hyattpressroom.com
Hard Rock International announced plans to open a new hotel in Daytona Beach, Fla. The Orlando-based company intends to build a tower with 250 guest rooms and 100 condos on 10 acres of beachfront land currently occupied by various small shops and motels. Building plans also call for 28,000 sq. ft. of ballroom and banquet space. The project still needs to finalize financing and secure the necessary approvals from both the city and Volusia County. It would be the fourth Hard Rock Hotel in Florida, joining properties in Orlando, Tampa and Hollywood. Being developed in collaboration with Bayshore Capital Inc. of Toronto, the project is due for completion in time for the 2016 Daytona 500 NASCAR race. prnewswire.com
Frontier Airlines will become the third U.S. carrier to charge a fee for carry-on bags. The Denver-based airline will charge passengers who want to place a bag in an overhead bin $25 if they pay in advance and $100 if they wait to pay until they’re at the gate. Spirit and Allegiant airlines also charge fees for carry-ons, but unlike those competitors, Frontier will waive the entire fee if customers book their flight through the airline’s website. That means the whole move may primarily be part of Frontier’s efforts to discourage customers from using third-party websites such as Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity, which take a cut from each sale. In addition, Frontier is also following the lead of Spirit and will begin charging $2 for coffee, tea, soda and juice. Passengers will still be able to get free water. huffingtonpost.com
It only took 140 years, but the Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna in Austria opened to the public in March. Designed as a hotel for the 1873 World Exposition, it served as an office building for much of its history and never operated as originally intended until now. Kempinski Hotels spent more than two years renovating the historic property, which features 152 guest rooms, a 3,020-square-foot ballroom and six additional meeting rooms.
Inspired by American psychologist Abraham Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs” theory, The Maslow Hotel in South Africa is geared toward accommodating the needs of business travelers. Sun International opened the 281-room hotel in January in the Johannesburg suburb of Sandton. It includes a conference center with a 5,000-square-foot ballroom and 50-seat auditorium; a lounge where travelers can eat, connect to the Internet and even shower prior to checking in; and a distraction-free space for thinking called “the incubator.”
More than two years after being damaged in the 6.3-magnitude earthquake that struck New Zealand’s South Island, the Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch is scheduled to reopen in May. The 171-room hotel occupies 12 floors of the tallest building in Christchurch, the 22-story Pacific Tower. It has four meeting rooms, the largest of which can accommodate 50 people.
French hospitality company Accor will build three hotels in Myanmar, including a 119-room property in the capital city of Naypyidaw that will be part of the luxury MGallery collection. The other two will operate under the Novotel brand and will be located in the country’s two largest cities, Yangon and Mandalay. All three hotels will feature meeting rooms, including an 11,000-square-foot ballroom at the Yangon property. With the Naypyidaw and Yangon hotels set to open this year, Accor will be the first major hotel operator to re-enter the Myanmar market since the southeast Asian country enacted a series of economic reforms in 2011.
In March, W Hotels opened its first property in mainland China, the W Guangzhou in Guangdong province. The 317-room property is part of the brand’s strategy to more than double the number of hotels it operates in Asia by 2018. Ten more hotel openings are planned in cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Changsha, China; Mumbai and Delhi, India; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Jakarta, Indonesia.
InterContinental Hotels Group’s Hotel Indigo brand will open its third Chicago-area property next year. The company announced plans to convert the 101-year-old Atlantic Bank Building on North Michigan Avenue into the Hotel Indigo Chicago-Millennium Park. The Loop landmark will undergo a $20 million renovation that will include adding an additional four floors that will house a rooftop bar. When complete, the building will have 16 stories, 156 guest rooms, and a restaurant managed by Chef David Burke that will also provide meeting and event space. IHG currently has Hotel Indigo properties in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood and the northern suburb of Vernon Hills, Ill. hotelnewsresource.com
Just a few weeks after it bought the W New Orleans-French Quarter, 316 Chartres St., Chesapeake Lodging Trust announced that it has purchased the city’s other W hotel. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide sold the W New Orleans, 333 Poydras St., to the Maryland real-estate investment trust for $65 million. The two hotels are located just a half mile from each other. While the smaller Chartres Street hotel reportedly will remain part of the W brand, the trust intends to convert the Poydras Street hotel to Starwood’s Le Meridien brand following a $29 million renovation, Hotels magazine reports. Work on the 410-room hotel will begin in April 2014 and will include adding about 3,000 sq. ft. to the property’s existing 10,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. chesapeakelodgingtrust.com
Caesars Entertainment Corp. plans to spin off some of its holdings, including its Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas and its interest in the Horseshoe Baltimore casino that is due to open next year, into a separate company called Caesars Growth Partners. In addition to the casinos, the new company will include Caesars’ interactive gaming unit, which owns the World Series of Poker. Caesars will continue to operate the casinos and poker tournaments, and the company will retain a majority stake in the spinoff, sharing ownership with two private equity firms and Caesars stockholders—though it could be converted into a separate, publicly traded company in the future. The move is primarily an accounting strategy that will free the parent company of certain obligations, improve its balance sheet and provide capital for growth plans while avoiding new debt. reviewjournal.com
The largest hotel in New York City has a new name. Hilton Hotels & Resorts has tacked a more specific location onto the name of the Hilton New York, which is preparing to celebrate its 50th anniversary. As of Tuesday, the 47-floor hotel on Sixth Avenue is known as the New York Hilton-Midtown. The Manhattan hotel opened in June 1963 as the New York Hilton and kept that version of the name until the mid-’90s. The hotel housed The Beatles during the band’s visit to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 and was the location of the world’s first cellular phone call in 1973. It has 1,981 guest rooms and more than 151,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. hotelnewsresource.com
Two deals announced last week mean that new owners will be taking control of a pair of Honolulu hotels. Blackstone Group, the New York-based parent company of Hilton Worldwide, is buying the leasehold on the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa for $450 million. Goldman Sachs’ Whitehall Street Real Estate Funds has been the hotel’s majority stakeholder since 2008, when the investment fund teamed up with Hyatt Hotels Corp. to buy the property out of bankruptcy. The sale will not affect the hotel’s branding, and Hyatt will continue to manage it. Blackstone plans to invest $75 million to renovate the property, which has 1,230 guest rooms and 19,500 sq. ft. of function space. hotelmanagement.net
In addition, a partnership led by Highgate Hotels of Dallas has agreed to acquire the Courtyard by Marriott Waikiki Beach from Lodging Capital Partners and Westbrook Partners for $127 million. The new owner has the option to maintain the Courtyard by Marriott brand through 2034. Highgate will manage the property, which features 401 guest rooms and 1,690 sq. ft. of meeting space. bizjournals.com