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Hotel Industry News In Brief
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New York's Plaza Hotel Said to Be Close to Sale for $575 Million
Elad Group is close to selling its stake in New York's Plaza Hotel to Sahara India Pariwar, and co- owner Kingdom Holding Co., controlled by Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, will hold a 25 percent stake after the deal is done, said a person with knowledge of the deal. Sahara India Pariwar signed a letter of intent to purchase the hotel for $575 million from closely held Elad and Kingdom, which will buy back a portion, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. The transaction is set for completion in early July, the person said. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, in which Kingdom has a stake, will continue to operate the Plaza for at least two years, the person said. Sahara India Pariwar, which bought London's Grosvenor House luxury hotel in 2010, made an offer in April to buy the Plaza, a century-old destination for socialites and celebrities near Manhattan's Central Park. Negotiations were complicated by Sahara India Pariwar's desire to take over management of the property, according to the person with knowledge of the deal. By Nadja Brandt, San Francisco Chronicle.
Omni Hotels & Resorts Partner With Joining Forces To Hire Servicemen And Women
Omni Hotels & Resorts is doing its part to increase employment for American Veterans thanks to a new partnership with Joining Forces, announcing a plan to expand recruitment of servicemen and women over the next three years. Joining Forces is an initiative that mobilizes all sectors of society to give opportunities in the areas of employment, education and wellness to service members and their families who earned the support through their service to the country. "Omni respects the sacrifices made by service members and their families as the backbone of the armed forces," said Joy Rothschild, senior vice president, human resources for Omni Hotels & Resorts. "This partnership enables Omni to recruit dedicated, service-minded associates and gives Joining Forces another channel to achieve their mission." Joining Forces is dedicated to hiring or training 100,000 veterans and spouses by 2013. Omni has planned expansion in its Dallas-Fort Worth headquarters, as well as planned hotels or additions in Dallas, Amelia Island and Nashville. Marriott and Starwood also participate in the program. By McLean Robbins, Gadling.
McArthurGlen sees big growth in luxury shopping tourism
Sales to Chinese shoppers increase by 116 percent in first quarter of 2012 at Europe’s leader in designer outlet retailing. McArthurGlen, Europe’s leader in designer outlet retailing, has seen a huge surge in sales to international shoppers looking for the most coveted names in luxury and designer fashion with year-round savings of 30-70 percent. Sales at McArthurGlen’s 20 Designer Outlets to international shoppers leapt by 62 percent in the first four months of 2012. This followed an increase of more than 60 percent in 2011, compared with the previous year (source: Global Blue tax-refund specialist). McArthurGlen Designer Outlets are located near key tourist cities and gateways in eight European countries - Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK. They offer an unrivalled day-out for savvy fashion shoppers, with a selection of cafes and restaurants, and a full calendar of events and activities. In the first three months of 2012, sales to shoppers from China increased by 116 percent, to make Chinese tourists the second biggest spenders by country of origin after shoppers from the Russian Federation. In fact, Asian shoppers were among those showing the biggest increases in spending: for example, sales to shoppers from Singapore were up 156 percent, Indonesia up 148 percent, Malaysia 113 percent, Korea 58 percent and Japan 40 percent. For more information visit www.mcarthurglen.com.
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments…
The Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui has appointed Lubosh Barta as General Manager. Barta is no stranger to the palm-fringed beaches of the beautiful island of Samui in southern Thailand, having been Resort Manager of Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui since December 2010. Koh Samui is the third stop on Barta’s tour of Thailand, having started his Thai adventure in 2004 in the dynamic capital as Director of Food & Beverage at Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok. His journey next took him north, to the peaceful green rice fields of Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai, where he served as Resort Manager from 2007 to 2010.
Vincent “Ben” Cruz is the new general manager of the Sheraton Laguna Guam Resort, succeeding Brian Pak, who's starting his new job as general manager of The Westin Chosun in Seoul. P.H.R. Ken Micronesia Inc., formerly known as P.H.R. Ken Asset Management Inc., announced the appointment of Cruz today. P.H.R. Ken Micronesia is a subsidiary of Japan-based Ken Corp. Cruz has more than 29 years of experience in the food service and hotel industry and brings with him a wealth of organizational, interpersonal and leadership skills. "Ken Corp. is proud and delighted to promote Ben as the first Chamorro general manager of a major hotel in Guam. Ben worked with Ken Corp.’s seven hotel properties in Guam and Saipan as their procurement and project manager," according to the company in a statement.
Mr. Eric Waldburger is to assume the role of President, Marco Polo Hotels in mid-July. Mr. Waldburger is one of Asia’s most experienced hoteliers having held senior executive and management positions with Harbour Plaza Hotels, Ritz-Carlton, Peninsula Hotels and Mandarin Oriental. With his 38 years of hotel operating experience in Asia, Mr. Waldburger will focus on the company’s operational readiness given its current expansion plans in the region.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
Marriott International, Inc. continues to grow its world-class luxury JW Marriott hotel brand with the opening of the 221-room JW Marriott Mexico City Santa Fe. The much anticipated hotel is located in the upscale Santa Fe residential neighborhood and is walking distance to plenty of entertainment, great shopping and large international office complexes. "Mexico remains one of the most vibrant countries for new development in all of Latin America," said Rob Steigerwald, Chief Operations Officer for the Southern Americas at Marriott International. "We are thrilled to partner with Grupo Diestra on this project, and reveal our second world class JW Marriott luxury brand hotel to Mexico City. This beautiful hotel brings the highest levels of accommodations and service to Mexico and is a great addition to the brand's growing global portfolio." Source: Travel Daily News.
Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore has opened its renovated Garden Wing after eight months of work. The S$66 million (US$51.3 million) project retrofitted all guestrooms and suites and added Chi, The Spa; the Waterfall Garden Café; and an outdoor event venue called The Deck. In their settings in 15 acres (6 hectares) of greenery, the Garden Wing rooms all feature a large balcony overlooking the gardens or the swimming pool. The three Premier Balcony Suites offer an outdoor whirlpool and a private barbecue grill. The property, which Shangri-La bills as an urban resort, includes cascading waterfalls and a koi pond. Garden Wing guests have access to holistic experiences such as morning tai chi demonstrations and evening koi feeding ceremonies. The new Garden Wing uses solar panels to heat water, and a water catchment system helps irrigate the gardens. Guestrooms include energy-saving technology such as air conditioning sensors for the balcony door. Waterfall Garden Café will open next month, and Chi, The Spa will follow in August. By Dani Friedland, HOTELSMag.
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