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Hotel News in Brief
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Hotels in London are reporting strong business immediately after this summer's Olympic Games - dispelling fears that the capital could suffer a post-games slump.
Data compiled by leading hotel market intelligence firm, TravelClick, shows almost a third of London's hotel rooms are already sold for the August Bank Holiday weekend (August 24-27), an improvement of 24.2 percent in comparison to last year. Prices over the four days are up 25.2 percent at an average daily rate of £128.59 compared with the same period in 2011. "Our research after the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010 showed critical insight into the demand trends for hotels when they over-price rooms for special events, since it has the tendency to result in an immediate drop-off in business after the spike associated with the Olympic games," said Jan Tissera, international president of TravelClick. "So far it appears London hoteliers are not falling into that trap. "The capital has solid interest throughout the Bank Holiday Weekend, and although prices are up in comparison to last year, the rises are being kept in line with the demand. We hope this trend continues into the autumn when business traveller demand begins to rise in comparison leisure customers." TravelClick's data - which is drawn from travel agents, online booking sites and the hotel chains themselves - also reveals that Saturday, August 25 is the busiest day of the holiday weekend, with confirmed occupancy currently standing at 38.1% according to reservations currently on the books.
The Bali Hotels Association (BHA) has released the results of one of its key 2011 environmental initiatives.The "Say No to Disposable Plastics" saw 30 BHA member hotels participate, with an average reduction of this type of plastic from May to November 2012 of 23%, exceeding the set goal of 20%.
The program encouraged member hotels to replace disposable plastics - which take hundreds of years to degrade - with biodegradable plastics and other environmentally friendly alternatives such as glass. "This is great news," said BHA Chairman, Jean-Charles LeCoz. "When we launched this program in April 2011, our aim was to see an overall reduction of 20%; the fact that we have exceeded this is testament to our members' commitment to preserving Bali's natural heritage both as a tourism destination and for its inhabitants." Plastic is one of the major toxic pollutants of our time, and it is estimated that Bali generates approximately 750,000 kilos of plastic garbage per day, almost 50% more than Jakarta. For this reason, as part of the "Say No to Disposable Plastics" campaign, BHA has also encouraged its members to replace plastic bottles with reusable glass ones.
A new five-star hotel has opened on Auckland's Viaduct despite criticism from a leading hotelier that the market is already saturated.
The Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour, which officially opened on Monday, touts itself as embodying "French luxury, sophistication and five-star quality". In May, BK Chiu, managing director of Millenium & Copthorne Hotels New Zealand, said downturns in tourism out of Europe, the US and Australia were hurting existing operators. He put forward a submission to Auckland Council in May urging it to stick to creating demand in Auckland - something successfully done in Wellington - rather than promoting investment in new hotels. Hotel occupancy for the group's 34 hotels dropped in 2011 to 64.3 per cent from 66.4 per cent the previous year. But despite doubts there may not be enough demand for rooms, Sofitel is touting itself as becoming a "new social destination" with its own waterfront restaurant, Lava Dining, run by executive chef Scott Brown, who used to run the kitchens at Huka Lodge. It also boasts a champagne bar, Sabrage, and a 20m indoor lap pool and fitness centre. It also plans to open its own spa offering health and beauty treatments. The luxury brand has more than 120 hotels across the globe.
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments...
Canadian national, Lynn Gervais, has been appointed as director of public relations of The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal. Lynn Gervais commenced her role as director of public relations this month and, in her new capacity, oversees the hotel's media relations functions, social media activities, e-marketing efforts, advertising, collateral and website content, community programs, and corporate brand messaging. Prior to this, Lynn was the director of public relations at The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a property that she joined in late 2010 as part of the opening team. Before moving to the UAE, Ms Gervais successfully managed the media relations department at The Fairmont Chateau Whistler, particularly during the 2010 Olympics and Paralympic Winter Games. Prior to that, she worked in a regional role overseeing the public relations functions of five Fairmont properties in Vancouver.
Magnolia Lodging, LLC is pleased to announce the appointment of Jay Lee to General Manager at the forthcoming Home2 Suites by Hilton® in Frisco, Texas. Located at 2000 Parkwood Blvd. in Frisco and slated for a fall 2012 opening, the new hotel will be the first of its kind in the DFW area, and the second Home2 Suites to open in Texas. Lee will oversee all aspects of the 122-suite hotel's operations, including guest services, revenue management and administration. Prior to joining the Home2 Suites, Lee was the Assistant General Manager for the award-winning Homewood Suites by Hilton Dallas/Frisco hotel, located minutes from the new Home2 site at 3240 Parkwood Blvd. During his time at the Homewood Suites, the hotel was recognized for outstanding performance in RevPAR, occupancy, extended-stay occupancy, guest loyalty and satisfaction; and was ranked No. 3 out of 310 open and operating Homewood Suites hotels in 2011. The hotel also received awards for excellence in front desk, food and beverage, engineering, suitekeeping and the Connie Pride Award of Merit. Lee has served as Assistant General Manager at the Hilton Garden Inn Dallas/Richardson, also a Magnolia Lodging hotel, where he was an integral member of the opening team from 2008 - 2009.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
Sheraton Hotels & Resorts has embarked on a $45 million renovation of the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, resulting in a floor-to-ceiling transformation of the hotel's 1,100 guest rooms and suites, Sheraton Club Lounge, meeting facilities and lobby. Slated for completion in 2013, the renovation is part of an ongoing effort to enhance Sheraton hotels across the globe, following the recently completed $6 billion brand-wide revitalization. The highlight of the refurbished lobby will be the brand's Link@Sheraton experienced with Microsoft, to be equipped with new seating, new carpeting, lighting, a water feature, wireless connectivity and direct access to the hotel's Starbucks coffee shop and Pelican Bar. Other improvements to the lobby include the recent installation of high-speed efficiency elevators and new revolving doors. Renovations on Pelican Bar are expected to be completed in September 2012. The recent renovations to the Waterbury and Napoleon ballrooms will be followed by new carpeting, wall coverings, lighting and new furnishings in the Grand Ballroom and Grand Ballroom pre-function space.
The 39-suite luxury Siam Hotel has opened in Bangkok, incorporating four traditional Thai teakwood houses on stilts. The boutique hotel is located in the city's historic Dusit district, 45 minutes from Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport and 20 minutes from the city's main shopping area. The Siam was designed by locally-based Bensley Design Studios, which was responsible for both the architecture and interiors as well as the landscape design. The four traditional Thai houses were moved to Bangkok in the 1960s by Jim Thompson, an ex-pat American who is credited with helping to revive the Thai silk industry, from the country's ancient capital of Ayutthaya. They were moved again to the site of The Siam. The remainder of the hotel buildings are new construction. The Bensley firm's overall design inspiration was Thailand's Art Deco period. Many one-of-a-kind antique pieces from the period were included in guestroom interiors. Among the hotel's features are a full-service spa and hammam, library, screening room, fitness center with Thai boxing ring, infinity outdoor swimming pool and jacuzzi beds, and destination restaurant. The property is owned and managed by Thailand-based Sukosol Hotels, whose portfolio includes four other hotels in Bangkok and Pattaya, accounting for 1,021 rooms.
Orient Express has added to its portfolio in Peru with the opening of Palacio Nazarenas in Cuzco. The 55-suite boutique hotel occupies a 16th century convent. Suites feature large bathtubs with pillows filled with dried herbs from the hotel garden. Each suite also has a full cocktail set and recipe book featuring local ingredients. Deluxe Z-Collection suites have architectural features like an original colonial arch or Inca niches and offer views of the Andes or the San Blas neighbourhood. The Nazarenas Suite, which was the abbess's private prayer retreat, features a ceiling of gold-embellished roses.
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