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Hotel Industry News In Brief
Some current conversation starters…
The May Fair Hotel in London officially opens its Cigar Room this month.
Graham Cox and the property’s design team are behind the space, which has swing chairs, day beds, chain-mesh walls, and live fireplaces. The humidor offers forty varieties of cigars, including some lighter, more feminine options. Sophia Christoforidou leads the team of cigar sommeliers. In addition, the Cigar Room has a menu of beverages to accompany the cigars. The Rococo Chocolate Martini, for example, includes single-estate chocolate and comes in “his” and “her” varieties. The Monte Cristo Daiquiri, meanwhile, includes rum infused with the flavor of a cigar, fresh lime, and tobacco liqueur. Other spirits available include one of the three remaining bottles of Springbank 1968 Sherry Cask whisky and Voyage de Delamain Grande Champagne Cognac. Individual humidors and bottle lockers are available, and the Cigar Room will also offer master classes.
Compared to last year, online hotel prices in Greece as a whole in August were down 1.6% and in Athens 12.1%, the daily newspaper Kathimerini reported quoting figures from the Trivago hotel search engine.
The data showed that the average online price per overnight stay in a double room at a Greek hotel was down to 119 euros this month from 121 euros a year ago and 127 euros in 2009 as hotels scrambled to lure tourists during an economic crisis that saw nearly two dozen close in the downtown area in the last two years. According to Trivago’s data, Greece is the 11th cheapest destination this month for accommodations among 24 countries. The cheapest hotel prices were in Romania and Bulgaria, at 64 and 68 euros respectively, while the most expensive are in Switzerland and Norway, at 201 and 178 euros. Neighbouring Turkey, which draws more tourists than Greece, was slightly more expensive, with an average of 121 euros. An overnight stay in a simple double room in Europe this month costs 113 euros on average — the same as a year ago. The average online price of Athenian hotels is 80 euros, from 91 euros last year. According to Trivago, hotel prices in the capital have fallen gradually over the last five years, a strong indication of the serious problems in the city which have led to the closure of hotels, including five-star luxury facilities which couldn’t weather the recession and crime around the Omonia Square area.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Stamford, Connecticut, is rolling out a new lobby concept worldwide designed to be a “modern-day oasis” for its Westin Hotels & Resorts brand.
The vertical garden, a focal element of the new lobby concept, was designed to improve indoor air quality and create a calming, natural environment. Inspired by research showing that growing plants indoors can result in a range of health benefits including lower blood pressure and enhanced mental stamina, the brand’s in-house design team partnered with landscaping provider Ambius to create the gardens. Each is custom-designed, ranges from 100 sq ft to 300 sq ft (9 sq m to 28 sq m) and integrates wall-mounted plant modules with infill panels of textured materials inspired by the interior architecture and the location's regional identity. The Westin Gaslamp in San Diego currently features the new lobby concept, which includes a vertical garden. The new concept also promises a more customized experience for guests at the new freestanding, ergonomically designed Westin check-in pods. A new back-lit feature wall on display behind the pods showcases one of 28 x-ray nature images, which combine with custom music, calming tonal colors, soft lighting and Westin’s signature white tea scent in the space. The Dock provides an adaptive space for meetings or spending time online, as tables offer conveniently located power outlets, integrated lighting and access to computers and printers. New acoustic and architectural screens have been added to improve sound control and help create a more intimate setting. Finally, the Westin Grab & Go Café will vary at each property, while a signature Westin retail store will offer products such as Westin Heavenly bedding and white tea-scented products for the home.
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments…
The Kessler Collection is thrilled to announce Betsy Wirth as the new general manager of its charming escape, Bohemian Hotel Celebration, as of July 2012. Wirth’s duties as general manager include overseeing hotel operations, management of staff, budgeting, project management and ensuring elite guest interaction. Tucked away from the traffic and noise of the city, Bohemian Hotel Celebration captivates guests with lakeside views and its delightful representation of the “unexpected Orlando.”After graduating from the University of Richmond, Wirth immediately began management training with Marriott International. Her noteworthy experience in the hospitality industry include positions as general manager at Courtyard by Marriott in both Clearwater, Fla. and Atlanta, director of market strategy and director of sales and marketing at Marriott International in Tampa, Fla. and most recently area director of Marriott International in Atlanta, where she was responsible for overseeing 17 properties. In 2000, she was honored as the southeast region general manager of the year by Marriott.
Colorado’s Westin Westminster is pleased to announce that it has hired Anwar I. Musa to serve as the Director of Revenue Management. Musa most recently served as the Director of Revenue Management at The Westin Atlanta Perimeter in Atlanta. Prior to that, he was the Manager of Centralized Revenue Management for Starwood Hotels and Resorts in Atlanta and the Director of Revenue Management at The Westin Southfield Detroit in Southfield, Michigan. Other Starwood experience includes revenue management positions overseeing The Westin Minneapolis, Le Méridien San Francisco, Sheraton College Park and the Sheraton Danbury.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide's Aloft brand plans to open its first hotel in South Korea in late-2014 in this industrial suburb of Seoul. The 120-room hotel, which will be part of a mixed-use development, including retail and residential components, will be owned by locally based Youngshin HDR Co. While a first for South Korea, it will be the 11th Aloft for the rapidly expanding Asia-Pacific region. "We are pleased to partner with Youngshin Hrd., Ltd. to bring the Aloft brand to South Korea for the first time," said Stephen Ho, president, Asia Pacific, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., in a statement. "While Starwood has maintained a long-standing presence in South Korea since the opening of the Westin Chosun Busan, this signing marks an important milestone in our overall growth strategy to expand the Aloft brand," Ho continued.
Recognized worldwide for its stunning accommodations, Bellagio announced today that it will remodel all 928 rooms and suites in the resort's Spa Tower beginning August 19. Following Bellagio's $70 million redesign of 2,568 guest rooms in its main tower in 2011, the Spa Tower remodel will encompass 819 guest rooms and 109 suites including the prestigious Chairman and Presidential suites. The $40 million project is expected to be completed by December 2012. "The Spa Tower remodel will broaden our distinct selection of luxury accommodations and strengthen our commitment to the overall evolution of the Bellagio experience," said Randy Morton, president and COO of Bellagio. "The new designs and layouts of the suites are exquisite and complement the contemporary ambiance we've created throughout the resort." In addition to the Resort King and Resort Queen guest rooms, the Spa Tower features a wide range of suites including the 850-square-foot Salon Suites; the 1,000-square-foot Bellagio Suites; the 1,500-square-foot Penthouses; the 1,900-square-foot two-bedroom Bellagio Suites; and the 4,000-square-foot Chairman and Presidential suites. Additionally, as part of this remodel, Bellagio will introduce three new Executive Hospitality Suites created with entertainment and technology in mind. The 2,500-square-foot suites each will feature a billiards lounge and separate home theatre living area allowing guests to comfortably host intimate, yet interactive events in a vibrant setting. Created by the talented MGM Resorts International Design Group, the new Spa Tower Resort Rooms will be consistent with the three designs represented in Bellagio's main tower. The Resort King Rooms will feature an indigo and silver combination or a green tea and plum palette while the Resort Queen Rooms will welcome guests with an amber and butterscotch motif.
Marriott International, Inc. celebrates continued growth in the south of France with the opening of its first AC Hotel by Marriott in the country, the first new AC Hotel by Marriott to open since the launch of the joint venture and co-brand last year. The former Hotel Ambassadeur, located in the heart of Juan-les-Pins, has been re-branded an AC Hotel by Marriott hotel, following ambitious growth plans for the brand announced last year. As Marriott continues to grow its presence on France’s glamourous Cote d’ Azur, the 221-room AC Hotel Ambassadeur Antibes-Juan Les Pins joins the JW Marriott Hotel Cannes, which re-opened following a stunning renovation earlier this year, the Riviera Marriott Hotel La Porte de Monaco, and the AC Hotel Nice, which will open in early 2013. “We are thrilled to affirm our growing presence in this stunning region of France,” said Amy McPherson, president and managing director for Marriott International in Europe. “The AC Hotels by Marriott brand already has a strong holding in Spain, Italy and Portugal, but we have been actively seeking opportunities to expand into France where we see the brand’s urban lifestyle feel fitting perfectly. We could not be more excited about the opening of this first AC Hotel by Marriott in France as we continue to expand the brand across Europe.”
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