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Hotel Industry News In Brief
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A Muslim hotel owner discriminated against a Jewish group during a Southern California poolside charity event by ordering removal of banners and ousting them from the pool and spa, a jury decided in awarding $1.2 million statutory damages.
Punitive damages will be determined later. The suit was filed by Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, whose members had gathered two years ago at Santa Monica's ocean-view Hotel Shangri-LA, which is owned by Tehmina Adaya. The owner is a Muslim of Pakistani descent. The event was organized by Platinum Events, a marketing firm that had organized other gatherings at the Shangri-La after a $30-million renovation three years ago. Workers and security guards at the Art Deco hotel were acting on Adaya's orders when they told members of the group to get out of the pool and spa and remove banners and literature, according to trial testimony. In her testimony, Adaya denied ordering a halt to the event for fear that her family would cut off her financing. Adaya inherited control of the hotel from her father, Ahmad Adaya, a real estate tycoon and philanthropist who died in 2006. Former Shangri-La employee Nathan Codrey testified in a deposition read during trial that Adaya used profanity as she ordered a halt to the event. "If my (family finds) out there's a Jewish event here, they're going to pull money from me immediately," Codrey quoted her as saying. The jury decided on Wednesday that the hotel and Adaya violated California's Unruh Civil Rights Act, which bars hotels and other business from discriminating on the basis of sex, race, colour or religion, the Los Angeles Times reported.
People are putting worries about the economy to one side when they arrive at the airport, according to research.
A study by Gatwick Airport reveals 44% of travellers indulge in shopping sprees while waiting for their flight; 30% spend over £200; while the same number get to the airport early specifically to do some shopping. One in five (19%) say they buy more luxurious items than usual, while 18% buy brighter colours or more daring clothes when at the airport. Some of the favourite items Brits have bought at the airport in a single spend include six handbags, a Breitling watch, a Sat Nav, a Tiffany ring, binoculars and gameboys. Spencer Sheen, head of retail at Gatwick, said the airport has been ‘reinvigorating’ its shopping range in response to demand. In the run-up to the holiday, 76% of Brits are spending the same or more on purchases this year and 30% start to shop a whole month ahead of their holiday. One in five women (21%) claim to spend three months before a trip and almost one in ten (8%) begin filling their suitcase up to six months before they leave.
There are sexy ads and then there are those that are simply disturbing.
Well an Australian hotel group is pushing the boundaries of good taste in its bid to lure tourists to its Brisbane properties. Jumping on board the 50 Shades of Grey craze, Accor released a self-proclaimed “saucy” press release yesterday promoting its Brisbane hotels the Quay West Suites, the Sebel Suites and the Sebel King George Square. It advertised a hotel package that includes lip balm as a “lip biting remedy” and room service breakfast for two “as a girl’s gotta keep up her energy”. Oh, and don't forget the satin blindfold - “oh my”, and the do-not -disturb sign. “Brisbane is turning up the heat this winter and introducing a saucy overnight package sure to turn fans of the 50 Shades phenomenon in a spin,” the press release said.
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments…
Halekulani Corporation, which owns and manages both Halekulani and the Waikiki Parc Hotel on Oahu, Hawaii, has appointed Ulrich Krauer to the position of General Manager of Halekulani. Mr. Krauer, who has helmed several of the world’s most iconic hotels during the course of his career, will join Halekulani on August 27, 2012 and will be responsible for directing all aspects of day-to-day management and operations of the legendary 453-room property. Mr. Krauer most recently served as Asset Manager to Somerset Grace Bay in the Caribbean and, previously, as General Manager of Kona Village Resort on the Big Island. In addition, he has held the position of Manager Director and General Manager at the St. Regis Monarch Beach and Sonoma Mission Inn in California; Hotel Crescent Court in Dallas, Texas; Hotel La Samanna in St. Martin, French West Indies and the legendary Hotel Bel Air in Beverly Hills. He also served as Resident Manager at the Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas and the Grand Bay Hotel Miami. Mr. Krauer’s international experience includes management positions in five-star properties in Bern, Davos, Locarno, St. Moritz and Vevey in Switzerland; Megeve, France; St. Andrews, Scotland; Costa Smeralda in Sardinia and the luxury cruise ship MS Vistafjord of Norwegian America Lines.
Timothy Wright, an international hotel veteran with more than 25 years’ work experience in the travel and hospitality industry, has been appointed general manager of the deluxe harbour-front Kowloon Shangri-La, Hong Kong. Prior to this, he was general manager of Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort, Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia. Before moving to Malaysia, Mr. Wright was general manager at Traders Hotel, Singapore, a post he assumed in 2002. He has held positions at a number of different Shangri-La properties, including hotel manager at Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore; executive assistant manager, food and beverage at Shangri-La Hotel, Surabaya, Indonesia and director of food and beverage at Shangri-La Hotel, Jakarta. Mr. Wright joined the Shangri-La group in 1993 as banqueting manager at Shangri-La Hotel, Jakarta. An international hotel veteran, Mr. Wright has worked in major cities such as New Delhi, Cebu, Bangkok and Kota Kinabalu. In 1990, Mr. Wright accepted his first overseas hotel assignment as restaurant manager of The Grill at the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, prior to which he was the assistant reception manager at Claridge’s hotel, London.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
Two new Tune Hotels have opened in Asia. Located in the hustle and bustle of Pasar Baru in Jakarta, Tune Hotel Pasar Baru opened its doors last month with 168 rooms, consisting of 117 Doubles, 36 Twin-sharing and a special needs room. The Pasar Baru hotel represents the global brand’s third property in Indonesia, after Tune Hotel Kuta and Legian in Bali and the first of the chain’s hotels in central Jakarta. In the Philippines, Tune Hotel Makati opened last month in the central business district of Manila with 213 rooms in total, 148 Doubles, 63 Twin-sharing and 2 special needs room. Tune Hotel Makati is the second Tune Hotel in Manila and the fourth Tune Hotel in the Philippines, following Tune Hotel Ermita, Cebu and Angeles City.
Absolute Hotel Services Group has unveiled the latest addition to its portfolio in Thailand, U Sukhumvit Bangkok, which is scheduled to open by early 2014. Situated on Sukhumvit Soi 15, U Sukhumvit Bangkok will offer 94 rooms ranging in size from 30 – 40 m2. Facilities will include a themed all-day dining restaurant, a rooftop swimming pool, a fitness centre, a library/business centre, and free WiFi connectivity. Denmark-based Evaristti Studios has been appointed as the interior designer for the project. “With this being our second U property in Bangkok, we are delighted with the Thailand expansion of the brand – which now includes Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Kanchanaburi, with properties shortly to be announced in Hua Hin and Pattaya,” said Jonathan Wigley, CEO of Absolute Hotel Services Group.
Marriott International, Inc. has announced that it will open its first hotel in Ukraine, the 173-room Renaissance Kiev Hotel, under a management agreement with Subsidiary Enterprise Grand Plaza. The hotel is expected to open in mid-2013 following an extension and renovation of the existing historic building formerly known as the Leipzig Hotel. Renaissance Hotels represents the signature lifestyle brand within the Marriott International global portfolio. Recognized for its signature guest programs including R Navigator and RLife LIVE, Renaissance Hotels currently has 35 hotels throughout Europe. Kiev, Ukraine’s capital city, serves as the economic, political, and cultural centre of the country. The Renaissance Kiev Hotel will be perfectly situated in the heart of the city centre on the corner of famed Volodymyrska and Prorizna Streets, facing Golden Gate Park. The hotel is located a short walk from the city’s key attractions including the shopping district, government buildings and Saint Sophia Square and a stone’s throw from the city’s Opera House. Boasting stunning, elaborate architecture and design, the Renaissance Kiev will add a new extension to the existing, historic façade coupled with sensitive interior re-design. A hotel brand known for its ability to incorporate indigenous inspiration within every guest experience, the historic property will be restored to its former glory, bringing the distinct look and feel of the Renaissance Hotels brand to the dynamic city of Kiev.
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