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Hotel News in Brief
Some current conversation starters...
The 70-story, 371,000-sq.-ft. Marriott, located at 1717 Broadway at 54th Street, has topped out.
The announcement was made by Ken Colao, president of CNY Builders, the project's construction manager. The superstructure was topped out in 231 days, which entailed roughly pouring five floors every 10 days. The $200-million project, developed by Granite Broadway Development LLC, is the tallest stand-alone hotel in the Western hemisphere. It is over 750 ft. in height and has a floor-to-area ratio of 30:1. Two Marriott "select service" hotels will be housed within the structure and will become flagships for their brands: a 378-key Courtyard by Marriott on the lower floors and a 261-key extended-stay Residence Inn on the upper floors. Areas shared by the two hotels include public space and lobbies, a fitness club, lounges, a bar area and restaurants, a retail store, a business center, a conference center and outdoor terraces.
The better the lodging industry does, it seems, the more we hear about the bad news: the fiscal cliff, the election, political gridlock, concerns over the economies in Europe and Asia and more unrest in the Middle East.
All those questions linger and were mentioned more than a lot this week at The Lodging Conference in Phoenix. So for those of you looking for some good news, the leaders of a few of the lodging REITs were plenty optimistic during a breakout session Thursday morning: "We are at the beginning of the second third of what could be a prolonged and sustained cycle in our business," said Ken Cruse, president and CEO of Sunstone Hotel Investors. "We are still in the sweet spot for transactions in this cycle." Doug Kessler, president of Ashford Hospitality Trust, agreed. "The potential reason for extra innings to this cycle compared to prior cycles is there is always this overhang of new supply that needs absorbed. Not here." The typical cycle, from trough to peak, Cruse said, is approximately 70 months and "we're 33 months into the current one." But he predicted the peak wouldn't come until 2016 or 2017. Marcel Verbaas, president and CEO of Inland American Lodging Group, said supply dynamics are better than ever. It's why Inland bought three of Richard Kessler's Autograph Collection boutique properties in the Southeast last week and why he said they will continue to be net buyers as they prepare to go public in the next 12 to 24 months. "I can't remember a time in our industry where the fundamentals have been this compelling," said Cruse. "Awfully, awfully compelling." So there's a strong dose of good news and optimism, in case all the political talk and macroeconomic concerns have you down.
La Quinta Management announced on Thursday that it plans to sell 46 of its company-owned hotel properties that no longer meet brand criteria.
Most of the properties are under the La Quinta Inns & Suites brand but 12 are not. The hotels are located throughout U.S. La Quinta's currently portfolio includes 823 hotels in the U.S., Canada and Mexico and the company did not specify which properties it intends to sell. LQ Management, Irving, Texas, is currently conducting a valuation of the properties with a third party. After the sale the La Quinta Inns & Suites-branded properties will lose their La Quinta flag. "This announcement is consistent with the company's strategy to grow and continuously improve our product offering and guest experience," said Wayne Goldberg, LQ Management president and CEO. "We look forward to replacing many of these properties with new construction La Quinta Inn & Suites."
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments...
In recognition of exceptional service to The Hotel Group (THG), President and CEO Douglas Dreher is pleased to announce the appointment of Lara Latture from executive vice president to chief operating officer. Latture has been spearheading hotel operations, marketing and HR functions, as well as leading the management of new hotel acquisitions via brand coordination, market analysis, and financial growth and stability for THG's expanding portfolio. Latture began her career with THG as Director of Sales at the Holiday Inn on the Beach in Galveston, Texas. In 2006, she became a company principal. Latture is an active member of the Hilton Doubletree Owners Council and serves on the IAHI (Owners' Association of IHG) Crowne Plaza committee. In 2012, Latture was named one of Nashville, Tennessee's "Most Influential Women" by the Nashville Business Journal. She is a Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA) from the Educational Institute of the American Hotel & Lodging Assn., and attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where she studied Business Administration.
Victoria Isley, has been named Executive Director of the Destination & Travel Foundation. Isley, who will continue to serve in her current capacity as the Executive Vice President and COO of Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI), has 19 years of experience in the destination marketing industry. Working to enhance the destination marketing and travel professions through education, research, and resources, the Foundation has supported a wide variety of landmark reports such as "The Future of Destination Marketing" and "ROI of Business Travel." Most recently, the Foundation sponsored the "2012 DMO Marketing Activities Study," which was produced under Isley's direction. Isley will oversee the 20th Annual Dinner & Dream Auction , a key Foundation event at which Walt Disney Parks & Resorts will be recognized with the prestigious 2013 Spirit of Hospitality award in Washington, D.C. on March 13. The annual event recognizes key industry players that demonstrate excellence in the areas of destination marketing and travel. Funds raised through the event, directly support the research and initiatives of the Foundation. Prior to assuming the Executive Vice President/COO role at DMAI, Isley served as Senior Vice President of Marketing & Communications at Destination DC, Vice President of Marketing for the Tampa Bay & Company, and as the Director of Communications for the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
The Hotel Palacio Astoreca formally opens October 2012 following a masterful two-year renovation of one of Valparaiso's most iconic national monuments, the Astoreca Palace, located in the heart of fashionable Cerro Alegre. The design-driven, 23-room hotel de charme offers luxe accommodations, a chic spa, a gourmet restaurant, superlative personalized service, and utterly breathtaking views of the city's "amphitheater" of eclectic urban landscapes and the Valparaiso Bay -- all within close distance of some of the city's best attractions. The Hotel Palacio Astoreca occupies the interiors of a resplendent 1920s-era Victorian mansion that is characterized by the intricate details and ornamental decor of its interiors, and it is one of the few hotels in Chile that can claim national monument status. The hotel's exceptional amenities include the Alegre Restaurant, a Wine Cellar, a library with an extensive multilingual collection, and a piano bar lounge, as well as original art by contemporary painters such as Ricardo Yrarrázaval and Frédéric Clot, and photography by local artists Eric Rondepierre and Rodrigo Gómez Rovira, that make the hotel a living and breathing art piece. Hotel rooms are individually sized and decorated, furnished with antiques from the Santiago and Valparaiso region that have been revamped with modern fabrics, and feature bed frames by artist Sebastian Yrarrázaval. Rooms boast original parquet floors, hand-painted ceramic tiles, and stylish wallpaper imported from Europe that contrasts strikingly with handcrafted pillows, rugs and blankets weaved by Andean artisans.
This November, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts will open InterContinental London Westminster - the first InterContinental property to open in the UK in 36 years. Located in the Royal and political heartland of Britain, this landmark hotel will feature 256 guestrooms including an impressive Penthouse, 14 one bedroom suites, and 30 studio suites. Despite being just steps away from British landmarks like Parliament and Westminster Abbey, guests will likely prefer to stay on property to experience Blue Boar Smokehouse & Grill, an authentic barbecue-style restaurant inspired by America's best pit masters. Using true smokehouse techniques and on-site charcoal and smoking ovens, Blue Boar will offer classic, rustic comfort food dishes prepared with local, high quality British produce. For a more refined evening, Emmeline's is set to be the hotel's ethereal retreat offering an exquisite selection of champagne and cocktails. The hotel will also feature a Club InterContinental Executive Lounge, eight state-of-the-art meeting and event rooms and a comprehensive business centre.
The significant refurbishment and upgrading of the two enormous private villas in Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor's lush tropical gardens has created the most distinctive, impressive and private accommodation in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Named Villa Uma and Villa Kama, the spacious two-bedroom villas offer discerning guests stylish accommodation which includes a large drawing room and dining area, butler's kitchen, wine cellar and private terraces with sundeck chairs, day beds and private access to the largest swimming pool in the Kingdom. All three rooms are beautifully decorated with original Angkorian artifacts, antique furniture, Persian-style carpets and wooden floors. Perfect for both leisure and business, the villas are ideal for a luxurious Cambodian holiday with the whole family, small high-level meetings, or accommodation for senior management.
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