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Hotel Industry News In Brief
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Plans unveiled for movie-theme park outside London
Plans have been unveiled for a movie-themed amusement park, set to rival Disneyland Paris, in the Thames Estuary. Developers are hoping to build the £2 billion on a 872-acre site near Ebbsfleet, around 15 minutes from London. They have been granted a licence from Paramount Pictures to use its name for the resort, which is scheduled to open in 2018. Paramount Park is expected to be themed on major Paramount titles, such as Titanic, Star Trek, Indiana Jones, Tomb Raider, Italian Job and Braveheart and children's favourites Sponge Bob Square Pants and Transformers. It will also feature hotels, Europe's largest indoor water park, and music venues. It is believed similar parks are planned for South Korea and the Murcia region of Spain.
Pullman on track to become Australia’s largest 5-star hotel brand with key new signings
Today, the renowned Quay Grand Suites Sydney will rebrand to Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour, signalling a dramatic expansion of Accor’s 5-star Pullman brand in Australia. Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour joins two other Pullmans in Sydney – Pullman Sydney Olympic Park and Pullman Sydney Hyde Park (currently completing a massive upgrading programme following its re-branding from Sydney Marriott in May 2012). It also joins Pullman Reef Casino in Cairns and the recently rebadged Pullman Resort Bunker Bay in Western Australia’s Margaret River region. The Sebel Cairns, The Sebel King George Square Brisbane and The Sebel Albert Park Melbourne are all primed to take on Pullman branding within the next six months, which puts Pullman on track to becoming Australia’s largest 5-star network, with the brand expected to grow to up to 15 hotels by the end of 2013. While the Pullman name may be relatively new to Australians, the Pullman name has a very rich international pedigree, having changed the face of long-distance travel in 19th century America and, later, in Britain. The Pullman name refers to the opulent train carriages that were designed by George Pullman in the mid-1800s which transformed travel and dining across America and became a by-word for luxury and quality. Accor acquired the Pullman name in 1991, and at the time a number of hotels – including the famed Metropole Hotel in Hanoi – operated as Pullman hotels. Accor re-launched the brand in 2007 and the brand has now established a network of over 60 hotels in many of the world’s key cities (London, Paris, Dubai, Bangkok, Shanghai, Sydney, Auckland) and favourite resort destinations (Cannes, Bali. Phuket, Cairns and Margaret River). Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour is an outstanding addition to the network. Set majestically on the eastern shore of Circular Quay and overlooking Sydney Harbour, the Pullman is only steps away from the central business district and the city’s key attractions including the Sydney Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, Botanical Gardens and all the bustle of Circular Quay.
Aston to Launch New Brand; 20 Hotels Already Under Development
Aston International surprised the Indonesian hotel market when it unveiled a brand new select service hotel brand called “Hotel Neo by Aston” and at once confirmed that the group already has more than 20 purpose-build Neo Hotels under development. “The modern consumer regards an economy class but well designed, interesting hotel as an acceptable alternative to larger and more expensive 4 and 5-star hotels” said Norbert Vas, VP Sales & Marketing for Aston International. The first Neo will open by the end of November 2012 in Bali’s resort village of Legian followed by 5 other Neos in Bali, 6 more in and around Jakarta and further ones in secondary and tertiary cities throughout the Indonesian archipelago including Yogyakarta, Medan, Surabaya, Makassar and Balikpapan. Aston describes the brand as "hip and new".
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments…
Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, one of the world’s largest and most dynamic hotel groups, announced the appointment of Gwenn Feliciano as director of sales and marketing for the Radisson Blu Resort, Marina & Spa, St. Martin. Feliciano will oversee all sales, marketing and public relations functions for the 252-room beachfront property, including the oversight of European-based sales managers. “Gwenn’s leadership in developing and executing sales and marketing initiatives for resorts globally demonstrates her incredible value to the property,” said Jean-marc Jalbert, general manager of the Radisson Blu Resort, Marina & Spa, St. Martin. “Her extensive experience will contribute to strengthening the resort’s position as a top Caribbean destination.” Feliciano has worked in sales and marketing across the Americas and Caribbean for Our Lucaya Beach and Golf Resort, SuperClubs All-Inclusive Resorts and Certified Vacations. She most recently served as director of sales and marketing for Elite Island Resorts where she led efforts for a new property acquisition, developed revenue management strategies and global promotions, and managed global sales teams. She is a graduate of Hofstra University and holds a bachelor’s degree in International Business.
William V. Friedrich, Jr. has been named general manager of Embassy Suites Orlando - International Drive South Convention Center, in Orlando, Florida according to Ted R. Ratcliff, Senior Vice President, Operations, U.S. Eastern Region, effective immediately. Friedrich will oversee the day-to-day operations as well as the quality and service brand standards of the all-suite and full-service hotel located in the vibrant International Drive Resort Area, minutes away from Orlando's world famous attractions, and walking distance to exciting dining, shopping and nightlife. Friedrich most recently held the position of director of front office operations for Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek. With over 13 years of leadership experience in the hotel industry, Bill has a track record of proven success in development, revenue growth, profit and service ranking and team member satisfaction. His leadership skills coupled with his strong ability to manage relationships with multiple partners and team members as well as his strong team building and revenue management skills made him an easy choice.
Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld has been named for the third year in succession as Best Meetings and Conventions Hotel at the 23rd Annual TTG Travel Awards 2012. The awards ceremony was presided over on October 4, 2012 by Mrs Juthaporn Rerngronasa, Deputy Governor at the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) for International Marketing. Receiving the award was Thirayuth Chirathivat, chief executive officer of Centara Hotels & Resorts. “It is a great honour for us to be receiving this very prestigious award, and we are very proud indeed to have won the award for three years in succession," said Mr Thirayuth. "The meetings and conventions sector is of great importance to Thailand, and we are in the privileged position of playing such a significant role in presenting Thailand to the world.” The TTG Travel Awards are organised by TTG Asia, the region’s most authoritative travel industry publication, with voting open to all readers.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
Ocean House Management, LLC announces the opening of the historic Weekapaug Inn in the peaceful Rhode Island beach community of Weekapaug, following a $20 million transformation. The Inn, which has been closed since 2007, re-opened on October 7 as a four-season quintessential New England seaside vacation retreat, offering guests a sophisticated getaway with sweeping views of Quonochontaug Pond, and the Atlantic just beyond. The Weekapaug Inn joins its nearby sister hotel, the Ocean House, as a collection of iconic resorts renowned for their scenic Rhode Island oceanfront setting, sense of tradition, exceptional food and highly personalized service. Originally built in 1899, the inn's renovation was conducted with the support and cooperation of the Rhode Island Historic Preservation & Heritage Commission. Designed by Rhode Island-based Nancy Taylor Designs, the inn's distinct 27 guest rooms, and four two-bedroom Signature Suites convey a mix of traditional and whimsical fabrics and furniture – reflecting the owners' dedication to the Inn's rich history – with a touch of modern luxury. Welcoming guests to enjoy the romance of winter in New England, rooms have bathrooms with heated floors and towel racks, and four wood-burning fireplaces are featured in the public spaces. "While the Ocean House and the Weekapaug Inn have always catered to different guests and will continue to do so, we plan to create appropriate synergies and alignment between the two properties to create truly unique and special experiences for guests at each property," said Daniel A. Hostettler, the President and Group Managing Director of Ocean House Management, LLC.
Langham to take over New York luxury hotel. Hong Kong-based Langham Hospitality Group has reached an agreement to acquire the Setai Fifth Avenue for an undisclosed price. It will be Langham's first hotel in New York. Langham will rebrand the 2-year-old hotel as the Langham Place. The 214-room property is in midtown Manhattan, just south of Bryant Park. Langham has 14 hotels worldwide, including properties in Boston and Pasadena, Calif. The Langham Chicago is slated to open next year. The first Langham hotel opened in London in 1865. The Setai Fifth Avenue is one of five hotels operating under Capella Hotels & Resorts, a company run by former Ritz-Carlton president Horst Schulze. By Danny King.
Accor set to expand Mercure portfolio in UK. Four British hotels are set to open their doors as part of the Mercure portfolio within the next four months, increasing the brand’s footprint to 75 hotels in the UK. Located in London, Scotland, Milton Keynes and Darlington, the latest franchise agreements will add 394 rooms to the Mercure network and will create over 120 jobs across the regions. Commenting on the expansion, Jonathan Sheard, managing director of operations, MGallery and Mercure Hotels UK & Ireland said: “We are delighted to welcome our new partner hotels to the Mercure network in the UK. “Each hotel has its own unique story and represents an exciting new destination for business and leisure travellers alike. “We are committed to significantly growing our Mercure hotel portfolio by 2015 and this will largely be driven through our growing franchise development in the UK. “We are delighted to welcome these four new hotel partners, all of which are a natural fit for the Mercure brand. “By joining with our business, our franchise partners will be able to boost their hotels’ existing exposure through the use of our brand name and benefit from our existing expertise, powerful global distribution networks and committed sales force.” First to open is the Mercure Darlington Kings Hotel, which launched last week, followed closely by the Mercure London Greenwich Hotel and the Mercure Eddleston Barony Castle Hotel and Spa in Scotland later this month (October). The Mercure Milton Keynes Abbey Hill will launch in January 2013. Mercure is the second largest mid-scale hotel worldwide - outside North America - with a network of 724 hotels in 51 countries.
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