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Hotel News In Brief
Some current conversation starters…
Ty Warner Hotels and Resorts has turned down an unsolicited offer to buy the 368-room Four Seasons Hotel New York for US$900 million.
The company cited the continued strength of the New York City real estate market and the U.S. federal government’s ‘fiscal cliff’ spending standoff as reasons to decline the deal. The offer was speculated to have come from the government of Brunei. The sultan of Brunei sold 889-room The New York Palace Hotel to Northwood Investors LLC for US$400 million in 2011 via the sovereign wealth fund Brunei Investment Agency, after purchasing the hotel for US$202 million in 1994.
In Europe, the effects of the economic situation on the continent’s tourism industry are wide-ranging, but the overall trend remains positive.
This is one of the findings of the ITB World Travel Trends Report, compiled by IPK International and commissioned by ITB Berlin. The report predicts that in 2013 Europeans will undertake even more trips abroad. Europe can also expect more arrivals. This year, the number of stays abroad and spending at destinations rose by around 2 percent. At the same time European travel patterns changed -- thus beach holidays fell by 1 percent, while city tours grew by around 14 percent. Short breaks of one to three overnights rose by 10 percent and business stays abroad increased by 8 percent. Portugal, Spain and Italy benefited from a rise in trips from Eastern Europe. Italy reported 2 percent growth in inbound tourism and an increase in visitors from Russia and Poland. Their numbers offset the slight decline in arrivals from Germany and the U.K. Similarly, Spain and Portugal each reported a 3 percent rise in inbound tourism. The report also discovered that Europeans increasingly favor faraway destinations -- long-haul travel rose by around 4 percent. The main beneficiaries of this trend were the Americas and the Asia Pacific region, where inbound tourism rose by 2 and 8 percent, respectively.
Windsor Capital Group Santa Monica, California, has announced its 21 hotels across the United States are again serving as official collection sites for this holiday season’s Toys for Tots drive.
Toys for Tots, which is run by the U.S. Marine Corps, collects and distributes toys to children in need. Every WCG hotel is a designated drop-off site for the local chapter of Toys for Tots. WCG hotels also are collecting spare change and US$1 train cutouts available for purchase by guests to donate to Toys for Tots. This year, WCG Hotels added a social media contest to encourage fans and followers to give as well. By liking WCG Hotels on Facebook or following @WCGHotels on Twitter and sharing what inspires them to give, guests can enter to win a free two-night stay at any WCG hotel plus a US$40 food credit. Entries can be in the form of a story or photo, and the winner will be chosen by other fans and followers. Contest entries will be accepted until December 12. In 2011, WCG helped collect more than 3,000 toys and US$1,500 in spare change for Toys for Tots.
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments…
Officials of New Castle Hotels and Resorts appointed Nik Pereira director of sales for the Westin Portland Harborview Hotel, scheduled to open in 2014. The historic hotel (formerly the Eastland Park Hotel), owned by a joint venture between RockBridge and New Castle Hotels and Resorts, is undergoing an extensive renovation to retain its historic qualities while simultaneously transforming to the upper-upscale Westin brand. Prior to joining New Castle, Pereira was the account director at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel and Towers. Earlier in his career, he served as senior area sales manager at the Westin & Hilton Providence where he also acted as the hotel’s liaison to the Providence Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
Choice Hotels International, Inc. has announced that Chris Wallace has joined Choice Hotels as Assistant General Counsel, Franchising, reporting to Simone Wu, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary and Chief Compliance Officer. In his new role, Chris will manage Choice's Franchise and Contracts Administration Division and be responsible for overseeing Choice's franchise compliance function and ensuring that Choice and its associates act in accordance with all state, federal, and international franchise laws. He will also be responsible for, and oversee the preparation of, all Franchise Disclosure Documents, franchise agreements, renewals, and franchise terminations. With more than 15 years of legal experience, including over 11 years in domestic and international franchising law, Chris brings a wealth of knowledge to Choice. He most recently served as Counsel for Nixon Peabody, LLP, in Washington, D.C., which was named "Law Firm of the Year" in Franchise Law the past two years by U.S. News & World Report. As a member of the firm's Franchise and Distribution Team for more than 8 years, he provided counsel to domestic and international franchisor corporations, franchisees and distributors on all aspects of franchising, licensing and distribution. Chris has worked with a variety of major international clients and brings expertise in the areas of trademark license agreements, master franchise agreements, franchise compliance and franchise litigation. Prior to joining Nixon Peabody, Chris held positions at firms in Washington, D.C. and New York, N.Y., specializing in franchise litigation, white-collar criminal defense, and general commercial litigation.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
The Blackstone Group bought the 501-room The Burlington Hotel, the largest hotel in Dublin, out of receivership for €67 million (US$86 million). Irish property developer Bernard McNamara, the hotel’s previous owner, had bought The Burlington from JDH in 2007 for €288 million (US$373 million). Grant Thornton, appointed receiver of the 4-star hotel by the Bank of Scotland, had a guide price of €65 million to €75 million (US$84 million to US$97 million) for the property. Despite being bought for a much lower price than five years ago, The Guardian reported that the hotel is estimated to have made profits of €5 million to €6 million (US$6 million to US$7 million) during the past year. Blackstone plans to invest €16 million (US$20 million) renovating the property and rebrand it under Hilton Worldwide’s DoubleTree by Hilton brand. This will be the first DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Ireland.
Swiss billionaire Thomas Straumann announced that he sold the 57-room Grand Hotel Bellevue, located in Gstaad, Switzerland, to Daniel Koetser and Rudolf Maag. The purchase price was not disclosed. “I am very happy that my long-standing colleague Rudolf Maag and his son-in-law Daniel Koetser have decided to buy the hotel,” said Straumann, who announced in September that he was selling the hotel. Koetser and Maag plan to retain the hotel's current management team and name. Grand Hotel Bellevue along with the 101-room Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois Basel are marketed under the Spirit Hotels brand.
Wyndham Hotel Group today announced the addition of the new 106-room Wyndham Garden Chinatown in New York City to the Wyndham® Hotels and Resorts portfolio, increasing the upscale hotel brand’s presence in New York City. The opening of the newly constructed hotel, owned by 93 Bowery Holdings, LLC, and managed by Wyndham Hotel Group’s management company, marks the third Wyndham Garden hotel in New York City and the second in Manhattan Borough. It joins sister properties Wyndham Garden Manhattan Chelsea West in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood and the Wyndham Garden Long Island City Manhattan View across the East River in neighboring Queens. Located at 93 Bowery, Wyndham Garden Chinatown puts guests within walking distance of the trendy SoHo neighborhood, Little Italy, Lower Manhattan and public transportation, which offers immediate access to all the city’s world-class shopping, dining and cultural attractions. The area’s three major international airports are all less than 30 minutes away.
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