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Hotel News In Brief
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Fly.com announced the findings of its inaugural New Year Travel Resolutions Survey, which identifies America's most desired destinations for the new year.
At the top of America's "wish list" is Italy, closely followed by Australia. They are joined in the top five by New Zealand, the United Kingdom and France. However, Italy was the clear standout in Europe, with twice as many respondents indicating that they wished to travel there over the United Kingdom and France combined. At a regional level, a preference for travel to countries within Europe and Oceania resulted in the two regions accounting for nearly 60% of all responses. 2013 Top 10 Most Desired Countries:
Royal Caribbean has ordered a third Oasis-class ship with a scheduled delivery in mid-2016, and an option to order a fourth vessel with a 2018 delivery.
Royal Caribbean Chairman Richard Fain had confirmed in October that the cruise giant was in negotiations to order a sister to its 5,400-passenger Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, the world's largest cruise ships. The third Oasis-class vessel will be built at STX France's Saint-Nazaire shipyard, a departure for the Oasis ships, which were both built at the STX's shipyard in Turku, Finland. Royal Caribbean did not divulge how much the third Oasis ship would cost to build, but had said in October that price would be less than the $1.4 billion each of the first two ships cost. The cruise line also said that STX provided it with a one-year option for the mid-year 2018 delivery of a fourth Oasis-class vessel at similar pricing. The 225,282- ton Oasis-class ships span 16 decks and feature 2,700 staterooms. They feature more than a dozen restaurants, four pool areas, and a tree-lined Central Park and Boardwalk "neighbourhoods". The ships feature the first zip lines and carousels at sea.
Shangri-La Hotels dig nature, especially pandas. That’s one reason the company began planting bamboo trees this month in China’s Sichuan province for a new giant panda centre that will rescue ill or elderly wild pandas.
Eventually hotel guests at Shangri-La Hotel Chengdu will be able to visit the center, scheduled to open in mid-2013, to learn more about the animals. "We wanted to find an innovative way to contribute to saving giant pandas. Through planting bamboo, the panda's food source, we are proud to make a lasting, sustainable, high-impact contribution," said Patricia Gallardo, director of corporate social responsibility and sustainability for Shangri-La International Hotel Management. The Hong Kong-based luxury hotel group operates 35 hotels in mainland China. Shangri-La’s bamboo plantation is attached to the Dujiangyan Giant Panda Rescue & Disease Control Center, which is at the foot of Mt. Qing Cheng, about a 90-minute drive from Chengdu. The Dujiangyan Center, which is to open to the public next year, can house up to 30 pandas. Guests of Shangri-La Hotel Chengdu will be able to visit the center and take educational tours, learn about the plight of the giant pandas and engage in activities such as preparing food for pandas in the panda feeding kitchen.
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments…
Felix Rappaport resigned today as president and chief operating officer of the Mirage, after 21 years with MGM Resorts International. Rappaport is the second casino chief to leave MGM this month. Bill McBeath, president and COO of CityCenter announced his resignation on Dec. 3. MGM Chief Executive Jim Murren said the company would immediately begin looking for a replacement. Corey Sanders, COO for MGM, would be assigned to work with the Mirage during the transition, Murren said. Rappaport, 60, did not announce his plans. Growing up in Philadelphia, Rappaport took his first job at age 14 working in a men's clothing store making $25 a week. He eventually went into hotel management and moved to Las Vegas in the early 1990s. He has spent most of his career with MGM, where he worked in the executive offices of the MGM Grand, Luxor, Excalibur and New York-New York before moving to the Mirage. He oversaw a massive renovation at the Luxor, while serving as president of that casino and the Excalibur, in early 2000s. Rappaport took over as president of the Mirage in September 2010, during a move of casino leadership that also sent Scott Sibella to the MGM Grand, Renee West to run the Luxor and Excalibur and promoted Chuck Bowling to president of Mandalay Bay. Rappaport is a well-known foodie who oversaw the development of new nightclubs and restaurants at the Mirage.
The Rezidor Hotel Group today announced the appointment of Olivier Harnisch (45) as Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer. Harnisch will succeed Wolfgang M. Neumann who is taking over from Kurt Ritter as the company's new President & CEO. Harnisch currently serves as Vice President, Northern and Central Europe at Hilton Worldwide. In his new role he will be based at Rezidor's corporate support office in Brussels, Belgium. He will also be a member of the group's Executive Committee, chaired by Wolfgang M. Neumann. Harnisch will head Rezidor's optimized, decentralized operational organization comprising the areas Nordics, Eastern Europe & Russia, Western Europe & North Africa, Central Europe, UK & Ireland, and Middle East & sub-Saharan Africa under the leadership of Area Vice Presidents. Across all these territories Rezidor's portfolio of hotels in operation currently features 335 properties with 73,184 rooms. Harnisch, who has both German and French nationality, holds a Master of Science in Organizational Behaviour of University of London; a Master of Business Administration of Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh; and a Degree in Hospitality Management of Berlin School of Hotel Administration. He attended further senior management courses at New York University, USA; Cornell University, Ithaca, USA; and University of Hagen, Germany. He began his career within the hospitality business in flagships such as St. Regis New York and Hotel Bayerischer Hof in Munich. He joined Hilton in March 1999 as Director of Operations at Hilton Dresden. He afterwards served as General Manager of Hilton Madagascar and Hilton Zurich & Hilton Apart Hotel; and was promoted to Cluster General Manager of Hilton Munich Park & Hilton Munich City. In February 2008 he took over the corporate position as Vice President, Northern and Central Europe at Hilton Worldwide.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide opened its first dual-branded ski resort complex in Changbaishan, China this summer. Dalian Wanda Group owns Sheraton Changbaishan Resort and The Westin Changbaishan Resort, both of which are adjacent to the Changbai Mountains. Sheraton Changbaishan Resort has 297 guestrooms and suites with mountain or ski views, all furnished with a work desk and ergonomic chair; Sheraton Club rooms have upgraded amenities. The Sheraton part of the resort also includes several food and beverage outlets. Feast, Sheraton’s signature restaurant, offers a buffet and a la carte service from its open kitchen. Yue serves Chinese cuisine with an emphasis on Cantonese specialties. The Sheraton also has 13 private dining rooms. The Westin Changbaishan Resort has 262 guestrooms, a Westin Kids Club, an indoor swimming pool, and a Heavenly Spa. Guests can ski right into the resort’s lobby. On the food and beverage side, Seasonal Tastes serves international fare. Maru is the first Korean restaurant in Starwood branded hotels.
DoubleTree by Hilton opened the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Spa Emporda in Spain. The property has 87 guestrooms and houses the restaurant Tramuntana, as well as an al fresco barbecue dining option. The hotel also provides a fitness center, 24-hour business zone and five meeting rooms. In addition, the hotel's conference facilities can accommodate up to 350 delegates. Hilton Worldwide now operates six hotels in Spain with five Hilton Hotels & Resorts properties located in Barcelona, Madrid, Toledo and Palma, Mallorca. The arrival of DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Spa Emporda is set to be followed by a second hotel for the brand, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Conference Center La Mola, which is expected to open in early 2013.
Meliá Hotels International announced a new Innside by Meliá hotel in the city of Aachen, Germany, 50 miles southwest from Dusseldorf and Koln. The hotel is scheduled to open in the first half of 2015 and will provide 158 rooms, a sky bar and a restaurant at the rooftop with panoramic views over the town, including the cathedral. The owners, the German subsidiary of Dutch development organization Hugenholtz Property Group (HPG), signed a long-term lease agreement with Meliá Hotels International, to operate the hotel under its most cosmopolitan hotel brand: Innside By Meliá, which offers a business lifestyle experience to its customers. "The acquisition of the Innside brand in Germany in 2007 contributed to strengthen our portfolio with a fresh and innovative concept, for those of our customers who expect more than excellent service. During these five years, our growth in Germany has been closely associated with this brand, and we are facing an ambitious international expansion plan," said Gabriel Escarrer, vice chairman and CEO of Meliá Hotels International.
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