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Hotel News In Brief
Some current conversation starters…
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. today announced that, despite ongoing macroeconomic and geo-political uncertainty, 2012 was a year of the most deal signings since before the global economic crisis.
Before year-end, the company expects to have signed in excess of 125 new hotel management and franchise agreements, surpassing last year's deal signings by approximately 13 percent. By year end 2012, Starwood expects to have opened 71 new hotels, representing approximately 18,500 rooms in 20 countries, strengthening its global lead and expanding its footprint particularly in developing markets. Since 2007, Starwood has added over 100,000 gross new hotel rooms to its system. Frits van Paasschen, President and CEO of Starwood, said: "Rising wealth and a growing middle class around the world are creating new demand for infrastructure, including new hotels, and Starwood is well positioned to take advantage of these trends. Our annual deal signings have increased progressively since 2009. Furthermore, the size of our overall cumulative pipeline and the quality of developers, projects and commercial terms are the finest they have ever been in the company's history."
Niyama, Maldives is offering guests an opportunity to work with well-known hip hop artists to produce their own rap for Valentine’s Day.
“Love Struck Beats,” scheduled for February 10-15, will consist of three dedicated workshops led by Joe Flizzow and SonaOne. They will guide guests through beat listening, beat familiarization, beat selection and lyric inspiration. The final result will be packaged for guests to use as Valentine’s Day gifts.
The Crowne Plaza hotel in Leeds, England, is testing a later weekend checkout time during winter to help combat guests’ seasonal difficulty getting out of bed.
The hotel surveyed 2,000 guests, and 67% said they wished they could stay in bed longer during the winter months. As a result, the property will allow guests to check out at 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays during winter. “It is harder for humans to wake up in the winter,” said Chris Idzikowski of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre. “The dawn light that kick starts a person’s body clock to get them ready for waking doesn’t appear until much later in the morning.” “We wanted to understand how our guests’ needs differed in the winter months,” said Matt Byram, general manager of Crowne Plaza Leeds.
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments…
Archie Bennett Jr. will retire January 18 as chairman of lodging REIT Ashford Hospitality Trust, Inc. Monty Bennett, his son and director /CEO of the company since its formation in 2003, will succeed him. In addition, the REIT's board of directors appointed W. Michael Murphy its lead director, replacing Martin Edelman. Murphy, the head of lodging and leisure capital markets for First Fidelity Companies, has been a director since Ashford's formation.
Sun International Zambia has appointed Guillaume Durand as the new Hotel Manager of The Royal Livingstone, its five-star property on the edge of Victoria Falls. Durand started his international hospitality career after he graduated in Marketing and International Relations at Seton Hall University in the United States. Following a Walt Disney World College program, Durand worked at leading hotel brands such as Conrad Hotels & Resorts and Hilton Worldwide. In 2011 he joined Sun International Hotels & Resorts as a Reservations Manager at the Falls Resort in Zambia. In his new position, Durand will be responsible for all service aspects, including front of house, Food and Beverage, housekeeping as well as financial management.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
The Hilton Garden Inn Milwaukee Downtown is now open in a 19th-century building that once served as the headquarters of Northwestern Mutual Life. The 127-key hotel occupies the Loyalty Building, which is part of the National Register of Historic Places, and includes a five-story atrium, original granite and limestone façades, and marble stair treads and wainscoting. Rosemont, Ill.-based First Hospitality Group, Inc. owns and operates the Hilton Garden Inn Milwaukee Downtown.
After retiring in 2001 as the long time president and chief operating officer of Ritz-Carlton, Horst H. Schulze went on to found Capella Hotel Group, a line of high-end boutique getaways with nine locations around the world. In February, Schulze plans to open the company’s newest outpost in Washington. The hotel, which will be on the C&O Canal in Georgetown, will have 49 rooms and suites, as well as a rooftop pool and a spa.
The Casino Royale on the Las Vegas Strip is now a Best Western hotel, joining the Best Western Plus portfolio. The 152-room Casino Royale is located between the Venetian and Harrah’s, across the Strip from the Mirage and Caesars Palace.
Hilton Worldwide has opened the DoubleTree by Hilton, Naha in Okinawa, Japan – the tenth Hilton Worldwide hotel in Japan and the first in the fast-growing, upscale DoubleTree by Hilton brand portfolio. Located in Naha, the capital city of Okinawa, the 227-room hotel is directly opposite the Okinawa Monorail station in Asahibashi, 11 minutes away from Naha Airport by monorail and 500 meters away from the local ferry terminal.
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