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Hotel News in Brief
Some current conversation starters...
Trump Entertainment Resorts announced on Thursday that it sold the 906-room Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, located in Atlantic City, New Jersey, for US$20 million to Meruelo Gaming Holdings LLC, an affiliate of The Meruelo Group.
The US$20 million transaction for Trump Plaza is far less than the US$210 million development cost when it opened in 1984. In fact, this is the lowest sales price yet for an Atlantic City casino-resort among a series of sales over the past three years, such as the 727-room Trump Marina Hotel Casino's US$38 million sale in 2011 (the property then rebranded as Golden Nugget). According to the Associated Press, Trump Plaza has become the worst performing property in the city, taking in less than US$4.9 million last month. Trump Entertainment Resorts, Atlantic City, expects the sale to close by May 31. The Meruelo Group, Downey, California, said it plans to change the hotel's name despite praising the property for being well recognized in a press release.
Ibis has become Europe's outright number one hotel brand in 2013, with 1,277 hotels and 121,882 rooms across the continent.
"This represent a major move in the rankings, as it positions owning group Accor - already the number one hotel group in Europe - as also having the leading brand in the market with Ibis," comments CEO, MKG Group, Georges Panayotis. Part of the growth represents new property developments, whilst the bulk is a result of a major repositioning strategy by Accor to amalgamate and uniform the Ibis product with former brands Etap Hotels and All Seasons. Ibis now has the largest number of rooms in Europe, significantly more than any other chain. The complete renewal of our Economy supply through the ibis mega brand project, which concerns more than 1,600 hotels in the world, has been implemented by Accor at an unprecedented speed in history of the hospitality industry. It is a response to the evolution of consumer needs and supports our accelerated international develop- ment. I am very happy that this first place in the European brand ranking rewards the exceptional mobilisation of Accor's staff at every level, as well as of all our franchisees,» states President & CEO Accor Group, Denis Hennequin. The change in ranking pushes former number one American brand Best Western to second spot, now with 90,738 rooms, a small increase over last year. With five new properties and a total of almost 57,000 rooms, Accor's other brand Mercure makes up the top three.
Mr & Mrs Smith, the boutique hotel experts, have worked with creative agency Protein Networks to design an innovative new Facebook app, reinforcing Mr & Mrs Smith's brand... and having a bit of fun in the process.
Aimed at those suffering from post-Valentine's Day disappointment, and indeed all Facebook fans hoping for a romantic weekend away, the Hint Hint app allows users to create a suggestive note for their partners or friends, encouraging them to book a break at one of Mr & Mrs Smith's stylish stays. The new social-media app engages with Mr & Mrs Smith's core audience of cool couples in their 20s and 30s, and reinforces the brand's style as fun, quirky and irreverent. The app appears on Mr & Mrs Smith's Facebook page: users simply choose one of the pre-prepared hints (or write their own), pick one of the suitably wanderlust-inducing images provided and then post it on their partner's wall or send it as a private message.
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments...
Bobby Billstone recently joined Huntington Hotel Group as Regional Vice President. He brings 16 years of hospitality experience to his role. Prior to joining Huntington, Mr. Billstone served as General Manager, Regional General Manager and Regional Director of Operations at various hotel brands, primarily Marriott and Hilton select service hotels. He graduated from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, with a degree in Restaurant, Hotel and Institutional Management. He will be based in the company's Las Colinas office.
Concorde Hotel Singapore today announced the appointment of Mr Frank Pang as the Hotel's Assistant Training Manager, responsible for the Hotel's Training and Development functions, reporting to the Director of Training and Development. Frank is tasked with managing the delivery of the Hotel's training programmes as well as building a committed and motivated team of hosts at Concorde Hotel Singapore. Prior to assuming his position at Concorde Hotel Singapore, Frank was with Marina Bay Sands Pte Ltd. With more than 5 years of training experience in the Hospitality industry, his efforts will help us attain greater operational excellence at Concorde Hotel Singapore.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
Kempinski Ambience Delhi, the brand's first independently managed hotel, is now open in the city's Shahdara commercial district. Ambience Group owns the property. The 480-key hotel has two towers connected by a sky bridge. Each tower has its own entrance, lobby and check-in desk. Food and beverage outlets include a glassed-in bar, Café Knosh for all-day dining, the Indian specialty Dilli 32, the Asian restaurant Mei Kun, and the Casaluna Italian restaurant.
At the end of 2013, a new InterCityHotel will be opening its doors in Ingolstadt in Bavaria, an important centre of the German automobile industry. The hotel will be located close to the city's main railway station and will offer 144 rooms of the latest InterCityHotel design generation, each of which will be at least 20 m² in size. A modern BistroLounge will enhance the services on offer by providing a restaurant outlet. The hotel has been designed by the Munich-based company Höldrich Architekten. Interior design is by Dreesen & Partner from Düsseldorf and Büro Burbacher. The project investor is JP Commercial XII S. à. R. l. of Luxembourg. Project management will be the responsibility of CONCEPT.PRO Baumanagement GmbH in Berlin. The new InterCityHotel Ingolstadt will be operated by InterCityHotel GmbH, based in Frankfurt.
Holiday Inn Lavasa, Mugaon, a 200-room mid-scale hotel is expected to open by 2015. Lavasa Corporation recently signed an agreement with IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) the second town under development at Lavasa. Holiday Inn Lavasa, Mugaon, a 200-room mid-scale hotel is expected to open by 2015. Lavasa, India's first planned hill city is located in the western region of India in the picturesque landscape of the Sahayadri Mountains, amidst 7 hills and 60 km of lakefront. A three-hour drive from Mumbai and an hour's drive from Pune, the city is one fifth the size of Mumbai.
Mandarin Oriental has completed the purchase of the freehold interest in the building housing Mandarin Oriental, Paris and two prime street front retail units from Société Foncière Lyonnaise for €290 million (US$388.9 million). The transaction was partly funded by new five-year €150 million (US$201.1 million) debt facilities, with the balance from the group's cash reserves. Edouard Ettedgui, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group Chief Executive, said, "This transaction has provided our group with a rare opportunity to own a prime piece of real estate in a key gateway city which is an important destination for our luxury brand. The acquisition is expected to be earnings enhancing and to bring a number of additional benefits including single ownership and the opportunity for future expansion for the hotel." The property is located on the prestigious Rue St Honoré, within walking distance of the city's famous cultural attractions and world class retail.
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