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Hotel News In Brief
Some current conversation starters…
While an Armani spokesperson denied it and developer Prime Investors Capital said it has not yet chosen an operator, The Daily Mail in London reported on Tuesday that the Italian fashion house is hoping to design the iconic Admiralty Arch into a £100 million (US$155 million) Armani hotel.
According to The Daily Mail, the 100-room hotel will be designed by Giorgio Armani himself at a cost of £600,000 (US$929,000) per room if the deal goes through. The hotel, which sits at the ceremonial entrance from Trafalgar Square to the Mall that leads to Buckingham Palace, would open in December 2015 with a restaurant and bar, and an Armani boutique.
The perfect holiday comprises a five-hour flight to a destination with a temperature of 24C and lasts 11 days, according to Colletts Travel.
A survey of 2,000 British adults, commissioned by Colletts to commemorate its 30-year anniversary, also found that the dream location was a 20-mile private transfer from the airport, with direct access to the beach from the accommodation, which boasts its own pool. Other elements making up the perfect holiday included flying first class – which topped the list of must-haves – going all-inclusive, drinks delivered directly to sunbeds, room service, a steamy novel such as Fifty Shades of Grey, personal driver, daily massage and a meet and greet service. The holiday would ideally be taken in July, with the destination enjoying nine hours of sunshine a day. Two thirds of respondents said peace and quiet would be the most important aspect of their dream break.
A dynamic shift in Phuket, Thailand's tourism market shows demand moving away from the beach, according to a new report issued by Phuket-based consulting firm C9 Hotelworks.
A C9 report states that Russian and Chinese visitors accounted for 38% of international airport arrivals to the island last year, which is a trend consistent with Thailand's continued surge in the mass market where last year over three million visitors from China and Russia came to the country. "Hot on the heels of a rising Asian middle class and the resurgence of a prolific group travel segment is that Thailand's resort markets are becoming urbanized playgrounds,” C9's Managing Director Bill Barnett said. “It's not just about the beach anymore as shopping and attractions are gaining momentum as strong demand catalysts." C9 research in 2012 revealed that tourist spending is heavily weighted toward major shopping malls, which command 73% of the market share of island attractions. Entertainment accounts for 16% of the spend. Research further showed that Phuket visitors spend 30% on accommodation, with retail shopping closely tailing at 24%. Overseas tourists are pushing up numbers at the large malls where the top three-nationality mix of customers are Chinese, Russians and Australians.
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments…
Ms. Isabel M. Hill has been selected as the new director of the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries in the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce. She previously served as OTTI’s deputy director for policy and planning. “Most recently, Isabel coordinated the interagency development of the first-ever, government-wide National Travel and Tourism Strategy under President Obama’s Executive Order, and she is leading our efforts to implement the Strategy through the Tourism Policy Council. This is a very exciting time and opportunity to increase U.S. travel and tourism exports, and I am confident that Isabel and OTTI will continue to play a key role in our efforts to support this critical industry.”
RezNext, a real-time online distribution solution for hotel rooms, welcomes former Pegasus CEO, Mike Kistner to the board of RezNext. Michael Kistner has over 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry, online operations and technology. He is also the past chairman of the board and CEO Officer of Pegasus Solutions. Mike Kistner was earlier the CIO and SVP e-Commerce, at Best Western International before joining Pegasus. Hebrought Best Western online through their Internet booking engine. Kistner served in various senior executive, operational, Internet and technology positions at Cendant, now Wyndham Hotels.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
Accor announced on Monday that it sold the 147-room Sofitel Paris Le Faubourg to Mount Kellett Capital Management LP as part of a €113 million (US$150 million) deal. As part of the agreement, the hotel will undergo a renovation worth €13 million (US$17 million) scheduled for 2014 and continue to be managed by Accor, Courcouronnes, France. The hotel will remain open during the renovation. “The Sofitel Paris Le Faubourg stands as one of the most iconic hotels for the brand. I am delighted with this transaction, achieved with high quality partners, which allows us to keep a long-term visibility on the management of one of Accor's true flagships,” said Denis Hennequin, Accor chairman and CEO.
Houston-based Pan Caribbean Capital Partners I, Ltd. plans to open the first phase of Las Verandas Hotel and Villas on the island of Roatán March 1. The first phase of the resort includes six villas with a total of 12 bedrooms. The design is inspired by nature, with stained wood trusses, French doors, and tropical landscaping. Most villas have private pools. The first phase also includes the lobby, Palapa Bar & Restaurant, two infinity-edge pools with waterfalls, 1,000 ft (305 m) of private beach, and The Black Pearl golf course, designed by Pete and Perry Dye.
New York-based interior design firm dash design renovated the Renaissance Washington, D.C. Downtown Hotel. As part of the new brand direction for Renaissance Hotels, David Ashen, principal of dash design, and his team completed the redesign of 807 rooms, including 10 suites, as well as guest corridors. The goal of the redesign was to create a unique boutique environment within a 900-room building while staying true to the Renaissance brand core values. According to Ashen, dash design’s design concept came from the idea of Washington, DC, being the nation’s hub, so the focus was on what was American rather than specifically local. "We wanted to create what we called ‘A New American Original’ and took our inspiration from casual American fashion,” he said.
The Marti Group opened its first city address with Marti Istanbul Hotel, a new five-star property set in Istanbul, Turkey. Fashioned by designer Zeynep Fadillioglu, the 11-story, 270-room hotel is arrayed with various attributes, artwork and touches reflecting the heritage of the surrounding city. While the hotel's phase one soft opening was held as early as July 2012, the property has now been completely opened, with the unveiling of all of its public spaces. Marti Istanbul Hotel is the latest addition to the Marti Group, a family-owned public hotel management company in Turkey. Founded in 1967, Marti Group operates five hotel and resort properties along the Turquoise Coast.
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