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Hotel News in Brief
The Rocco Forte Collection announced that its Prague property is to be named The Augustine. The 101-room hotel, due to open in early summer 2008, is being created from a complex of five historic buildings, the largest and most important being the 13th century Augustinian St Thomas's Monastery, after which the hotel is named. Rocco Forte's The Augustine will be the twelfth hotel to join The Collection. Located at the very heart of the city in the Lesser Town, the hotel boasts spectacular views of Prague Castle and the Wallenstein Gardens. The monastery will provide The Augustine with a picturesque setting of established courtyards and elegant garden squares, while retaining certain areas for the practising Augustinian monks who remain in situ. Key historic features such as cloistered terraces, wooden ceilings, wine vaults and stone arches have been incorporated into the hotel's design. New additions include a tranquil courtyard entrance and a glassed-in courtyard, which will become The Augustine's main restaurant, complete with two protected trees.
Base announces two new backpacker hostels for Taupo and Wanaka. Australia and New Zealand's premier hostel network, Base, today announced that it would expand its New Zealand network from eight to ten hostels with the addition of two new purpose built hostels to be completed by July 2008. One hostel will be located in the central North Island town of Taupo and is scheduled for completion in December 2007. A second hostel is under construction in the Southern region of the South Island, in the popular ski resort town of Wanaka. Situated near to the snow fields of Treble Cone and Cardrona, Base Wanaka is scheduled to open in June 2008 to coincide with the start of the New Zealand's famous ski season. These two new properties cement the Base brand as Australasia's leading privately owned operator of quality backpacker accommodation and will increase the region's network to a total of 13 hostels in prime CBD and leisure destinations from Auckland in NZ to Magnetic Island on Queensland's Great Barrier Reef. Partly owned by hotel group Accor Asia Pacific, Base made its debut on the backpacking scene in 2002 with the launch of three hostels in Auckland, Rotorua and Wellington. Since then Base has gone from strength to strength, merging with the New Zealand owned Beyond Backpacker group in 2006.
The Chedi Club named Indonesia's leading boutique hotel. The Chedi Club at Tanah Gajah in Ubud, Bali, a luxury property managed by General Hotel Management (GHM) Limited, has been named Indonesia's Leading Boutique Hotel at the World Travel Awards 2007 held in a ceremony in Bangalore last Friday. GHM, a luxury hotel development and management company, is the market leader in conceptualising, developing and operating a selection of exclusive hotels and resorts worldwide. GHM manages a portfolio of three brands including highly regarded properties such as The Datai in Langkawi, The Setai in Miami, The Chedi hotels and The Serai hotels worldwide.
New trend in Atlantic City hotel growth. As reported by the Press of Atlantic City: "It may be early, but the signs are unmistakable. "Atlantic City's business leaders are rushing to find rooms for the growing number of tourists. "Cranes towering over the city are assembling hotel additions to the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Harrah's Atlantic City and Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort. "But for the first time in memory, investors outside the casinos are spending tens of millions of dollars to renovate or build three separate hotels in the resort without public subsidies. "These generally high-end properties add nearly 600 rooms to the city. They include a two-year renovation of a former Quality Inn, a plan to combine two down-market destinations into a designer hotel and a small boutique establishment that just cleared the city's zoning board this month. "The head of the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority similarly thought now was a good time for hotels. "...The first of the new wave of hotel development to open likely will be the new Courtyard at Marriott, in the homestretch of an $8.4 million renovation and expansion that would add about 200 rooms. "...The next to open probably will be a $93 million project that takes the resort's separate Holiday Inn and Howard Johnson and turns them into a single upscale property called 'The Chelsea' designed to shelter the young, hip and affluent resort visitors. "...Resort businessman Spiros Trupos received zoning board approval Oct. 11 to build a boutique hotel called 'The Adelphia' across the street from The Quarter at Tropicana Casino and Resort..." Source: Casino City Times
Hotel Leelaventure Ltd has finalised a private equity investment of 50 billion rupees ($1.3 billion) to fund expansion and the investor may be Blackstone, an Indian newspaper said on Monday. The Times of India newspaper said Leela Chairman C.P. Krishnan Nair confirmed the investment but declined to name the private equity firm or the size of the stake it had bought. The paper cited unnamed industry sources as saying the investor was likely to be Blackstone, which it said had been in talks with Leela. "We have got close to 5,000 crore rupees worth of funding, which will be spent on our ongoing projects and for expansion purposes," Nair told the newspaper. The company also planned to launch a second chain of 5-star luxury hotels which would come up in religious destinations, Nair told the paper. Officials of the two firms were not immediately available for comment. Earlier this year, Blackstone bought a majority stake in apparel firm Gokaldas Exports Ltd and agreed to invest $150 million in Nagarjuna Construction Co Ltd. Source: Reuters India
Westin becomes first hotel chain to create Superfoods focused menu as part of their commitment to personal renewal. As part of Westin's ongoing commitment to personal renewal they are teaming up with SuperFoods Partners LLC, owners of the SuperFoodsRx brand to become the first hotel brand to create a SuperFoods focused menu for their guests. Superfoods known for being health-enhancing and rich in antioxidants and phyto-nutrients will be the main ingredient in Westin signature dishes such as banana oatmeal brulé, green-tea-infused salmon and molten dark chocolate cake. The initiative, which is currently rolling out in 25 Westin hotels in the U.S. and Canada, will go global in 2008 with the introduction of the Westin Signature Breakfast, a SuperFoods breakfast selection that will be offered at all Westin properties. To kick off the launch in Asia Pacific, all the 23 Westin hotels in the region will start to introduce SuperFoods items in their in-room dining menus.
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