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Hotel News in Brief
For the third straight year, Marriott International (NYSE: MAR) has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with its Sustained Excellence Award. Among a long list of "green" accomplishments, the EPA noted Marriott's energy reduction strategy, through which the company and its owners avoided $1.3 million in costs; decreased greenhouse gas emissions by 3 percent per available room; and increased its total number of ENERGY STAR hotels to 275, the most of any hotel company. "Now, more than ever, helping to preserve the planet makes good business sense and is vital to the future of our company," says Chief Financial Officer Arne Sorenson, who co-chairs Marriott's Executive Green Council. "We continue to take steps to save energy, reduce waste and involve our employees and customers in new ways that they can help improve the environment." Building on 20 years of energy conservation experience, Marriott is committed to protecting the environment and addressing climate change.
The Heavenly Spa by Westin at The Westin Beijing Financial Street has been recognized by the Asia Spa & Wellness Festival 2009 Gold Awards as the "Best Hotel Spa - China". The Asia Spa & Wellness Festival 2009 Gold Awards celebrate the pioneering spirit of Asian spas and wellness centers. It is the region's most prestigious awards recognizing outstanding and innovative achievements and extraordinary acts by spas, wellness centers and resorts across the region.
Hilton Hotels Corporation has announced that its subsidiary has entered into an agreement with Sun Travels and Tours Pvt. Ltd, to manage the Hilton Maldives/Iru Fushi Resort & Spa. A conversion hotel project, the property currently known as the Irufushi Beach & Spa Resort is scheduled to open as a Hilton Worldwide Resort in July 2009. Martin Rinck, President Hilton Hotels Corporation - Asia Pacific, commented, "The beauty of the Maldives, its pristine white beaches, turquoise waters and fascinating underwater world continues to entice yachting and diving enthusiasts, spa seekers and honeymooners looking for an island hideaway. This is one of the most exotic and idyllic island destinations in the world, and we are delighted to add the Hilton flag to the Conrad brand already present". Comprising 220 villas, the Hilton Maldives/Iru Fushi Resort & Spa will sprawl over 52 acres of powdery white sands and abundant tropical vegetation on Medhafushi which is nestled within the unspoilt Noonu Atoll.
The opening of One&Only Cape Town on 3 April 2009 will mark the beginning of a new synergy between art and hospitality in South Africa. Drawing on his own passion for collecting art, Sol Kerzner, world renowned interior designer Adam D. Tihany, Liza Essers of the Goodman Gallery and leading South African art historian Michael Stevenson, commissioned several prominent South African artists to create works for the resort and personally sought out thought-provoking pieces to form a unique environment of creativity and individuality. By tapping into the country's cultural landscape, spaces within One&Only Cape Town will be given over to eye-catching installations and cutting-edge canvasses, while the mezzanine level of the resort will launch a new branch of the contemporary art gallery, Goodman Gallery.
Ghassan Sibai was hosted in Arjaan Dubai - Media City, the first property under Rotana's newly launched brand "Arjaan Hotel Apartments by Rotana". Ghassan Sibai is one of the most famous Syrian artists, specialized in Oil Painting and who came especially to Dubai to open his exhibition under the patronage of Mr. Mohammad Al Murr, Chairman of Dubai Cultural Council, Beaux Arts Gallery & Rafia Gallery and sponsored by Arjaan Dubai Media City and Abella & Co. Ghassan Sibai's artistic style was influenced by the metaphysical school and his experiments developed to present impressionist language with a symbolic aspect. Sibai's paintings treated political and social issues in a modern approach. His masterpieces are preserved in the National Museum of Damascus, the ministry of culture and private collections. "Hosting a great artist like Ghassan Sibai is really a great honor and I hope his stay at Arjaan Dubai Media City will be unforgettable", commented Kinan Al Ghraoui, General Manager.
IHG announced today that the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Orlando-Ocoee East has opened. The hotel is the third Holiday Inn Express to open in the Orlando area this year and marks the fourth property in the market to showcase the brand's new sign. The new signs outside all four hotels mark the seal of approval that they exemplify the standards of the $1 billion Holiday Inn brand relaunch program. First announced in 2007, the program was established to create a more contemporary brand image as part of the drive to increase quality and consistency across the global portfolio. The program focuses on arrival and welcome services, guestroom, and guest bath comfort. The global estate of more than 3,200 Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express properties is expected to be relaunched by the end of 2010.
Simon White, Area General Manager of Rydges Hotels and Resorts TNQ is pleased to announce the appointment of Scott Wilkinson as General Manager of award-winning Castaways at Mission Beach (managed by Rydges Hotels and Resorts). Mr Wilkinson seized the opportunity to return to Tropical North Queensland after almost two years working in New Zealand as the General Manager of Peppers Resorts in Christchurch and Taupo.
Chef Robert F Conte has recently been appointed the Executive Chef of The Westin Mumbai Garden City, scheduled to open later this year. Prior to his current appointment, Chef Robert was with the St Regis Bali and the St Regis Singapore. He brings with him a rich and varied experience which includes the Sheraton Hotel Dhaka, the Chedi Hotel, Muscat, the Shangri-la Hotel Singapore and the Four Seasons Olympic Hotel, Seattle. A Graduate in Culinary Arts, Chef Robert Conte also holds an Associate's Degree in Communications. Widely travelled, he has been recognized for his cuisine in Beijing, Singapore, Shanghai, Bangladesh and throughout the United States of America. He has had the privilege to assist the personal Chef to Bruce Springsteen while catering to the East Street Band in 2001. Known to implement Food Safety and Hygiene programs effectively in almost all his assignments, Chef Robert Conte has a contemporary and eclectic approach to food enriched by his diverse experience in working with Asian and Western forms of cooking.
Best Western International has announced the December 2009 opening of a new built modern-contemporary style resort on the Gulf Coast of Thailand, just beyond the boundary of one of Thailand's most spectacular national parks, Sam Roi Yod. The resort is set amidst a natural coconut grove at Sam Roi Yod Bay, just three minutes from the beach and adjacent to the park.
Costa Cruises, the largest Italian travel group and Europe's number one cruise line has announced a brand new project called "Send us a sea of names", whereby travel agents worldwide are invited to suggest names for the company's two new sister flagships. The names of the 16th and 17th members of the Costa fleet - two 114,500 gross tonnage sister ships built by global leader in cruise ship construction, Fincantieri and due for delivery in spring 2011 and 2012 - will be chosen from among the suggestions submitted online by any of the 200,000-plus travel agents worldwide working with the Italian company. The three travel agents whose ideas are judged the most creative by Costa Cruises' customers and web users will be "Guests of Honour" at the christening ceremony in 2011. The winning agents' companies will each be awarded the "Best Comfort, Best Costa Business" workstation, an ergonomic and functional work space specially designed by Costa to allow agents to relate to customers as effectively as possible to enhance sales performance. The workstation includes a computer with two screens (one for the agent and one for the customer), ergonomic Wi-Fi keyboard and mouse, ergonomic office chair, desk lamp and Costa limited edition penholder. The travel agent with the overall winning submission will also have the privilege of being a guest on the 16th fleet's maiden cruise. With a total guest capacity of 3,780 passengers per sister ship, the liners are part of the world's largest fleet expansion program, with five new ships due for delivery by 2012 entailing a total investment worth 2.4 billion euros ($AU 4.7 billion). The President of Costa Cruises, Gianni Onorato said, "Our commercial partners play a vital role in Costa Cruises' success and the idea of asking them to help us find the names of our next flagships to be delivered in 2011 and 2012 is a token of our recognition and is also indicative of the importance Costa attributes to its network of travel agencies." "Our steady growth over the last few years is the result of the commitment of those working with Costa and therefore also of our commercial partners, who promote the company's excellent product extremely effectively all over the world," Mr Onorato said. Over 200,000 travel agents in more than 100 countries have been called on to join in the project. "Send us a sea of names" will launch on 31 March 2009, with entries closing 5 June 2009. Australian travel agents are encouraged to visit the Costa Cruises' website, www.au.aseaofnames.com. All suggestions submitted to the website will be judged and an initial shortlist of 25 will be selected for each ship. The shortlisted travel agencies will be given a "Thankyou Kit", including a plaque, personalised model ship and a copy of Philippe Daverio's book "Art is the Ship". Subsequently, all Costa Cruises' customers and web users will be eligible to take part in the competition via the Costa Cruises' website www.costacruises.com.au, where they will be asked to vote for their favourite names from the shortlist. For more information and to book a Costa Cruise visit www.costacruises.com.au.
Fifty years after opening as the ne plus ultra of upscale accommodation in Vietnam, the Caravelle Hotel has set the stage for an anniversary celebration in May. On May 8, the Caravelle will recognize its 50 years on Saigon's Lam Son Square with an anniversary cocktail celebration in the hotel ballroom. Renowned wartime journalist and Pulitzer-prize winner Peter Arnett will keynote the anniversary celebration, accompanied by Robert Wiener, another wartime journalist who won later fame as the author of Live from Baghdad.
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