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Michael Escalante appointed General Manager Le Meridien Sunny Isles Beach, Miami - Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts is pleased to announce the appointment of Michael Escalante as General Manager of Le Méridien Sunny Isles Beach, Miami. In his new position, Escalante will be responsible for all operations at Le Méridien's first and only beach resort in the U.S. The hotel is set along white Atlantic sands in Sunny Isles, Florida, just north of Miami, and convenient to classic Fort Lauderdale and ultra-hip South Beach."Michael brings outstanding hotel management experience with him, as well as a strong and varied background in sales, services and operations. I'm sure he'll prove outstanding at Le Méridien Sunny Isles Beach, Miami," said Mario Mazzini, Area General Manager of East Coast, Americas Region, for Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts.Prior to joining Le Méridien, Escalante enjoyed more than five years in hotel management positions, most recently as Hotel Manager of Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia. He was also General Manager of Westin Regina Resort in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (2001-2003), Sheraton Austin Hotel (1999-2001), and Sheraton Suites Elk Grove in Illinois.
Hilton Group has sold its Edinburgh Airport hotel to The Managed House Unit Trust , the company that purchased a portfolio of 15 other UK Hiltons last month. MHUT will pay £14.8m cash for the property, which in common with the others will continue to be branded Hilton under a long-term management agreement. Hilton said it had also exchanged contracts with Capadell Ltd, acting as a nominee of Premio Group Holdings, on the Hilton London Mews Hotel, just off Park Lane. The gross asset value of this hotel is £9m, with the transaction expected to complete early next year. Elsewhere the group has signed heads of agreement with property developer Quintain for a sale-and-manage-back of the Wembley Plaza hotel for £10m cash. Quintain also plans to build a new hotel at Wembley Stadium, which is slated to open in 2010 and again will be managed by Hilton. Finally, Hilton said it had received A$120m (£54m) cash proceeds on the sale of the office tower and car park site at the Sydney Hilton to The Industry Superannuation Property Trust. Commenting on the deals Brian Wallace, Hilton deputy group chief executive and group finance director, said: ‘Hilton Group has completed a number of UK and international property transactions during 2005, which have delivered over £535m of sales proceeds. 'There continues to be a high level of market interest in good quality hotel assets, and consistent with our previous announcements, we intend to place further hotels on the market with a value in excess of £400m. Continuation of our disposal strategy makes eminent sense, irrespective of the outcome of ongoing discussions with Hilton Hotels Corporation.’ The group announced in October it was evaluating an indicative offer, believed to be about £3.6bn, from US-based HHC for its Hilton International hotels division, which operates over 400 properties under the Hilton and Scandic brands in 80 countries worldwide.
Jones Lang LaSalle Arranges $126.7 Million Refinancing for the Four Seasons Resort Nevis Jones Lang LaSalle has arranged the refinancing of the Four Seasons Resort Nevis located in Nevis, West Indies on behalf of its client, Hotel Equity Fund V, an affiliate of Maritz Wolff & Co. The 196-key Four Seasons Resort Nevis has long been recognized as one of the best resorts in the world by major travel publications including Conde Nast Traveler and Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report. Jones Lang LaSalle generated strong bids from nine major lenders, including two principal bids not conditioned upon successful securitization or syndication, which ultimately resulted in an unprecedented low cost financing for the borrower. The transaction was awarded to a balance sheet lender, which not only offered a loan with high proceeds at a very competitive spread, but also was able to address key objectives of the borrower, including prepayment flexibility and assumability. “The refinancing retired the existing low leverage, high coupon, traditional loan encumbering the property,” said Arthur Adler, managing director and CEO for Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels.
Tarsadia Hotels and Hard Rock Hotels International Developing 420 room
All Seasons, the fastest growing hotel brand in Australia, has added Port Macquarie’s newest and most innovative resort, Ki-ea Holiday Apartments, to its expanding network, taking the number of All Seasons properties to a total of 20. All Seasons is a long-established hotel brand in Australia that Accor re-launched earlier this year to include a series of self-contained accommodation options. The All Seasons Ki-ea Apartments Port Macquarie, as it will now be known, is perfectly located between Town Beach and the town centre, consisting of 54 luxury one, two, three and four bedroom apartments. The All Seasons Ki-ea Apartments boast superb relaxation and entertainment areas that include sauna and spa, barbecue podium and separate adult and children’s pool complete with rain dome for extra fun. Pools are heated to 28 degrees during winter making it the perfect year-round destination for families. Apartments are contemporary in design with private courtyards, spas in master bedrooms, private roof decks, and some with outdoor spas and shade sails to take advantage of the glorious coastal weather and views. The All Seasons brand is now present on all points of the compass in Australia providing ideal family getaways with the convenience of self-contained accommodation. The most recent additions to the All Seasons network include All Seasons Margaret River in WA’s the idyllic food and wine region and All Seasons Sanctuary Golf Resort in the coastal town of Bunbury just an hour south of Perth. There are also four apartment style All Seasons properties on the Gold Coast to choose from and further north in tropical Cairns. Hotel style All Seasons properties are also located in Adelaide, Alice Springs, Katherine, Kununurra, Karratha, Port Hedland, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie and Mt Isa.
The 350-room luxury Hyatt Regency Curacao Breaks Ground, Part of the $104 million Santa Barbara Plantation Project The ceremonial groundbreaking of the 350-room luxury Hyatt Regency Curaçao took place on Thursday, December 1, 2005 attended by tourism and hotel officials including Jack Marshall, representative for the shareholders of Santa Barbara Plantation, Chris Smeets, shareholder and driving force behind the project and Nicholas Pritzker, vice-chairman of Global Hyatt Corporation. Dr. Emsley D. Tromp, President of the Central Bank of the Netherlands Antilles, made opening remarks welcoming the Hyatt and reflecting on the tremendous economic impact the project will have for the island.
Club Med has reopened and substantially upgraded Club Med in Kani, its flagship resort in The Maldives. On its own private island atoll of swaying palm trees and pristine white beaches, it will be one of the most luxurious Club Med "villages" as the resorts are known. Club Med Kani has been closed for the past eleven months for a radical 15 million Euro overhaul creating "a chic new concept designed to appeal to today's increasingly more sophisticated luxury leisure traveller," said Joel Tiphonnet, President & CEO, Asia Pacific for Club Med. The new Club Med Kani incorporates private Lagoon Suites perched above a brilliant turquoise lagoon on stilts, stylish new restaurants and a state-of-the-art Club Med Spa Village for relaxation and wellness, pampering, beauty and massages. "Our focus has always been more on the holiday experience than on the accommodation itself, and in the past we only offered one room category. But we recognise that the market has changed and while we will always be primarily in the business of selling experiences, rather than selling rooms, some of our guests are willing to pay a premium for additional luxury, so we have now created three room categories including some ultra-luxurious private suites for this segment," said Mr. Tiphonnet.
Five Prominent Hotels in Santa Barbara Receiving Multi-millions in Renovations While the South Coast has been in the grips of a residential remodeling frenzy for several years, the fervor to expand, refresh and restyle has also spread to many properties that serve as a home away from home for visitors -- hotels and resorts. Most of the work at the hotels has been largely shielded from public view, thanks to careful camouflaging. But some changes, such as the closure of favorite restaurants, have been hard to ignore. Here is a recap of five of the most prominent hotel renovation projects currently under way.
El Encanto Hotel and Garden Villas Total renovation cost: About $15 million Construction began: September 2005 Expected completion: 2007 The Orient Express Hotel Company purchased the El Encanto in November 2004 for $26 million and committed to following the master renovation plan that its former owner, the late Eric Friden, spent three years crafting. The plan calls for a revamping of the entire property, including the rehabilitation of the main building, restaurant, lounge and all 84 guest cottages and villas. Plans also call for reconfiguring the pool so that it is perpendicular to El Encanto's unmatched ocean view. Orient Express said it will keep the resort's historic character and even rebuild other structures to match the original architecture. It expects to build a spa and fitness center under the main building, revamp the restaurant and lounge and rehabilitate all of the cottages and villas. Because of the challenges of renovating the original main building, Orient Express has postponed the closure of the property. The plan originally called for the hotel to close after the summer season 2005. But the closure has been pushed back to fall 2006, with the entire property shuttered for about 10 months. These plans, however, are still under review and are likely to shift again, said Clive O'Donoghue, general manager of the hotel. In the meantime, renovation started last September on four buildings. The first phase will include 21 rooms going out of service, and they will return as 15 rooms with larger bathrooms.
Fess Parker's Doubletree Resort Total renovation cost: About $14 million Construction began: July 2004 Expected completion date: April 2006 The Doubletree is entering the last phase of a property-wide renovation that began last year. In the first phase, completed in September 2004, the resort remodeled all of its meeting space, which totals about 30,000 square feet. This included replacing carpets, wall coverings, doors, chandeliers and other lighting systems. Phase two of the work entailed the overhaul of the resort's primary restaurant, Cafe Los Arcos, and the bar. Both of these areas were closed for 12 weeks last spring and reopened in time for the Fourth of July. New carpets, walls and booths were installed in the restaurant, which holds 128 diners. The bar area -- which used to have a sunken, octagonal configuration -- was completely demolished and redesigned. Seating was decreased from 74 seats to 60 to create space for a private boardroom in the area, said Tim Bridwell, general manager of the Doubletree. The exterior patio of the bar now has new furniture, landscaping, a fireplace and a fountain. Furniture and carpet in the lobby were also replaced during phase two. Last October, the Doubletree began its final remodeling phase to refresh all 360 guest rooms and the adjoining corridors. Along with new furniture, all draperies will be replaced with wood shutters.
Four Seasons Biltmore Resort Total renovation cost: $160 million Construction began: 2000 Expected completion: April 2006 When billionaire Beanie Babies creator Ty Warner purchased the Biltmore in 2000, he announced his intentions to faithfully restore the landmark to its glorious 1927 Spanish Colonial roots, plus add all the conveniences of the 21st century. He kicked off his plan with a $30 million makeover of the pool and fitness center and built a new, 10,000-square-foot luxury spa. This phase was completed in November 2002. A year later, the resort began the enhancement of most of the guest rooms and all 12 cottages to include larger and more luxurious bathrooms. The final phase, which began last month, includes the remaining 40 guest rooms in the main building of the hotel, which was constructed in 1927. A new kitchen will be built, replacing the cramped quarters that date back more than 70 years and have never had a face lift. Changes in the cooking area prompted the closure of the Biltmore's Patio and La Marina restaurants. When the main building reopens in spring 2006, it will feature a reincarnated patio restaurant area bearing a new name and more refined look. The former La Marina dining room will be used only for Sunday brunch, special events and private gatherings. But La Marina-style dining and the renowned menu will be offered in the new patio restaurant space. For the next four months, guest check-in and valet parking has been moved to the back of the property at Hill Road. When the main building reopens next spring, visitors and guests entering at Channel Drive will have an unblocked ocean view from the entrance -- the valet parking area and landscaping are being dropped five feet to open up the vista.
Harbor View Inn Total renovation cost: $3 million (construction only) Construction began: Fall 2004 Expected completion: June 2006 The 94-room hotel across from Sterns Wharf is adding 19 more guest accommodations -- 16 rooms and three suites. A one-story retail building at 29 State St. was demolished in the fall of 2004 to make way for a new, three-story, Spanish-style structure. At roughly 27,000 square feet, this building will include the additional guest rooms and suites on the second and third floors, with ground-level parking for more than 20 vehicles. A small coffee bar and a retail space will front State Street when the project is completed in June 2006, said Mark Romasanta, general manager of the hotel.
San Ysidro Ranch Total renovation cost: $75 million Construction began: September 2004 Expected completion: Not yet determined All of the infrastructure on the historical property, dating back to the late 1800s, has been overhauled, including the water and sewer system, electrical, plumbing and communication lines. This major undertaking took nine months to complete in 2004 and was the equivalent of building "a brand-new residential development," according to George Del Cotto, vice president of property development for Ty Warner Hotels and Resorts, which owns the property. Renovation of the "hacienda," the ranch's reception area, was done over five months at the beginning of 2005 at a cost of $3 million. During this time, the ranch was closed, but reopened to meet summer demand. Sixteen of the 40 cottages have been remodeled at a cost of roughly $1 million each. Three more cottages will be added to the guest-ready list by the end of the year. This week, another eight cottages will enter the remodeling stage, and five more will join the list by March 2006. The remaining 13 cottages will be renovated in staggered phases to accommodate the ebb and flow of guests. In April 2006, the ranch's two restaurants -- the Stonehouse and the Plow & Angel Bistro -- will reopen, anchored by a new kitchen and wine cellar. Both have been closed since a kitchen fire in April 2004.
Accor Awarded the Management Contract for 388 room Novotel Interhill Kuching in Sarawak, East Malaysia Accor has been awarded the management contract for Novotel Interhill Kuching, its first hotel in Sarawak, East Malaysia, with opening scheduled for 2008. The 23-storey hotel enjoys a prime location in the city centre, offering panoramic views of the city and Sarawak River. On opening, Novotel Interhill Kuching will be well positioned to cater for business and leisure travellers, with increasing air services to Sarawak providing good connections from a number of major centres in Asia. Sarawak is rich in natural resources, attracting investment for its petroleum, timber and agricultural products. It boasts a rich colonial history and diversity of attractions, including Fort Margharita, one of Asia’s best museums - Sarawak Museum, as well as the Sarawak Cultural Village located on the Damai peninsula 45 minutes drive outside the city. Kuching is also the principal base for visiting Bako National Park, one of Asia’s ecotourism and adventure travel centre, containing one of the world’s oldest first-generation rain forests. The 388-room Novotel Interhill Kuching will play an important role in building Kuching’s tourism infrastructure by providing modern, stylish accommodation with one of the leading global brand names. Rooms will include aspects of the latest ‘Novotion Room’ signature features such as rotating desk, flat screen television, glass curtain bathrooms and wooden floors, all redesigned to offer guests greater comfort and convenience. The hotel will offer three BIZ Executive Floors and a fantastic BIZ Executive Lounge on the top floor with mezzanine and double storey ceiling. There is also a business centre, 1,500 sqm ballroom and six adjacent meeting rooms for between 40 to 300 pax each.
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