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Hotel Industry News In Brief
Jul 20, 12 | 12:09 am
Some current conversation starters…
So you've pried your teenager's fingers from his smartphone long enough to get him on a plane or in a car and on the way to your family vacation. You've endured the eye rolls, the exasperated and drawn out sighs, and the intentional (and frankly impressive) freeze-outs. Now you're at your hotel, and it's time to have fun if it kills the both of you.
To take some of that burden off parents of teens, Omni Hotels and Resorts has launched its Teen Connection program at select properties. More than just a menu of activities for adolescents, Teen Connection provides families with a teenage concierge. That's right. Your son or daughter can connect with the hotel's teen concierge for advice on the hippest and happening-est spots in town with an insider's eye for avoiding tourist traps (which would just induce more eye-rolling). The Omni Berkshire Place in New York City was the first to introduce the program. David Strebel, the 18-year-old son of the hotel's general manager, is available to teens via myriad outlets, including text, email, Facebook, Twitter, and if they can endure the agony of communicating via audible speech, phone. "Parents often like to unplug and unwind when on vacation, but teens like to stay active and constantly connected via social means – we designed the program for them," said Caryn Kboudi, vice president of corporate communications in a statement to the press. "Omni is committed to making teens feel important instead of stuck between kid-friendly and adult activities."
The Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort is adding six wind turbines to its rooftop.
The wind turbines stand approximately 40 feet tall and will be strategically positioned on each corner and centre of the hotel’s rooftop providing maximum wind velocity. Each wind turbine will produce 32,000 KWH, which will assist in reducing the amount of energy being used in guestrooms and on property. Installation is expected to begin in Sept. 2012, with the estimated cost to be more than half a million dollars. The hotel expects to see a reduction in energy consumption that will eventually provide a cost savings. In addition to installing wind turbines, the property’s exterior glass has been manufactured not only for hurricane but also controls the heating from sunlight entering into the interior of the building.
TRT Holdings, owners of the Omni Hotels brand and Gaylord Entertainment’s largest shareholder, said in a letter to shareholders that it opposes the US$210 million sale of the Gaylord brand to Marriott International.
"We believe that Gaylord and its stockholders are better off maintaining the status quo," said James Caldwell, TRT's president, in the letter. The deal would give Marriott the Gaylord name and management rights to the company's hotels. Gaylord would continue to own the properties, and would convert to a real estate investment trust. TRT Holdings, which owns a 21.8% stake in Gaylord, said in its letter that the deal is biased in favor of Marriott and that shareholders would suffer as the value and marketability of the properties would be significantly impaired by the agreement. Going into further detail, TRT said the deal as currently constituted would prohibit Gaylord from selling any of the four hotels without Marriott’s consent and severely limit Gaylord’s ability to terminate Marriott’s management deal, which could last up to 65 years. Gaylord in May said its conversion to a REIT would reduce the company's tax burden and give its investors higher returns. The Tennessean reported on Wednesday that Gaylord expects to hold a shareholders vote in August, with Marriott taking management in October, and REIT status commencing in January.
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments…
Thirayuth Chirathivat, Chief Executive Officer of Centara Hotels & Resorts, has announced the promotion of John Dimon Bendtsen from General Manager of Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives to Cluster General Manager of the two managed properties of Centara Hotels&Resorts in Mauritius, namely Centara Poste Lafayette Resort & Spa Mauritius and Centara Grand Azuri Residence&Suites Mauritius. He will be stationed at Centara Poste Lafayette Resort & Spa Mauritius. John is Australian and has 20 years of international hospitality industry experience gained from working in Oceanic and Asia including several general management and regional management roles at leading resorts and hotels around Australia. He has worked at Oakwood Residence Thonglor in Bangkok, Thailand, then he joined Centara Hotels&Resorts at Centara Grand Island Resort&Spa Maldives in the position of General Manager in 2010; he was working there for 2 years prior being promoted to cluster General Manager of Centara Hotels & Resorts in Mauritius. Centara Hotels & Resorts believes this talented professional is ideal to lead both properties of Centara Hotels & Resorts in Mauritius.
Tim Vongswang has been appointed as General Manager of the new Riva Surya Bangkok, a 68-room boutique hotel located on the Chao Phraya River. Opening in August 2012, Riva Surya Bangkok is the newest property in the portfolio of independent boutique hotels managed by SIlverNeedle Hospitality in the region. Tim returns to the hospitality sector after a career spanning more than 30 years in the hospitality and fitness industries; his most recent role was that of Area Business Manager at Fitness First, Bangkok region. Tim’s strong background in sales and proven track record in key management roles in organisations across geographies make him well equipped to serve as General Manager of this exciting new boutique property. Tim has risen through the ranks of the hospitality industry, working in food and beverage, training, conventions, sales and front office, with five-star properties in Thailand and the United Kingdom.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
March 2013 will see the unveiling of the much anticipated Heckfield Place. Llocated under an hour from London, Heckfield Place is set in 400 acres of garden, woodland and rolling Hampshire countryside. The hotel will have the feel of a private home where guests can seek solace in numerous intimate spaces in the 18th century manor house and wider estate. Beautifully crafted with exquisite detail at every level, Heckfield Place will offer an authentic and elegant country house experience celebrating Englishness with genuine charm and soul. Each of the 60 rooms at Heckfield Place will have their own unique style - rooms will be found around the stables, the walled garden and in the principal manor house, and will be intimate, secluded and full of personality. The hotel, gardens and landscapes will respect Heckfield Place’s historical provenance and be created by some of the UK’s leading designers and architects including the Gardens Advisor to England’s historic Royal Palaces, Todd Longstaffe-Gowan.
Como Hotels and Resorts will launch its first-ever resort in Phuket, Point Yamu by COMO, on the island's Yamu peninsula in July 2013, almost a year later than its previously scheduled September 2012 opening. Harry Apostolides, COMO vice president of business development, said: “This new COMO resort will be our second Thai property, after the Metropolitan by COMO in Bangkok. Phuket is one of the top tourist destinations in the region, and we have focused on its east coast – an area of outstanding natural beauty and great biodiversity. The location perfectly frames the COMO experience of service and cuisine, complemented by a wellness focus delivered by our award-winning COMO Shambhala Retreat.” Overlooking Phang Nga Bay and the Andaman Sea, the 79-room beachside resort will offer 30 villas, with a clutch of private residences available for purchase. Facilities will include a 100m swimming pool, an eight-room COMO Shambhala Retreat, a yoga studio, an Italian and Thai restaurant, as well as a private beach. Italian architect, Paola Navone, has been appointed to design the interiors of Point Yamu by COMO.
Tune Hotels continues to expand its portfolio of hotels in London with two new additions in Kings Cross and Paddington. Tune Hotels now has four hotels open in London which is just days away from hosting the Olympic Games. Tune Hotel Kings Cross is located on Gray’s Inn Road, just 500 metres from Kings Cross and St Pancras train stations. Formally Swinton House, the building features 217 bedrooms including twin, double and accessible rooms, with and without windows. Tune Hotel Paddington, located within a five-minute walk of Paddington mainline station, has 137 double, twin and accessible en-suite bedrooms, along with a coffee shop area offering an array of light refreshments. The two new London hotels are part of 30 which are being opened globally over the next 12 months. Mark Lankester, Group CEO of Tune Hotels, said, “More Tune Hotels are scheduled for opening in ASEAN, the UK, India and Australia, that will give our guests even more options for travel destinations.”
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