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Hotel News in Brief
Aug 14, 12 | 12:09 am
Some current conversation starters...
Australia's accommodation industry is digesting a sex worker's discrimination win against a motel that refused to give her a room.
The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal ruled the owners of a motel in the mining town of Moranbah breached the Anti-discrimination Act for turning the sex worker away. The woman had stayed at the motel 17 times in two years until the property's owners discovered in 2010 she was bringing clients to her room. They then banned her from staying there. The Gold Coast-based sex worker lost her anti-discrimination case last year but appealed. She won after her lawyer argued many people used the telephone or Internet at the motel for business, and a bed was no different. Accommodation Association of Australia is concerned the ruling denies hotel and motel owners of the right to refuse guests whose behaviour might offend others. Accommodation Association of Australia chief executive Richard Munro says hotel and motel owners must retain the right to refuse guests who might disturb the amenity of their properties. "The owner, operator, licensee or manager needs to preserve the amenity of the establishment for the benefit of all guests to ensure their tourism experience is enhanced by their stay," he said in a statement. The anti-discrimination tribunal has yet to set a hearing date to decide on compensation for the sex worker.
A U.K. judge dismissed Irish property developer Patrick McKillen's petition and claim against the Barclay brothers for control of three London hotels Claridge's, the Connaught and the Berkeley.
McKillen said he might appeal the decision. However, the Friday ruling follows a June court decision that NAMA's sale of the debt to the Barclays was legitimate and denied McKillen's request for the U.K. Supreme Court to appeal the decision. Ireland's bank designated to hold underwater property loans, NAMA (National Asset Management Agency), sold more than €800 million (US$1.1 billion) of debt held by Maybourne's parent company Coroin in September. However, McKillen sued, alleging that as a 36% shareholder in the portfolio he was not given proper notification of the sale. NAMA officials said the short notice for Irish developer McKillen about the sale of the £660 million (US$1 billion) loan was justified as McKillen had no power to stop the transfer. The Barclay twins David and Frederick, two 76-year-old Scottish billionaire brothers, also own Britain's Daily Telegraph and the 5-star Ritz hotel in London. The three hotels are operated by Maybourne Hotel Group, London, which is controlled by Irish businessman Derek Quinlan.
A massive influx of hotel supply and rapid changes in consumer behaviour are dramatically transforming the hotel landscape in Asia Pacific (APAC).
According to a forthcoming PhoCusWright report (expected to be published on August 14, 2012), "PhoCusWright's Asia Pacific Online Travel Overview Fifth Edition: Hotels", the region's maturing hotel market is growing rapidly and online bookings are soaring despite mounting concerns over an economic slowdown in key Asian markets such as China and India. APAC's Long Tail of independent hotels is getting shorter as a robust pipeline among global, regional and local chains greatly expands branded and upscale hotel options in the region. Distribution dynamics are also shifting amid improving technology and infrastructure, as consumers embrace new ways to find and book hotels. Travel industry research authority PhoCusWright projects continued growth for the overall APAC hotel market and strong double-digit gains for the region's online leisure/unmanaged business travel market through 2013, when online hotel penetration will reach 22%. "Hotels and intermediaries in Asia Pacific are undaunted by macroeconomic fears and remain focused on improving their strategic positioning via aggressive expansion efforts," said Douglas Quinby, PhoCusWright's senior director, research. "As the hotel market's makeover continues unabated, all signs indicate that there is enormous headroom for very high growth rates in the region's online hotel market."
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments...
With more than 50,000 square feet of flexible event space, The Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa has just hired a new National Sales Manager. Craig Tonks will spearhead The Meritage Resort's mid-west association business and work in tandem with Director of Group Sales, Roseanne Beals, on the California State and National association markets in Sacramento, Calif. and Washington, D.C. With more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry, including 21 in the Napa Valley, Tonks has achieved annual revenue goals of over $2.5 million for the last 21 years. With The Meritage Resort, Tonks will reach out to associations across the country and help educate them on the resort's capabilities. With an expansion that opened in May 2012, The Meritage Resort now offers the two largest ballrooms north of San Francisco and west of Sacramento, three covered terraces, an event piazza and a large entertainment space in its Estate Cave ideal for wine country dinners and mixers.
As the Oak Bay Beach Hotel, British Colombia, progresses toward re-opening in October, a key local ingredient of the senior team has been hired: Executive Chef Brock Bowes. Bowes is a graduate of the Vancouver Island University Culinary Arts Program, and began his culinary career at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler in 1998 under the guidance of Executive Chef Bernard Casavant. Attaining his Red Seal Certification, Bowes then followed his mentor to Casavant's Chef Bernard's Café where he was chef de partie. After helping elevate Chef Bernard's Café to one of the most sought after tables in Whistler, Bowes returned to Vancouver Island in 2003. Back in Victoria, Bowes held culinary leadership positions at the Hotel Grand Pacific, the Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour and Dock 503 where he honed his craft and developed his kitchen management skills. During this time Bowes also forged relationships with chefs in England and continental Europe, where he Stâged at a number of renowned restaurants including Jamie Oliver's Fifteen in London.(A Stâge is a brief internship in another chef's kitchen where the intern learns and is exposed to new techniques and cuisines). In 2007, Bowes' mentor called upon him once again and he joined Casavant in the Sonora Room at the Burrowing Owl Vineyards in the Okanagan Valley. This opportunity allowed Bowes to meet local farmers and strengthen the connection between field and table within his menus. Working in this acclaimed wine region also increased his knowledge of menus designed for wine pairing. Having made their mark at the Sonora Room, Casavant and Bowes moved to Kelowna's Manteo Resort where they overhauled the Wild Apple Restaurant & Lounge, putting it on the ‘must visit' list for the Okanagan. Following this success, Bowes returned to Victoria again in 2011; for the last year he has been the restaurant chef of the Pacific Restaurant and the four-diamond Mark Dining Room at the Hotel Grand Pacific.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
The total transformation of two landmark buildings in the heart of Sydney will be complete on September 17 with the opening of QT Sydney, a 200-room deluxe hotel whose design and sophistication will take visitors to Sydney to new levels of both pampering and "cool." A member of the Design Hotels™group, the QT Sydney will be third property of the QT Hotels & Resorts group. Brainchild of Australian hotel magnate, David Seargeant, QT Sydney is an ambitious melding of the former Gowings department store and the adjacent State Theatre at the intersection of Market and George Streets in the heart of downtown Sydney. Both the Gothic, Palazzo-style Gowings building and the State Theatre (an amalgam of Gothic, Venetian and Art Déco influences) opened in 1929. "Converting these classic buildings into the hippest and most luxurious of hotels - all the while respecting and retaining their landmark status," says Seargeant, "has been an extraordinary and challenging process, involving some of Australia's most creative architects, designers and taste-makers." In addition to 200 guest rooms designed in a dozen styles, QT Sydney will also feature The Gilt Lounge (expected to become one of Sydney's hottest meeting spots), the Gowings Bar and Grill, the Parlour Lane Roasters café, the glamorous spaQ (complete with six treatment rooms, Sydney's first hammam, a nail salon and an old-fashioned men's barber-shop) and meeting space for up to 200 participants.
ReardonSmith Architects completes JW Marriott Absheron Baku, Azerbaijan. An existing Absheron hotel was demolished to make way for the new more modern building constructed on the approximate footprint of the old hotel. The previous façade allow for an increase in the landscaped elements of the development to create an oasis-type environment. The property is part of a high-rise mixed-use development comprising 16 floors of private residences, serviced apartments, retail and offices, as well as the 23-story hotel - all of which have been designed by ReardonSmith Architects. The building is adjacent to Government House and overlooks Baku's Azadliq (Freedom) Square. The contemporary building is sited on a formal axis within a newly landscaped park, relating to and reflecting the Azadliq Square. The park flows into gardens and these rise up a stepped incline providing a ceremonial promenade through a landscaped urban garden to the restaurant terraces and onto the entrance to the restaurants, bars and function spaces at first upper floor level. The outdoor area also creates a tiered seating amenity from which to watch the square. The main hotel entrance is placed to the opposite, east-facing façade. Inside, the public areas contain double-height volumes, glazed elements and staircases to create a linking of lobbies, pre-function areas, ballroom, restaurants and bars. The property's column-free ballroom is over 12,916 square feet.
Agora Hospitality International, of which Kosmopolito Hotels International has a cross-marketing alliance with, is pleased to announce the grand opening of Hotel AGORA Osaka Moriguchi on 1 August 2012. At the helm of the 175-room Hotel Agora Osaka Moriguchi is General Manager Masato Shigetomi. Located at 10-5 Kawahara-cho, Moriguchi, Osaka, the hotel had its soft opening on 15 July 2012. The hotel's concept is: "A hotel where you'll find opportunities that weave the past and the future together." Its predecessor, the Moriguchi Royal Pines Hotel (formerly Moriguchi Prince Hotel) which opened in 1985, enjoyed time with many customers over the years in its capacity as a local community hotel. Its concept reflects the desire to continue being a place that offers local customers an opportunity to gather with family, friends, and colleagues. Hotel Agora Osaka Moriguchi's market segment is focused predominantly at business travellers and corporate guests in their 30s and 40s. Re-designed by Hideki Hamakawa (ONTOH Inc. representative, Hotel Agora Osaka Moriguchi adopts a fashionable and stylish design concept. The 1st floor lobby features a dignified design befitting of the first Hotel AGORA. Also on the 1st floor, is the All-Day Dining & Lounge "the LOOP" and the Bakery & Café "fagot". Other dining facilities include Reika Chinese restaurant on the Lobby floor, Koyomi Japanese restaurant on the 4th floor and located on the 12th floor is the French dining and teppanyaki restaurant, Dining & Bar "Sizzling".
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