Hotel Travel News - The Week in Review

Check out a brief summary of another busy week for the worldwide Hotel and Hospitality industry including a number of important hotel openings and management appointments.- Phil Kennedy has been appointed as general manager of the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel Shanghai which opened in July 2003.

- Prime Hospitality has announced that three former Wyndham Hotels will be converted to the PRIME Hotels & Resorts brand, adding Chicago and Seattle to its growing roster of coast to coast hotels.

- Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has been selected by the Puerto Rico Convention Center District Authority to operate the new 500-room convention center hotel. The Sheraton San Juan Convention Center Hotel will open in 2007, and will be located adjacent to the 580,000 square-foot Puerto Rico Convention Center, which is scheduled to open in 2005.

- Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and Beijing Jin Hao Real Estate Company Limited announced an agreement for Starwood to manage a 500-room hotel in Beijing’s emerging financial district. Scheduled to open in 2006, The Westin Beijing Financial Street solidifies Starwood’s position as the largest international operator of upscale hotels in China with 25 hotels open or under construction.

- Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, has promoted Tom Conophy from Senior Vice President, Chief Technology Officer to Executive Vice President, Chief Technology Officer. Conophy, who has overseen all the technological enhancements at the company since he joined Starwood in 2000, will continue to supervise Starwood’s technology strategy and lead the company’s information technology team and all associated initiatives. Conophy reports to Bob Cotter, Starwood’s President and Chief Operating Officer.


- Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and Xiamen Fuchun Orient Hotel Company Limited announced an agreement for Starwood to manage the Sheraton Xiamen Hotel in China. The newly built 348-room Sheraton Xiamen Hotel is scheduled to open in June 2005 and will be the city’s first five-star hotel. With the opening of the Sheraton Xiamen, Starwood will have the largest inventory of upscale hotels in China, bringing the total number of properties to 23, more than any other international hotel company.

- The spectacular shores of Fort Lauderdale will become even more breathtaking with the official opening of the area’s first luxury condominium hotel - The Atlantic, a 124-suite resort managed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts as the newest addition to The Luxury Collection. The Atlantic is the first of three Starwood projects slated to open on the beach in Fort Lauderdale.

- Marriott International, has announced the opening of the Renaissance Tianjin TEDA Hotel. It is the seventh Renaissance branded hotel in China and the second Renaissance hotel in Tianjin.

- Marriott was recently named “Best Hotel Chain in North America” and “Best Hotel Chain in Latin America” in Global Finance’s annual ranking of the world’s best hotels and airlines for business travelers. Based on a poll of 15,000 readers, Marriott remains the top preference in North America for the second year in a row.

- Marriott International, Inc. announced that it has been recognized by IDG’s Computerworld as one of the “Best Places to Work in IT” for the second year in a row. Placing 24th among 100 companies overall, Marriott was the highest-ranked lodging company on the list. Computerworld highlighted Marriott’s strong heritage and culture.

- The chic, stylish and much anticipated Conrad Miami opens its doors today with an welcome opening rate of $100* per night*. This limited-time rate is a celebration of the new hotel and of a Conrad brand launch in the U.S.

- The Econo Lodge hotel, located at 609 East 15th Street, is now open. Formerly a Best Western Country Manor hotel, the hotel underwent renovations that included new carpet, paint and wall coverings throughout the hotel and new 27-inch remote-control televisions, microwaves, refrigerators, coffeemakers, furniture, and electronic door locks to guestrooms.

- Beginning this summer, visiting Chicago with your children will be an even more memorable experience. On June 18, 2004, Swissotel Chicago launched a specially designed children’s room in conjunction with the opening of Shedd Aquarium’s Sea Star Quest exhibit.

- This summer, Mandarin Oriental, Macau has organized a space adventure odyssey for children to explore the wonders of the galaxy, whilst parents partake in the luxurious facilities of the resort.

- Every five star hotel claims to offer you the best in service, but often these lofty promises fail to deliver quite what we, as frequent travellers expect, or hope for. That is most definitely not the case at the Island Shangri-La in Hong Kong, which, almost as proof, boasts one of the highest occupancy and average room rates in the vibrant city.

- Hotels across Europe reported the third consecutive year of profitability declines according to a new report released by the HotelBenchmark Survey by Deloitte. In 2003 the European hotel industry converted just 34 percent of revenue to profit compared to 39 percent in 2000. As a consequence profitability per available room has fallen by over Euro 5,000 since 2000 - the peak of the cycle.

- HPL Hotels & Resorts, a Singapore-based hospitality management company and a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore main-board listed Hotel Properties Limited (HPL), has signed a management contract with the Rihiveli Beach Resort (Rihiveli) in Maldives.

- The Maho Beach Resort & Casino in Dutch St. Maarten will be branded as Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino on July 8, 2004, as a result of a licensing agreement between Sonesta International Hotels Corporation and Resort of the World N.V.

- Richard Solomons, chief financial officer for InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), the world’s largest and most global hotel company, has been voted best chief financial officer (CFO) in the European leisure and hotels sector, following a survey by US based Institutional Investor Magazine.

- Langham Hotels International (LHI), the wholly-owned hotel operating and asset management subsidiary of publicly listed Great Eagle Holdings Limited, announced today the appointment of three senior executives for the functions of Development, Sales and Marketing, and Operations at the Group’s corporate level. To cope with the rapid expansion of this new five-star international hotel chain, Kevin Murphy is appointed as Senior Vice President - Development, Brett Butcher as Senior Vice President - Sales and Marketing, and Nigel Roberts as Senior Vice President - Operations, effective from 1 July 2004.

- Kenya is slowly starting to recover from the tragic blow its tourism sector suffered in 2003 as a result of the foreign office warnings.  The new year has however brought with it new hope for the people living in East Africa and for the tourism industry in general, as bookings have taken an about-turn.  Some operators are saying Kenya is already booming ... others say this is just the start of better things to come.  The feeling is cautiously upbeat and optimistic about the year ahead, which is fantastic. 

- Highland Hospitality Corporation , a lodging real estate investment trust, or REIT, announced today the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire four hotels consisting of 1,687 rooms from Wyndham International, Inc. . The four hotels are the 510-room Hilton hotel in Parsippany, New Jersey, the 495- room Crowne Plaza Ravinia hotel in Atlanta, Georgia, the 360-room Wyndham Wind Watch Hotel in Hauppauge, Long Island, NY and the 322-room Tremont Boston—A Wyndham Historic Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts. The purchase price for the four-hotel portfolio is $227 million or approximately $134,500 per room and the company expects to close on the hotels within 40 - 75 days of signing the definitive agreement.

- InterContinental Hotels Group, the world’s largest and most global hotel company, has announced a new incentive plan to attract African-American, Hispanic and Native American developers to its already diverse family of owners and operators of InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites branded hotels in the U.S.

- Nakheel, one of the leading property developers in the Middle East region, has signed an agreement with Ali Moosa and Sons Contracting for the construction of 128 European Themed Villas at its Jumeirah Islands Development project.

- Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts opened its first mountain resort in Canada, at the base of Blackcomb Mountain in Whistler, British Columbia, site of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. The new 242-room retreat is located in the heart of the largest ski area in North America, just minutes from the slopes, year-round outdoor adventures, fine dining, shopping and nightlife.

- Raffles International Limited, through its subsidiary Raffles International (Russia) Pte. Ltd., has signed an agreement with JSC Moskva Krasnye Holmy, to manage a 235 bedroom deluxe hotel under the Swiss™tel brand. The hotel will be named Swiss™tel Riverside Towers, Moscow and is scheduled to open by May 2005.

- The St. Regis Residence Club Aspen is scheduled to welcome its first members in early 2005. The first fractional residential property under Starwood Hotels & Resorts renowned St. Regis group of luxury hotels, The St. Regis Residence Club Aspen recently initiated the sales process, and sales are strong. Membership prices for 1/11th fractional shares range from over $300,000 to over $1 million, depending on the size of the residence and the membership plan. This landmark property presents the opportunity for a select few to own an interest in the first hotel-affiliated luxury fractional project in the heart of Aspen. The St. Regis Residence Club Aspen is one of the first fractional residence clubs with a fixed membership option, so individuals may purchase certain fixed weeks.

- The Hilton Barbados is right on schedule for it’s December 2004 grand opening. The luxury hotel boasts a prime location on the tropical peninsula of Needham’s Point, just minutes away from the capital city of Bridgetown and from the popular St. Lawrence Gap.

- The Cosmopolitan Hotel, uniquely located on the historical site of the former Xin Hua News Agency, opens later this September in Wan Chai, introducing a series of new attractions for discerning travellers.

- Accor Asia Pacific has appointed Mr Sigit Budiarso as General Manager of the Novotel Jambi. Sigit has been with Accor since 1997 when he joined the Ibis Kemayoran Hotel and was most recently Executive Assistant Manager of Hotel Ibis Tamarin.