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Hotel Design / Pop-Up Hotels / Hospitality Design Expo / The John Hardy Group / Pink Cloud / Hotel News / Hotel Industry News / → All Tags
Last week at the Hospitality Design Expo in Las Vegas, it wasn't all about brightly colored chairs, interesting light fixtures and high-tech toilets. We actually got a glimpse of possible future hotels at the Radical Innovation in Hospitality Awards.
The competition, now in its 7th year, aims to "discover, identify, and explore radically innovative hospitality concepts" either ones that are already in development or just in conceptual form. It's sponsored by Hospitality Design and The John Hardy Group, the developers behind the recently opened Anza Hotel in Calabasas as well as several big hotels in NYC and worldwide.
In Las Vegas, the top three finalists for the contest made their presentations to a rather large panel of hotel industry experts from Starwood's president of global development, Simon Turner; master planner and architect Wing Chao and John Hardy himself. The entire thing was moderated by industry expert, Barbara DeLollis. Yet despite the big names on the panel, it was the audience who got the final vote in which team should win.
While we were swayed by the idea of a traveling train hotel and a hotel with shared coworking spaces, it was clear that The Pop-Up Hotel was not just the most innovative idea for a hotel but also one that could be implemented rather easily.
Hotel Industry News / Hotel Woes / Hotel Lawsuits / Delano Hotels / Morgans Hotel Group / Ron Burkle / → All Tags
The hotel that launched a thousand
ships pages of court filings
According to Bloomberg News, investor Ron Burkle threatened to "crater" some of the hotel group's other deals (like in Moscow and Las Vegas) if the Morgans board members did not approve the Delano South Beach buyout bid from his Yucaipa companies as well as his proposed recapitalization plan.
One of Morgan's largest shareholders, OTK Associates, has already filed a lawsuit against other Morgans board members to stop this arrangement. OTK also wants to overhaul the board and in effect, the company. Meanwhile, Bloomberg News reports that Morgans with its 13 hotels has lost money in every quarter since 2007.
If this sounds terribly confusing, it is. Essentially two board members are fighting each other over direction of the company and who gets most of its assets. Like we said last month, this may not immediately affect your experience at a Morgans Hotel right now, but it certainly could in the future.
More importantly, if the hotel group hasn't turned a profit since 2007, we're not so sure how many of their new hotel projects will actually come to life. To be continued....
As promised, here's our new monthly feature of recent management announcements at notable hotels. We know many of you dear readers work in the industry and are curious to see who's gone where and when. As always, we appreciate your feedback so let us know how we can make this more useful for you.
· VIRGIN HOTELS: Marlene Leslie has been named Vice President of Food and Beverage of the forthcoming Virgin Hotels brand (The Virgin Chicago will open in early 2014.) She comes to Virgin from Hotels AB where she oversaw the F&B program at The Standard High Line in New York City. Does this mean all Virgin Hotels will have a biergarten? Gawd, we hope so.
· FOUR SEASONS LOS ANGELES: Greg Velasquez has been appointed the luxury hotel's new Director of Marketing and will now oversee the sales, marketing, revenue management, catering and reservations departments. Don't forget making sure your celeb guests are comfy, too.
· SEMINOLE HARD ROCK HOTEL & CASINO, Hollywood, Florida: Jeremy Weinstein has been named Vice President of Marketing at the rocking 500-room casino hotel. He comes to Hard Rock from the Aria Las Vegas where he was the director of slot marketing. He was also the director of strategic marketing at the Bellagio. Maybe he can slip us a tip on working those crazy new video slot machines?
Today we're introducing what will hopefully be a monthly feature, listing recent management announcements at notable hotels. We know that a lot of you dear readers work in hotels and we know that you're curious as to who's gone where and when. (You naughty little gossipers, you!) As always, we appreciate your feedback so let us know how we can make this more useful for you.
·HOTEL VITALE, San Francisco: Executive Chef Kory Stewart has been named the hotel's food and beverage director. He will continue to serve as Executive chef as well. We presume he will not go hungry on the job.
·RITZ-CARLTON, St. Louis: Douglas Chang has been appointed General Manager. He comes to the hotel after serving four years as GM at the The Ritz-Carlton Club and Residences, Kapalua Bay on the island of Maui. We sincerely hope he adjusts to the climate change ok.
·WALDORF ASTORIA, Orlando: Mary Jobb has been appointed director of sales for both the Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek. She was previously vice president of sales with LXR, Luxury Resorts & Hotels. But can she get us Disney World tickets?
·W SAN FRANCISCO: Roger Huldi is back at the hotel, this time as general manager. Previously he was the GM at the W Silicon Valley. Before that, he was the Director of Operations for the W SF. He's been working with Starwood since 1991 and probably has a ton of SPG points to burn.
·HOTEL BEL-AIR, Los Angeles: Denise Flanders is now the general manager at the Dorchester Collection's ritzy LA getaway. She was previously with the Four Seasons group for 23 years, most recently as GM of the Four Seasons Chicago. Perk of the job? According to the Hollywood Reporter, she gets to live there while searching for a new home.
· TRUMP HOTELS: Jie “Robby” Qiu has been named Vice President of development and acquisitions & chief country executive for Greater China. Trump plans on opening 30 hotels in China by 2020, which sounds like an imaginary year doesn't it? Either way, these hotels will no doubt be "the biggest and the bestest" according to The Donald.
Got a notable job announcement you'd like to submit? Please send it along to Tips@HotelChatter.com with the subject heading: "Job Announcement for HotelChatter"
Hotel Industry News / Hotel Woes / Delano hotels / Morgans Hotel Group / Hotel Lawsuits / → All Tags
Last week we were stunned to hear that Morgans Hotel Group was selling off its prized possesion, The Delano South Beach. But once we waded through the legal mumbo-jumbo and found that the Delano would remain the Delano and that Morgans would still be running the shop, we were cool with all of it. But we shoulda known better. These hotel sales are never easy.
OTK Associates LLC, the largest stockholder of Morgans Hotel Group Co., has now filed a lawsuit to stop Morgans from re-arranging The Yucaipa Companies interest in the company. (Currently, Yucaipa holds Morgans stock, stock warrants and convertible notes. Morgans' directors want Yucaipa to take ownership of the Delano and the Light Group instead.) OTK Associates believes that the switcheroo would favor the Yucaipa company over other stockholders (like OTK) and is also, you know, like totally illegal according to Delaware law.
OTK also has issues with the looking to stop the postponement of the company's annual meeting which is usually held in May but which is now set for July because OTK believes that stockholders will be denied the right to review the transaction.
As of this afternoon, OTK actually secured a right of postponement on the "recapitalization plan" and released this statement:
OTK is pleased that the Morgans Hotel Group agreed to delay the rights offering, as OTK had requested in its motion for a temporary restraining order. All shareholders should be deeply troubled by the current board of directors’ continued waste of corporate assets to advocate for a coercive and dilutive transaction that OTK believes is invalid. Further, the use of company funds to change shareholder voting rules and diminish voting rights calls into question this board’s fiduciary duties and responsibilities.
Again, we don't think this is going to affect your next Morgans Hotel stay but you never know what might happen in a few months. Lawsuit and other problems at the top always trickle down, even down into your hotel room.
The Gaylord Opryland Hotel
Some bittersweet news today--Gaylord Hotels, which has four massive hotel/resorts in Tennessee, Florida, Maryland and Texas, will be selling its entire operation to Marriott Hotels for about $210 million.
Although the Gaylord name will remain, Marriott will takeover the operations at all four hotels for at least the next 35 years (Gaylord's parent company will still own the hotel buildings.) While this was the best move financially for the Nashville-based Gaylord Entertainment Company, it still makes us a little sad to see a small hotel company give into a bigger guy like Marriott.
However, USA Today reports that it was Marriott who decided to keep the Gaylord name because they believed in the brand so that's a good sign. All other experiences at the Gaylord hotels should remain the same as well (including the family-friendly Shrek one), just now you can use your Marriott Rewards points to stay here.
Hotel Openings / Hotel Hype / Viceroy Hotels / Nicholas Clayton / Hotel Industry News / Turkey Hotels / Istanbul Hotels / → All Tags
A Viceroy will be in these parts soon.
Fresh after adding Cassa New York to their collection and seeing the departure of president Nicholas Clayton to Jumeirah Hotels, Viceroy Hotel Group has just announced the Viceroy Istanbul will open in 2013, a year earlier than we expected.
The hotel will be a part of the rising Nef Bebeköy Development.
Spread across ten separate buildings and over 16 acres of land, offering 58 guest accommodations, Viceroy Istanbul will boast spectacular panoramic views of the Bosphorus, the strait that forms part of the boundary between Europe and Asia, and direct access to a tranquil outdoor garden and forest area. The property will offer guests and residence luxury services including a casual and signature restaurant, banquet and meeting facilities, an outdoor art gallery, and a state-of-the-art full service fitness center and spa.
We're unsure of what happened that caused Kimpton to back away but we're feeling all sorts of sad for the Sax now. As a commenter pointed out the other week, this hotel has gone through several incarnations in the past decade--a Loews, an independent hotel brand and a Thompson.
The changeover was expected to happen on April 27th but perhaps Thompson will just stick it out after all. Otherwise, maybe it's time the Sax strike out on its own again.
Setai Shakedown / Miami Hotel Mambo / Hotel Management Companies / Hotel Industry News / Hotel News / → All Tags
Singapore-based General Hotel Management, aka the people who were running The Setai in South Beach until they were forcibly removed from the property by the Setai's owners, Lehman Brothers, have just put out a statement with their side of the story.
Hans R. Jenni, President and Director of GHM, said:
"Representatives from Lehman Brothers arrived at the hotel with armed guards and off duty sheriff officers in uniform in the early morning hours on March 31st. They informed us that they were taking over the property and that General Hotel Management (GHM) was no longer welcome on the property. These actions took us by surprise, as we had no prior indication they were intending to do this, nor were we under the impression that they were unhappy with our performance. We had just achieved the second best financial performance year since the inception of the hotel, not an easy accomplishment in the current economic environment."
Setai Shakedown / Miami Hotel Mambo / Hotel Management Companies / Hotel Industry News / Hotel News / → All Tags
UPDATE: GHM speaks out on the shakedown!
It was a wild Saturday in Miami last weekend which really isn't nothing new for the party town but things got crazy--like police involved crazy at The Setai for a different reason--a hostile middle-of-the-night takeover.
USA Today reports the owners of The Setai, Setai Owners LLC, kicked out their current management company, General Hotel Management and GHM (South Beach) LLC, and replaced them with Dallas-based Trevi Luxury Hospitality Group.
The ousting happened because the Setai owners (which is actually a unit of Lehman Brothers) claims the hotel should be more profitable. Here's a little bit on what the hotel was spending their money on (this comes from Lehman's request for arbitration to essentially end GHM's management contract):
Even Hotels / IHG Hotels / InterContinental Hotel Group / Hotel Fitness / Hotel News / Hotel Industry News / Hotel Hype / → All Tags
The mid-market brand is aimed at "travelers who want guest rooms with space to exercise and amenities such as hypoallergenic linens and healthier food options." Even Hotels will feature in-room fitness equipment, workout tips from the staff, LED dimmers in the guest room, natural lighting, coat racks that double as pull-up bars and oddly enough, anti-bacterial wipes. We guess even those with OCD can stay at Even Hotels.
The Wall Street Journal has even (heh) more scoop on the fitness-oriented hotel room amenities like exercise mats and benches at the foot of the bed that double as workout benches. The fitness centers on-site at the hotel will be right next to the lobby and will be three to four times bigger than most hotel fitness centers. The cafe menu will also feature health-conscious options on their menu.
It sounds good but boy, you REALLY have to be dedicated to your workout routine to stay in a hotel that is pretty much all about working out. Can you imagine staying here on your "cheat day"? You will probably want to check-out fast. And forget about walking into the lobby with a Mickey D's bag in your hand.
Hotel News / Hotel Industry News / Hotel Rebrandings / Commune Hotels / Thompson Hotels / Joie De Vivre Hotels / JT Hospitality / → All Tags
[This story has been updated from yesterday's, which was originally posted on 2/21/12 at 3:28pm.]
We've been anxiously anticipating the new name for the newly merged Joie de Vivre Hotels and Thompson Hotels as the temporary name, JT Hospitality, was not very original and also conjured up a line of hotels from Justin Timberlake.
Nevertheless, the wait is over as the announcement comes today that the hotels will now fall under the new company name...COMMUNE HOTELS AND RESORTS. (And yes, the website is already up and running.)
"Our ethos is about individuality, community, locations that are authentic to their environment, and the kind of service that exceeds guests' expectations and makes travel exciting again," the three executives wrote in a statement. "We believe celebrating individuality is the best way to elevate the guest experience."