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It's time for a walk down memory lane with a HotelChatter flashback!
What we didn't know then is that the story of Denizen would end, not with a glamorous hotel opening in an urban market somewhere, but rather in federal court with Hilton being forced to pay Starwood Hotels $75 million for stealing ideas from their rival hotel company, largely through Hilton's hiring of Ross Klein, the so-called godfather of Starwood's W Hotels. Hilton also had to agree to "certain business restrictions" as well as agree not to buy or franchise any Starwood Lifestyle Brand hotel that Starwood operates nor hire anyone from Starwood for two years.
But guess what? The two years are up! And we've heard whispers that Denizen is being resurrected, although with a completely different name and look. Even though we hated Denizen when it was first introduced we can't wait to see what the new incarnation will look like.
When The James Royal Palm Miami opened last November, after much anticipation and a few delays, our first impressions were rather good. Back then we wrote this about the spot:
Getting a first-hand look at the lobby and the rooms (we had to forgo the pools, since we were there at night, and there weren't any guests swimming anyway), it's obvious that the James is trying to do something a little different from the other Collins Ave properties. You end up feeling like you're in someone's beach bungalow rather than an art museum. The furniture looks like it came out of some eccentric, but tasteful, neighbor's yard sale (we even spotted a bench made of plastic cups that sink under your weight when you sit down—nerdy but cool.)
Yet it doesn't look like the hotel owner was too happy with the finished product.
According to Law360.com, RP Hotel Holdings LLC has filed a lawsuit against Tatro Construction Co. LLC, claiming the contractor "failed to coordinate and supervise construction and failed to reasonably and timely perform the work." A-ha. So this probably explains why everyone was so touchy about the hotel missing the October 1 opening date.
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Looks like Regent Hotels will encounter another contender in its quest to have the number one resort in Bali: Ritz-Carlton just announced last week it will return to the island next year. This follows a previous RC resort at Jimbaran Bay, which became the independent Ayana Resort back in 2009. A first rendering shows a sprawling resort with both a beachfront and cliff-side angle, including what we assume is a set of lifts in the shimmering vertical building connecting the two.
There will be a total of 288 rooms, including 90 suites and 14 villas. Cliff-side, there are an additional 10 villas. The other thing that is unequivocally clear from the aerial view is that there will be pools. And lots of them. Restaurants and all the usual accoutrements of a luxury resort will no doubt be there as well.
Update 11:50AM, 6.14.13: The board has voted! See results below!
Man, the Morgans Hotel Group cannot catch a break.
The parent company to such hip hotels like the Delano South Beach and The Hudson in New York has been sued again. This time, the lawsuit's been filed in Istanbul by a company called JMJ Development, LLC who is claiming Morgans Hotel Group, its CEO and a property owner engaged in "breach of contract, tortuous interference with existing and prospective contracts, intentional misrepresentation, conversion, fraud, and conspiracy." That's some serious stuff. You can read all the nitty gritty accusations on the press release but here's a snippet:
Without JMJ's knowledge or participation, Morgans and Coruk created a new Turkish company to own and develop the hotel, Morbel Hospitality, in which Michael Gross and Richard Szymanski, CFO of Morgans, are directors. According to a December 2011 press release, Morgans released $10 million to the new company under terms remarkably similar to the terms negotiated by JMJ. The parties conspired to circumvent the agreements to JMJ's detriment.
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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....
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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.
It's been about a year since trouble first started brewing down at Miami's famed Eden Roc Hotel. The property, which has been around since the 1950s, is managed by Marriott, but the relationship between Marriott and the hotel's owners was bad. So bad, in fact, that the hotel tried to boot Marriott from the premises during an after-dark siege. Serious drama, right?.
A judge (who happened to be a self-professed Eden Roc "fan"") declared back in November that Marriott has the legal right to remain as manager of the hotel.
Or should we say, 'had.'
Yesterday, the hotel's attorney announced that Eden Roc has won in a New York Appellate court the right to oust Marriott as manager of the property. The attorney called it "a vindication," and believes the outcome of this bitter lawsuit will help settle future disputes between hotel owners and management:
"A hotel manager is barred from commandeering a property against the owner’s wishes. Any doubts in that regard have been laid to rest."
Here's one kid who's going to have serious bragging rights when they grow up: being born at the Standard Hotel. Talk about starting early!
Tara Kimkee Tan, a former hotel manager at the Standard, was on duty one Saturday night in April 2011, when she suddenly went into labor, and was forced to give birth in a guest room. Which is bad enough, but Yahoo! reports that Tan is now suing Standard for $10 million, claiming that the hotel carelessly shooed her out the side door after the delivery, neglected to offer her maternity leave, and then fired her four months later for 'stealing hotel property.'
Luxury hotels have a tendency to attract some scandale; if it isn’t the celebrity kind (hi Lindsay!), a good lawsuit will do. Even the Maybourne Hotel Group, a small collection of fa-fa-fancy London hotels including Claridge’s, the Connaught, and the Berkeley, isn’t immune.
The Guardian reports that the wealthy Barclays brothers are about to take control over the debt-laden group, amidst a flurry of legal battles, disputes, and general animosity. So what happened here?
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About a month ago, we reported that Marriott was suing the pants off Eden Roc for attempting to kick Marriott out during an "egregious raid in the pre-dawn hours"—something that sounds good on paper, or maybe in a Nicholas Cage movie, but isn't actually that practical in real life.
Well, now, after Marriott took the Eden Roc owners to court, a judge has decreed that Marriott is still the legal manager of the hotel, and cannot be removed by any underhanded sneak tactics. Well, those weren't the judge's words per se, but you get the gist.
Interestingly, the judge, New York State Supreme Court Justice Melvin L. Schweitzer—we'll just call him Melve—made it known that he actually took a personal interest in the case, having spent some time at the Eden Roc himself. In an aside, Melve mentioned he was "a fan of Eden Roc from years back when I passed over Fontainebleau and went next door." But both Marriott and Eden Roc were too busy making nana-poo-poo faces at each other to acknowledge the compliment.
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There's tons of New York hotel news flying around this week and we don't have time to give each and every story the love and attention it may deserve, so you will have to settle for some news briefs.
· CitizenM Times Square Is On Track For Summer 2013: European-based budget hotel chain CitizenM have been circling for a while now on a yet-to-open CitizenM Times Square property on 50th and Broadway. At the beginning of 2011, we were told the brand was shooting for a 2012 opening in Times Square (which obviously never happened). Now, CitizenM executive Michael Levie tells USA Today that construction is well underway, and that the 24-story, 240-room tower is set to open by next summer. What else? The company is also planning a second NYC location in Soho, set to open the following year.
BusinessWeek reports that some shady business went down in Miami Beach the other week. Well, in addition to whatever other shady business goes down there regularly. But, in this case, the perpetrator was Eden Roc, who attempted to pull off a Waikiki-style shakedown, launching an "egregious raid in the pre-dawn hours" on October 14.
Though the shakedown wasn't successful, it got the message across to Marriott, who's now seeking help from the court to prevent Eden Roc from trying again.