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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.
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Ruh-roh. There's even more trouble in Miami Beach.
Just after we learned about the Setai Shakedown, we saw that the owners of another Miami hotel that made our sexiest bathrooms list, The Eden Roc Renassiance Hotel, are now suing Marriott Hotels and their Renaissance brand for grossly mismanaging the hotel after an extensive renovation. Business Week has this choice bit from the hotel owners' lawsuit:
“In the face of Renaissance’s failures, Eden Roc has quite literally shoveled money into the project to make up for Renaissance’s incompetence,” Eden Roc said in the complaint. “And while Eden Roc loses its shirt, Renaissance and its parent company and guarantor, Marriott International, have lined their pockets with management fees.”
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Hotel Kamp in Helsinki is owned by Starwood
The New York Daily News is reporting on a lawsuit between Wall Street banker Alison Fournier and Starwood Hotels, who gave an unknown man the key to Fournier's Helsinki hotel room, after he explained to the Front Desk that he was her husband. Creepy! And kinda unbelievable.
The surveillance video depicts an American man showing up at the Hotel Kamp's Front Desk, drunkenly explaining he had been locked out from his wife's room, and walking away with the key. Minutes later, he entered Fournier's room, took his clothes off and got into bed with her. Creepy again! Though half-asleep, and alone, Fournier immediately realized what was going on and ran straight out of the room. Starwood has called the event "very unfortunate" and is looking into the facts before taking any further action.
Like, um, an apology?
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The WSJ is reporting that an auditor for Amsterdam Hospitality Group has greedily helped himself to the credit card information of 237 guests, drawing from three of the group's eight Manhattan hotels. Luckily, NYC's Fashion Week mainstay, the Empire Hotel, which the company owns, wasn't affected.
Phew! Though we dote happily on the Empire's ritzy Lincoln Center location and rooftop drinking accommodations, we'd rather not take our chances when handing over our credit cards for a $450-a-night stay. We have enough "mystery charges" showing up on our monthly statements (as we mentioned earlier this morning, our love of hotels is exceeded only by our love of shopping) as it is, and have no need for disappearing funds.
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Some late-breaking news yesterday--a New York judge has ordered M Waikiki LLC, the owners of the The Waikiki Edition who dumped the brand in favor of The Modern Honolulu, to reinstall the Edition team which is owned by Marriott Hotels.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
On Wednesday, a New York state judge issued a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction that stated that Marriott should be allowed to return to its management role at the hotel by 2:30 p.m. local time, replacing Aqua Hotels & Resorts, the management company installed by the owners on Sunday, according to a copy of the judge's order.
But despite the ruling, the WSJ said that by late Wednesday Aqua was still in place and that a bunch of Marriott executives had arrived but then later left the hotel.
Still Marriott says they are accepting reservations for the hotel through Marriott.com and over the phone as well as through "numerous online and other travel providers." (Also of note; anyone who booked a spa deal through PlayHawaii.com are welcome back as well.) But will it still be a Marriott/Edition hotel when you get there? That remains to be seen.
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This used to be a happy place.
Uhoh. Remember that Edition Waikiki Lawsuit that the owners of the Edition Waikiki filed against Edition's parent company Marriott Hotels and visionary Ian Schrager a few months ago? Well things have just gotten really nasty.
The Wall Street Journal reports that over Saturday night, the owners changed the locks on the hotel doors, effectively shutting out Marriott.
In a dramatic move, the owners of the Waikiki Edition in Hawaii said Sunday that in the early morning hours they installed new management and changed the signs and locks on the hotel to reflect a new name, the Modern Honolulu. The changes were made in spite of a contract that allows Marriott to run the hotel as an Edition for 30 years.
The view from the Millenium Hilton in 2008.
Millenium Hilton hasn't had it very easy this past decade. When September 11 happened, one side of the hotel was completely blown out forcing closure of the hotel for nearly two years.
When we checked in with the hotel on the 5th anniversary of 9/11, things were settling down into a new kind of normal for the hotel, just like everyone else in the city was doing. But the hotel's proximity to Ground Zero with its strange mixture of 9/11 memorials and frenetic construction was unavoidable. And now five years later, it's gotten so bad the hotel is filing a lawsuit.
According to the NY Post, the hotel is suing both the Port Authority, which owns the site, and Silverstein Properties Inc., who is the developer of Towers 2, 3 and 4 for a total of $8 million claiming: