Tag: Hotel WoesView All Tags
Hoteliers / Sant Singh Chatwal / Vikram Chatwal / Hampshire Hotels / Hotel News / Hotel Woes / → All Tags
Usually when we hear of a Chatwal hotelier in the news, it's often about Vikram Chatwal, the troubled hotelier behind The Dream Hotel brand. But today, it's Vikram's father who's in the news. And it's pretty serious.
The Daily News reports that Sant Singh Chatwal, the chairman of Hampshire Hotels & Resorts which includes his namesake, The Chatwal Hotel, pleaded guilty to "recruiting straw donors to make illegal campaign contributions to three federal candidates." He also pleaded guilty to tampering with a witness who he allegedly told to lie to the FBI and the IRS.
Chatwal stepped down as CEO of Hampshire Hotels earlier this month (probably because of the charges) but remains on as chairman. Eric Danziger, formerly CEO of Wyndham Hotel Group, took Chatwal's place. Wyndham franchises the Dream and Night hotels which were started by Chatwal.
Meanwhile, Chatwal faces up to five years in prison and a fine of $200,000 when he's sentenced on July 31. He also offered to pay the U.S. government $1 million in restitution.
This is not the first time Chatwal has been in trouble with the government. Back in 2012, it was discovered that The Chatwal Hotel pretended to be a church for several years to avoid paying taxes. (It's a long story but the hotel was previously a church and the hotel never changed that status.) Let's hope this is the last of the Chatwal crimes.
[Photo of Chatwal and Danziger via Rediff]
Hotel News / New Hotels / Hotel Openings / Hotel Woes / CitizenM Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / → All Tags
It looks like CitizenM Hotels were getting ahead of themselves when they opened up bookings for their Times Square property. When we stopped by earlier today to take a peek, we were told that, while a few guests are staying tonight (the projected opening date) opening date has now been pushed back to April 12. Given that this is the rather unwelcoming scene we were greeted with at the front door, we'd say that's a wise decision.
Just last week, we got overly excited about the opening date for the Park Hyatt New York (according to the website it's August 28th; according to hotel insiders, it's sometime earlier in the summer.) But then a reader tipped us off to this report from DNAInfo.com which said the hotel had been denied a liquor license from the community board. Oh sh*t.
Neighbors who live behind the building sent their recommendation to the State Liquor Authority to not approve a liquor license for their hotel because they are worried a second-floor terrace will host loud outdoor parties "that would echo through their rear courtyard." They're also pretty fed up with all the 24-hour construction drama that One57 has caused in the past few years and so this might be a little way to exact some revenge for all the nuisance the building has already caused.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the company laid off one-third of its workforce, including 20 top executives and longtime employees. Clearly, this was done to save money and indeed Jason Kalisman, the acting CEO and chairman of Morgans (who spent a good portion of last year tussling with Ron Burkle) publicly said last month the company was going to "reduce costs and corporate overhead."
Meanwhile, after losing the Delano Marrakech and The Ames in Boston, not to mention an ongoing feud with the owners of the Mondrian Soho, the hotels of Morgans Hotel Group seem to be business as usual. We hopped over to the Morgans site today and saw that plans for the Delano Las Vegas were still intact, as were the plans for the Mondrian Bahia Mar in the Bahamas and the Mondrian London.
We also noticed quite a few expansions for the Mondrian and Delano brands. But will they actually happen? It looks like Morgans is trying hard to clean up its act and find a sure footing again but only time will tell.
To be fair, it's not Viceroy's fault but rather the developer who has run into some crazy financial difficulties. A tipster has offered up this version of the events, which have also been reported in the local news:
Mr Jonathan Grepne had signed a deal with Viceroy to managed the half-completed resort of apartments and villas from 2014 and to run an associated hotel from 2017. However, no further construction work has taken place during the 12 months since the deal was announced and a large number of original investors in the properties have launched legal action against Sambala and Mr Grepne as their properties should have been completed in 2008.
Mr Grepne owes millions of Euros to his bank funders and a provisional injunction was granted in February 2013 freezing Sambala and Grepne's assets. The Supreme Court just last month upheld the injunction, confirming freezing of all assets and putting a halt to the development for the foreseeable future. The local government has also just announced to the media that they will attempt to seize Sambala assets and auction them off to cover taxes that Grepne has failed to pay since 2008. Neither Mr Grepne nor Sambala director Dominic McGlynn are taking calls from creditors and investors. Viceroy have so far refused to comment.
Currently, Cape Verde is not even listed on the Viceroy's website so you can consider this property a no-go unless we hear otherwise. It's a shame, though. The 150-room beachfront resort with its three restaurants, children’s club and a state-of-the-art water sports center sounded truly amazing.
The 2014 Winter Olympics Games have begun, many miles and several tape delayed hours away in Sochi, Russia. But all anyone can seem to talk about is how terribly unprepared the Sochi hotels have been.
We saw journalists take to Twitter the other day, detailing the horrible hotel conditions--from broken drapes to toxic water and broken toilets. While laughable in some cases, sadly, these conditions seem to be "standard" for Sochi.
Today, we've got a report from a Super Secret Sochi Insider who spent a few months in the city preparing for the Olympics. Here's his tale of hotel woes:
A Super Secret Sochi Insider Speaks:
The hotel I was living at is called Marins Park Hotel - they say it’s 4 stars but that’s laughable. It’s been open for a long time (in fact it used to be a Radisson SAS) so I did not have any of the extreme issues like what you’re seeing on Twitter.
Still, we’d only have hot water a few days of the week. Asking the Front Desk about it would result in a shrug and a forced smile. When the hotel lost electricity over one weekend, we asked about it being restored and the response was something to the effect of “everyone is complaining, what do we know? it will come back soon”. Like sorry to disturb you from texting.
What sucked about losing electricity - other than the obvious of being on generators only - is that the heater in most of the rooms don’t work. I was given a small space heater which has to be plugged in to the wall. No electricity in the wall = no heat from space heater. In the middle of Russia. In winter. Fun.
Well, while we certainly feel for them having had our fair share of bad experiences, this is definitely a case of "it's funny because it's not us."
Media covering the Winter Games landed in Sochi this week to find that their rooms weren't ready for check in. Unfortunately, it had nothing to do with delayed room turnover. No -- the rooms really weren't ready, as in still under construction.
Social media is dangerous enough when it comes to the everyday person, let alone when a group of American media encounter a problem. Tweets from reporters, some hilarious and some sad, have been the talk of the town as they attempt to settle in before the opening ceremonies on Thursday. We've embedded a few of them below for your reading pleasure, and it won't take you long to find others from various news outlets via a quick Google search. And of course, Twitter itself.
Just hours before the Golden Globes red carpet walk was to start at the Beverly Hilton, a sprinkler malfunctioned raining down not just water, but according to witnesses, some smelly black sewage as well. Billy Bush tweeted this about the incident:
Sewage pipe break on red carpet at #GoldenGlobes so it’s not hot as sh*t but it could smell like it today. Good times.— Billy Bush (@billybush) January 12, 2014
The hotel was quick to call the fire department and clean up the mess. They also released an official statement about the leak on Facebook which stated that it was a sprinkler malfunction. There was no mention of sewage and the carpet received "one last wash before it opened" for all the celebs. Cue new tweet from Billy Bush:
I’m hearing fire sprinkler broke. Better now than in the middle of the action. #GoldenGlobes. In a few hours it’ll smell like champagne so— Billy Bush (@billybush) January 12, 2014
Indeed, nothing seemed amassed when the red carpet walk started:
Hotel Rebrandings / Hotel News / Hotel Woes / Concorde Hotels / Crowne Plaza Hotels / Lyon Hotels / → All Tags
When we looked at the number of hotels leaving the Concorde group last month, we asked the question how long its remaining properties would stick around for. Now we know the answer for at least one of them: not very long.
Kind tipsters let us know in the comments and via email that Hotel de la Cite Concorde in Lyon (one of the largest French cities outside of Paris) would become the Crowne Plaza Lyon – Cite Internationale on March 1st. What’s more, while the website for Concorde Berges du Lac in Tunisia is still live, the hotel has since also disappeared from the group directory, and online reservations takes you to a booking system that doesn’t even include Tunisia as an available destination.
Keeping the group website up to date no longer seems to be a priority either: various Google links take you to a directory page that lists a generous 25 properties, and sub-pages liberally link to hotels now with Hyatt or elsewhere. Are we watching the demise of a hotel group here?
Hotel Rebrandings / Hotel News / Hotel Woes / Concorde Hotels / Hilton Hotels / Sofitel Hotels / Hyatt Hotels / Paris Hotels / Berlin Hotels / → All Tags
Hotel rebrandings happen – they are a fact of life in the industry, whether a result of lawsuits or some other drama, or just a desired change in direction or repositioning. The difference for guests can be substantial if major renovation is involved, and sometimes it is simply a case of one name on the door coming down and another going up.
We’re not entirely sure though what to call it when a hotel group loses half of its portfolio in the span of a single year, which seems to be the case for Concorde Hotels. Earlier this year, Hyatt swooped in and took over the management of four of its hotels (two in Paris, two on the French Riviera), newcomer The Set will be closing the Lutetia soon for yet another full-on French palace hotel renovation, and now Hilton is taking over Concorde Paris Opéra and Sofitel the Concorde Berlin. Seven hotels in twelve months is quite the stampede for the door marked “exit,” is all we’re saying.
When we dubbed the Malmaison Dundee the U.K. hotel chain's "lucky 13th" property, it turns out we spoke too soon: it doesn't get much unluckier than being flooded three days before opening.
On November 28th, flooding, said to have been caused by an electrical fault, affected 15 of the hotel's 90 guest rooms. While Malmaison first claimed that the December 1st opening would go ahead as planned, that was not the case and there is currently no official opening date in sight.
Update: Morgans Hotel Group has sent over this statement regarding the situation:
"Morgans Hotel Group reached the difficult decision to terminate its management agreement for Delano Marrakech and discontinue all affiliation with the hotel, including the removal of the Delano name and management of the property, effective November 12, 2013. This unprecedented action was taken as a result of severe and recurring breaches of contract by the ownership group. Morgans Hotel Group took this necessary recourse to preserve Delano’s reputation, the integrity of the company and the high standards that our guests expect from the Delano brand."
Just a little over a year after the Delano Marrakech opened, we've now got word that the Delano Hotels brand is OUT at the property. The hotel 71-room hotel has reverted back to its original, pre-renovation, name--The Pearl.
We're not sure of the details behind the departure (if you've got them, let us know) but Delano Marrakech has been removed from the Morgans Hotel Group website. Interestingly, Delano still has plans to expand to Las Vegas, Cesme (Turkey), Moscow and Cartagena.
In other Morgans Hotel Group news, the company still hasn't officially appointed a new CEO since Michael Gross stepped down in early September. Jason Kalisman, whose investment firm OTK Associates, is the company's largest shareholder, has been appointed interim CEO. This, after he led a takedown of the Morgans board and its celebrity investor, Ron Burkle. Now, Burkle has offered to buy the hotel group for $8 a share. No word yet on whether Morgans will accept.
So with all that going on, we can kind of understand this recent development. But what does it mean for all those future Delanos? We're not sure and we're not so sure we want to find out.
[Photo: Delano, er, The Pearl Marrakech]