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UPDATE 9.6.13: A rep for the hotel emailed us to say, "We're having our most successful year on record since reopening in 2008. We're averaging over 80% occupancy a year and have the highest revenues in the history of Fontainebleau. In fact, Fontainebleau is one of the most profitable non-casino hotels in the world." In other words, party on.
It's unbelievable that even in the face of financial troubles, Miami Beach's legendary Fontainebleau is still partying like all's right in the world.
The hotel capped off their summer of BleauLive concertsthis past weekend with a performance by singer Robin Thicke and Grammy-winning producer/musician Pharrell Williams. The duo took to the stage and performed their monster summer hit, "Blurred Lines."
Meanwhile, the details are equally blurry regarding the upcoming sale of The Fontainebleau to South Florida developer Turnberry Ltd. Dubai World, who has 50 percent stake in the hotel, has already unloaded other assets to repay $25 billion worth of debts, with the SoBe hotel the most recent on the chopping block.
According to an article in Reuters, the sale of the hotel will be completed in a few weeks, but the price is being kept hush hush according to their source, and Dubai World's spokesman would not comment.
Halsey Minor, the man who founded CNET.com is not only a crappy millionaire, he's a crappy hotelier too. Minor, who at one point was worth nearly half a billion dollars, filed for personal bankruptcy earlier this summer yet made news again yesterday when his posh Bel-Air estate went up for sale in a bankruptcy auction.
But being hotel nerds, we're more interested in the hotel he planned in his hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia.
Minor created Minor Family Hotels sometime in the mid-2000s with the sole purpose of building a nine-story, 100 hotel room in downtown Charlottesville. However, by 2008, construction had stalled on the project and by September 2010, it had already been the subject of eight lawsuits in two different states. By then, Minor Family Hotels filed for bankruptcy.
To this day, the nearly-finished hotel remains untouched, although it did get snapped up for $6.25 million by Dewberry Capital last year. Even though the company has not touched the abandoned project since buying it, they reportedly still have plans to turn it into a functioning hotel and are even working on a new luxury hotel brand.
Doesn't time fly? We can hardly believe that it's been almost two years since we first started getting excited about the Travel Channel's Hotel Impossible. Now our favorite "hotel fixer" is back for a third series, which takes him to failing hotels in California, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Costa Rica.
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It may be the offseason in Miami but in this town, the hotel drama never slows down. First up, a major hotel closure.
The National Hotel on Collins Avenue was shut down by the city for failing "numerous" safety inspections.
The Miami Herald writes:
Jacques Roy, the National general manager, said the 154-room hotel could reopen as soon as next week once it resolves unspecified safety and building-code issues with Miami Beach. The city’s fire marshal and building department declared the hotel unsafe after recent inspections, according to Miami Beach spokeswoman Nannette Rodriguez. In an email, Rodriguez said “it will not reopen until all work is completed.” The 1939 hotel has been undergoing lengthy renovations.
While the hotel's general manager sounded optimistic that the hotel would reopen soon, in the meantime, all 74 of the hotel's employees have been laid off with no hint as to when they might start again.
UPDATE: We've just got word that THE WIFI IS NOW FREE! Glorious!
Back in early June, we learned that the Mondrian Soho was in danger of losing its Mondrian name, thanks to the behind the scenes drama going on with parent company, Morgans Hotel Group. We also reported then that the Ames Hotel in Boston was in peril of losing its management contract with Morgans Hotel Group. And just like that, POOF, it's gone.
We received a press release today announcing that StepStone Hospitality, a Rhode Island-based hospitality management firm, has taken over The Ames Hotel.
“This unique property contrasts modern style with historic sophistication to provide a unique guest experience,” added Blair Wills, StepStone Hospitality president and chief operating officer. “We’re committed to assuring that the level of service matches the quality of the surroundings.”
StepStone currently manages a Hampton Inn and a Springhill Suites in Massachusetts so having the Ames in their portfolio is certainly a stepping stone to greater things.
So far, we don't anticipate many, if any, changes to happen at The Ames. However, it would be excellent if the Ames decided to offer free WiFi under their new management. Currently, the hotel charges $15 for 24 hours.
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.
Everyone knows that gambling has a dark side but Chanize's recent experience at The Borgata took it to an entirely different level with her being accused of something completely outrageous while at the blackjack table. Here's her story in her own words. Our mother really was right--nothing good happens after midnight...or 3am.
I don’t know whether to feel sorry for the powers-that-be at Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel or furious with them, so I'm going for a happy medium. On the eve of their 10-year anniversary, the casino suffered a trauma, and in their flustered state ended up accusing me of, how to say it gently—soliciting services.
Now I’ve been called many a thing in my time, but hooker is a first. Until now.
But let’s back this thang up and tell you how the hoopla went down.
Apparently while many guests (including myself) were at The Borgata’s Event Center watching The Roots tear up the stage with Slash and Jill Scott, a robbery took place. According to this article , at 8:45pm a group of men came in and boosted $500,000 worth of jewelry from a Borgata store. Of course, we were none the wiser, enjoying the concert and all.
Read on for the rest of Chanize's cautionary tale.
Over the weekend, a friend sent us this snapshot from a Sheraton Hotel near San Diego, saying " Apparently, this sheet is in Sheraton's "still usable" category." Sheet! That ain't good. And it kinda takes the excitement out of sleeping on that Sheraton Sweet Sleeper bed, right?
Sadly, we've seen tears like this rather frequently on hotel sheets. We *think* it's due to the giant machines that press the sheets after they are laundered. Inevitably a corner gets stuck in the machine and is accidentally ripped. It definitely doesn't look like a guest made such a clean tear, unless they we're just goofing off with a pocket-knife while in bed. And that's possible, given this list of shameful hotel habits.
But is there another explanation? Does anyone know what else might be causing such a sheety disaster? And should a hotel discard an otherwise perfectly good sheet? Tell us in comments below!
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.
Hotel Emergencies / Hotel News / Hotel Woes / Best Western Hotels / North Carolina Hotels / Hotel Deaths / Hotel Safety / → All Tags
A tragic story emerged this week about the death of an 11-year-old boy due to carbon monoxide poisoning in his Best Western Plus hotel room. Unfortunately, it was made even more tragic when authorities revealed that the same exact room had been responsible for killing another two guests—also from carbon monoxide poisoning—back in April.
(TIME magazine's 'Hotel Horror' headline was pretty spot on, if you ask us.)
Tests confirmed an "elevated level of carbon monoxide in the room," and the hotel has been shut down for the time being—but the question that keeps circling in our head is: could we be susceptible to carbon monoxide poisoning in our hotel room, too? How would we even know if the levels were high? After all, carbon monoxide is deadlier than other gases because it can't be seen or smelled.
So, to ease our anxiety, we've done a little research that ought to help us (and you) sleep peacefully next time you check into a hotel room. Here are five facts about carbon monoxide poisoning all hotel guests should know:
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To quickly get you up to speed, OTK Associates (one of the largest shareholders of the Morgans stock), has sued fellow board members to stop them from doing a deal with Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa company and from recapitalizing assets. It’s an extremely complicated situation but a Delaware court recently ruled in favor of OTK, who is now trying to replace the exist boardmembers with picks of their own.
In their recent letter to shareholders with their boardmember suggestions, OTK Associates revealed that foreclosure proceedings began in January for the Mondrian Soho. But that's not all:
In February 2013, the owner of Mondrian SoHo, a joint venture in which Morgans Group owns a 20% equity interest, gave notice purporting to terminate our subsidiary as manager of the hotel. It also filed a lawsuit against us seeking termination of the management agreement. We intend to vigorously defend our rights to continue managing the property under our management agreement and related agreements, but we cannot assure you that we will be successful.
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....