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Hotel News / Dubai Hotels / Sheraton Hotels / Starwood Hotels / Hotel Takeovers / Hotel Rebrandings / → All Tags
We're only one month into 2013 but already there's drama brewing in the form of a hotel takeover, this time in Dubai. Hotelier Middle East reports that Pullman (which falls under the Accor brand) has been ousted as the management for Pullman Dubai Mall of the Emirates, which henceforth is to be known as the Sheraton Dubai Mall of the Emirates.
'So what?' you're thinking, 'hotels change management all the time.' True.
What's interesting about this re-branding, though, is the method in which the owners will implement the new changes. According to a tipster in Dubai, the switch will take place during the night, meaning guests will go to sleep in one hotel and, for all intents and purposes, wake up in a new one.
The basic structure will remain exactly the same, but with all new signage, branding—not to mention new staff—it might feel a little Twilight Zone-y coming down to breakfast in a different hotel than the one you had dinner in the night before.
Two for the price of one! Not that we'd expect anything less from a hotel inside a mall...
Hotel News Briefs / Tokyo Hotels / Andaz Hotels / Curacao Hotels / Hyatt Hotels / Kimpton Hotels / Los Angeles Hotels / Hotel Takeovers / Hotel News / Fairmont Hotels / Bali Hotels / Raffles Hotels / → All Tags
There's tons of 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.
· Andaz Tokyo Will Aim High: If you thought Andaz Amsterdam and Andaz Savannah and Andaz Maui were the last scraps of Andaz news for a while, think again. Hyatt has just announced a brand new Andaz property opening in Tokyo's Toranomon business district in summer of 2014. The 164-room hotel will occupy the top six floors of a 52-story tower currently under construction, and, yes, there will be a rooftop bar. The hotel will also take over the 37th floor, which will be dedicated to an infinity pool, spa and fitness center. Though this location will be a first for Andaz, it will be Hyatt's fourth in Tokyo, and its ninth in Japan.
For the rest of today's hotel news, read on!
We've been hearing for a while about a potential NYLO hotel opening in NYC. Which would be completely fitting, considering the brand is named after, you guessed it, New York.
Last we heard, NYLO Manhattan was slated for a downtown location, near South Street Seaport—which would have made for interesting competition with other FiDi hotels like Andaz Wall St, Gild Hall and Conrad New York.
But as it turns out, NYLO New York will actually be making itself at home on the Upper West Side. According to CP Executive, the brand has decided to take over a previously-existing property by the name of On the Ave Hotel, which has 282 rooms and is housed in a historic century-old building on Broadway.
It's been almost a year since the calamitous takeover of the Waikiki Edition Hotel in Honolulu, but the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (full story here at Chicago Tribune)reports that business at the hotel has improved by "nearly 70 percent" since Aqua Hotels and Resorts took over the property and renamed it The Modern Honolulu. Occupancy is also up 30 percent from this time last year.
The hotel's new general manager, Vittal Calamur, told the paper that the hotel is offering something not usually found in Hawaii:
"There are of lot of great hotels in Hawaii, and people have come to know them, but the Modern brings something that wasn't here before," he said. "You can get this kind of a hotel experience in London and in Paris and New York, but in Hawaii, until now, you couldn't get this."
Yet while recent guests have reportedly been enjoying their stays at the Modern, there are still some hurdles for the hotel to overcome. For starters, the bankruptcy proceedings are still happening on June 1 and the result could include an $800,000 a year repayment to Marriott Hotels for breaking their management contract.
Sigh. It's been a week since we last checked in on the Setai in South Beach which underwent major management shakedown just before Easter. And it looks like the drama shows no sign of going away anytime soon.
We just got a new statement from the ousted management company, GHM. Here's what they have to say:
General Hotel Management (GHM), innovative leaders in the luxury hotel space, has provided detailed financial statistics that refute the misleading claims that the Setai in Miami was mismanaged. “There is no evidence that any of the Lehman Brothers’ accusations are legitimate,” said Hans R. Jenni, president and director of GHM. “The Setai’s hotel management team is the best in the business. Our work at the Setai ensured the hotel was consistently ranked among the best hotels in North America.”
More info continues to come in from ex-employees at the Setai Hotel in South Beach which was the scene of a management shakedown last Saturday. And it looks like things were not very happy at The Setai for quite some time.
This Sun Post Weekly article from July 2011 details the rough working conditions inside the hotel's F&B operations. Namely, that GHM was importing young employees from other countries through their GHM Exchange program and had them working in excess of 40 hours a week.
According to the Sun Post, many of these exchange workers were threatened if they refused to work that many hours. Additionally, the report said the restaurant's service charges (aka automatic gratuities) often went to the hotel to pay for their expenses and not to the restaurants or their workers. One former employee emailed us to say that the GM of the hotel had told her they had to turn around every dollaras the owners were very tough on them.
Another day, another report from inside the luxury hotel in South Beach, The Setai.
Not so surprisingly, staffers are not happy with new management company, Trevi Luxury Hospitality Group, which was installed in the dead of night after kicking out the old management crew, GHM.
Yesterday we heard from an owner of one of the Setai condo units who said staff morale and service was at the lowest levels they have ever seen.
Today we learn that over 40 employees have already peaced out of the hotel, even though they are being offered $500 to stay. Additionally, there is no food service down on the beach. All of this comes at a bad time for the hotel as it's Easter Weekend this weekend and the property is sold-out.
We're guessing the hotel won't be organizing any Easter egg hunts on Sunday then....
Got any other scoop on the Setai Shakedown? Even better, do you work for either the Setai or GHM and want to share your story on the DL? HotelChatter is here for you! (Anonymity assured!)
DoubleTree Hotels / Hotel News / London Hotels / Mint Hotels / Hotel Takeovers / Hotel Amenities / → All Tags
Exactly one year since Mint Hotel Tower of London debuted its jaw-dropping panoramic Sky Lounge, the dreaded Hilton DoubleTree takeover that we announced back in September has finally come to pass. The hotel is now known as the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel London- Tower of London (bit of a mouthful, eh?)—and this is just one out of eight Mint hotels across the UK and the Netherlands that DoubleTree plans to re-brand over the coming year.
Second up is the Mint Hotel London Westminster, which is now the DoubleTree by Hilton London- Westminster.
But things aren't looking so bad! Aside from their newly-extended tongue-twisty names, both hotels will get to hang onto the the design elements and amenities that guests have become accustomed to over the past year—like the Sky Lounge, the Living Wall, floor-to-ceiling windows, and the in-room iMacs (phew!) Hilton will extend its HHonors program to both of the Thames-facing hotels, making London stays even more attractive to repeat Hilton guests. And the cookie? Well, we don't mind if we do...
A HotelChatter reader sent us this note along with the following photos about the sad state of the rooms, particularly room 536. They write:
I just got back from the Gansevoort in Miami Beach. After some research, I found your article which may explain why our rooms were in such sad shape. While the public areas of the hotel are beautiful, the room seemed to be one of the forgotten ones. The balcony was pretty shoddy looking (see photos), a handle to the shower controls was constantly falling off. One of the electrical sockets didn't work. The phone was broken, and the coffee maker didn't work. There's more, but no need to go any further.
Edition Waikiki Lawsuit / Hotel Takeovers / Aqua Hotels Hawaii / Edition Hotels / Marriott Hotels / Hotel Employees / Honolulu Hotels / → All Tags
We all had a three-day weekend thanks to the Labor Day holiday but down at the Waikiki Edition (or Edition Waikiki or Modern Honolulu, whatever team/side you're on), the employees were still working--both to serve guests and to fight against their new bosses, Aqua Hotels and Resorts.
As far as we know, Aqua is still running the hotel as the Modern Honolulu and Marriott is begrudgingly respecting the hotel owners, M Waikiki's recent bankruptcy filing. In the meantime, Marriott plans to sue M Waikiki up the wazoo, or for tens of millions of dollars in damages for breaking the management contract. As for the guests, Marriott is now urging them to call the Marriott reservations center and make reservations at other nearby Marriott hotels.
On the bright side, even though there are miserable employees on the property, the booze is free. The hotel is no longer selling alcoholic drinks because it needs to apply for a new liquor license in Aqua's name as the old one belonged to Marriott. That sounds crappy but reports say they are giving away the alcohol. Whee!!
Now onward with the next chapter in this story..
Edition Waikiki Lawsuit / Aqua Hotels / Hotel Takeovers / Honolulu Hotels / Marriott Hotels / Hotel News / Hotel Employees / Hotel Woes / → All Tags
The takeover and the takeback of the Waikiki Editionis moving so fast that we're finding it hard to keep up with all the developments especially as we're attending a work conference in Vegas (for realz! and we are actually sober!) So we're sitting here trying to recap all that we can as we get the time. Fortunately, it's only 12:30pm in Hawaii right now so we're not too late!
First off BANKRUPTCY! M Waikiki LLC has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today. No doubt they blame Marriott for their financial woes but the filing also prevents Marriott from filing any countersuits against them. Tricky! Marriott, meanwhile, has called the move "desperate." As it stands right now, the hotel is now an Aqua Hotels and Resorts-run place called The Modern Honolulu. But given the craziness of the past few days, who knows how long that will last.
Edition Waikiki Lawsuit / Edition Hotels / Aqua Hotels Hawaii / Hotel Lawsuits / Hotel Employees / Hotel Takeovers / → All Tags
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.