There are new upper-upscale and flagship hotels opening around the globe with several of the major hotel brands. Here are some new vacation and business properties you may want to check out as a Marriott Rewards, Hilton Honors, Hyatt Gold Passport or Club Carlson loyalty member.
Hilton Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast Queensland, Australia – opens September 14
This $700 million complex is a hotel/residential mixed use property on the famed Gold Coast. Think Miami Beach with gambling if you are not familiar with the area. This is the first new upper upscale international hotel to open in the Gold Coast region in a decade.
Hilton Surfers Paradise has 169 guest rooms and 250 one to three bedroom residences with full kitchens. The hotel description sounds like the residences are more vacation timeshare units rather than full-time residential units.
Rates start at $259 (residences) to $279 (hotel).
Australian Hotel Market Outlook Q3 2011, a tourism, hospitality and leisure market outlook from Deloitte indicates Australians are facing many of the same problems as Americans with maxed out household debt, extreme weather related events and a decline in discretionary spending. Business is strong while leisure travelers are cutting back.
Of course there are those with good jobs and money in Australia. And guess what?
Australians with money are going abroad. The Australian dollar gained over the past year from being worth US $0.88 to US $1.04. That is almost a 20% increase in currency value and makes the US a real bargain destination for Australians. At the same time, the currency value of the Australian dollar has made it a much more expensive country to visit for Americans.
I thought beer in Australia was outrageously priced in 2003 when the exchange rate was AUD$1.50 for US$1.00. At that time I recall beer was about $20 for a 12-pack in the market. I guess it must be about US$30 now.
Ten years ago Australia had a surplus of 1.5 million visitors to Australia. Now Australia has a net outflow of 1.5 million travelers. More Australians are leaving the country in 2011 (7.8 million travelers) than inbound visitors to the country (6.1 million).
Hotel occupancy in Australia is strong for weekday business travel. Leisure travel less so. Good news is hotel rates are much lower in vacation areas of Gold Coast and northern Queensland compared to Sydney and Melbourne.
Marriott Autograph Collection adds British Virgin Islands Scrub Island Resort in early 2012
Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina will be Marriott’s first resort in the British Virgin Islands and the first Autograph Collection property in the Caribbean. Autograph Collection is a soft branding concept for independent upper-upscale and luxury hotels with marketing and distribution through Marriott. Marriott recently added several hotels in Europe to Autograph Collection brand.
Scrub Island Resort is a new resort opened last year and located on a 230 acre private island about two miles from Tortola Airport. Check out the website for a full description.
Sample rates for November 14-19, 2011 show $375 (ocean view room) to $495 (ocean view one bedroom suite + breakfast for two) to $615 (ocean view two bedroom suite + breakfast for four).
Hyatt Regency New Orleans reopening six years after Hurricane Katrina
Six years since being battered by Hurricane Katrina the remodeled 1,193 room Hyatt Regency New Orleans is scheduled to reopen October 19, 2011 after $275 million in renovations. The 31-story hotel will have 95 suites (Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond members receive four annual suite upgrade certificates for paid room stays) including four Presidential suites. The hotel will be New Orleans premier convention space with two grand ballrooms and 200,000 sq ft of meeting space.
Sample dates I tried for November and December showed rates starting at $169 to $239 for a basic room.
Radisson Blu Chicago
Carlson Hotels flagship Radisson Blu brand will debut in Chicago with the October 31 opening of the Radisson Blu Chicago in the Aqua Tower. Barbara Delollis of USA Today toured the hotel and posted a piece today in her Hotel Check-In column which includes a photo gallery.
The hotel will be the first 18 floors of the 81-story Aqua Tower and will have the feature of balconies for about 50% of the hotel rooms. The hotel apparently has a large fitness center facility since the Aqua tower is mostly residences.
Question for Readers: Any interesting new hotels you think I should share on Loyalty Traveler?