Here is a selection of interesting hotel news on remodels, rebrands and end of life tales.
Grand Hyatt New York Makeover
The New York Times ran a Jan 11 piece about the 1,300 room Grand Hyatt New York and its history with Donald Trump. The Pritzker’s, Hyatt Hotels founding family, bought out Trump in 1993. The hotel is undergoing a $130-million remodel while remaining open. Apparently gold is out of fashion. The 30-year old flagship Grand Hyatt New York has been joined recently by two Andaz properties, Andaz Wall Street and Andaz 5th Avenue. A Park Hyatt is scheduled to open 2012 in New York City.
Vladivostok, Russia for Hyatt
Vladivostok is geographically closer to Darwin, Australia than Moscow. Traveling by air to San Francisco is shorter mileage than the train to Moscow. Russia is a vast land and Hyatt puts easternmost Russia a little closer to the US with two new hotels planned for 2012 openings. Sources for the hotel news are English language Russian sites Vladivostok Times and BSR Russia.
Le Meridien Bora Bora Re-Opening January 23, 2011
Le Meridien Bora Bora has been getting a makeover since November 2010. The general manager even has YouTube videos in multiple languages discussing updates to the property and welcoming guests back to French Polynesia.
This FlyerTalk thread discusses the advantages of Four Seasons Bora Bora and St. Regis Bora Bora with the general consensus that either property is a dream vacation and heads above other hotels.
Although, I must also mention Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach and Private Island earned a perfect 100 score for Hotel Rooms in the just published Condé Nast Gold List 2011 and Condé Nast mentions this property might be the hotel to find cheaper overwater bungalows than other locations.
JW Marriott Hotel Cannes, France
Last month Marriott announced the acquisition of the Palais Stephanie Hotel in Cannes. The hotel rebranding will occur over the next few months. The 261-room hotel has several ocean-facing suites with panoramic views of Cannes and the Mediterranean Sea.
I am interested to see what reward category assignment the JW Marriott Cannes will receive. Marriott Rewards category 8 hotels are few in number. I am thinking, perhaps a category 7 at 35,000 points? We will know soon enough.
JW Marriott brand is positioned to grow by 20 properties over the next five years according to the press release.
On the gruesome side of hotel life
InterContinental New York Times Square made the news for a 34th floor castration mutilation murder last Friday, January 7. The victim Carlos Castro was a 65-year old high profile Portuguese fashion and music journalist and openly gay rights personality.
The suspect Renato Seabra is a 20-year old Portuguese model and TV reality show personality in Portugal where he was a finalist on a model search TV show. He is under arrest and has been at Bellevue Hospital for his own injuries. He reportedly confessed to the crime and provided gruesome details revealed in this NY Post Jan 12 article.
On the tragic side of hotel life (San Francisco Examiner story link)
Hyatt Regency San Francisco at the Embarcadero has a large open atrium with the Eclipse sculpture and a shallow fountain beneath it. A mother and nanny with twin 18-month old toddlers stopped in the Hyatt lobby on Wednesday afternoon December 8. While taking pictures of lobby decorations they lost track of the young boy who was found after several minutes drowned in the shallow fountain beneath the Eclipse sculpture. He survived nearly three days before dying Saturday December 11, 2010. Investigators concluded from lobby surveillance the event was a “tragic accident”.
This story touched me since I have visited the Hyatt Regency San Francisco lobby many times over the past 30+ years as a beautiful space to seek shelter from the city and admire the architecture, design and art in the open atrium.