A favorable economic picture, the importance of guest experience and implications of brand proliferation were prominent topics of the 30th annual Hunter Hotel Conference in Atlanta. A highlight of the national hotel owners' investment event was Wyndham Hotel Group's pending acquisition of the La Quinta franchise and management business.
A $5.6 million renovation of the Hilton Altamonte Springs hotel near Orlando, Fla., features noise-muffling carpet and 50-inch high-definition TVs in guest rooms along with new carpeting and wallpaper in the hallways and common areas. Two Parlor Rooms for business travelers offer minibars and 10-person conference tables.
The environment- and wellness-focused Element Hotels chain has opened a property in Moline, Ill. The affiliate of Marriott International and Ctwo Hotels will occupy one of the city's oldest buildings, a renovated warehouse built in 1916.
Balancing historic preservation with modern amenities is a key challenge to taking over the iconic Shelburne Hotel in Seaview, Ore., a local hotelier says. Tiffany and Brady Turner, owners of another hotel and a distillery, have begun upgrades that include reopening the Shelburne's popular pub.
The 13-foot screen inside the Entertainment Suite at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong exemplifies the lengths hotels are going to in providing top-notch entertainment options. Video games at Graduate Hotels properties, exercise equipment at select Westin hotels and vintage record players in rooms at Colorado's Elizabeth Hotel are among the amenities made available to guests.
Spain is leading an economic rebound for the hotel sector in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean. "There is significant growth in [average daily rate] in the Spanish market but also a lot of repositioning, so you might need to strip this out and see like-for-like," said Gregory Gilbert of the private equity firm Benson Elliot Capital Management.
In October, Hilton will reduce commissions on group bookings to 7%, down from the current 10%. Hilton referred to the need for investment in services and guest facilities as the drivers behind the change.
The Kimpton De Witt in Amsterdam features bespoke hair-dryer bags designed by Ave Bradley, senior vice president of design for Kimpton. The hotel opened last year after a conversion of the Crowne Plaza Amsterdam City Centre.
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