July 30, 2008

This week Loews Hotels launched You First, a new loyalty program that rewards travelers for stays booked through meeting planners and corporate travel agents. The program is open to business and leisure travelers as well as meeting attendees, based on the number of stays, and allows guests to begin receiving rewards after just one stay. Benefits include free Internet access, late checkouts, guaranteed rooms and upgrades for guests who visit a Loews hotel a minimum of twice in a given year. You First, available at all 17 Loews properties as of July 15, replaces the chain's current Loews First rewards program.

The 159-room Sheraton Jacksonville Hotel opened last week. The property, in the Deerwood Park neighborhood, offers a Shula's 347 Grill, a casual offshoot of the Shula's steak house chain, as well as a fitness center, an indoor pool and two meeting rooms.

The Dorchester Collection is taking over the management contracts of two properties in the United States: The 893-room New York Palace Hotel in New York City and the 91-room Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles. The company also owns and manages the 250-room Dorchester in London; the 204-room Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.; the 160-room Le Meurice, and 191-room Hotel Plaza Athenee in Paris; and the 401-room Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan, Italy.

The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group will manage a new 237-room luxury property in Moscow being built in a 19th-century manor house that first became a hotel in 1911. The property, which will open in 2011, will have 66 suites, a spa, an indoor swimming pool, a fitness center and a variety of restaurants, bars and shops. The hotel will have two ballrooms, though exact square footages are still to be announced.