The Luxury Alliance, a marketing
partnership of The Leading Hotels of the World, Relais &
Chateaux, Orient-Express Hotels, Trains & Crusies, Silversea
Cruises and Crystal Cruises, released Jan. 30 "The Direction of
Luxury," an annual white paper highlighting trends in high-end
travel. The report said luxury brands are at risk, from copycat
websites; hotel chains created rapidly from a single, iconic hotel;
investment firms that buy luxury properties, cut their staff and
sell them at a profit; and a dearth of high-quality staff.
Destinations of increasing interest, according to the alliance, are
Argentina, the Baltic States, Botswana, Brazil, Indian Ocean
destinations, Peru, South Africa and Vietnam.
The Marriott Austin Capitol in Texas
has been reflagged the Sheraton Austin Hotel. The 361-room property
is near the capitol building, about a mile from the Austin
Convention Center. An extensive renovation begins this summer. The
hotel offers more than 17,000 square feet of meeting space.
The 207-room Four Seasons Resort The
Biltmore Santa Barbara (Calif.) celebrated its official relaunch
last weekend, following the completion of a $240 million
restoration project. The hotel has more than 15,000 square feet of
meeting space, plus outdoor gardens, terraces and an event
The 150-room Sheraton Tarrytown (N.Y.)
opened last week. The hotel is the first to be built from a new
Sheraton prototype for small properties in suburban markets. Rooms
were given a "Ralph Lauren-like" design, including a Sheraton Sweet
Sleeper Bed and an extensive work area. The hotel has two meeting
rooms totaling 1,000 square feet of meeting space, plus a
According to Japan's Kyodo News International, two hotels in
Kyoto, Japan, were closed by the city government last Thursday due
to fears about their structural reliability in the event of an
earthquake. The government said data about quakeproofing was
possibly falsified for the 515-room Apa Hotel
Kyoto-Eki-Horikawadori and the 139-room Apa Villa Hotel
Kyoto-Ekimae, both of which are operated the Apa Group hotel and
condo developer. JapanÕs Land, Infrastructure and Transport
Ministry is now looking into 143 structures based on suspect data
from Tamura Mizuochi Sekkei, a planning firm in Toyama. A similar
quakeproofing scandal rocked the country from 2005-2006, when more
than 100 buildings -- including hotels by architect Hidetsugu Aneha
-- were shown to be using fake data.
Opened on Jan. 29 was the 388-room
Hilton Fort Lauderdale Airport. Amenities at the hotel include
18,500 square feet of meeting space, a pool, a gym, tennis courts
and a signature restaurant called Ocean Blu.
The 205-room InterContinental Moscow will be built on the site of
the former Minsk Hotel, adjacent to the Kremlin and Pushkin Square.
It will open in 2010, but no further details have been announced.
Parent company InterContinental Hotels Group currently manages four
Holiday Inns in the city, with a combined room count of 1,290.
Ground will be broken on a new condohotel in Orlando on Feb. 1. The
Sage Resort, which will open in spring 2009 with
Mediterranean-inspired decor, will have 260 rooms, five acres of
gardens, a 24-hour gym, a business center, a fine-dining
restaurant, and meeting and banquet space, although the
square-footage has not been announced.
Corinthia Hotels International will
manage a new five-star property being built in Algiers,
Algeria. The 274-room hotel, opening in 2009, will have a business
center, a health club and conference facilities; the number of
meeting rooms has not yet been determined.
LaSalle Hotel Properties' 109-room Alexis Hotel in downtown
Seattle will undergo an $8.5 million renovation encompassing all
guest rooms and public space.
The overhaul of Starwood Hotels & Resorts' Waikiki properties
will include a rebranding of the 793-room Sheraton Moana Surfrider
Hotel as a Westin. The overall renovation project, which also
includes the 1,695-room Sheraton Waikiki, the 528-room Royal
Hawaiian Hotel and the 1,150-room Sheraton Princess Kaiulani, will
cost about $400 million and run through 2009.