September 20, 2006

The prospects of major hotel worker strikes around the country diminished last week as UNITE HERE local unions reached tentative agreements with hotels. Local 1 in Chicago agreed to terms with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, and 11 other Chicago hotels have pledged to accept the terms of that agreement. Local 483 in Monterey, Calif., struck a four-year deal with Hyatt Corp., which is expected to pave the way for agreements with 10 other Monterey properties. Members of Local 2 in San Francisco vote this Friday on a five-year agreement that was reached last week.

On Monday, Kimpton Hotels opened the 198-room Hotel Palomar Dallas, a boutique property in the Park Cities neighborhood. On site are two restaurants, Central 214 and Trader Vics. The hotel has 9,000 square feet of meeting space and the 10,000-square-foot Exhale spa.

Last Thursday, Mayor John Street of Philadelphia signed legislation banning smoking in all restaurants and in bars serving food in the city starting in January. The bill exempts sidewalk cafes, specialty tobacco establishments, private clubs and taverns where alcohol constitutes at least 90 percent of gross sales.  

Wyndham Hotel Group has signed agreements to franchise or manage 15 properties in key markets, including Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago and New York City, where it will fly the Wyndham flag for the first time. The deals, signed over the past 11 months but first announced on Thursday, would expand the brand to 102 hotels and a total of 26,765 rooms. Three new Windham Garden hotels will be built in New York City -- one in the Financial District and two in Midtown.