Macau closes casinos; Wells Fargo takes on JW Marriott Chicago – HOTELSMag.com
Macau closes all casinos: For the first time in more than two years, Macau has closed all of its casinos to contain the biggest outbreak of COVID-19. More than 30 casinos and other businesses in the city will remain closed for a week and people have been asked to stay at home, with only essential services and short trips allowed. It is believed that this drastic measure will have an impact on businesses, as many casinos have been effectively closed for the past three weeks with minimal employees allowed. Analysts said the recovery in gaming revenue is not expected until the end of the third quarter or during the fourth quarter. Macau’s casinos were last closed for 15 days in February 2020. The local government was previously reluctant to close casinos due to its job protection mandate as the industry accounts for over 80% of revenue government and employs most of the population directly and indirectly.
Wells Fargo takes on JW Marriott Chicago: Wells Fargo took possession of the seized 610-key JW Marriott Chicago with a winning bid of about $251 million at a June 8 foreclosure auction. The previous owner, Estein USA, based in Orlando, Florida, had not paid his $203. million loans since last summer. The loan amount eventually increased to US$243 million. Wells Fargo sued for foreclosure last year and was the only bidder for the hotel, which remains open. The hotel, which is operated by Marriott International, opened in 2010 when developers converted former offices in the city’s financial district into hotels.
Veranda House destroyed by fire: The historic 18-key Veranda House hotel in Nantucket, Massachusetts was destroyed after a massive fire broke out early June 8. No civilians were injured, but two firefighters were treated. The fire also damaged the nearby Chapman House, forcing both hotels to close, said the two hotels’ parent group, Nantucket Resort Collection. The Veranda House collapsed hours after the fire started. Civilians and an off-duty fire captain helped guests and employees evacuate the hotel and save lives.
HIP adds in Spain: Hotel Investment Partnership (HIP), Barcelona, Spain, has acquired the Mett Marbella Estepona Hotel in Estepona, Spain from Madrid, Spain-based investment advisory firm Mazabi Gestion de Patrimonios at an undisclosed price. HIP plans to invest additional capital to reposition and renovate the hotel and transform it from a 4-star property to a 5-star property. After renovations, the property will include 253 rooms and a new oceanfront pool and beach club as well as new restaurants. Sunset Hospitality Group will continue to operate the hotel under the METT brand. Gomez-Acebo & Pombo Abogados advised Mazabi Gestion de Patrimonios. The acquisition strengthens HIP’s presence on the Costa del Sol, where the company already owns the Guadalmina Spa & Golf Resort and the Barcelo Marbella.
The Ritz-Carlton Moscow is changing its name: The Ritz-Carlton Moscow changes its name to The Carlton Moscow after Marriott International, its parent company, left the Russian market following the invasion of Ukraine. The hotel will continue to operate as an independently owned property and has also launched a new website. The Ritz-Carlton Moscow had remained open since Russia invaded Ukraine, with Marriott saying the property was owned by a third party. Marriott closed its headquarters in Moscow and suspended all investments in Russia after Russia invaded Ukraine in February.
B&B Hotel is expanding in Portugal: Grupo Casais, Braga, Portugal, has entered into a joint venture with the North American group Sunny to develop the French group B&B Hotels in Portugal with a planned conversion to B&B Hotel Olhão in Olhão, Portugal. The 89-key, 3-star hotel has an investment value of 6 million euros ($6.10 million) and will open in 2023. The investment also includes the renovation of the Ria shopping center, the site where the new hotel will be located. The hotel will be rebuilt by Grupo Casais under the direction of architect Jose Mario Fernandes. Grupo Casais entered the Portuguese market in 2018 and currently has 17 projects in operation or under construction in the country.
Avocet adds The Admiral to its portfolio: Avocet Hospitality, Charleston. South Carolina, added the Admiral of 156 Keys in Mobile, Alabama, to its portfolio after the property closed on June 27. Avocet acquired the historic upscale hotel for US$21 million. The hotel, which opened in 1940, offers 7,000 square feet of event space.
The Dominican Republic records record arrivals: The Dominican Republic recorded a record number of international tourist arrivals in June. Attracting a total of 644,861 tourists during the month, this figure was 9.9% higher than international arrivals in 2018 and 9.8% higher than in 2019. So far, 3,547,142 travelers have visited the Republic Dominican this year. The country’s hotel occupancy rate was over 71%, with tourists staying an average of 10 days. The country’s resounding success in resuming its tourism sector can in part be attributed to its relaxed COVID testing standards, allowing US visitors to enter without pre-entry testing.
Marriott will train Thai students: Marriott International has signed a memorandum of understanding with Silpakorn University’s Faculty of Management Science to provide professional training, practical experience and potential opportunities for hospitality graduates in Thailand. Under the agreement, 20 Marriott hotels in Bangkok will offer internships to students of Bachelor of Business Administration in Hospitality Management from the Faculty of Management Science and allow them to gain training and hands-on experience at its third-party hotels. and fourth years of their program. Students spending 300 hours with Marriott in their third year and 800 hours in their fourth year will receive course credit. Currently, Marriott has internship partnerships in Thailand with approximately 40 students gaining work experience at its hotels in Bangkok. The latest agreement will allow students to transfer credits between their college course and Marriott’s internal training, and credits earned by students during their internship at Marriott can help them earn an additional Associate Member educational qualification at the university.
New service charge rules in India: India has requested all district collectors to ensure the application of service charge guidelines by restaurants and hotels. The Central Consumer Protection Authority has ordered collectors to investigate and submit a report within 15 days and has written to chief secretaries of all states to publicize guidelines to protect consumer interests. It comes after the authority last week asked hotels and restaurants to inform consumers that service charges are optional, voluntary and at the discretion of consumers. Restaurants and hotels cannot refuse services or restrict entry based on the collection of service charges. Optional charges cannot be collected by adding them to the food bill and deducting the goods and services tax from the amount.
The USTA reveals the daily getaways: The US Travel Association has launched a week-long preview of its Daily Getaways program, the annual fundraising initiative to boost travel across America. Launching from July 18, the sale will include offers from 10 major travel brands – Accor Hotels, Choice Hotels, BWH Hotel Group, IHG Hotels & Resorts, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott International, The Venetian Resort Las Vegas, Universal Orlando Resort and Wyndham. Hotels & Resorts – offering discounts of up to 50% on hotel stays, loyalty points, vacation packages and theme park tickets. Deals and offers available through Daily Getaways will help lower the cost of Travel Experiences. Travelers will be able to sign up to receive reminders when deals go live starting July 11, when deals begin previewing online.
Hyatt donates $500,000 to the AHLA Foundation: The American Hotel & Lodging Foundation (AHLA Foundation) announced a $500,000 donation from the Hyatt Hotels Foundation to unveil the “No Room for Trafficking Survivors Fund” and increase the hospitality industry’s efforts to prevent human trafficking and support survivors. The donation will reinvigorate the Survivors Fund which will provide community organizations with the resources to engage and support survivors, from direct financial assistance for their basic short-term needs to career-focused support that can equip and empower them in the future. A representative from the Hyatt Hotels Foundation will co-chair the No Room for Trafficking Advisory Council, which will bring together industry leaders in action and thought leadership to further their collective efforts. Together with the survivors, they will draw a framework for the fund and identify other areas of opportunity and innovation for human trafficking prevention and industry outreach efforts.