Archive | March, 2008

Starwood to Revitalize Brand Sheraton Hotels Brand

Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, Starwood’s largest and most global brand, has launched a comprehensive new design of its lobbies and guests rooms that significantly enhance its portfolio of hotels and resorts. Sheraton and its owners are undertaking an aggressive multi-year strategy to improve the quality and consistency of the brand portfolio that includes $1.3 billion in renovations, $400 million in key brand initiatives and $2 billion in new hotel openings.

Sheraton will upgrade 100 hotels in the U.S. – nearly half its North American portfolio – renovate 50,000 guestrooms and re-design more than 100 new lobbies. The plan is part of a global initiative to revitalize the iconic Sheraton brand and differentiate the guest experience at each of its 406 hotels across 71 countries.

“With awareness among upscale guests at 92%, the Sheraton brand is iconic,” said Hoyt H. Harper II, Senior Vice President for Sheraton Hotels and Resorts. “We are leveraging Starwood’s proven history of building great lifestyle brands to enhance the entire guest experience for the company’s most global, recognized brand.”

Guests will first observe Sheraton’s efforts to revitalize its properties in the lobby that will be brought to life and re-designed as a destination for guests. Inspired metaphorically by the great public parks of the world, Sheraton’s new lobby space will aim to provide guests with a sense of belonging, warmth and community. A significant component and heart of the lobby re-design is the “Link @ Sheraton,” a signature lobby-based communications hub that enables guests to stay connected and fully productive while traveling and away from their offices. The Link@Sheraton is a unique environment that meets the needs of Sheraton’s core guest by enabling them to work, relax and remain connected to family and friends during their travels. It provides an online experience, including free Wi-Fi and Internet-enabled computer stations, allowing them to email, search the web, review local attractions and even print up boarding passes. Continue Reading

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Leading Teams Prepare to Battle in the 2008 Hong Kong Rugby Sevens

IRB Sevens World Series standings leaders New Zealand, second placed South Africa and defending Cathay Pacific/Credit Suisse Hong Kong Sevens champions Samoa, plus many of the other top teams in the world are all now in Hong Kong, preparing their teams for the kick off which takes place later today.

The question many are aksing is whether anyone will be able to slow the Kiwi march to the IRB Sevens World Series title. After becoming the first team to ever win four consecutive tournaments in a single IRB Sevens World Series season, New Zealand top the standings on a daunting 80 points and have set the IRB Sevens World Series’ longest consecutive winning streak at 36 matches and counting.

The second placed team, South Africa, on 48 points in the IRB Sevens World Series standings, will be looking for a massive performance from try-scoring machine Fabian Juries and the rest of the squad to capture the expanded 30 points on offer to the Cup winners in Hong Kong (as the only 24-team event on the Series).

Fiji lie in 3rd place on the standings with 44 points whilst Argentina rounds out the top five with 26 points to date as the IRB Sevens World Series enters Hong Kong, the fifth of eight tournaments on this year’s schedule.

Attending today’s press conference were captain DJ Forbes of New Zealand – looking for his first Cup win in Hong Kong in three attempts; Neil Powell, captain of South Africa and Uale Mai, captain of Samoa. Also joining today’s press conference were IRB Tournament Operations Manger Beth Coalter, and Mr Allan Payne, Executive Director of the HKRFU. Continue Reading

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Nation’s First Gangster Museum To Open in Hot Springs, Arkansas

A new museum scheduled to open this month in Hot Springs will reveal a slice of history that up until now has mostly been stuff of legend. The Gangster Museum of America will focus on the 1920s-40s era of the town, when gangsters such as Al Capone and Lucky Luciano vacationed there.

According to Robert Raines, director of the museum, there are no other gangster museums in America. “Las Vegas will have a museum slated to open in 2012 that will begin, time-wise, where we leave off,” he said. “We are in contact with their designers and plan a lot of cross-promotion. Unlike other museums, our artifacts are all indigenous to the area, and we are located on the very street where all of our history took place. That’s why we’re on Central Avenue, because this is where it all happened.”

The idea for the museum came about when Raines was helping a friend move into a business on the infamous street. ”I fell in love with the “New York feel” of the downtown area and was fascinated by its history,” said Raines. “Then came the last season of The Sopranos, and I guess I wasn’t ready for the series to end, so I created my own, and called it the “The Gangster Museum of America.” Believe it or not, just at the right time in my life, doors began to open that revealed Hot Springs’ legacy as a gangster/mob “hangout.”

According to Raines, the endeavor is a new kind of museum that the industry refers to as “edu-entertainment.” “It will be Arkansas’s newest attraction and located in a very pleasant section of Central Ave. on Antique Row,” he said. “We will also be one, if not the only, downtown attraction open at night.” Continue Reading

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The Canadian Spa Industry Conference & Expo in Vancouver in April 2008 Is Different From Other Spa Shows

It is the major gathering of the industry in Canada, and is modeled after the ISPA (International Spa Association) event. Many of the same speakers will be at the Canadian Spa Industry Conference and tradeshow. April 6 – 8, 2008.  

1. The majority of trade shows provide no opportunity for networking and socializing between peers; we provide a number of targeted networking events which are a very valuable opportunity to connect with the key movers and shakers in our industry in a relaxed, social setting.

2. Owners Forum and the high level of business education delivered by world-class speakers are designed for your success; they provide tools you can use to differentiate yourself from the competition.

3. Topics like: Staff and HR Strategies, Safety and Quality Assurance, Sustainability, Spa Research-How to make it work it for your spa, Media and Marketing- How to raise your profile. Continue Reading

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Tickets on Sale Now for Formula Drift Singapore

Binter & Co. will be releasing grandstand seats in the coming weeks for the inaugural Formula Drift Singapore competition to be held on 27 April 2008.

Held at the new Changi Exhibition Centre – same venue as the Singapore Air Show Grounds – Formula Drift Singapore is the circuit’s very first championship to take place outside of North America. This one-day event promises to raise the profile of the local motor sports scene onto the next level.

Grandstand seating, situated next to the circuit track, will cost Sin$30 for a full day pass. Tickets were made available today, Friday, 28 March 2008 via SISTIC and the grandstand seats will offer great views of the various clipping points along the track where Drift drivers execute their best Drifting moves to garner points.

Formula Drift Singapore fans who have already purchased the Sin$10 walkabout tickets will be given the opportunity to upgrade their access to grandstand tickets through SISTIC starting on Tuesday, 25 March 2008. Ticket-holders will need to bring their tickets down to the Box Office at Singapore Indoor Stadium to do the upgrade on their tickets. Continue Reading

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San Antonio hotel group opens new Marriott property in California

K Partners Hospitality Group LP has opened a new SpringHill Suites by Marriott in Ridgecrest, Calif.

Mark Crisci, executive vice president of investments and development for K Partners, made the announcement.

The new SpringHill Suites by Marriott is a 93-room hotel located in the heart of the Mojave Desert. It is located within a few blocks of the China Lake Naval Air Warfare Center, the China Lake Golf Course and Death Valley.

K Partners is a San Antonio-based company that specializes in the development, construction, management and operation of hotel properties throughout the United States. The company is engaged in a hotel expansion program and is slated to have between 35 and 40 hotels in operation by the end of 2010.

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Shangri-La to open New Hotel in Taiwan

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, has signed a contract with the Far Eastern Group to manage the Shangri-La Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, Tainan, scheduled to open third quarter 2008. The partnership marks the second hotel in Taiwan owned by the prominent Far Eastern Group and managed by Shangri-La, following Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, Taipei which opened in 1994.

Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, Tainan will be adjacent to the Tainan Rail Station and a 20-minute drive from the High Speed Rail Station (THSR) with connections throughout Taiwan. The hotel adjoins the Far Eastern Group’s FE21 Mega shopping complex and is located near the famous National Cheng Kung University.

The 336-room, 38-floor atrium hotel is designed to be one of the most luxurious international deluxe hotels in southern Taiwan, with interior design by Hong Kong-based AB Concept and Taiwan-based Metro Space Design as architects. The hotel will feature some of the largest guestrooms in the city with an average size of 50 square metres. The Horizon Club, featuring 51 guestrooms and suites, will offer a host of special amenities and privileges such as express check-in and check-out service, exclusive club lounge for daily breakfast and evening cocktails, and meeting facilities.

Dining options will include a Chinese restaurant on the 38th floor offering Huaiyang, Cantonese and Taiwanese specialties and 360 degree city views, an all-day cafe featuring international cuisines at interactive cooking stations, and a comfortable Lobby Lounge. Continue Reading

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Air Tahiti Nui and Tahiti Travel Connection launch Tahiti Breeze Promotion

Air Tahiti Nui and Tahiti Travel Connection have launched a special package for travellers seeking to experience a Tahitian dream at an affordable price.

The Tahiti Breeze package, a perfect offer for budget travellers is priced from just A$1845 per person departing Sydney.

The package includes return economy airfares with Air Tahiti Nui, five nights accommodation at the Sofitel Resort Tahiti in a Mountain View room, a “meet and greet” with lei on arrival and land transfers.

“The Tahiti Breeze package is great value for money, offering five nights stay in the recently renovated Sofitel Resort, which is located on a natural white beach with scenic views of the neighbouring island of Moorea,” said Craig Lee, Regional Director Australia for Air Tahiti Nui.

The package can also be purchased from Melbourne and Brisbane from A$2035 and ex Adelaide from A$2245.

These prices are per person based on twin share rates and are valid from 1 April to 30 November 2008. Some conditions apply.

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AirAsia unveils AT&T Williams Formula 1 A320 Aircraft

AirAsia has unveiled the world’s first commercial A320 aircraft with a Formula One team livery. The unveiling of the aircraft, whose livery is an exact look-alike of the AT&T Williams racing car, was held to coincide with the Malaysian Grand Prix and to mark AirAsia’s extended three year partnership with the AT&T Williams Formula One team.

AirAsia’s AT&T Williams aircraft is a fitting tribute to Williams’ traditional racing colours of blue and white, whilst the ‘nose’ of the aircraft is designed to look like Nico Rosberg’s racing helmet. The aircraft AFW30 was named ‘Sir Frank Williams’ in tribute to Sir Frank Williams, Team Principal of AT&T Williams.

Dato’ Tony Fernandes, Group Chief Executive Officer, AirAsia Berhad said, “As a true 5-star low fare airline, we are proud to be associated with AT&T Williams Team. We have always believed in investing in great talents and embracing innovation that sets us apart from the other airlines. We are glad that our vision in this investment is reaping rewards as AT&T Williams Team is such an incredible success story. Their performance-driven spirit, independently owned, distinctiveness and passion are the same qualities that we strive for. AirAsia echoes these qualities as we are a reflection of a true Malaysian company that has high hopes to become a truly global player, building a company from scratch to become the leading and largest low cost carrier in Asia.”

Nico Rosberg, AT&T Williams Formula One driver said “It has been incredible to see the AT&T Williams livery on AirAsia’s plane. I’m delighted that the design of my helmet, which I have been racing with all my life, has been used to create a lasting tribute to the team’s partnership with AirAsia.” Continue Reading

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Hyatt breaks ground on New Hotel in Vietnam

The golden sands of Vietnam’s 3,400-kilometer coastline scored its first internationally renown brand March 19 when Hyatt Hotels & Resorts broke ground on an expansive beach resort in Vietnam.

Hyatt Regency Danang Resort and Spa on China Beach joins the Park Hyatt in Ho Chi Minh City as the second Hyatt property in Vietnam. Worldwide, Hyatt operates 750 hotels. Its other beach resorts in Southeast Asia include Hyatt Regency Hua Hin in Thailand, Grand Hyatt Bali and Bali Hyatt in Indonesia, and Hyatt Regency Kuantan Resort in Malaysia.

Scheduled to open in early 2010, after a US $100 million investment, the resort’s 226 guest rooms will be complemented by residential developments, including 150 condominium and 30 two-storey oceanfront villas for sale. The resort is located 15 minutes by car from Danang International Airport, at the base of the Marble Mountains and near the UNESCO World Heritage Sites at Hoi An (10km), My Son (40km) and Hue (80km).

“This setting is renown throughout Asia for two reasons – China Beach and the Marble Mountains,” said Grahame Carder, vice president of marketing – Asia Pacific at Hyatt Hotels & Resorts. “We’re building on 650 meters of beachfront, and we’re at the foot of the legendary Marble Mountains. In Vietnam, we can’t think of a better combination of cultural appeal and tropical getaway.” Continue Reading

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Radisson Launches First All Inclusive Orlando Vacation Resorts for Groups

Radisson’s Celebration Resort is the first among Orlando vacation resorts to offer all-inclusive programs for groups. The Orlando Celebration ( offers a full resort-style experience for large groups with everything included from rooms, to recreation, to a full menu of food and all drinks.

The resort style property features 718 rooms over 24 tropical acres featuring pools, hot tubs, a fitness center, tennis courts, and a 40 foot waterslide. Daily entertainment is offered both poolside and throughout the resort.

The Radisson Resort Orlando Celebration is the only all-inclusive resort among the city’s selection of Orlando meeting hotels. The Orlando Celebration is designed to provide all-inclusive services to mid-sized and large groups attending for events, conferences, vacations, and weddings.

Celebration is currently the only one of the all-inclusive hotels near Disney positioned to handle large tourism groups. In addition to the hotel’s close proximity to Walt Disney World, the resort also offers several Orlando vacation packages designed for the traveler who wishes to experience Orlando’s many attractions. Continue Reading

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REDONDO BEACH, Calif. – With summer just around the corner, couples re-discover romance and families explore the great outdoors as Redondo Beach debuts a host of new great summer getaways. With a variety of hotel options, from budget to luxury, and nearly infinite recreation and activities, travelers from near and far re-discover one of Southern California’s best seaside enclaves for year-round sun and fun.

The city, once destined as a deep-water port, became, instead, the quintessential Southern California beach, with the only horseshoe-shaped pleasure pier complete with unique shops and restaurants. It offers many choices for shopping and fine dining year round. Travelers can find every type of restaurant and shop from fast food to fine dining, from art to toe rings, from pizza to steak and seafood, from kites to jewelry. There’s an attractive sea-front esplanade that has been called one of the most romantic places in the world from which to watch a sunset.

Here’s a sampling of hot summer escapes for Summer, 2008: Continue Reading

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