October hotel roundup: The latest openings, renovations, brand updates

The Marriott Marquis Chicago is the largest Marriott International property to open this year.

The U.S hotel industry reported positive year-over-year results in three key areas from Oct. 8 to Oct.14.

Occupancy rates were up 2.4% to 72.3% compared with the week of Oct. 9 to Oct. 15 last year. The average daily rate reached $130.83, an increase of 5.3% over the same time last year. And revenue per available room was up 7.8% to $94.58. That’s all based on the latest data from research firm STR.

Hoteliers have responded to the positive trajectory with a slate of new openings, renovations and other updates. Here are some notable ones.

Marriott Marquis Chicago debuts.

The Windy City has a new hotel, and it’s a big one.

The $350 million Marriott Marquis Chicago has opened its doors. It is the largest Marriott to open in North America this year.

Located in the entertainment and convention district of McCormick Square, the property has 1,205 guest rooms, including 44 suites.

The hotel is directly connected to the convention center, McCormick Place, and is adjacent to the new 10,000-seat Wintrust Arena. It soars 40 stories over the city’s lakefront and South Loop.

Chicago architecture buffs will note that the new modern glass hotel connects to the historic American Book Company building, which was originally built in 1912.

The property also has 93,000 square feet of meeting and event space. A 4,000-square-foot event space on the 33rd floor will open later this year with 180-degree views of Chicago and Lake Michigan.

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Each room features lightbox artwork that depict various Chicago bridges and locations. The lobby and hallways have art pieces from more than 30 Chicago-based artists, commissioned especially for the hotel.

IHG and Kimpton rewards programs set to merge.

Coachella Valley gets a revamped hotel.

The Miramonte Indian Wells Resort and Spa has completed an $8 million renovation that included its entry in the Curio Collection by Hilton.

Curio is a collection of luxury independent hotels at which members of Hilton’s loyalty program can book stays with points.

The hotel is located in the Coachella Valley, home to the eponymous annual music and arts festival, at the base of the Santa Rosa Mountains, not far from Palm Springs.

All parts of the property were revamped, from the lobby to the bar and restaurant to the spa and guestrooms.

The renamed Citrus and Palm restaurant will feature a seasonal menu incorporating local ingredients from Coachella Valley farmers and other merchants.

“After going through several iterations over the decades, this property now truly reflects its home here in the Coachella Valley,” says general manager Matthew La Vine.

IHG’s new CEO talks about the future.

InterContinental Hotels Group’s new Chief Executive Officer says he would like to launch new brands and acquire existing ones.

“That’s going to be the core of what we do in terms of rounding out our portfolio,” says Keith Barr, who took over in July.

IHG, which is parent company to Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza, recently announced that it would launch a new midscale brand called avid.

In early 2015, the company acquired the boutique brand Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants. Since then, Kimpton has gone from being only domestic to opening in Grand Cayman and Amsterdam. Deals have been made for locations in Mexico City and Paris.

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EVEN Hotels, a wellness-focused brand launched in 2014, is also expanding internationally to Asia.

Now Barr, who was chief commercial officer of the company prior to his ascension, says he’s on the lookout for more deals.

“They have to be smart acquisitions and smart development because you don’t want to go off and create seven new brands, and all of a sudden people are asking, ‘How is this any different?’ ” He says.

Another challenge is that not much is on the market, he says.

“There are a lot of brands I have my eye on,” he says. “The question is what’s for sale?”.

Barr foresees more consolidation in the industry. Marriott International’s acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts has been the largest more recent one. Marriott now has 31 brands, making it the largest hotel company in the world.

By comparison, IHG has 12 brands with 5,272 hotels, with another 1,553 in its pipeline.

“The industry is becoming branded, and the big players are getting bigger,” he says. “When you think of what they are investing in technology, etc., It’s getting harder and harder for smaller companies to continue on that level.”.

Aside from shopping around for brands, Barr says he wants to continue to focus on enhancing technology. The company already has IHG Connect, which provides quick connectivity and automatically recognizes returning customers.

Older brands will also get a refresh. Crowne Plaza has gone through one. The extended stay Staybridge Suites brand is up next, with a complete revamp and new room prototype expected in 2018.

“It’s time for it,” he says. “You don’t want to wait until the brand is in decline.”.

Dogs now welcome at Disney World resorts.

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Hip hotel and lifestyle brand spreads across the USA and abroad.

Sbe, a hotel management company founded and run by Sam Nazarian, has 10 newly confirmed deals for hotels, residences and restaurants in South America, the Middle East and Asia.

By 2021, the company’s portfolio will more than double in size to 50 hotels and residences.

SBE is known for hotels such as the boutique SLS, the Mondrian, Delano, and the Redbury. Its restaurants include celebrity chef Jose Andres’ The Bazaar, Katsuya, Umami Burger and Cleo.

Its nightlife venues are Hyde and Skybar at Mondrian, among many others.

Late last year, sbe acquired the Morgans Hotel Group, which owned the Mondrian brand.

Nazarian is now looking to get even bigger. Though he calls sbe a “small lifestyle” company, he is expanding it into places such as Mexico City and Doha, Qatar.

“We have a robust pipeline,” Nazarian says. “Our goal is very clear. We want to get 50 hotels open by 2021 which is a big feat for a small lifestyle company. And within those hotels we are going to be putting in all of our restaurants and lounges. It’s a multiplication effect.”.

Sbe is continuing its expansion in North America with plans to manage an Originals in Los Angeles. Other U.S. Properties in the works are: SLS LUX Brickell in Miami, SLS Hotel & Residences Philadelphia, SLS Atlanta and SLS Washington D.C.

The company recently opened a 270-room Mondrian in Doha, its first Middle East property. By 2020, it plans to open an SLS Doha.

In the works are other openings in Dubai and Istanbul. In Latin America, the company will have openings in Playa del Carmen and Mexico City in Mexico, Buenos Aires and Uruguay.

September hotel roundup: The latest openings, renovations, brand updates.

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