COVID-19: Times Square Edition to shutter | Who’s re-opening

Times Square Edition will close after only a year

Marriott International has said that the Times Square Edition hotel in New York City will be shuttering this summer. That notice comes after the operator warned in March that the hotel owner, Maefield Development, could go into default on its contract as a result of the pandemic. Marriott is making good on that warning and yanking its flag.

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Noteworthy re-openings

•   Belmond Ltd. CEO Roeland Vos said the Belmond Hotel Splendido and Belmond Hotel Cipriani will reopen on June 19. The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train is also scheduled to re-launch on July 9

•   The Hassler Roma in Rome, Italy, plans to reopen mid-July

•   The Schloss Elmau in Bavaria, Germany, plans to reopen May 30

•   The Beau-Rivage Palace in Lausanne, Switzerland, plans to reopen in mid-June

•   The Breakers Palm Beach in Palm Beach, Florida, plans to reopen May 22

•   Fairmont Hotels & Resorts in Canada’s Western Mountain Region – Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper, and Whistler – plan to reopen their doors on June 1

Jeffrey Soffer’s US$800M resort purchase called off

Fontainebleau Development CEO Jeffrey Soffer’s planned purchase of the 1,000-room Diplomat Beach Resort Hollywood in Florida has been called off, as hoteliers nationwide struggle from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The property’s current owner, Brookfield Property Partners, reported in its first-quarter earnings filing that its sale agreement was “terminated by the third-party purchaser.” Soffer’s Aventura-based Fontainebleau Development was the proposed buyer of South Florida’s second-biggest hotel at a price of about US$800 million, according to sources. Soffer’s 1,600-key Fontainebleau Miami Beach is the region’s largest hotel.

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Greek hotels offered Eurobank funding

The financial organization Eurobank is making a €750 million (US$821 million) funding package available to help Greek hotels and support tourism, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis. Rebooting the tourism sector, which employs about one in five Greeks, is viewed as central to lessening the impact of an expected deep recession, with the European Commission estimating Greece’s economy may contract by 9.7% this year.

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Travelers want to control experience (and they’ll pay for it)

A survey from tax consultant firm PwC outlines consumers’ feelings about travel during COVID-19, and what companies can do to boost consumer confidence and design an experience travelers will trust is safe. Key insights include:

•   Travelers want to control their experience and ability to social distance – and they’re willing to pay more for it

•   More than 40% said they’re likely to spend more in order to increase their distance from other passengers

•   Over 80% of respondents who took at least one round-trip flight in 2019 said they’ll limit their next vacation to a personal vehicle

Google partners with hotel industry to house first responders

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) is now collaborating with Google to expand efforts to meet the continued demand from first responders and health care workers for available hotel rooms. “Hospitality for Hope” is an initiative designed to match emergency and health care workers who require temporary housing with hotels during this unprecedented health crisis. More than 17,000 properties across the country volunteered to participate.

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Dubai hotels may cut 30% of jobs until demand picks up

About 30% of jobs in Dubai’s hotel industry is likely to be lost over the summer until demand recovers from the pandemic, according to research firm STR. More than a third of the city’s 120,000 hotel rooms will probably remain closed through the typically slow summer months as most owners channel reservations into fewer properties to save on operating costs, according to Middle East and Africa director at STR Global, Philip Wooller.

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Montage’s health care partnership

Luxury hospitality company Montage International has partnered with digital health and primary care organization, One Medical, to provide health benefits to the hospitality company’s associates and guests, including: 

•   24/7 virtual care services to guests staying at U.S.-based Montage Hotels & Resorts and Pendry Hotels & Resorts, which will allow guests to address any concerns, including those related to COVID-19 while on property or upon returning home

•   A 30-day membership to One Medical’s health services for guests

•   Annual One Medical membership to all associates, providing them with digital health at any time, from anywhere within the U.S. 

New Zealand hotel market sentiment survey

A New Zealand hotel market Sentiment Survey conducted by Horwath HTL and Tourism Industry Aotearoa examines how the COVID-19 pandemic affects hoteliers’ outlook for the New Zealand hotel market in general and their hotel in particular. 115 hoteliers responded to the survey which was carried out between April 30 and May 5. Some 40% of respondent hotels are already fully closed and with little prospect of New Zealand’s borders opening to international visitors any time soon, the outlook for the next two years is bleak. 73% of respondents expect that trading conditions for their hotel in 24 months’ time will have deteriorated compared with 2019.

Read the full report

What impact will COVID-19 have on design?

Exploring the opportunities and key movements ahead, a new report from communications firm CatchOn draws from research and conversations with architects and interior designers, as well as insights from the company’s recent webinar entitled “Catch the Experts: How is COVID-19 Impacting the Future of Design?” The report also highlights five trends in the future of home design.

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Elsewhere: Radisson Blu signs in the Dominican Republic

Radisson Hotel Group has signed the Radisson Blu Resort & Residences, Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. Located on the beach of Cabeza de Toro, the 164-room property is currently undergoing an extensive renovation. Additional amenities will include butler service, in-room dining, airport pickup and private check-in. The resort is anticipated to open in Q4 of this year.

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