Hotels, rental car companies and cruise lines are taking a page from the airline “handbook” of a-la-carte fees and unbundling services, only to add them as surcharges. Airlines have developed a growing list of fees since introducing the baggage fee a few years ago and now charge for early boarding, preferred seats, meals, pillows, Wi-Fi, etc. Hotels now typically add fees for housekeeping, occupancy, gym access, minibar restocking, newspapers, Wi-Fi and much more. Car rental companies list surcharges like concession recovery and facility fees as well as charging for child car seats and navigational technology. To avoid “fee surprise” read the fine print; be an informed consumer. (NYTimes.com, Sept. 24)
In 2014 Marriot’s international luxury brand, Ritz-Carlton will debut its first hotel in Tunis, at Carthage in the Sidi Bou Said district. The beach front property adjacent to the Presidential Palace will offer 129 guest rooms, seven restaurants and bars and many upscale amenities synonymous with the brand. Ritz-Carlton has eight hotels in the Middle-East Africa region and 85 worldwide. (TravelWeekly.com, Sept. 11)
Four Seasons has disclosed plans for a 237-room beachfront resort in Dubai, to open in 2014. The hotel will be on an 11-acre site and will be called the Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach.
MGM Resorts International will build a casino resort including a luxury hotel at National Harbor on the Maryland side of the Potomac.
Wyndham has opened a 152-room, full-service hotel in Niagara Falls, Ontario; a multi-million dollar renovation of the erstwhile Fallsview Inn, located nine miles from the falls.
Morgans Hotel Group will expand its Delano and Mondrian brands outside of the U.S. and open a 73-room Delano in Marrakech, Morocco, in September. (TravelWeekly.com, June 25)
A brand new Le Meridien hotel has opened in the neighborhood of Rosslyn, at 1121 North 19th St. in Arlington, Virginia.
Designed by renowned architects this property features Amuse Restaurant, meeting/reception space and guest room amenities like; window walls with stunning views, 32-inch, flat screen TVs, IPOD docking stations, internet access and in-room climate control. Walk one block to the Rosslyn Metro station for convenient, quick access to all of DC’s business and government centers and tourist attractions. Georgetown is just a short walk away, across the Key Bridge.
The FBI warns that computer hackers could gain access to your information through pop-up windows when you access the internet through a hotel Wi-Fi network. It is recommended that business travelers use the private network of the company or their mobile carrier network instead, employ encryption in case your computer is stolen and never click on pop-ups. (TravelWeekly.com, May 13)
San Diego hotel owners voted overwhelmingly to approve a new room tax which will help to finance a $520 million expansion of the Convention Center. City authorities and hoteliers believe San Diego has lost the chance to host large conferences and events in recent years because the facility is too small. (UTSanDiego.com, May 7)
The Madison, an iconic hotel steeped in the history of Washington, D.C., is emerging into the next phase of its storied existence as it completes a multi-million dollar renovation. One of the most distinguished hotels in Washington, D.C., The Madison is only a short stroll from the White House, Embassy Row, Dupont Circle, National Mall Monuments and Smithsonian Museums. Call your Omega agent to book your room at The Madison for your next trip to our Nation’s Capital.
Hilton allowed a multi-year contract with Orbitz Worldwide to expire and will no longer hold preferred supplier status. After analyzing the data Hilton believes they will get better results from a new six-member hotel consortium website, Roomkey.com, designed to promote more direct bookings of each member hotel. (Travelweekly.com, March 7)
The Crown Jewel of Pennsylvania Avenue, the Willard InterContinental has been the center of the social and political life in Washington DC since its debut in 1818. One block from the White House the Willard is ideally situated to host dignitaries and tourists. This American landmark blends contemporary luxury, historic charm and hospitality, evoking the spirit of the city. Come for a visit and be pampered in the Red Door Spa or dine opulently in the Occidental Grill & Seafood.
The Intercontinental Hotel Group IHG is the first hotel company to be awarded the LEED endorsement for their Green Engage initiative. IHG encourages member hotels to check this online site for recommendations on how to conserve and save energy and monitor progress in their operations. (IHG.com, Oct. 4)