Category Archives: Hyatt Hotels

Escala Ski Resort & Lodge Ready To Open In Park City Utah

Hyatt's Escala Ski Resort & Lodge

Hyatt Hotels & Resorts is opening the new Hyatt Escala Lodge ski resort at Park City in Utah in late November.

The ski-in, ski-out condominium hotel property is located at the base of the Sunrise Chairlift in the Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah – the largest ski and snowboard area in Utah, with 4,000 skiable acres. Hyatt Escala Lodge will also provide a base for exploring Park City’s many outdoor summer activities such as golf, fly fishing, and mountain biking.

This mountain retreat at the Canyons is styled after grand European lodges, with native mountain stonework and timber frame construction. Hyatt Escala Lodge at Park City consists of 85 condominiums, which can be divided into 178 residential-style, hotel suites ranging in size from one-bedroom units at 680 square feet to four-bedroom units with 2,810 square feet.

Hyatt Escala Lodge is 30 minutes’ drive from The Salt Lake City International Airport and Heber Valley Airport (Russ McDonald Field), which accommodates private-jet service. The hotel is minutes from downtown Park City’s historic Main Street and the other two major ski resorts in the area, Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain Resort.

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'Lifestyle' hotels are the wave of the future for major hotel brands

Nearly every top hotel company from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. to Hyatt Hotels Corp. to InterContinental Hotels Group has unveiled or expanded boutique concepts, also called lifestyle brands.

Now, Marriott International Inc., the largest U.S. hotelier by market value, is opening its first Edition hotel in Waikiki Beach in October in partnership with hotel magnate Ian Schrager.

“We’re interested in getting into the market as fast as we can and with as many as we can,” Marriott Chief Executive J.W. “Bill” Marriott said of the boutique segment in a recent interview.

Undoubtedly, lifestyle hotels are the wave of the future, experts said. Boutique hotels can charge as much as 12 percent more than other hotels of similar quality, according to Lodging Advisors LLC, which surveyed the top 15 U.S. markets.

Last month, Marriott bought the former Seville hotel in Miami Beach and announced plans to refashion it as an Edition.

The move was rare for Marriott, which prefers to operate, not own hotels, and underscored the growing importance of the segment for the future of the company and the industry.

“This heightened experience and individuality is something that I think is the future of the hotel business and other businesses,” Schrager said. “It’s really about how it feels.”

Still, the shaky economy and moribund financing for new hotels raises doubts about how quickly Edition and similar brands can grow. Investors and developers still view the boutique hotel segment as riskier than more well-known and widespread traditional chains.

Hotel experts add it is difficult to duplicate or even define the boutique hotel segment. Such hotels can range from around 100 rooms to 1,000 and from two-star to five.

“You can insult someone by saying their hotel is not a boutique and they think it is,” said Robert Mandelbaum, director of research with Colliers PKF Hospitality Research.

“THEY COULD HAVE BEEN MINE”

Schrager, who opened the Morgans Hotel in 1984, is widely credited as the creator of the modern boutique hotel. But the launch of Starwood’s W in 1998 was the first attempt to create a brand around the concept.

So when Marriott came knocking, Schrager seized the chance to build a brand on a scale he could not achieve alone and signed on in 2007.

“The kinds of (hotels) that I got started with about 25 years ago, there are hundreds of versions of them in virtually every city in the world,” Schrager said. “Well, they could have been mine.”

As of the first quarter of 2010, there were 390 lifestyle hotels run by lodging companies in the United States, according to data company Lodging Econometrics. And 100 boutique hotels have opened or are set to open in 2010 and 2011.

Hyatt is growing its Andaz brand and InterContinental has its Hotel Indigo chain. Eva Ziegler, who oversees Starwood’s W, said it would be “realistic” for the chain to grow to 100 hotels in the next 15 to 20 years, up from 35 as of July.

In 2008, Marriott projected there would be 100 Edition hotels globally within 10 years.

The Edition project has touched off a debate that persists today over how swiftly and successfully the boutique concept can grow.

Schrager is knee-deep in the details, eyeing elements as small as the stitch on a couch.

He argues he can churn out original ideas as quickly as Marriott can seal hotel deals, adding that Edition need not “fall prey to that traditional mass market model.”

Others disagree.

“It is impossible for that level of care to be replicated over and over,” said Michael Achenbaum, president of the Gansevoort Hotel Group. “As talented as Ian is, even he can’t spread himself that thin.”

SHARK TANKS AND PURPLE WALLPAPER

Lenders worry about the long-term viability a hotel’s design, Lodging Advisors CEO Sean Hennessey said.

Brands such as Holiday Inn or Westin tend to outfit their hotels with similar bedding or artwork. By contrast, the decor of a boutique hotel is subject to the whims of the designer.

“Purple flower plastic wallpaper or a shark tank in your lobby — it sounds good when you open, but it has to have longevity,” said Brad Wilson, chief operating officer of Denihan Hospitality Group. “Otherwise, you’re going to be renovating every five years.”

Such concerns matter because financing for new hotels is still well off the levels of two years ago. U.S. hotel projects under construction or in the planning stages in the second quarter of 2010 were down 43 percent from 2008, according to Lodging Econometrics.

With the economic downturn, financing for hotel projects has dropped, undercutting Marriott’s expansion plans for Edition.

A Marriott spokesman declined to comment on whether Edition could meet its target, but CEO Marriott said the company could open as many as 10 Editions within three years.

“As the global economy improves and credit markets begin to loosen up, we are seeing greater interest in the EDITION brand from developers,” the company said in an e-mail. “That interest will only grow with the opening of the first EDITION hotels this year.”

Hyatt Regency New Orleans set to reopen in 2011

The Hyatt Regency New Orleans, which became a familiar symbol on television of the city’s damage from Hurricane Katrina, will be renovated and reopened in the fall of 2011.

According to Hyatt, all 1,193 rooms will be renovated, along with 53 suites. A redesign calls for 200,000 square feet of meeting and exhibition space, two restaurants, two bars and a coffee bar.

The current hotel ownership group acquired the Hyatt from Chicago-based Strategic Hotels & Resorts Inc. after the 31-story building sustained heavy wind and water damage during Katrina in August 2005.

And you thought new luxury hotels opening in NYC were a thing of the past?

Currently there are 33 hotels that are scheduled to open in New York in 2010 and almost half of them are in the luxury category.

Gansevoort Park New York

InterContinental New York Times Square The 36-story contemporary hotel with 607 rooms is set to open July 12 with sweeping river and city views, a 2,700-square-foot presidential suite that features panoramas of the city, a French bistro led by chef Todd English and more.

Andaz 5th Avenue This hotel, scheduled to open July 5, claims to be bookishly similar to the New York Public Library, which sits across the street, but can any Andaz be that subdued? The limestone facade is historic — the 1916 Rogers Peet Building — and the hotel promises high ceilings with 184 rooms. The hotel is offering a preview rate of $295 per night, excluding tax, from July 25 through Sept. 1.

W New York Downtown This W hotel is set to open Aug. 16 in the Financial District with 217 rooms on 58 floors. The suite includes a dining table for four, wet bar, panoramic views, two 42-inch TVs, living room and bedroom with work desk. Of course, there are Wonderful and Spectacular rooms too, much more down-to-earth.

Gansevoort Park Avenue The 20-story building with 249 rooms features an indoor/outdoor heated rooftop pool with terraces, indoor-outdoor fireplaces and transparent floors. A tri-level bar and extravagant three-story atrium lobby round out the new digs. The hotel is now accepting reservations.

Upgrade your game plan for hotel upgrades

Just because you booked a standard room, doesn’t mean you have to stay in one. Here are some ways to sleep better.

Go where there are empty rooms

During the economic downturn, certain destinations have had lower occupancy rates, particularly those with high room counts: Las Vegas, San Francisco, New York, Hawaii and Orlando, Florida. Likewise, look to resorts in the off- and shoulder seasons, when fewer suites are booked.

 

Go standby

Hyatt allows guests booking on Hyatt.com to pay a small fee — as little as $30 — for the chance at a space-available upgrade. Hilton Worldwide has a similar program.

Be card savvy

At many hotels, booking with a Centurion or Platinum card from American Express can get you a better room, in some cases automatically. Charging everyday purchases on a hotel-affiliated credit card can help you earn upgrades, too — regardless of whether you’re actually staying at the hotel.

Use your connections

Look beyond AAA and AARP memberships to affiliations you might not expect. Lexus and Saks First cardholders are sometimes eligible for upgrades at Fairmont hotels. If you bank with Merrill Lynch, UBS or HSBC, you can often book an upgraded Ritz-Carlton package though the banks’ member benefits programs. Occasionally, hotels partner with airlines in ways that benefit you, too. Business- and first-class passengers on Singapore Airlines flights, for example, get automatic upgrades at Raffles hotels.

Check in later

The later you check in after noon (when most hotels require guests to check out), the better your chances for securing an upgrade, especially if you’re staying only one night. Plus, it’s more likely that housekeeping has turned over rooms.

Be loyal

Many hotel chains give priority to their loyalty program members based on how often they stay at their hotels. Make sure you use your loyalty member number every time you book, particularly at large chains such as Starwood, Omni, and Loews.

Tom Costello is the CEO, Partner & Co-Founder of Groups International, a company that provides marketing, consultative services, and technology solutions to the group and leisure travel markets.  Connect with him on TwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook or contact him by email.