A roundup of independent hotel news
23 SEPTEMBER 2015 6:42 AM
This month’s roundup of news from the independent hotel sector includes: a new hotel for JFK’s TWA terminal; how to deal with new digital disruptors; and more.
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Iconic JFK terminal to get hotel
JetBlue Airlines and MCR Development will develop an independent hotel at the long-shuttered former TWA terminal at JFK International Airport, according to Crain’s New York. This will be JetBlue’s second hotel project; the airline company recently developed a boutique hotel in Orlando, Florida, for use only by JetBlue employees. The terminal was designed by architect Eero Saarinen and built in the 1960s. Details were not fully released at press time, but Crain’s reports the hotel will have 505 guestrooms, 40,000 square feet of meeting space, up to eight restaurants and an observation deck.
Hoteliers, disrupt before someone else does
Fundamental changes to the digital landscape are giving rise to a new breed of travel distribution competitor, write HNN columnists Dan Kowalewski and Bruno Despujol.
Hotel companies should honestly assess their strengths and weaknesses to inform their future distribution strategies, the columnists write. In areas of weakness, where differentiation isn’t going to be easy to achieve, hoteliers should form partnerships to defend margins. Where a hotel is strong because of customer relationships, data or capabilities, the company might explore kingmaker opportunities with partners across the distribution landscape.
Independents carve out niched cocktail scenes
The increase in interest in artisanal, top-end liquor—for example, single-malt whiskeys, premium gins and small-batch rums—has not been lost on hoteliers. Several independent hoteliers have embraced this trend and created destination bars that focus on single liquors, writes HNN’s Terence Baker.
At London’s Athenæum Hotel, the Whisky Bar offers more than 300 “expressions,” making it purveyor of London’s largest selection of single malts and blended whiskeys. The hotel has captured a lot of local traffic with its endeavors, and works closely with the hotel restaurant to develop pairings and tasting menus.
In Rome, The Gin Corner at the family-owned Hotel Adriano offers 95 different gins, a spirit not too popular in Italy before the bar opened two years ago. Now the bar and hotel regularly host locals for gin parties.
Four independents join Stash
Three independent hotels in California, and one in Park Cities, Texas, have joined Stash Hotel Rewards’ loyalty program for independent hotels. The new additions are Magnolia Hotel Dallas Park Cities in Texas; The Domain Hotel in Sunnyvale, California; the Posh Palm Springs Inn in Palm Springs, California; and the Quiet Creek Inn in Idyllwild, California.
Soft brands pick up new members
Several soft brands added members within the last month:
- Curio – A Collection by Hilton added the Asheville Foundry Inn in Asheville, North Carolina; Jewel Dunn’s River Beach Resort & Spa in Ocho Rios, Jamaica; The Partridge Inn in Augusta, Georgia; and The Admiral Hotel Mobile in Mobile, Alabama.
- Tribute Portfolio by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide added the Great Northern Hotel in London, and The Kiroro in Hokkaido, Japan.
- Autograph Collection by Marriott International added the Grand Bohemian Hotel Charleston in South Carolina.
Deals and developments
- Beltway Investment International, Smart Hotels and Hospitality Ventures Management Group will develop a boutique hotel along Atlanta’s BeltLine in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood.
- Arbor Lodging Partners purchased the 217-room Hotel Philips in Kansas City, Missouri, from The Marcus Corporation for an undisclosed amount.
- The 49-room Mosaic Hotel Beverly Hills, in Beverly Hills, California, opened in early September.
- The 67-room Charmant Hotel opened in La Crosse, Wisconsin, as a renovation of the historic Joseph B. Funke Candy Company building erected in 1896.
- A group controlled by software entrepreneur Larry Ellison purchased the 86-room Epiphany Hotel in Palo Alto, California, for $71.6 million.
Compiled by Stephanie Ricca.