Ritz-Carlton brand to leave Michigan
Michigan is losing its only Ritz-Carlton hotel. The Ritz-Carlton Dearborn has been sold by Host Hotels to an unnamed investment group that will turn management over to Greenwood Hospitality. Although the hotel will remain open, as of June 2 it will no longer be a Ritz-Carlton. A new brand affiliation is expected to be announced soon.
Famed Tropicana begins makeover
The Tropicana Las Vegas began a $165 million renovation that is expected to infuse some South Beach atmosphere to the Strip. CEO Alex Yemenidjian said, "We are changing everything." The facade, guest rooms, restaurants, entertainment venues and pool area will be redesigned. Work is expected to be completed next April. Yemenidjian and Onex Corp. acquired a majority stake in the Tropicana Las Vegas after the property emerged from bankruptcy protection last year. The new owners already have renovated the hotel's conference facilities.
Wyndham resort to be all-inclusive
The Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort & Spa in St. Thomas will become an all-inclusive resort on July 1. No other accommodation-meal options will be available after that. The 300-room property has fluctuated over the years between a room-only resort with meal options or an all-inclusive with various meal plans. Wyndham plans to expand food and beverage operations and add two restaurants to the existing four. The only other property on St. Thomas currently offering an all-inclusive option is Bolongo Bay Beach Club.
Russian airline to add U.S. routes
Russian airline Transaero filed with the Transportation Department to start once-weekly service in October between Moscow's Domodedovo Airport and Miami, with twice-weekly service to New York Kennedy to follow in December. The airline also seeks approval to fly charters. Transaero briefly operated a Moscow-Los Angeles service in the mid-1990s.
Trump SoHo opens in Manhattan
The Trump SoHo opened on Spring Street in lower Manhattan. The 46-story, silver-glass hotel has 391 rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows offering views of the Hudson River, Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building. A 6,000-square-foot pool deck will open in early summer.
Las Vegas to host 2011 WTTC Summit
The World Travel & Tourism Council selected Las Vegas as host city for its 11th annual Global Travel & Tourism Summit next year. The event is booked for May 15 to 19 at the Aria resort in CityCenter. The last time the event was held in the U.S. was in 2006 in Washington.
Interstate to enter China hotel market
Owner-operator Interstate Hotels is entering the China market through a joint venture with part-owner Jin Jiang Hotels, a leading Chinese developer and operator. The venture, called Interstate China Hotels & Resorts, plans to open an office in Shanghai. Jin Jiang said the move makes Interstate the first independent hotel management company in China.
Friends & Colleagues
Sandals has named Joe Jiffo vice president of sales development. Jiffo previously worked for Norwegian Cruise Line for nearly 10 years, most recently as national director of strategic development. • • • Steven Kalczynski has been appointed general manager of the Oberoi Mumbai. The hotel, damaged during the terrorist attack in Mumbai in 2008, reopens on April 24 following extensive renovation. Prior to his appointment, Kalczynski was the general manager at the Ballantyne in Charlotte, part of Starwood's Luxury Collection, for almost five years. • • • Carnival Corp. elected Adm. Jonathon Band, recently retired first sea lord and chief of naval staff of the British Navy, to its board of directors. Band served in the British Navy for 42 years. He replaces Richard Capen, who is retiring from the 14-member board after 16 years of service. • • • Moneydirect, a Sabre-Amadeus joint venture that provides payment solutions for travel companies, has named Hans Olav Hagen its new CEO. Hagen replaces James Filsinger, who has left the company. Most recently, Hagen was managing partner of Small Change, a financial services consulting company. • • • Collette Vacations has promoted Kevin Carter to regional sales manager of its Central and Midwest division. Carter joined Collette in 2003 as product manager for Asia and the U.S. and became district sales manager for southern New England in 2005. Carter is replacing Jim Edwards, who left Collette to cut down on travel and spend more time with his family. Jim Marini will be replacing Carter as the senior district manager for southern New England. • • • Tropicana Las Vegas named Donna Marcou-Stafford vice president of leisure sales for Tropicana Las Vegas. Prior to this position, Marcou-Stafford was vice president of leisure sales for Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, working there for more than 10 years.