News Briefs, Week of Dec. 24, 2012

Air Canada Rouge to take off in July

Air Canada took the wraps off its leisure airline-within-an-airline, which will begin flying in July under the brand name Air Canada Rouge. Introductory fares and packages went on sale on the Web and through agents for travel through Oct. 26. From its base at Toronto, Rouge will operate new routes to Venice and Edinburgh, Scotland. It will take over Air Canada seasonal services from Toronto and Montreal to Athens along with Air Canada/Air Canada Vacations operations to destinations in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Costa Rica. The carrier will operate a mix of 737 and A319 aircraft.

UA adding routes to Latin America
United is including new routes to Central America as part of its spring schedule, proposing service to Guatemala City from Washington Dulles and to San Jose, Costa Rica, from Chicago and Washington. The flights, beginning April 13, supplement existing service from former Continental hubs at Newark and Houston. The carrier last week launched Washington-San Salvador flights. Other new routes planned for next year include Newark-Edmonton, Alberta, beginning May 1 and Chicago-Fairbanks service beginning June 6.

US Airways plans exit from Gatwick
US Airways set March 30 as the date for moving its Charlotte-London service from Gatwick to Heathrow and opened the books for reservations. The flight will operate daily with A330-300 aircraft, complementing existing Heathrow service from Philadelphia.

Hyatt ousted from Curacao hotel
Benchmark Hospitality took over management of the former Hyatt Regency Curacao after the property's owner, Santa Barbara Hospitality, ousted Hyatt, claiming cost overruns, high operating losses, low occupancies and missed revenue projections in 2011 and 2012. The 350-room resort, which opened in April 2010, was renamed the Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort Curacao. In a statement, Hyatt denied that the owner had the right to remove it as operator, claiming the management agreement required a resolution in arbitration, which has been ongoing since November. Hyatt plans to take legal action to restore its control of the resort. Benchmark is honoring all reservations and event bookings.

AMResorts opens Cozumel property
AMResorts entered the Cozumel market with the opening of the all-inclusive Secrets Aura Cozumel. The 168-room resort comprises two properties previously branded as the Sabor Cozumel Exclusive Resort & Spa and Aura Cozumel Grand, owned by tennis player Rafael Nadal. AMResorts combined the two resorts and rebranded them under the Secrets banner while adding nine rooms and making several upgrades.

First Hilton opens in downtown Lima
Hilton opened its first managed hotel in Peru, the 207-room Hilton Lima Miraflores. The downtown hotel, a newbuild in the upscale Miraflores shopping district, offers a rooftop pool and 12,000 square feet of meetings and function space, including a 3,700 square-foot ballroom.

Friends & Colleagues

Marriott International named Craig S. Smith president for the Caribbean and Latin America. Smith, currently vice president and COO for Asia Pacific, started with Marriott 25 years ago and previously served as general manager of properties in Brazil, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Peru. • • • Wyndham Hotel Group named Luis Mirabelli vice president of development for Latin America, effective Jan. 1. He formerly was vice president of business development for South America for RCI Latin America. • • • Richard Gray has been appointed managing director for the LGBT market for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. Gray previously was owner of the Royal Palms Resort & Spa, which he founded in 1991. It was the first gay guesthouse in the destination to achieve a five-star rating. He has served on the Greater Fort Lauderdale Marketing Advisory Committee, in the Broward County (Fla.) Cultural Council in 2004 and Visit Florida's LGBT committee in 2003. • • • Marco Torriani will retire after 12 years as general manager at the Mandarin Oriental, Geneva effective Dec. 31. Torriani retires following a 30-year career in the luxury hospitality industry. He will be succeeded by Lars Wagner, who has served as general manager of the Mandarin Oriental, Munich since 2007.


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