News Briefs, Week of Feb. 10, 2014


Celebrity Cruises taps Canyon Ranch for spas
Celebrity Cruises said Canyon Ranch will take over as its spa concessionaire, beginning in April, replacing Steiner Leisure. The line said Canyon Ranch will create products and treatments exclusive to Celebrity as well as offer yoga and meditation classes. In addition to its resorts in Tucson, Ariz.; Lenox, Mass.; and Miami Beach, Canyon Ranch operates spas on nine cruise ships and at the Venetian and Palazzo hotels in Las Vegas. Steiner, which runs most cruise ship spas, disclosed late last year that its Celebrity contract was not being renewed for 2014.

Korean Air to launch Houston-Seoul route
Korean Air plans to add Houston to its U.S. network on May 2, offering nonstop service to Seoul four times weekly with 777-200 aircraft. Houston, a hub for Star Alliance member United, becomes the 11th U.S. gateway for Korean, a member of the SkyTeam alliance.

United Express line plans Nassau service
Sky West, a United Express carrier, disclosed plans to offer seasonal Washington Dulles-Nassau service with 70-passenger regional jets beginning in June, subject to government approval.

Amtrak corridor gets new locomotives
Amtrak on Feb. 7 was slated to introduce the first of 70 new electric locomotives into revenue service in the Northeast Corridor. Built by Siemens and nicknamed the Amtrak Cities Sprinter, the units will eventually power all Northeast Regional (non-Acela) and long-distance trains between Washington, New York and Boston and points in Pennsylvania.

Sandals sets upgrade for Barbados resort
Sandals is closing its 280-room Barbados resort on April 1 for a $65 million renovation, slated for completion in December. The resort is the former Couples Barbados, which Sandals acquired last year. Renovations will include seven new restaurants, an expanded Red Lane Spa, a wedding garden, a swim-up pool bar and a beachfront whirlpool. Guests holding reservations after April 1 can relocate to any other Sandals, Beaches or Grand Pineapple Beach resort, excluding Sandals Emerald Bay in Exuma, Bahamas, and Sandals LaSource Grenada.

Peabody Hotels eyes expansion, with ducks
The owner of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, noted for the ducks that waddle to and from its lobby fountain, is looking to expand the Peabody brand via management agreements throughout the U.S. Peabody namesakes in Orlando and Little Rock, Ark., converted last year to the Hyatt and Marriott brands, respectively, leaving the brand with just the original property in Memphis. The new management venture, Peabody Hotels & Resorts, said managed hotels adopting the brand will have North American mallard ducks on the property.

Hilton reopens resort on Persian Gulf
Hilton Worldwide reopened and reflagged the former Al Hamra Fort & Beach Resort in the United Arab Emirates after a two-year renovation. Situated in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, about 60 miles northeast of Dubai, and renamed the Hilton Al Hamra Beach & Golf Resort, the beachfront property has 265 rooms and adjoins a convention center with seating capacity for 800 people. Hilton has 18 hotels in the U.A.E.

Friends & Colleagues
David Maimon was named the new president and CEO of El Al Israel Airlines, effective March 20. Maimon will replace Elyezer Shkedy, who resigned after four years in the post. El Al’s board of directors appointed Maimon in a unanimous decision, choosing a nine-year veteran of the company who currently serves as its vice president of commercial and industry affairs. • • • Charles Mest Jr. has returned to Travel Impressions as senior director of strategic business development after working as regional sales director for MLT Vacations. Previously, Mest was senior director of sales at Travel Impressions for 15 years and prior to that worked as director of sales and marketing for Apple Vacations. • • • Jason Kycek is the new director of sales and marketing for Capella Marigot Bay, St. Lucia, formerly Discovery at Marigot Bay. Kycek formerly was vice president of sales and marketing for the Villa del Palmar Hotels and Resorts group in Cancun. • • • Costa Cruises named Neil Palomba to the newly created post of senior vice president, hotel operations and guest experience. Palomba had been with MSC Cruises as COO, based in its headquarters in Geneva. • • • Mandalay Bay has appointed Matthew Chilton general manager of the Delano Las Vegas. Chilton has been in the hospitality industry for nearly two decades and joined Mandalay Bay as hotel manager prior to the resort’s 1999 grand opening. Most recently, he served as vice president of hotel operations.


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