Universal's new park to tackle long lines
Universal Orlando said its Volcano Bay waterpark would "redefine the queue experience" so guests can focus on having fun. Among the park's 18 attractions are a wave pool, sandy beaches, a winding river, multirider raft rides and body slides that drop from the top of the volcano. The park, scheduled for a 2017 opening, will have four themed areas with restaurants and bars offering volcano views.
Hyatt buys historical resort in Arizona
Hyatt Hotels Corp. will acquire the Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Phoenix, making the 87-year-old property the sixth in its new Unbound Collection. The 119-room resort is known for its Mediterranean architecture and has more than 21,000 square feet of meetings space and a spa offering treatments in the courtyards. The hotel will be the sixth in the Unbound Collection, which launched in February.
An updated Dawn sails out of drydock
The Norwegian Dawn completed a monthlong drydock renovation giving it new restaurants and bars, updated public spaces and staterooms and a makeover of the Garden Villas suites "rebuilt to evoke the look and feel of the newest Norwegian ships," said Norwegian president Andy Stuart. The upgrade is part of the Norwegian Edge initiative, a $400 million investment in the Norwegian brand.
Boston Park Plaza completes renovation
The Boston Park Plaza completed a multiyear, $100-million renovation updating all of its 1,060 rooms and adding a steak house and 20,000-square-foot fitness center. The hotel will add a Starbucks this year.
Southwest says new seats widest in class
Southwest Airlines said it will put the widest economy seats in the industry on its reconfigured Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Upholstered with recycled leather fibers, the seats will also have more room to hold personal belongings, the carrier said, and will be installed on 28 jets by the end of the year. The planes also will have redesigned galleys enabling flight attendants to work without carts.
Fourth Nobu hotel to open in Chicago
Nobu Hospitality broke ground on Chicago's first Nobu hotel, due to open in late 2017, with 103 rooms, an indoor/outdoor rooftop lounge and a 10,000-square-foot Nobu restaurant. Partners Robert DeNiro and chef Nobu Matsuhisa, who also launched Nobu restaurants around the world, have opened Nobu properties in Las Vegas and Manila, Philippines, and will launch the Nobu Hotel at Eden Roc Miami Beach later this year.
Alaska to fly between Orlando and Portland
Alaska Airlines will begin flying daily between Orlando and Portland, Ore., in March, the only nonstop service between the cities. Portland will be the third city Alaska serves from Orlando, joining San Diego and Seattle.
MSC partners with Parisian salon brand
Hairdresser Jean Louis David will take over the salons on MSC Cruises ships. Founded in 1961 in Paris, Jean Louis David has over 1,000 salons internationally and will expand to 11 existing MSC ships as well as its new ones, starting with the MSC Meraviglia next year. Jean Louis David salons are already open on the MSC Preziosa, MSC Fantasia and MSC Poesia.
Friends & Colleagues
Tom Klein will step down as Sabre Corp. president and CEO on Dec. 31. He will remain in the position while the board looks for its next leader. Klein has been with Sabre for 22 years, joining when the company was a unit of AMR Corp., the former parent company of American Airlines. He held a number of executive roles with the company until he was named Sabre's president in 2010 and CEO in 2013. In a statement, Klein said his June announcement will give the board plenty of time to find his successor. "Then I will be able to turn my personal attention to new opportunities knowing that I am leaving Sabre on firm ground, with a great management team and a bright future as a global technology leader," he said. • • • Crystal Cruises named Angela Composto its vice president of marketing. She succeeds Nitsa Lewis, who had been at Crystal since 2003. Composto had previously been vice president of marketing for Silverseas Cruises. • • • VisitBritain named Paul Gauger its interim executive vice president for the Americas. Gauger joined VisitBritain in 2003, serving in a variety of positions. He most recently was global head of public relations. • • • The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa named Maria Elena Armenta and Marc Van Dam group account directors and Deborah Weiss group sales manager. The three have a collective 65 years of sales experience. Armenta, who will handle group business in the Northeast, previously served as the regional director at the Preferred Hotel Group in Miami. Van Dam, who will be responsible for the Midwest and Eastern Canada markets, joins the La Paloma team after serving as the North American sales director for Savision as well as an independent consultant for PHM Hospitality. Weiss, who has 30 years of hospitality sales experience, will head up marketing efforts in the Southern California and Western Canadian markets. Prior to her current role, Weiss was sales manager for the Omni Tucson National Golf Resort in Arizona, special projects coordinator for the Tucson Business Committee for the Arts and a financial planner for American Capital Financial Services.