Marriott to reflag Palomar in Atlanta

Marriott cut a deal to reflag Kimpton's Hotel Palomar in Atlanta under its Renaissance brand after the expected sale of the property to Thayer Lodging in the next 30 days. The 21-story property on West Peachtree Street will be known as the Renaissance Atlanta Midtown and will be included in what Marriott calls its "lifestyle portfolio." The property, a newbuild owned by a private investment group, has been managed by Kimpton since it opened in 2009.

Spirit expanding in Vegas market
Cheap-seat specialist Spirit Airlines plans to enter the Los Angeles-Las Vegas market May 5 with five daily nonstops and introductory one-way base fares of $9. Base fares for future dates rise to $19, $39 or $79, but the website also shows an occasional seat for $1.

Kayak and Bing team up on search
Kayak agreed to provide flight search services for Microsoft's search engine, Describing itself as Bing's "travel technology partner," Kayak said that going forward, it will provide Bing users with "access to all of Kayak's travel search services globally."

LAX hotel adopts 24-hour check-in
Four Points by Sheraton at LAX is making it easier for travelers to match their stays to their flight itineraries with a 24-hour check-in option. Under the program, anyone who books a room for more than $99 and at least 48 hours in advance can check in at any time and stay for up to 24 hours. The 573-room hotel has free shuttle service to Los Angeles Airport every 20 minutes, 24/7.

Hilton eyes Spain for Waldorf brand
Hilton said it signed a management agreement to convert the 133-room Hacienda La Boticaria, an Andalusian-style retreat close to Seville, into a Waldorf Astoria luxury hotel. Hilton has already begun operating the resort, which is set to become a Waldorf Astoria in early summer 2011 and will mark the arrival of the brand in Spain.

Hyatt plans resort for Punta Cana
Hyatt plans to open a 201-room resort in early 2014 within the community of Cap Cana near Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Branded as the Hyatt Regency Cap Cana Hotel, Villas and Residences, the project will include 12 villas and 46 residential units on a quarter-mile stretch of Juanillo Beach. Current amenities at Cap Cana include a marina, one of three planned Jack Nicklaus golf courses, two beach clubs and several residential developments.

Chilean hotel to be InterContinental
InterContinental plans to open a 140-room oceanfront hotel in January 2013 near Chile's Vina del Mar coastal resort area. The InterContinental Punta Piqueros will be three miles from downtown Vina del Mar and seven miles from the port city of Valparaiso.

Recession shutters Lucaya property
Global economic challenges forced the closing of the Reef Village, one of two resorts at Our Lucaya Beach and Golf Resort in Freeport on Grand Bahama. Still open is the Radisson Our Lucaya. The move reduces the total room inventory at the complex from 1,200 rooms to 540.

Friends & Colleagues

Next-gen airfare pricing engine Vayant appointed Brian Clark CEO. A veteran of more than two decades in the industry, Clark had previously been appointed to Vayant's board of directors. Prior to joining Vayant, Clark served as general manager of • • • Tim Grace, a 27-year Caribbean tourism marketing veteran and current director of marketing and commerce for the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, is leaving his post at the end of June. Grace is moving to Colorado for family reasons. During his CHTA tenure, Grace created the Gold Book brand, the website and other marketing initiatives. The CHTA will be looking for a marketing executive to undertake Grace's responsibilities at the Coral Gables, Fla., office. • • • The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism named Thomas Ludington general manager of its U.S. national office, overseeing the destination's marketing activities and industry relations in the U.S. Ludington, who is based in New York, formerly served as vice president, product USA with LibGo Travel. • • • Daniel Guerrero is the new marketing director at Brendan Vacations. Guerrero joins Brendan Vacations after having held roles with destination marketing organizations such as the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau, the West Hollywood (Calif.) Marketing & Visitors Bureau and Visit Newport Beach (Calif.). • • • James Kareka has been promoted to director of sales at the Kahala Hotel & Resort in Honolulu. A 20-year veteran of the travel industry, Kareka was vice president of global sales for Casto Travel Management before joining the Kahala. He also served as business development manager for Classic Vacations for four years.

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