News Briefs, Week of March 7, 2011

IHG to add its brand to Thai luxe resort


The Baan Taling Ngam Resort & Spa, the first luxury resort built on the Thai island of Koh Samui, will be renovated and rebranded as an InterContinental. The 79-room clifftop resort is expected to be closed through December for an extensive refurbishment. When it reopens, it will be called the InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort.

Norwegian Pearl to homeport in N.Y.
Norwegian Cruise Line will bring its 2,394-passenger Norwegian Pearl to New York for the 2012-13 fall and winter seasons, offering a series of 21 seven-day Bahamas and Florida cruises, along with three 12-day Southern Caribbean voyages. The ship will replace the Norwegian Jewel, which will be repositioned to Miami and operate eastern and western Caribbean sailings.

Spanish hoteliers in D.R. partnership
Spanish hotel companies NH Hoteles and AMResorts will collaborate on brand management, marketing and operations at two NH properties in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. The NH Royal Beach and NH Real Arena will continue to be operated by NH Hoteles but will come under AMResorts' luxury brands Secrets Resorts & Spas and Now Resorts & Spas, effective May 1. AMResorts will provide the two all-inclusive properties with sales, marketing and brand management services, including its Unlimited-Luxury signature vacation concept covering accommodations, a la carte dining, premium brand drinks, 24-hour room and concierge services and resort activities.

Princess eyes 2012 return to Galveston
For the first time since 2007, a Princess Cruises ship will operate from Galveston, Texas, with a series of sailings to the Western Caribbean between December 2012 and April 2013. Crown Princess will offer 19 seven-day itineraries roundtrip from Galveston with port calls at Costa Maya, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; Belize City; and Cozumel, Mexico. The 3,070-passenger Crown Princess offers greater capacity than Princess ships previously based in Galveston.

New HAL service speeds check-in
Holland America Line launched Stateroom Direct Service, a program the line said simplifies the boarding process by giving guests immediate access to their staterooms upon embarkation. Under the program, staterooms will be ready as early as 11:30 a.m., and passengers no longer will have to check their carry-on bags and wait in public areas while their staterooms are being prepared. Additionally, arriving guests will receive their baggage earlier, and will be offered the opportunity to have a buffet lunch. The initiative is in place on all of the line's 15 vessels.

An 'all-sweets' hotel debuts on St. LuciaThe Hotel Chocolat opened on the grounds of the 18th century Rabot Estate, a working cocoa plantation overlooking the Pitons of St. Lucia, where guests can help harvest the cocoa, cook up sweet concoctions in the hotel's kitchens and sample the sweets. The Hotel Chocolat is the first to be launched by the founders of a London confectionery company called Hotel Chocolat.

Friends & Colleagues

Playa Hotels & Resorts appointed Omar Palacios as executive vice president and CFO. Palacios joins Playa following 11 years at Kerzner International, most recently serving as senior vice president and CFO for One&Only Resorts, Kerzner's luxury hotel brand. • • • As part of its corporate reorganization following the relocation of Seabourn to Seattle, Holland America Line promoted Cyril Tatar to director of Seabourn technical operations. He most recently served as deputy director of Holland America Line, acting as project manager for a number of ship conversions and retrofits. The line also promoted Christy Oakland to senior director of reservations. A longtime veteran of Holland America Line, Oakland will ensure the company's Polar platform is adapted for Seabourn reservations, the line said. She previously served as director of reservations. • • • Pleasant Holidays and Hawaii World & Distinguished Resorts appointed Jacqueline Davidson business development manager for Northern California's East Bay/Central Valley region. Davidson will work directly with agents to develop sales and marketing strategies for both firms' destinations and product lines. • • • St. Maarten's new minister of tourism is Franklin Meyers, formerly commissioner of health, telecommunications and sports. In his new post, Meyers also is responsible for economic affairs, transportation and telecommunications

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