News Briefs, Week of Nov. 16, 2015

First W in Las Vegas to open on SLS site

Las Vegas' first hotel under Starwood Hotels & Resorts' W brand will open in what's now the Lux Tower at the SLS Las Vegas. The 289-room building will convert to the W Las Vegas next year, while the rest of the 1,613-room SLS Las Vegas, which opened at the old Sahara site last year, will be added to Starwood's Tribute Portfolio soft brand.

American to launch N.Z. flights from L.A.
American Airlines plans to launch a daily flight between Los Angeles and Auckland, New Zealand in June, competing with Air New Zealand on the route. American will launch its first Australia route, a daily Los Angeles-Sydney flight, in December. When American announced that route in June the airline said it and joint-business partner Qantas were considering New Zealand service.

Mandarin Oriental to open in Boca Raton
A 158-room Mandarin Oriental hotel is under development in Boca Raton, Fla., due to open in late 2017. An adjacent tower will have 100 luxury residences, connected to the hotel by a sky bridge. The hotel will have a rooftop restaurant and a spa, and will be Mandarin Oriental's second in Florida. The company operates a 326-room hotel in Miami.

Air Serbia to launch Belgrade-N.Y. flights
Air Serbia plans to launch between New York and Belgrade in June, subject to regulatory approval, the first nonstop service between the U.S. and Serbia since 1992 and Air Serbia's first long-haul operation since its launch in 2013. Air Serbia plans to operate five flights per week. Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways owns 49% of the carrier, and the Serbian government 51%.

Japan's largest hotel group debuts in U.S.
APA Group, Japan's largest hotel company, debuted in the U.S. last week, reflagging New Jersey's Hilton Woodbridge. APA, with 347 hotels in Japan, will complete renovations on the 200-room, APA Hotel Woodbridge at Metropark property by spring 2017, including improvements to its rooms, 30,000 square feet of meeting space, and a new Japanese restaurant.

Viking orders two more ocean ships
Viking Ocean Cruises ordered two more ships, similar to the 930-passenger Viking Star the line debuted with in March 2015, launching the river operator into ocean cruising. Along with three more ships currently on order, the new ships would bring its ocean fleet to six.

Martha Washington to become Redbury
New York's Martha Washington Hotel will be renamed the Redbury Hotel New York next spring, under new owners. The 256-room New York hotel will be Redbury's third and largest location, following Los Angeles and Miami Beach. The property had been a King & Grove hotel until last September when it was relaunched with its original name.

Scottsdale to get first Arizona Andaz hotel
Arizona's first Hyatt Andaz brand hotel will open by next summer in what was formerly the Scottsdale Cottonwoods resort. Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa will have 201 rooms and will be configured in six-bungalow clusters. The 22-acre property, with views of Camelback Mountain, will have mid-century-inspired design touches, more than 20,000 square feet of meeting space, and a 12,000-square-foot spa.

Friends & Colleagues
Flight Centre Travel Group announced two of its brands, Liberty Travel and Gogo Vacations, will have new presidents effective Jan. 1: Randy Alleyne will take the reins of Liberty Travel, while John Vandenheuvel will lead Gogo. Alleyne is currently the president of Gogo Vacations. He will replace Emma Jupp, who will serve as executive vice president of product for the Americas for Flight Centre. Alleyne has been with Gogo since January 2013, when he was named its vice president. Vandenheuvel, currently the operations leader for Gogo Vacations, joined Flight Centre in the company's early years as a consultant in Los Angeles. Jupp has been with Flight Centre for almost 20 years. In addition to those changes, Mike Friend will be appointed to the newly created role of executive vice president of leisure operations for the Americas for Flight Centre, effective in January. Friend joined the company as a consultant in 1996. • • • Carnival Cruise Line named named Vicki Tomasino and Kirk Neal regional sales vice presidents for the western U.S. and eastern U.S./Caribbean, respectively. New business development managers include Ann Hall for the Greater New York City area, Mimma Mallogi for the Pacific Northwest, Carlos Yebra for Spain, South America and Mexico, and Paul Nyens for the rest of Europe, Israel and Japan. • • • The Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism appointed Shasha Cruz director of meetings and incentives for North America. Cruz is a hospitality marketing professional with 10 years of experience with the Dominican Republic Tourism Board. • • • Playa Resorts Management, the management component of Playa Hotels & Resorts, appointed Diego Concha general manager for the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall and Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica. He joined Hyatt Hotels and Resorts in 1988 and served as general manager at several Hyatt properties in the Caribbean and most recently at the Grand Hyatt Colombo in Sri Lanka.

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