News briefs, week of Aug. 15, 2016

Crystal scraps revival of SS United States

Crystal Cruises will not proceed with a proposed renovation of the 1952-built SS United States ocean liner after a feasibility study found that the project would not be "technically or commercially responsible," Crystal said. The ship last sailed in the 1960s and has been docked in Philadelphia for years. Crystal will make a $350,000 donation to a conservancy to support the vessel's preservation.

Disney putting rock barriers on beaches
Disney World will put rock barriers on the shores of its resort beaches by the end of September following the June death of a 2-year-old boy who was attacked by an alligator in the water near Disney's Grand Floridian Resort. The barriers will replace a rope fence that Disney put up after the incident.

China delays Marriott's Starwood acquisition
Marriott International's pending acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts will be delayed up to 60 days while Chinese regulators review the transaction. The acquisition, approved by more than 40 countries and entities, would create the world's largest hotel company, with about 5,800 properties under 30 brands.

Waldorf Astoria to debut in S.F. in '21
San Francisco's first Waldorf Astoria will be built near the upcoming $4.5 billion Transbay Transit Center in the South of Market district. The 171-room hotel, slated to open in 2021, will occupy 21 stories of a new Mission Street tower. The Transbay Transit Center project will also include a 205-room Langham Place hotel, set to open in 2019.

Sandals in Nassau to close for two months
The Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort in Nassau will be closed through Oct. 13 due to what the resort calls "circumstances beyond our control," with no further details. The decision comes weeks after a protest by the union representing Sandals workers. Guests were offered rebooking at other Sandals or Beaches resorts and refunds for all airline change fees.

Holland America upping dining charges
Holland America Line raised the charges on many of its specialty restaurants, starting Aug. 1. Cover charges went from $29 to $35 per person at Pinnacle Grill; $20 to $25 at Tamarind; and $10 to $15 at Canaletto. HAL's dining packages rose to reflect the price increases.

Vail Resorts acquires Whistler Blackcomb
Vail Resorts will buy Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, North America's largest ski mountain, with 8,200 skiable acres, for $1.06 billion. Vail will pay around $28 per share in a transaction expected to close by the end of the year. Vail plans to broaden nonwinter activities and will honor Whistler's season passes for the 2016-17 ski season, after which it will integrate Whistler into Vail's Epic Season Pass program.

Magic Kingdom's night parade to end
The nighttime Main Street Electrical Parade will end its run Oct. 9 at Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Orlando. The parade will have a limited run next year at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., where debuted in 1972. It features floats covered with approximately half a million twinkling LED lights.

Friends & Colleagues
Kerzner International Holdings has tapped former Movenpick Hotels & Resorts chief Jean-Gabriel Peres as its CEO. Peres oversaw Movenpick for 17 years and before that was with Le Meridien Hotels & Resorts. Peres succeeds Alan Leibman. Peres will be succeeded at Movenpick by longtime Hilton Worldwide executive Olivier Chavy. • • • Signature Travel Network has named Cheryl McCain director of communications and public relations. McCain previously held marketing leadership positions at the Women's Business Council -- Southwest, Intrax and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. • • • CCRA named Valerie Gossett its southeast regional director as well as the director of its Savannah, Ga., chapter. Gossett owns the Premier Travel Resources travel agency, as a leisure, luxury and romance specialist. At CCRA, she will oversee membership chapters in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama and the Carolinas. She is CCRA's first Savannah chapter director. • • • The Miraval Group appointed three executives for its upscale destination wellness resorts and Miraval Life in Balance Spas. Paul J. McCormick was named senior vice president of operations, and S. Chevis Hosea and Matt MacDonald were appointed vice presidents of business development. McCormick formerly was divisional vice president of operations for Sage Hospitality's Premier & Lifestyle division in Denver. Hosea most recently managed design and the real estate entitlement process for the Village at Squaw Valley in North Lake Tahoe, Calif. MacDonald served as associate director of real estate investment management and acquisitions for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide in Stamford, Conn.


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