News briefs, week of Sept. 26, 2016

Four Seasons to debut first private island


Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts' first private island will debut Dec. 1. The Four Seasons Private Island Maldives at Voavah can accommodate up to 22 people in seven bedrooms, including overwater bungalows, and has a central beach house, dive center, spa and 62-foot yacht for guests to use for diving and snorkeling excursions. The island is accessible via a seaplane flight from Male Airport. Nightly rates start at $38,000.

China OKs Marriott's Starwood buyout

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce approved Marriott International's buyout of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, clearing the way for the acquisition to be completed late last week. The combined hotel company will be the world's largest, with about 5,800 hotels under 30 brands.

Carnival teams up with 'Ellen DeGeneres Show'
Carnival Cruise Line partnered with "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" to promote Carnival in various ways, including in-studio competitions; online contests; on-air, Carnival-themed segments; and exclusive digital content. The syndicated show averages about 3.9 million viewers per episode.

United increases flights to San Juan
United Airlines will increase service to San Juan from Newark to six weekly, year-round flights, effective Dec. 18. The current schedule had one weekly flight. United cited increased demand for temperature-controlled air shipments to pharmaceutical and other companies in Puerto Rico, which will mean more seats to the island.

Sternlicht launches new U.K. hotel brand
Starwood Capital, headed by former Starwood Hotels & Resorts chief Barry Sternlicht, is launching Principal, a luxury-hotel brand in the U.K. out of what's now known as PH Hotels. Principal will specialize in updating "grande dame" hotels in U.K. urban centers and will launch Nov. 1 when Manchester's Palace Hotel is rebranded as the 270-room Principal Manchester.

Princess raises tips for second time in '16
Princess Cruises is raising the suggested daily passenger gratuity level for the second time this year, to $13.50 for guests in interior, oceanview and balcony cabins; $14.50 for mini-suites; and $15.50 for full suites, starting Dec. 15. The line implemented a 13% increase on Jan. 1 to the current level of $12.95. Celebrity, Carnival and Royal Caribbean also raised gratuity amounts this year.

The Gresham Dublin to become a Riu Plaza
Riu Hotels and Resorts acquired the Gresham Dublin and will rebrand the 323-room hotel the Riu Plaza the Gresham Dublin, the company's sixth under its Riu Plaza urban brand and its first in Ireland. Riu paid about $110 million for the hotel, which sits in an almost 200 year-old building and was renovated in 2013. Riu operates more than 100 hotels and resorts in 18 countries.

MSC Cruises to send second ship to China
MSC Cruises will deploy the 4,363-passenger MSC Splendida in China in 2018, joining the MSC Lirica, which has been sailing in China since May. The ship's homeport and itinerary details will be announced at a later date.

Crystal AirCruises takes shape
Crystal last week revealed renderings for the first Boeing 777 in its new Crystal AirCruises division. The aircraft will be configured to carry 84 passengers, who will have access to an aft cabin that includes dining tables, a bar and lounge. Crystal plans to release itineraries next month; flights are scheduled to begin in September 2017.

Friends & Colleagues

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has named Bob Binder president and CEO of Oceania Cruises. Binder takes over the president's position from Jason Montague. Binder, a co-founder of Oceania, will continue in his current role as vice chairman of Regent and Oceania, a position he has held since 2011. Montague remains president of Regent Seven Seas Cruises and adds the title of CEO of that luxury cruise line. Norwegian Cruise Line president Andy Stuart also has added the CEO title. • • • American Airlines has named Alison Taylor to lead its global sales team. Taylor, who is leaving her post as Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide senior vice president of global sales, will manage the airline's relationships with corporate customers and travel agencies. Taylor had served as senior vice president of global sales at Starwood since April 2015. • • • AMResorts named Claudio Zboznovits vice president of global sales and business development. Zboznovits will lead and execute AMResorts' strategic sales plans within the U.S., Canada and international markets. He comes to the company from BlueBay Hotels & Resorts, where he was corporate vice president and chief commercial officer. • • • Dream Hotel Group appointed Kevin Rohani vice president of development. Rohani brings over a decade of experience in portfolio expansion and expertise in hotels, restaurants and nightlife to the position. Most recently, he was with the Gensler architectural firm, working in the company's hospitality studio and specializing in project management and business development. Among the projects he had a hand in were the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills; the Century Plaza in Century City, Calif.; the Parisian Macao; and the Hub on Causeway, a mixed-use development in Boston. Rohani began his hospitality career with SBE Hotel Group in hotel operations and development.

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