5 things to know: 2 March 2017
5 things to know: 2 March 2017
02 MARCH 2017 10:19 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Ashford Prime buys Hotel Yountville for $96.5 million
  • Hard Rock buys shuttered Taj Mahal hotel and casino
  • Simplicity drives Tru to record development pace
  • 19 indicted for fraud after hotel employee tips off police
  • Base jumpers arrested after stunt at San Fran hotel

Ashford Prime buys Hotel Yountville for $96.5 million: Ashford Hospitality Prime has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the Hotel Yountville in Yountville, California, for $96.5 million, which comes to $1.2 million per key, according to a news release.

“The acquisition of the highly-acclaimed Hotel Yountville fits perfectly with Prime's strategy of owning luxury hotels and resorts,” CEO Richard Stockton said. “This transaction presented a great opportunity for us given the quality of this asset and its unique location in an attractive market in the Napa Valley with high barriers to entry. We expect to achieve improvements in the performance of this hotel given the operating synergies with our nearby Bardessono property that we acquired in 2015.”

The company has also signed a non-binding letter of intent to purchase a yet-to-be-named luxury resort for $150 million.

Hard Rock buys shuttered Taj Mahal hotel and casino: Hard Rock International and two New Jersey investors have reached a deal with owner and investor Carl Icahn to acquire the Trump Taj Mahal hotel and casino in Atlantic City for an undisclosed price, NBC Philadelphia reports. The property has been closed since October 2016 after employees went on strike the summer before. Many of the employees who lost their jobs in the closing of the property are expected to be rehired, but that might not happen until the casino resort reopens in 2018.

Hard Rock previously announced plans to open a casino resort at the Meadowlands racetrack in northern New Jersey, according to the article, but voters rejected a statewide referendum that would have opened up casino gambling outside of Atlantic City. The article states it’s not clear if Hard Rock still intends to pursue this project following its purchase of the Taj Mahal.

Simplicity drives Tru to record development pace: One year since announcing its new brand, Hilton has 180 deals signed for Tru by Hilton, writes HNN’s Sean McCracken. Overall, there are 400 in various stages of development.

“This is the fastest growing brand launch in the history of Hilton,” said Alexandra Jaritz, global head of the brand for Hilton. “No other brand has been so successful in terms of development numbers. And in the data we can collect, this is the fastest growing (new-build) brand in the history of the hospitality industry. Those numbers are something to be very proud of and really speak for themselves.”

19 indicted for fraud after hotel employee tips off police: A staff member at an unnamed hotel in Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C., called police after finding computer equipment, cellphones and documents left in an empty room, The Washington Post reports. Now 19 people have been indicted in an international money-laundering scheme.

Those indicted are accused of setting up fake online ads for cars, motorcycles and boats on legitimate websites, taking buyers’ money and never delivering after receiving the money transfers. Eight of those indicted based themselves in two D.C.-area hotels while stealing more than $3 million from buyers.

The remaining defendants are accused of stealing more than $10 million from European companies by pretending to be company managers in spoofed emails.

Base jumpers arrested after stunt at San Fran hotel: Police arrested two men for parachuting off the 46-story Hilton Hotel in downtown San Francisco, NBC Bay Area reports. They have been charged with misdemeanor trespassing and felony conspiracy. The woman who jumped with them remains at large.

Hotel security called the police after surveillance cameras caught the trio performing their stunt, according to the article. Police found the two men a block from the Tenderloin police station while one was on the ground and the other had almost landed.

Compiled by Bryan Wroten.

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