5 things to know: 20 December 2016
5 things to know: 20 December 2016
20 DECEMBER 2016 10:34 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • US hotels continue to improve accessibility
  • Financial loss possible if Trump sells DC hotel
  • Hotels help guests adhere to their New Year’s resolutions
  • Former Brazilian hospital to become hotel in $1.5b project
  • State department travel warning for Europe continues

U.S. hotels continue to improve accessibility: Americans with disabilities are reporting fewer obstacles during their hotel stays, according to a news release from the Open Doors Organization. The nonprofit organization’s 2015 survey shows 46% of guests reported encountering major obstacles, a drop from 60% reported in 2005.

The number of reports of “heavy, hard to open doors” declined from 36% to 18%, the news release states. “Inadequate bathroom space” dropped from 20% to 9%. Guests also reported an improvement in customer service, with the number of “customer service/personnel obstacles” issues falling from 45% to 27%. Reports of “personnel not aware of services” dropped from 17% to 6%.

Financial loss possible if Trump sells D.C. hotel: Critics of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump have repeatedly highlighted his new Trump International Hotel Washington D.C. as a likely source of conflict of interest and a possible violation of the Constitution’s emolument clause. Trump could sell the hotel to avoid those issues, but he would likely do so at a loss, Bloomberg reports.

The Trump Organization invested $212 million in renovating the former U.S. Post Office building, the article states, so a buyer would need to spend about $806,100 per key for Trump to recoup the cost. The property has only been open since September, so there’s little information available on the property’s income.

“At $800,000 a room, it would certainly be at the top end of the market for luxury hotel values” in the district, Andy Wimsatt, managing director in hotel brokerage and investment sales at CBRE Group, told Bloomberg.

Hotels help guests adhere to their New Year’s resolutions: Just about everyone sets a New Year’s resolution, but travel is one obstacle that can lead to falling astray. HNN’s Robert McCune writes how hotels’ numerous fitness and wellness programs can help guests keep their resolutions while on the road.

“One of the things we’re doing is aligning our brand with wellness, but also mindfulness,” said Alex Schloop, brand manager at the Inns of Aurora, New York. “That’s a key word for us. Our approach to guests is getting them to be mindful, to quiet their minds, to relax. That can look like anything. It can be a high-intensity yoga class. It can also be sitting down by the fire with a book you want to read, and journaling, reading, napping. A nap can be just as restorative as a smoothie.”

Former Brazilian hospital to become hotel in $1.5b project: The abandoned former Matarazzo hospital in São Paulo, Brazil, will undergo a $1.5 billion construction project to become Cidade Matarazzo, a complex with 150 hotel rooms and 122 apartment suites, The Wall Street Journal reports. Rosewood Hotels & Resorts will manage the hotel and residential suites.

The project is backed by Alexandre Allard, the owner of the property, and a major investor, Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, which owns Rosewood and has a 35% stake in the project.

“I could not find a local partner to believe in what I’m doing,” Allard told the newspaper. “Now, everybody does.”

State department travel warning for Europe continues: Following the attack on visitors of a Christmas market in Berlin, Germany, the U.S. State Department continues its travel alert for the region that it issued in November, NBC Miami reports.

The department has advised travelers to be careful when attending events, outdoor markets or festivals while traveling in Europe. The alert remains until 20 February 2017.

Compiled by Bryan Wroten.

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