5 things to know: 4 January 2018
5 things to know: 4 January 2018
04 JANUARY 2018 10:46 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Arash Azarbarzin to be president of SH Group
  • Owners dive into outlook of supply, deals in 2018
  • Graduate Hotels raises $1.5b to expand portfolio
  • Motel 6 properties face lawsuit for allegedly helping ICE
  • New York owner sued over running illegal hotels

Arash Azarbarzin to be president of SH Group: Starwood Capital Group’s brand management company SH Group—which currently operates 1 Hotels—has appointed Arash Azarbarzin as president effective immediately, according to a news release.

Azarbarzin, who has more than 30 years of experience in the industry, including serving as president and founding member of SBE Hotel Group, will oversee all of SH Group’s operations and expansion, the release states. Azarbarzin will also lead scheduled openings for 1 Hotels in Los Angeles; Cabo; Sunnyvale, California; Sanya, China; and Paris.

“I have always wanted to reunite with Barry Sternlicht, one of my long-time mentors, and someone with the vision and resources to build a world-class hospitality organization. This is an opportunity of a lifetime, and I am honored to join this industry-leading team,” Azarbarzin said in the release.

In other news, Richard Baker, chairman of Whitbread PLC, has announced his retirement from the board effective the next financial year-end, 28 February 2018. His successor will be Adam Crozier, who currently serves as the senior independent director, according to a news release.

Owners dive into outlook of supply, deals in 2018: As hotel owners, investors and developers look ahead to 2018, some common concerns include increasing supply, the pace of deals and labor issues. Hotel News Now’s Dan Kubacki spoke with executives who shared their perspectives about the topics.

“The U.S. economy is incredibly strong despite the political theatre, and U.S. travelers continue to pour out of the country and often into our European geographies. Recent Brexit news has softened concern over the potential of a hard boarder and citizen’s rights, and any further shock to the pound would only strengthen appeal for the U.K. as a destination,” said Casey Spilman, VP of new business, Europe, Pyramid Hotel Group.

For more on what owners had to say, read the full story here.

Graduate Hotels raises $1.5b to expand portfolio: Boutique hotel chain Graduate Hotels, which currently has nine properties in cities including Ann Arbor, Michigan; Charlottesville, Virginia; and Tempe, Arizona, has raised $1.5 billion with hopes to expand to 25 hotels by 2020, according to USA Today.

The money reportedly was raised through a combination of “well-known institutions, foundations, family, offices and wealthy individuals,” USA Today reports.

Future openings will include locations near Ivy League markets in New Haven, Connecticut and Providence, Rhode Island.

Motel 6 properties face lawsuit for allegedly helping ICE: At least six Motel 6 properties in Washington state are facing a lawsuit filed on Wednesday by Washington’s attorney general for allegedly providing federal immigration agents information to make arrests, according to The Washington Post.

The personal information reportedly came from guest lists, sometimes on a “near-daily” basis from certain Motel 6 locations “without any reasonable suspicion, probable cause or search warrants,” the article states. According to the court complaint, agents allegedly would single out guests by their “national identity, at times circling ‘Latino-sounding’ names on the list.”

So far, at least six guests have been detained at or near the motels. A spokeswoman from G6 Hospitality—Motel 6’s parent company—referred the newspaper to a directive the company released in September against this practice.

New York owner sued over running illegal hotels: Salim Assa, a hotel owner and operator in New York, reached a settlement in a lawsuit brought to the city over violations in 2015 for illegal short-term rentals at four Midtown Manhattan properties, according to the New York Daily News.

The settlement, which a Manhattan Supreme Court judge approved on Tuesday, will make Assa pay $1.2 million. In addition to the fine, he will be forbidden from any advertising, booking and any illegal stays less than 30 days at those four Manhattan locations. Also under terms of the deal, inspectors in the city will be permitted to make unannounced visits and will have access to rental and occupancy records, the report states.

Compiled by Dana Miller.

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