5 things to know: 5 June 2019
5 things to know: 5 June 2019
05 JUNE 2019 9:17 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • US government reverses Cuba travel freedoms
  • Sluggish Malaysia still attracting global chains
  • Starwood Capital launches new Treehouse brand
  • James Struthers named president of KSL Resorts
  • Four Seasons to revamp six UNESCO-listed Cartagena gems

U.S. government reverses Cuba travel freedoms: Citing its abhorrence to what it sees as enriching the Cuban government’s military, security and intelligence services, the United States government has banned all U.S. travelers from going to Cuba under the previous “group people-to-people educational” travel authorization.

Several U.S.-owned hotel firms have invested in Cuba in recent years following the Obama administration relaxing rules. The newsrelease from the government also said it will “no longer permit visits to Cuba via passenger and recreational vessels, including cruise ships and yachts, and private and corporate aircraft.”

Sluggish Malaysia still attracting global chains: Malaysia, which has seen a new government take power in the last year, still has the power to attract the global hotel chains despite the economy and hotel performance metrics both showing signs of sluggishness, writes Hotel News Now contributor Tamara Thiessen.

According to data from STR, the parent company of HNN, Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur has a pipeline of 25 hotels and 6,665 rooms as of 30 April. Nationwide, the country has a pipeline of 114 hotels and 29,233 rooms. The country very much is positioning itself as a regional hub, with the new government’s ambitious plans seeking to grow arrivals from a current 25.8 million to 30 million next year.

Starwood Capital launches new Treehouse brand: U.S. private-equity fund Starwood Capital Group has launched a new brand called Treehouse Hotels. In a press release, CEO Barry Sternlicht, who founded W Hotels, said the new endeavor evokes the “wondrous feeling we each had as kids climbing into a treehouse and making our own ‘clubhouse’ rules. It’s about friendship, community and shared secrets.”

The debut for the brand will be the 95-room Treehouse London, to open by the end of 2019, which will be followed by properties in the U.S. and elsewhere. The London property will be opposite the former BBC headquarters (it is still used by the BBC) in Langham Place, already well known as a hotel destination due to the presence of The Langham, London, since 1865.

James Struthers named president of KSL Resorts: KSL Resorts announced that the company has promoted Chief Financial Officer James Struthers to president of the company, according to a news release.

Struthers served as CFO for 14 years at KSL, and in his new role, he said he will “focus on people and resources, continuous improvement, innovation, and on driving the strategy of the company” to position the company for the future, according to the release.

“James has been instrumental in helping lead KSL Resorts to continued success,” Scott Dalecio, current chairman and CEO of KSL, said of Struthers in the release. “I am confident in his taking over the day-to-day operations.”

Four Seasons to revamp six UNESCO-listed Cartagena gems: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has announced it has signed with Colombian owners San Francisco Investments to restore six significant buildings in Cartagena, Colombia, that are all within the UNESCO-listed walled city, as a 131-room hotel with 16,000 square feet of meeting and event space.

The adjacent, culturally important buildings include the Cloister of St. Francis, which contains the 16th-century St. Francis Church, and the Club Cartagena, with 1920’s Beaux Arts architecture and four theaters: Teatro Bucanero, Teatro Calamarí, Teatro Cartagena and Teatro Rialto. No opening date has been announced.

Compiled by Terence Baker.

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