NYC hoteliers fail on severance law appeal: The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York denied a motion for a preliminary injunction filed by one of New York City’s many hotels impacted by COVID-19 in an attempt to delay enforcement of this new “Severance Law.” Despite the existence of a collective bargaining agreement that provides for bargained-for severance benefits, the court determined that the plaintiff hotel did not show a likelihood of success on the merits of its claim that the Severance Law is preempted and unconstitutional. The complaint alleges the law is preempted by ERISA, the NLRA and New York state labor law. The complaint also alleges that the law is unconstitutional in violation of the Contracts Clause, the Due Process Clause, and the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The plaintiff filed a preliminary injunction to prevent the city and other parties from enforcing the law and imposing the onerous severance obligations. With this denial of the motion for a preliminary injunction, New York City hotels remain subject to the statutory severance obligations imposed by the city’s Severance Law. The case remains pending before the S.D.N.Y.
Ennismore’s partnership studio: A new Ennismore Partnership Studio will focus on brand growth and revenue generation through global strategic partnerships rooted in the DNA of each of its brands. The lifestyle hospitality company majority-owned by Accor will look to build on partnerships with companies in areas such as automotive, telecommunication, beverage, financial institutions to create opportunities to integrate partners into the guest experience, from product launches, events and activations to co-branded retail products, partner investment opportunities and brand licensing. The strengthened program is led by Michele Caniato as chief partnerships officer, Ennismore, and EVP of Brand Marketing, and Rohit Anand as EVP of Global Brand Partnerships. The newly formed Partnership team is one of four dedicated in-house specialized studios exclusive to Ennismore, including Carte Blanched – an F&B Concept Lab; AIME Studios – an award-winning interior & graphic studio; Digital Product & Tech Innovation; and Partnership Studio.
Interstate signs Hampton by Hilton in London: Interstate Hotels & Resorts, the international division of Aimbridge Hospitality, has secured the management contract for a new 183-room Hampton by Hilton property in East London, slated to open in 2023. Owned by Bow Village Ltd., the hotel will feature meeting rooms and dining venues including a 150-seater restaurant — The Living & The Gathering zone.
Apple Leisure announces resort in Punta Cana: Apple Leisure Group’s affiliate has signed the Dreams Flora Resort & Spa in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. The Dreams Resorts & Spas by AMR Collection resort will be the brand’s sixth resort in Punta Cana and its 29th resort overall. Slated to open by this year’s end, the resort will consist of 520 rooms, each with a private terrace or balcony with garden, ocean and pool views. Currently, AMR has 12 resorts across five brands in the Dominican Republic.
#HospitalityHelps facilitates 120,000 guest nights: #HospitalityHelps, the online booking platform that facilitates free short-term hotel stays for Ukrainians seeking shelter, has facilitated more than 120,000 guest nights for displaced Ukrainians since the war started. Using the website www.Hospitality-Helps.org, Ukrainian residents can book stays at hotels in Europe and 24/7 support is provided in three languages (Ukrainian, English and Russian) by Ukrainian refugees who were accommodated by #HospitalityHelps. The initiative, created by a group of hospitality veterans, is supported by more than 600 hotels and hospitality groups, including Accor, Hilton, Marriott and IHG, in 47 counntries. #HospitalityHelps was initiated by the PKF hospitality group, The Bench, HotelSwaps, Moodley, Museum Booster and Zoocha and is supported by other companies that have volunteered to help.
Pathfinder grows portfolio: Austin, Texas-based Pathfinder Hospitality announced the addition of the Holiday Inn & Suites San Antonio Northwest in San Antonio, Texas, and Wingate by Wyndham Houston IAH in Houston, Texas, to their management portfolio. The Holiday Inn property marks Pathfinder’s entry into the San Antonio market. The 122-room Holiday Inn & Suites San Antonio Northwest includes a restaurant and bar, business and fitness centers and a backyard pool and jacuzzi. Daniel Davis has been appointed as the hotel’s general manager. The 60-key Wingate by Wyndham Houston IAH includes meeting space and an outdoor pool. This marks Pathfinder’s ninth and tenth additions.
New Crowne Plaza development: Manhattan-based ILM Airport Hotel Partners, run by Andrew and Chip Weiss, announced plans of building a six-story, 150-room, upscale Crowne Plaza at ILM Business Park near the Wilmington International Airport in Wilmington, North Carolina. The hotel will be the developer duo’s 43rd. The hotel will be co-owned and operated jointly by ILM Airport Hotel Partners and IHG Hotels & Resorts. There is no investment from the airport’s side. The developer is entering into a 35-year lease for the hotel, which is expected to include 5,000 feet of event space, 230 designated parking spaces, a ground-floor restaurant and a rooftop restaurant and bar. It is slated to break ground by this fall and open by spring 2024. CMJW Architects will be working on the hotel’s design.
North Korea demolishing South Korea-owned hotel: North Korea is demolishing the Haegumgang Hotel, a South Korean-owned property at the Diamond Mountain resort near the international border, which was one of the last remaining symbols of inter-Korean engagement. The floating hotel was a major South Korean property among dozens of other facilities that the country had built to accommodate the Diamond Mountain tours which started in 1998. The tours were suspended in 2008 after a North Korean guard shot a South Korean tourist. In the 1990s, South Korea had built several facilities at the resort to drive tourism by its citizens during a high period of engagement between the two countries. Following a visit in 2019, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called these facilities shabby and ordered them to be destroyed. South Korea has said it is not clear if the North was also destroying other facilities at the resort and had demanded an explanation and talks which the North had ignored.