Briefs: NYC hotels to ban guns; Marriott, TED debut immersive rooms

NYC hotels to ban guns: Hotels in New York City will be banning guests from carrying firearms into properties, following an agreement with organized labor in response to the controversial Supreme Court decision striking down a 109-year-old law allowing people to carry handguns outside of their homes for self-defense. The agreement with the Hotel Association of NYC and signed by New York Governor Kathy Hochul on July 1, means almost three out of four rooms across the city will not be available for guests carrying weapons, concealed or not. Hotels not represented by the association will be permitted to allow weapons on their premises at the owners’ discretion.

The Curiosity Room by TED will debut at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis on July 15

Marriott, TED introduce immersive rooms: Marriott International’s core Marriott brand has furthered its partnership with idea engine TED through its educational unit TED-Ed to introduce The Curiosity Room by TED, their first immersive experience outside of a TED conference. The immersive rooms feature interactive activities integrated into the room design. The room will be set up like a puzzle box, with puzzle elements hidden among the décor. Solving the puzzles will lead guests to a finale and series of rewards and surprises. Bookings for these rooms can be made for stays from July 15 at San Francisco Marriott Marquis. Following the launch in San Francisco, bookings for discovery-based rooms can be made at Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park and London Marriott Hotel County Hall later this summer, with stays beginning from August 15 and September 15 respectively. Rates vary per property, with US$254 per night for the room at San Francisco Marriott Marquis. The London property will extend the experience by a few more weeks to allow stays over the Christmas/Hanukkah/New Year’s holiday. Each room experience will be available for three months at each location. Marriott’s relationship with TED began in 2016 with the distribution of TED talks and TED Fellows Salons, blogs and original quotes to guests worldwide.

US profitability lower in May: Hotel GOPPAR in the U.S. declined from the previous month but exceeded the pre-pandemic comparable for the third consecutive month, as per STR’s May P&L data.

  • GOPPAR: US$88.63
  • TRevPAR: US$219.58
  • EBITDA PAR: US$67.80
  • LPAR (labor costs): US$66.27

The EBITDA PAR level also fell from April. Each of the four key P&L metrics improved compared to 2019, with GOPPAR and EBITDA PAR increasing from May 2019 levels. F&B revenues are also moving closer to 2019 levels but catering and banquet revenues continue to lag behind. With increased business demand, the top 25 markets showed improved profit levels. Led by higher room rates, Miami led in both GOPPAR and TRevPAR recovery, reaching 240% of 2019 GOPPAR levels. San Francisco and Oahu Island posted the lowest GOPPAR index in May.

Marriott suffers yet another data breach: Marriott International has confirmed another data breach as hackers claimed to have accessed one of its properties and stole 20 GB of confidential data, including guests’ credit card details and sensitive data about guests and employees. The data breach is reported to have occurred in June when an undisclosed hacking group used social engineering to trick a Marriott hotel employee at BWI Airport Marriott into providing them with access to their computer. The hacker has yet to access Marriott’s core network. Marriott had reportedly identified the breach and was investigating the incident before the hacker group contacted the hotel chain in an extortion attempt, which Marriott did not pay. Marriott said it had informed the FBI and hired a third-party security company to investigate the data breach. The hotel chain said it would notify around 300-400 individuals and relevant data regulators about this breach. This is the third data breach Marriott has confirmed since 2018 after exposing the private details of 5.2 million guests in a data breach it disclosed in 2020.

Stonehill originates US$80M loan for 12-hotel portfolio: Stonehill, Atlanta, Georgia, has originated a US$79.8 million, three-year, floating rate bridge loan for Churchwick Partners, New York, for the recapitalization and acquisition of a 12-property extended-stay hotel portfolio totaling 1,432 keys.

Meyer Jabara adds Hyatt in Iowa: Main Street Capital, Houston, Texas, has selected Danbury, Connecticut-based Meyer Jabara Hotels to manage the JDV by Hyatt in Dubuque, Iowa. Construction will begin this fall with the hotel slated to open in fall 2023. The 96-key hotel will be spread across several floors of the Novelty Iron Works complex, which is a former ironworks turned millwork factory which has been converted into a residential complex with dining venues, entertainment and retail spaces and a courtyard. This is Meyer Jabara’s fourth Hyatt hotel, its second management contract with Main Street and its first JDV by Hyatt-branded property. Meyer Jabara will also be managing Main Street’s Hyatt Place and Conference Center in Mason City, Iowa, when it opens in 2023. DLR Group, Minneapolis, Minnesota, is in charge of the property’s architecture, planning, engineering and interior design of both the projects by Main Street.

Charlestowne Hotels grows Origin brand: Charlestowne Hotels, Charleston, South Carolina, has announced four new Origin Hotel-branded properties in development. The four hotels join Origin Red Rocks, Origin Westminster and Origin Lexington, which Charlestowne started overseeing in the past two years as part of its deal with Hattiesburg, Mississippi-based Thrash Group. The expansion of Origin brand will launch the brand to Austin, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Kansas City, Missouri. The 120-key Origin Austin opened in June 24, marking Charlestowne’s first property in Texas. The 91-key Origin Baton Rouge will open in spring 2023, while the 123-key Origin Atlanta and Origin Kansas City will open in summer 2023 and winter 2023 respectively. In 2020, Charlestowne added 10 properties to its portfolio with its deal with Thrash, growing the company’s national portfolio to over 50 hotels in 26 states.

Middle East profitability update: Among key Middle Eastern markets, Dubai posted a seven times higher GOPPAR than the 2019 figures, showed STR’s May P&L data. Driven by robust international arrival numbers and an earlier than usual Ramadan, Dubai’s GOPPAR in May touched US$115.37, which was 77.6% of the pre-pandemic comparable. Just a month ahead during Ramadan, the market was at 79% of 2019 GOPPAR. Qatar also reported a significant month-over-month improvement, with may GOPPAR reaching US$60.87 which was 466% of the 2019 comparable after the market fell in the negative territory using the same comparison in April. GOPPAR in Saudi Arabia was 39% of the pre-pandemic comparable, falling 325% in March.

Macau’s Grand Lisboa locked down: Grand Lisboa in Macau, one of the city’s famed hotels owned by SJM Holdings, has been locked down after over a dozen cases of COVID-19 were reported from there as infections continue to spread in the gambling hub. Grand Lisboa was the second casino hotel to be closed recently. At least 16 more buildings in the city were also placed under restrictions, with no one allowed to leave or enter the premises. With 146 new cases on Wednesday, taking the total number of cases to over 1,000 since mid-June, Macau is trying to restrict its biggest outbreak of COVID since the pandemic began. The city had become free from the virus since an outbreak in October 2021. Although the government has not imposed a full lockdown on the city, only Macau’s casinos have been permitted to stay open to ensure job security.

Popularity of serviced apartments in Brazil: The market for residential rental properties in Brazil has been evolving in the past few decades in a fragmented way and is mostly dependent on rentier owners, as per findings of Horwath HTL’s  report. The development of serviced apartments in Brazil has stayed strong even during the pandemic, with accommodation away from large centers and staycation properties (house, apartments and chalets) being favored during the pandemic. In large centers, there was a decline of short stays and people looked for stays in properties with a residential profile. Traditional hotel managers have started operating in the residential sector, like Atlantica Residences created recently by Atlantica Hotels International, City Home by Intercity and Atrio Hotels along with CTAY. Construction company Vitacon has also forayed in the sector with the creation of Housi, the platform which allows people to subscribe to a house. Developer Gafisa has entered into a partnership with Nomah to create a real estate platform that offers assets that meet consumers’ and investors’ needs. The lack of standardization of services in less mature markets, due to fragmentation of markets, has created a big opportunity for the growth of operators and managers specialized in the segment, which can benefit from a prospective rise in scale in their operations.

Aareal Bank finances Vertiq for 2 European hotels: Aareal Bank, Wiesbaden, Germany, has completed the financing agreement worth €140 million (US$144.55 million) with Dutch investment manager Vertiq Capital. The funding was disbursed as two separate loans for the refinancing of the 25hours Paris Terminus Nord in Paris and the financing for the acquisition of the Bankside Hotel, Autograph Collection in London. The London hotel qualified as a green loan under Aareal Bank’s third-party certified Green Finance Framework. The 237-key 25hours Paris Terminus Nord includes a restaurant and bar, while the Bankside Hotel, Autograph Collection is a newly-built 161-key hotel just off the River Thames in South Bank. This is Aareal Bank’s first transaction with Vertiq Capital. Vertiq Capital was advised by CMS in London and SKBG in Paris, while Aareal was advised by DLA Piper and De Pardieu for legal matters and HVS for valuation.

New U Hotel in Thailand: Absolute Hotel Services Group, Bangkok, Thailand, has signed a hotel management agreement with Siricharoen Sappraiwan Co. Ltd. to introduce the U Hotels & Resorts brand to Phitsanulok in Thailand. An existing resort will be renovated and rebranded as U Phitsanulok, which will relaunch in late 2023. Located next to the Sappraiwan elephant sanctuary, the resort will include 139 rooms and chalet houses, a saltwater swimming pool, food and beverage venues, a fitness center, meeting rooms and activity fields and nature zones.

Coda’s new residential project: MRP Realty, Washington, D.C., Canada-based Kruger Real Estate and Washington. D.C.-based May Riegler have announced the beginning of leasing at Coda on Half, a Placemakr Experience and recently delivered boutique-style apartment building in Washington, D.C. Coda on Half has partnered with Placemakr to build a purpose-built product to combine residential and hospitality use. The 11-story, 128,000-square foot apartment community located in Capitol Riverfront is designed by SK&I and includes 161 apartment units and 4,646 square feet of retail space. The units will be available for traditional leasing along with short and long-term stays. Guests can choose from a la carte packages to furnish the units themselves or have furniture provided for them. Guests can also avail hospitality-inspired amenities like curated events, linen and towel service, pet grooming, 24-hour emergency maintenance, housekeeping, online rent payment portal, electric car charging stations, onsite auto detailing and more. Coda on Half is the third Coda-branded property, following Coda at Bryant Street delivered in 2021 and Coda on H Street delivered in 2018, and the first to combine the hotel and residential concepts.

Spire adds water park, resort in Florida: Spire Hospitality, Irving Texas, has assumed management of the resort operations for The Grove Resort & Water Park near Orlando, Florida. The resort consists of 878 two- and three-bedroom condominiums, with almost all of them enrolled in the property’s rental management program, four dining venues, a seven-acre water park, three swimming pools, a spa, 6,000 square feet of meeting space, an arcade, a children’s activity center and a fitness center. The resort is situated on Lake Austin, an 18-acre resort amenity. With this addition, Spire currently has 30 properties.

SLS launches online store: SLS Hotels & Residences has unveiled SLS Shop, its first online retail platform where consumers can buy items available at SLS hotel rooms. Items available for purchase include pool towels, hats, beach bags and slippers, bed linens, bathrobes, towels, mattresses along with items from the brand’s partnerships such as Goldsheep athleisure sets and MALIN+GOETZ for Ciel Spa bath amenities. The shop will also feature Kassatex bed linen and terry comprised of Made in Green by OEKO-TEX certified materials.