Tag: Bay

Mandalay Bay, Mirage ceasing midweek hotel operations amid pandemic

Mandalay Bay and the Mirage will close their hotels midweek beginning later this month, according to operator MGM Resorts International.

They join a growing number of Strip resorts closed during the week because of soft customer demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beginning Nov. 30, the hotels at Mandalay Bay and the Mirage will be closed Mondays through noon on Thursdays, according to a statement from MGM. The closures are not expected to last into the new year, the company said.

An MGM spokesman said the company will “continue evaluating business levels” before deciding when to reopen midweek.

Casinos, restaurants and other amenities will remain open.

In September, midweek hotel occupancy in Las Vegas was 39%, down from 86% from the same month in 2019, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Earlier this month, MGM announced hotel operations at Park MGM would cease during the week. Wynn Resorts has also moved to limit midweek hotel operations on the Strip.

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Independent Hotels Band Together to Keep Giants at Bay

(Bloomberg) — A group of independent hotel owners is forming a “rebel alliance” to survive the pandemic and prevent their properties from getting swallowed up by the likes of Marriott International Inc. and Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc.


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The group, led by Pebblebrook Hotel Trust, is launching Curator Hotel & Resort Collection, a new company that aims to reduce costs on everything from bed linens to credit card processing. The move comes during the worst year in the history of the modern lodging industry, as spiking Covid-19 cases threaten to squash a modest travel rebound.

“We’re trying to give owners and operators of independent lifestyle properties an alternative to selling out their businesses or becoming more commoditized by joining with a major brand,” Pebblebrook Chief Executive Officer Jon Bortz said in an interview. “We want to do it in a way that gives them all the flexibility to be the rebels they want to be.”

Companies like Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt Hotels Corp. own very little real estate, and they make much of their profits by licensing brands and providing services to property investors, who agree to comply with certain standards as part of the deal. In downturns, they focus on recruiting owners of existing hotels — dangling so-called soft brands that let owners join the larger network without going through a wholesale makeover.

“Conversions as a percentage of our openings were highest coming out of the Great Recession,” Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson said on a recent earnings call. “We would expect conversion activity to increase, certainly in terms of discussion, starting now.”

Occupancies Hammered

This year through September, occupancy at U.S. hotels was below 45% on average, down from 68% during the same period of 2019, according to lodging-data firm STR. The pandemic has landed hard on urban hotels, which depend on a combination of business travel and leisure guests who come to sample local restaurants and cultural institutions.

Pebblebrook, whose 53 properties include the Viceroy Santa Monica Hotel and the Paradise Point Resort in San Diego, has seen its shares plummet 33% since the beginning of the year, in line with a Bloomberg index of real estate investment trusts that own hotels. While lodging stocks have rallied on recent vaccine news, industry projections estimate that a full recovery is at least three years off.

Bortz said his company began developing the plan after outbidding Blackstone Group Inc. to acquire LaSalle Hotel Properties in 2018. The $5.2 billion deal made Pebblebrook the largest U.S. owner of independent lifestyle hotels, giving it scale to negotiate savings with a variety of vendors.

Curator will aim to provide similar savings to other hotel owners, charging fees that are roughly 15% of what big brand companies demand, and offering short-term contracts that give owners freedom to exit the program after 12 months.

Pebblebrook is the majority owner of Curator. Other founding members have minority stakes, including Benchmark Hotels & Resorts, Viceroy Hotels & Resorts and Provenance Hotels, the lodging company founded by

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Upgrades and renovations spruce up Bay City’s DoubleTree by Hilton hotel

BAY CITY, MI — Guests who stay at DoubleTree by Hilton Bay City – Riverfront can now check-in and enter their room with a digital “key” without ever having to stop by the front desk.

DoubleTree by Hilton Bay City – Riverfront recently underwent a hotel and conference center renovation, which included new decor, bathroom renovations, addition of a “Made Market” and open lobby concept, and the addition of Hilton’s Digital Key system.

DoubleTree officials gave MLive/The Bay City Times a tour of the 150-room hotel on Tuesday, Nov. 10.

Upgrades throughout the downtown Bay City hotel, located at 1 Wenonah Park Place, include new lighting, wall coverings, carpeting, bedding, newly-installed showers and bathtubs, and new bathroom accessories. And guest room doors are now equipped to accept Hilton’s Digital Key so guests can unlock guest rooms using their smartphone, according to a DoubleTree by Hilton news release.

Sales and Marketing Manager Becky Hortop said the Hilton Digital Key was already being implemented prior to COVID-19. It gives guests the option to use their smartphone or iPad to open any door that would regularly be opened with a key card. By using the Hilton Honors application, guests can check-in before they arrive without having to visit the front desk. They’ll receive a push notification when their room is ready and their digital key is activated.

“We are excited to have our guests experience the new upgrades and renovation,” Jamie Ralph, director of sales at DoubleTree by Hilton Bay City – Riverfront, said in a statement. “In addition to our cleaning procedures, we have implemented Hilton’s EventReady with CleanStay programs to welcome our guests when they are ready.”

Jamie Ralph, director of sales, said the hotel will offer specials now through the end of January.

“There is no denying that COVID-19 has hurt our hotel, but larger than that it has destroyed guests’ confidence in travel,” she said. “We are hoping the lower room rates help people connect with their loved ones without having to have everyone under the same roof.”

The hotel will also offer affordable catering options for holiday parties and celebrations, she said.

Hotel amenities include free WiFi, non-smoking rooms, on-site restaurant, free parking, indoor pool, fitness center, business center, room service and meeting rooms.

For more information or to make a reservation, call 989-891-6000 or visit baycityriverfront.doubltree.com.

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New economic recovery plan for Bay County aims to make the community stronger

Bay City Commission approves plan to make Midland Street entertainment district safer

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Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal quietly starts taking reservations again

After months of closure, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando is quietly taking reservations again for December bookings.

Catherine Deneuve et al. that are talking to each other: Actress Catherine Deneuve poses at a photocall for the film 'Je Veux Voir' at the Palais des Festivals during the 61st International Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France on May 17, 2008. Photo by Hahn-Nebinger-Orban/ABACAPRESS.COM

© Hahn-Nebinger-Orban/ABACA PRESS/MCT
Actress Catherine Deneuve poses at a photocall for the film ‘Je Veux Voir’ at the Palais des Festivals during the 61st International Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France on May 17, 2008. Photo by Hahn-Nebinger-Orban/ABACAPRESS.COM

First reported by theme park watch site WDW News Today, the website for the resort through the Loews portal lists rooms available beginning Dec. 1, starting at $204 a night. However, universalorlando.com still lists operations at the hotel as “temporarily suspended” with no word about reopening in December.

Catherine Deneuve et al. that are talking to each other: Actress Catherine Deneuve poses at a photocall for the film 'Je Veux Voir' at the Palais des Festivals during the 61st International Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France on May 17, 2008. Photo by Hahn-Nebinger-Orban/ABACAPRESS.COM

© Hahn-Nebinger-Orban/ABACA PRESS/MCT
Actress Catherine Deneuve poses at a photocall for the film ‘Je Veux Voir’ at the Palais des Festivals during the 61st International Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France on May 17, 2008. Photo by Hahn-Nebinger-Orban/ABACAPRESS.COM

The Portofino Bay Hotel closed with the theme park in March and was not one of the properties the reopened when the park did because of the coronavirus pandemic, such as Universal’s Aventura Hotel and the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort. Those closed a second time in August, with WDW News reporting that all closed properties would remain shut through the end of the year.

Joana Hadjithomas, Catherine Deneuve, Khalil Joreige posing for the camera: (L-R) Co-director Joana Hadjithomas, actor Rabih Mroue, actress Catherine Deneuve and director Khalil Joreige pose at a photocall for the film 'Je Veux Voir' at the Palais des Festivals during the 61st International Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France on May 17, 2008. Photo by Hahn-Nebinger-Orban/ABACAPRESS.COM

© Hahn-Nebinger-Orban/ABACA PRESS/MCT
(L-R) Co-director Joana Hadjithomas, actor Rabih Mroue, actress Catherine Deneuve and director Khalil Joreige pose at a photocall for the film ‘Je Veux Voir’ at the Palais des Festivals during the 61st International Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France on May 17, 2008. Photo by Hahn-Nebinger-Orban/ABACAPRESS.COM

There is no word yet on why the Portofino Bay Hotel is accepting reservations again. Multiple messages to the Loews hotel chain have gone unanswered.

Sapphire Falls and the Aventura remain closed. Other Universal hotels owned by the Loews chain, including the Endless Summer Resorts, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, the Hard Rock Hotel and Loews Royal Pacific Resort are open.

Want to reach out? Email [email protected]


©2020 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)

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Armed Robbers Hit Bay Park Gas Station, Mission Valley Hotel

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San Diego Police cruiser
A San Diego Police cruiser. Courtesy OnScene.TV

Robbery detectives were investigating two armed robberies Tuesday morning, one at a Bay Park gas station and another at a Mission Valley hotel.

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The first robbery was reported around 2:40 a.m. at the Shell gas station on the corner of Clairemont Drive and Denver Street, San Diego Police Officer John Buttle said.

A gas station employee had just returned from taking out the trash when he turned to lock the front doors, but two men walked up and pulled open the doors before he could lock them, Buttle said.

Both men had handguns and demanded money from the employee, the officer said. When the employee told them he didn’t have any money, one of the men pistol whipped him in the head.

The pair then fled the store and were last seen heading northbound on Denver Street.

Both suspects were described as Black men in their 40s. They were both wearing dark clothing, masks and baseball hats.

Shortly before 3:05 a.m. a robbery was reported at a hotel on Hotel Circle Place, off Hotel Circle North west of Fashion Valley Road, Buttle said.

Two armed men entered a hotel lobby, then left with a cash register, he said.

The suspects from that robbery were described as two Black men wearing masks and dark hoodies.

— City News Service

Armed Robbers Hit Bay Park Gas Station, Mission Valley Hotel was last modified: November 3rd, 2020 by Chris Jennewein

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Bay Area hotel loan woes intensify

PLEASANTON — A widening array of loan-related woes have begun to surface for hotels in at least four counties in the Bay Area, an indication that the economic damage from coronavirus-linked shutdowns ordered by state and local government agencies has yet to run its course.

Five hotels in the East Bay, South Bay, and San Francisco — all deemed by experts to be high-end lodging facilities — now suffer severe financial distress, according to multiple public disclosures obtained by this news organization.

“I think this is just the beginning of the problems with hotels,” said Alan Reay, president of Irvine-based Atlas Hospitality Group, which tracks the California lodging market. “Hotels in business-oriented markets are really taking the brunt of the pandemic now.”

The difficulties that have engulfed the five Bay Area hotels were revealed in notices of default or by disclosures that the hotel owners are willing to yield ownership of their properties to the holders of specialized financing vehicles known in real estate circles as collateralized mortgage-backed securities.

The latest crop of hotels in distress includes:

— Hyatt House Pleasant Hill, a 142-room hotel in Pleasant Hill

— Hyatt House Pleasanton, a 128-room lodging in Pleasanton

— Club Quarters Hotel, a 346-room hotel in San Francisco

— Hotel Avante, a 91-room lodging in Mountain View

— Wild Palms Hotel, a 208-room hotel in Sunnyvale.

“These are definitely high-end hotels that would be expensive to replace,” Reay said. “They are not 50-year-old functionally obsolete hotels.”

The two Hyatt House hotels in Pleasanton and Pleasant Hill are part of a group of 22 hotels that were the collateral for a financing package with a current loan balance of $204 million, according to a Standard and Poor’s analysis. The funding was issued to Shidler Group, the owner of the hotels, in mid-2017.

Now, the payments on the financing for the Shidler-owned hotels have been delinquent for more than 90 days, according to New York City-based Trepp, which tracks and analyzes real estate and finance trends.

The Club Quarters Hotel in San Francisco is part of a financing package issued in 2017 and the loan balance is $273.7 million, Trepp reported. That loan is more than 90-days delinquent.

“With the Hyatt House hotels in the East Bay and the Club Quarters in San Francisco and the other hotels in those portfolios, the owners are looking at turning over the keys to the hotels to the lenders and just walking away from them,” Reay said.

The owners of the Wild Palms Hotel in Sunnyvale and the Avante Hotel in Mountain View are delinquent on a $37 million loan that was provided for the two properties in 2014, Santa Clara County public documents show.

As of September, the payments on the mortgage for the two South Bay hotels were delinquent by 90 days, according to property records. These hotels face foreclosure and seizure by Cantor Commercial Real Estate Lending, which provided the financing.

With business travel virtually non-existing amid the coronavirus and government-ordered shutdowns, a

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East Bay regional parks and recreation areas to remain closed due fire danger

Several East Bay parks will remain closed through Wednesday due to an extended Red Flag Warning anticipating continued high winds. 

The National Weather Service said wind gusts are expected to reach 60-70 mph in some parts of the Bay Area on Tuesday evening.

The East Bay Regional Park District announced Friday that it would close 11 of its parks and recreation areas Sunday and Monday in anticipation of severe winds. The district had expected to see some of the strongest winds in 20 years, but sustained winds only reached 21-45 mph in higher elevations, lower than the anticipated potential 70 mph impact. 

Ferocious winds are forecast to roar through Tuesday, prompting the district to extend the park closure through Wednesday. 

Parks that will remain temporarily closed to the public include Wildcat Canyon, Tilden, Reinhardt Redwood, Roberts, Huckleberry, Sibley, Claremont Canyon, Leona Canyon, Anthony Chabot, Lake Chabot, and Kennedy Grove.

According to the East Bay Regional Park District, winds knocked down 14 power lines in or near the closed park areas. Luckily, no fires sparked from the downed power lines, but that continues to be a worry during strong winds events. 

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You should vote for Elizabeth Echols for East Bay Regional Park District Board

The race for the East Bay Regional Park District representative generally doesn’t get much attention, especially in a critical election year. With a Sierra Club endorsement, a long history of environmental activism and a career as an environmental trial attorney, you’d think Norman La Force would be a shoo-in for Ward 1, which includes Emeryville, Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito, Richmond, El Sobrante, Kensington, and parts of Pinole and San Pablo. That’s how our Berkeley/Richmond demographic usually votes, especially on a down-ballot race where the Sierra Club endorsement is all we need to see. But Norman is spending a lot of his own money to win this seat (after losing to Whitney Dotson in 2008 and then being passed over in favor of Echols after Dotson resigned due to failing health). There is a large group of park advocates concerned with the future of our East Bay Regional Parks trying very hard to stop Norman La Force.

Please take a closer look, especially at the endorsements from the people most likely to understand what is at stake: Elizabeth Echols, currently serving on the Park District Board, is endorsed by EVERY other Park District board member. LaForce is not endorsed by any of them.

The contrast between the two candidates is stark: Elizabeth Echols has not alienated trail hikers and mountain bikers by limiting access to fire trails. She has not argued with dog owners over new dog parks, off-leash areas, and beach access. She has never opposed new sports fields or blocked new launch sites for kayaks and windsurfers. She
has not forced the Berkeley High Women’s Rowing Team out of Aquatic Park. And she has not filed a lawsuit that delayed an important link of the Bay Trail west of the racetrack for two years because part of the plan would also improve access for dog owners to Albany Beach.

Elizabeth Echols supports people in our parks, especially the urban waterfronts and other park areas close to population centers. We need board members who want people to use our parks and interact with wildlife, not fence it off. We need parks that encourage the human experience of nature. On our shorelines, we need facilities that invite everyone to experience the waters of the Bay first-hand. We especially need waterfront park policies that encourage facilities for inexpensive water access, especially for people who can’t afford a boat in the marina, or who don’t have garage or driveway space to store a small hand-launched kayak or paddleboard at home.

The best, the biggest, and the most natural and undisturbed open space resource we have in the Bay Area is the Bay itself. Shoreline parks should be gateways for everyone to have access to the Bay, access that involves more than just looking at the Bay from the shore. We can have this access, but we need a balanced approach to determining the allowable uses on the parklands of the urban shoreline.

Protected open space, on land and water, is important where it

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Spaniard’s Bay dealing with recreation complex vandalism

Noah Wilson remembers the summer between Grade 6 and Grade 7 well.

The Spaniard’s Bay native was 11 at the time and wanted to get better at basketball. He spent every day working on his game at the basketball courts at the Spaniard’s Bay Recreation Complex on Back Cove Road.

“I spent every single day at the park playing basketball,” said Wilson, now 22.

From there, those basketball courts became even more of a fixture in his life as he picked up baseball, and his group of friends fell deeper in love with basketball.

The courts, and the recreation complex, moved from a training space into a space where he and his friends could hang out and build relationships.

“We spent a lot of time there,” he said. “It’s where we all grew up.

“It kept us out of trouble and gave us something to do.”

In recent weeks, Spaniard’s Bay has been dealing with an increase in vandalism at its playgrounds Tilton and the Spaniard’s Bay Recreation Complex across from Holy Redeemer Elementary.

In a lengthy Facebook post, the Spaniard’s Bay recreation commission pointed to damage done to various parts of chain link fencing, a large amount trash left around the facility, a soccer net that had been knocked over and broken glass that was found in parts of the park.

The complex is home to the town’s ballfield, a playground, a soccer pitch, a community garden and basketball courts.

That news came as a disappointment to Wilson, partly because he can’t do anything to keep people from vandalizing the property and partly because it is a space for the community.

“I know how much work goes into keeping it going,” he said. “That (equipment) costs a lot of money and it is there for their use.”

At a recent council meeting, Spaniard’s Bay moved to purchase and install security cameras in the area to serve as a potential deterrent to vandals.

“It is not just one incident,” said Spaniard’s Bay Mayor Paul Brazil. “It’s been on the go all summer.”

Brazil said the issue is again on the agenda for the next council meeting on Oct. 19.

Again, they will discuss any measures the town can take to deal with vandals. That might include contacting the RCMP when it happens.

“You have to try and keep ahead of it if you can,” said Brazil. “You still have to go ahead and fix it.”



The mayor was previously heavily involved in the recreation scene in Spaniard’s Bay. While he is not as involved as he once was, Brazil still likes to keep an eye on how things are going.

He knows the importance recreation facilities have in a community and the benefits they give children and young people.

Brazil said he was disappointed to see the disregard some people have had for the recreation facilities in town and the affects the damages have on the volunteers who use the facilities.

“It’s heartbreaking,” said

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How to buy 2020 World Series tickets, travel, lodging | Tampa Bay Rays win American League pennant

The Tampa Bay Rays punched their ticket to the 2020 World Series on Wednesday, and their fans can follow them to Arlington, Texas.

MLB is allowing fans to attend the 2020 World Series at Globe Life Park after doing so during the National League Championship Series in the same venue.

Fans interested in attending can buy tickets to the games at TicketSmarter or StubHub and book travel to Arlington via Trip Advisor, Expedia or Priceline, and lodging via Hotels.com or Choice Hotels.

MLB is allowing 11,500 fans into the stands at Globe Life Park — about 28% of its total capacity.

Tickets will be sold in “pods” of four contiguous seats, with each pod distanced by at least 6 feet and placed in a checkerboard pattern, with alternating rows of seats in the middle or rows and at the ends, according to ESPN. Unsold seats will be tied back.

Other than while they are eating or drinking at their ticketed seats, fans will be mandated to wear masks.

The decision to play in Arlington — a result of the coronavirus pandemic — marks the first time in history the World Series will be played on a neutral field.

The Rays advanced by defeating the Astros in the American League Championship Series in seven games. It is the second World Series appearance in Rays franchise history.

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Brian Fonseca may be reached at [email protected]. Tell us your coronavirus story or send a tip here.

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