Tag: hotels

The world’s biggest third-party hotel operator is growing, even as the pandemic hits hotels hard

Plano-based Aimbridge Hospitality is making bold moves during a crippling pandemic for the hotel industry, naming a successor to the company founder and laying out an ambitious plan to add 120 properties to its portfolio in the next 120 days.

Aimbridge’s plans for expansion come at a time when the hotel industry is suffering massive revenue shortfalls caused by COVID-19 and local restrictions to stem the pandemic’s spread.

The company’s incoming president and CEO Mike Deitemeyer fully understands the severity of the current economic conditions. He said Aimbridge has had to function through the pandemic with at least 20,000 fewer staff due to layoffs and furloughs.

As the industry’s largest third-party management company, Aimbridge handles $10 billion in annual revenue for its hotel owners, CFO Judy Hendrick told CFO Magazine this week. The pandemic has cut Aimbridge sales by 86%, though Hendrick told the magazine “we do not fear downturns; during such times, we have an opportunity to gain market share.”

Deitemeyer is similarly optimistic about the big picture, and believes the company is positioning itself to bring back lost jobs when leisure and business travel recover.

“Our income is certainly suppressed,” Deitemeyer said, “But if you believe in the recovery of our space, the fact that we’ve added hotels… when the economy and hotel occupancies return, we’re going to be in a great position.”

Aimbridge has added 128 properties to its portfolio to date and plans to add another 120 in the next three months. The company said the growth is made possible because of corporate support during unprecedented times.

Private equity-backed Aimbridge has seen “historic organic growth” this year in new properties across all of its verticals, including extended stay, select service, and international segments, according to the company.

It’s taking on management agreements for hotels across North America, including the Hyatt House Chicago, the Renaissance Charleston Historic District in South Carolina and the Element Ontario in Canada. But it’s also raking in agreements in the U.K., announcing this week it will add 31 Jupiter Hotels properties. The expansion brings Aimbridge’s property count in the U.K. to around 160 hotels.

Mike Deitemeyer will take the reins at Aimbridge Hospitality as president and CEO effective January 1, 2021.
Mike Deitemeyer will take the reins at Aimbridge Hospitality as president and CEO effective January 1, 2021.(Aimbridge Hospitality)

The 17-year-old hotel operator named Deitemeyer its new president and CEO this week, effective Jan. 1. Deitemeyer was previously CEO of Interstate Hotels & Resorts and served as Aimbridge’s global president after the competitors merged last year.

Deitemeyer takes over from Aimbridge cofounder Dave Johnson, who will move into the new role of executive chairman overseeing mergers and acquisitions, capital markets and new business opportunities.

“We are pleased to have positioned ourselves for growth,” Aimbridge Hospitality CEO Dave Johnson said in a statement. “As we leverage our scale to add value, owners are responding by adding Aimbridge as managers.”

Andrew Milke, guest services supervisor, works the front desk behind a plexiglass barrier at The Pittman Hotel in Dallas, on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. The hotel has taken measures to ensure the safety of their employees and guests by installing plexiglass at the front desk, having numerous hand sanitizing stations throughout the hotel and offering safety kits on request, which contain a face mask and sanitizing items.

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As hotel occupancy drops, some Albany hotels close again

ALBANY— With another wave of coronavirus infections surging across the country, fewer people are staying at hotels, making the already slow winter season even more intimidating for hotel owners.

At the end of October, the country saw the lowest occupancy levels since mid-June. This month that level continued to slip lower, while short-term rentals, like Airbnb, are selling better than hotel rooms, according to data from industry monitor STR.

In response, hotels in the Capital region have made a wide array of decisions from closing temporarily to adding apartment-style rooms and virtual learning packages trying to preserve their business.

Hotels in upstate New York have not been evenly hit. Full-service hotels in Albany that rely on corporate travel or their guests coming for restaurants and bars inside the hotel are struggling, while hotels that provide easy access to nature and social distancing activities like those in Lake George and Lake Placid are having record success.

“Since we reopened in late June, we are busier than we can ever remember,” said Seth Dow, the front-office manager at Mirror Lake Inn in Lake Placid. “Lake Placid in general has not been this busy since the 1980 Olympics.”

Two hotels that were delinquent on their loans in September are now approaching foreclosure. There are now seven hotels in total in the region delinquent on their loans, up from five in September, according to data compiled by industry analyst Trepp.

In Albany, two hotels that reopened on Oct. 1— The Spring Hill Suites and The Holiday Inn Express— have closed yet again.

“It was bad, it was like two guests a day or three. No one was traveling anyway…” said Vicky Sindhu, the operating manager at the Holiday Inn Express, about the month of October. “There (were) no government officials, no trips, no events.”

In Saratoga Springs, The Gideon Putman hotel, starting this month, will not be open to overnight guests until April 2021, but its spa will remain open to visitors.

The Pavilion Grand Hotel, which originally was slated to be condominiums, has now converted all of their hotel rooms to apartments. As of Nov. 1 their length-of-stay requirement is a one-week minimum. They started accepting one-year rentals in September.

“It is more like a home now versus just a hotel stay,” said Susanne Simpson, the director of the hotel’s Hospitality Division. “When COVID-19 struck we had a lot of our clients that were very interested in renting much longer term because of the style of our hotel.”

Terra Stratton from the Washington Park Group echoed this. She is turning people away at their 4th Precinct Apartments in Center Square and she is building two private-entrance suites at their Washington Park Inn because of the high demand for rooms with private access.

Despite the trend, many full-service hotels located in downtown Albany are still struggling.

“Albany is very affordable for a stay right now,” said Bruce Rosenberg, the president of HotelPlanner.com. “I think hotels are taking the necessary steps to remain visible and

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Will Hotels In The UK Be Open After Lockdown?

Whether your festive staycationhas been locked in for almost 365 days or you’re still looking to make a last-minute booking, you might be feeling a little confused about where you can and can’t stay in the UK, this Christmas.

As England plans to come out of the second national lockdown on December 2, leaving home for a few nights feels more appealing than ever but then there is the new Covid-19 tier system to think about.

Because, after the lockdown comes a new semi sort-of lockdown, where not a huge amount changes for most of the country. This time around, only the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly currently going into a medium alert, Tier 1.

The rest of us will either be in high alert Tier 2 or very high alert Tier 3, which means that not all hotels will reopen and not all UK travel is permitted. Whatever your situation, we’re being advised to keep things local this year to avoid any unnecessary travel.

To clear up some of the uncertainty over your Christmas break, we have the answers you need about staying away from home over the next few weeks.

These are our absolute favourite cheap hotels across the UK to staycation on a budget

When will hotels reopen in the UK?

Under the new restrictions, hotels are allowed to reopen within Tier 1 and Tier 2 from December 2, 2020.

Accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs, campsites, and guest houses within a Tier 3 area must close, while people living within a Tier 3 zone are advised not to travel outside the area other than for work, education, medical treatment or caring responsibilities.

Just in time for Christmas, there will be a UK-wide exception between Wednesday 23 and Sunday 27 December (and Tuesday 22 December for Northern Ireland) when everyone is allowed to travel.

Am I allowed to stay in an Airbnb property?

Yes, Christmas is a great time to support Airbnb hosts and their listings if you live in (and are travelling to) a Tier 1 or Tier 2 area and you’re following other Covid-safe measures (like distancing and seeing people outside your household).

Overnight stays in Airbnb properties, private rentals and cabins will not be permitted in Tier 3 zones, nor will Tier 3 residents be able to travel to a Tier 1 or Tier 2 area to stay overnight.

If I live in a Tier 3 area, can I still stay away from home?

No, Tier 3 residents are advised against all unnecessary travel, including international.

This is the perfect East London hotel for your winter staycation

If my hotel is in a Tier 3 area, or I can’t stay because I live in Tier 3, will I be able to change or cancel my booking?

If there’s a chance to postpone your trip, it could help reduce the impact of Covid-19 on the hospitality industry. But if you decide to cancel, you can find out if you

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Xenia Hotels & Resorts Completes Dispositions Of Hotel Commonwealth And Renaissance Austin Hotel

ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Xenia Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: XHR) (“Xenia” or the “Company”) today announced it has completed the previously announced dispositions of the 245-room Hotel Commonwealth in Boston, Massachusetts for $113.0 million, or approximately $461,000 per key, and the 492-room Renaissance Austin Hotel in Austin, Texas for $70.0 million, or approximately $142,000 per key. In addition to the sale proceeds, the Company retained a total of $6.6 million in cash that was held in the properties’ FF&E reserves.

“We are pleased to have completed both of these transactions in an efficient manner,” commented Marcel Verbaas, Xenia’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Year to date, we have now sold four hotels for nearly $400 million. These dispositions have allowed us to efficiently raise a significant amount of capital at a superior cost to other alternatives. Additionally, we have successfully increased our balance sheet flexibility to help position the Company to be opportunistic as the recovery takes hold.”

The sale price for Hotel Commonwealth represented an 11.8x multiple on the hotel’s 2019 Hotel EBITDA, while the Renaissance Austin’s sale price represented a 6.8x multiple on its 2019 Hotel EBITDA. Including the dispositions of Residence Inn Boston Cambridge and Marriott Napa Valley Hotel & Spa, which were both completed in October, the combined sale prices of the four properties sold by the Company in 2020 represented an approximately 10x multiple on 2019 Hotel EBITDA.

“Our high-quality portfolio has afforded us the opportunity to create meaningful additional liquidity and balance sheet flexibility as the COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted our Company and the lodging industry as a whole,” continued Mr. Verbaas. “The sale of Hotel Commonwealth at a highly attractive valuation, particularly given the current uncertain operating environment, is representative of the value embedded in our portfolio. Meanwhile, the sale price for Renaissance Austin reflects its dependence on corporate and group demand which have been severely affected by the pandemic, as well as the hotel’s substantial near-term capital needs and its location in a market where a significant number of higher-quality and better-located hotels have opened in recent years. Having completed the most recent renovations to the hotel’s guest rooms and the majority of its public and meeting space almost 8 years ago, we believe the sale of this non-strategic hotel, which achieved the second-lowest RevPAR in our portfolio in 2019, was the most prudent course of action at this time.  With our recently completed dispositions and additional balance sheet activity, we believe we have taken the right steps during this pandemic to position the Company for future growth.”

Proceeds from the sales will be utilized to repay borrowings under the Company’s line of credit and for general corporate purposes.

About Xenia Hotels & Resorts, Inc.
Xenia Hotels & Resorts, Inc. is a self-advised and self-administered REIT that invests in uniquely positioned luxury and upper upscale hotels and resorts, with a focus on the top 25 U.S. lodging markets as well as key

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Sam Nazarian Sells Hotels Stake To Accor

Sam Nazarian and Accor CEO Sébastien Bazin (Getty)

Sam Nazarian and Accor CEO Sébastien Bazin (Getty)

As a rising star of the Los Angeles club scene in the early aughts, Sam Nazarian helped create the hotel-as-party-spot with properties like his SLS in Beverly Hills and Miami. He teamed up with A-list designers like Philippe Starck and took the mantle of boutique-hotel impresario from Ian Schrager when he bought the Studio 54 co-founder’s Morgan Hotels group in 2016.

Now, Nazarian is cashing out of his hotels business to focus on the latest trend: ghost kitchens and digital restaurant brands.

Nazarian on Tuesday closed a deal to sell his remaining 50-percent stake in SBE Entertainment’s hotel brands to the French hospitality company Accor, he told The Real Deal. At the same time, Nazarian said he was increasing his ownership of SBE’s restaurant and virtual kitchens business. The cash-and-asset-swap deal values all the different lines of business at $850 million.

The hospitality mogul is moving out of hotels at a time when the pandemic has slammed the lodging industry, and as digital kitchens are proving to be a lucrative area of growth.

Accor, which bought half of SBE in 2018, had planned to purchase Nazarian’s remaining 50-percent stake in the hotel operating business in 2022. But SBE, which includes brands such as the Mondrian, SLS, Hyde and Delano hotels, expanded quicker over the past two years than the sides had originally expected so they decided to speed up the acquisition.

“The business has grown at a pace much faster than anticipated. We basically doubled the pipeline,” Nazarian said.

Through the transaction, Accor bought the operating companies for luxury hotel brands as well as the majority of SBE’s restaurants and nightlife brands, which include clubs like the Mediterranean eatery Cleo and Italian steakhouse Carna by Dario Cecchini. Accor is retiring SBE’s corporate debt, and the deal values the company at $650 million. Accor also plans to launch its own lifestyle platform.

Accor CEO Sébastien Bazin said in a statement that the transaction will accelerate growth with a “leaner management structure.” The company is Europe’s largest hotel operator.

In a separate deal, SBE is selling the real estate for the Hudson Hotel in Manhattan and the Delano Hotel in South Beach to a party that Nazarian declined to identify.

For his part, Nazarian is taking full ownership of SBE’s food and beverage business and increasing his stake in C3 — the platform that owns eateries like Umami Burger and Sam’s Crispy Chicken. The company, which includes mall owner Simon Property Group as an investor, is on track to open 200 digital kitchens by the end of the year. The transaction with Accor values those businesses at $200 million.

Nazarian will stay on as an adviser to Bazin for the next three years, at which point he’ll say goodbye to the line of business that evolved out of his time in the early 2000s when he quickly gained a reputation as Los Angeles’ nightclub king.

He expanded into hotels with the SLS Beverly Hills

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Hawaii Vacation Rentals Earned More Than Hotels

In October 2020, the total monthly supply of Hawaii vacation rentals was 373,600 unit nights (-57.0%) and monthly demand was 85,000 unit nights (-86.4%), resulting in an average monthly unit occupancy of 22.7 percent (-49.1 percentage points).

In comparison, Hawaii’s hotels had an average occupancy rate of 19.7 percent in October 2020. It is important to note that unlike hotels, condominium hotels, timeshare resorts, and vacation rental units are not necessarily available year-round or each day of the month and often accommodate a larger number of guests than traditional hotel rooms. The unit average daily rate (ADR) for Hawaii vacation rental units statewide in October was $208, which was higher than the ADR for hotels ($174).

The state’s pre-travel testing program started on October 15, allowing passengers arriving from out-of-state and traveling inter-county to bypass the mandatory 14-day self-quarantine with a valid negative COVID-19 NAAT test result from a Trusted Testing and Travel Partner. All other trans-Pacific travelers continued to be subject to the 14-day self-quarantine. The counties of Kauai, Hawaii, Maui, and Kalawao (Molokai) also had a partial quarantine in place in October.

On Oahu, short-term rentals (rented for less than 30 days) were not allowed to operate at the beginning of October. However, when Oahu moved to Tier 2 of its Reopening Plan on October 22, legal short-term rentals were allowed to reopen. For Maui County, travelers awaiting their pre-travel test results were allowed to stay at a vacation rental as their place of quarantine. On Hawaii Island and Kauai, legal short-term rentals were allowed to operate as long as they were not being used as a quarantine location.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority’s (HTA) Tourism Research Division issued the report’s findings utilizing data compiled by Transparent Intelligence, Inc. The data in this report specifically excludes units reported in HTA’s Hawaii Hotel Performance Report and Hawaii Timeshare Quarterly Survey Report. In this report, a vacation rental is defined as the use of a rental house, condominium unit, private room in private home, or shared room/space in private home. This report also does not determine or differentiate between units that are permitted or unpermitted. The “legality” of any given vacation rental unit is determined on a county basis.

Island Highlights

In October, Maui County had the largest vacation rental supply of all four counties with 138,500 available unit nights, which was a decrease of 53.5 percent compared to a year ago. Unit demand was 29,051 unit nights (-87.6%), resulting in 21.0 percent occupancy (-57.6 percentage points) with an ADR of $227 (-36.2%). Maui County hotels were 14.2 percent occupied with an ADR of $226.

Oahu vacation rental supply was 96,500 available unit nights (-59.4%) in October. Unit demand was 26,300 unit nights (-84.6%), resulting in 27.2 percent occupancy (-44.3 percentage points) and an ADR of $173 (-32.7%). Oahu hotels were 22.0 percent occupied with an ADR of $158.

The Island of Hawaii vacation rental supply was 80,000 available unit nights (-61.7%) in October. Unit demand was 17,416 unit nights (-86.7%),

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October Tourism Authority Report: Maui County Vacation Rentals at 21% and Hotels at 14.2% Occupancy | Maui Now

 

Maui vacation rental

File photo.

The Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority (HTA) released its Hawaiʻi Vacation Rental Performance Report for October. It shows Maui County had the largest vacation rental supply of all four counties with 138,500 available unit nights, which was a decrease of 53.5 percent compared to a year ago.

Unit demand was 29,051 unit nights (-87.6%), resulting in 21 percent occupancy (-57.6 percentage points) with an average daily rate (ADR) of $227 (-36.2%). Maui County hotels were 14.2 percent occupied with an ADR of $226.

For the entire state, the total monthly supply of statewide vacation rentals was 373,600 unit nights (-57.0%) and monthly demand was 85,000 unit nights (-86.4%), resulting in an average monthly unit occupancy of 22.7 percent (-49.1 percentage points). Hawaiʻi’s hotels had an average occupancy rate of 19.7 percent.

It is important to note that unlike hotels, condominium hotels, timeshare resorts and vacation rental units are not necessarily available year-round or each day of the month and often accommodate a larger number of guests than traditional hotel rooms. The unit average daily rate (ADR) for vacation rental units statewide in October was $208, which was higher than the ADR for hotels ($174), according to the report.

The state’s pre-travel testing program started on Oct. 15, allowing passengers arriving from out-of-state and traveling inter-county to bypass the mandatory 14-day self-quarantine with a valid negative COVID-19 test result from a trusted partner. All other transpacific travelers continued to be subject to the 14-day self-quarantine. The counties of Kauaʻi, Hawaiʻi, Maui and Kalawao (Molokai) also had a partial quarantine in place in October.

For Maui County, travelers awaiting their pre-travel test results were allowed to stay at a vacation rental as their place of quarantine. On Hawaiʻi Island and Kauaʻi, legal short-term rentals were allowed to operate as long as they were not being used as a quarantine location.

On Oahu, short-term rentals (rented for less than 30 days) were not allowed to operate at the beginning of October. However, when Oahu moved to Tier 2 of its Reopening Plan on Oct. 22, legal short-term rentals were allowed to reopen.

Other Island Highlights:

Oahu vacation rental supply was 96,500 available unit nights (-59.4%) in October. Unit demand was 26,300 unit nights (-84.6%), resulting in 27.2 percent occupancy (-44.3 percentage points) and an ADR of $173 (-32.7%). Oahu hotels were 22 percent occupied with an ADR of $158.

The Big Island vacation rental supply was 80,000 available unit nights (-61.7%) in October. Unit demand was 17,416 unit nights (-86.7%), resulting in 21.8 percent occupancy (-40.8 percentage points) with an ADR of $192 (-26.3%). Big Island hotels were 19.8 percent occupied with an ADR of $140.

Kauaʻi had the fewest number of available unit nights in October at 58,500 (-52.5%). Unit demand was 12,300 unit nights (-86.1%), resulting in 21.0 percent occupancy (-50.6 percentage points) with an ADR of $261 (-34.2%). Kauaʻi hotels were 21.3 percent occupied with an ADR of $212.

The entire report is available by clicking here.

Tables of vacation

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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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Hotels are being left in a ‘stomach churning’ state, Which? investigations reveals

Popular hotels including those in the Britannia chain are being left in a filthy state with blood, faeces and hair left in rooms, an undercover investigation has found.

In many cases, hotels with dirty bedrooms were carrying VisitEngland’s ‘We’re Good to Go’ logo, which is supposed to certify that premises are Covid-secure. 

Inspectors from Which? visited the UK’s best and worst-rated hotels chains to find out how regularly rooms are being cleaned between guests amid the pandemic.

Using germ simulation powder and swab tests, they detected ‘stomach-churningly’ poor hygiene at Britannia’s Folkestone and Brighton properties. 

Traces of bacteria found in faeces were even found on the toilet seat and bathroom door handle at the Royal Albion Hotel in Brighton. 

The Which? team also discovered ‘inadequate cleaning’ at the luxury Sofitel London St James, a five-star hotel in the heart of the capital, pointing to low levels of enterococci – the bacteria found in faeces – on a toilet seat.

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel magazine, told MailOnline that poor standards of cleanliness were ‘unacceptable during normal times, but during a global pandemic it could be downright dangerous’. 

Britannia, which has been polled as the country’s worst hotel chain by Which? readers for eight years in a row, said it ‘accepts there is more to do’, while the Sofitel London St James said it was ‘surprised and disappointed’ by the results.

The researchers said a 'decent cleaning fluid' should have removed all traces of the powder and fluid, but it was still found on the TV remote, door handle, plug socket, kettle, coffee mugs, taps, soap dispenser, toilet brush and flushing mechanism

The researchers said a ‘decent cleaning fluid’ should have removed all traces of the powder and fluid, but it was still found on the TV remote, door handle, plug socket, kettle, coffee mugs, taps, soap dispenser, toilet brush and flushing mechanism

Popular hotels including those in the Britannia chain are being left in a filthy state with blood, faeces and hair left in rooms, an undercover investigation has found

In the bathroom, the bathroom taps, soap dispenser, toilet brush and flush also turned red. Fortunately, towels and bedsheets had been changed

Popular hotels including those in the Britannia chain are being left in a filthy state with blood, faeces and hair left in rooms, an undercover investigation has found

The team booked the same room at the Grand Burstin hotel in Folkestone for two nights in a row, spraying towels and bedsheets with hazmat UV fluid before checkout to discover how thoroughly rooms were cleaned between guests

Traces of bacteria found in faeces were even found on the toilet seat and bathroom door handle at the Royal Albion Hotel in Brighton

Traces of bacteria found in faeces were even found on the toilet seat and bathroom door handle at the Royal Albion Hotel in Brighton

The team also discovered 'inadequate cleaning' at the luxury Sofitel London St James, a five-star hotel, pointing to low levels of enterococci - the bacteria found in faeces - on a toilet seat

The team also discovered ‘inadequate cleaning’ at the luxury Sofitel London St James, a five-star hotel, pointing to low levels of enterococci – the bacteria found in faeces – on a toilet seat

The team booked the same room at the Grand Burstin hotel in Folkestone for two nights in a row, spraying towels and bedsheets with hazmat UV fluid before checkout to discover how thoroughly rooms were cleaned between guests. 

When inspectors checked back in, many items lit up under our UV light – including a TV remote control, door handle, plug socket, kettle and coffee mugs.

In the bathroom, the bathroom taps, soap dispenser, toilet brush and flush also turned red. Fortunately, towels and bedsheets had been changed.

The researchers said a ‘decent cleaning fluid’ should have removed all traces of the powder and fluid, but

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Wentworth hotel’s annual Illumination and Toy Drive to be held Dec. 1

Portsmouth Herald

NEW CASTLE — The Wentworth by the Sea hotel’s annual Illumination and Toy Drive will look a little different this year, but will still be held Dec. 1, beginning at 6 p.m.

Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, the annual event will be limited to hotel and restaurant guests only, so proper safety and distancing protocols can be met. Despite these necessary changes, Wentworth by the Sea is planning a fun and joyous event for overnight and dining guests of the hotel.

Reservations are sure to fill up quickly so those wishing to attend should book as soon as possible. For overnight guests, the Wentworth has two packages for maximum enjoyment of the festivities:

• The Overnight Family Package includes overnight accommodations on Dec. 1, hot cocoa and cookies upon arrival, and access to the Illumination event. Rates start at $279.

• Date Night Holiday Light Package includes overnight accommodations on Dec. 1, a boozy hot cocoa/coffee and cookies upon arrival, dinner for two at Salt, and access to the Illumination event. Reservations for dining should be made directly with Salt. Rates start at $399.

For reservations, visit https://bit.ly/35wdbBT.

For those wishing only to dine at Salt before or after the Illumination, a reservation is required. Anyone with a dining reservation will be able to stay and see the Illumination. To reserve, call (603) 373-6566.

This special, traditional event at the Wentworth will also include an appearance by Santa in his sleigh, with elves to take Christmas lists from children. There also will be live music and carolers for the enjoyment of guests.

Another favorite tradition of the resort will also continue – the unveiling of the Gingerbread House. This annual creation is always a favorite with hotel guests and locals who look forward to marveling at the over-sized, magical gingerbread house made by the talented chefs of Wentworth by the Sea.

The Wentworth by the Sea will be conducting its annual Toy Drive once again this year. Toy drop off will be Dec. 1-17. Toys can be dropped off only Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Anyone bringing an unwrapped, unopened gift to help support children of the Seacoast will receive 10% off at Salt; alcohol excluded.

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