Financial support for UK hoteliers: Omicron Hospitality Payment for UK hospitality businesses affected by the pandemic has been extended to hotel operators. Hotels are eligible for a one-time grant between £10,000 ($13,406) and £20,000 ($26,812), depending on their value. So far, about 2,000 non-hotel businesses have received a one-time finance department grant to deal with the disruption caused by the Omicron variant of COVID-19. The fund was launched in December 2021 and Finance Minister Conor Murphy had said his department would provide a £40m ($53.62m) fund to more than 3,000 hotel businesses.
Shimao sells Hyatt in Shanghai: Chinese developer Shimao Group has announced it will sell the Hyatt on the Bund in Shanghai to state-owned Shanghai Land Group for 4.5 billion yuan ($707.83 million), according to Reuters. The move comes as Shimao reportedly seeks to reduce debt as China’s property sector struggles to find its footing. The Chinese government is buying assets to stabilize and tighten control over the real estate market. Shimao in 2022 has maturities of $1.7 billion overseas and 8.9 billion yuan onshore, according to Moody’s.
City Lodge Hotel Group properties are reopening: The City Lodge Hotel Group’s 63 properties in South Africa and elsewhere in Africa will be fully reopened from February 7, the Johannesburg-based group has announced. Hotels have reopened in a phased manner, depending on lockdown travel standards, international borders closing or opening, and guest demand. The last three hotels in South Africa to reopen after the pandemic are Road Lodge Islando (January 30) and City Lodge Hotel Sandton, Morningside and Road Lodge Sandton (February 7). The group has improved its catering offer and added new restaurants in all Town Lodges and Road Lodges, which will serve lunch and dinner.
Closing of the sale of the Kona Bay hotel: JLL announced that it has completed the US$21 million fee simple sale of the 122-key Selective Service Kona Bay Hotel in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, on behalf of the seller, a local family. Shapery Enterprises purchased the property. The JLL team representing the vendor was led by Eric Kathrein, Geoff Tranchina and Wendell Brooks.
The USTA welcomes additional H-2B visas: The US Travel Association welcomed the Biden administration’s decision to issue an additional 20,000 temporary H-2B visas for non-farm workers for the first half of fiscal year 2022, but said “more is needed to ensure that companies have adequate staff”. “Issuing these additional visas is a great start to addressing the significant labor challenges of the U.S. travel industry, but more is needed to ensure companies have staff. adequate – especially ahead of the busy summer travel season, when so many businesses depend on access to temporary workers to support operations. recreation and hospitality, the USTA has urged the administration to issue more H-2B visas, which will help ensure recovery in all travel sectors.
Under Canvas, partner Rivian: Under Canvas, the hospitality and outdoor events company, and Rivian, the electric vehicle manufacturer and automotive technology company, have partnered to launch open-network Waypoints chargers at Under Canvas locations. The chargers will be available exclusively to customers for months of operation for all electric vehicles. Level 2 charging stations will be available for overnight charging and charging will be facilitated by the Rivian app, which will display charging time and payment options. Under Canvas is Rivian’s premier hotel partner. As a special introductory offer from opening days March 3 and 10, customers of Under Canvas Moab and Lake Powell-Grand Staircase in Utah can access a free top-up.
Lionel Messi’s MiM acquires in Spain: MiM Hotels, the hotel chain of footballer Lionel Messi, has just acquired a hotel in Sotogrande, Spain. The hotel, which will open in April, will be managed by Majestic Hotel Group. The property has 45 loft-style rooms with views of the port of Sotogrande and the Mediterranean Sea, two restaurants with terraces, a spa, swimming pool and gym. The property was last renovated in 2006 and the interiors were designed by Easter Ortega. MiM Sotogrande Club Maritimo is the sixth property in MiM’s portfolio. The sale of the hotel would have coincided with the expiry of the lease for the premises at the Midas restaurant, on the ground floor of the hotel, in December 2021. According to media reports, the owners of the restaurant have confirmed that they will reopen at same place by march- finish.
Virgin Hotel San Francisco’s legal tussle goes all the way to trial: The legal tussle between Virgin Hotels and Virgin Hotels San Francisco owner Jay Singh of Paradigm Hotels Group will go to trial by jury from February 7. The hotel, which opened in February 2019, closed at the start of the pandemic. and was mired in a legal battle after Singh terminated Virgin’s operating agreement in April 2020. Virgin Hotels sued Paradigm for “wrongfully and prematurely” terminating the contract. In July 2020, Singh counter-sued Virgin, claiming that the latter had, in fact, breached the contract. Virgin is reportedly seeking more than $20 million in damages, the exact amount they owe in management fees over the life of the contract, while Singh is seeking unspecified damages.