For Travaasa, activities the focus
By Jeri Clausing
Marriott to reflag
Palomar in Atlanta
Marriott cut a deal to reflag Kimp-
ton’s Hotel Palomar in Atlanta
under its Renaissance brand after
the expected sale of the property to
Thayer Lodging in the next 30 days.
The 21-story property on West
Peachtree Street will be known as
the Renaissance Atlanta Midtown
and will be included in what Mar-
riott calls its “lifestyle portfolio.”
The property, a newbuild owned
by a private investment group, has
been managed by Kimpton since it
opened in 2009.
in Vegas market
Spirit will begin L.A.-Vegas flights in May.
Cheap-seat specialist Spirit Airlines
plans to enter the Los Angeles-Las
Vegas market May 5 with five daily
nonstops and introductory one-way base fares of $9. Base fares
for future dates rise to $19, $39 or
$79, but the website also shows
an occasional seat for $1.
Kayak and Bing
team up on search
Kayak agreed to provide flight
search services for Microsoft’s
search engine, Bing.com. Describing itself as Bing’s “travel technology partner,” Kayak said that going
forward, it will provide Bing users
with “access to all of Kayak’s travel
search services globally.”
DENVER — Over the last few years, hotels and resorts have been increasingly adding what they call
“experiential” elements, from adventure outings to
cooking classes. Now, a new brand called Travaasa
Destinations is turning that concept upside down,
developing resorts around the experiences.
The principals behind the concept have purchased two existing resorts: the Crossings near
Lake Travis, outside Austin, Texas, and the iconic
Hotel Hana-Maui in Hawaii, which they are repurposing as a new type of all-inclusive.
Each resort will have 20 to 30 activities a day
that guests can choose from, such as horseback
riding, hiking, fishing, paddleboarding and fitness
classes. Included in the room rate
are as many “experiences” as one
can fit in a day, plus a daily spa
treatment and organic gourmet
meals. The only thing not covered is alcohol.
Rates at the Austin resort start
at $595 a night per person, based
on double occupancy. Travaasa is
a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts.
“What we are trying to offer is experiential
travel,” said Chris Manning, a vice president of
Amstar, the Denver real estate development firm
that is developing the brand through a subsidiary
called Green Tea. “So we are trying to target people
who in their 20s strapped on a backpack and went
and traveled around Europe with no agenda. They
ate the food, lived it, experienced it. And it’s been
20-some years since then, and they still look back
on that as the best travel they’ve had in their lives.
“Since then they’ve grown into staying in Four
Seasons or Ritz or whatever, but we believe there is
a trend of people who don’t want the same room
in New York or Cancun or Hong Kong. They want
to go and really experience the local cultures.”
The brand, Manning said, is based on five pil-
lars: adventure, culinary, culture, fitness and spa.
“After decades in the hotel industry, travel-
ing constantly for work and pleasure, I felt there
was a disconnect between how consumers today
want to experience travel and what destination
hotels were offering,” said Joy Berry, president of
Travaasa Destinations and the originator of the
idea. “When I’m on vacation, I look for places that
are personal and authentic, where I can have en-
riching experiences that are also fun. Green Tea
allowed me to flush out that concept in collabora-
tion with a great team, and the result was Travaasa
Berry came to Amstar after a career with big
brands like Marriott and Ritz-Carlton. She and
Manning founded the Green Tea subsidiary and
have developed Travaasa as a team.
Hilton eyes Spain
for Waldorf brand
Hilton said it signed a management agreement to convert the
133-room Hacienda La Boticaria,
an Andalusian-style retreat close
to Seville, into a Waldorf Astoria
Hilton has already begun operating the resort, which is set to
become a Waldorf Astoria in early
summer 2011 and will mark the arrival of the brand in Spain.
The new brand’s
first resort, the
Travaasa Austin, will
open April 14.
Hyatt plans resort
for Punta Cana
Hyatt plans to open a 201-room resort in early 2014 within the community of Cap Cana near Punta Cana,
Dominican Republic. Branded as
the Hyatt Regency Cap Cana Hotel,
Cap Cana will get a Hyatt Regency in 2014.
Villas and Residences, the project
will include 12 villas and 46 residential units on a quarter-mile stretch
of Juanillo Beach. Current amenities
at Cap Cana include a marina, one
of three planned Jack Nicklaus golf
courses, two beach clubs and several residential developments.
Chilean hotel to be
$720M DEAL AWAITS OK FROM KUONI SHAREHOLDERS
Swiss firm to buy GTA from Travelport
By Michelle Baran
LAX hotel adopts
Four Points by Sheraton at LAX
is making it easier for travelers
to match their stays to their flight
itineraries with a 24-hour check-in
option. Under the program, anyone who books a room for more
than $99 and at least 48 hours in
advance can check in at any time
and stay for up to 24 hours.
The 573-room hotel has free
shuttle service to Los Angeles Airport every 20 minutes, 24/7.
The $720 million question is how and whether
the corporate culture will change for Gullivers
Travel Associates and its Travel Bound brand
once U.S. technology company Travelport completes the sale of GTA to private Swiss travel firm
Kuoni in May.
Travelport last week agreed to sell GTA to Kuoni
for $720 million, a deal that is contingent on majority approval by Travelport’s bank lenders and
on a vote by Kuoni’s shareholders to finance the
transaction, slated for completion in May.
Already, one major change is afoot: GTA Presi-
dent and CEO Ken Esterow will be moved out of
his role with GTA, according to Kuoni. Rolf Scha-
froth, executive vice president of destinations at
Kuoni, will take over responsibility for GTA.
InterContinental plans to open
a 140-room oceanfront hotel in
January 2013 near Chile’s Vina del
Mar coastal resort area. The InterContinental Punta Piqueros will be
three miles from downtown Vina
del Mar and seven miles from the
port city of Valparaiso.
Global economic challenges forced
the closing of the Reef Village,
one of two resorts at Our Lucaya
Beach and Golf Resort in Freeport
on Grand Bahama. Still open is
the Radisson Our Lucaya.
The move reduces the total room
inventory at the complex from
1,200 rooms to 540.