Cuban citizens' hotel ban lifted
Cuban citizens now have the right to stay in the country's hotels - a privilege previously afforded solely to foreigners. The move is the latest in a series of decisions to stop bans on goods and services that the average Cuban can't afford. However, while the ban has been lifted, it is largely symbolic as most Cubans cannot afford to pay the cost of staying in a hotel. During the ban, Cuban critics called the restrictions "tourist apartheid." Cuba depends on tourism as its major source of revenue with an average two million tourists visiting Cuba per year.
Robert de Niro opens first hotel Hollywood actor Robert de Niro has opened his first luxury hotel in Tribeca in New York City. The Greenwich hotel has eight floors with 88 rooms, of which "no two are alike". Designed by The Rockwell Group, it also features 13 suites with saunas and fireplaces. De Niro, who is a partner in upmarket Japanese restaurant chain Nobu, launched the hotel together with business partners Ira Drukier and Richard Born who have developed New York hotels including the Mercer, Hotel Elysee, and Chambers.
New York's Bellevue to be turned into luxury hotel New York City's famous psychiatric hospital, Bellevue, is to be turned into a luxury hotel. The hospital has housed patients such as Andy Warhol's muse Edie Sedgwick, Pulitzer-prize winning author Norman Mailer and Jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker in the past. Developers want to use the 1931 Italian renaissance building to create a luxury hotel marketed towards medial professionals and families of patients in nearby hospitals.
IHG to launch Holiday Inn Express Hotel in Taiwan InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has partnered up with Esse Commerce and Development to open its first Holiday Inn Express Hotel in Taiwan. The 169-room hotel will be located in Taichung, Taiwan's third largest city and will open in August. Holiday Inn currently has 11 hotels in mainland China with 20 new hotels in the pipeline. The brand is now available in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Shenzhen as well as Hong Kong.
Hilton to launch three new brands in China Hilton Hotels plans to double its portfolio in China in the coming months by introducing three new brands. It aims to extend its presence in China to 12 within the year and raise the number to 26 by 2011. It plans to introduce Conrad, its mid-end brand Hilton Garden Inn and the luxury brand Doubletree into China's market.
By Gemma Sharkey
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