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Heston Blumenthal tasked with making hospital food tastier for the elderly – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

04 May 2010 by
Heston Blumenthal tasked with making hospital food tastier for the elderly – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

Heston Blumenthal tasked with making hospital food tastier for the elderly
- 1 May, Read the full article in the Daily Telegraph >>

Slump in business travel blamed on 61% rise in hotel insolvencies last year
A slump in business travel and the reluctance of banks to lend money for investment was blamed for a 61% surge in hotel insolvencies to 122 last year. The figures, compiled by accountancy firm Wilkins Kennedy, compare with an 11% fall in corporate insolvencies across all sectors to around 10,800. Anthony Cork, a director of Wilkins Kennedy, said a tightening of corporate budgets led to 'a massive curtailing of business trips, conferences and teambuilding events'. Although staycations and the weak pound helped boost visitor numbers in the holiday season, this boon was undercut by shortened stays and reduced spending. Victims have included McKever Hotels, Elizabeth Hotels, Folio Hotels and the Real Hotel Group and Cork warned that further casualties were inevitable. - 3 May, Read the full article in The Times >>

Bannatyne Group buys Charlton House hotel for £3m
The Bannatyne Group, which is controlled by Dragons' Den star Duncan Bannatyne, has bought the luxury Charlton House hotel and spa at Shepton Mallet, Somerset, from administration for an estimated £3m. Agent Christie + Co was seeking £3.5m for the Grade II-listed manor house on behalf of administrators at BDO. - 1 May, Read the full article in The Times >> -

Designer Armani opens his first hotel in Dubai, with Versace close to follow
The first of a planned string of Armani designer hotels opened in Dubai's 2,700 ft-all Burj Khalifa last week. It is collaboration between Italian designer Giorgio Armani and Mohammed Alabbar, the boss of developer Emaar, who has agreed to build or lease up to a dozen hotels for Armani around the world at a cost of up to £1b. Work is underway on hotels in Milan, Marrakech and Egypt, with properties in London, New York, Tokyo, Shanghai and the Caribbean to follow. The 160-bedroom hotel in Dubai, with restaurants by top Japanese and Italian chefs, is a vast advertisement for the £2b Armani brand, showcasing his casa (homewares) range, cosmetics, spa products, flowers, chocolates, clothing and accessories, which can be bought from the hotel guestrooms or from its boutiques. Rooms range from £800-£8,000 a night for a suite. It will be joined in Dubai later this year by rival designer Donatella Versace's 213-bedroom Palazzo Versace on Dubai Creek, which includes a cooling system beneath the sand. Both designer hotels are accompanied by luxury apartments - the144 Armani apartments are selling from £1m to £5m while the 170 Versace 'couture condos' are priced from £1m. - -2 May, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >>
Scottish B&Bs should have access to Government funds, says tourism boss
Philip Riddle, chief executive of VisitScotland, has criticised the government's funding focus on new technology and said some of the cash should be switched to help the country's struggling B&Bs and visitor attractions. Riddle said smaller operators of guesthouses should be able to draw on cash from Scottish Enterprise's co-investment fund, SCF, and from European sources. Riddle said this was essential, alongside private sector investment, to enable them to refurbish in order to meet visitors' expectations and to keep Scotland's £4b industry competitive. Riddle, who has abandoned calls for a tourism investment bank to be set up in Scotland due to the current economic climate, has asked the tourism industry's strategy group to quantify the level of funding required within the next three months. - 2 May, Read the full article in Scotland on Sunday >>

UK key to expansion plans of Mena hoteliers The UK has been pinpointed as a key area for expansion by hotel financiers in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) at the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference in Dubai. A survey of more than 100 hotel owners in the Mena region by lawyer DLA Piper revealed that, outside their domestic markets, they intended to invest most of their money in the UK over the next three years. Hoteliers in the Mena area have been forced to discount average room rates by up to 60% as the global recession hit international holidaymakers, and more than 80% of respondents do not expect to see a sustained recovery before the end of 2012. - 2 May, Read the full article in the Independent on Sunday >>

Stag party rescued after Newquay hotel lift plummets 100 ft A total of 85 emergency service workers were involved in rescuing six men on a double stag weekend in Cornwall when they became trapped in a hotel lift that plunged 100ft (30m). The lift at the Hotel Victoria in Newquay transports hotel guests to a small cove below the cliffs. A buckled door thwarted staff efforts to lower the lift to the ground floor manually and, because the incident happened just before high tide on Friday evening, the only access to the cove was from the sea. Lifeboats transported the fire crews to the cove while coastguard cliff rescue teams stood by. One guest was taken to hospital with a leg injury while two others suffered minor injuries. Both grooms were in the lift when the accident happened. The incident is being investigated by Devon and Cornwall Police and the Health and Safety Executive. - 1 May, Read the full article on BBC News Online >>

Premier Inn can help MPs save taxpayers' money, suggests Whitbread boss Whitbread boss Alan Parker will be writing to the new Government on 7 May with a suggestion to save taxpayers' money - staying in his chain of Premier Inn budget hotels. Parker, who retires in November to be replaced by EasyJet chief Andy Harrison, said, "We will be writing to the Prime Minister asking him and his ministers to give up the four-star hotel rooms and enjoy a good night's stay with us. It is better to cut Government waste than put up taxes." - 30 April, Read the full article in the Daily Express >>
By Angela Frewin

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