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Hotel in Hong Kong quarantined over swine flu – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

05 May 2009 by
Hotel in Hong Kong quarantined over swine flu – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

Hotel in Hong Kong quarantined over swine flu
Sunday Times, the Independent on Sunday and the Observer >>

Mexican hotelier outlines a week hit by swine flu A hotelier in Mexico City has written a five-day diary for The Times outlining how his hotel has coped as the city emptied and closed down as swine flu frenzy swept the world. Jorge Silva, who runs a small hotel in Colonia Condesa, started the week (Saturday, 2 May) with 25 guests and flurry of cancelled flights and bookings. By Thursday, his last three guests had left. The citywide close-down of most public places, including restaurants, meant guests had to fetch food from the supermarket to cook in the hotel restaurant and spend more time in the hotel, where staff arranged music and games to entertain them. Silva said he and his friends were "very cool" about the epidemic as he knew no-one who had been affected. "I think it will take a couple of months to get tourists coming back to Mexico," concluded Silva. "But I'm not worried about the situation; it will all be over soon. - 2 May, Read the full article in The Times >>

IHG launches energy-saving website for its hotel operators
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has launched a new website to help the owners and general managers of its hotels cut their energy costs by up to 25%. Called Green Engage, the simple-to-use website allows hotel managers to benchmark their energy usage against similar IHG properties in equivalent climates, and offers tips on how to improve energy efficiency without disrupting guests' enjoyment. Ideas include insulating pipes and installing energy-efficient light bulbs, solar panels, window glazing, daul-flushes on toilets, and shower heads that reduce water flow. Green Engage has been trialled across all seven of IHG's brands (which includes Holiday Inn) and could generates savings of up to $200m (£135m). Some 900 hotels, almost a quarter of the IHG estate, have already signed up. - 3 May, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >> See Caterersearch's January story on Green Engage

London hotel evacuated over chemical found with dead bodies
A budget hotel in North London was evacuated on Saturday after a 'noxious powder' that is yet to be identified was found in a room where cleaning staff discovered two dead female guests. It is suspected that the women, in their 30s and 50s, committed suicide by ingesting the chemical. Police and fire services were called to the Costello Palace hotel on Seven Sisters Road in Finsbury Park just before noon on Saturday. The hotel was evacuated and roads nearby cordoned off as firemen entered the hotel wearing specialist breathing equipment. Guests said the hotel had been fully booked on Saturday night but most of the 70 guests had left before the bodies were discovered. - 4 May, Read the full articles in the Sunday Times, the Sunday Telegraph and the Mail on Sunday

Punch seeks financial advisers after banking breach
Pub giant Punch Taverns is seeking financial advisers to help it restructure if it breaches its debt covenants again, on the advice of its bankers at Deutsche Bank. Punch, which last week revealed plans to put its under-performing pubs into a turnaround division, breached its debt covenants in March but sold six pubs to Fullers for £21m and bought back more than £15m of its outstanding bonds. The group, which has a £4.6b debt, has to repay £209m at the end of next year. NM Rothschild, Lazard, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers are all believed to be interested. - 3 May, Read the full article in the Sunday Express >>

Demand soars for Holiday Inn's credit-crunch wedding package Budget hotel chain Holiday Inn says that demand for its £999 credit-crunch wedding package has soared by 200%, just as a recent survey found that the average cost of a wedding has rocketed to £20,273 compared with an average £18,781 in 2006. Holiday Inn's wedding-on-a-shoestring offers a civil ceremony, an evening disc jockey, a disco room, catering for up to 100 people, and a wedding planner. The deal includes a room for the bride and groom and buffet catering for up to 100 people. The survey, by You & Your Wedding magazine, found that the reception was the single biggest expense in a wedding, accounting for £7,724 of the total spend. - 4 May, Read the full article in the Mail on Sunday >>

By Angela Frewin

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