Park Plaza to open two art'otel properties… and other international news

08 November 2006
Park Plaza to open two art'otel properties… and other international news

Park Plaza to open two art'otel properties Park Plaza has expanded its lifestyle offering with the opening of two new art'otel properties in Berlin. The two hotels are both located in the centre of the German capital and comprise the 133-room Sorat art'otel on Kurfürstendamm and the 115-room art'otel Potsdam on the Havel River. Both properties offer Wi-Fi access and include meeting rooms as well as bars and leisure facilities. The two hotels increase Park Plaza's art'otel portfolio in Europe to six properties.

Hyatt Place adds three more US properties
Hyatt Place, the Global Hyatt Corporation-owned hotel chain, has opened three new properties in the USA. The hotels include the 127-room Hyatt Place Scottsdale Old Town in Arizona, the Hyatt Place Atlanta Airport-South; and the Hyatt Place Perimetre Centre in Georgia. "We did extensive research before beginning development on Hyatt Place and what stood out most was the fact that people are now leading blended lives but even though their lifestyles have changed, the select service hotel experience has remained stagnant," said Jim Abrahamson, senior vice-president for Hyatt Corporation.

Chief exec of International Tourist Organisation jailed
Hamid Reza Talebi, chief executive of the International Tourist Organisation and head of the International Council of Tourism Partners in Iran, has been jailed by the Iranian government. Charges against him include spreading lies and inciting the old regime to challenge the current government, which Talebi strongly refutes. He has been sentenced to one year in prison and a fine of $15,000 (£7,860).

McDonald's set to boosts its corporate restaurants
Fast-food giant McDonald's plans to increase the number of its corporate restaurants to be refranchised by more than half (53%). The company is looking to franchise 2,300 company-operated restaurants, rather than the 1,500 restaurants it originally ear-marked last January. While the increased franchising effort could generate large losses, the disposal of company-owned outlets would reduce capital expenditure and improve returns. The move is said to be in response to a proposed US$2b (£1.04b) investment and proxy battle from activist investor William Ackman.

Berlin to draft anti-smoking law
The governing coalition of the state of Berlin in Germany has announced plans to draft a law in the upcoming legislative period to prohibit smoking in restaurants, hospitals and public buildings. As the German government has failed to determine which authority has the powers to draft such a law, it appears that the country's individual states, the 16 Bundesländer, are beginning to deal with the issue themselves. Anti-smoking laws are already in place in other European countries including Italy and Ireland.

By Kerstin Kühn

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