Worldwide briefing

Worldwide briefing

Mandarin Oriental appoints general manager for new Mexico hotel
Albert Mertz has been appointed as general manager of the new Mandarin Oriental hotel due to open in the Riviera Maya in Mexico at the end of this year. Over the past four years, Mertz was a key figure in the opening of the Mandarin Oriental in Miami. He has more than 15 years experience in the hotel industry, much of it involving pre-opening and opening phases of worldwide luxury hotels. The exclusive 128-villa resort hotel is located 40km south of Cancun and will include a 20,000sq ft spa as well as two local 18-hole championship golf courses.

Kimpton Ritz Plaza to be redesigned by Philippe Starck
Parisian chic is coming to Florida's South Beach as design genius Philippe Starck has been hired to transform Kimpton Hotels' art deco property, the Ritz Plaza hotel. Starck, the artistic guru behind some of the world's famous design-led hotels, will renovate the 130 rooms and suites and 2,000sq ft of meeting space. A 22-unit residence club will also be added to the property and will be the area's first-ever timeshare, with membership, starting at more than £150,000 for a quarter share. Completion is scheduled for late 2005.

Park Plaza converts Berlin's historic building into de luxe hotel Park Plaza Hotels Europe is to convert Berlin's 1910 monumental office building into a four-star de luxe hotel. The hotel, to be named after Wallstreet in the USA, will open in spring 2006 complete with 167 luxury guestrooms, a bar, restaurant, health club, meeting rooms, inner court terrace and a 66-seat cinematic auditorium. Park Plaza, which has signed a long-term rental agreement with Deutsche Immobilien Fonds, will manage the hotel.

French hotels enjoy revpar growth
Hoteliers in the heart of Paris reported a 4.7% growth in revpar last year. Greater Paris, though, is still struggling to return to the heights of 2000, according to Deloitte's latest Hotel Benchmark Survey. Hotels in the city centre reported a 1.6% increase in average room rates, whereas Greater Paris reported a 1.8% decline. Revpar in Greater Paris is still 16% below 2000.

Hilton Worldwide opens first China resort
Hilton Worldwide is to open a 500-bedroom low-rise beachfront resort in China's Yalong Bay. Dubbed the "Hawaii of China", the luxury Hilton Sanya Resort & Spa, complete with its own lagoon, is located on 746 metres of beach front and surrounded by tropical gardens. Facilities include a spa, five swimming pools, two tennis courts, Kidz Paradise, leisure centre, meeting and banqueting facilities and a 1,500sq m function room.

Raffles International expands into Estonia
Raffles International is to manage the hotel in Estonia's tallest building from 2007. The 239-bedroom 28-storey de luxe Swissotel Tallinn Estonia hotel, currently being built as part of a multi-complex development, will offer a 2,500sq m conference and meeting room, food and beverage outlets, three executive floors and a health club. Raffles International is the hotel management arm of Raffles Holdings.

by Shirley Kumar and Emily Manson

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