Hospitality: Unusual Hotels- Kakslauttanen Hotel and Igloo Village

 

Amid the beautiful Lapland Scenery of northern Finland is the Hotel Kakslauttanen, a one of kind hotel which offers guests an view of the northern lights.  The hotel offers it’s guests snow igloos with a glass roof which provides an unlimited view to the sky above.

In addition to the igloos, there are 40 first-class log cabins available, each with it’s own private garden area.  The hotel also offers the world’s largest smoke sauna and two exotic Lapp tent restaurants.  Besides the evening skyshow, the guests are offered snowmobile safaris, ice fishing trips and guided ski trips.

The igloo village is only open during the coldest winter months and includes a snow restaurant, an ice gallery and a chapel built completely of snow.  Guests can choose between a traditional snow igloo which comes with down sleeping bags, woolen socks and a hood.  Or a glass igloo is available built from thermal glasswhich maintains an internal temperature in the 30’s even if the outdoor temperature drops to -20o F

 

Hospitality: Economic Update

 

The economy continues to sputter and no one is quite sure what the future holds.  Following trends in economic activity, including the hospitality sector, can be helpful in seeing where we are headed; not just where we have been.

Bloomberg reports that Smith Travel Research, Inc. just released their survey covering the first six months of 2010 and it offers some interesting results and insights.

*          Total Hotel occupancies rose in the U.S. to 56% compared to 54% in the previous year.

*          Occupancy rates in large cities rose to 65% from 61% while occupancy rates at hotels in small towns and near highways remained stagnant at 49%.

*          New York City has 514 hotels which accounts for 1.9% of the total U.S. room supply.  NYC occupancy rates rose to 79% from 72% which proved to be the best performing American market.  This is the first rise in NYC occupancy rates in 1-1/2 years.

*          Combined with the slowing rate of economic increase, it is anticipated that small market hotels will not be able to raise room rates for another 12 months, at least.

*          Of $3.8 billion worth of foreclosed hotels, 84 are in smaller markets.

Full article

 

Hospitality: ADA Updates Affecting Hotels

 

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) has been actively involved with the Justice Department regarding some revisions to the ADA Title III regulations which apply to lodging facilities.  They have issued a statement on the final decisions issued by the DOJ.  A summary of their statement is below:

-          The DOJ has adopted an 18-month time period for lodging facilities to comply with the new/revised requirements (assuming compliance is readily achievable).

-          Lodging swimming pools will have to provide a pool lift or some other means of accessible entry.

-          Clear floor space will be required at one of each type of exercise equipment that is not operated while standing.  (If the equipment is operated while standing up a side transfer is not required).  The clear space can be at the end of the equipment and may overlap the 36” accessible route through the exercise facility.

-          Common circulations paths in employee work areas must be accessible.  (This will not apply to existing facilities unless they are altered).

-          The new standard requires a 5’ wide space around the toilet and does not allow anything to be placed in that area.  (The previous standards allowed a vanity to be placed in that 5’ clear area provided that there was still 36” of space around the toilet).  Renovations may not have to comply fully with this requirement although it is not completely clarified yet by the DOJ.

-          Reservation systems are now required to identify the accessible features of the hotel and the guest rooms.  They also suggest that the reservation system include aspects of the hotel that are not accessible which the AHLA found troubling.

-          Hotel reservation systems must hold back the accessible rooms of each type as the last to sell, however it may be sold to a non-disabled guest if it is the last of it’s type.  Reservation systems must also remove accessible rooms from the system once reserved to avoid the possibility of double booking.

Full AHLA press release

DOJ website statement on the update of the ADA

 

Hospitality: Unusual Hotels

 

The Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore recently opened with a very distinctive feature…a Skypark featuring the world’s largest and highest infinity pool.

The Skypark is located 650 feet high and is longer than the Eiffel Tower laid on its’ side.  It spans three separate towers of hotel rooms, includes one of the worlds largest cantilevers, is over 3 acres in size and can host almost 4000 people at a time.  The SkyPark is landscaped with 250 types of tress and 650 types of plants.  The infinity pool edge provides and amazing view over the skyline of the bustling city.

The hotel and the SkyPark are designed by the Moshe Safdie who has designed notable structures throughout the world.

Visit Marina Bay Sands Hotel

Hospitality: Unusual Hotels

Part hotel room, part work of art, Hotel Everland is a project by the artist duo of Sabina Long and Daniel Baumann.  Everland Hotel is a one-room hotel where every guest takes part in the artists’ vision for the project.   The room is designed as the artists’ “subjective dream of a hotel” and was designed with every detail thought out…right down to the guests being allowed to “steal” the golden embroidered bath towels.

The room can be booked for only one night, the mini-bar is fully stocked and included in the price, breakfast is delivered to the door and a record collection is available right in the room for guests’ use.

What really makes this hotel room a work of art is that it isn’t permanently located in any one spot.  It’s location changes every so often where it is available for viewing during the day and then in the evening is reserved only for the guests.  It was first developed and located as an exhibit at the 2002 Swiss national exhibition called “Everland.”  After that it was relocated for 4 months to the banks of the Lake of Neuchatel, also in Switzerland.  Next it was moved to Burgdorf, Germany and placed on the roof of the factory where the artists work.  For most of 2007 the room was moved to the roof of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Leipzig, Germany.  Most recently the one room hotel was located on the roof of the Palais de Tokyo in Paris where it offered amazing views of the Eiffel Tower.

Visit Hotel Everland

Hospitality: Not All It’s Cracked Up To Be

Website Oyster.com is one of many websites that allows users to review various hotels in a particular destination and then book online at a discount.  There are two features that set it apart though;  1) it focuses mainly on hotels in resort destinations and 2) it has an entire section donated to calling out hotels when the photos on their own websites aren’t exact truthful…or at least not telling the whole truth…and they have their own photos to prove it. 

They have pointed out that there are some clever ways hotels try to put their best face forward.  One popular trick is that website photos often show pool or beach scenes as being quiet and serene with very few people.  This leads the potential guest to think they can go and have a very quiet and relaxing getaway.  The truth is often that the pool or beach is crowded with many other people which don’t necessarily make the scenery less beautiful but perhaps not as relaxing as they lead you to believe.   Another common technique is more a case of not telling the whole truth.  For example, they’ll post a picture showing what appears to be a lovely view from the hotel but what the photo doesn’t tell you is that right behind the phototgrapher is perhaps an old run down building or something not quite as photogenic.  One last technique commonly used is dressing up the truth.  Often a photograph will show a guest room with all the standard furnishings but also potted plants, coffee table books, fruit trays, silver goblets, etc..  Of course, when the guest arrives, only the furniture is there and not all the “extras.”  Some of their examples follow . Click to visit website

Hospitality: Expensive Hotels

Not everyone has cut back during the recent economic downturn.  A survey of the world’s most expensive hotel suites proves that some people are still capable of spending a small fortune for a single night’s stay.  Here is a list of the most expensive suites and the highlight’s of each:

#10 – The Penthouse Suite, The Martinez Hotel, Cannes – $18,000/night

The suite has a Jacuzzi, plasma screen TV, DVD library, open bar, private butler and limousine on call 24/7.  A 2,000 sf terrace offers panoramic views of the Bay of Cannes and can hold 100 people.

#9 – The Ritz-Carlton Suite, Ritz-Carlton Moscow – $18,200/night

The 2,500 sf suite offers breath taking views of the Kremlin, Red Square and St. Basil’s Cathedral.  Also included are 5 meals a day and a private KGB-approved autonomous energy supply system and secure telecommunications array.

#8 – Royal Suite, Burj Al Arab Hotel, Dubai – $19,000/night

The two story, 8,400 sf suite features views over the Arabian sea, a private cinema and elevator between levels.  Guests here also have a 24/7 butler and chauffer driven Rolls-Royce limo.

#7 – Imperial Suite, Park Hyatt, Vendome, Paris – $20,000/night

The 2,100 sf suite includes an in room whirlpool bath, steam room shower and built-in massage table.  A 600 sf balcony offers amazing views of Rue de la Paix and the Vendome column.

#6 – The Bridge Suite, The Atlantis, Bahamas – $22,000/night

This suite is located on the bridge between the two main towers and offers a 360 degree view of the water and Paradise Island.  The room offers a private butler and cook and has closets in the bedroom large enough to park a car.  Guests have included Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jackson, Celine Dion and Bill Gates.

#5 – The Presidential Suite, Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo – $25,000/night

The 3,300 sf suite is on the 53rdfloor and offers views of the Imperial Palace.  The bathroom includes all oversized marble fixtures and a 20 inch flat screen TV.

#4 – Villa La Capula Suite, Westin Excelsior, Rome – $29,000/night

The suite is 2 stories and just over 6,000 sf with an 1,800 sf outdoor terrace overlooking the Via Veneto district.  A 1998 renovation of the room cost $7 million and included a cupola, Pompeii-style Jacuzzi, authentic frescoes and stained glass windows.

#3 – Ty Warner Penthouse – Four Seasons Hotel, New York – $34,000/night

The 9-room suite was designed by renowned architect I.M. Pei and was constructed at a cost of $50 million.  The 52nd story suite offers floor-to-ceiling windows with 360 degree views of the city.  A private waterfall in the Zen room, a grand piano in the library, and 24/7 butler and limo are available to the guests.

#2 – Hugh Hefner Sky Villa, Palms Casino Resort, Las Vegas – $40,000/night

The two-story, 9,000 sf villa includes a glass elevator, a rotating bed, pop-up plasma TV’s and glass wall Jacuzzi that extends out over the hotel and offers amazing views of the strip.  A round the clock butler and masseuse are also available.

#1 – Royal Penthouse Suite, President Wilson Hotel, Geneva – $50,000/night

This suite takes the entire top floor of the hotel and is reached by a private elevator.  The living room accommodates 40 people and the dining room features a mahogany table that seats 26.  The hotel’s staff boasts some of the best security in the world and guests include many heads of state

Hospitality: Some Good News

Everyone knows that the economy has had a huge impact on the travelling habits of tourists and business people alike.  That has generally been bad news for hotels in reduced bookings and lower room rates to lure in the few travelers that are out there.  There has been some good news though.  It has been thought that maybe instead of travelling long distances, some people might be staying closer to home for their vacations but the plans might still include some hotel stays.  A recent survey by the Ypartnership/Harrison Group has proven that this phenomenon, called “staycation”, is true and it may well have saved some hotels from more dire consequences. 

The survey found that 25% of American leisure travelers with an income of $50,000 or more annually took at least one overnight leisure trip within a 50mile radius of home during the last twelve months.  The percentage of leisure travelers who took a staycation increased to 32% if they had children.

This trend may prove to be just a short term event but it is anticipated that it will continue for at least several years until the economy has fully recovered.  That is good news, indeed, for hotels and their employees.

Hotelworld Network:  Numbers now backup the “Staycation” phenomenon