Hotel News We Noted: June 1, 2012

ritz-carlton montrealIt’s finally Friday (short weeks always feel the longest, don’t they?) and this week’s edition of “Hotel News” is unusually full! This week, we discuss a number of hotel acquisitions, openings, and planned openings – it was a busy week in the hotel world. If you have tips or news, please email us for consideration.

Hotel Ownership: Gaylord Sells to Marriott
Gaylord Entertainment has sold the rights to manage its four massive hotels to Marriott for a whopping $210 million, as well as its plan to convert to a real estate investment trust. Gaylord hotels are currently in four cities – Nashville, Tennessee, Kissimmee, Florida, Grapevine, Texas, and National Harbor, Maryland, just outside of DC. What does that mean for Marriott? Good news for its meetings portfolio – the four hotels are known for their massive amounts of conference space. Marriott beat out three other hotel management groups for the title, although the hotels will still operate under the Gaylord name. Executives are hopeful for future development, but a planned project in the Denver area has been put on hold indefinitely. For the full story, visit Hotels Magazine.

Coming Soon: Bulgari London
Opening just in time for the London Olympics will be the third hotel in the Bulgari portfolio, Bulgari London. The 85-room hotel will be the first new luxury hotel build in four decades in the city of London. Two other properties (operated under the Marriott name) are currently open in Bali and Milan.

Hotel Openings: Ritz-Carlton Montreal and Japan
The Ritz-Carlton announced two hotel openings this past week on opposite ends of the globe. Its historic Montreal property (shown above) re-opened after a nearly four-year, $200 million renovation. The property was North America’s first-ever Ritz-Carlton and originally opened in 1921. In the Far East, the Ritz-Carlton, Okinawa opened its doors as well, making it the first luxury property on the Japanese island.

Hotels on TV: Rosewood Tucker’s Point
Never mind that strange Hotel Catalina, the luxe Rosewood Tucker’s Point in Bermuda is playing host to a reality series of its own this week. The June 4 episode will feature the cast of “The Bachelorette.” The Point, the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, will be the backdrop for a one-on-one date, and the private beach club and its famed pink sand as the group date location. We wonder if the bachelors or bachelorette got to use the spa’s crazy $100,000 shower?

Private Parties: Soho House Gets Five New Locations
Private members club Soho House has announced additional expansion with new openings confirmed for Toronto, Mumbai, Chicago, Istanbul and Barcelona, all of which will open by the end of 2014. The private members club was founded in London in 1995 and has long been an exclusive retreat for the film, media and creative elite.

Summer Hotspot: Montreal, Quebec

Hungry for some culture this summer? Skip the jet lag, high exchange rates and long museum lines in Europe for one of North America’s most cosmopolitan and best warm-weather destinations: Montreal.

The charms that contribute to Montreal’s growing cultural reputation are already evident year-round, ranging from its cosmopolitan European-style cafes, a top-notch range of award-winning restaurants and a lively music scene. But summer is truly when Montreal comes out to shine, a time when May-August average temperatures hover in the 70’s and international-quality music festivals like MUTEK and Jazzfest draw partiers from around the globe. Design-conscious bargain hunters will find plenty to like in Montreal too. The city was named a UNESCO City of Design in 2006, and bursts at the seams with design-centric accommodations like Hotel Gault and fashion boutiques in the newly resurgent Old Montreal.

Those looking to add in a dose of the great outdoors won’t be disappointed either. With Montreal’s wildly successful Bixi bike-sharing program now in place at more than 5,000 locations city-wide, it’s easier than ever to pedal out for an exploration on the city’s 300+ miles of bike lanes and trails. For a more casual outdoor experience, stop by Montreal’s sprawling Mount Royal Park with a picnic lunch and just enjoy the warm weather.

Best of all, Montreal is still a relative bargain for budget-seekers. Compared to the Euro (currently $1.30:1), the Canadian Dollar still trades at a more wallet-friendly $1:1. Meaning you can spend those extra travel savings on a few more bottles of Quebec’s delicious La Fin du Monde Belgian-style brew, produced in nearby Chambly, Quebec.

[flickr image via madabandon]

Photo of the day – Montreal smoked meat

montreal smoked meat

Sandwiches. They’re essential to well being. And few sandwiches are as remarkable as this specimen, the Montreal smoked meat sandwich, captured by Flickr user mciccone640. This particular smoked meat sandwich appears to be a product of Montreal‘s completely wonderful Schwartz’s Deli.

Got a great photo of a sandwich lying around? Submit it to the Gadling Group Pool on Flickr. If it makes us hungry we might just choose it to be a future Photo of the Day.

VIA Rail Canada brings back bike trains for summer season

bike trainsTraveling with your two-wheeled best friend just got a whole lot easier. Since 2007, VIA Rail Canada has provided seasonal bike racks on select VIA Rail departures, as part of its mandate to provide more environmentally sustainable, affordable passenger transit. Now, the racks will be available yearound, and increased baggage cars mean that cyclists can connect to even more cycling destinations.

By taking VIA (Canada’s national rail service), you can access thousands of miles of cycling paths running from Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal, Quebec City, London, Windsor, Jonquière, and Senneterre. Popular cycling trips include Quebec’s La Route Verte (2,671 miles), the Greater Niagara Circle Route (86 miles), Ottawa’s Capital Parkway Network (136 miles) and Ontario’s Waterfront Trails (559 miles).

Using the bike trains is easy. Check your buddy at the counter for a small fee; VIA staff do the rest, reuniting you on the platform at your destination. For a full listing of VIA’s Bike Train schedules click here.

[Photo credit: Flickr user cycle.nut66]

Qatar Airways expands into Montreal; reaches 100th destination milestone

qatar airlinesQatar Airways will become the first Gulf area airline to serve Canada when it expands into Montreal with service on June 29. The non-stop journey from the airline’s hub in Doha to Montreal‘s Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport will be a total flying time of 13 hrs 20 minutes and will be offered three times weekly, on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Montreal will become the airline’s fourth North American destination, currently operates daily flights to New York, Washington and Houston.

Qatar is home to more than 3,000 Canadian citizens and two Canadian university satellite campuses, The College of the North Atlantic and the University of Calgary.

Canadian nationals arriving in Qatar may enter the country without prior visa arrangements. Passengers with Qatar as their end destination may enter by obtaining a visa on arrival.

The Boeing 777 on the Montreal route has a two-class operation, offering 42 seats in Business in a spacious 2–2–2 cabin layout, with a seat pitch of 78 inches that is already the envy of competitor airlines as the seats stretch into lie-flat beds, a key demand of the corporate traveller.

In Economy, the Boeing 777 offers 217 seats in a 3–3–3 configuration with a pitch of up to 34-inch, which is among the most generous of any international airline flying wide-body aircraft on long-haul routes.

On March 6, Qatar Airways adds Stuttgart to its global network, followed on April 6 with new flights to the historic Syrian city of Aleppo – the airline’s milestone 100th destination. Flights to Shiraz, Qatar Airways’ third gateway in Iran begin on June 5, followed 10 days later on June 15 by scheduled services to Venice, the carrier’s third destination in Italy.

[Flickr via Deanster1983]