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Preferred Hotel Group Debuts Meeting Planner Incentive Program
Designed to reward meeting and event planners, Preferred Hotel Group™ today launched its first-ever meeting planner incentive program. Effective immediately, US-based meeting planners who book group business at any of the more than 550 participating iPrefer™ hotels and resorts around the globe can earn up to $1,000 in cash-value iPrefer Reward Certificates per event, which can be used towards free nights and other on-property expenditures during their next vacation at a property within the iPrefer portfolio.
“We understand that everyone has preferences when it comes to organizing a meeting or event so we designed the new program to reward both longtime partners and first-time clients and present another compelling reason for planners to choose from our impressive global collection,” said Elaine Macy, Senior Vice President of Group Sales for Preferred Hotel Group.
Effective immediately, planners are eligible to earn one point for every US$2 spent on actualized room revenue for group gatherings booked through Preferred Hotel Group channels and one point for every US$4 spent on actualized room revenue for group gatherings booking directly through participating hotels. A maximum of 50,000 points (equivalent to US$100,000 in room revenue and US$1,000 in Reward Certificates) will be awarded for a single event.*
Planners can request points by visiting iPrefer.com/Meetings and submitting invoices for eligible events that were held on or after January 1, 2015. Upon approval, earned points will be added to the planner’s iPrefer account, which they will be prompted to create before completing the submission form, if an account does not already exist. Points can be immediately redeemed for cash-value Reward Certificates, which are accepted at more than 550 participating iPrefer properties worldwide.
Highlights of iPrefer destinations where planners can now earn points and redeem Reward Certificates include new-to-the-scene group destinations such as Hotel Irvine (Irvine, California); The Exhibitionist Hotel (London, England); Belle Mont Farms (Basseterre, Saint Kitts); The Temple House (Chengdu, China); Condado Vanderbilt (Puerto Rico); and revered industry favorites such as The K Club (Kildare, Ireland); The Jefferson, Washington, D.C.; The Grand Del Mar (San Diego, California); The Siam (Bangkok, Thailand); The Fleming (Hong Kong); Fifteen Beacon (Boston, Massachusetts); and Dylan (Dublin, Ireland).
For more information or to review the complete list of iPrefer properties, please visit www.iPrefer.com/Meetings.
*All qualifying events must be a minimum of 10 rooms per night, one-night minimum. Valid only at iPrefer participating hotels and resorts.
Le Méridien Debuts in Ohio with the Opening of Columbus, The Joseph
(L-R) Michael Chivini- Executive Vice President, Pizzuti Companies, Brian Ross- President and CEO of Experience Columbus, Paul Wischermann- President and CEO of Wischermann Partners, Inc., Andrew Ginther- Council President, City of Columbus, Michael B. Coleman- Mayor, City of Columbus, Ron Pizzuti and Joel Pizzuti- Owners of The Joseph development, Jason Mack- General Manager, Ann Pizzuti- wife of Ron Pizzuti, and Pablo Henderson –Le Meridien Brand Manager, North America cut the ribbon at the Grand Opening of Le Méridien Columbus, The Joseph, 620 North High Street, on Tuesday, January 20, 2015. Photography by Scott Cunningham Photography.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) announced the opening of Le Méridien Columbus, The Joseph. The highly anticipated new hotel opens in Downtown Columbus at 620 North High Street, in the vibrant Short North Arts District. Owned and developed by The Pizzuti Companies and managed by Wischermann Partners, the new 10 story hotel has been designed by renowned Miami-based firm Arquitectonica to complement the unique historical aesthetic of Columbus’ Short North neighborhood.
“Le Méridien is off to another great year of accelerated growth, set to open more than 10 hotels around the world in 2015,” said Brian Povinelli, Global Brand Leader, Le Méridien and Westin. “With a burgeoning arts and culinary scene, Columbus is a perfect match for Le Méridien brand’s Ohio debut as we help curious and creative-minded travelers unlock the destination through the hotel’s design, cuisine and access to local culture.”
Le Méridien Columbus, The Joseph features 135 modern guestrooms – including 10 Executive Suites, two contemporary Spa Suites, and a modern Presidential Suite. The hotel also offers nearly 7,000 square feet of state-of-the-art meeting and event space (including the Michael B. Coleman Grand Ballroom, hosting up to 250 guests), Columbus’ chic new lounge, Soul and a 24-hour fully equipped fitness center with floor to ceiling windows and stunning views of the Short North and Downtown Columbus. Guests will be provided with all of the signature amenities, well known to the Paris-born Le Méridien brand, including a 24-hour curated soundtrack by French Bossa Nova band Nouvelle Vague, exclusive illy coffee prepared by master baristas, and Sparkling cocktails, inspired by Europe’s aperitif hour.
The hotel’s dramatic two-story lobby follows the design principles of the brand’s signature Le Méridien Hub, a place to socialise, share ideas and be inspired – harmoniously blending art, design and architecture while featuring dramatic pieces by international artists KAWS, Rob Wynne, Nari Ward and Fred Wilson throughout the bar and reception areas. Towering columns reach from the ground floor lobby to the second floor gallery and event reception space, offering a revolving selection of artwork curated especially for the hotel and on loan from the private art collection of Ron and Ann Pizzuti. Hallways come alive with vibrant wallpaper designed exclusively by Brooklyn artist Almond Zigmund, while the three event spaces feature the art of their namesakes, internationally recognized Ohio artists – Aminah Robinson, Denny Griffith and Ann Hamilton.
As part of an ongoing commitment to the Ohio artistic community, the Pizzuti family has commissioned more than 31 new pieces of art from 15 Ohio artists for use in the hotel’s guest rooms, hallways and lounges. As part of Le Méridien brand’s mission to provide guests with access to contemporary cultural centers around the world through the UNLOCK Art Programme, Le Méridien Columbus, The Joseph has collaborated exclusively with the globally recognized Pizzuti Collection to offer guests – through the use of their room keycard – access to the Pizzuti Collection’s exhibitions and events just steps away from the hotel.
Le Méridien Columbus, The Joseph is also home to restaurateur Cameron Mitchell’s The Guild House, allowing guests the opportunity to discover the sustainable flavors of the Midwest during breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu features locally-sourced, artisan cuisine combined with wines from around the world. The restaurant seats more than 140 guests, including unique dining spaces, a full-service bar and private dining room. Cameron Mitchell Restaurants has also developed a signature catering menu for Le Méridien Columbus, The Joseph’s catering events and in-room dining.
“We will focus on bringing a new authentic lifestyle experience to Columbus, offering personalized service excellence within the backdrop of this beautiful, luxury-boutique hotel,” said Paul Wischermann, President and CEO of Wischermann Partners, Inc.
Le Méridien Columbus, The Joseph offers Starwood’s loyal SPG travelers a new, contemporary destination when visiting the Columbus area. The hotel anchors a highly anticipated mixed-use development complex that includes The Offices at The Joseph, a six-story cubist-inspired building with 60,000 square feet of premium office and retail space, a 318-space parking garage adjacent to the office building and the Pizzuti Collection, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit exhibition space dedicated to the public presentation of contemporary art from the world-recognized collection of Ron and Ann Pizzuti.
For more information or to book, please visit www.lemeridiencolumbus.com
Benchmark Resorts & Hotels and Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels Celebrate “National Soup Month” in January
January is National Soup Month, celebrating a dish that is as old as cooking itself. Chefs from restaurants at Benchmark Resorts & Hotels® and Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels® provide striking new takes on this iconic comfort food. Their recipes from around the country rely on local ingredients combined in fresh, flavorful and healthy ways. With virtually every culture in history having its own versions of this culinary classic -- from delicate bisques to hearty stews – today craft beers add unique flavors to soups made of local cheeses, and Florida Stone Crabs, trout fresh from mountain streams, Atlantic clams, spiny lobsters, California sunchokes, Tennessee salsify, as well as Southwestern corn compose soups in Benchmark kitchens across America, making National Soup Month a celebration indeed.
To find out how soup went from primitive man boiling a bone to Seinfeld's Soup Nazi and Andy Warhol's iconic soup cans, click here. You'll also find great recipes from 10 more top chefs.
The Olympia Companies Selected to Develop and Manage New Hyatt Place Hotel in Crocker Park
The Olympia Companies, an innovative privately-owned real estate company specializing in hotel investment, development and management, will develop and manage the new Hyatt Place Crocker Park in the Cleveland, Ohio suburb of Westlake.
Cleveland-based Stark Enterprises is the master developer, and has announced its selection of The Olympia Companies to create a signature hotel that will complement the award-winning Crocker Park lifestyle development. Crocker Park features townhomes, apartments, retail, restaurants, leisure, and commercial office buildings. Hyatt Place Crocker Park is being developed in conjunction with the relocation of the international headquarters of American Greetings Creative Studios to the Crocker Park development.
"We chose The Olympia Companies because they are a standout leader in the hotel industry," said President and Chief Executive Office Robert Stark, of Stark Enterprises. "Their hotels are not just aesthetically superior but are also community assets that are famous for providing an exceptionally high level of guest experience and service. Our shared values make Olympia an ideal partner, and we have every confidence that Hyatt Place will be a successful addition to Crocker Park's already outstanding community."
Olympia Development, a division of The Olympia Companies, is providing services to Stark Enterprises throughout the project's design and construction phases and has worked closely with the City of Westlake Planning & Economic Development Department, as well as spearheading the design review process with Hyatt Hotels. Olympia Hotel Management will manage the hotel opening and operation. Hyatt Place Crocker Park will be similar in style to Hyatt Place Chicago-South/University Medical Center in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, which is an award-winning project also developed and managed by The Olympia Companies.
"Hyatt Place Chicago-South/University Medical Center has been very well received and will serve as a valuable template for what we're doing in Crocker Park," says Kevin Mahaney, president and CEO of The Olympia Companies. "We're delighted to be partnering with Stark Enterprises, a company that has a strong track record for developing first rate projects. Our companies have the same DNA when it comes to excellence, performance and delivery."
"We are thrilled to continue building upon a strong relationship with The Olympia Companies and value Stark Enterprises inviting us to join their exciting development at Crocker Park," said Julienne Smith, Hyatt's senior vice president of development for Hyatt Place and Hyatt House in North America. "This hotel will bring a new and dynamic product to the marketplace, and is a great example of our continued focus on growing premium hotels that will attract business and leisure travelers alike."
The 110-room Hyatt Place Crocker Park, designed by Legat Architects of Chicago, will offer 1,000 square feet of meeting/function space, as well as a fitness room and pool. The design calls for an exterior wrapped in stainless steel and terra cotta panels punctuated with metal mesh screens that extend the entire height of the building. The hotel will feature an internally illuminated curtain wall on the corner and an upgraded lobby that opens to an outdoor patio and fire pit overlooking Crocker Park's newest pedestrianized street experience.
Hyatt Place Crocker Park is 13 miles from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and less than 20 miles from downtown Cleveland. The property is expected to open in the 4th quarter of 2015.
Lake Lawn Resort Earns Travel Green Wisconsin™ Certification
The Wisconsin Department of Tourism proudly welcomes Lake Lawn Resort as a certified member of its Travel Green Wisconsin program. With a longstanding conservation legacy, this program furthers Wisconsin’s commitment to sustainability. Lake Lawn Resort has earned its certification for implementing green practices such as local food sourcing and energy reduction strategies to minimize their environmental footprint.
“Wisconsin has a longstanding tradition of conservation and Travel Green Wisconsin is an opportunity for businesses to further distinguish themselves for their sustainable practices,” said Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett. “We applaud their commitment to making sustainability a priority to their business, knowing the importance of doing our part now preserves our natural resources and treasures for future generations.”
Lake Lawn Resort joins more than 540 TGW Certified businesses. They are one of a handful of properties over 100 years old that have earned the certification. Lake Lawn has focused much of their effort on incorporating locally sourced products into their daily food and beverage operations. The resort buys fish, meats and produce for their three on-site dining outlets from local vendors. They also have on-site herb and vegetable gardens, with plans to double the size of their herb garden in the next year. The vast majority of their produce comes from either their gardens or local vendors located within 10 miles of the property.
To ensure compliance with program standards, Lake Lawn has established a “green team” that meets weekly to check on progress of their sustainability efforts. The group evaluates cleaning products used, implements strategies for energy savings, and plans special events to raise awareness around environmental concerns. One example is Lake Lawn’s Arbor Day tree planting, a new tradition during which the resort will donate and plant a young tree on the grounds each year.
“We are proud to be one of few resorts in the state that has achieved this certification,” said Brandon Springer, assistant general manager of Lake Lawn Resort. “As a historic property with a rich tradition, we’ve had to adjust our thinking to accommodate today’s environmental needs. We are dedicated to making sustainability a priority and will continue incorporating the latest green practices into our operating plan as we move forward.”
Travelers Can Keep Their Fitness Resolutions On Track with Launch of #BluRoutes at Radisson Blu Mall of America
Radisson Blu Mall of America announces the North American launch of #BluRoutes allowing guests to keep their fitness resolutions on track while traveling. #BluRoutes are scenic walking and running routes that start and end at the hotel.
As the only hotel connected to Mall of America® and ideally situated close to the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Minnesota River, Radisson Blu Mall of America provides a range of routes varying in length and terrain as well as an indoor route for guests who prefer to break a sweat inside during winter months or inclement weather. The routes have been specially created by Radisson Blu Mall of America staff to help all fitness enthusiasts, from amateur joggers to keen runners, continue their fitness routine while they travel. Through #BluRoutes, guests experience the best routes the local area has to offer.
“As a fitness enthusiast myself, I am thrilled that Radisson Blu Mall of America now offers guests #BluRoutes to keep their fitness routines on track while traveling,” said Harry Gorstayn, general manager, Radisson Blu Mall of America. “Our team has created several routes that allow our guests to enjoy the best of our surroundings from an indoor track at the connected Mall of America to the beautiful Minnesota wildlife just a short distance from our hotel.”
Route One (4 miles) provides a scenic tour of the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and circles the wetlands. This route is a great way for travelers to get a feel of Minnesota wildlife and forests without having to travel far.
Route Two (11 miles) is more challenging with rolling hill terrain and is ideal for runners who want to go a longer distance. Runners can get a sneak peak at some native Minnesota wildlife, such as wood ducks, otters, eagles and possibly even a white tail deer. This route includes scenic terrain along the Minnesota River in the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.
Route Three (4 miles) takes guests who prefer a fairly flat terrain on an enjoyable run around Mall of America® and Ikea as well as through a suburban neighborhood surrounded by large trees.
Route Four (1 mile, 5K, and 10K options) is an indoor walking route allowing guests to maintain their fitness routine no matter what the outdoor temperature or weather may be. Guests can enjoy a climate-controlled path in Mall of America® with three distance options. Doors open at 6 a.m.
#BluRoutes may be accessed via the Radisson Blu One Touch app, the mobile app which puts all Radisson Blu hotel services and local area information in the palm of guests’ hands. Guests may also obtain #BluRoute maps at the concierge desk.
#BluRoutes are expected to roll-out in 2015 at additional North American Radisson Blu hotels: Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago, Radisson Blu Warwick Hotel Philadelphia, and Radisson Blu Minneapolis.
Boyne Highlands Named Among Best Underrated Ski Resorts in America by Condé Nast Traveler
The secret is out. The gem that is Boyne Highlands with its traditions and an escape to simpler times has been named among the top “Twelve Underrated Ski Resorts in America” according to Condé Nast Traveler’s 2014 Readers’ Choice Awards.
Boyne Highlands offers the highest vertical terrain and is the largest ski resort in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula – yet, has somehow remained semi under the radar. While Boyne Highlands is certainly no secret to the legions of repeat travelers over the resort’s 51-year history, more people are now catching on to what makes this resort a must-visit destination.
Readers of Condé Nast Traveler were astonished by Boyne Highlands’ variety of skiing, snowboarding, tubing, snowshoeing, ice skating, and ziplining.
“Boyne Highlands is a special place where our guests find happiness,” said Mike Chumbler, Boyne Highlands’ president and general manager. “In addition to the variety of activities, it’s the feeling and hospitality people receive when visiting that sets us apart. We provide a family atmosphere that’s truly like coming home where the same friendly faces greet guests year after year.”
Ski & Stay Packages including overnight lodging, 12-hour Unlimited lift ticket, hot breakfast, and tubing start at just $118 per person, per night. Kids ages 8 and under sleep, ski/ride and eat breakfast for free, and Juniors ages 9-15, receive reduced rates. To book your stay, call 800.462.6963 or visit boynehighlands.com.