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NEW YORK—Since the iconic Virgin Megastore left Times Square in 2009, New York City has been vacant of a Virgin hub. That will soon change as Virgin Hotels has broken ground with the Lam Group on Virgin Hotels New York City. Located in the NOMAD neighborhood at 1227 Broadway between 29th and 30th, the property will serve as the brand’s flagship hotel. Virgin Hotels is aiming to achieve LEED certification. “New York City isn’t just a destination for the Virgin airlines, but a place where some of the most successful Virgin brands have been incubated, where we’ve stunned crowds with stunts and where some of our most devoted fans live,” said Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group. “It’s a very special city to the Virgin brand and I’m elated that Virgin Hotels will soon call it home.” To commemorate the groundbreaking and the history Virgin has in the Big Apple, Branson joined Raul Leal, CEO of Virgin Hotels to bury a Virgin time capsule, a chest of mementos from Virgin company moments in New York.
NEW YORK—More than 300 boutique hotel leaders, travel advisors, media and industry professionals will gather from October 21 to 23 at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel, Santa Monica, for the annual BLLA Leadership Symposium. BLLA is the leading Boutique & Lifestyle Assn. aimed at connecting independent, upscale hoteliers with fellow industry innovators, discerning travelers and hospitality professionals.
NEW YORK—Hospitality Design (HD) magazine has launched HD Select, a brand new event that brings buyers and sellers together to discuss the most current projects and products in the hospitality design realm. The new series will officially launch at Motif Seattle on April 3 to 5, 2016, with a focus on sustainability and best practices. A fall event will be held in Charleston, S.C., discussing luxury design trends.
AUSTIN, TEXAS—Global hospitality association Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) is adding to its successful community giving efforts with HFTP Helps. The first portion of the program, HITEC Helps, first held this year in Austin, Texas to support the United Way for Greater Austin during the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference (HITEC) raised over $15,000 in support of the Austin area’s Memorial Day flood victims.
LOS ANGELES—The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, one of the world’s leading foundations working to improve the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people throughout the world, announced a $2 million commitment to launch The Hilton Prize Coalition. This new grant will formalize the unique coalition comprised of many of the first 19 Hilton Humanitarian Prize-winning organizations and kick-start the implementation of two new signature initiatives: the Hilton Prize Laureates Fellowship Program, designed to inspire a new generation of humanitarian leaders, and the Disaster Resiliency and Response Program, created to help Prize laureates combine forces to leverage their work partnerships, and to improve services and programs in the field. In addition, the Foundation announced that the monetary award for the Hilton Humanitarian Prize, the world’s largest humanitarian prize for nonprofits, is being increased from $1.5 million to $2 million to commemorate its 20th Hilton Humanitarian Prize laureate, which will be announced in New York City on October 14. Each year, the Foundation reviews hundreds of nominations for notable nonprofit organizations from across the globe.
HONG KONG—Burba Hotel Network, Horwath HTL, and Stiles Capital Events, co-hosts and organizers of the annual Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP), announced the winners for the HICAP 2015 Sustainable Hotel Awards. The 26th annual HICAP will be held October 14 to 16, 2015 at the InterContinental Hong Kong.
STAMFORD, CONN.—Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide announced the debut of its eco-wise Element brand in Bozeman with the opening of Element Bozeman, marking the first Starwood hotel in the state of Montana. Owned by a group of Bozeman investors, the newly constructed Element Hotel offers a stylish and sustainable new option for travelers with 104 light-filled rooms and an atmosphere designed to fuel a life in balance while on the road. “Our eco-wise Element brand is a terrific fit for Bozeman, a thriving hub for business and entertainment and a leading destination for outdoor recreation within the Rocky Mountain region,” said Brian McGuinness, Senior Vice President, Specialty Select Brands for Starwood. “On track to triple its global portfolio in the next three years, Element offers travelers a bright, energizing environment, great design and everything they need for smart, sustainable living.” Element Bozeman is ideally positioned at the center of the city’s entertainment district, one block from Historic Main Street and a 10-minute walk to the campus of Montana State University.
SONOMA, CALIF.—Tens of thousands of Californians, including a pledge of hundreds of California Fairmont Hotels & Resorts colleagues, friends and family members volunteered to remove debris from the coast, creeks, rivers, lakes and shorelines all around California protecting wildlife from harm while taking care of the environment on Saturday, September 19, 2015 for California Coastal Cleanup Day.
LAS VEGAS—Las Vegas Sands Corp. and international social enterprise Clean the World this past Saturday completed a 24-hour global volunteer effort to build 200,000 hygiene kits that will be distributed to populations in need worldwide, including to help homeless people in the United States. More than 4,000 LVS Team Members and community volunteers participated in the Las Vegas Sands Global Hygiene Build with Clean the World—which was both organizations’ largest volunteer effort to date, resulting in the most kits ever built for Clean the World at one time. The build was held at LVS’ Singapore, Macao, Bethlehem and Las Vegas properties sequentially and all within a 24-hour period, starting at Marina Bay Sands, LVS’ property in Singapore, at 9 a.m. locally and culminating at 6 p.m. Pacific Time in Las Vegas. The effort was part of LVS’ global corporate citizenship program, Sands Cares, and its ongoing partnership with Clean the World. “Through this ambitious global Sands Cares event, we are helping hundreds of thousands of people without access to hygiene supplies to help them stay healthy,” said Ron Reese, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications at LVS.
ITHACA, N.Y.—In the wake of the settlement for the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a new report from the Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) at Cornell University chronicles the communication factors that led to canceled travel plans and poor regard for BP as a corporation. The report, “How the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Damaged the Environment, the Travel Industry, and Corporate Reputations,” by Alex Susskind, Mark Bonn, and Benjamin Lawrence, is available at no charge from the CHR.
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