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Chinese Oil Interests Force Closure of Indigenous Tribe’s Award-Winning Ecolodge


QUITO, ECUADOR—Seismic explorations planned by Chinese Oil Company Sinopec have led the Ecuadorian eco-tourism company, Tropic, to close the internationally recognized and award-winning Huaorani Ecolodge, a community tourism program operated in conjunction with the Huaorani people on the fringes of Yasuní National Park. Tropic Ecuador will halt until further notice welcoming guests to the Huaorani Ecolodge (at the headwaters of the Amazon in the remote jungles of Ecuador). The announcement was made by Jascivan Carvalho, Founder and Director of Tropic Ecuador, a National Geographic award-winning ecotourism company based in Quito. Since 1994, Tropic has led tours through the country’s most engaging landscapes including into the rainforest region occupied by the Huaorani who, since 2008 with partner Tropic, have worked to stabilize a heretofore ecologically threatened region of the Ecuadorian Amazon, considered one of the world’s most biologically diverse. Planned seismic explorations for oil are scheduled to take place virtually atop a landscape that for millennia has been home to the Huaorani who only in the middle of the last century were introduced to civilization beyond the rainforest.

Westin Cooks up Competition for New ‘Eat Well Menu for Kids’


WASHINGTON, D.C.—From the fifth annual Building a Healthier Future Summit hosted by The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), which works with the private sector and PHA Honorary Chair First Lady Michelle Obama to make healthier choices easier for busy parents and families, Westin Hotels & Resorts announces its continued commitment to build healthier futures for children.

Revitalization of Existing Buildings at Heart of McMenamins’ Sustainability Approach


PORTLAND, ORE.—McMenamins has built a reputation in Oregon and Washington for revitalizing aging structures by converting them into useable spaces. It began its journey back in 1983 and now has 70 pubs and restaurants, 25 breweries, two distilleries, a winery, and 10 hotels. The hotels once had other uses. For example, McMenamins Anderson School in Bothell, Wash. was once Bothell Junior High. The historic Edgefield in Troutdale, Ore. was built in 1911 as the county poor farm. The Hotel Oregon in McMinnville, Ore., built in 1905, was once home to a restaurant and lounge, banquet hall, Greyhound bus depot, Western Union, soda fountain and beauty parlor. Next on McMenamins’ list for renovation is the old Elks Lodge in Tacoma, Wash. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was purchased by McMenamins along with the adjacent annex building in July 2012. Shannon McMenamin, General Manager of Lodging, Gift Shop and Spa Operations, says McMenamins is still in the “trying to recruit investors” stage. “The building is spectacular,” she says.

AH&LA Honors Many at Stars of the Industry Celebration


WASHINGTON, D.C.—The American Hotel & Lodging Assn. (AH&LA) announced the winners of its most prestigious prize: The Stars of the Industry Awards, honoring the nation’s top employees and properties for their outstanding accomplishments, service, and leadership in the hospitality and lodging industry.

Thousands of Marriott Volunteers Get in Spirit to Serve


BETHESDA, MD.—Tens of thousands of Marriott International associates worldwide have begun delivering Marriott’s brand of hospitality beyond hotel doors as part of the company’s 18th annual Spirit To Serve Our Communities Day volunteer initiative. Globally this year as part of Spirit To Serve, Marriott anticipated record breaking engagement, with nearly 35,000 associates in 50 countries expected to deliver about 90,000 volunteer hours—the equivalent of 30 years of work. The Spirit To Serve Our Communities Day took place on May 18.

Meliá Hotels Says New Serengeti Lodge to be ‘Off the Grid’


PALMA, MAJORCA, SPAIN—Meliá Hotels International recently announced three new hotels in Africa, Indian Ocean and Central Asia. The property in Africa, the Meliá Serengeti Lodge in Tanzania, scheduled to open in June 2017, will be Meliá Hotels International’s first green hotel. Located on the natural terraces on the southern slopes of Nyamuma, with spectacular views over the peaceful valley of the Mbalageti River, the hotel will be 45 minutes from Seronera Airport in the Serengeti National Park, the oldest and most popular National Park in Tanzania, on the western border of Lake Victoria, considered a World Heritage Site. To be located 700 meters below the peak of Nyamuma, the hotel will offer a perfect viewpoint for the annual migration of one million blue wildebeest, lions, leopards and 250,000 zebras which pass through the valley every year in search of rains and cooler pastures. Meliá Serengeti Lodge will sit on three natural terraces that descend from an elevated plateau, with the lodge located on the middle terrace.

HICAP Sustainable Hotel Awards Open for Entries


HONG KONG—Burba Hotel Network (BHN), Horwath HTL, and Stiles Capital Events, co-hosts and organizers of the annual Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP), announced that entries for the HICAP 2016 Sustainable Hotel Awards are now being accepted. The deadline for Awards submissions is August 1, 2016. The 27th annual HICAP will be held October 19 to 21, 2016, at the InterContinental Hong Kong.

Barclay Hotel Reopens Following 20-Month, $180 Million Renovation


ATLANTA—InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) announces the opening of the newly-renovated, InterContinental New York Barclay, which made its grand debut to New York society in 1926 as one of the original “Railroad” hotels. For generations the hotel served as one of New York’s most preferred addresses and now, The Barclay is celebrating its return following a $180 million, 20-month top-to-bottom renovation with more than 420,000 square feet of redesigned interiors. The revitalized hotel brings to life The Barclay Experience—quintessential New York sensibility, sustainable practices and a celebration of the thriving, fast-paced local culture, while continuing to offer international expertise. These touchpoints are expressed in all design details and service offerings at the renewed property, continuing its tradition of offering international travelers a residential experience of discreet elegance. In a responsible approach to business and service, the new Barclay aims to be the first hotel to align with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Becoming the benchmark of the hospitality industry, The Barclay is using the IHG Corporate Responsibility Pillars: Green Engage, IHG Academy and IHG Foundation.

Hilton Awards $320,000 to Properties Around the World


MCLEAN, VA.—Hilton Worldwide awarded more than $320,000 to the 117 recipients of the 2016 Travel with Purpose Action Grants. Grants are awarded to Hilton properties and corporate offices that submit the most creative ideas to drive value for their hotels and strengthen the local communities where they operate.

Vermont’s Taconic Hotel Accumulates Impressive Energy, Water Savings


MANCHESTER, VT.—Nestled in the midst of mountains, clean air and small town quaintness, sits a new hotel that not only offers its guests luxury and relaxing comfort, but minimizes its use of energy and water resources. Manchester, Vermont is home to the new Taconic Hotel, which opened its doors in December 2015. This 80,000-square-foot, four-story hotel boasts 87 guestrooms, three cottages, restaurant, library, boutique, fitness center, pools and meeting rooms. According to Energy Star, the average American hotel spends $2,196 on energy, each year, per available room. Reducing energy waste reduces that average cost. This is good for a hotel’s bottom line, in addition to improving guest comfort and helping the environment. The energy and water savings from the Taconic’s efficient design and construction are impressive. An estimated 600,700 kWh of electricity, 23,500 gallons of propane, and 418,000 gallons of water are saved per year. Carbon emissions are reduced by an estimated 995,500 pounds per year. Mark D’Angelo, an independent construction professional, managed all phases of the project representing the Taconic’s owners.

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