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I understand Marriott CEO J.W. Marriott Jr. to step down ·15 December 2011
J.W. Marriott Jr., who built the company his parents started as a District root beer stand into a global lodging giant, is stepping down as chief executive, ending a storied 39-year run that ushered in a new standard of dependable, middle-class hospitality for travelers around the region, the country and then the world.

New York hotel maids have had enough | ·30 June 2011
At the Sofitel Hotel, maids have demanded that they be allowed to wear trousers instead of skirts. The Sofitel management conceded to their request and says it is now in the process of reviewing all its other safety policies. Maids at the Pierre hotel in New York are taking self-defense classes from a second degree black belt instructor, who has taught them how to stomp on an assailant's foot or strike with a flat hand. Some New York maids have asked that they not be required to clean rooms while they're occupied.

Hotels Handing Fewer Rooms To Online Travel Agencies | The Washington Post ·11 May 2011
With more guests checking in, hotel companies are handing online travel agencies fewer rooms to sell, making it more difficult to find discounts. Room prices on sites such as Expedia, Orbitz and Priceline were on average $31, or 22 percent, lower than rates offered on hotel chain Web sites in the first quarter, according to the industry research firm Rubicon, which analyzes data supplied by Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Starwood, Gaylord and Intercontinental Hotels Group.

The ever-changing scene of hotel room amenities | ·22 March 2011
egad! -- there was no moisturizer to be found. Nor was there any shower gel for bathing, just plain old skin-drying soap. I was perplexed. Where were my favorite toiletries?

Virgin Hotels searching for Washington foothold | · 1 February 2011
Virgin Hotels has identified a few sites for its foray into the Washington lodging market, but is at least two years away from launching a property under its new flag, according to owner Richard Branson. Speaking at the American Lodging and Investment Summit here last week, Branson, founder of the Virgin Group empire, would not say where in the area he is looking but assured that the Washington market was a prime target.

Hotels rates to start rising in 2011 | ·31 January 2011
Consumers contemplating a getaway may want to book a hotel room sooner rather than later, as room rates are set to rise this year. Substantial increases of $10 or more are at least another year or two away, but the lodging industry plans to take advantage of improving market conditions. Several leading hotel operators including Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide and Starwood Hotels and Resorts are incrementally upping average daily rates in light of the return of leisure and business travel, and the relatively fixed supply of rooms given the lack of new construction.

Hilton, Starwood settle trade lawsuit | ·23 December 2010
Anyone looking forward to courtroom testimony in a corporate espionage lawsuit against Hilton Worldwide is in for disappointment. The McLean-based hotel giant has settled a lawsuit in which rival Starwood Hotels & Resorts accused Hilton of using stolen trade secrets to launch a niche brand called Denizen Hotels and advance other Hilton lines such as its Waldorf Astoria Collection.

iPad peace tours, as a hotel amenity | ·15 November 2010
There are no shortages of landmark tours in the District. Few, however, trace the steps of the peace movement, and even fewer do so by way of an iPad, like the Ritz-Carlton's latest vacation package. Guests of the luxury hotel can now purchase a stay starting at $319 per night that includes Apple's tablet computer, outfitted with the multimedia tour, as well as a peace-themed drink, dessert and trinket.

Marriott's growth plans include more hotel investments | · 1 November 2010
Marriott International last week outlined plans for substantial growth over the next three years, pledging to selectively use its own capital for loans, minority equity stakes and debt guarantees to aid developments that will fly the hotel giant's corporate flag.

Luxury hotels are offering eReaders as perks to their elite guests | ·17 August 2010
the robes, the private check-ins, the buttery bowls of complimentary popcorn -- the latest perk is a humble one. Stay in the lap of luxury . . . and read. This week, Fairmont Hotels announced that eReaders would be made available at certain hotels, but only to guests staying on the Gold Floors -- the "exclusive oases" that have Gold reception desks manned by Gold staff members who dedicate themselves to Gold guests, who are elite. The eReaders will be stocked with a variety of Random House titles; the concierges will be briefed on the content, allowing them to make recommendations to the discerning customer.

Ranking the Hotels: Five Top Reviewers | ·11 January 2010
The calculus for hotel rankings doesn't always add up: One reviewer's three-star property is another's five-star. Absent a universal standard for evaluating properties, a variety of entities have formulated their own criteria and judging techniques. The result for the traveler: mostly confusion. For a better read on the stars (and diamonds and pearls), we dissected the reviewing systems of five major players.

Marriott to shuffle its holdings | ·19 November 2009
The luxury Ritz-Carlton hotel chain will cease to be a stand-alone division under the Marriott International umbrella as part of a reorganization that the Bethesda-based company plans to complete by 2011. Marriott, the largest hotelier in the United States, until now has kept a firewall between its eponymous chain of mid-priced hotels and Ritz-Carlton, which is the company's high-end attraction.

Marriott launches an upscale franchise | Autograph Collection will partner with independent hotels | ·11 November 2009
Hospitality giant Marriott International is launching a new brand called the Autograph Collection, aimed at tapping customers who prefer independent, high-end hotels over brands such as Marriott, Hilton and Four Seasons. The Autograph Collection will allow independent hotels, many of whom have lost business in the recession, to maintain their character while using Marriott's massive reach to bring in more customers and save on costs.

At W Hotel, Steal the Ideas, Not the Robes | · 1 October 2009
All those fashionistas rushing through the new W Hotel lobby to make the scene at the rooftop bar may be missing the splashy design details that could soon end up in bedrooms, baths and living rooms across the region. The $90 million makeover of Washington's former Hotel Washington, which reopened in July, rebooted the dated lobby chandeliers by plugging in LED lights and dressed up bathrooms with bronze vessel sinks. In the bedrooms, the headboard for the 11-inch thick, plush-top mattresses is a built-in niche, backlit with amber light.

Calling for Backup | Inauguration Prompts Short Surge in Hospitality Industry's Workforce | ·23 December 2008
Hotel catering and event planning departments are in their glory, booking their calendars with inauguration events. Human resources staff are scrambling to find people to get all the work done. Legions of maids will be needed to clean more than 25,000 hotel rooms in the District, and dishwashers will be needed to scour plates after breakfasts, brunches, lunches, dinners and balls. Troops of waiters, room service employees and bartenders will cover the round-the-clock demands of guests.

He Runs a Dream Hotel. How Did He Manage That? | ·17 December 2008
The dream: Quitting your hamster-wheel job in a grinding city to run an enchanting hotel in the tropics, where the daily routine includes ocean swims and cocktails at sunset. The nightmare: The pool is under construction, and the guests are hot and desperate to swim; the hotel's snorkel equipment leaks and must be replaced; and a hurricane is brewing offshore. "This is not a job, it's a lifestyle," said Bob Gevinski, 40, who paused his life as a freelance photographer in Boston in October 2007 to manage the Hix Island House on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques. "When I was a guest here, I thought, 'How can I extend this feeling or make it part of my life?' "

Hotel Reflaggings | Wasn't that Hilton a Marriott last week? | ·26 November 2008
Wasn't that Hilton a Marriott last week? What travelers need to know as hotels suffer from an identity crisis. The hotel at 2100 Massachusetts Avenue NW near Dupont Circle in Washington has changed names. Again. When Al Gore grew up there in the '50s and '60s, the building was called the Fairfax Hotel, and it was home to the Jockey Club, a saloon for Washington's power players. The last time I stayed there, about a decade ago, it was called the Ritz-Carlton. But the sheik who owned the property fell out with Ritz and peevishly renamed it "the hotel formerly known as Ritz-Carlton." Then it became the Luxury Collection, the Westin Fairfax, and the Westin Embassy Row. The sign on the door now says "The Fairfax at Embassy Row.".

iPhone: Forget the Front Desk: Hotels Go High Tech | ·13 October 2008
Runtriz, a software firm out of Hollywood, CA, is aiming to bring hotels up to speed. Following a series of quiet test runs at other LA hotels, they've debuted a product called "Hotel Evolution" at the Malibu Beach Inn in Malibu, CA. When a guest checks into the hotel, they're asked if they have an iPhone or iPod Touch. If they do, the hotel staff will load the Runtriz Hotel web application to the device. If they don't, they're given a 16gb iPod Touch (with the application pre-loaded, of course) to keep for the duration of their stay. Once you've punched in your room number and security code, all of the hotel's service offerings are but a click away. Straight from the device's screen, you can order room service, set a wake up call, request your luggage, dry cleaning, or car (or if you're going all out, a limo), request linens or toiletries, check your messages, or set your room to "Do Not Disturb". They also provide information about nearby nightlife, attractions, and shopping.

Expensive Checkout | AIG Executive Retreat Irks Lawmakers | · 8 October 2008
A few days after the federal government unveiled an $85 billion bailout package for the insurance company AIG, executives from one of the firm's subsidiaries went on a week-long retreat to the St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach, Calif. The tab: $443,000. A copy of AIG American General's invoice from the St. Regis is available after the jump.

Whole Travel Launches Rating System To Keep Eco-Friendly Hotels Honest | ·30 September 2008
The "green" incarnation of travel, called ecotourism, mandates that travelers minimize their cultural, economic, and environmental impacts as much as possible to promote sustainability. But while there are thousands of hotels worldwide that promote themselves as "green", many of them are only partially fulfilling these requirements - they might not be wasting energy, but are paying locals at near-slave wages, or funneling money out of the local economy.


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