You think Toronto is going crazy with hotels? Check out New York City
Yeah, we've got a new Ritz-Carlton up on Wellington. And a new Shangri-La coming soon. And a Trump tower. And the new Four Seasons. And the Thompson and the latest Le Germain down at Maple Leaf Square.
But we don't hold a proverbial candle to the Big Apple. Word this week from irascible Mayor Michael Bloomberg is that New York will reach a remarkable 90,000 hotel rooms by the end of the year. And that's a lot of flat-screen TV's and tiny bottles of shampoo.
The city that never sleeps (in which case, why do they need hotels?) is set for a whopping 24 per cent increase in hotel rooms since 2006. Toronto has its so-called five-star faceoff from the big boys but NYC has more than 7,000 rooms in the pipeline.
One interesting trend is that 40 per cent of the rooms are outside Manhattan, in boroughs such as Brooklyn, and in Long Island City in the borough of Queens. Long Island City has the Museum of the Moving Image and quick subway service to Manhattan. There also are several TV and film studios in the area.
According to Barb De Lollis in USA Today, brands that have built in Queens include the Four Points by Sheraton, Fairfield Inn, Country Inn & Suites, and Holiday Inn. Next month, the Wyndham Garden Long Island City will open. Some independent hotels have also made the leap across the river including the Ravel and the Verve Hotel. The 100-room Z NYC, where Bloomberg made his remarks, opened in July with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline.
"Another 40 or so new projects will open citywide in the next 30 months, about 13 of them outside of Manhattan, bringing 1,865 rooms to the outer boroughs, according to NYC & Co.," De Lollis wrote. "Despite the lull in the economy, the New York City tourism industry appears to be healthy, with 48.8 million visitors last year and a record number of visitors expected this year. Hotel occupancy is close to 85 percent, according to NYC & Co."
De Lollis quotes an October 2011 U.S. construction report as stating there are 310,387 hotel rooms slated to be built nationwide, a 9-percent decrease compared to October 2010.
"New room supply growth will remain muted for the overall industry in the coming years," Vail Brown, vice president of global sales and marketing at the research firm STR, said in a statement. "An exception is the New York City market; they are in the middle of a new hotel construction explosion."
Nashville reported the largest increase in rooms. Both Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., also reported healthy increases, De Lollis reports. For the first time in years, Las Vegas was not in the top five for new construction. Chicago had the largest decrease.
STARWOOD AND FAIRMONT EXPANDING IN ASIA
As strong as New York is going, things might even be hotter over in Asia right now.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. this week announced it has surpassed the 200th hotel milestone with a flurry of recent openings in China (see photo below of the Qiandao Lake Resort in China), India, Thailand and Malaysia. Starwood continues to widen its lead as the largest operator of four and five star hotels in Asia Pacific with plans to reach over 320 hotels by 2014, the company said in a statement.
“The opening of our 200th hotel in Asia Pacific underscores the vitality of this market and its importance to our future growth,” said Frits van Paasschen, President & CEO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. “Demand for our high-caliber brands continues to soar across Asia’s many dynamic markets, driven by phenomenal economic growth and significant increases in outbound travel, particularly from China and India.”
There were only 80 Starwood hotels in Asia Pacific in 2001.
Starwood now has 86 hotels open in China and nearly 100 more in development and expects to open one hotel in China every two weeks through the end of 2011, officials said. Nearly half of Starwood’s future hotels in China will fly the Sheraton flag.
India is now Starwood’s fourth largest market and a close second to China in terms of future hotel development. Starwood now has more four and five star hotels than any other hotel company in India, where it expects to open its 50th hotel in 2013 and have 100 hotels either open or in development by 2015.
Fairmont is a much smaller, more tightly focussed brand than the multi-tiered Starwood. But they're also expanding in China, with word this week of a new Fairmont in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province.
Chengdu is a centre for technology, business, finance and communications in Western China and the airport is said to be moving into the top five in China, so it makes sense for a luxury brand like Fairmont.
The note I got says the hotel "is situated within the Palm Springs International Centre in Tianfu New Town." No word if they'll have shows by Sammy Davis Jr or Frank Sinatra...