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“Australia and New Zealand are a natural fit for us, as these
destinations have become increasingly appealing to travelers
striving to create truly individualized, extraordinary getaways,”
said Ron Letterman, chairman of Classic Vacations.
Travelers who book a Classic trip to Australia and New Zealand
can participate in activities ranging from snorkeling the Great
Barrier Reef to enjoying a candlelit dinner in the rainforest to
riding a camel to a wine tasting all while staying at preeminent
hotels and resorts.
Classic is offering agents who book a Classic Vacations trip to
Australia or New Zealand a bonus of 50 Classic STAR (Special Travel
Agent Rewards) points, which can be used toward cash or
familiarization trips to a number of luxurious destinations. With
the Classic STAR program, agents can earn one point for every $100
in sales on all qualified bookings. The new promotion awards agents
50 extra STAR points when they book any Classic Australia or New
Zealand package. Each qualified trip must be booked by June 30 for
travel by Dec. 31 and must include the Classic Travel Smart Plan
program. A brochure featuring Classic Vacations’ current offerings
to Australia and New Zealand is currently being shipped to travel
Starwood Hotels & Resorts has announced that it will
overhaul its Waikiki properties. The plans include a June 1
rebranding of the Sheraton Moana Surfrider into a Westin property.
The classic hotel will also undergo renovations to guestrooms and
the lobby. The hotel’s Surfrider Tower will feature a full-service
spa. A Westin Kids Club will also be added to the property.
Renovations to the historic Royal Hawaiian Hotel will include
relocating its entrance to accommodate an expanded Royal Gardens. A
new porte cochere will also be added. Starwood is presently
contemplating a renovation of the hotel’s pool and beach area and
to the Surf Room Restaurant, Mai Tai Bar and Monarch Room.
The Sheraton Waikiki is also undergoing an upgrade to the porte
cochere, lobby and front desk area. The hotel’s food and beverage
venues will be upgraded, as well. Starwood is also working on
designs for a pool and recreation center for the area between the
Sheraton Waikiki and the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Renovations to the
Princess Kaiulani are still in the planning stages.
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is offering a little taste of
Tinseltown in honor of the 79th Annual Academy Awards. Clients can
live like stars with great rates through February at properties
that include London’s Savoy; the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, a
favorite of the Hollywood elite; The Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort
& Club, which recently finished a $100 million renovation as
well as hosted three-time Oscar-winner Jack Nicholson; and A-list
favorite the Fairmont Chateau Whislter. Agents enrolled in the
Fairmont FAmous program can also take advantage of exclusive
savings on their own star-studded vacation.
The Grand Avenue development in downtown Los Angeles will
feature a Mandarin Oriental Hotel. The hotel will occupy the first
20 floors of a 48-story tower designed by famed architect Frank
Gehry. The 275-room hotel is expected to open in Summer 2010. One
of its most dramatic features will be a soaring entrance lobby that
will take full advantage of its location opposite Gehry’s Walt
Disney Concert Hall.
The Grand Avenue development will also include a broad array of
retail venues, including a 50,000-square-foot specialty food
market, a major bookstore, a food hall, a 35,000-square-foot
premier health club, a 25,000-square-foot event facility, signature
retailers and specialty apparel shops.
Joel Abels, the longtime editor and publisher of Travel Trade,
passed away on Jan. 26 at the age of 80. Abels, and his wife,
Lenore, edited and published Travel Trade for nearly half a
Abels was known as a pioneer and a visionary in the travel
industry. He was an outspoken advocate for travel agents and their
role in the travel distribution system. His efforts on behalf of
the industry included testifying before Congress.
Abels was the recipient of numerous accolades, including an
induction into the ASTA Hall of Fame and the Cruise Line
International Association industry Hall of Fame.
Funeral arrangements were pending as of press time.