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World's Best Hotel Bars

After a long day sightseeing or working, it is comforting for guests to know that they can simply retire to their hotel bar for a drink, and reflect on the day's experiences.

Pizza Hut Named Most Trusted Food Service Brand in India by the Economic Times for the Sixth Year

The Economic Times' (India) Brand Equity Most Trusted Brands 2010 annual survey has named Pizza Hut the "Most Trusted Food Service Brand' in India for the sixth year, ahead of all other Indian and global food service brands. Pizza Hut is also the only restaurant company to place in the Top 20 Service Brands list. KFC India was recognized for the first time by the survey with a spot in the top five of trusted food service brands. Pizza Hut and KFC India are part of Yum! Restaurants International (YRI), a division of Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM), the world's largest restaurant company in terms of system units.

InterContinental creates new marketing roles

The company has recruited Joe Ferry as senior vice president for global guest experience and design from Virgin Atlantic.

Hyatt Hotels launches first branded credit card

Hyatt Hotel customers will soon have a new way to earn rewards. The hotel company and Chase Card Services announced the launch of Hyatt Visa credit card. Use the card once and Hyatt members will receive two nights at any Hyatt anywhere in the world, redeemable within one year.

DLF may outsource mgmt of luxury resorts to Hilton

NEW DELHI: DLF, India's largest real estate firm, is in advanced talks with Hilton Hotels and Resorts to outsource management of its super luxury vacation homes that will include villas as well as apartments in an upcoming project in Kasauli. This is one of the few such deals where a hotel chain will manage the whole project as typically in vacation homes villas are sold outright even as hospitality firms manage apartments.

London Marriott and Moran Hotels appointments

The London Marriott Grosvenor Square has appointed three new executive staff, including a new general manager.

John Hazard, previously general manager at Bristol Royal Marriott, joins the Mayfair hotel with further experience gleaned from Comfort Inn, Choice Hotels and Premier Lodge.

He is also joined by Georgina Evagora, director of sales and marketing, and Moira Azzopardi, the new director of revenue strategy.

Hazard said: "I hope that the hotel will benefit from my previous experience and I look forward to working alongside both Georgina and Moira during my time here."

Moran Hotels

Meanwhile, the 120-bedroom Chiswick Moran Hotel has appointed Josh Cameron, a Moran Hotels staple, as its new general manager.

Having worked with Moran Hotels for nine years, most recently as front office manager at Crown Moran Hotel, Cameron will now oversee the day-to-day operation of the Chiswick property.

He replaces Ben Lawrence, who moves to Bewley's Hotel in Leeds, a sister property to Moran Hotels, as general manager. 

Hotel Chains Try Training With Improv and iPods

Before two luxury hotels, the Andaz 5th Avenue in Manhattan and the Elysian Hotel in Chicago, opened their doors in recent months, both added something extra to their usual employee training practices: they hired improvisational comedy experts.

The Benjamin, an upscale business travel hotel also in New York, took a similar tack to help its staff better serve guests, offering them a series of life-coaching sessions this summer.

Other hotel brands — including Hilton Garden Inn, Aloft, Homewood Suites and SpringHill Suites — are using devices like iPods and the Sony PlayStation Portable to help with staff training.

The courses, which are offered in addition to more traditional classroom and online training, are part of an effort by hotels to distinguish their brand, said Bjorn Hanson, divisional dean of the Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management at New York University.

"There are 228 hotel brands in the United States, and the two ways to be distinctive are design and service," he said. "Service can be a great differentiator." Hotels, he added, "are in a period of experimentation. Some brands are employing skills unrelated to the lodging industry to transform service styles and delivery."

The use of devices like iPods and the PlayStation Portable in training has a couple of advantages, hotel executives say. The devices appeal to younger employees, who, in many cases, already use them at home. The content is also relatively inexpensive to create.

Homewood Suites has spent as much as $250,000 to create a 20-minute training DVD, said Dawn Koenig, vice president for brand performance support at the chain. A 20-minute video iPod training module, meanwhile, costs $30,000 to $50,000, which means it is also cheaper to update and translate into languages other than English.

Tom Yorton, chief executive of Second City Communications, which provides improvisation and other training to corporate clients, said "the Web has shaped how people learn." Teaching, he added, "has to be shorter, punchier, more entertaining and more interactive." Second City Communications is a subsidiary of the Second City, the Chicago improvisational theater.

The Elysian, a luxury hotel that opened last December, hired Billy Bungeroth, a resident director at the Second City and a freelance improv teacher, to work with employees in sales, catering, security, concierge and other positions.

The goal was to foster "intuitive service," said Jennifer Lee, the Elysian's learning and development director. "Service by most luxury hotels is based on scripts. We want our people to have interactions with guests; improv gave them tools that enabled them to be successful with their intuition."

The needs of the Andaz 5th Avenue, which opened in July, were different from the Elysian's: Andaz hotels (part of Hyatt) do not have registration desks or traditional employees like porters, front desk workers or concierges. Rather, they employ "hosts," who greet guests as they arrive, check them in and cater to their needs.

"Guests come from all angles, and training needs to be unconventional," said Jonathan Frolich, general manager of the Andaz 5th Avenue.

Thus, the hotel hired Chicago City Limits, an improvisational group in New York that also does corporate training, to develop a course to improve hosts' communications skills, help them read guests' body language and establish an immediate rapport with guests, said Linda Gelman, the group's producer.

This summer, the Benjamin hired the Handel Group, an executive coaching company, to offer a series of life-coaching sessions to 10 staff members, including the general manager, sales and marketing executives and members of the wait staff. The goal of the sessions, said the hotel's general manager, Andrew Labetti, was to help employees "set goals for their lives, set dreams of how they want their life to be." He added, "If we help staff make real changes in their lives, create wellness for themselves, this will affect the guest experience."

Marriott's SpringHill Suites and Homewood Suites, an extended-stay Hilton brand, both were pioneers in using devices for staff training, starting in 2007. SpringHill Suites uses the Sony PSP and Homewood, video iPods. Aloft, a midprice Starwood brand, began using iPods to train its staff in early 2009, while Hilton Garden Inn began using the PSP for training last year.

Kathy Crabtree, director of design and development for SpringHill Suites and other Marriott brands, acknowledged that one risk of these devices is that they can depersonalize training. "The use of technology is important, but we will never go strictly to technology," she said.

Hotels are looking to the new forms of training to "make their learning stick," said Ron Doney, a former Marriott executive who now is president of Think Up Consulting in Greenville, S.C., which specializes in corporate training and advises SpringHill Suites and other hotel brands.

"The more engaging and fun training is for adults, the easier it is to recall memorable concepts when they need to on the job," he said.

Four Points by Sheraton launches "Feel Good Treats"

Four Points by Sheraton hotels in Asia Pacific recently announced the introduction of "Feel Good Treats", a program created to pamper guests staying at Four Points by Sheraton hotels, with the ultimate comfort food. These 'feel good treats' are country specific comfort foods that as per their name make guests 'feel good'. Available in participating hotels in Asia Pacific, the Feel Good Treat program is offered in restaurants and public areas as complimentary treats.  

"Four Points by Sheraton is all about life's simple pleasures, uncomplicated comfort and the small things that make people smile when they are on leisure or business travel.  When we set out to create this program, our goal was to curate a unique selection of items that truly bring to life the brand's personality and core values," Paula Fong, Senior Manager for Brand Management for Aloft and Four Points by Sheraton hotels.  "The newly introduced Feel Good Treats program reflects the brand's promise of an uncomplicated experience. These local treats comfort and surprise guests with the sensation, flavors and pleasure – a simple but effective gesture that will make their travels that much more enjoyable.  This simple and straight-forward approach, once again positions Four Points by Sheraton as a leader in creating a memorable hotel experiences around the need of its guests".

The Feel Good Treats program is part of the Four Points by Sheraton Simple Pleasures initiative that offers little indulgences to Four Points Guests: along with the Feel Good Treats program, the Simple Pleasure Program includes The Four Points by Sheraton Four Comfort Bed, The Four Points by Sheraton Four Comfort Bath and the Best Brews Program.

In conjunction with the launch of Four Points by Sheraton Feel Good Treats program, Four Points by Sheraton will run an exciting 3 month long campaign starting 27 September wherein guests can vote for their favorite treat. Guests who have cast the winning vote also stand to win a 2 night's free stay for 2 persons at any Four Points by Sheraton in Asia Pacific and a complimentary year's supply of free feel good treat specific to that country.

Quality logo for Indian seafood launched

 The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) has launched its export quality logo with the objective of obtaining greater credibility and confidence for Indian seafood products in international markets. It has been registered with the Trademark / Copyright and Registration in India as well as in the three major markets of the US, the EU and Japan. In terms of quality, the logo-affixed products are expected to have uniform superior quality and also abide by higher standards in organoleptic and bacteriological standards. The affixing of the quality logo would enhance the appeal of the product among the buyers.

The introduction of the new logo was expected to improve and extend the market for Indian seafood products, said Anwar Hashim, president of the Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI).

The backing by a government authority would facilitate the small and medium players to better establish themselves in the global markets. Nila Seafoods of Tuticorin has become the first Indian manufacturer / exporter to be awarded the MPEDA quality logo. While constantly striving to improve their infrastructure and their products, the company has one of the most sophisticated and best processing plants in India. The logo is expected to give a shot in the arm to Nila, a major exporter to the Japanese seafood markets.

Chocolate pills and fast food scented candles – the trends hitting the global market

Chocolate pills and fast food scented candles are among the world's newest consumer goods identified by Product Launch Analytics. The new products have helped predict trends which consumers could start to see on the high street in the coming months.

Cesar Pereira, Research Manager at Product Launch Analytics, said "The new innovations hitting the global market both in terms of packaging and formulation give consumers in the Middle East a glimpse of what's to come. Looking at this month's launches, the trend for functional products which satisfy more than one need is leading the way. Shoppers in our region should watch out for more of these sorts of products."

Spanish manufacturer Pancracio has launched "Chocolate Pill,", a product which claims to extend life expectancy and enhance energy levels. The name Uno Al Dia, which means one a day, gives it a quasi-pharmaceutical feel. Pancracio claims that the product not only provides protection from free radicals but also extends life expectancy and enhances energy levels.

Creating a fragrance in your house at the same time as satisfying a craving could soon become the norm if a fast food candle launched in the US is a success. The candle from American brand White Castle is claimed to smell of burger and onions and could give consumers their fast food fix without piling on the calories.

Another multi-functional product comes from Nestle in Brazil. The yogurt, which tastes like an ice cream but is chilled rather than frozen, could pave the way for similar products. The Chamyto 1+1 Ice Strawberry Yogurt is said to replicate the taste sensation of ice cream by adding a compartment of minted cereals to strawberry yogurt.

Commenting on this month's new launches, Cesar Pereira, Research Manager at Product Launch Analytics, said: "There is a clear focus on innovation in flavour and composition rather than ingredients. The chocolate pills are an example of the growing trend which we're seeing build month-on-month, where chocolate is being used to deliver health benefits. Looking at the innovations which are being launched globally gives us an insight into what our local consumers will soon have access to.

California Pizza Kitchen forays into Indian market

California Pizza Kitchen Inc. (CPK), home to the Original BBQ Chicken Pizza and other innovative hearth-baked pizzas, made-to-order pastas, creative salads, appetizers, soups, sandwiches and desserts, has announced the opening of its first restaurant in India.

This is opened by the newly launched franchise partnership company called JSM GGC Restaurants Pvt. Ltd, a joint-venture between Mumbai-based JSM Corporation and Dubai-based Gourmet Gulf Company. The restaurant is located in the upscale Bandra Kurla commercial district of Mumbai.

BKC is a growing commercial hub which hosts a variety of corporations and points of interest such as the American Embassy, NSE, Citibank and two of India's top schools: The American School and the Dhirubhai Ambani School.

The new CPK restaurant is located on the ground floor of Maker Maxity, a commercial complex, which hosts numerous corporations including several multinational companies.

Further, the JV also aims to open 15 California Pizza Kitchen restaurants across India over the next 5 years. Jay Singh, executive director and co-founder of JSMGGC, speaking on the launch, says, "We are thrilled to be associated with California Pizza Kitchen as it has shown tremendous results both in the US and the new countries in which they have opened, and are very bullish on the success in India."

Danone whips up yogurts for India

Danone, world's leading fresh dairy company, has arrived in India with its range of fortified plain and flavoured yogurts "Danone Dahi."

As a part of the phased launch programme in India, Danone yogurts have been initially made available across super marts and grocery stores in Mumbai and Pune.

Danone Dahi is priced at Rs 27 for 400 gm and Rs 14 for 150 gm. Danone flavoured yogurts (strawberry, mango and vanilla) are attractively priced at Rs 10 each for 100 gm pack size. Danone fortified yogurts have a shelf life of 15 days.

Danone fortified yogurts pack a powerful nutritious punch, providing a good source of iron, iodine, zinc and Vitamin A in every cup. Danone as a brand strives to provide wholesome and delicious foods that promote a healthy lifestyle and is best explained by its tagline "Dahi that keeps you smiling."

Global f&b players launching healthier products

Global food and beverage companies have developed and introduced to the marketplace more than 20,000 healthier product choices from 2002 to 2009, doubling in the last three years, according to the Washington-based Grocery Manufacturers Association's (GMA) 2010 Health & Wellness survey.

"This data is a reflection of what consumers already know," said Pamela Bailey, GMA president and CEO. "Food and beverage companies are responding to consumer needs by providing thousands of healthier product choices that make it easier for shoppers to build a healthy diet for them and their families."

The 2010 GMA Health & Wellness survey data were collected and analysed by Georgetown Economic Services. Fifty-seven companies, representing approximately half of the US food and beverage sales, have shared data for the survey since 2002.

Through the survey, food and beverage companies revealed they collectively have:
● Eliminated or reduced trans fat in more than 10,000 product choices.
● Eliminated or reduced saturated fat in more than 6600 product choices.
● Reduced sugar/carbohydrates in more than 3700 product choices.
● Reduced the calorie content of more than 3500 product choices.
● Reduced sodium in more than 3000 product choices.

Additional survey highlights include:
● About 93% of participant companies are developing, introducing and marketing healthier products.
● About 91% of participant companies actively promote healthy lifestyles in the marketplace.
● About 52% of participant companies have created child-specific product sizes.
● About 49% of participant companies have introduced single-serve packaging (e.g., 100-calorie packs).
● Since 2002 food and beverage companies have spent more than $130 million in nutrition and health-related activities and grants to communities.
● About 98% of participant companies have workplace wellness programs for their employees.     

Fssai sends final draft regulations to Govt

India is in the final stages of implementing its Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), 2006. Under the FSSA 2006, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (Fssai) was established with the mandate to establish science-based standards for articles of food, regulate the manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import of food and to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption.

The Authority has announced second meeting of its Central Advisory Committee (CAC) on October 22, 2010. "The second meeting of the Central Advisory Committee is scheduled to be held on October 22, 2010 at 10.30 am under the chairmanship of VN Gaur, Chief Executive Officer," Fssai said in its invitation.

"The venue and agenda of the meeting will be intimated shortly. However, in this regard you are requested to suggest some relevant subjects or matter to be included in the agenda of the meeting," it added.

The invitation has been sent to over 50 food & beverage delegates including Dr PI Suvrathan, chairman and SB Dongre, director of the Fssai. The first CAC meeting was held on January 19, 2010. It discussed FSSA draft regulations.

The Fssai's CAC ensures cooperation between food authority and the enforcement agencies and advise on proposal for the authority's work programme, prioritisation of work, identifying potential risks, knowledge pooling, such other functions as may be specified by regulations. CAC meet regularly thrice a year or upon invitation.

Based on the comments received from the stakeholders and input from the review committee, the FSSA draft regulations were modified again and reviewed by the Fssai in April 2010 for approval. The Fssai has sent the final draft Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Regulations, 2010, to India's central government for final approval. When the final approval is granted, a notification will be published in India's Official Gazette.

Dr PI Suvrathan, in an article that appeared in the May 2010 issue of the Fssai newsletter, has predicted that the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 is expected to be rolled out all over the country by September 2010.

He also stated that with the finalisation of the rules and regulations for transition to the new integrated food law, "India thus joins a group of advanced nations in adopting an integrated food law in line with international best practices, adopting a scientific approach to development of food standards."

Singapore’s culinary discovery in India


Celebrated as Asia's Food Capital, Singapore has taken a step towards tempting global palates with an exotic Indian twist, through a Culinary Exchange programme organised by the Singapore Tourism Board in partnership with leading hotel chains including the ITC-Welcomgroup, the Gateway Hotel and Oriental Cuisines in Delhi and Chennai.

Intended to begin a dialogue with the local food industry, this unique culinary exchange programme encouraged executive chefs from Singapore's Capella, Fullerton and Sentosa Resort & Spa hotels to a week-long immersion into the culturally rich, diverse, authentic and exotic culinary landscape of India.

Under the expert guidance of India's finest chefs from celebrated hotels like the ITC- Welcomgroup, the Gateway Hotel and Oriental Cuisines, chefs Goh Yek Wei (Capella Singapore), Michael Leibl & Ancella Loo (The Sentosa Resort & Spa) and Richard Ng (The Fullerton Singapore) got the opportunity to learn about the rich royal heritage of North Indian cuisine as well as the scrumptious Coastal Fare of South Indian gastronomy, through a range of cooking demonstrations, interactive workshops and an exchange of ideas.

"With cuisine becoming an integral part of any traveller's holiday experience, the Culinary Exchange Programme has been designed by the Singapore Tourism Board in recognition of the growing appeal for fusion cuisine, inspired by authentic traditions from a culture", says Ms Jessica Sim, Area Director, North & East India, Singapore Tourism Board. "Singapore boasts some of the finest world cuisine and in a step towards reinforcing its food capital profile; this Chef Culinary programme has been introduced to initiate cross-exposure of Singaporean and Indian cuisine. We are grateful to have the participation of an eminent team of chefs from the ITC-Welcomgroup, The Gateway Hotels and Oriental Cuisines for lending their expertise towards ensuring the success of the Culinary Exchange Programme."

The programme was the demonstration of iconic Singaporean dishes like Laksa, Chicken Satay, Chilli Prawn and Kway Teow presented by the visiting chefs. This was followed by a showcase of Indian dishes with a touch of Singapore inspiration, created by the Indian chefs.

This visit marked the second phase of the Culinary Exchange Programme, following a successful workshop undertaken by Top Indian Chefs to discover, explore the cultural influences and learn about Singaporean cuisine in March 2010.

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Taj West End ranks 1st in India and 2nd among the Top Business Hotels in World

The Taj West End, Bangalore has been adjudged 2nd amongst the top overseas business hotels in World in the prestigious "Conde Nast Readers Travel awards 2010". The hotel topped on various parameters including service, value for money, comfort and luxury offered to the guests. The Taj West End scored an impressive 93.22 points out of 100, just marginally behind The Peninsula Hong Kong who scored a 93.79

Bengaluru, Karnataka, September 7, 2010 /India PRwire/ -- The Taj West End, Bangalore has been adjudged 2nd amongst the top overseas business hotels in World in the prestigious "Conde Nast Readers Travel awards 2010". The hotel topped on various parameters including service, value for money, comfort and luxury offered to the guests. The Taj West End scored an impressive 93.22 points out of 100, just marginally behind The Peninsula Hong Kong who scored a 93.79. Conde Nast Traveller UK, specializes in luxury travel and reviews of hotels, products, and services aiming at a proportion of its space at business travelers. It also rates travel destinations and travel facilities such as hotels and airlines. The ratings emerge primarily from the annual readers' survey, which results in the Readers' Choice Awards. The Condé Nast Traveller Readers Travel Awards relies on its audience to nominate the best travel experiences across the globe. The winners are selected by an independent research company, which receives a mass of responses from readers choosing the 'cream of the crop' in a variety of categories including hotels, airlines, tour operators, spas and destinations. The readers vote for the things they really like on parameters such as service and value for money. The ratings are an index of satisfaction with travel facilities and services, scored out of a maximum of 100. The full award listings appear in the October issues. It is the definitive guide to the most important places around the globe for the affluent UK globetrotters. This leading publication features breathtaking locations, stunning photography and independent travel articles, all of which make Condé Nast Traveller the recognized authority in the field. It is the premier magazine for people with a passion for travel, adventure, culture and new ideas. The monthly magazine enjoys a high circulation and is read by over 500,000 discerning, intelligent and high spending men and women. It is recognized as a unique magazine and the UK's only dedicated monthly travel glossy. The Taj West End though built in 1887, as the city's first hotel and set at the heart of a dynamic business city, is an experience of luxury in refined style and warm relaxed comfort. The property has a total of 117 suites and rooms, designed with an intimate attention to detail where guests can enjoy the landscaped beauty of the surrounding environment. Each of the rooms have liberating private balconies or verandahs, luxurious bathrooms, contemporary furniture and a vibrant colour scheme that enhance the modern yet warm appeal of the interiors. Rooms are equipped with WiFi, Plasma screen TV's, 24-hour butler service, business and secretarial services. Taj West End has constantly striven to pioneer new innovations in technology and services to its corporate travellers. The telepresence facility in the hotel has increased the productivity, and improved long-distance collaboration and decision-making. The technology allows a global company to make better use of its top management's time. Said Mr. Sanjay Sood, General Manager, Taj West End, Bangalore, "The readers of Conde Nast are considered to be the most sophisticated and discerning by nature, and being voted in top 2 overseas business hotel is an achievement in itself. We would like to earnestly thank the incredible team at the Taj West End who have been providing world class service to guests. We would also like to express gratitude to our patrons for their constant support and belief in us."

About Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces Established in 1903, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces is one of Asia's largest and finest group of hotels, comprising 67 hotels in 45 locations across India with an additional 16 international hotels in the Maldives, Malaysia, Australia, UK, USA, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Africa and the Middle East. From world-renowned landmarks to modern business hotels, idyllic beach resorts to authentic Grand Palaces, each Taj hotel offers an unrivalled fusion of warm Indian hospitality, world-class service and modern luxury. The Taj, a symbol of Indian hospitality, has recently completed the centenary of its landmark hotel, The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Mumbai. Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces is part of the Tata Group, India's premier business house.

Notes to Editor

About Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces

Established in 1903, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces is one of Asia's largest and finest group of hotels, comprising 67 hotels in 45 locations across India with an additional 16 international hotels in the Maldives, Malaysia, Australia, UK, USA, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Africa and the Middle East. From world-renowned landmarks to modern business hotels, idyllic beach resorts to authentic Grand Palaces, each Taj hotel offers an unrivalled fusion of warm Indian hospitality, world-class service and modern luxury. The Taj, a symbol of Indian hospitality, has recently completed the centenary of its landmark hotel, The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Mumbai. Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces is part of the Tata Group, India's premier business house.

Berggruen plans new India hotel

Berggruen Hotels is continuing its expansion into India with new hotel plans.

By Southall Travel -Tuesday, September 07, 2010 07:17 AM

Berggruen plans new India hotelBerggruen Hotels is continuing its expansion into India with new hotel plans.

Under the company's Keys branding, it is expected the Mumbai hotel will be ideal for the mid-market and could appeal to holidaymakers enjoying cheap flights to India.

Keys Hotels is set to work with Nestor Hotels in transforming an existing property in to a new 140 room resort in Marol, Andheri East. The new establishment will benefit from being located close to both international and domestic airports, as well as the key industrial cities of MIDC and Sakinaka.

Sanjay Sethi, managing director and chief executive officer of Berggruen Hotels, said: "We are delighted in having signed this management contract with Nestor Hotels and look forward to partnering them through this venture."

He added the upgrade project is expected to take around six months and will help to establish the Keys branding in the Indian region.

Berggruen Hotels currently own over 30 different sites in India including resorts in Pune, Raipur and Kochi.

Written by Alex Cochrane.

Kamlesh Barot, Director, Barot Hotels elected as President of HRAWI

Kamlesh Barot, Director, Barot Hotels Pvt Ltd has been elected as President, Hotel & Restaurant Association Western India (HRAWI) at the Annual General Meeting, which was held at West End Hotel, Mumbai for 2010-2011. Currently, Dr A B Kerkar is President of Honour, Dinesh Advani is Senior Vice President, Sudheer Bahl is Vice President, Gogi Kohli is Secretary, Bharat Malkani is Joint Secretary and Dilip Datwani is Treasurer of HRAWI. Barot has worked in the capacity of an executive committee member of the association for 14 years.

Barot urged the association to help him with their desired expectation from HRAWI. He added, "During my tenure as President, I and my team would sketch up a task list for us to accomplish, from your suggestions."

Barot also announced that the Regional Convention in July 2011 will be held in Lavasa, Maharashtra. Also, for the first time a new committee 'Inclusive and Environment' has been formed. Barot has invited suggestions regarding the same from the association members. The pre-budget memorandum of the five states of western region is supposed to be submitted to FHRAI by October 2010.

Dedicated doorman at Hyatt Regency Tampa has never missed day of work

If you've been to the Hyatt Regency Tampa in the past 25 years, you've probably met Antonio de Sousa of St. Petersburg. That's how long he has been the welcome committee, traffic maestro and human GPS at the 520-room hotel. "I am just a doorman,'' de Sousa says, with characteristic humility.

Tired tourists, cranky conventioneers, jittery brides — all get the star treatment, same as the celebrities he has greeted, ranging from Carol Channing to Mr. T.

"My standard is the Drake, the five-star hotel where I trained to be a professional bellman," he said, referencing the venerable 1920 landmark on Chicago's Michigan Avenue, his only previous hotel employment.

Born in Portugal and raised in France, de Sousa exudes Old World charm. In his mind, the Hyatt is a castle and its guests are royalty.

"I treat them like kings, like they are my personal guests," he says.

General manager Derrick Morrow calls de Sousa the mayor of Tampa Street.

CEOs shake his hand. Secretaries stop for hugs en route to cars and offices. Power lunchers hand off car keys.

"The greatest thing about Antonio is his ability to develop relationships with everyone," says Morrow.

Nothing ruffles him.

Not even evacuating beauty pageant contestants as a hurricane brewed and threatened.

"I take it very seriously,'' says de Sousa, who knows dozens of "regulars" by name, car and sometimes, tip.

"Enjoy it, and the tips come automatically," he says, noting generosity can be geographic. "Guests from up North tip more." On a busy night, he'll pocket $100 or more.

And, drumroll, please…

The doorman has never missed a day of work since he was hired Aug. 21, 1985.

"My kids were born on my days off,'' said the father of two. Daughter Natalie, 20, attends the University of South Florida. His son John, 22, is a student at the University of Central Florida. His wife, Diane, works at the St. Petersburg College bookstore.

Some 15 years ago, en route from his home near Gladden Park in St. Petersburg, de Sousa's car broke down near the West Shore Boulevard exit at the end of the Howard Frankland Bridge.      

Paris Hilton banned from Wynn Resorts Hotels over drug charges

Wynn Las Vegas has made a solid effort to keep itself at a very far distance from the recent Paris Hilton drug charges. The hotel has banned Hilton and her boyfriends from entering or staying at the hotel after the celebrity socialite was busted last week for cocaine possession.

Top hotels losing sales due to poor websites

Top-end hotels are missing out on sales due to badly designed websites, according to the latest Online Hotel Marketing Report from Halpern Cowan.

Hotel workers strike hits Hyatt Regency O'Hare Unite Here labor union coordinates one-day walkouts in 4 cities

Hotel workers organized by the national Unite Here labor union wished Chicago-based Hyatt Hotels Corp. a happy Labor Day by walking off their jobs in four North American cities Thursday and Friday.
The coordinated one-day strikes, which included a Friday walkout at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Rosemont, were orchestrated by Unite Here to protest cuts in health care benefits and raises despite improving results in the hotel industry, organizers said.

Hilton Worldwide Names Senior Director, Corporate Communications, Asia Pacific Read more:

Hilton Worldwide today announced the appointment of Celina Low, who joins the company as Senior Director, Corporate Communications, Asia Pacific. In her new role, Low will lead efforts to promote Hilton Worldwide as it continues to expand in the Asia Pacific region and distinguish itself as the preeminent global hospitality company.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts launches its first application for BlackBerry Smartphones

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc and its award-winning Starwood Preferred Guest(R) programme has launched SPG Application for BlackBerry smartphones.

Video - Hyatt Recruiter how to join Hyatt

Short - Crisp

Ten top homestays in India according to Guardian UK

I haven't stayed in any of them, but if any of the readers have, please do leave your comments.

If you think, The Guardian is missing some other awesome home-stays, please leave your comments

Here is The Guardian's List:

FHRAI Awardees 2010

FHRAI Awardees 2010