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Thayer Lodging Group acquires Diplomat Resort & Spa

09/04/2014

Thayer Lodging Group, a Brookfield Company, and its institutional partners, have acquired the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood, Fla.

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The company announced the property will be renamed the Diplomat Resort & Spa and will join Hilton Worldwide's newest brand, Curio – A Collection by Hilton, in October 2014. Thayer will also embark on a $100 million enhancement initiative for the oceanfront property later this year.Thayer Co-Chairman Lee Pillsbury notes the Diplomat acquisition is a reflection of the company's continued growth in the hospitality sector, adding that Thayer is excited about bringing Hilton's Curio brand to the resort.South Florida's premier beachfront resort and convention center, the Diplomat Resort encompasses 998 rooms and suites, numerous restaurants and a Spa, along with more than 200,000 square feet of meeting and convention space, where it annually hosts numerous major gatherings."It is a renowned property that offers South Florida's premier combination of resort and convention facilities. With its great beachfront, superb meeting facilities and easy access from Miami and Fort Lauderdale airports, the resort has a tremendous reputation for quality of service and comfort," Pillsbury said. "We are going to build on that and make the Diplomat an even stronger destination.""Thayer looks forward to making a significant contribution to the ongoing transformation of the Hollywood Beach area with the 'new' Diplomat Resort & Spa," he added.Curio – A Collection by Hilton is a global collection of distinctive four to five star hotels offering travelers local discovery and authentic experiences in key markets. Each Curio hotel will be different from the next and individuality will be a common thread, along with the quiet reassurance of the Hilton name behind every location."We are pleased to have a property of this stature join the Curio Collection," said Dianna Vaughan, global head, Curio – A Collection by Hilton. "The Diplomat Resort & Spa was launched as an exciting addition to South Florida's history more than 50 years ago, and today illustrates the diversity of our brand as well as our commitment to providing our guests with remarkable and intriguing experiences."A luxury hotel, the original Diplomat hotel opened on the site in 1959. A ritzy and opulent retreat, it quickly made Hollywood, Florida, a popular destination for the rich, famous and anyone seeking a little glamour with their surf and sun.The resort was acquired from the Plumbers & Pipefitters National Pension Fund, which redeveloped the property on the site of the historic, former hotel of the same name. As part of the transaction, the Diplomat Golf & Tennis Club was acquired by Concord Wilshire, a real estate development company. The resort and the golf properties will work closely with each other to serve their guests and continue presenting luxury experiences.As part of the Hilton Worldwide portfolio, Curio hotels will offer guests the benefits of Hilton HHonors, the award-winning guest loyalty program serving more than 40 million members. Hilton HHonors offers more ways to redeem points than any other guest loyalty program.The hotel remains open and fully operational and will continue to conduct business as usual during the transition. All existing guest reservations will be honored.

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Thayer buys Dallas Palomar, rebrands it, to join Hilton's Curio

08/08/2014

The Hotel Palomar, one of the most visible hotels in Dallas, has been sold and will become affiliated with the Hilton brand.

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As of Wednesday, the nine-story hotel became The Highland Dallas Hotel, owned by Annapolis, Md.-based Thayer Lodging Group, Fred DeSota, an executive with the new management company, said Thursday.

Thayer is a privately held hotel investment company that was formed in 1991. The Highland is the company’s only hotel in Dallas-Fort Worth. Terms of the deal were not announced.

The new owners “saw this as a great opportunity to get into the D-FW market,” said DeSota, senior vice president of sales for Interstate Hotels & Resorts, which is now managing the hotel. “It’s a beautiful property.”

Interstate Hotels & Resorts is Thayer’s management arm. It replaces San Francisco’s exclusive Kimpton Hotels, which had operated the 198-room hotel since 2006.

Interstate also operates several D-FW hotels including the Hilton Arlington and the Sheraton Arlington.

Later this month Hilton will launch what it’s calling the “Curio Collection” — independent hotels that are not branded as Hilton properties but that will be part of the Hilton reservations and rewards points systems.

The Highland is slated to be the first “selectively hand-picked” D-FW hotel in that collection, which also is expected to include the Sam Houston Hotel in downtown Houston.

The building that houses the Palomar, at Central Expressway and Mockingbird Lane, opened in the 1960s as the nine-story Hilton Inn. The hotel was known for its lively pianists at the penthouse hot spot called Harper’s Corner and for the “tiki room” — a former Trader Vic’s Polynesian bar-restaurant.

The property, once called the Hotel Santa Fe, has changed hands several times over the years.

In 2004, Realty America Group and Behringer Harvard Funds bought the property and turned it into an upscale hotel, shopping and condo complex.

The $80 million project included a 10-story condo tower and about 25,000 square feet of lower-level retail space.

A spokesman for Behringer declined to comment Thursday.

DeSota said the Thayer purchase includes only the hotel building. The Palomar name on the residences will go away, he said, after owners there vote on a new identity.

While the new hotel owner plans to make some improvements this year, the bigger upgrades will come next year when both the guest rooms and corridors will get a makeover, said DeSota. The size, scope and budget for the project have not been determined.

Regardless of the changes in store for the decor, the hotel’s new restaurant Knife, by chef John Tesar, will stay, DeSota said, as will the spa Exhale.

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Provenance Hotels and Thayer Lodging Group Partner to Acquire Hotel 1000 in Seattle

06/23/2014

Provenance Hotels, a hotel owner and operator based in Portland, Ore., and Thayer Lodging Group, a privately held hotel real estate investment company based in Annapolis, Md., have partnered to acquire the 120-room Hotel 1000 in downtown Seattle. Provenance will operate the Forbes Four Star-rated Hotel 1000, adding it to a portfolio of owned and managed assets that includes the Forbes Four Star-rated Hotel Murano in Tacoma, Wash. With the addition of Hotel 1000 to its collection, Provenance Hotels now operates two of the five Four Star rated hotels in Washington. Four Stars is the highest rating any hotels in the state have earned from Forbes Travel Guide, the gold standard for hospitality excellence.

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The purchase of Hotel 1000 is the first joint venture between Provenance Hotels and Thayer Lodging Group and the third acquisition made by Thayer with their $300 million Thayer Fund VI. Since forming its first private equity fund more than two decades ago, Thayer has completed 44 hotel investments with a total acquisition value of approximately $2.7 billion. The firm has consistently exceeded the objectives of institutional investors by focusing on increasing market share, effectively managing channels of distribution, and making impactful changes to the hotel’s offerings, services and amenities.

Bruce Wiles, Chief Operating Officer of Thayer Lodging Group, said “We are thrilled to announce this partnership with Provenance Hotels to acquire Seattle’s Hotel 1000. Provenance’s stellar track record in the lifestyle space, deep knowledge of the Seattle market and experience as owners makes their management approach ideally suited to our investment strategy.”  Wiles went on to say “Like our other recent marquee acquisitions, the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco and Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort, Hotel 1000 is a distinctive asset with opportunity for improved performance that makes it ideal for deployment of Thayer’s Fund VI.”

“Given our shared vision for the future of this one-of-a-kind asset, Thayer’s consistent history of investment success and the experience they bring to the project, we couldn’t be more excited about this new venture. We are looking forward to continuing to raise the bar on the already outstanding guest experience at Hotel 1000. We are confident this is the first of many deals to come with Thayer.” said Bashar Wali, President of Provenance Hotels.

Hotel 1000 is the 14th hotel in Provenance Hotels’ portfolio, the seventh under their management and the most recent acquisition in a two year period of sustained growth. Provenance partnered with Woodbine Development Corporation/Hunt Realty of Dallas, Texas in 2012 to purchase the Governor Hotel in Portland. In 2013, the company acquired the Ambassador Hotel in New Orleans, La. in partnership with GB Lodging of New York, N.Y. and partnered with Bolour & Associates of Beverly Hills, Calif. to purchase an oceanfront parcel in Hermosa Beach, Calif. that is slated for development into a luxury boutique hotel. In March 2014, Provenance and Woodbine unveiled a major renovation of the Governor Hotel, rebranding and repositioning the property as Sentinel. Renovation, rebranding and repositioning of the Ambassador Hotel is scheduled for completion in early 2015.

Provenance Hotels’ Chief Executive Officer Gordon Sondland added “We have been fortunate to partner with some of the savviest firms in the business and are excited to continue our expansion nationally.”

Hotel 1000 opened in June 2006 and features 120 luxury guest rooms, 9,100 sq. ft. of conference and event space, a 100-seat restaurant, spa and state-of-the-art golf simulator. Located at the intersection of 1000 First Avenue and Madison Street, 14-floor hotel is topped by ten floors of upscale condominiums in a building that is ideally located steps from the waterfront along Elliott Bay, and conveniently centered between Pike Place Market, Seattle Art Museum, the business district and historic Pioneer Square.

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Leisure and Hospitality International Article

04/24/2014

To say Thayer Lodging Group co-owner and Co-Chairman Fred Malek knows the hospitality industry would be an understatement. Prior to his current role, Malek spent eight years as president and CEO of Marriott Hotels and Resorts, during which time the company increased profits five times while the stock price increased eight times. Later, with Marriott International as a major equity partner, Malek oversaw the acquisition of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company in 1995. That experience has helped Malek build Thayer Lodging Group relatively quickly from a single hotel to a portfolio that contains numerous landmark properties around the world totaling more than $3 billion.

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Malek left his position at the helm of Marriott Hotels in 1988 to serve President George H.W. Bush as Director of the 1988 Republican National Convention, then spent some time in the world of private equity. During that time, he says, Malek realized that many of the best investment opportunities in the country were in the hospitality sector. Joining up with CEO and Co-Chairman Leland Pillsbury – who served as executive vice president at Marriott under Malek – Malek founded Thayer Lodging Group with the purchase of a single hotel in 1991. A small group of investors joined soon after, and the company began to acquire properties identified as having strong potential to increase revenue and profits under the company’s leadership.

Since the company’s first acquisition 23 years ago, Thayer Lodging Group has completed more than 40 acquisitions of hospitality properties. Today, the company’s portfolio consists of 14 hotels, including high-profile properties such as the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco and the Hilton Cabo San Lucas. Thayer Lodging, Brookfield Hotel Properties owns 50 percent of Interstate Hotels Company which manages more than 400 hotels around the world and also owns interests in more than 60 other hotels totaling more than 11,600 rooms.

According to Malek, the years he and Pillsbury have spent in the hospitality industry have given them an intimate knowledge of the marketplace. This allows Thayer Lodging Group to practice a strategy of acquiring properties with potential for growth and then repositioning them to live up to their full potential. One important principle is they do not purchase a hotel unless they have a well defined plan to double profits over the first 3 to 4 years of ownership. Whether the property needs a few tweaks or a complete overhaul, Malek says the Thayer Lodging Grou[ team has the market knowledge to breathe new life into a hotel, and its long-term viewpoint gives it the patience to take on opportunities others would leave by the wayside. Armed with these advantages, Thayer Lodging Group continues to build its reputation as one of the leading hospitality groups in the nation.

THE LONG HAUL

Malek describes Thayer Lodging Group's approach as one that takes the long-term point of view, and also one that emphasizes finding exactly the right property in the right market at the right time. This makes Thayer Lodging, Brookfield Hotel Properties more methodical and cautious in its strategy, but Malek says it gives the company greater advantages than competitors who act quickly in order to score a short-term gain. Thayer Lodging, Brookfield Hotel Properties' approach may take longer to bear fruit, but the company has the patience to see it through.

Thayer Lodging Group's approach begins with selecting the right market, and Malek says right now the hotels with the most potential can be found in cities like San Francisco, Seattle and Miami. The company doesn’t just look for properties that are for sale – it also examines the market for properties that could potentially come up for sale later. That was the case with one of the company’s latest acquisitions, the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco. According to Malek, the company noticed that the previous owners of the property had tried to sell the hotel but could not get the price they wanted for it. Prospective buyers were hesitant to spend the money on a property they didn’t see having much potential for growth.

Armed with its knowledge of the market and the patience to build up the property, Thayer Lodging Group was able to work out a fair and acceptable price with the owners and closed the purchase of the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco last August. From there, the company began putting its plans into place, including renovating every single guest room in the circa-1909 Neoclassical landmark in the heart of the city’s downtown.

Although Thayer Lodging Group is willing to take big steps to improve its properties, many of the strategies it uses to revitalize hotels are not as noticeable to the eye. Malek says the company takes a very hands-on approach to improving its properties’ operations, taking steps such as changing parking vendors or adding sophisticated air purification systems to its conference centers to help business travelers stay awake and alert. One of the company’s most common strategies has nothing to do with the physical building at all, however.

“One of the biggest benefits of all is managing the rate structure,” Malek explains. Often, the properties Thayer Lodging Group acquires are geared toward individual guests, with groups being a secondary concern. Thayer Lodging, Brookfield Hotel Properties has experienced great success developing a greater share of group business at attractive rates that shrinks the remaining number of rooms for sale, and enables the hotel to remove discounted business and further increase acreage rate. This, coupled with general cost-cutting and efficiency initiatives, has helped boost profits at each of the company’s properties. Malek says nearly 80 percent of the profit improvement its properties have experienced are the direct result increased market share and revenue.

SERVICE MATTERS

Along with the physical improvements Thayer Lodging Group makes to its properties and the improvements it makes to their rate structures and efficiency, the company strives to ensure that it pays close attention to the most important aspect of its hotels – service. Malek says the company can do everything in its power to create a beautiful, appealing hotel property, but without the service element guests will be unlikely to return.

Malek says service is the most important aspect of the hospitality industry because it helps create word of mouth among guests, which is more powerful than any marketing campaign. He adds that the company ensures its hotels offer the highest level of service possible by having the best people on staff. “Our people work extraordinarily hard,” he says. “We really put a lot of emphasis on that.”

Also, unlike many other hotel groups, Thayer Lodging Group has the experience of running hotels on hand to balance its equity experience. Malek says this gives the company a stronger focus on best practices from an operational standpoint than other groups. “We’re much more hotel operators than we are hotel dealmakers,” he says. “We make the deal so we can apply the operations to the property.”

SOUTH OF THE BORDER

Thayer Lodging Group's meticulous approach to acquiring properties has been the formula for its success over the years, but it does not come without challenges. “I think the biggest challenges are always finding the right quality hotel that you can apply your expertise to and acquire the desired result,” Malek says. “It’s not always easy.”

Sometimes, the perfect property just presents itself at the right time, as it did in the case of the Hilton Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. Malek says the company acquired that property last year with the goal of boosting its group sales, but aside from that the property was in excellent condition for sustainable success. “Our strategy there was, frankly, we didn’t have to do much in the way of capital improvements,” he says.

The property’s oceanfront location on the tip of Baja California, combined with the “most hospitable” staff Malek has encountered in his career, makes the Hilton Cabo San Lucas an ideal property for Thayer Lodging Group. “It’s really working out that this hotel is going to pay very high yields in our first year of ownership,” Malek says.

Thayer Lodging Group's record of sound management and strong growth continues. Malek and his team may have started small but, with their first class pedigree and long experience, they are gaining the attention of big players around the industry. The future looks bright for this hospitality leader.

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Hotel Equity & Lender Perspectives (HELP) Conference Announces Speakers and Panels

03/05/2014

HELP Extends Early Bird Registration to Sunday, March 9, 2014
BOSTON — Officials of the Hotel Equity & Lender Perspectives (HELP) Conference today announced the finalized list of speakers and panels for its third annual gathering. Speakers include such industry luminaries as Lee Pillsbury, chairman, Thayer Lodging Group; Tom Corcoran, chairman, FelCor Lodging Trust; Pat Moscaritolo, president, Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau; and Rachel Roginsky, principal, Pinnacle Advisory Group.

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"We have been fortunate to secure some of the biggest names in the hospitality industry together to educate attendees on a variety of topics," said Ken Wilson, HELP Conference co-chairman. “Discussions will range from financing at various levels to the latest updates on the state of hotel brands. Coupled with the numerous, face-to-face networking opportunities, this truly is an event not to be missed for anyone interested in the state of the hospitality industry.”

Panels range from “Bridge Loans” and “Financing Under $25MM,” to “Mega Deals, Mega Debt” and “Brands in Transition.” Of particular interest, future economic trends will be described by Constance Everson, Capital Markets Outlook Group/Fidelity.

Additionally, the early bird registration pricing has been extended until Sunday, March 9, 2014, to accommodate the numerous weather issues that have plagued the East Coast in the recent past. The hotel investment conference, now in its third year, is scheduled for April 7th and 8th at the Seaport Waterfront Hotel in Boston. The limited-seating, capped at 500 registrants, two-day event features many of the leading names in the hospitality industry in a series of informative panels and unique, one-on-one networking opportunities.

“While we already are nearing a sold-out event, we felt it only was fair to extend our early bird rate of $695 to hear what the leading minds in the hospitality industry are thinking, while simultaneously engaging in a series of very personalized meetings with industry peers,” said Chad Crandell, HELP Conference co-chairman. “We plan to release our finalized speaker and panel lists in the coming days, and I am humbled and honored by the talented individuals who have agreed to participate.”

The HELP Conference is a one-of-its-kind investment conference focused on the hotel industry. Platinum sponsors for this year’s event include Group One Partners, Inc., Hilton Worldwide and the Roedel Companies. In addition to a series of highly informative, educational sessions, the HELP Conference hosts a unique “Dine Around” event where participants are paired with targeted peers for personal meals at one of a number of upscale, local eateries, as well as Late Night @ HELP and the “Circle the Wagons” networking event.

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Thayer Lodging Group Acquires the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco

07/01/2013

With a Track Record of Strong Alpha Returns, Thayer Launches the First Investment of Thayer Fund VI

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NEW YORK, July 1, 2013 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Thayer Lodging Group, a privately held investment company that produces strong Alpha Returns for investors in hotel real estate, announced the first investment of Thayer Fund VI - the acquisition of the 338-room Ritz-Carlton San Francisco, from Host Hotels and Resorts, Inc.

As part of a proprietary approach that helps enhance the appeal and increase the value of high profile hotels in major urban markets, Thayer intends to invest up to $17 million in the property in its first twenty-four months of ownership.

Similar to the J.W. Marriott San Francisco, which Thayer acquired in 2011, Thayer's approach focuses on increasing market share, effectively managing channels of distribution, and making impactful changes to the hotel's offerings, services and amenities.

Since Thayer's acquisition of the J.W. Marriott, the property's Net Operating Income (NOI) has tripled, and the hotel has risen to the top of its competitive set in the San Francisco market.

Lee Pillsbury, Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Thayer Lodging Group, said, "We are happy to announce Thayer's acquisition of the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, a truly wonderful property and the first investment for Thayer Fund VI." He concluded, "We are bullish on the San Francisco market, and bullish on the environment for investing in hotel real estate. We look forward to making additional announcements in the weeks ahead."

Fred Malek, Thayer Lodging Group Chairman, added, "With this transaction, we hope to replicate the success of our Orlando Grand Lakes Ritz Carlton, one of our highest return investments."

Since forming its first private equity fund more than two decades ago, Thayer has completed 43 hotel investments with a total acquisition cost of approximately $2.5 billion. The firm has consistently met and exceeded the investment objectives of institutional investors that seek superior returns through hotel real estate ownership. Thayer Fund VI is targeted as a $300 million Fund.

About Thayer Lodging Group

Thayer Lodging Group, based in Annapolis, Md., is a privately held hotel investment company that was formed in 1991 by Frederic V. Malek and Leland Pillsbury.

Since its founding, Thayer has established a consistently successful track record spanning every investment cycle. In 2010, Thayer acquired Interstate Hotels and Resorts, the world's largest third-party, independent hotel manager, which operates nearly 400 hotels globally. Through Thayer and Interstate, the company has invested in more than 100 hotels. For more information about Thayer, visit the company's web site, www.thayerlodging.com.

Contact: Michael Frenkel, MFC PR - New YorkThayer Lodging(212) 808-6559 michael@mfcpr.com

SOURCE Thayer Lodging Group

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Introducting the Newly Transformed Marriott Annapolis Waterfront Hotel

04/19/2013

Amid the historic charm and waterfront elegance of this captivating capital city, Marriott Annapolis Waterfront presents its much-anticipated renovation featuring a focus on the elements that connect this downtown Annapolis hotel to the majestic Chesapeake Bay. The transformation includes a complete re-envisioning of the lobby, guestrooms, suites and baths.

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Taking cues from its picturesque surroundings, the innovative enhancements utilize luxurious textures and a nautically inspired color palette to create spaces that allow guests to embrace the spectacular waterfront views of sunsets, the sparkling Chesapeake Bay and passing sailboats.

“We are extremely excited to share our newly renovated property with the Greater Annapolis community,” states Colleen Huther, the hotel’s General Manager and Vice President. “The Marriott Annapolis Waterfront hotel is transformed into a modern space offering elegance and convenience. We look forward to welcoming new and returning guests to our redesigned and re-imagined spaces.”

A Nautically Inspired Lobby Living Space
 The lobby provides a carefree, peaceful escape from the everyday with its sailing-inspired design featuring simple yet elegant touches like intricate hand crafted materials and a custom-designed woven area rug. Design elements focus on reflecting the outdoors within the interior of the hotel. Furnishings and finishes were carefully selected to complement the simple elegance of the lobby seating and the property’s dramatic waterfront location.

Annapolis’ Only Waterfront Hotel Rooms and Suites
 Newly-enhanced guest rooms, many of which feature balconies with expansive views of the Annapolis Harbor, the United States Naval Academy, and scenic downtown Annapolis, include contemporary décor and more modern furnishings. Guest rooms embrace the nautical senses with a crisp, clean, and relaxing ambiance. The soft textures emulate a sailboat’s sail, drifting peacefully in the wind at sea.

Exclusive Experiences for Guests

Annapolis has long been an escape for busy Washingtonians, Baltimore natives and far-flung visitors alike. The charming Maryland capital offers exceptional shopping, dining, restaurants and sightseeing, with the Marriott Annapolis Waterfront as a centrally-located home base. The Annapolis waterfront hotel offers a number of specials and packages, including the luxurious Romance Package, which offers overnight accommodations, champagne and rose petals upon arrival and complimentary breakfast for two starting at $319 per night.

To learn more, guests can visit http://www.annapolismarriott.com or call 888.773.0786 for reservations

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Thayer brings hoteliers, technology together

01/22/2013

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Thayer brings hoteliers, technology together

Posted by Jason Q. Freed at 12:00 AM

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Covering and writing about the hotel industry, I have the pleasure of attending some top-notch educational events. Monday’s annual Thayer Ventures event at the Westin Bonaventure in advance of the Americas Lodging Investment Summit stood out as one of the best I’ve been to in a while. Other associations and event planners should take note.

Thayer Ventures is a hospitality technology venture capital group that is associated with Thayer Lodging Group. The firm has invested capital in nine different start-up travel technology companies and brought those companies together Monday in Los Angeles for their annual summit.

The event is a win-win for both the technology companies involved and the hoteliers in attendance. It’s a who’s who of hoteliers as well as CEOs of some of the largest brands, management companies, consultants and suppliers.

The technology companies get to drum up support for additional funding and hear feedback from movers and shakers in the industry. And the hoteliers get to present challenges they hope technology can fix and help shape the future direction of hotel technology.

“This is a very unique investment for all of us,” said Thayer Lodging Group CEO Lee Pillsbury, who orchestrated the event. “It’s engaging; it’s involving; it’s different than most investments we make.

“I like to think it provides us with a direction in shaping the industry. Through these investments, we can have a more direct hand in shaping the future a bit.”
Tech trends emerge

Representatives from the tech companies spent the early part of the day providing some background on their companies—who they are, what stage of start-up they’re in, what their accomplishments were the previous year and what their challenges and opportunities are moving forward. This provides the hoteliers who have invested in the Thayer fund an update on how their money is being put to use.

These companies are on the cutting edge of travel technology and identified some key trends they will tackle in the near future. Mobile was an obvious theme and many technology executives said mobile will be the platform to take social media to the next level and really connect hotels with their guests.

As the social media space evolves, companies like NewBrandAnalytics (social intelligence solutions), Adara (online advertising for loyalty programs) and HotelMe (verified hotel reviews) will further the conversation with hoteliers on how and where to spend marketing dollars in the space.

“Everyone wants some level of social, but they don’t want to pay for it. The ability to pay—the desire to pay—is all over the map right now,” said Daniel Farrar, CEO of Switchfly (software as a service loyalty program functionality).

Other companies said they are working with Facebook to get hoteliers “reconnected” with their own customers.

Big data—how to collect it, present it and how hoteliers can use it—also stood out as a trend.

Hipmunk’s CEO Adam Goldstein (metasearch site), for example, said in 2013 the company will focus on exposing the range of data it has on its customers to its partner hoteliers.

“We know what source of factors go into the customers’ decisions,” he said.

Property-level decision-makers need more data to make decisions on pricing and distribution, specifically how better reviews affect pricing power, said Duetto Research CEO Patrick Bosworth (data-driven revenue management system). “It’s easy to do at a macro level but no one is really doing it at the property level,” he said.

Toward the end of the event, representatives from the technology companies facilitated roundtable discussions with hotel decision-makers, presented business development challenges and asked advice on how to tackle those challenges. The feedback generated healthy discussion and undoubtedly paved the way for partnerships in the future.

While much of the day centered on how tech start-ups can further entrench themselves in the industry, conversation continued to circle back to providing guests with the best possible experience.

“We need to return to an emphasis on the emotional environment surrounding booking,” said TourWrist CEO Charles Armstrong (user-generated virtual tours).

“We should be relentlessly focused on the customer experience,” added ID90T CEO Mike Stacy (airline employee e-ticketing). “People want to find what they want easily and then get off.”

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Marriott Del Mar sold to Thayer Lodging Group Properties for $66 million

09/01/2012

Thayer Lodging Group purchased The Marriott Del Mar in San Diego, Calif., for $66 million, approximately $232,000 per room.

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The 284-room hotel was built in 2002 on a 1.8-acre parcel. Hotel amenities include a fitness center, outdoor pool and whirlpool and The Aterra Restaurant and Outdoor Lounge. There are 14 meeting rooms with a total of 12,078 square feet of combined meeting space.

James Patrick of Hodges Ward Elliott in Atlanta represented the sellers, Sunstone Hotel Partnership. This was one of three hotels that Sunstone has sold, the other two were the Doubletree Guest Suites in Minneapolis and the Marriott Troy in Michigan.

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Fundraiser Fred Malek makes the most of time at convention

08/30/2012

TAMPA – Every Republican who has held the presidency or wanted it in the past four decades has known Fred Malek.

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Malek worked for Richard Nixon's administration, ran the 1988 Republican National Convention that helped catapult George H.W. Bush into the White House and managed the 1992 campaign in which Bush lost that job. He co-owned the Texas Rangers with George W. Bush and served as finance chairman of Arizona Sen. John McCain's failed 2008 presidential bid.

Now, at 75, the multimillionaire venture capitalist is attending his 10th Republican convention where he will participate in a nearly non-stop swirl of exclusive policy briefings, parties, receptions and luncheons as a top fundraiser for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, as a co-founder of the conservative American Action Network advocacy group and as chairman of one of the Republican Governors Association's fundraising arms.

MORE: Full coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention

In a single 12-hour period after arriving here, he will attend at least five receptions, introduce two governors and a former one to a packed luncheon crowd, listen to speeches on fiscal policy, mingle with elected officials and other donors in luxury sky boxes high above the convention hall, do a live television interview and squeeze in a 40-minute workout.

In a single 12-hour period after arriving here, he will attend at least five receptions, introduce two governors and a former one to a packed luncheon crowd, listen to speeches on fiscal policy, mingle with elected officials and other donors in luxury sky boxes high above the convention hall, do a live television interview and squeeze in a 40-minute workout.

"He is one of the first calls conservative candidates make because he has such a long history in Republican circles, both as a fundraiser and as a trusted strategist," says Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks political money. "Administrations come and go, but Fred Malek is always there."

On Tuesday, Malek gave USA TODAY a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the whirlwind of events that dominate the days of an elite fundraiser at the GOP's quadrennial gathering.

Hispanic leaders

At 11:40 a.m., Malek arrives at the gleaming InterContinental Tampa Hotel, not long after landing in a friend's private plane. He's not staying here, but the hotel is ground base for today's activities sponsored by the American Action Network, the non-profit political advocacy group he co-founded in 2010 to promote a small-government, low-tax agenda. It reported spending nearly $19 million to help elect Republicans to the House of Representatives in the last election.

Today, the hotel is the site of an array of policy speeches and receptions, highlighting the Hispanic Leadership Network, a spinoff group working to attract Latinos to the party. Within minutes of arriving, he greets former Florida governor Jeb Bush and Carlos Gutierrez, a former Commerce secretary.

Minutes later, Malek is at the podium introducing Bush, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval to a packed luncheon. As Malek and others in the ballroom eat roast chicken and miniature beef empanadas, the governors talk about their drive to trim state budgets or give grades to schools based on kids' fourth-grade reading proficiency.

Malek says he never tires of the non-stop meet-and-greet with old Republican friends and up-and-comers.

"The high-minded reason is that I think it's important to our country," Malek says of his long history in politics. "It's important to have a strong and robust center-right coalition. Personally, it's challenging, fulfilling and satisfying.

"This energizes me; I would get tired sitting behind a desk," he says.

At 2:07 p.m., he slips out of the ballroom to return to his hotel to decompress and hit the gym for his daily workout. An ex-Army Ranger and fitness fanatic from his days at West Point, he gets in 40 minutes of cardio on the hotel gym's stationary bike and treadmill. He typically cranks the speed up to 4.5 m.p.h and the incline to 4% for a heart-pumping walk.

Hotel industry ties

Malek, a former CEO of Marriott and Northwest Airlines, still spends the bulk of his time these days managing his private-equity company, Thayer Lodging Group, which invests in hotels. As it turns out, the Westin Tampa Harbour Island, the luxury hotel on an island within the city limits where Malek is staying this week, is run by a Virginia management company his firm owns. It's one of two waterfront hotels where Romney's top bundlers are ensconced for the convention.

The prime hotel location, a short stroll from the convention action at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, is one of the perks Malek enjoys as a top Romney fundraiser. He and his wife have been invited to a reception with Romney on Thursday evening, the night he formally accepts his party's nomination.

Malek firmly declines to say how much he has collected for Romney or the other candidates and causes he supports. But he said the fundraising has never been easier — driven, in part by Republican opposition to "the direction we're going in."

Malek also is helping to entertain other donors, as chairman of the Republican Governors Association Executive Roundtable, a group of about 600 CEOs who raise money to help elect Republican governors.

Malek "believes deeply in principles but he's never strident. It makes him a very effective messenger when he asks people to do something," said Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, RGA chairman.

In 2010, Democrats blasted McDonnell for appointing Malek to head his state's government-reform commission because of Malek's role compiling a list of Jews at the Bureau of Labor Statistics at Nixon's request.

"I made a mistake 41 years ago for which I apologized. It's something I regret," Malek tells USA TODAY.

Anti-Semitism "is not even in his universe," says former Minnesota senator Norm Coleman, who co-founded the American Action Network with Malek and is Jewish.

It's 6:30 p.m. and Malek enters the InterContinental ballroom, now transformed into a nightclub with driving, live salsa music, a cigar-rolling station and free-flowing prickly pear margaritas.

Malek, a slender man with a crown of snow white hair, looks energized - nibbling snacks and greeting Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a rising star.

He says he views attracting Latinos, who make up 16% of the U.S. population, as a key mission of the network in the years to come. A recent visit to his childhood to speak to seniors at his former high school in Cicero, Ill., drove the point home - more than 90% of the kids in the room were Latino, he says. A Hispanic family lives in the bungalow where he was raised as the son of a beer truck driver.

By 8 p.m., he's at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, strolling through luxury sky boxes with Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who is vying to become the Dominion State's next governor. Malek said he's officially neutral in the Republican primary.

The two briefly enter the suite of the Republican Jewish Coalition, where Cuccinelli is quickly surrounded. "You're going to win," one man declares. Minutes later, the two enter the Republican Governors Association's suite, complete with a curved wooden bar and leather seats.

Malek stays in the forum for less than an hour before heading to Bloomberg Link for a live television taping in which he defends heavy political spending by outside Republican groups.

At 10 p.m., it's back to the Westin to catch the final speeches on television. The day is over, and Wednesday will start early. His wife Marlene is headed to a private breakfast with Ann Romney and other supporters.

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Case study: Malware checkout

07/01/2012

A hotel chain sought relief from malware on its workstations throughout the United States. Greg Masters reports.

In the hospitality industry, it's all about a comfortable and efficient experience for the customer. It's vital too that guests feel pampered and well taken care of.

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So, when the IT staff at Thayer Lodging Group began having some challenges with its computer network owing to malware attacks, too much time was being diverted to cleaning out the infections and maintaining the integrity of the operations. Any possibility of a speed bump in its level of service to both its customers and the staff handling operations just was not on the itinerary.

Thayer Lodging Group – an Annapolis, Md.-based, privately held hotel investment company owning or managing 18 hotels mostly clustered on the Eastern Seaboard, but stretching as far as California – is fairly sizable. Its IT department, consisting of just a few people whose purview extends from the data center to the TVs in 4,429 guest rooms, was swamped. In 2007, the team started accelerating Thayer's move to virtualization and the cloud, but as of late 2010 it still hosted its endpoint security in-house. The software was neither centrally managed nor effective, and the result was a lot of workstations with malware.

Plus, on more than one occasion, the software harmed the computers it was meant to protect, causing the servers to freeze. After this happened a number of times, Mike Dickersbach (right), vice president of information technology for Thayer Lodging Group, started looking for a fix to the problem. “We needed a solution that would not only secure the endpoints, but also help Thayer Lodging comply with centralized reporting, event logging and other Payment Card Industry (PCI) rules,” he says.

The goal was to reduce the overall time spent fixing glitches and lessen the aggravation from end-users coming up against issues with their computers. Additionally, Dickersbach wanted his team to be able to manage network operations from a central point.

Along with his network engineering team, he looked at a number of traditional anti-virus products, but all of them required a server install of some kind in order to monitor and push updates. Symantec, he says, provided the only product that offered truly cloud-based management.

He received a beta version of Symantec Endpoint Protection.cloud, and, when the service became generally available in early 2011, extended it to all 150 endpoints in the company – physical and virtual servers, laptops and desktops. Costs and management of the product were key factors, he says. “It was less costly to deploy Symantec's solution than it was to keep deploying a traditional AV product.”

Symantec Endpoint Protection.cloud includes advanced technologies that help protect systems without requiring additional hardware, management software or dedicated IT staffing, says Andrew Singer, director, security product marketing SMB and Symantec.cloud at Mountain View, Calif.-based Symantec. Automatic security updates occur transparently over an internet connection, enabling systems to stay current with the latest updates. As well, laptops and desktops receive intelligent scanning technologies that help maximize protection while minimizing impact on system performance, he says.

A subscription fee replaces upfront expenses with affordable, predictable costs, he adds. Plus, the solution is fast to set up and implement and can be deployed to clients via standard download, email invitation or silently can be pushed to a network. “The service is efficiently managed from a central web-based management console that is accessible from an internet connection, and administrators benefit from pre-set security policies and report templates,” he says. Upgrades occur automatically and new features are introduced frequently – and included as part of the service, Singer says. Further, the service can scale to incorporate new endpoints without requiring additional hardware or management software.

As for Thayer, specifically, all went fairly well. Deployment of the tool throughout Thayer facilities and among its mobile workforce went smoothly, Thayer's Dickersbach says. “We wanted something that was easy to deploy, manageable from any internet connection and accessible on our schedule,” he says. “The Symantec Endpoint Protection.cloud delivered on all accounts. The tool has been a huge plus for us because it removes routine maintenance-related tasks. Managing the actual core of the software and how users interact with it is much more important to me than worrying about hardware.”

He estimates that Symantec Endpoint Protection.cloud has reduced the amount of time spent managing security by at least half while improving coverage – especially for Thayer Lodging's executive management, which spends substantial time on the road visiting its various properties. “Because endpoint protection is now cloud-based, it follows them wherever they travel,” Dickersbach says.

And, he adds, “with the central event logging and central monitoring, it gives us a single point to access these logs when issues arise.”

Based on Thayer's success with the tool, Dickersbach says the hotel deployed Symantec Enterprise Vault.cloud to archive email for corporate office in mid-2011. “We are also currently revising our disaster recovery plan and strategy as we want to get our data into a secure, cloud-based data center, so we can redeploy it quickly on separate hardware if need be,” he says. To accomplish this objective, he says he is looking to migrate Thayer Lodging, Brookfield Hotel Properties' longstanding Symantec Backup Exec environment to Backup Exec.cloud when it becomes available.

“For us, its securing the endpoints that have the most exposure, in this case our end-users with corporate laptops and desktops,” says Dickersbach. “We have put a good focus in this area and the boundary defense to help with our security needs.”

Protection: Via the cloud

Symantec Endpoint Protection.cloud offers the following:

  • Log on to web-based management console;
  • Deploy agent to individual endpoints or silently push the solution to the network;
  • On installation, preconfigured policies are enabled for the agent to include anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewall, and host intrusion prevention;
  • After the install, agent proactively refreshes the latest security definitions and updates;
  • Administrator can use management console to set custom policies and push to all endpoints in the network;
  • Administrator can use management console for ongoing maintenance including deploying new endpoints, viewing status, managing remote clients.

Source: Symantec

From the July 2012 Issue of SCMagazine

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Thayer Ventures to Raise New Funds to Finance Hospitality Technology Startups

05/31/2012

New venture capital firm plans to invest in emerging technology companies focused on transforming the $10 trillion global hospitality industry SAN FRANCISCO, Calif/ANNAPOLIS, Md., May 31, 2012 -- Thayer Lodging Group, a value-added hotel investment company, and Quest Hospitality Ventures, a venture capital firm investing in hospitality technology companies, today announced that they have affiliated to form a private equity sponsor, Thayer Ventures, which will be the successor of Quest Hospitality Ventures.

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Thayer Ventures will focus on sponsoring investment funds, which will invest in emerging technology companies in the global hospitality industry. Now part of Thayer Lodging Group's family of funds, Thayer Ventures will continue to be managed by the four principals of Quest Hospitality Ventures and will fund innovative technology startups in the $10 trillion global hospitality industry.

Thayer Ventures expects to begin making investments in 2013 from its new investment vehicles.

Thayer Ventures will be based in San Francisco and managed by general partners Mark Farrell, Chris Hemmeter and Lucien Ruby -- the original founders and managing directors of Quest Hospitality Ventures -- and general partner Jeff Jackson, former CFO of Sabre Holdings. Leland Pillsbury, Fredrick V. Malek, Bruce Wiles and George Dabney, each managing principals of Thayer Lodging Group, will serve as senior advisors to Thayer Ventures and its sponsored funds. As the only venture capital fund focused entirely on the hospitality industry, Thayer Ventures has deep knowledge and unrivaled relationships that will allow it to provide unequaled value to technology entrepreneurs.

"Just five sectors of the hospitality industry -- travel, lodging, foodservice, cruise lines, and gaming -- account for more than $850 billion in annual revenues in the U.S. alone, and there is a tremendous opportunity for smart entrepreneurs to come up with innovative solutions to advance this immensely profitable industry," said Pillsbury. "We formed Thayer Ventures to provide hands-on guidance and financing to entrepreneurs creating innovative technology companies changing the face of hospitality."

Along with approximately 75 other limited partners from the hospitality industry, the principals of Thayer Lodging Group seeded Quest Hospitality Ventures' inaugural venture capital fund, which has made investments in eight technology companies in the hospitality industry, including Hipmunk, newBrandAnalytics, Nor1, and Adara Media. Based on the success of this inaugural fund, Thayer Lodging Group and Quest Hospitality Ventures formalized their partnership to create Thayer Ventures. The new venture fund endorses the original investment thesis behind Quest Hospitality Ventures and completes Thayer Lodging Group's vision to create a global family of hospitality and travel funds across multiple asset classes.

"The general partners and strategic advisors behind Thayer Ventures have decades of experience funding and building hospitality companies at every stage of development, and that unique expertise will enable us to identify the world's most promising hospitality technology companies," said Chris Hemmeter, general partner of Thayer Ventures. "Our mission is to help entrepreneurs build profitable global companies by providing smart funding, hands-on counsel, strategic insights and industry connections."

About Thayer Lodging Group

Thayer Lodging Group, based in Annapolis, Md., is a privately held hotel investment company that was formed in 1991 by Frederic V. Malek and Leland Pillsbury. Since its founding, Thayer has established a consistently successful track record spanning every investment cycle. Thayer has invested in more than 100 hotels, and in 2010 acquired Interstate Hotels and Resorts, the world's largest third-party, independent hotel manager, which operates nearly 400 hotels globally. Thayer principals also have numerous investments in hospitality and travel-related companies, including Quest Hospitality Fund I. For more information about Thayer, visit the company's web site, www.thayerlodging.com.

About Quest Hospitality Ventures

Quest Hospitality Ventures is the only venture capital firm specifically focused on the hospitality industry. Since its founding in 2009, the company has partnered with entrepreneurs to create, develop and build technology companies that will revolutionize the hospitality industry. Based in San Francisco, QHV has backed some of the world's leading travel technology companies, including Hipmunk, hotelme.com, Nor1, Adara Media, Duetto Research, newBrandAnalytics, and ID90T. Additional information is available on the company's website: www.thayerventures.com.

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Thayer Acquires Two Hotels, Refinances Interstate Acquisition

05/01/2011

ANNAPOLIS, Md.- Thayer Lodging Group acquired two upscale full-service hotel´s-the 337-room JW Marriott in San Francisco and the 304-room Hotel Palomar in Atlanta–and completed a $128 million corporate recapitalization of Interstate Hotels & Resorts, a global hotel management company Thayer owns in a 50/50 joint venture with Jin Jiang Hotels, China´s largest lodging company.

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"We expect 2011 to be one of our most active years in some time‚" said Bruce Wiles, Thayer's chief operating officer. We are taking full advantage of our ability to reconfigure and reposition hotels to increase investor returns.‚

Thayer recently acquired the JW Marriott San Francisco Union Square from Ashford Hospitality Trust for $96 million. Built in 1987, the hotel recently underwent a $22 million renovation and is in excellent physical condition. “The hotel real estate market continues to gain traction, and we are seeing a growing number of acquisition opportunities,‚ said Jin Lee, managing director and CIO of Thayer Lodging Group.

Thayer recently completed the acquisition of the Hotel Palomar, located at 866 West Peachtree Street in Midtown Atlanta, from WP Partners, a private investment group. Thayer has rebranded the hotel as a Renaissance Hotel, within the Marriott International lifestyle collection of brands. As in the San Francisco acquisition, Wells Fargo provided a senior mortgage to facilitate the transaction.

In April, a wholly owned subsidiary of Thayer and Jin Jiang Hotels, Interstate Hotels and Resorts (IHR), closed on a $128 million senior secured credit facility provided by Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the world’s largest bank by market capitalization. Proceeds from the refinance were used to retire an existing syndicated credit facility, as well as a first mortgage debt secured by one of Interstate’s wholly-owned hotels. “The recapitalization of our management joint venture at more favorable rates will result in significant interest savings and further increases our financial flexibility and investment returns,‚ said George Dabney, managing director, treasury for Thayer. IHR is the U.S.´s leading independent hotel and resort management company.

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Thayer Lodging Signs Contract to Acquire Hotel Palomar Atlanta-Midtown

03/01/2011

Thayer Lodging Group, one of the nation's top private hotel investment companies, announced that the company is under contract to acquire the 304-room Hotel Palomar Atlanta-Midtown from WP Partners, a private investment group, for an undisclosed amount. The agreement is expected to be consummated within the next 30 days.

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Concurrently, the company announced the hotel will be rebranded as The Renaissance Atlanta Midtown Hotel, within the Marriott International lifestyle portfolio. Renaissance will operate the property upon closing of the transaction.

"This is an outstanding lifestyle hotel in a prime location and will be a great addition to our portfolio," said Jin Lee, managing director and CIO of Thayer Lodging Group. The hotel is currently managed by Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, which owns the Palomar brand name, as well as the Pacci Ristorante and AltoRex Rooftop Lounge names. With the conversion to a Renaissance, the names of the restaurant and lounge will also be changed; however, the upscale, one-of-a-kind nature of the restaurant and lounge will continue to be signature features of the hotel.

Located at 866 West Peachtree St. NW, the 21-story Hotel Palomar Atlanta-Midtown is in the heart of Midtown Atlanta, near the campus of Georgia Institute of Technology, Piedmont Park and the Georgia Dome. The hotel features 10,000 square feet of flexible meeting space and a 1,000 square-foot fitness center.

Thayer Lodging Group, based in Annapolis, Maryland, is a privately held hotel investment company that was formed in 1991 by Frederic V. Malek and Leland Pillsbury. Thayer has a lengthy and successful track record that spans multiple investment cycles. Thayer is currently investing with its fifth private equity fund.
Visit Marriott International, Inc.(NYSE: MAR) for company information. For more information or reservations, please visit our website at www.marriott.com, and for the latest company news, visit www.marriottnewscenter.com.

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Sheraton Hotels & Resorts Adds New Hotel In Miami

12/01/2010

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide have announced the opening of Sheraton Miami Airport Hotel & Executive Meeting Center. Located less than a quarter mile from Miami International Airport, the former Wyndham hotel owned by Thayer Lodging Group has undergone extensive upgrades prior to opening as a Sheraton.

The addition of Sheraton Miami Airport Hotel & Executive Meeting Center is part of the Sheraton brand's strategic expansion plan that will add approximately 50 new hotels and more than 20,000 rooms to the Sheraton portfolio over the next three years.

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"We are thrilled to grow our presence in Florida with the opening of Sheraton Miami Airport Hotel & Executive Meeting Center, where business and leisure guests will enjoy resort amenities, as well as convenient proximity to the airport and Miami's leading attractions," said Hoyt Harper, Senior Vice President, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts. "This hotel will exemplify the new look and feel of Sheraton following the brand's recently completed $6 billion brand-wide revitalization, including $400 million in signature brand initiatives designed to create community and make it easy to stay connected."

Boasting panoramic city and water views, Sheraton Miami Airport Hotel & Executive Meeting Center is nestled on the banks of the Miami River, just four miles from downtown Miami. The hotel features 405 guest rooms, including 50 rooms that offer the PURE Air system, 20,000 square feet of state-of-the-art, IACC (International Association of Conference Centers) appointed Executive Meeting Center, the first full-service EMC in south Florida. In addition, guests enjoy PURE Air circulated throughout the Executive Meeting Center to further enhance the meeting experience. Additional facilities include a health club, outdoor pool and bar, full-service restaurant, Club floor and complimentary 24-hour airport shuttle service. Miami's Melreese Golf Course is located adjacent to the property, offering 18-holes of championship golf.

Following further renovations, the reconfigured lobby will soon feature the brand's signature "Link@Sheraton(R) experienced with Microsoft(R)" - the brand's signature social hub where connections, whether face-to-face or webcam-to-webcam take place.

"This new Sheraton in Miami is representative of the brand's strategic growth in key markets across the United States not only through new-builds, but also through conversion opportunities," said Paul Sacco, Senior Vice President of North America Development. "The Sheraton brand's comprehensive revitalization has significantly improved guest satisfaction and loyalty, which in turn has greatly increased the brand's appeal among owners and developers. As a result, Sheraton is leading Starwood's market share growth."

Sheraton Miami Airport Hotel & Executive Meeting Center is close to South Beach shops, nightclubs and restaurants, vibrant downtown Miami, exclusive Coral Gables and several shopping malls. Guests will enjoy easy access to top area attractions such as Gulfstream Race Track, Miami Seaquarium, Metro Zoo, Dolphin Mall and American Airlines Arena. Also nearby are several prominent business parks and the offices of numerous multinational companies.

A top choice for prestigious corporate conventions and meetings of all sizes, Sheraton Miami Airport Hotel & Executive Meeting Center features 20,000 square feet of versatile meeting space including 20 conference rooms, a 4,000-square foot ballroom, and comprehensive meeting services.

"Starwood has done an excellent job enhancing the Sheraton brand. We are delighted to fly the Sheraton flag at Miami's leading business hotel, following an extensive investment in our property to meet the brand's new standards," said Carroll Warfield, Managing Director of Operations and Asset Management, Thayer Lodging Group. "We look forward to turning on the power of Starwood and reaching even more travelers through the innovative and award-winning Starwood Preferred Guest(R) program."

Stylish and comfortable, the guest rooms and suites are equipped with an oversized work desk, custom-designed ergonomic chair, high-speed Internet, LCD flat panel television, iPod home docking station and the all-white Sheraton Sweet Sleeper(R) bed. The hotel's fully equipped fitness facility features the brand's revolutionary new health and fitness program, Sheraton Fitness, Programmed by Core Performance, designed exclusively for Sheraton guests through its partner Core Performance.

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Hyatt Dulles Opened Its New Executive Meeting Center (EMC)

09/07/2010

Hyatt Dulles opened its new Executive Meeting Center (EMC) on September 7, 2010, in Herndon, VA. With 18,000 square feet of meeting space and 11,000 square feet of pre-function space, the possibilities and accommodations can truly meet any need as the EMC will change the way companies conduct meetings and events.

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As the first Hyatt to receive membership in the International Association of Conference Centers, the EMC sets a new standard for meetings and events. The center is comprised of two ballrooms which can be manipulated into 18 possible room configurations, and four boardrooms. The center also provides a private dining area for guests, a complimentary full-service Business Center, swimming pool, and Fitness Center.

The EMC is the first of its kind to include a PURE Meeting Space and oxygen enriched rooms. The PURE concept is a seven step process that creates 99.9% allergen free environment, boasts air quality more than 50% better than the threshold for asthma patients, and kills 98% of viruses and bacteria. In addition, in the afternoons, the center pumps oxygen into the space keeping attendees more alert and awake through the end of the day.

"These features allow attendees to perform at the highest level making for a more productive event," said Michael Session, general manager, Hyatt Dulles. "Hyatt Dulles is committed to being on the forefront of healthy living, and the EMC brings us one big step closer to that promise."

Taking advantage of the latest technology, Hyatt Dulles has placed the most advanced LCD projectors, screens, lights, and audio/visual equipment throughout the Executive Meeting Center to enhance and accommodate all meetings and events. The center also boasts "touch enabled signage" within each meeting space. These touch screens allow attendees to obtain directions to their next destination, airport arrivals and departures, weather and area attractions.

Along with all the accommodations and features the EMC provides, its all-inclusive meeting packages make hosting an event a no hassle process. For a single fee, all the details of an event including food, space, and guestrooms are organized and coordinated for meeting planners.

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Thayer Hotel Investors V LP Acquires Fairview Park Marriott

07/01/2010

JER Partners ("JER"), a private commercial real estate investment management company, announced today that the firm has sold the Fairview Park Marriott, a 395-room full-service hotel located in the metro D.C. area of Falls Church, VA, to Thayer Hotel Investors V LP, a partnership organized by Thayer Lodging Group.

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JER acquired the Fairview Park Marriott in February 2007. The property contains over 15,000 square feet of meeting space and is the only hotel amenity in Fairview Park, one of the finest suburban office parks in Northern Virginia and located inside the Beltway. JER has completed a $3.9 million capital program ($10,000 per key), focusing on upgrading public areas of the hotel including the lounge, restaurant, lobby, meeting space, and fitness center. In May 2009, JER completed a discounted payoff on a significant portion of the hotel's debt while extending the maturity date on the remainder of the loan. This transaction enhanced the financial flexibility of the hotel and significantly reduced JER's cost basis.

"Despite the challenging lodging and capital markets environment over the past two years, JER Partners was able to create value for its investors through the realization of its investment in the Fairview Park Marriott," commented Jim Smith, Managing Director at JER Partners. Devin Chen, Managing Director at JER Partners added, "Our successful restructuring of the hotel's debt and opportunistic sale of the property are excellent examples of JER's thoughtful and proactive approach to investing."

JER Partners (JER) is a fully integrated private real estate investment management company with more than 29 years of experience in sourcing, underwriting and managing a broad spectrum of real estate equity investments and debt products in the U.S. and Europe. Together with its financial and operating partners, JER has purchased and managed approximately 15,000 assets totaling $28 billion. The firm also invests in CMBS, mezzanine financing and other structured debt products. For more information, visit www.jer.com.

Thayer Lodging Group is a privately held hotel investment company that was founded by Frederic V. Malek and Leland Pillsbury. Thayer Hotel Investors V LP is the fifth private equity fund organized by Thayer Lodging, Brookfield Hotel Properties. For more information, visit www.thayerlodging.com

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Thayer Lodging Group, Jin Jiang Hotels Joint Venture Completes Merger with Interstate Hotels & Resorts, Inc.

03/17/2010

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 17, 2010—Officials of Hotel Acquisition Company, LLC today announced the completion of their merger with Interstate Hotels & Resorts, Inc., the nation's largest independent hotel management company. Hotel Acquisition Company, LLC is a 50/50 joint venture between Thayer Hotel Investors V-A LP, a private equity fund sponsored by Thayer Lodging Group, and Shanghai Jin Jiang International Hotels (Group) Company Limited ("Jin Jiang Hotels").

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"Interstate is the world's premier, independent hotel operator. It is a company with great capability and a storied history," said Leland C. Pillsbury, co-chairman and CEO of Thayer Lodging Group. "They have an exceptional executive team, and we appreciate what they have accomplished for their clients. We intend to provide them with the financial resources that will allow them to offer even greater service to their existing clients and guests."

Yu Minliang, chairman of Jin Jiang Hotels, said, "Interstate has an unparalleled global reputation for operating excellence, and we are pleased to be part of this landmark transaction. They have immense potential and now will have the financial strength and flexibility to serve an expanding group of international clients. The company will continue to work closely and profitably with its brand partners."

Frederic V. Malek, co-chairman of Thayer Lodging Group stated, "With a 50-year history, Interstate has been a pioneer in international third-party management, from being the first such operator in Russia to playing an increasingly important role in India. Through strategic investment, they will be able to further enhance their systems and capabilities that support growth and profitability for their existing clients, which, in turn, will support the company's own future growth and profitability."

About Interstate Hotels & Resorts, Inc.

Interstate Hotels & Resorts, Inc. and its affiliates manage and/or have ownership interests in 228 hospitality properties with nearly 46,000 rooms in 36 states, the District of Columbia, Russia, India, Mexico, Belgium, Canada, Ireland and England.

About Hotel Acquisition Company, LLC

Hotel Acquisition Company, LLC is a 50/50 joint venture between Thayer Hotel Investors V-A LP, a private equity fund sponsored by Thayer Lodging Group, and Shanghai Jin Jiang International Hotels (Group) Company Limited. Thayer Lodging Group is a leading private equity sponsor that invests exclusively in the lodging sector. Thayer, founded in 1991, has a reputation for producing superior investment returns. Jin Jiang Hotels is the world's 13th largest hotel company in terms of number of rooms, according to Hotels Magazine.

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Report on IACC Thought Leaders Technology Panel

03/01/2010

A panel of eight experts in conference technology, meeting design, and adult learning took part in the 2nd International Association of Conference Centers Thought Leaders Panel March 24 at the Workspring Conference Center in Chicago. Extending its audience by streaming live over the Internet, the three-hour freeform discussion covered everything from brain function to predictions for future conference facilities, all based on the theme of "Incorporating Advancing Technology into the Meeting Experience."

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One of the more quotable lines of the day came from Greg Van Dyke, senior vice president, marketing, at PSAV Presentation Services, who quipped, "One person's distraction is another person's stimulation."

That's one of the sticky wickets of adding social media to face-to-face events. When attendees can tweet during a keynote, is it adding to the richness of the content or detracting from the focus of the topic at hand? Different generations may have different answers.

"Our new learning diversity," said Andrea Sullivan, president, BrainStrength Systems, Inc. "has to do with differences in brain structure and information processing." Sullivan pointed out that new technologies are actually changing our brains: The generation raised on print media reads left to right; the generation raised on computers reads boxes and colors. This should influence meeting design. "People don't learn well when they don't feel safe," she said. Older generations may not feel safe when half the audience seems to be checked out because they are texting or tweeting. Younger generations may not feel safe if that technology is taken away from them. So you end up with a mutually exclusive situation. "You may need to create different habitats or tracks, and then get everyone together again at the end," Sullivan suggested.

Outside the meeting dates, social networks extend the lifecycle of a meeting. Panelist Steve Mahaley believes it's important to note, however, that when you do connect attendees ahead of time you are shifting the purpose of your meeting.

Part of technology's impact is that it changes what the meeting is about," said Mahaley, director of learning technology, Duke Corporate Education. "When you engage participants at a distance before a meeting and you bring people up to a certain level of knowledge and allow them to network before they physically get together, then the nature of the meeting turns from a conference to a workshop. The meeting is no longer the whole deal. It is a step along a path. Attendees are bringing a lot of data to the party—they're not starting from square one."

Mike McCurry, CMP, strategic account manager, Experient, says "crowdsourcing," the term for the process of involving attendees' input into the content of a meeting, is becoming increasingly common. "It also gets people excited to attend long before the meeting starts." He's doing that for the Professional Convention Management Association Education Conference in June.

Thinking About Space

Once attendees are physically together, noted Mark Greiner, senior vice president & chief experience officer at Steelcase, Inc., the environment must be appropriate to the task at hand, whether it is to communicate, evaluate, collaborate, or co-create. "Co-creating is when people need to come up with new knowledge or new results," Greiner explained. "Just as you deal with the content side you must deal with the physical side." Steelcase owns and operates the Workspring Conference Center, site of the Thought Leaders event.

In fact, Greiner explained, research into the way the brain remembers things showcases the critical role of place in memory. Therefore, the more stimulating and inspirational the meeting environment, the more thoroughly the learning that takes place there will be remembered.

Facilities need to be flexible in the way they design their facilities, he said, so that they can adjust to different customers' technological needs. It's also important for centers to be able to show clients different examples of how other meetings have used technology in a space. "There aren't enough examples out there."

Panelists agreed that meeting evaluations and ROI measurements haven't caught up to the technology. For example, "The questions after the meeting should focus on how engaged the attendees were, how many people they kept in touch with after the conference, and if and how they used the technology offered before and after the meeting," said Paul Leguillon, technical support director, Q Center, St. Charles, Ill. Instead, ROI questions still focus on the quality of the PowerPoint presentations or the speakers. Leguillon has had clients who use Twitter as a way of getting honest, freeform attendee feedback after the meeting, then have someone pull all that feedback together into a usable form. Other ideas from panelists:

Mike McCurry, CMP, Experient: "Twitter is great in the right context and distracting in the wrong context. You must first understand who your attendees are and what your objectives are and then tailor social networking to your needs."

Greg Van Dyke, PSAV Presentation Services: "I'd like to extend social media into face-to-face meetings through things such as poll questions during a break that attendees answer via Twitter or an audience response system. Or how about interactive badges? We've all had the experience of looking for that one person and not being able to find him or her. What if your badge started to vibrate when the person enters the room?"

Paul Leguillon, Q Center: "We have combined our IT and AV teams to help clients create greater interactivity. We have a lot of technology, such as audience response systems, that allows them to do competitive teambuilding programs in the style of American Idol or Family Feud."

Andrea Sullivan, BrainStrength Systems, Inc.: "Video games are increasing our ability to pay attention and to respond quickly. And they're fun, and when it's fun, you bring in those neurotransmitters that help with learning."

Mike Dickersbach, vice president, information systems & technology, Thayer Lodging Group: "We do breaks with mind - stimulating activities such as showing classic cartoons, having a Wii available, and including information with food options showing how the brain and body will be affected when that food is eaten. We include things that completely separate attendees from the reason they are at the meeting."

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Interstate Hotels & Resorts Agrees to be Acquired by Joint Venture Between Thayer Lodging Group and Jin Jiang Hotels

12/18/2009

ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Interstate Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: IHR), a leading hotel real estate investor and the nation's largest independent hotel management company, today announced that it has signed a definitive merger agreement to be acquired by Hotel Acquisition Company, LLC, a 50/50 joint venture between subsidiaries of Thayer Hotel Investors V-A LP, a private equity fund sponsored by Thayer Lodging Group and Shanghai Jin Jiang International Hotels (Group) Company Limited ("Jin Jiang Hotels") in a transaction valued at approximately $307 million.

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Under the agreement, Hotel Acquisition Company, LLC would acquire all of the outstanding common stock and operating partnership units of Interstate for $2.25 per share in an all cash transaction. The price represents a premium of 77 percent over yesterday's closing stock price. Interstate's lenders have approved the transaction subject to certain pay downs at closing on its senior credit facility and on one of its non-recourse mortgage loans. The transaction is not contingent upon obtaining any additional financing.

Annapolis, Md.-based Thayer Lodging Group is a privately held real estate investment company focused on hospitality assets; Shanghai, China based Jin Jiang Hotels is a subsidiary of Jin Jiang International Holdings Company Limited, and is China's largest hotel group.

Interstate's board of directors has unanimously approved the merger agreement and has recommended approval of the transaction by Interstate's stockholders. Stockholders will be asked to vote on the proposed transaction at a special meeting that will be held on a date to be announced. The merger is expected to close in the first quarter of 2010, pending stockholder approval and satisfaction or waiver of other customary closing conditions.

"Our priority, as always, is to maximize shareholder value," said Thomas F. Hewitt, Interstate's chairman and chief executive officer. "This is a very compelling offer at a significant premium. The hotel industry remains in deep recession, and we believe this transaction offers the highest and best value to our shareholders."
"Interstate offers a unique platform with in-depth industry expertise, international operations, and scope of experience gained over 50 years, along with a stellar reputation as a first-rate operator," said Leland C. Pillsbury, chief executive officer and co-chairman, Thayer Lodging Group.  Frederic V. Malek, Thayer's co-chairman added, "We look forward to working with Interstate's management team and associates, their owners and partners as we build on the company's impressive legacy of success."

"Interstate has a global reputation as a world-class, independent hotel operator. This acquisition significantly accelerates our ability to expand internationally, giving us immediate access to a worldwide platform. We also expect to mutually benefit from our global relationships in the hospitality industry, making both Jin Jiang and Interstate stronger," said Mr. Yu Minliang, Jin Jiang Hotels' Chairman.

Barclays Capital served as financial advisor to Interstate, BofA Merrill Lynch served as financial advisor to Thayer, and UBS Investment Bank served as financial advisor to Jin Jiang Hotels. Paul Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP served as legal advisor for Interstate. Hogan & Hartson LLP served as Thayer's legal advisor and Baker & McKenzie LLP served as Jin Jiang Hotels' legal advisor.

About Thayer Lodging Group

Thayer Lodging Group is a sponsor of real estate investment funds with a track record in the top 5% of all fund sponsors for the past 19 years. Its clients include a select group of large, international institutional investors, the majority of which have been investors with Thayer for most of its 19-year history. The company is a value-add investor that works with major lodging brands to acquire and reposition hotels. Thayer sold $1.7 billion of hotels and resorts, which represented 85% of its real estate portfolio in 2006-2007, and retained a small group of 15 properties, which have been recently renovated and repositioned. It recently announced the closing of its fifth investment fund, Thayer Hotel Investors V LP, and its parallel fund, V-A LP, together totaling $280 million. Additionally, Thayer Lodging Group recently placed another $100 million under management in a separate vehicle. More information about the company can be found on its website: www.thayerlodging.com.

About Jin Jiang Hotels

Shanghai Jin Jiang International Hotels (Group) Company Limited is one of the leading hotel operators and managers in China. The Group is licensed to use the well-regarded "Jin Jiang" and "Jin Jiang Inn" brands. As of 30 June 2009, the Group operated and was developing 493 hotels including star-rated hotels and Jin Jiang Inn budget hotels, providing close to 82,700 rooms in aggregate. With a solid home base in Shanghai and Beijing, the Group has also successfully spanned its hotel network across 124 cities and towns in 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities throughout the PRC. In June 2009, the Group was ranked the 13th in the world in terms of number of rooms according to HOTELS Magazine, the official publication of the International Hotel & Restaurant Association. For information about Jin Jiang Hotels, visit the company's website: www.jinjianghotels.com.cn.

About Interstate Hotels & Resorts

Interstate Hotels & Resorts, Inc. and its affiliates manages and/or has ownership interests in a total of 232 hospitality properties with more than 46,000 rooms in 37 states, the District of Columbia, Russia, India, Mexico, Belgium, Canada, Ireland and England. The company has ownership interests in 56 of those properties, including six wholly owned assets. Interstate Hotels & Resorts also has contracts to manage 13 to be built hospitality properties with approximately 3,000 rooms which includes the company's entry into new markets such as Costa Rica. For more information about Interstate Hotels & Resorts, visit the company's Web site: www.ihrco.com.

This press release contains "forward-looking statements," within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, about Interstate Hotels & Resorts, including those statements regarding future operating results and the timing and composition of revenues, among others, and statements containing words such as "expects," "believes" or "will," which indicate that those statements are forward-looking. Except for historical information, the matters discussed in this press release are forward-looking statements that are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause the actual results to differ materially, including the volatility of the national economy, economic conditions generally and the hotel and real estate markets specifically, the war in Iraq, international and geopolitical difficulties or health concerns, governmental actions, legislative and regulatory changes, the company's ability to maximize available federal tax deductions and utilize net tax attributes in future periods, availability of debt and equity capital, interest rates, competition, weather conditions or natural disasters, supply and demand for lodging facilities in our current and proposed market areas, the company's ability to manage integration and growth, failure to obtain approval of the transaction from Interstate stockholders and disruption from the transaction making it more difficult to maintain relationships with owners, employees and suppliers. Additional risks are discussed in Interstate Hotels & Resorts' filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including Interstate Hotels & Resorts' annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2008.

In connection with the proposed transaction, Interstate intends to file a proxy statement with the SEC. INVESTORS AND SECURITY HOLDERS ARE URGED TO READ THE PROXY STATEMENT WHEN IT BECOMES AVAILABLE AND ANY OTHER RELEVANT DOCUMENTS TO BE FILED WITH THE SEC IN CONNECTION WITH THE PROPOSED TRANSACTION BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT INTERSTATE, THE PROPOSED TRANSACTION AND RELATED MATTERS. The final proxy statement will be mailed to Interstate shareholders.

Investors and security holders will be able to obtain free copies of these documents when they become available through the website maintained by the SEC at www.sec.gov. In addition, the documents filed with the SEC may be obtained free of charge by directing such requests to Christopher L. Bennett, Secretary, at Interstate Hotels & Resorts, Inc., 4501 N. Fairfax Drive, Arlington, Virginia 22203, or by visiting our website, where Interstate makes available filings with the SEC as soon as reasonably practicable after they are electronically filed with the SEC.

Interstate Hotels & Resorts, Inc. and its directors, executive officers and certain other members of Interstate management may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from Interstate shareholders with respect to the proposed transaction. Information regarding the interests of these officers and directors in the proposed transaction will be included in the proxy statement to be filed with the SEC. In addition, information about Interstate's directors, executive officers and members of management is contained in Interstate's most recent proxy statement and annual report on Form 10-K, which are available on Interstate's website and at www.sec.gov.

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Thayer Lodging Group wins "Transaction of the Year - New Development Category" for Grande Lakes Orlando Resort

12/31/2003

Winner: Grande Lakes Orlando Orlando, Florida

Martin A. Reid, Managing Director, Thayer Lodging Group says, "Thayer Lodging Group is delighted to receive this award with our developer partner, Marriott International. We are extremely pleased with the completed resorts and the early results from operations. The team at Grande Lakes has set a very high standard for leisure, golf, spa, meetings and social gatherings."

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Transaction Summary: Grande Lakes Orlando Orlando, Florida

At a cost of nearly $600 million -- and for the first time -- two of the industry's leading luxury brands, the Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott Hotels, were brought together in the same spectacular setting -- the expansive 500-acre Grande Lakes Orlando estate.

At the headwaters of the Florida Everglades and bordering the Shingle Creek Basin, an environmental preserve which can never be built, the resort affords guests a vista of preserved wetlands and natural woodlands dotted with pine, palmetto, live oak trees and Florida wildlife. A Greg Norman designed 18-hole championship golf course accentuates this landscape and weaves alongside the two towering hotels to its finish near a massive resort pool and recreation area.

A number of industry firsts distinguish Grande Lakes Orlando including:

1) The first property in Orlando to provide the privacy and amenities of a luxury golf and spa resort along with convenient access to all the popular attractions of the Orlando tourist market. Within 10 miles of the resort, guests can visit the Orlando Orange County Convention Center (3.5 miles), Walt Disney World (10 miles), Universal Orlando (7 miles), and Orlando International Airport (10 miles).

2) The first property to offer guests their choice of either the outstanding Ritz-Carlton or JW Marriott brands

3) The first property to be managed by both the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Group and Marriott Hotels & Resorts

4) The first golf resort in the U.S. to offer an innovative Golf Caddie-Concierge Program and the first resort in the nation to offer a Golf FORE Kids Etiquette Class

5) The first resort in the world to have its own Citrus Consultant

Guests may select from either JW Marriott or the Ritz-Carlton, each hotel with its own distinctive presentation and design. The 584-room Ritz-Carlton is designed to feel like an Italian palazzo with a richly appointed lobby and a luxurious residential ambiance. Every room has a private balcony and oversized marble bathrooms with separate bathtub and shower. The hotel also includes 64 suites and 92 club level rooms for discriminating guests. The 1,000-room JW Marriott greets guests with an expansive grand lobby atrium with a showcase fountain and decorative obelisk. Designed with Spanish and Moorish influences, the bold colors of the Mediterranean are incorporated throughout the hotel. All guestrooms, including 64 suites, feature separate marble bathtub and shower and marble vanities. All rooms in both hotels provide guests with state-of-the-art dual data ports supported by fiber optic technology, as well as high-speed internet access.

The resort offers guests a 40,000 square-foot spa managed by Ritz-Carlton. The Spa is reminiscent of a luxurious Mediterranean palazzo and features 40 treatment rooms, a 4,000-square-foot private lap pool, and a 6,000-square-foot Wellness Center. Other resort recreational amenities include a 24,000 square-foot, winding lazy river pool (which holds 672,000 gallons of water), a hydrotherapy pool, multiple tennis courts and state-of-the-art fitness centers.

Grande Lakes Orlando offers 12 different lounge and dining choices including two signature dining venues: Norman's, located in The Ritz-Carlton features the culinary expertise of celebrated chef Norman Van Aken, while the JW Marriott features acclaimed chef Melissa Kelly's Primo restaurant. Both of these chefs are recipients of the James Beard Foundation Awards.

Meeting space is extensive with 33,000 square feet at The Ritz-Carlton, including two ballrooms and 14 meeting rooms, while the JW Marriott features over 72,000 square feet of meeting space, including two ballrooms, 23 conference rooms and two elegantly appointed boardrooms. Wireless high-speed internet access is available in all meetings rooms and public spaces.

The property is owned by Thayer Lodging Group and managed by The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., and Marriott Hotels & Resorts.

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Thayer Lodging Group Set to Open the $600 million Grande Lakes Orlando; Largest Non-gaming Hotel Project to Open in the US this Year

07/01/2003

ORLANDO, Fla. – July 1, 2003 – As America gears up to celebrate the July 4th holiday weekend, there is big news in the nation's number one tourist destination with today's opening of Grande Lakes Orlando. At a cost of nearly $600 million, the 500-acre estate is the largest non-gaming hotel project to open in the United States this year, creating 1,200 new jobs in the Orlando area. The property is owned by Thayer Lodging Group and managed by The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., and Marriott Hotels & Resorts.

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Inspired by the 1920s architect Addison Mizner, the 584-room Ritz-Carlton, designed to feel like an Italian palazzo, offers guests a residential ambiance. At the 1,000-room JW Marriott, the grand lobby atrium with fountain and obelisk gives guests a sense of arrival. Designed with Spanish and Moorish influences, bold colors of the Mediterranean are incorporated throughout the hotel. Complementing these two grand structures is an 18-hole Greg Norman-designed championship golf course and a 40,000 square-foot spa, both managed by The Ritz-Carlton.

"This is one of the country's most exciting new resorts and will redefine the Orlando experience by providing the privacy and amenities of a luxury golf and spa resort, with convenient access to everything this famous destination has to offer," said William J. Shaw, president and chief operating officer, Marriott International, Inc.

"We are delighted to be opening our eighth hotel in Florida in Orlando, the recreational playground of the world," said Simon Cooper, president and chief operating officer, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. "Each of the Ritz-Carlton resorts in Florida has been an award-winner, and we feel certain this will be one of the jewels in the crown with an amazing spa, world-class golf course, and a location sophisticated travelers will find especially appealing."

"Customers told us that there was a real desire for premium rooms and a luxury hotel experience in Orlando," said Marc Hoffman, vice president and managing director of Grande Lakes Orlando. "We hope to fill this need by offering an unrivaled level of service, amenities, golf and spa facilities to attract the refined traveler."

Distinguishing Grande Lakes Orlando from the crowd are a number of industry "firsts" - it is the first resort to combine these two outstanding brands, the first golf resort in the U.S. to offer an innovative Golf Caddie-Concierge Program; the first resort in the nation to offer a Golf FORE Kids Etiquette Class; and the first resort in the world to have its own Citrus Consultant, an expert on all things citrus.

Grande Lakes Orlando offers 12 different lounge and dining choices including two signature dining venues. Norman's, located in The Ritz-Carlton is a culinary collaboration with celebrated chef Norman Van Aken. At the JW Marriott, the highlight is chef Melissa Kelly's Primo restaurant. Both of these acclaimed chefs are recipients of the James Beard Foundation Awards and establish Grande Lakes Orlando as an outstanding dining destination for the community.

Meeting space is extensive with 33,000 square feet at The Ritz-Carlton, including two ballrooms and 14 meeting rooms, while the JW Marriott features over 72,000 square feet of meeting space, including two ballrooms, 23 conference rooms and two elegantly appointed boardrooms. Wireless high-speed internet access is available in all meetings rooms and public spaces.

Signature touches at Grande Lakes Orlando include enhanced children's programs and specialty concierges at The Ritz-Carlton, and a 24,000 square-foot, winding lazy river pool (which holds 672,000 gallons of water) with floating tubes at the JW Marriott.

MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL, INC. (NYSE:MAR), a leading worldwide hospitality company has nearly 2,600 operating units in the United States and 66 other countries and territories. For information or reservations, visit www.marriott.com.

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C, a winner of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 1992 and 1999, operates 54 luxury hotels throughout the world. For information or reservations, call (800) 241-3333 or visit www.ritzcarlton.com.

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The 254-room Sheraton Austin Reflagged by Thayer Lodging Group to Crowne Plaza Austin Hotel

08/09/2002

ATLANTA (Aug. 9, 2002) - The 254-room Crowne Plaza Austin Hotel and Executive Meeting Center, conveniently located in the heart of Austin's convention and entertainment district, joins the upscale hotel portfolio of Six Continents Hotels.

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Crowne Plaza Austin Hotel

Owner: Thayer Lodging Group

GM: Jennifer Kuhlman

DOS: Leanne Hallisey

The 18-story property looks onto Waller Creek, and offers guests romantic views of an outdoor waterfall and downtown Austin. With a 12,000 square-feet Executive Meeting Center and state-of-the-art business amenities, this property is ideal for smaller gatherings to groups of up to 150. The Executive Meeting Center features soundproof conference rooms with non-glare tables and ergonomic chairs.

Guestroom amenities include voice mail, coffee maker, hair dryer, data ports, iron and ironing board and desk with ergonomic chair. The Crowne Plaza Austin Hotel and Executive Meeting Center also offers a 24-hour reception desk, express checkout, fitness center, concierge, business center, valet parking, complimentary newspaper, 24-hour room service, outdoor pool and whirlpool. Same-day laundry service, a gift shop, future retail shopping and an on-site travel agency also will be available. The closest hotel to the Austin Convention Center, the Crowne Plaza Austin Hotel and Executive Meeting Center provides the perfect venue for both business and leisure travelers whether attending meetings, looking for a weekend getaway or sightseeing.

The Crowne Plaza Austin Hotel and Executive Meeting Center is within walking distance to a variety of restaurants, shops and entertainment venues including Austin's famous 6th Street and the Warehouse District. Other nearby attractions include the State Capitol, The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, Towne Lake Hike and Bike Trail and The University of Texas. The hotel is less than 15 minutes from Bergstrom International Airport.

As part of the Six Continents Hotels global portfolio, Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts offers upscale accommodations at a good value, at 180 hotels in 40 countries, with more than 48,000 guestrooms in major urban centers, gateway cities and resort destinations worldwide.

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Thayer Hotel Investors Developing Grand Lakes Resort in Orlando; Will Include a 1,000-room JW Marriott Hotel and a 584-room Ritz-Carlton Hotel

04/20/2001

WASHINGTON, April 20, 2001 - Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE: MAR) and Thayer Hotel Investors today announced an agreement for Thayer to own and Marriott to manage the new Grande Lakes Resort in Orlando, Florida, that will include a 1,000-room JW Marriott Hotel and a 584-room Ritz-Carlton hotel. The new resort, which Marriott will manage under a long-term agreement, also will offer an 18-hole golf course designed by Greg Norman and a 40,000-square-foot luxury spa.

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The Grande Lakes Resort, which is expected to open in the third quarter of 2003, will be located on a 450-acre site with quick and convenient access to such world-class attractions as Walt Disney World, Sea World and Universal Studios. The resort also will be close to the Orange County, Florida, Convention & Civic Center and the Orlando International Airport.

"We are pleased to have such a solid partner on the project as Thayer, which will own this exciting, multi-faceted resort," said J.W. Marriott, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Marriott International. "We expect Grande Lakes to be one of North America's premier resort destinations."

Fred V. Malek, chairman of Thayer, noted, "Our relationship with Marriott International, the world's leading hospitality brand name and management company, will bring our respective strengths to this new resort: Thayer's real estate expertise and Marriott's unsurpassed reputation as a premier operator of hospitality properties."

Thayer will lead a group of investors making a $65 million equity investment in the project, which will be developed for a cost of $547 million. In addition to selling the underlying land to the Thayer venture for $31 million, Marriott also will provide development services during the planned 2 ½- year construction period.

The project will be capitalized with a $300 million first mortgage loan from a consortium of 15 banks. Marriott has guaranteed completion of the project, anticipated in late 2003, and at that time expects to hold approximately $120 million in mezzanine loans advanced to the project. Thayer has the right to sell 20 percent of the venture's equity to Marriott upon the opening of both hotels. Marriott has also provided the project with additional credit facilities for certain amounts due under the first mortgage loan and minimum returns to the equity investors in the early years of the project, but expects such support to be less than $5 million.

Thayer Hotel Investors and related entities, based in Annapolis, Maryland, is a privately held real estate investment company with total assets of nearly $2 billion and a portfolio of 21 hotels. Thayer invests in quality hotel properties for its portfolios, seeking to enhance the cash flow and value of such assets through repositioning, renovation and capital investment, rebranding and management improvements of the properties. Its nationwide portfolio includes hotels operating under the Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Courtyard, Residence Inn, Fairfield Inn and other well-known brand names.

Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE: MAR) is a leading worldwide hospitality company with over 2,300 operating units in the United States and 59 other countries and territories.

This press release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of federal securities law, including statements concerning business strategies and their intended results and similar statements concerning anticipated future events and expectations that are not historical facts.

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Thayer Lodging Group Opens the IACC Certified Executive Meeting Center at the The DoubleTree Hotel, Rockville, Maryland

05/05/2000

Rockville, MD - May 5, 2000 - The DoubleTree Hotel and Executive Meeting Center, Rockville's newly constructed 10,000 square foot Executive Meeting Center, celebrated its grand opening Tuesday, May 2. Local figures that spoke at the ribbon cutting ceremony include the Honorable Rose Krasnow, Mayor, City of Rockville; David Edgerley, Director of the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development and Lawrence E. Cunnick, President, BIOCON, Inc., a Rockville-based research laboratory. Ed Proenza, General Manager of the DoubleTree Hotel and Executive Meeting Center served as emcee for the event, which also included remarks from Carroll Warfield, Executive Vice President of Operations, Thayer Lodging Group and Ben Fusco, Regional Vice President, Hilton Hotels.

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The opening ceremonies included tours of the facility by the DoubleTree staff and product demonstrations from Core Communications and Presentation Services. Core is responsible for providing the Executive Meeting Center's conference rooms with high-speed data communication. Presentation Services, provides the Center with top-quality audiovisual and staging support through light, sound, video and data projection. Following the tours, attendees were served an extensive lunch buffet in the hotel's new Atrium Dining Room.

The 10,000 square foot Executive Meeting Center offers an all-inclusive, per-person price for the use of the Center. As part of IACC's certification, the Center offers 14 separate conference rooms, each tested for appropriate acoustical and lighting levels. Rooms are equipped with desks with high quality writing surfaces, ergonomic executive chairs, the latest audio visual devices, built in marker boards, tackable wall strips for flip charts and access to high speed data communications. Ideal for intensive training sessions and board meetings, the Executive Meeting Center offers a full-service business center, soft seating lounge with big screen television, library and billiard room. In addition, all 315 guestrooms and the hotel's restaurant have been thoroughly renovated to coincide with the Executive Meeting Center's opening.

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony DoubleTree Rockville Hotel & Executive Meeting Center Tuesday, May 2, 2000 Left to Right: Ben Fusco Area Vice President, DoubleTree / Hilton Hotels, Ed Proenza General Manager, DoubleTree Hotel & Executive Meeting Center Rockville, David Edgerley Director, Montgomery County Department of Economic Development, Honorable Rose Krasnow Mayor, City of Rockville, Lawrence E. Cunnick President, BIOCON, Inc., Carroll M. Warfield Vice President of Operations, Thayer Lodging Group ( Photographer: Fredde Lieberman.)

The Executive Meeting Center was designed with the input of local companies and government agencies including Hughes Network Systems, U.S. Pharmacopia, IBM, The National Cancer Institute and The National Institutes of Health.

Furthermore, the Center has received valuable support from the county and city. The Greater Rockville Partnership, a non-profit economic development corporation charged with facilitating the growth of Rockville's economy in the twenty-first century, has been actively promoting the Executive Meeting Center to the business community.

"The community was very supportive as we built the new center," said Rick Southard, Director of Marketing. "County Executive Duncan and Mayor Krasnow have been valuable partners and serve as examples of how the private and public sectors can work together to help businesses like ours succeed."

The DoubleTree Hotel and Executive Meeting Center - Rockville is conveniently located adjacent to the Twinbrook Metro station and National, Dulles and BWI-Airports are accessible within a 45 minute drive.

Other DoubleTree Hotels with Executive Meeting Centers are located in, Skokie, Illinois and Somerset, New Jersey. DoubleTree Hotels is a subsidiary of Hilton Hotels.

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Thayer Hotel Investors Purchase the 1,338-room Marriott Wardman Park; Price in Excess of $200 Million

01/15/1999

WASHINGTON - Jan. 15, 1999 -- The largest hotel in the nation's capital, the Marriott Wardman Park on Connecticut Avenue, has been bought by a hotel investment group headed by local businessmen Frederic V. Malek and Leland C. Pillsbury.

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The new owners will carry out a $50 million renovation of all guest rooms and public spaces in the historic hotel that will make it one of the nation's most modern and comfortable convention facilities and will attract additional visitors to the District of Columbia, spurring a vital segment of the Washington area's economy.
The 1,338-room Marriott Wardman Park was purchased last week by Thayer Hotel Investors, an Annapolis-based investment firm founded by Malek, Pillsbury and several other Washington-area businessmen with outstanding track records in the hotel industry. The overall purchase price for the hotel exceeded $200 million.
Measured either by the size of the hotel or the sale price, the transaction was the largest real estate deal in the American hotel industry over the past year.

"All of us at Thayer Hotel Investors are delighted to be associated with the premier hotel in the nation's capital," Mr. Malek said. "We are committing significant resources and a great deal of energy to ensure that the Marriott Wardman Park will be one of America's most sought-after convention venues."

Pillsbury added, "We can make this commitment because Washington, D.C. is a vibrant city that is attractive to visitors for a host of reasons. By providing a world-class convention facility, we believe we can contribute to the growth of Washington's regional economy and the economic opportunities available to local residents."

The Marriott Wardman Park is currently Washington's most complete convention facility. It has more guest rooms than any other hotel in the region, more meeting rooms and exhibit space, one of the area's largest ballrooms and a total of 173,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space. It is conveniently located just south of the National Zoo and has direct access by Metrorail to Washington's monumental core and the city's new downtown convention center to be built at Gallery Place.

The hotel also is rich in history. The oldest portion of the hotel, Wardman Tower, dates to 1928, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and has been home to three U.S. presidents. The first television broadcast of NBC's Meet the Press originated from the Wardman Park.

The hotel's previous owner, Boston-based John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co., has already begun a complete interior and exterior restoration of Wardman Tower that will include furnishing its suites with European antiques, many of them original to the hotel. Thayer will complete and enhance that renovation.

Thayer also will execute a complete remodeling of the entry lobby and public spaces of the Marriott Wardman Park that will enable the hotel to greet guests in a more welcoming environment. Thayer will expand and update the existing lobby, completely redo the hotel's restaurants and taverns, and add a much larger porte-cochere entryway that will enable guests to arrive and depart more conveniently. Those improvements are scheduled to be complete by the end of 1999.

Along with its significance for Washington's convention and tourism industry, Thayer's purchase of the Wardman Park will have an impact on the hotel industry nationwide. According to The Plasencia Group, a leading national real-estate brokerage that specializes in hotel-industry transactions, Thayer's purchase is larger than any industry real estate transaction that took place in 1998.

The transaction also elevates Thayer into the top ranks ofAmerica's hotel ownership and development firms. Thayer currently owns 16 hotels nationwide that are managed by a number of well-known operating companies, including Marriott, Doubletree and Sheraton.

In its past hotel purchases, Thayer has improved the financial performance of properties by improving facilities and, where necessary, bringing in new management. But Thayer is delighted to announce that Marriott International will continue to manage the Wardman Park, continuing the high standards of customer service for which Marriott is famous.

Lee Pillsbury stated, "This purchase is indicative of the great investment opportunities in the hotel industry today. We look forward to further acquisitions in 1999 in the Washington area and elsewhere." Thayer was founded eight years ago by Mr. Malek and Mr. Pillsbury, both of whom had previously enjoyed successful careers in hotel management and development at Marriott International. (Mr. Malek, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, named Thayer in honor of Col. Thayer, an early superintendent of West Point who is credited with building the school's tradition of excellence.)

Mr. Malek has a long record of achievement in business and politics. Along with his work at Marriott, he led a leveraged buyout of Northwest Airlines in the early 1990s and has since established and serves as chairman of Thayer Capital Partners, a Washington-based merchant bank that owns and operates diverse international businesses ranging from computer software to bicycle manufacturing. Mr. Malek also served in the White House under Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Ronald Reagan, and was chairman of President George Bush's 1992 campaign.

Mr. Pillsbury previously spent 20 years at Marriott, where as a corporate officer he oversaw the company's Residence Inns and Fairfield Inns divisions. During his tenure, the number of hotels in these divisions increased from 125 to more than 700.

Marriott Wardman Park Hotel Facts

As Washington's preeminent convention hotel, the 1,338 room Marriott Wardman Park Hotel is the largest hotel in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and the 8th largest hotel in the United States.

Thayer Hotel Investors' purchase of the Wardman Park Hotel exceed $200 million and is the largest hotel transaction (both in terms of the number of rooms and dollar amount) in the United States over the past twelve months.

Situated atop a sixteen-acre landmark estate in northwest Washington, the Wardman Park has by far the most convention space in the Washington area: 95,000 square feet of dedicated exhibit space and 78,000 square feet of meeting space, including 46 meeting rooms and a private executive boardroom.

With a ballroom of 30,000 square feet, it has one of the largest ballrooms in Washington, D.C.

The hotel employs a total of 1,000 people, of whom 30 percent reside in the District of Columbia.

The hotel has hosted some of the most prominent events in the nation's capital, including meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, Department of State functions, presidential inaugural balls and numerous other appearances by the President of the United States.

It is currently undergoing a $50 million renovation program, which is scheduled for completion in December 1999.

The most historic portion of the hotel, Wardman Tower, dates back to 1928 and was named to the National Register of Historic places in 1984. It is being fully restored to its original grandeur, with antique French and English furniture.

The Marriott Wardman Park is rich in history and has been the home to numerous nationally known figures including:

• U.S. Presidents Hoover, Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson

• Vice Presidents Charles Curtis, Henry Wallace, Spiro Agnew

• Chief Justices Frederick M. Vinson and Earl Warren

• Senators Charles Robb, Barry Goldwater, Robert Dole

• Hollywood legend Marlene Dietrich

The first televised broadcast of Meet the Press took place in the Wardman Tower in 1947, and the program continued to originate there for decades.
NBC television and other broadcast organizations originated many programs from the hotel, including:

• Meet the Press with moderator Lawrence Spivak (a Wardman Tower resident)

• The Camel News Caravan

• The Today Show (Frank Blair segments)

• The Arthur Murray Dance Program

The Marriott Wardman Park Hotel is a Mobil and AAA award winning property.

History of the Wardman Park Hotel

In 1918, developer Harry Wardman celebrated the end of World War I by opening the five-million-dollar 1,000-room Wardman Park hotel. In 1928, the main building was expanded with the opening of the annex, now known as the historic Wardman Tower. The Sheraton Corporation purchased the property in 1953 and renamed it the Sheraton Park Hotel. Substantial additions were made to the property transforming it into a full-scale convention hotel, including the 1964 addition known as the Park Tower. In 1980, the Sheraton Washington Hotel mreplaced the Sheraton Park Hotel, connecting the landmark Wardman Tower, the Park Tower and the Center Tower convention/exhibit area. Last year, Marriott International took over management of the property, renaming the hotel the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.

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Thayer Lodging Group Obtains $327 Million Loan from Capital America

11/17/1998

AN FRANCISCO - Nov. 17, 1998 - Capital America (formerly Nomura Capital) provided a $327 million loan to Thayer Lodging Group to refinance 13 hotels in eight states, one of the largest hotel loan packages closed in the United States this year.

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The financing is a 13-year, fixed-rate loan with a three-year interest only period at 7.27%, followed by a ten-year permanent loan at 7.52%, amortizing over 25 years. It has a loan-to-value ratio (LTV) of 73%, and a debt-service-coverage ratio (DSCR) of 1:35:1 on 1998 operating results.

The hotels are owned by two limited partnerships, Lodging Opportunities L.P. and Thayer Hotel Investors II, L.P., that are managed by Thayer Lodging Group.

Fred Malek, chairman and chief executive of the two owning partnerships said, "This refinancing adds great value to our portfolio and underscores the integrity and capability of Capital America."

Thayer Lodging Group, founded in 1991 and headquartered in Annapolis, invests with institutional partners and has become one of the largest private owners of hotels in the United States.

Lee Pillsbury, chairman of Thayer Lodging Group said, "This financing represents a significant step forward for our investors, and reflects Capital America's strong belief in the value of these assets."

 
The properties are:

  • Annapolis Marriott Hotel, Annapolis, MD
  • Bethesda Residence Hotel, Bethesda, MD
  • DoubleTree Rockville, Rockville, MD
  • DoubleTree Hotel Somerset, Somerset, NJ
  • DoubleTree Guest Suites, Plymouth Meeting, PA
  • Richmond Embassy Suites, Richmond, VA
  • Maison DuPuy, New Orleans, LA
  • DoubleTree New Orleans Lakeside, Metairie, LA
  • Sheraton Suites Plantation Hotel, Plantation, FL
  • DoubleTree Oceanfront, Ft Lauderdale, FL
  • Sheraton Austin, Austin, TX
  • North Shore DoubleTree Hotel, Skokie, IL
  • Ft. Lauderdale Doubletree Guest Suites Hotel, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Dave Weymer, Thayer Lodging Group's general counsel said, "This was a large and complex transaction and the Capital America team was great to work with -- we're looking forward to a continuing relationship with them."

Michael Brody, Capital America managing director and Jean Baker, lead banker, said that despite its complexities, the loan was a pleasure to work on. "The quality of Thayer's hotels and their management team made funding this project enjoyable," Brody said.

The San Francisco-based Capital America is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nomura Holding America, Inc. that provides commercial real estate financing. The company's servicing arm, Capital America Client Services, handles servicing for the duration of the borrowers' loans. Capital America has regional offices in New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago.

[Close Article]

Annapolis Marriott Waterfront - 2013

2013 Accolade

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence - 2013

Awarded to hotels that perform in the top 10% on TripAdvisor.

Annapolis Marriott Waterfront - 2013

2013 Accolade

What's Up? Annapolis Weddings Best of 2013-Best Hotel for Out of Towners

The Annapolis Marriott has a great location right on the water and was winner of the Best Hotel for Out of Towners. Great views equal great times!

Hampton Inn Sarasota I75 Bee Ridge - 2013

2013 Accolade

Certified by Florida Department of Environmental Protection Green Lodging Program - 2013

At Thayer Lodging Group, we believe in ensuring our hotels do as much as possible to be "Green". From recycling to energy reductions, we do our small part.

Hampton Inn Sarasota I75 Bee Ridge - 2013

2013 Accolade

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence - 2013

Awarded to hotels that perform in the top 10% on TripAdvisor.

Hilton Garden Inn Sarasota-Bradenton Airport - 2013

2013 Accolade

Certified by Florida Department of Environmental Protection Green Lodging Program - 2013

At Thayer Lodging Group, we believe in ensuring our hotels do as much as possible to be "Green". From recycling to energy reductions, we do our small part.

Hilton Garden Inn Sarasota-Bradenton Airport - 2013

2013 Accolade

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence - 2013

Awarded to hotels that perform in the top 10% on TripAdvisor.

AmericInn Hotel & Suites Sarasota - 2013

2013 Accolade

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence - 2013

Awarded to hotels that perform in the top 10% on TripAdvisor.

Doubletree Palm Beach Gardens - 2013

2013 Accolade

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence - 2013

Awarded to hotels that perform in the top 10% on TripAdvisor.

Courtyard Miami Airport - 2013

2013 Accolade

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence - 2013

Awarded to hotels that perform in the top 10% on TripAdvisor.

Marriott Fairview Park - 2013

2013 Accolade

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence - 2013

Awarded to hotels that perform in the top 10% on TripAdvisor.

Marriott Fairview Park - 2013

2013 Accolade

Marriott Finance Excellence Award Americas Eastern Region for Best Key Performance Indicators (KPI) Overall - 2013

Ensuring we have the best Directors of Finance is key to success in any hotel.

Hyatt Dulles - 2013

2013 Accolade

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence - 2013

Awarded to hotels that perform in the top 10% on TripAdvisor.

Hyatt Dulles - 2013

2013 Accolade

TripAdvisor Green Leader Bronze - 2013

TripAdvisor has specific criteria to be listed as a "Green Leader" on their website. This includes filling out a separate survey and audits by TripAdvisor to become certified.

The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco - 2013

2013 Accolade

AAA Five-Diamond Award - 2013

The prestigious AAA Five-Diamond award is given to very few hotels, and we hold this in the highest esteem.

The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco - 2013

2013 Accolade

Forbes Four Star Award - 2013

Forbes Four Star Award is a great honor to bestow on our properties.

The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco - 2013

2013 Accolade

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence - 2013

Awarded to hotels that perform in the top 10% on TripAdvisor.

The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco - 2013

2013 Accolade

Travel + Leisure Top 500 – America’s Best Hotels - 2013

With so many hotels located in the United States, it is an honor to be named one of Travel + Leisure's top 500.

The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco - 2013

2013 Accolade

Michelin Travel Guide – Five Pavilions - 2013

Parallel 37 was mentioned in the Michelin Travel Guide as the place to be!

The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco - 2013

2013 Accolade

Parallel 37 – Forbes Four Star Award - 2013

Parallel 37 was awarded the Forbes Four Star Award for excellent service, food and atmosphere.

The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco - 2013

2013 Accolade

Parallel 37 – AAA Four-Diamond Award - 2013

Parallel 37  was awarded the AAA Four Diamond Award for excellent service, food and atmosphere.

The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco - 2013

2013 Accolade

Parallel 37 – San Francisco Chronicle 3 Stars (Michael Bauer) - 2013

Michael Bauer wrote an extremely great recommendation for everyone to dine at Parallel 37.

JW Marriott San Francisco - 2013

2013 Accolade

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence - 2013

Awarded to hotels that perform in the top 10% on TripAdvisor.

JW Marriott San Francisco - 2013

2013 Accolade

TripAdvisor Green Leader Silver - 2013

TripAdvisor has specific criteria to be listed as a "Green Leader" on their website. This includes filling out a separate survey and audits by TripAdvisor to become certified.

JW Marriott San Francisco - 2013

2013 Accolade

AAA Four-Diamond Award - 2013

The AAA Four-Diamond award is given to very few hotels, and we ensure our hotels are held to high standards.

Renaissance Atlanta - 2013

2013 Accolade

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence - 2013

Awarded to hotels that perform in the top 10% on TripAdvisor.

Renaissance Atlanta - 2013

2013 Accolade

TripAdvisor Green Leader Silver - 2013

TripAdvisor has specific criteria to be listed as a "Green Leader" on their website. This includes filling out a separate survey and audits by TripAdvisor to become certified.

Renaissance Atlanta - 2013

2013 Accolade

AAA Four-Diamond Award - 2013

The AAA Four-Diamond award is given to very few hotels, and we ensure our hotels are held to high standards.

Sheraton Miami - 2013

2013 Accolade

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence - 2013

Awarded to hotels that perform in the top 10% on TripAdvisor.

San Diego Marriott Del Mar - 2013

2013 Accolade

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence - 2013

Awarded to hotels that perform in the top 10% on TripAdvisor.

Hyatt Dulles - 2013

2013 Accolade

Hyatt’s Functional Award for F&B Team of the Year - 2013

Hyatt Dulles’ Food & Beverage team won based on many criteria including low food cost and satisfaction with the F&B department.

Hilton Los Cabos - 2013

2013 Accolade

Award of Excellence - 2013

This award is given to hotels based on the following characteristics: Outstanding performer for loyalty, service, condition and cleanliness based on SALT and QA scores. Top 2-6 ranking hotels for SALT: 25% overall service & 25% overall loyalty and QA: 25% overall condition & 25% cleanliness

Hilton Los Cabos - 2013

2013 Accolade

Food & Beverage Highest SALT Award - 2013

As part of Hilton’s Guest Satisfaction, Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort had the highest satisfaction amongst Hilton hotels for its Food & Beverage department.

Annapolis Marriott Waterfront - 2012

2012 Accolade

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence - 2012

Awarded to hotels that perform in the top 10% on TripAdvisor.

Hampton Inn Sarasota I75 Bee Ridge - 2012

2012 Accolade

Certified by Florida Department of Environmental Protection Green Lodging Program - 2012

At Thayer Lodging Group, we believe in ensuring our hotels do as much as possible to be "Green". From recycling to energy reductions, we do our small part.

Hampton Inn Sarasota I75 Bee Ridge - 2012

2012 Accolade

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence - 2012

Awarded to hotels that perform in the top 10% on TripAdvisor.

Hilton Garden Inn Sarasota-Bradenton Airport - 2012

2012 Accolade

Certified by Florida Department of Environmental Protection Green Lodging Program - 2012

At Thayer Lodging Group, we believe in ensuring our hotels do as much as possible to be "Green". From recycling to energy reductions, we do our small part.

Hilton Garden Inn Sarasota-Bradenton Airport - 2012

2012 Accolade

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence - 2012

Awarded to hotels that perform in the top 10% on TripAdvisor.

AmericInn Hotel & Suites Sarasota - 2012

2012 Accolade

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence - 2012

Awarded to hotels that perform in the top 10% on TripAdvisor.

Doubletree Palm Beach Gardens - 2012

2012 Accolade

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence - 2012

Awarded to hotels that perform in the top 10% on TripAdvisor.

Courtyard Miami Airport - 2012

2012 Accolade

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence - 2012

Awarded to hotels that perform in the top 10% on TripAdvisor.

Marriott Fairview Park - 2012

2012 Accolade

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence - 2012

Awarded to hotels that perform in the top 10% on TripAdvisor.

Marriott Fairview Park - 2012

2012 Accolade

Marriott SERVE Award for Service to the Community - 2012

Giving back to the community is one of our top priorities!

Marriott Fairview Park - 2012

2012 Accolade

Fairfax County Schools Blue Ribbon Workforce Development Award - 2012

We partner with local area communities and try to give back in any way we can.

JW Marriott San Francisco - 2012

2012 Accolade

AAA Four-Diamond Award - 2012

The AAA Four-Diamond award is given to very few hotels, and we ensure our hotels are held to high standards.

Renaissance Atlanta - 2012

2012 Accolade

GM of the Year – GHLA - 2012

Our GMs perform to extremely high standards, and we are excited when they're best in their company and brand.

Renaissance Atlanta - 2012

2012 Accolade

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence - 2012

Awarded to hotels that perform in the top 10% on TripAdvisor.

Renaissance Atlanta - 2012

2012 Accolade

Briza|Chef Janine 2012 Corks & Forks Steak Cook Off

The Executive Chef at Briza won the 2012 Corks & Forks Steak Cook Off

Renaissance Atlanta - 2012

2012 Accolade

Briza OpenTable Diners’ Choice Winner - 2012

OpenTable, the online reservation service, guests voted Briza as a Diner's Choice winner.

Renaissance Atlanta - 2012

2012 Accolade

AAA Four-Diamond Award - 2012

The AAA Four-Diamond award is given to very few hotels, and we ensure our hotels are held to high standards.

Sheraton Miami - 2012

2012 Accolade

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence - 2012

Awarded to hotels that perform in the top 10% on TripAdvisor.

San Diego Marriott Del Mar - 2012

2012 Accolade

Marriott Western Region Financial Leadership Award - 2012

Ensuring a hotel runs smoothly financially is not easy, and we're proud of our finance team to lead the charge!

San Diego Marriott Del Mar - 2012

2012 Accolade

Marriott Western Region Director of Finance "Rookie of the Year" Award - 2012

Watching a hotel's bottom line is no easy task, and we're proud of our Director of Finance who won this award.

Annapolis Marriott Waterfront - 2011

2011 Accolade

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence - 2011

Awarded to hotels that perform in the top 10% on TripAdvisor.

Hampton Inn Sarasota I75 Bee Ridge - 2011

2011 Accolade

Certified by Florida Department of Environmental Protection Green Lodging Program - 2011

At Thayer Lodging Group, we believe in ensuring our hotels do as much as possible to be "Green". From recycling to energy reductions, we do our small part.

Hilton Garden Inn Sarasota-Bradenton Airport - 2011

2011 Accolade

Certified by Florida Department of Environmental Protection Green Lodging Program - 2011

At Thayer Lodging Group, we believe in ensuring our hotels do as much as possible to be "Green". From recycling to energy reductions, we do our small part.

Courtyard Miami Airport - 2011

2011 Accolade

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence - 2011

Awarded to hotels that perform in the top 10% on TripAdvisor.

Marriott Fairview Park - 2011

2011 Accolade

Marriott SERVE Award for Service to the Community - 2011

Giving back to the community is one of our top priorities!

Hyatt Dulles - 2011

2011 Accolade

Brand Sales Manager of the Year - 2011

At Hyatt, we take pride in our sales team and especially when they're the top in the company.

JW Marriott San Francisco - 2011

2011 Accolade

AAA Four-Diamond Award - 2011

The AAA Four-Diamond award is given to very few hotels, and we ensure our hotels are held to high standards.

Renaissance Atlanta - 2011

2011 Accolade

Marriott Southern Regional Excellence in Productivity Award - 2011

Productivity in hotels is one of our top priorities to ensure that labor is being used most effectively.

Renaissance Atlanta - 2011

2011 Accolade

AAA Four-Diamond Award - 2011

The AAA Four-Diamond award is given to very few hotels, and we ensure our hotels are held to high standards.

Renaissance Atlanta - 2011

2011 Accolade

GHLA Award for Special Event - 2011

At Renaissance, R Life events hold special status. Our events are pulled off spectacularly.

Annapolis Marriott Waterfront - 2010

2010 Accolade

Marriott Market Excellence - 2010

This award is given to a Marriott hotel that outperforms the market and hotel chain in RevPAR index.

Annapolis Marriott Waterfront - 2010

2010 Accolade

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence - 2010

Awarded to hotels that perform in the top 10% on TripAdvisor.

Hampton Inn Sarasota I75 Bee Ridge - 2010

2010 Accolade

Certified by Florida Department of Environmental Protection Green Lodging Program - 2010

At Thayer Lodging Group, we believe in ensuring our hotels do as much as possible to be "Green". From recycling to energy reductions, we do our small part.

Hilton Garden Inn Sarasota-Bradenton Airport - 2010

2010 Accolade

Certified by Florida Department of Environmental Protection Green Lodging Program - 2010

At Thayer Lodging Group, we believe in ensuring our hotels do as much as possible to be "Green". From recycling to energy reductions, we do our small part.

Hyatt Dulles - 2010

2010 Accolade

Silver LEED Certified - 2010

LEED has specific criteria for buildings to become certified "Green" and it takes a lot of work! The Silver LEED Certification showcases this dedication to protecting our environment.

Hyatt Dulles - 2010

2010 Accolade

IACC Certified - 2010

The International Association of Conference Centers has specific criteria to ensure meetings held at conference centers have the best experience possible.

Annapolis Marriott Waterfront - 2009

2009 Accolade

Marriott Market Excellence - 2009

This award is given to a Marriott hotel that outperforms the market and hotel chain in RevPAR index.

Hampton Inn Sarasota I75 Bee Ridge - 2009

2009 Accolade

Certified by Florida Department of Environmental Protection Green Lodging Program - 2009

At Thayer Lodging Group, we believe in ensuring our hotels do as much as possible to be "Green". From recycling to energy reductions, we do our small part.

Hilton Garden Inn Sarasota-Bradenton Airport - 2009

2009 Accolade

Certified by Florida Department of Environmental Protection Green Lodging Program - 2009

At Thayer Lodging Group, we believe in ensuring our hotels do as much as possible to be "Green". From recycling to energy reductions, we do our small part.

Doubletree Palm Beach Gardens - 2009

2009 Accolade

Silver LEED Certified - 2009

LEED has specific criteria for buildings to become certified "Green" and it takes a lot of work! The Silver LEED Certification showcases this dedication to protecting our environment.

Doubletree Palm Beach Gardens - 2009

2009 Accolade

International Association of Conference Centers (IACC) Approved - 2009

The International Association of Conference Centers has specific criteria to ensure meetings held at conference centers have the best experience possible.

Hotel Technology Visionary Award - 2009

2009 Accolade

Hotel Technology Visionary Award - 2009

Mike Uwe Dickersbach ensures Thayer Lodging Group's hotels lead the pack when it comes to Technology.

Annapolis Marriott Waterfront - 2008

2008 Accolade

Marriott Market Excellence - 2008

This award is given to a Marriott hotel that outperforms the market and hotel chain in RevPAR index.

Hampton Inn Sarasota I75 Bee Ridge - 2008

2008 Accolade

Certified by Florida Department of Environmental Protection Green Lodging Program - 2008

At Thayer Lodging Group, we believe in ensuring our hotels do as much as possible to be "Green". From recycling to energy reductions, we do our small part.

Hilton Garden Inn Sarasota-Bradenton Airport - 2008

2008 Accolade

Certified by Florida Department of Environmental Protection Green Lodging Program - 2008

At Thayer Lodging Group, we believe in ensuring our hotels do as much as possible to be "Green". From recycling to energy reductions, we do our small part.

Hyatt Dulles - 2008

2008 Accolade

Certified Virginia Green - 2008

At Thayer Lodging Group, we believe in ensuring our hotels do as much as possible to be "Green". From recycling to energy reductions, we do our small part.

Annapolis Marriott Waterfront - 2007

2007 Accolade

Marriott Market Excellence - 2007

This award is given to a Marriott hotel that outperforms the market and hotel chain in RevPAR index.

Hampton Inn Sarasota I75 Bee Ridge -2007

2007 Accolade

Wall of Fame Award Q3 - 2007

Sheraton Miami (As a Wyndham) - 2007

2007 Accolade

Gold Key Award from Meetings & Conventions magazine - 2007

Our Executive Meeting Centers are top-notch places to come for meetings, and we appreciate the Gold Key Award.

Sheraton Miami (As a Wyndham) - 2007

2007 Accolade

Wyndham Worldwide Award for Innovation - 2007

When the Sheraton Miami Airport was a Wyndham, the hotel won the Award for Innovation. 

Sheraton Miami (As a Wyndham) - 2007

2007 Accolade

Wyndham Worldwide Award for Hero in Hospitality - 2007

When the Sheraton Miami Airport was a Wyndham, the hotel won the Award for Hero in Hospitality.

Sheraton Miami (As a Wyndham) - 2007

2007 Accolade

Wyndham Worldwide Award for Most Improved Satisfaction - 2007

When the Sheraton Miami Airport was a Wyndham, the hotel won for most improved satisfaction on guest satisfaction surveys.

Annapolis Marriott Waterfront - 2006

2006 Accolade

Marriott Market Excellence - 2006

This award is given to a Marriott hotel that outperforms the market and hotel chain in RevPAR index.

The Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes - 2006

2006 Accolade

Top 100 Golf Resorts in North America Reader's Poll for Conde Nast Traveler Magazine - 2006

Top 100 Golf Resorts in North America Reader's Poll for Conde Nast Traveler Magazine

The Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes - 2006

2006 Accolade

Ritz-Carlton Spa received Travel + Leisure Magazine "Best Readers' Poll" World's Best Hotel Spa (Continental US and Canada) Top 100 Hotels in the World - 2006

Ritz-Carlton Spa received Travel + Leisure Magazine "Best Readers' Poll" World's Best Hotel Spa  (Continental US and Canada) Top 100 Hotels in the World

Annapolis Marriott Waterfront - 2005

2005 Accolade

Marriott Market Excellence - 2005

This award is given to a Marriott hotel that outperforms the market and hotel chain in RevPAR index.

The Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes - 2005

2005 Accolade

Top 100 Golf Resorts in North America Reader's Poll for Conde Nast Traveler Magazine - 2005

When the readers vote your hotel as one of the top 100 Golf Resorts, it begs only one response: "FORE!"

The Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes - 2005

2005 Accolade

AAA Four-Diamond Award - 2005

The AAA Four-Diamond award is given to very few hotels, and we ensure our hotels are held to high standards.

The JW Marriott Grande Lakes - 2005

2005 Accolade

AAA Four-Diamond Award - 2005

The AAA Four-Diamond award is given to very few hotels, and we ensure our hotels are held to high standards.

The Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes - 2005

2005 Accolade

Ranked #1 in Zagat Survey "Top New Hotels" - 2005

In Zagat's Survey, this hotel ranked #1 for Top New Hotels.

The JW Marriott Grande Lakes - 2005

2005 Accolade

Ranked #3 in Zagat Survey "Top New Hotels" - 2005

In Zagat's Survey, this hotel ranked #3 for Top New Hotels.

The JW Marriott Grande Lakes - 2005

2005 Accolade

Convention South Magazine "Best of the Best" - 2005

When we develop hotels, we want to ensure they're always the best of the best, and this solidifies that thinking.

The Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes - 2005

2005 Accolade

Ranked #1 in Zagat Survey "Top by Region (Florida)" - 2005

Ranked #1 in Zagat Survey "Top by Region (Florida)"

The Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes - 2005

2005 Accolade

Ranked #3 in Zagat Survey "Top 50 Resorts" - 2005

Ranked #3 in Zagat Survey "Top 50 Resorts"

Annapolis Marriott Waterfront - 2004

2004 Accolade

Marriott Market Excellence - 2004

This award is given to a Marriott hotel that outperforms the market and hotel chain in RevPAR index.

The Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes - 2004

2004 Accolade

Top 100 Golf Resorts in North America Reader's Poll for Conde Nast Traveler Magazine - 2004

When the readers vote your hotel as one of the top 100 Golf Resorts, it begs only one response: "FORE!"

The Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes - 2004

2004 Accolade

AAA Four-Diamond Award - 2004

The AAA Four-Diamond award is given to very few hotels, and we ensure our hotels are held to high standards.

The JW Marriott Grande Lakes - 2004

2004 Accolade

AAA Four-Diamond Award - 2004

The AAA Four-Diamond award is given to very few hotels, and we ensure our hotels are held to high standards.

Annapolis Marriott Waterfront - 2003

2003 Accolade

Mustang Award - 2003

Awarded to hotels that perform excellently during times of adversity.

Grande Lakes Orlando Resort - 2003

2003 Accolade

Transaction of the Year - New Development Category

Winner: Grande Lakes Orlando Orlando, Florida

Martin A. Reid, Managing Director, Thayer Lodging Group says, "Thayer Lodging Group" is delighted to receive this award with our developer partner, Marriott International. We are extremely pleased with the completed resorts and the early results from operations. The team at Grande Lakes has set a very high standard for leisure, golf, spa, meetings and social gatherings."

[Open Article]

Transaction Summary: Grande Lakes Orlando Orlando, Florida

At a cost of nearly $600 million -- and for the first time -- two of the industry's leading luxury brands, the Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott Hotels, were brought together in the same spectacular setting -- the expansive 500-acre Grande Lakes Orlando estate.

At the headwaters of the Florida Everglades and bordering the Shingle Creek Basin, an environmental preserve which can never be built, the resort affords guests a vista of preserved wetlands and natural woodlands dotted with pine, palmetto, live oak trees and Florida wildlife. A Greg Norman designed 18-hole championship golf course accentuates this landscape and weaves alongside the two towering hotels to its finish near a massive resort pool and recreation area.

A number of industry firsts distinguish Grande Lakes Orlando including:

1) The first property in Orlando to provide the privacy and amenities of a luxury golf and spa resort along with convenient access to all the popular attractions of the Orlando tourist market. Within 10 miles of the resort, guests can visit the Orlando Orange County Convention Center (3.5 miles), Walt Disney World (10 miles), Universal Orlando (7 miles), and Orlando International Airport (10 miles).

2) The first property to offer guests their choice of either the outstanding Ritz-Carlton or JW Marriott brands

3) The first property to be managed by both the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Group and Marriott Hotels & Resorts

4) The first golf resort in the U.S. to offer an innovative Golf Caddie-Concierge Program and the first resort in the nation to offer a Golf FORE Kids Etiquette Class

5) The first resort in the world to have its own Citrus Consultant

Guests may select from either JW Marriott or the Ritz-Carlton, each hotel with its own distinctive presentation and design. The 584-room Ritz-Carlton is designed to feel like an Italian palazzo with a richly appointed lobby and a luxurious residential ambiance. Every room has a private balcony and oversized marble bathrooms with separate bathtub and shower. The hotel also includes 64 suites and 92 club level rooms for discriminating guests. The 1,000-room JW Marriott greets guests with an expansive grand lobby atrium with a showcase fountain and decorative obelisk. Designed with Spanish and Moorish influences, the bold colors of the Mediterranean are incorporated throughout the hotel. All guestrooms, including 64 suites, feature separate marble bathtub and shower and marble vanities. All rooms in both hotels provide guests with state-of-the-art dual data ports supported by fiber optic technology, as well as high-speed internet access.

The resort offers guests a 40,000 square-foot spa managed by Ritz-Carlton. The Spa is reminiscent of a luxurious Mediterranean palazzo and features 40 treatment rooms, a 4,000-square-foot private lap pool, and a 6,000-square-foot Wellness Center. Other resort recreational amenities include a 24,000 square-foot, winding lazy river pool (which holds 672,000 gallons of water), a hydrotherapy pool, multiple tennis courts and state-of-the-art fitness centers.

Grande Lakes Orlando offers 12 different lounge and dining choices including two signature dining venues: Norman's, located in The Ritz-Carlton features the culinary expertise of celebrated chef Norman Van Aken, while the JW Marriott features acclaimed chef Melissa Kelly's Primo restaurant. Both of these chefs are recipients of the James Beard Foundation Awards.

Meeting space is extensive with 33,000 square feet at The Ritz-Carlton, including two ballrooms and 14 meeting rooms, while the JW Marriott features over 72,000 square feet of meeting space, including two ballrooms, 23 conference rooms and two elegantly appointed boardrooms. Wireless high-speed internet access is available in all meetings rooms and public spaces.

The property is owned by Thayer Lodging Group and managed by The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., and Marriott Hotels & Resorts.

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Annapolis Marriott Waterfront - 2000

2000 Accolade

Outstanding Performance Food Quality Safety Standards - 2000

Awarded to hotels that have outstanding performance on food quality safety standards.

Annapolis Marriott Waterfront - 1998

1998 Accolade

Marriott Market Excellence - 1998

This award is given to a Marriott hotel that outperforms the market and hotel chain in RevPAR index.

Annapolis Marriott Waterfront - 1998

1998 Accolade

Outstanding Performance Food Quality Safety Standards - 1998

Awarded to hotels that have outstanding performance on food quality safety standards.

Annapolis Marriott Waterfront - 1995

1995 Accolade

Marriott Market Excellence - 1995

This award is given to a Marriott hotel that outperforms the market and hotel chain in RevPAR index.