Archive for Hotels
Last week the New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association reported an encouraging development with regard to their efforts to persuade the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to grant all public accommodations, including lodging facilities, relief from its new requirements for providing access to swimming pools and spas announced on January 31, 2012. Those requirements include having a fixed pool lift that must be poolside and ready to use at all times when the pool is open — as opposed to a portable lift that is brought out upon request. On the March 15, 2012 compliance date, the DOJ issued a 60-day extension of the compliance deadline and issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking requesting comment from the public on whether a six-month extension of the compliance deadline should be adopted (the “NPRM”).
The AH&LA intends to file comments in response to the NPRM reiterating its position that the new requirements are invalid because they have not gone through the proper rulemaking procedures and that instead of issuing a 6-month extension, the DOJ must issue an NPRM for the new requirements so that the public can actually comment on the new requirements and the DOJ can consider legitimate safety and other concerns about them. The AH&LA will also argue, however, that if the DOJ does not issue an NPRM for the new requirements, that a 12-month minimum extension is necessary for compliance with fixed lift requirements.
THE AH&LA NEEDS YOUR IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE IN RESPONDING TO THE NPRM BY MARCH 22, 2012, BECAUSE THE DEADLINE FOR SUBMITTING COMMENTS IS LIKELY TO BE APRIL 3, 2012. Your input is very important to our response, so please take a moment to provide us with the information requested in the attached questionnaire. Please rest assured that the information will only be used to assist us in formulating a response and that we will not identify your company in AH&LA’s comments on the NPRM or provide a copy of your questionnaire response without first obtaining your permission.
POOL LIFT QUESTIONNAIRE FOR LODGING FACILITIES
Name of company responding:
Contact information for company:
1. How many properties under your management have a pool or a spa?
2. Approximately how many pools do you have at these properties?
3. Approximately how many spas (or clusters of spas) do you have at these properties?
4. Have you developed a plan of action for installing fixed lifts?
5. If you have a plan for installing fixed lifts, please describe the steps in the plan. (For example, a plan might include the following steps: Identify pools and spas requiring lifts, determine if installation of fixed lifts is readily achievable at each property, identify fixed lifts that comply with 2010 Standards, negotiating pricing with lift manufacturer, identifying contractors for installation work, determining how difficult conditions will be addressed, etc.)
6. If you have identified one or more fixed lifts as meeting your requirements, please identify them by manufacturer and model number.
7. If you have identified one or more fixed lifts for purchase, has the supplier informed you of how soon the lifts can be delivered?
8. Have you identified a contractor to install your fixed lifts?
9. What is your understanding of the steps involved with installing a fixed lift (including how much time each step will take) and where does that understanding come from?
10. How much of your pool deck will be demolished in order to install a fixed pool lift and what is the basis for that understanding?
11. Have you encountered situations when installing a fixed lift is not technically possible? Please describe those.
12. Do you think it is possible for you to install a fixed lift at all of your pools and spas in 6 months from now? If not, how long do you think it will take?
13. As you know, you are only required to install a fixed lift at your pools and spas if it is “readily achievable” to do so. The Department explained that the term “readily achievable” means the following: Readily achievable means easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense. In determining whether an action is readily achievable factors to be considered include –
(1) The nature and cost of the action needed under this part;
(2) The overall financial resources of the site or sites involved in the action; the number of persons employed at the site; the effect on expenses and resources; legitimate safety requirements that are necessary for safe operation, including crime prevention measures; or the impact otherwise of the action upon the operation of the site;
(3) The geographic separateness, and the administrative or fiscal relationship of the site or sites in question to any parent corporation or entity;
(4) If applicable, the overall financial resources of any parent corporation or entity; the overall size of the parent corporation or entity with respect to the number of its employees; the number, type, and location of its facilities; and
(5) If applicable, the type of operation or operations of any parent corporation or entity, including the composition, structure, and functions of the workforce of the parent corporation or entity.
Would you feel comfortable making a determination about whether installing a fixed pool lift at your pool or spa is “readily achievable”? If not, whose assistance would you seek to help you make this determination?
14. Has your insurer expressed any concern about installing fixed lifts at your pools and spas? If so, what has been the nature of the concern expressed?
15. Has your insurer stated whether your premiums will go up or if your swimming pool will no longer be covered by insurance?
Once completed, kindly email your form to Kevin Maher at KMaher@ahla.com or fax your form back to Kevin Maher at 202-289-3185.
Food Safety Update, provided by our Partner “Sherwin Food Safety”
Top Food Safety Stories of 2011
According the Food Safety News, these are the top food safety stories during 2011:
1. E.coli outbreak in Europe killed at least 50 and made more than 4,000 people ill after eating contaminated sprouts.
2. Outbreak of Listeriosis linked to cantaloupes from a Colorado farm killed at least 30 people. This was significant because the farm had passed inspections from a third party auditor.
3. Four outbreaks of antibiotic resistant Salmonella linked to turkey burgers, ground turkey, and kosher chicken livers were significant because the illness could not be successfully treated with common antibiotics.
4. Del Monte vs. US FDA questioned the science used to prove contamination of fresh fruits and vegetables.
5. Unsanitary conditions at eggs farms led to the recall of over 500 million whole shell eggs due to unsanitary conditions at farms where eggs are produced, including: uncollected manure, standing water, rodents, flies, and other vermin contaminating the facilities.
6. Investigations of imported honey found that over 75% of samples from retail grocery stores were not pure.
7. The Food Safety Modernization Act created implementation teams for preventative controls, inspection, compliance, federal-state coordination, consumer nutrition information, and more.
8. Deregulation to exempt local food producers from federal oversight is intended to benefit unlicensed, uninspected cottage food producers selling fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, raw milk, and other products sold at roadside stands, farmers markets, festivals, carnivals, and other events.
The above deregulation is controversial, especially the sale of raw milk and raw milk products which have resulted in hundreds of people becoming ill from campylobacter and other pathogens not destroyed during pasteurization.
Massachusetts Allergen Awareness Regulation
Many local health departments require at least one certified food protection manager be working in all food-service facilities. Massachusetts also requires that managers receive additional certification that they have received specific training about food allergies. The regulation adds that food service establishments must place an employee-training poster listing guidelines on food allergens (available here) in a work area frequented by all staff.
Food establishments “that cook, prepare, or serve food intended for immediate consumption either on or off the premises” must post the following statement on their menus:
“Before placing your order, please inform your server if a person in your party has a food allergy.”
In addition to food allergen training, Sherwin Food Safety can help you identify all the food allergens in your recipes and even uncover allergens that may be in the ingredients you buy from suppliers. This information may be provided for your consumers, along with other nutritional contents, on printed lists, menu boards and websites. For additional safety, we can also clearly list each food allergen on FDA compliant Nutrition Facts labels which can be placed on your take-out food items.
Nutrition Facts Required on Packaged Meats
Starting this month, Nutrition Facts labels will be required for packaged single-ingredient meats and poultry. Until now, the labels were only required for meats with multiple ingredients such as stuffed chicken breasts or flavored meats such as teriyaki pork chops. Now, the rules also apply to certain whole meat items like roasts and steaks.
The new USDA-FSIS rule requires that ground meat labels state the total amount of fat-to-lean meat. For example, if a package claims to be 90% lean beef, then it must also state that the ground beef contains 10% fat. In addition to stating the amount of total fat, cholesterol, and saturated fat, the labels must list the amount of calories for a normal serving.
Small businesses that grind and cut their own meat will be exempt, as long as they provide the fat-to-lean meat information.
Consumers expect nutrition and ingredient labels on prepackaged food items like single-service sandwiches and salads displayed for grab-and-go service. Many restaurants and other food retailers are responding to increasing consumer requests by providing Nutrition Facts labels on all of their take-out food items. The labels also provide critical information on potential allergens.
Sherwin Food Safety can produce accurate, photo-ready and FDA compliant, Nutrition Facts labels for all of your own delicious recipes. In addition to labels, we can also provide a complete nutrition analysis of your entire menu.
FDA Rule Relaxed on Frozen Food Storage
Previously, the FDA recommended storing raw frozen poultry, meat and seafood items below ready-to-eat food. Now commercially processed and packaged frozen raw meat, poultry and seafood can be stored with and above ready-to-eat foods such as pre-cooked fish.
But take note; the rules have not been changed for the proper storage of refrigerated raw and ready-to-eat foods.
For all your Food Safety needs; we are here to help!
Please contact us at Cketz@Goodwin-Assocites.com to learn more.
The “ Heavenly Bed, ” fi rst launched by the Westin brand of Starwood
Hotels & Resorts, has transformed the bed, a basic feature of any hotel
room, into a luxurious object of desire, enhancing the revenues of the
chain and leaving many hotel operators to follow suit with copycat linens and
custom bedding of their own.
The strategic process at Starwood began with consumer analysis and product testing. First,
Westin commissioned a study involving 600 business executives who travel frequently. The
results showed that 84 percent said a luxurious bed would make a hotel room more attractive to
them. What is more, 63 percent said a good night ’ s sleep is the most important service a hotel
can provide. Half of those surveyed said they sleep worse in hotels than at home. After testing
50 beds from 35 lodging chains, Westin developed its prototype all – white Heavenly Bed with
a custom – designed pillow – top mattress, goose down comforters, fi ve pillows, and three crisp
sheets ranging in thread count from 180 to 250.
Once the product was designed and tested, the fi rm introduced the bed with a carefully planned
marketing strategy. USA Today ran a story on the front page of its business section. The same day,
20 pristine white Heavenly Beds lined Wall Street up to the New York Stock Exchange in New
York City. Inside the Stock Exchange, Barry Sternlicht, the then Chairman and CEO of Starwood
Hotels & Resorts rang the opening bell and threw out hats proclaiming, “ Work like the devil.
Sleep like an angel. ” Meanwhile, at New York ’ s Grand Central Station, 20 more beds graced one
of the rotundas there, and commuters disembarking the trains were invited to try them out.
Similar events were staged the same day at 38 locations across the United States, tailored to each
city. Savannah ’ s event featured a bed fl oating on a barge down the river with a landing skydiver.
Seattle ’ s event took place atop the Space Needle. And to reinforce the message, a concurrent
advertising campaign asked, “ Who ’ s the best in bed? ”
O’Connell Hospitality Group sells
$100 Million Hotel Portfolio
for Fine Hotel Corp.
November 30, 2007
Boston, MA: O’Connell Hospitality Group, LLC (“OHG”) represented the owner, Fine Hotel
Corp. of Wellesley, MA, in the sale of their portfolio of five hotels. Jim O’Connell, Principal and
Tom Foley, Sr. Managing Director of OHG, managed the marketing campaign of the assets and
procured the buyer, Linchris Hotel Corp., of Hanover, MA.
The 855-room portfolio includes hotels in Massachusetts and Maine. They are the 227-room
Hampton Inn Boston Logan Airport, the 225-room Holiday Inn Brookline, the 202-room Holiday
Inn Mansfield, MA, and the 102-room Holiday Inn and 99-room Comfort Inn, Augusta, ME.
“Fine Hotels Corp took advantage of a strong hotel investment market. OHG received 18 offers
on single assets and various package combinations. In the end, Chris Gistis, C.E.O, Glenn Gistis,
C.F.O. and Mike Sullivan, President of Linchris Hotel Corp. stepped up and negotiated the
purchase of all five hotels. It was a very competitive bidding situation.” said Jim O’Connell of
The portfolio is a mix of strong cash flow performers and strategic real estate investments. The
Hampton Inn Logan Airport is operating in excess of 80% annual occupancy. The 2-story
Holiday Inn Brookline is located in Boston’s hospital district at 1200 Beacon Street and occupies
almost a full city block.