Window on Europe
Kempinski Hotels & Resorts has signed a 20-year lease agreement for its first property in Switzerland, giving the German luxury hotel group a presence in the exclusive resort of St. Moritz.The Parkhotel Kurhaus is a privately owned spa hotel and, after an investment of over 55 million Swiss francs ($33 million) in extensive renovations, it will re-open as the Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains, in December ready for the Winter season 2002/2003 and the Skiing World Championship 2003. Home to the Winter Olympics of 1928 and 1948, St Mortiz is the world's most famous ski resort and was the pioneer of Alpine winter holidays in 1864. Kempinski's portfolio comprises over 30 distinctive properties in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South America, Asia and Australasia. Each offers superior standards of service combined with a style reflecting the individuality of the property and its location. Landmark properties include the Grand Hotel in St Petersburg, the Ciragan Palace Hotel Kempinski in Istanbul and Hotel Adlon in Berlin. Millennium Hotels and Resorts is launching Millennium PartnerCard, a new customer loyalty scheme for guests and diners. The initial launch will include all of the company's 18 hotels in Europe and the Middle East and the programme will subsequently be launched in the USA, Australasia and Asia. Millennium PartnerCard has been developed in conjunction with Millennium Hotels and Resorts' strategic alliance partner, Maritim Hotels, and will run alongside their PartnerCard programme which was launched recently. The primary benefit for all cardholders will be a percentage rebate on their total spend for every stay at a Millennium, Copthorne or Maritim hotel. This can be accumulated and then used to pay for accommodation or meals. Joining the Millennium PartnerCard Scheme will be completely free of charge. A number of additional benefits include: Fastrack reservations online, late checkout, welcome drink, free newspaper, airline mileage where appropriate, newsletter with offers and promotions, 20 per cent off Weekends Away rates and reduced membership fee for the Millennium a la Carte discount dining club. Virgin Atlantic Airways has confirmed that it will be the launch customer of the new Airbus A340-600 with the first aircraft entering service in June. Four aircrafts will be delivered between June and October with a further six entering service by 2006. The total order is worth approximately $1.9 billion. The A340-600 will seat 319 passengers with 50 Upper Class seats, 28 in Premium Economy and 241 in Economy. This represent a 25 per cent increase in capacity per aircraft compared to the airline's current A340-300 fleet. "This order represents an endorsement of Airbus and Rolls-Royce who have produced a phenomenal new aircraft and an indication of our growing confidence in the increasing demand for long haul air travel," said chairman Sir Richard Branson.