News: A New Kimpton in SoCal, United Copies Delta (Again), Try The QSuites At JFK & A New Grand Hyatt In The Caribbean


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A roundup of some of the hotel and airline news from the past few days. Includes news of a new Kimpton property to be opened in southern California, details of how United is copying Delta (again) and clamping down on fake emotional support animals (expect American Airlines to follow any day now) and news of a new Grand Hyatt opening in the Caribbean.

Hyatt Announces A New Property In Grand Cayman

Hyatt seems to be on a roll right now as, hot on the heels of its announcement that it will open a new property in the heart of Hollywood CA, the hotelier has now said that it’s heading to Grand Cayman.

Image courtesy of Hyatt

Hyatt has confirmed that it has entered into a franchise agreement (Hyatt won’t actually own the hotel) to open the Grand Hyatt Grand Cayman Hotel & Residences.

The new property will feature 351 units on a “premium 7.1 acre site on Seven Mile Beach” less than a mile away from George Town’s city center and a 10 minute drive from the airport.

Per Hyatt:

Grand Hyatt Grand Cayman Hotel & Residences will offer 351 guestrooms, studio suites, and, one, two, and three-bedroom layouts along a seafront eco-walk that will celebrate the diverse ecology of Grand Cayman. Additional amenities include six distinct food and beverage venues, a 9,000 square feet destination spa and fitness center, three swimming pools, retail shops, kids club, and a state of the art screening room. The resort is planned to have 25,000 square feet of indoor meeting and event space, which will make it the largest function space in the Cayman Islands

Try Out The Qatar Airways QSuite Without Stepping On A Plane

Qatar Airways has brought a mock-up of its highly acclaimed QSuite Business Class product to New York JFK and, if you’re passing through, you can try it out.

Image courtesy of Qatar Airways

The QSuite display is in JFK Terminal 5 and is located past security (so you can’t drop by for a visit if you’re not flying).

The airline says that travelers will have the chance to try out all the features the QSuite offers including seeing how the seats turn into a double bed and how four of the centre seats can be arranged into a private cabin (of sorts).

As well as having the seats “fully dressed for flight” Qatar Airways has said that the display will also “feature items from Qatar Airways’ extensive Business Class menu, with visitors able to experience Qatar Airways’ world-renowned hospitality firsthand.”

Image courtesy of Qatar Airways

Tip: If they’re serving a “lemon and mint” drink when you visit make sure you try it – I had it on my last two Qatar Airways Business Class flights and it was delicious.

Southern California To Get A New Kimpton Property

As embarrassing as this is for a travel blogger to admit, I have to confess to never having stayed at a Kimpton property. Still, Kimpton has a very dedicated group of supporters so the properties and the chain (now part of IHG) must have something going for them.

SoCal is to be the location of the latest Kimpton property to be announced with Garden Grove acting as the host city.

Image courtesy of IHG

Here’s what Kimpton has had to say about the project:

The five-acre Garden Grove development complex is located along Harbor Boulevard within the Grove District Anaheim Resort area. The project will include a four-star 200-room Kimpton hotel, along with retail stores, and restaurants. This iconic project will open just blocks from Disneyland, as well as the Anaheim Convention Center, Angel Stadium, and Honda Center.

The new Kimpton will showcase approximately 10,000 square-feet of meeting space, two restaurants, a rooftop pool and lounge. Guests will enjoy an unobstructed view of the Disneyland fireworks show from several suites as well as the rooftop bar.

The property is slated to open in 2021 and will be Kimpton’s other SoCal properties in LA, San Diego, Huntingdon Beach and Palm Springs.

United Airlines Tightens Up Rules On Emotional Support Animals

As is usually the case with our US legacy carriers, where Delta leads the other two soon follow along so it’s no big surprise that, following Delta’s announcement of a crackdown on emotional support animals a couple of weeks ago, United is now following suit.

Rules surrounding service animals do not appear to be changing

Here’s what’s the rules will look like from 1 March 2018 (link to United’s service animals page):

Customers wishing to travel with an emotional support animal must:

  • Provide 48-hours notice to United’s “accessibility desk”
  • Provide a letter from a licensed medical/mental health professional (confirming the need for the emotional support animal)
  • Provide a veterinary health form documenting the health and vaccination records for the animal
  • Provide confirmation that the animal has been trained to behave properly in a public setting.

As far as I can tell there are no changes being made to the rules surrounding the transport of service animals.

In theory this all sounds ok but, as I said when Delta tightened up its rules, as customers have historically found it easy to obtain letters from “medical professionals” stating that they need to have an emotional support animal on board (even though they really didn’t), they’re not going to find it tricky to comply with the new requirements.

This may stop a few of the charlatans from bringing their pets on board for free but the hardcore fraudsters won’t be stopped.