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Marriott’s new apartments, losing another Las Vegas icon, a major upgrade to a storied Irish castle and other hotel news you missed


Believe it or not, the first month of 2024 has come and gone. January is kind of weird, right? It’s a time to set new intentions for the coming year — but also a month that feels slow and sleepy.

However, in the hotel world, things keep moving right along at a quick clip — and every month, I, one of TPG’s senior hotel reporters, write this column to keep you, dear readers, up to date with some interesting hotel tidbits that might have passed you by.

One reason that January is wild for people in — or orbiting — the hotel universe is that the American Lodging Investment Summit takes place in Los Angeles. Thankfully for all of us, my incredible colleague and fellow senior hotel reporter Cameron Sperance was there to report on it all.

One article of Cameron’s you need to check out is his interview from ALIS with Marriott CEO Anthony Capuano, where the two discussed the company’s new brands, the growth of Marriott Bonvoy and plans to keep some of Marriott’s fan-favorite brands as fresh as ever.

Along with major brand news, here’s the hotel news you may have missed in January.

Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy is growing

MARRIOTT

Last year, we shared the news that Marriott was leaning further into residential-style offerings by launching the first Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Now, Marriott has shared its plans to expand the collection of apartment-style properties with signed development agreements in Detroit and St. Louis, Courmayeur in the Valle d’Aosta region of Italy and Neom in Saudi Arabia.

We’ll have to wait to learn more about these properties, but we do know that Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy will participate in Marriott Bonvoy, and members who book the luxury apartments will earn 5 base points per dollar spent on qualifying charges, plus qualifying bonus points based on status and one elite night credit per each stay night, among other perks.

The sun is setting on Tropicana in Las Vegas

Over the last few years, Las Vegas has been reinventing itself with the completion of long-awaited resorts like Fontainebleau, innovative new entertainment venues like The Sphere and the addition of major league sports teams. In fact, if you haven’t heard, Las Vegas will be hosting the Super Bowl for the first time on Feb. 11.

Related: 11 best hotels near Allegiant Stadium for your Super Bowl getaway in Las Vegas

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With all of that change, we’ve also had to say goodbye to places near and dear to the hearts of many Las Vegas fanatics, like the Mirage, which is transforming into the Hard Rock Las Vegas (read my love letter to the resort here).

Now it’s time to say goodbye to the Tropicana Las Vegas, which opened in 1957. The resort will “cease operations” on April 2, according to KTNV Las Vegas, and eventually be demolished and replaced with a stadium for the Oakland Athletics baseball team, which is relocating to Las Vegas.

It’s certainly sad to see another iconic and historic property bite the dust on the Las Vegas Strip, but there are still many incredible hotels in Sin City for you to book.

A popular Spanish hotel brand is expanding (even more)

MELIA

Melia Hotels International might not have the same name power as Marriott or Hilton, but it’s a brand we’ve been keeping an eye on thanks to its rapid growth worldwide. It’s a brand you should keep your eyes on, too, whether you’re looking for a city hotel in New York City or an all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic.

Melia has announced that in 2024, the company plans to open more than 20 hotels — way up from the dozen it opened last year. And it has its eyes set on big international growth, with plans to expand in Southeast Asia and the Caribbean, plus enter new territories like Albania and other Mediterranean destinations.

If you’re heading to Spain this year and want to get a taste of the brand’s Spanish hospitality, consider booking a stay at Torre Melina Gran Melia in Barcelona. Or, if you’re headed to Mallorca, reserve a room at Zel Mallorca to see how the brand teamed up with tennis player Rafael Nadal to serve up an ace in hospitality.

An Irish castle gets a luxury private residence

DROMOLAND CASTLE

If you’ve ever wanted to stay in a castle, Dromoland Castle in Ireland should be top of mind. I’ve personally never stayed in a castle (sigh!) but plan to someday. If I do make it to Dromoland, I definitely want to check into the castle’s chic new sister property, Dromoland Lodge, a five-bedroom private residence on the castle’s golf course.

For folks who book a stay in the charming lodge that can sleep an entire family and then some, a whole host of incredible perks come standard, including daily breakfast in the lodge or at the Earl of Thomond restaurant, golf carts to use around the 500-acre estate, airport transfers and a personal residential assistant to help make your every wish come true.

As for the lodge itself, guests can enjoy a private putting green, board games in the game room, a parlor with a fully stocked bar and the ability to have a private chef cook for you in the kitchen. Outside the accommodations, guests can join the resident falconer (because every castle needs one of those, too!) for the afternoon “Hawk Walk,” hit up the tennis or pickleball courts, spend a day out boating or head to the Castle Spa for a cleansing treatment with Dr. Barbara Sturm or Seabody products.

Whether you book one of the 97 rooms in the castle or the exciting new lodge, just don’t forget to invite me!

Related: 11 beautiful destinations to visit in Ireland beyond Dublin

A piece of Nashville is returning to Santa Fe

I went to college in Nashville to learn the art of songwriting — and while life led me to travel writing, it’s all coming together when I tell you that the Bluebird Cafe, one of the best places in Music City to see legendary and up-and-coming songwriters perform, is taking up a temporary residence once again at Bishop’s Lodge in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

On the weekends of Feb. 16 to 17 and March 15 to 16, the Bluebird will host its iconic “In the Round” songwriter nights at Bunkhouse. During the rounds, hit songwriters sit in a circle and play songs from their catalogs (including massive hits and those you’ve probably never heard but should be hits) for the audience. This year’s lineup includes the writers of songs like “Sangria” by Blake Shelton and “Amazed” by Lonestar.

Guests are also invited to enjoy Nashville-style barbecue “with a New Mexican Twist” at SkyFire, where executive chef Pablo Peñalosa will serve a mouthwatering meal for $95 a person. Performances start at 6 p.m., with the dinner starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the songwriter rounds start at $75 and can be purchased by contacting bl.adventures@aubergeresorts.com.

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