Home Federal Integrating New Technology Platform Share Financial institutions are continuing to invest in technology despite the unpredictable mortgage marketplace this year, and “”Home Federal Bank””:https://www.homefederalbanktn.com/ is adhering to the trend with the recent announcement that it will go live on the “”Common Origination””:www.commonorigination.fiserv.com/ module from “”Fiserv, Inc””:www.fiserv.com/. Seeking to utilize the program to enhance its origination processes for consumer loans, Home Federal will gain the use of Fiserv’s single-platform solution.[IMAGE]Increasing borrower observation throughout diverse channels and products, Fiserv’s Common Origination option gives Home Federal the ability to maintain all consumer data in one place. Common Origination is integrated with Fiserv’s “”Premier””:www.premier.fiserv.com/products/premierbankplatform.htm platform, and since Home Federal is also a Premier client, the bank will enjoy fully streamlined lending facilitation.Home Federal’s expanded range of capabilities through Common Origination and Premier will include elevated data integrity, shortened timelines for credit evaluations and decisions, better customer experience, and simplified overall processing. Additionally, the financial institution will be able to accurately and efficiently track product trends while pursing more profitable cross-sell initiatives.Natalie Sundvold, Home Federal’s senior vice president, said of the company’s newly added platform, “”We were familiar with the strength of the lending solutions offered by Fiserv through our experience with the UniFi Pro mortgage origination platform. Seeing how Common Origination platform could be a[COLUMN_BREAK]single source for the diverse type of lending we do prompted us to discuss our vision with Fiserv. Managing multiple systems was not the direction we wanted to take. We had three separate processes and saw the value of using one system for all loan production.””Continuing her commentary, Sundvold went on to discuss the benefits to employees that Home Federal has gained, saying, “”The learning curve is shorter, and staff members can develop skills that allow them to move into other lending positions.””Home Federal has been a Fiserv user for nearly two decades, and Kevin Collins, Fiserv’s president of lending solutions, said of the company’s advantages to clients across the industry, “”We pride ourselves on delivering the solutions our customers need to be successful and Common Origination platform is the perfect example. Consolidating the origination of all loan types onto one platform streamlines the process and provides a 360-degree view of the customer so lenders can maximize each relationship. Common Origination Platform is the realization of market and client demands for a single solution that helps prepare them for future lending requirements.””In an internal statement, Fiserv noted that Home Federal also plans to take its commercial and home equity practices live online in the near future. Sundvold said of the bank’s long-term plans via Fiserv’s platforms, “”This is not a three- or five-year solution. We have invested in Common Origination Platform because it truly supports our long-term strategy of being ‘super bankers’ in each of our locations. That ability is tied to how we approach our customers. Because of the imbedded business rules on the front-end, we could set up our operation so processes flow seamlessly to both the lending side and the deposit side.””Common Origination acts as an enterprise lending solution, designed to enhance originations for consumer, business, and real estate-backed loans. Clients of Fiserv’s program are able to establish their own business standards, operating procedures, conditions, and limits to create a customized, automated version of almost any lending transaction. Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2011-10-25 Abby Gregory in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology October 25, 2011 400 Views
Bayview Asset Management Fitch Ratings Risk RMBS S&P 2014-05-05 Tory Barringer Share Report Finds Flaws in Analysis of Re-Performing RMBS Deal in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Secondary Market May 5, 2014 454 Views Standard & Poor’s (S&P) may have made some missteps in evaluating the risk of a residential mortgage-backed security (RMBS) transaction that has now been postponed, Fitch Ratings says in a recent report.In a release issued Friday, Fitch says S&P relied on incomplete home value data for loans contained in the recently announced RMBS transaction to be issued by Bayview Asset Management.“Specifically,” Fitch said, “S&P elected to disregard the values derived from broker price opinions (BPOs) in lieu of original valuations adjusted for regional market value declines.”Including the BPO values, the ratings agency says the average loan-to-value ratio (LTV) of the transaction would be 145 percent compared to the 90 percent LTV S&P found in its own examination—putting the mortgages deeply underwater as opposed to simply under-equitied.Applying its own loss criteria for similar collateral, Fitch says the higher LTVs would result in a 20 percent increase in projected default probably and a 30 percent increase in projected loss severity.Fitch’s second look is particularly pertinent, considering the transaction—labeled “Bayview Opportunity Master Fund IIIa Trust 2014-9RPL”—was to be the first publicly rated RMBS sale involving formerly delinquent loans since last decade’s crisis.“Fitch believes that ignoring the BPO values dramatically increases the likelihood of underestimating potential loss severities and results in insufficient credit enhancement,” the firm said in its report. “Fitch has found that for distressed or re-performing loans, updated BPO valuations often indicate a value lower than an indexed property value due to some adverse selection of the properties.”The transaction, valued at $184.9 million, was postponed by Bayview following S&P’s request for more information about the mortgage pool.
RoundPoint Mortgage Servicing customers concerned about any issues surrounding their loan can now access the company’s Consumer Ombudsman online, thanks to an upgrade introduced this week.In a release, the North Carolina-based company announced it has enhanced its ombudsman program, allowing consumers to escalate any complaints directly through the RoundPoint website.Established as a neutral resource, the Consumer Ombudsman office works to protect borrowers’ rights by investigating alleged violations, monitoring RoundPoint’s business activity, and working with business units to correct consumer issues. The program also offers recommendations for problem resolution and supplies trend analysis to determine potential process problems and areas to improve.”The Consumer Ombudsman offers an independent and impartial resolution process and acts as a neutral arbiter of these customer inquiries,” said Dave Worrall, chairman and president of RoundPoint. “It is our obligation to offer each consumer the support they need to fulfill their mortgage commitments. Making this program available through our website is one more way we are taking that responsibility very seriously.”Brad Johnson, COO of RoundPoint, added that the addition of easy online access reflects the company’s approach to provide information and resources to borrowers through as many channels as possible.”This program is one more way that we can quickly get to the heart of the issue, provide a method by which the consumer can easily understand their options and solve problems,” Johnson said. “We’re very proud of this program and the positive effects we expect it to have on our business and our customers’ lives.” December 10, 2014 469 Views in Headlines, News, Servicing Share Company News Customer Satisfaction RoundPoint Mortgage Servicing 2014-12-10 Tory Barringer RoundPoint Upgrades Consumer Ombudsman Program
The Affordability Problem: New Home Demand Hinges on Wage Growth in Data, Headlines, News, Origination Housing Affordability Housing Demand John Burns Real Estate Consulting Wage Growth 2016-02-15 Staff Writer Housing affordability has been a persistent issue in many real estate markets across the country since the housing crisis. With household income lagging and home prices continuing their upward climb, fewer buyers are able to afford a home in today’s housing market.The January 2016 Employment Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that wage growth, which has lagged in recent months, jumped by 12 cents over-the-month in January up to $25.39 and by 2.5 percent since the previous January.Perhaps even more wage growth could be coming to help buyers with affordability issues, according to a new report from John Burns Real Estate Consulting. The report said that “incomes should rise steadily over the next few years due to demand for high-income workers and a shortage of workers overall.”The report stated that many middle-class buyers can no longer afford a new home due to the following factors:Price/income. Home price to median income ratios exceed the historical average for all 20 of the largest housing markets in the country.Payment/income. Payment to income ratios exceed the historical average in the majority of the 20 largest housing markets in the country.New home prices. New home prices exceed resale home prices by record levels, and not just because new homes are larger and better located than usual.Anticipation of rising rates. Bond markets currently assume that long-term rates will rise over the next few years, putting additional upward pressure on home prices.”Job growth remains healthy in most markets, especially in high-income jobs. High-income job growth has recently emerged as a primary driver of new home demand, particularly in higher-priced markets,” John Burns noted. “Nationwide, high-income jobs are up 2.6 percent year over year. However, growth in high-income sectors has played out very unevenly across the major metros.”San Jose, California experienced the most high-income job growth, with a 8.2 percent year-over-year increase. The city has 343,800 total high-income jobs, up 26,000 from last year. Austin and Riverside-San Bernardino took second and third place with a year-over-year increase in high-income jobs of 6.4 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively.John Burns stated that they “have more confidence in the markets with strong high-income job growth, and become cautious if those growth trends begin to slow.”Source: John Burns Real Estate Consulting Share February 15, 2016 561 Views
Housing Market Housing Prices HPI 2017-05-02 ScottMorgan1 May 2, 2017 609 Views Home Prices March Ever Higher The steady increase in home prices continued in March. The latest CoreLogic Home Price Index (HPI) showed home prices up 1.6 percent from February, and up 7 percent from a year ago. And the firm is confident that the upward trend will carry through to next year.Through its HPI Forecast, CoreLogic predicted that home prices will increase by almost 5 percent year-over-year basis by next March. Its prediction for April’s increase is a more modest 0.6 percent.“With a forecasted increase of almost 5 percent over the next 12 months, the index is expected to reach the previous peak during the second half of this year,” said Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Prices in more than half the country have already surpassed their previous peaks, and almost 20 percent of metropolitan areas are now at their price peaks.”Washington led states in year-over-year price increases, up 12.8 percent compared to last March. Three of its large metros‒‒Seattle, Tacoma, and Bellingham‒‒posted similar numbers. Neighboring Oregon saw a 9.9 percent increase in prices, while Utah saw a 9.4 percent bump. Of states that saw prices increase over the year, Oklahoma had the smallest return, with prices climbing 1.1 percent.Only two states saw home prices drop compared to last year. Prices in Alaska were 0.8 percent below where they were last March; prices in West Virginia were 1.2 percent under last year’s values.”A potent mix of strong job gains, household formation, population growth and still-attractive mortgage rates in the face of tight inventories are fueling a continuing surge in home prices across the U.S.,” said Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “Price gains were broad-based with 90 percent of metropolitan areas posting year-over-year gains.”Outside of Seattle, the largest gains were seen in the Denver metro area, where prices climbed 10 percent over the year. Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Chicago all showed home price increases of 6.4 percent compared to last March.The once scalding hot Houston metro showed much quieter gains over the year. The city’s home prices increased 3.2 percent from a year ago. The smallest major metro increase occurred in the New York/Northern New Jersey region, where annual values climbed 2.3 percent. Share in Daily Dose, Data, News
On Tuesday, the Trump administration announced its proposed 2018 budget. Included in the budget are several cuts to Department of Housing and Urban Development programs, including cutting the funding to the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, as well as the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, HOME Investment Partnerships Program, and the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP).According to HUD, the CDBG Program has not been effectively targeting the poorest communities and has not demonstrated a measurable impact on communities. Other programs are to be cut due as HUD states that State and local governments are better-positioned to serve their communities’ needs in place of these programs.“This Budget reflects this Administration’s commitment to fiscal responsibility while continuing HUD’s core support of our most vulnerable households,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “We will work very closely with Congress to support the critical work of our agency as we vigorously pursue new approaches to help work-eligible households achieve self-sufficiency.”HUD’s request includes $40.68 billion in gross discretionary funding for the Department. In addition, the budget seeks up to $400 billion in new loan guarantee authority and making changes to strengthen Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHA) Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) or ‘reverse mortgage’ program. The Budget includes a $30 million administrative fee to support the modernization of FHA’s systems, which HUD calls “outdated.”Additional cuts proposed include a $45 million cut to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The current plan would steadily increase cuts to the Bureau over several years, with over $700 million in cuts expected by 2021.Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin voiced his support of the proposed budget in a statement on Tuesday.“President Trump’s budget focuses Treasury on our core missions of collecting revenue and managing the nation’s debt, while modernizing, streamlining and increasing efficiencies to reduce operating expenditures,” said Mnuchin. “President’s budget will achieve savings through reforms that prevent taxpayer bailouts and reverse burdensome regulations that have been harmful to small businesses and American workers. These initiatives, coupled with comprehensive tax reform and other key priorities, will move America one step closer to sustained economic growth of three percent or higher.”Read the full budget here. May 23, 2017 546 Views How the Budget Proposal Impacts HUD Share budget HUD 2017-05-23 Seth Welborn in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News
OrangeGrid, a provider of highly configurable business process workflow solutions to the financial services industry, announced that Barry Owens, a seasoned professional with nearly three decades industry experience, has joined its growing team as VP of business development.“With a wealth of experience on both sides of the client-vendor relationship, Owens developed a keen understanding of client needs and how to best leverage OrangeGrid’s highly configurable technology to deliver ROI-focused solutions based on workflow efficiencies, for better utilization of staffing, rapid problem resolution, transparency, and accountability,” said Todd Mobraten, CEO and founder at OrangeGrid.Owens entered the mortgage servicing industry in 1990 shortly after graduating from The Ohio State University with a B.A. in Economics and went on to serve in numerous management capacities for over a decade before his departure from JPMorgan Chase in 2003 to pursue his sales career on the vendor side of the financial services industry. During his tenure with USRES, WFG National Title Insurance Company, SingleSource, and DIMONT, Owens successfully represented a wide range of services, including title insurance, valuations, REO outsourcing, property preservation, investor claims, insurance, and technology.“We are thrilled have Owens on our team and are confident in his ability to help OrangeGrid continue building strong collaborative relationships across our rapidly expanding client base for years to come,” said Mobraten. June 21, 2017 512 Views Share OrangeGrid 2017-06-21 Brianna Gilpin Barry Owens Joins OrangeGrid as VP of Business Development in Data, Headlines, News
October 3, 2017 725 Views Many in the housing industry have scratched their heads when it comes to figuring out whether millennials are interested in homeownership and, if so, how to get them into the market more than they are currently. One of the biggest roadblocks has been the generation’s ability to provide a down payment, but one homebuilder may have found the solution—or at least a solution.According to an article by CNBC, Lennar Homes plans to help millennials pay off their heavy student debt to get them into a home, but it’s not charity. When the individual purchases a Lennar home, the can receive a payment up to $13 thousand or 3 percent of the amount of the home from Lennar’s subsidiary Eagle Home Mortgage.The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported that student debt is at an all-time high of $1.34 trillion. Eagle Home Mortgage President Jimmy Timmons said in a statement that particularly with millennial buyers, even though they want to be homeowners, they don’t feel like they can move forward.”Our program is designed to relieve some of that burden and remove that barrier to owning a home,” Timmons said.However, with the details of the plan not yet released, Seeking Alpha had a few speculations on how a program such as this could be successful. Simply put, Lennar’s goal is to sell homes, and if millennials don’t qualify because of not meeting the “income-to-debt service ratio,” that becomes a problem. If Lennar pays off the debt, but then adds it into the mortgage, then the problem is dissolved.“Simple example: Imagine a millennial with $13,000 in student loan debt at 5 percent with 10 years to maturity,” the report said.Despite the interesting theory, Lennar said its assistance to a buyer’s student loan debt wouldn’t affect the home’s purchase price or add to the mortgage loan’s balance.“No matter what, you have to make sure you understand the transaction you’d be entering,” said Theodore “Ted” Daniels, Founder and President of the Society for Financial Education and Professional Development, a nonprofit that teaches financial literacy, to CNBC. Homeownership Student Debt 2017-10-03 Brianna Gilpin Homebuilder Paying Off Student Debt to Spur Homeownership in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Headlines, News Share
in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Share Ellie Mae FHA FICO Homebuyers loans Millennials Refinance VA 2018-01-03 Staff Writer The credit score for all borrowers dipped to 722 in November 2017 from 728 in November 2016, according to a report released by Ellie Mae, a cloud-based platform provider for the mortgage finance industry, on Wednesday. The report, which also gave indicators on millennial borrowers through the Ellie Mae Millennial tracker, said that average FICO score for closed loans to millennials dropped to 723 in November 2017 from 725 in the year-ago period even as some lenders were making it easier to get a home loan by lowering their FICO score requirements to attract a larger pool of potential first-time homebuyers. “With the average credit score dipping, lenders are extending credit to borrowers who may have had no previous access to the housing market,” said Joe Tyrell, EVP of Corporate Strategy at Ellie Mae.While the Millennial Tracker, an online interactive tool that provides access to demographic data on millennial homebuyers, showed a slight decline in the overall average scores for closed loans to millennials year-over-year, the trend was most pronounced for FHA and VA loans to this generation of homebuyers. According to the tracker, the average FICO score on a closed FHA refinance loans to millennial borrower in November 2016 was 678. This score dropped to 669 in November 2017. The report also indicated that closed VA refinance loans decreased from 725 to 710 year-over-year.Conventional loans remained the most popular loan product for millennial borrowers at 66 percent of total closed loans with FHA accounting for 30 percent of closed loans for the second month in a row. During this period, VA loans represented only 2 percent of all closed loans.Across all loans, the average time to close increased to 44 days up from 43 days in October. However, the average time to close FHA loans decreased to 43 days, from 46 in the month prior.In terms of demographics, the report indicated that men continued to make up the majority of primary borrowers with women making up only 32 percent or one-third of closed loans. Among women who were listed as the primary borrower, 40 percent were identified as married, 59 percent as single and one percent as separated. This is nearly inverse to male primary borrowers, among which 58 percent were listed as married and 42 percent as single. Conventional Mortgage Loans Most Popular With Millennials January 3, 2018 755 Views
Magellan Travel GroupSerko Magellan Travel Group has signed a preferred partnership agreement with corporate travel technology provider, Serko.The agreement underlines another component within the Group’s suite of member tools and services, which not only support and propel individual member growth, they also underpin the strategic growth plans of the broader Group.“We continue to act in the best interests of our members and negotiating industry competitive agreements to support their business growth ambitions remains a key focus,” said Magellan chief executive Andrew Macfarlane.Darrin Grafton, Serko chief executive officer, said “We are really pleased to have signed this agreement with the Magellan Group and we expect it to be a successful and enduring partnership. We see good potential in the Magellan Travel Group and we look forward to growing both businesses over the next few years.”
Viking Cruises recently hosted a group of agents and their guests onboard Viking Star to experience the first six days of the 13-day Mediterranean Odyssey ocean cruise from Barcelona to Rome. During the trip, the group experienced a taster of the popular itinerary, with cruise included excursions to Toulon’s Old Quarter, a walking tour of Monaco and a visit to the leaning tower of Pisa. Optional excursions were also offered, including the Gothic Quarter and Catalonian Cuisine in Barcelona or a Tuscany wine and Merenda tasting in Florence.“We see great value in hosting famils allowing an opportunity to demonstrate to our agents and media the enriching and immersive experience which Viking offers,” said director of sales for Viking Cruises A/NZ Liz Sawers.“Famils allow us to showcase our unique destination focused itineraries and give agents a first-hand understanding of the Viking difference.”Agents on the famil were Gina Maitland, Alpha Travel; Jacqueline Nelson, Albury Travel & Cruise; Kirilly Plum, Destination HQ; Charline Richards, helloworld Strathpine; Karen Enders, helloworld Strathpine; Lynette Robinson, National Seniors Travel; Karen jones, italktravel Matiland; and William and Fiona Pearson, Escape Travel Toronto, Mt Hutton, Kotara, Glendale, Charlestown.Image: Famil group dining in Manfredi’s, Viking Star Events/FamilsViking Star
If/when the Oakland Raiders cut Carson Palmer, he could be an option for the Arizona Cardinals at quarterback. But I hope he isn’t looked at as a long-term solution. Palmer is 33 years old and although he had a very productive season in Oakland last year, the Cards need to find a guy they can plan and build around in the coming years. Although Palmer would be a bridge quarterback, he would be a very good one. It’s not often a Q hits the free agent market that can still play — and Palmer can still play. He threw for over 4,000 yards, 22 touchdowns and had a quarterback rating of over 86 last season. What makes those numbers impressive is that he did it with one of the worst receiving corps in the league. 0 Comments Share Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Top Stories Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Palmer can still play, but I would like to see him prove it at a manageable number. The Cardinals have taken an even hand to free agency and I would like to see them continue that trend. Why not offer Palmer a one-year contract, like they have Rashard Mendenhall, Matt Shaughnessy and Antoine Cason? Or why not sign Carson to a multi-year contract that is incentive-based? Reports are saying the Raiders are going to part ways with Palmer. And Palmer has never been a player that was more concerned with money than principle. Having invested wisely, he was ready to walk away from football rather than play for Mike Brown and the Cincinnati Bengals. He’s doing it again with the Raiders, refusing to take a pay-cut from the $13 million he would receive this year. Palmer doesn’t need the money; what he needs is Larry Fitzgerald.
Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact With speculation about the 2017 NFL Draft picking up, fans continue to wonder whether the Arizona Cardinals will pick Carson Palmer’s successor at quarterback.ESPN’s John Clayton thinks the Cardinals should pick a QB from the college ranks when the draft arrives. Arizona ranked third on his list of 12 teams that should draft a quarterback.With 37-year-old Carson Palmer entering the last leg of his career, the Cardinals need to start looking for his replacement. They might shy away from taking a quarterback in the first round, with the 13th overall pick, because they have bigger needs elsewhere (though both Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay have them taking a QB in their latest mock). The Cardinals need a first-round pick who can play this season to help them stay with the Seahawks in the NFC West.This could be the last season for Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald together, and Arizona needs to find replacements for both. The second round makes sense for the Cardinals to pick a QB to compete with Drew Stanton as Palmer’s backup.Clayton is on the side that seems to have recently gained traction. On Arizona Sports’ Mock Draft Tracker, four of the seven most frequent projections since April 1 have been quarterbacks. Texas Tech alum Patrick Mahomes is the most common name, with nine mock drafts suggesting the Cardinals take him with the No. 13 pick. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Top Stories Deshaun Watson out of Clemson, DeShone Kizer out of Notre Dame and Mitchell Trubisky of North Carolina also have been connected to Arizona in mock drafts.While mocks suggest the Cardinals will take a quarterback in the first round, Clayton mentions that in his view, Arizona should wait until the second round. A recent mock draft by the San Diego Union-Tribune projected the Cardinals to take Kizer with the 45th pick.The Cardinals own eight picks in the 2017 draft, which will take place from April 27-29 in Philadelphia. (AP Photos) 0 Comments Share Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) looks to throw as Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker (36) pursues during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Top Stories The Arizona Cardinals (4-6) host the Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3) at University of Phoenix Stadium in quarterback Blaine Gabbert’s rematch with the team that drafted him.It also marks former Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell’s first return to the desert since leaving in free agency.[View the story “Cardinals vs. Jaguars – Sept.17” on Storify] Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo 7 Comments Share Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
Go back to the e-newsletter >Echo Entertainment has announced plans for a six-star, 17-storey hotel to be built in front of the existing Jupiters Hotel & Casino on the Gold Coast, at a cost of $345 million.Due to be completed in time for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, the tower is to be comprised exclusively of luxury hotel suites, in addition to bars, restaurants and private gaming rooms.Echo Entertainment Chairman, John O’Neill AO, said “We are committed to positioning Jupiters as a world-class integrated resort and assist in the exciting transformation of the Gold Coast before, during and after its hosting of the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Our six-star hotel tower has a construction completion date that will ensure its readiness for the Commonwealth Games. The tower will offer new levels of luxury and only the best in finishes and amenities, not to mention six-star service.”Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, joined Mr O’Neill, Echo Entertainment CEO, Matt Bekier, and Echo Entertainment Managing Director Queensland, Geoff Hogg, at the announcement.It is a development that is predicted to generate more than 1000 jobs, as construction will be undertaken by an Australian-based company. Probuild is the tenderer for the construction of the new all-suite tower and gaming facilities at Jupiters.“This project is a celebration of the Gold Coast,” said Mr Bekier. “To that end, we have been working with local designers and international architects to ensure it will resonate with the local community while also driving broader domestic and international appeal.“These are exciting times for the Gold Coast and we’re delighted to be playing what we believe will be a key role in advancing the growth of tourism and jobs creation in the region.”Mr Hogg provided further detail on the tower, saying some suites will boast three or four bedrooms and each will embrace the best of the Gold Coast, with large balconies and captivating city views. An exclusive, high-end lounge bar will also overlook the infinity edge pool.“The Gold Coast’s reputation as a must-visit destination continues to strengthen with both leisure and business travellers, so we are working to create a broad offering that will help to support this well into the future,” he said. “We are also creating spaces that cater to the specific needs of individual travellers with some suites to include home offices, extra family rooms, theatres or even private karaoke parlours.“Suites will also be equipped with digital signage, allowing guests the flexibility to change in-room information into many different languages.“We are also working on six-star room service, to allow guests to order from any restaurant across the property, or one of the new restaurants, and enjoy dining on their balcony overlooking the Gold Coast skyline.”Go back to the e-newsletter >
RelatedAer Lingus to increase baggage feesAer Lingus to increase baggage feesRyanair risks check-in baggage fee hikeBudget Irish airline Ryanair has taken a risk in raising check-in baggage and airport check-in fees.Ryanair hand luggage explained and how to maximise your cabin baggage allowanceWhat is Ryanair’s luggage allowance and how can you avoid any last-minute hand baggage charges? Here’s everything you need to know… Low-cost carrier Ryanair has announced planned changes to its current checked baggage policy.From May 5th, passengers will have to pay €10 (£8) to check luggage into the hold, an increase on the previous €9 charge. Fees for airport check-in will also rise from €4 to €5 as the airline seeks to encourage more passengers to use its online check-in services and limit luggage to the 10kg carry-on allowance.Peter Sherrard, head of communications at Ryanair explained that 40 percent of the airline’s customers currently avoid these fees by only travelling with hand luggage and using online check-in. “Online check-in is faster, more efficient and costs Ryanair less,” he explained. “There is no doubt that it is the future for air travel.” Across the Atlantic, US carrier American Airlines revealed revisions to its baggage policy earlier this week. From May 12th, passengers will be required to pay $25 (£12) to check a second bag on flights.Similar changes have been introduced by several carriers over recent months as airlines seek alternative ways to cope with the increased cost of fuel. US Airways, United, Virgin America, AirTran Airways and Malaysia’s AirAsia have all made changes to luggage fees since the start of the year. ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map
Dear Skyscanner,I really want to get away for some skiing this winter, but can’t commit to a whole week. What are the best options for weekend ski and city breaks?Jamie, London RelatedHow to save money and have a cheap ski holidaySkiing is expensive; the flights, accommodation, lift passes, lessons. Costs can quickly mount up – and that’s before we even get onto the après-ski! Stop them getting out of hand with our top tips for saving on this season’s ski holiday.Family friendly skiing: winter sports for kidsSkyscanner brings you a guide to some of the most child-friendly ski resorts in the world.10 of best cheap ski resorts in the worldLooking for the cheapest places to ski in Europe? Amidst the £10 beers in Zermatt and the fine dining in France, you can still ski the same slopes for a fraction of the price – in the French Alps, Italy, the US, and a few hidden ski fields in Europe!… SarajevoFinally, for something completely different, how about Sarajevo? The capital of Bosnia & Herzegovina makes a fascinating city break, and just 30 minutes away are two separate ski areas that hosted the Winter Olympics in 1984.Bjelašnica ski area has 803m of runs and three lifts – so plenty for one day of skiing. The slopes are fairly steep, so it’s better for intermediate and advanced skiers, who can try their luck on the piste that was used for the men’s downhill championship in 1984. It offers some of the cheapest skiing in Europe, with a day pass priced at €13.Jahorina is the larger of the two offering terrain which resembles a natural fun park with a mix of tree runs, open faces, and groomed piste. There are numerous slope-side cafes and rustic bars which give Jahorina a lively and friendly feel.The city still bears scars of the horrific Bosnian War in the 1990s, but much has changed since the war ended in 1995, with new and vibrant nightlife, a delicious dining scene and contemporary hotels opening up.If you’d like to learn about the siege of Sarajevo, the longest siege of a capital city in recent history, a curious place to visit is the Tunnel Museum near the airport. The tunnel was dug in 1993 by the Bosnian government to smuggle in supplies and ensure the survival of the city’s residents. The museum is no more than a converted suburban home, but makes a quirky pit stop and if you’ve brave enough, you can go down the short section of the tunnel that remains.Going further back in history, you can learn more about the city’s Muslim heritage in the Ottoman quarters of the old town, called Bascarsija. You’ll find minarets, domes, narrow alleys and the Gazi Huzrev-Beg’s mosque, and The Museum of Sarajevo.It’s an impressive building that covers history up to the First World War, including the incident that sparked the outbreak of the war – the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife in 1914.Be sure to try a kebab in Zeljo 1 if you’re a meat eater. It’s one of the city’s most famous kebab houses and serves tasty spicy sausages with cream cheese, chopped onions and flatbread.One of the newer hotels in Sarajevo is the Hotel Central, which offers rooms from €100 per night. It has a good day spa and a fun, modern interior. Hotel Hecco offers excellent value accommodation from €30 pppn.Answer by Ginny Light – TimesOnline travel editorGot a travel question? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get our panel of travel experts to answer your question.Sarajevo picture © SnowSphere.comReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map Dear Jamie,If you don’t want to commit the time and expense to a full week of skiing, then a city break with an option for a day on the slopes is a great idea. And there are plenty of European destinations that offer this.It’s also the perfect compromise if you’re part of a couple that includes one ardent skier and one culture vulture.SalzburgThis Austrian city is famed for its pretty Baroque architecture and musical history. The Old Town is UNESCO-listed and offers a labyrinth of cobbled streets with castles, cafes and shops to explore.You’ll miss the Mozart festival, which comes later in the year, but the composer’s birthplace isn’t lacking in performances – just make sure you book ahead. Plus, there are a couple of museums dedicated to the composer, including one located at his birthplace, which displays some of the instruments he played as a child.As for other classic Salzburg experiences, make sure you take time out for coffee and cake in one of the traditional Austrian cafes. You can work it off with a tramp around the impressive Salzburger Dom Cathedral, then onto the city’s most famous landmark, Salzburg Castle, or Festung Hohensalzburg.There are ski resorts within six miles of Salzburg, but the best skiing is a little further away in Zell am See. It’s 60 miles away, which means it’s perfectly doable for a day trip, and there are regular trains from Salzburg to the resort if you’d rather not drive.When you get there you can choose to ski in Zell am See or the neighbouring resort, Kaprun, collectively known as the Europa Sport Region. Zell am See, or Zell as it’s known to the locals, is the larger of the two and sits on the beautiful Ziller lake, which is often frozen in winter and used for ice skating.As for the skiing, Zell has a mix of runs from easy to difficult, while Kaprun’s Kitzsteinhorn Glacier (3,200m), offers off-piste skiing for the adventurous.If you’re skiing in the morning in Zell, start on the Sonnenalm side, which is better earlier on, and the snow condition tends to deteriorate throughout the day.As for where to stay in Salzburg, there are plenty of options, but if you want to sample old fashioned Austrian hospitality, go for one of the big historic hotels, like the Hotel Sacher Salzburg, which has great views of the Hohensalzburg fortress and has hosted various luminaries and aristocrats since it opened in 1866. There’s a sauna and steam room – perfect after a day on the piste, plus a smart restaurant and cafe. Rooms start from around €330 a night.GenevaOne of the best served ski airports in Europe is Geneva, so there’s plenty of choice of flights, plus it’s a fun city in its own right. It’s a wonderful walking city, and if the weather allows, you should take a stroll along the lakeside and the Rhône River.The free weekly Genève Agenda will tell you what’s going on during your stay, from temporary exhibitions to live performances. That said, you could easily pass a day wandering around the old town, with its museums and the Cathédrale St-Pierre, an impressive Gothic structure with an intricate interior. Be sure to call in at the free Maison Tavel Museum, a fascinating jumble of art, furniture, and a large model of Geneva.One of the loveliest traditional hotels in Geneva is the Hotel Bristol, which costs from around £200 a night. It has an atmospheric piano bar and restaurant, plus a gym, steam room and sauna.If you’re in the city on a Saturday and love markets, head to Plaine de Plainpalais where there’s a flea market each week. You’ll be able to pick up CDs, vinyl, books, clothes and jewellery.If you can tear yourself away for a day, there’s some great skiing in Avoriaz and Morzine, just over an hour away by car. Morzine, the lower of the two, is a bustling town with good shopping and a sport centre with tennis and swimming – perfect if you’re with a non-skier.There’s plenty of skiing for all abilities, including some easy tree runs and more challenging runs such as the Swiss Wall, a steep 1km drop that was used for the World Cup in the 1980s. There are also a few fun parks to keep freestylers occupied with half-pipes and rails. For apres-ski call in at Bar Robinson, a legendary Morzine hotspot where the local Mützig lager flows liberally.As for where to stay in Geneva, check out the Hotel Eastwest Geneva. It’s a smart, compact and modern hotel and a very reasonable £112 a night, with easy access to the train station.
London Motor MuseumDon’t miss…The new Burger Bus Stop serves gourmet burgers atop a 1960s Leyland bus.If you love cars you must venture out here. You’ll be rewarded with more than 200 glorious collectable vehicles. They range from a 1937 Auburn Speedster and a 1937 Lincoln Zephyr, to cars you might have seen on the big screen and in blockbuster movies – there’s a Bat-Cave which houses both the 1966 and the 1989 Batmobile. What fan could resist?Opening times:Daily 10am – 6pmPrice:Adults £22.50, children 3-15 £20, under 3s freeHow to get there:Outside London so drive or take the train from London Paddington. Journey time is around 20 minutes and trains stop at Hayes and Harlington Station (5 minutes walk to museum) Saatchi GalleryDon’t miss…The Rare Rolling Stones audio tracks are a real goldmine for visiting Stones fans.This private cultural hub in Chelsea spreads across a 70,000sq ft building allowing (as well a contemporary art gallery) a book shop, educational facilities and a restaurant/café. It is currently dominated by Exhibitionism: The Rolling Stones, nine thematic galleries with more than 500 original Stones’s artifacts. You need a ticket to the exhibition to enter the gallery space, which normally contains works by challenging Brit Art gurus like Damien Hirst and Jake and Dinos Chapman. The exhibition runs to September 4, 2016.Opening times:Daily 10am – 6pmPrice:Adults £23, children 6-17 £16, under 6s freeHow to get there:On Kings Road in Chelsea, five minute’s walk from Sloane Square tube station and around a 10 minute walk from Victoria tube station Search London hotelsHeading to London? Arm yourself with all the info you need here…Budget places to stay in London: our top pickFind out where and how to bag a bed in some of the cheapest hotels, hostels and campsites in central London.Eating out in London: top 14 restaurantsThe UK capital is one of the world’s leading gourmet hotspots, with everything from street food to triple Michelin-starred restaurants.10 of the best bars and pubs in LondonChoosing where to enjoy your favourite tipple can be a tough choice in this pub-loving city. Don’t worry, we’ve done all the hard drinking for you and come up with our list of the top ten pubs in London.Skyscanner is the world’s travel search engine, helping your money go further on flights, hotels and car hire.ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map London Film MuseumDon’t miss…The Cars of Spectre temporary exhibition (included in the main admission ticket) features Bond vehicles from the eponymous film.This museum is currently exclusively dedicated to The Bond in Motion exhibition. This is the world’s largest official exhibition of James Bond vehicles that feature in the films, so fans of the world’s most famous secret agent will be in their element. Opening times:Monday-Sunday 10am – 6pm, Saturday 10am – 7pmPrice:Adults £14.50, children 5-15 £9.50, under 5s free How to get there:A five minute walk from Covent Garden tube station or ten minutes walk from Leicester Square tube stationNational Portrait GalleryDon’t miss…Lovers of Spanish artisti Picasso will want to time a visit between October 6th 2016 and February 5th 2017, when a remarkable array of his portraits will be on display.This striking gallery was founded way back in 1856 with the express purpose of showcasing portraits of famous British people through the ages. Today the collection has risen to more than 200,000 works covering a remarkable time range, from the sixteenth century right through to the present day, including the current Royal family. Fancy getting closer to the royals than this? Go in search of Big Liz at these royal attractions dotted throughout the capital.Opening times:Saturday to Wednesday 10am – 6pm, Thursday and Friday 10am – 9pmPrice:FreeHow to get there:Both Charing Cross and Leicester Square tube stations are around a five minute walk away Natural History MuseumDon’t miss…The exhibits collected by perhaps the world’s greatest ever natural historian, Charles Darwin.This is an epic museum, both in terms of the grand Victorian building (built in 1881) and in the sheer scale of its natural history collection, arguably the world’s finest. To get an even better idea of the scale, consider for a moment that it takes more than 800 staff to run! The collection stretches across more than 80 million items and swirls around botany, entomology, mineralogy, paleontology, zoology… There’s lots to learn here! Opening times:Sunday to Thursday 9am – 8pm, Friday and Saturday 9am – 9pmPrice:FreeHow to get there:On Exhibition Road, a short walk from South Kensington tube station British Museum Don’t miss…It’s worth paying to see Sunken cities, Egypt’s lost worlds, a temporary exhibition that explores two sunken ancient cities until November 27, 2016.This is the biggie for every visitor to London, not just museum geeks. Here you’ll see artifacts spanning the eons of time, from Egyptian mummies to Roman remnants, including the deeply contentious Elgin Marbles (Greece wants them back) and the Lewis Chessmen (Scotland wants them returned north). Catch them before they go! The grand Neoclassical building is itself magnificent. Allow a whole day or visit twice.Opening times:Daily 10am – 5.30pmPrice:FreeHow to get there:Ten minutes walk from the east end of Oxford Street, or Russell Square, Holborn and Tottenham Court Road tube stations National GalleryDon’t miss…Handily the gallery’s website lists ‘30 Highlight Paintings’, which is a great way to, er, frame your visit.Quite simply one of the world’s great art galleries. This is the sort of mind-blowing artistic oasis where you bring someone who “doesn’t like art” and they are so impressed that they never want to leave again! There are over 2,300 works to check out, from Titian and Michelangelo, through to Rembrandt and Rubens with all stops in-between in one of the world’s artistic powerhouses. If you are an art buff, you’ll need more than one visit.Opening times:Monday-Sunday 10am – 6pm, Friday 10am – 9pmPrice:FreeHow to get there:On Trafalgar Square. Charing Cross and Leicester Square tube stations are both a five minute walk away London Transport MuseumDon’t miss…The London by Design season runs until the end of 2016, showcasing how design has influenced London’s transport over the last 100 years.This is a must for lovers of planes, trains and automobiles. It’s all here, from double-decker buses to tubes, covering the fascinating history of transport in all its forms over the decades in brilliant detail. Fun for kids and big kids alike.Opening times:Monday to Thursday, Saturday and Sunday 10am – 6pm, Friday 11am – 6pmPrice:Adults £17, Children under 17 freeHow to get there:A five minute walk from Covent Garden tube station or ten minute’s walk from Leicester Square tube station Tate ModernDon’t miss…Always check what is on in the Turbine Hall, the scene of some of the most striking temporary installations in London.One of the most remarkably staged London galleries, housed spectacularly in an old power station on the South Bank. There is all sorts of avant garde audio visual art to explore and engage with as you walk up through the multiple floors, enjoying sweeping river and city views as you pass works by twentieth century greats like Dali, Duchamp, Warhol and Hockney. End on the top floor, in the bar overlooking the Thames. For more food and drink spots with spectacular views of London, check out these skyscraper bars and restaurants.Opening times:Sunday to Thursday 10am – 6pm, Friday-Sunday 10am – 10pmPrice:FreeHow to get there:Southwark tube station is the closest (a five minute walk away), but we recommend a slightly longer walk from St Paul’s tube station as you get to cross the Thames on the Millennium Bridge with the dramatic museum building right in front of you Science MuseumDon’t miss…The brand new Information Age gallery, which showcases over 200 years of innovation in information and communication technology.Since the cornerstone of this Victorian dame was laid by the monarch herself, this museum has been the fulcrum of the science world. Today it’s home to more than 300,000 exhibits, with highlights including Stephenson’s pioneering rocket train and the world’s first jet engine. More modern collections focus on the development of DNA and medical science. Opening times:Sunday to Thursday 9am – 8pm, Friday and Saturday 9am – 9pmPrice:FreeHow to get there:On Exhibition Road, a short walk from South Kensington tube RelatedTop 10 attractions in the UKFrom ancient stone circles and castles built on siege and turmoil, to dramatic modern museums and reinvented industrial sites, nowhere in the world showcases such diverse tourist appeal as the UK. Where to start? We’ve put together 10 must-go UK attractions you should squeeze in on a visit to Blighty.10 of the best museums and art galleries in New YorkNew York does not disappoint when it comes to cultural attractions, from independent neighbourhood galleries to massive Neoclassical temples dedicated to history. Even better, many are free or have a pay-what-you-wish policy. Browse through our ultimate collection of the best museums and art galleries in NYC.Amsterdam’s best museums and galleriesWant to know how the humble tulip changed the Netherlands forever or what life on a Dutch houseboat is really like? Go beyond the Rijksmuseum and other well-known attractions, and there really is a museum or gallery for absolutely everyone in Amsterdam. We’ve curated a collection of the best for…
For the shopaholic: New York CityWhy they’ll love it: Long before Sex and the City, New York was synonymous with fashion and fabulousness. There are the queen ‘B’s: Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys and Bloomingdale’s – iconic department stores, where even the shopping bags themselves have become must-have items. And in downtown Manhattan and Williamsburg in Brooklyn are dozens of vintage stores and quirky independent shops. Squeeze in between the celebs, rock stars and models to search for antique finds at the weekends-only Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchens flea markets. But if your friend wants some real steals, send them over the pond for the annual President’s Day sales in February (19th in 2018), when everyone from Macy’s to market-stall holders slash their prices for a weekend-long bargain-hunters’ bonanza.Give the gift of a flight to New York from £260 return in February RelatedMatch these flights to your favourite people to make the ultimate Christmas giftWhat would your loved one rather pull out from under the tree on Christmas Day – a scratchy wool jumper or a ticket to an unforgettable adventure? Whether you send them to seek out the Northern Lights or soak up some winter sun, you can match the type of traveller…Amsterdam’s finest cafes and coffee shopsMuch more than just good coffee, Amsterdam’s cafés promise a healthy hit of Dutch culture. From the traditional Koffiehuis to the cosy ‘brown cafés’ and the infamous coffee shops, there’s a cool Amsterdam hangout for every occasion. Read on for where to find them and – crucially – how to…Top 15 attractions and things to do in AmsterdamA radiant girdle of canals, cobbled streets lined with bicycles and flower-boxes, cosy coffee shops…Amsterdam’s charms are many and varied. Start planning your next city break with our tips on what to see and do in Amsterdam. For the science buff: IcelandWhy they’ll love it: Every outing here feels like a science experiment gone mad. Steam rises from geo-thermal rivers, geysers erupt when you least expect, and thanks to some kind of crazy charged photon particle physics, ethereal green lights dance across the skies at night. Nowhere else is science so elegantly – and blatantly – on display. Throw in boulder-strewn lava fields, dormant volcanoes, creeping glaciers and the opportunity to scuba-dive between two tectonic plates, and your science-minded pal is sure to have a blast. Think they’ll want to see the Northern Lights? Book their trip in January, when the long nights maximise their chances. Not convinced? Check out our video of Iceland in winter. Pssst… if they’ve already been to Iceland, consider sending them to find the Northern Lights in Norway.Give the gift of a flight to Reykjavik from £104 return in January Download the appFor the night owl: Amsterdam, NetherlandsWhy they’ll love it: Open-minded Amsterdam has nocturnal activity down to a fine art. Although more famous to the masses for its chilled-out canal-side brown cafes (similar to pubs) and earthy coffee shops, chic party people know that its club nights, warehouse raves, night cafes and dive bars are unparalleled. Attracting the most in-demand DJs, there’s nothing you can’t find, from techno, dub step, trance and hip-hop to good old-fashioned house beats. The city relishes its after-hours scene so much that it was the first to create an official Night Mayor in 2012, and now everyone from Berlin to New York has followed suit. The best time to go? In February, when nights are still long, but the locals have awakened from their post-Christmas hibernation. Help get your friend even more excited about their trip to Amsterdam by sending them this video overview of the city.*[Give the gift of a flight to Amsterdam from £46 return in February](https://www.skyscanner.net/transport/flights/uk/ams?adults=1&children=0&adultsv2=1&childrenv2=&infants=0&cabinclass=economy&rtn=1&preferdirects=false&outboundaltsenabled=false&inboundaltsenabled=false&ref=home)** For the sun-worshipper: Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, SpainWhy they’ll love it: With average highs of around 20C, sea temperatures of 19C, and around seven hours of daily full-on sunshine in January, there’s no better place to hit horizontal in the new year than this Canary Island. Thanks to their flight being sorted, all your UV-loving pal needs to do is choose their preferred type of accommodation, thus avoiding the package-holiday crowd – hooray!. And when they bore of the beach, the mountainous interior will wow them with spectacular vistas accessible from even the shortest of walks.Give the gift of a flight to Las Palmas from £50 return in January For the foodie: Piedmont, ItalyWhy they’ll love it: The birthplace of the slow food movement, when not padding around medieval hilltop villages, your friend will dine at family-run 10-table trattorias with Michelin-worthy food at a fraction of the price. They can expect ribbons of glistening pasta, ripe farmhouse cheeses and sticky-sweet Torta di Nocciola, a fluffy cake made with local hazelnuts. Truffle lovers should keep their noses to the ground on walks in Piedmont’s forests. The pricey fungi hide beneath the soil in huge numbers, celebrated most famously in the annual Alba White Truffle World Market. Although the market is in autumn, the area is actually at its loveliest in early spring, when the hazelnut trees are in full bloom, the vineyards are starting to flower and the chefs aren’t rushed off their feet. Saluti!Give the gift of a flight to Genoa from £61 return in April *Published December 2017. Any prices are lowest estimated prices only at the time of publication and are subject to change and/or availability.If your loved one is in love, maybe they’d prefer one of these 7 snow-frosted escapes for incurable romantics.From beautiful weekend breaks in Estonia to ski-and-beach trips to Spain, your heart will warm to these snowy destinations.Want to help them find the best bed when they get there? Here’s the ultimate guide to bagging the best hotel room.These insider tips could nab you (or your friend!) rooms with views or sumptuous suites for surprisingly affordable prices.ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map For the adventurer: Malawi, AfricaWhy they’ll love it: They can follow in the footsteps of the late great explorer David Livingstone. Malawi is one of the smallest and least developed countries in Africa, and tourist numbers are still very low (only 3.4 per cent of the total GDP is attributed to tourism). In the south, they can scramble to the top of Mount Mulanje, and in the lesser-trodden north (warning: no wifi or phone signal), your adventurous friend can trek across unchartered savannah. The shores of Lake Malawi provide empty white-sand beaches for recuperating afterwards (although don’t get too close the water – this place has crocs!) Safari companies are starting to move in, so now’s the time to go so you can still have this wilderness virtually to yourself. Book flights in April or May, when the weather is warm – daily highs in the late 20s – but rainfall is minimal.Give the gift of a flight to Lilongwe from £459 return in April
Hong Kong – Set to open in 2011, the arrival of Hotel ICON announces a new era in hospitality and hotel management, with an objective to further the development and promotion of hotel, hospitality and tourism management education and research in Hong Kong. Initiated by the School of Hotel & Tourism Management (SHTM) of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), Hotel ICON works hand-in-hand with the SHTM, a center of excellence for hospitality in Asia, to build a launching pad for successful careers, to educate and shape talented students in a deluxe hotel environment, as well as to forge and provide novel services and management techniques to the hotel and tourism industry.The components of this monumental hotel have to be refined by a team of world renowned architects and designers, none other than Sir Terence Conran from the United Kingdom, Rocco Yim of Rocco Design Architects Ltd from Hong Kong, and Patrick Blanc, the botanist and Vertical Garden designer from France. Delivering appetizing international flavors complemented with impeccable service, Hotel ICON provides a meeting venue of prestige and convenience, additionally, the best training ground for SHTM students.Standing 28 stories, Hotel ICON offers 262 beautifully-appointed guest rooms. Most rooms showcase spectacular views of the Victoria Harbour framed by the stunning skyline of the Hong Kong Island. Three prototype rooms will be the platform to develop and showcase new technologies and hotel designs, as well as to research and apply advanced business concepts in hotel management.Set within Tsim Sha Tsui East, the most exciting address in town, Hotel ICON is the focal point of Hong Kong culture, arts and gastronomy. The hotel will shape the future of hospitality with stylish comfort, intelligent convenience, exceptional value and rock steady reliability, and will launch the careers of confident, stylish, responsive and passionate future hoteliers with unlimited support.www.hotel-icon.com