CB2 collaborates with the Surf Lodge hotel in Montauk, Los Angeles hotel employees return to work following strikes, Saudi Arabia invests $400 million to expand Habitas. All that and more in this week’s Five on Friday.
California hotel workers return, but threat of strikes still loom
Employees from 19 hotels in Los Angeles and Orange counties returned to work Wednesday following the long July 4th holiday weekend, after striking to demand better wages in response to soaring living costs in the LA area, and other improvements to their working conditions. The workers, members of Unite Here Local 11—which represents bellhops, front desk agents, room attendants, cooks, servers, and dishwashers—reported little progress in their negotiations with employers, the Associated Press reports. Union representatives caution that the recent walkout is part of a first wave of strikes in ongoing action that could involve more picketing at 41 other properties. A deal was reached last week with the biggest employer of the union’s members, the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites in downtown Los Angeles—providing higher pay and increased staffing. Talks with other hotels, including the Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons Regent Beverly Wilshire, and the Anaheim Hilton located near Disneyland, have stalled. A coalition representing the properties has offered a $2.50 per hour increase over the next 12 months and $6.25 over six years. Other reports indicate workers are pushing for a $5.00 hourly increase.
New CB2 collection highlights brands’ desire to reach hotel guests
Home furnishings brand CB2, sister to Crate & Barrel, has launched a branded hospitality experience—the Sandbar—at Montauk, New York hotel and restaurant the Surf Lodge. The iconic Long Island property now allows guests to experience an array of CB2’s furniture and accessories, including a newly launched outdoor furniture collection by designer Ross Cassidy. The partnership highlights the ever-growing trend of home furnishing companies dipping into the hospitality space, according to Business of Home. These collaborations offer a way for retailers to get their products in front of an audience that may not have stepped foot inside a store or visited the brand’s website and is also a response to consumer spending shifts toward travel. The Sandbar at the Surf Lodge “marks our official foray into lifestyle experiences, allowing customers to fully interact with our product and brand outside of a store and home environment,” said CB2 president Ryan Turf in a release. “The Surf Lodge proved to be a perfect partner to bring our elevated designs straight to the beach.”
Saudi Arabia to fund $400 million Habitas expansion
Saudi Arabia will start a 1.5 billion riyal (roughly $400 million) fund to help expand hotel and events company Habitas in the kingdom. A Bloomberg story details plans to build a robust international and domestic tourism industry (Saudi Arabia only opened to tourists in 2019), including six new Habitas properties joining the brand’s existing two in AlUla. Potential future sites could be developed from the Red Sea to Riyadh, though none have been officially announced. “What’s amazing about the kingdom is just how diverse the geography is,” says Habitas CEO Oliver Ripley. “A lot of these locations were difficult to access, or access was until recently restricted for religious reasons.” The Habitas fund is the same amount as one established for Ennismore, the Accor company that has agreed to develop 10 to 12 hotels of various brands in Saudi Arabia. Both are part of the Saudi Tourism Development Fund (TDF), established in 2020 with a goal to reach more than 100 million international and domestic tourists annually by 2030.
Hate packing for vacation? Japan Airlines can help
If you’re one of the many travelers who dread dragging their suitcases through the airport, a new program from Japan Airlines (JAL) has you covered. A newly launched clothing rental program from the airline allows passengers bound for Japan to reserve clothing for their trip that will be delivered to their accommodation when they arrive, writes The Washington Post. Japanese trading company Sumitomo will handle sourcing, laundering, and delivering the apparel, which will be procured from overstock and pre-owned items. The program, dubbed Any Wear, Anywhere has additional aims: JAL will monitor changes to checked-baggage weight on its flights and how that affects the carbon emissions of its fleet during a 14-month trial. The country’s flagship carrier, JAL operates flights from eight U.S. cities including New York, Boston, Dallas, and Los Angeles. Rental prices begin at $28 and options will include casual and “smart casual” styles.
Famed architect David Adjaye faces multiple sexual misconduct allegations
Internationally renowned architect Sir David Adjaye has been accused of several instances of serious misconduct, according to a report by The Financial Times. The allegations were brought forth by three women previously employed by Adjaye’s firm, Adjaye Associates. One of the women has made an official criminal complaint against him. The claims include sexual assault, sexual harassment, toxic work culture, and abuse of power. Following the publication of The Financial Times’ article, Adjaye resigned from a number of external projects.