Kimpton® Hotels & Restaurants Returns to The Big Easy With 2020 Opening of The Kimpton Hotel Fontenot

USA, New Orleans, Louisiana. November 04, 2019

Kimpton® Hotels & Restaurants announced today a new property in New Orleans scheduled to open in early 2020. The Kimpton Hotel Fontenot will pay homage to the city's rich musical history and the inspirational musicians behind it.

With a prime location just blocks from the Central Business District and the French Quarter, the project will take an existing hotel and turn it into a 202-room property with a signature restaurant and bar and a corner café serving up specialty coffee and snacks. The hotel, at the intersection of Poydras and Tchoupitoulas Streets, will attract a broad spectrum of travelers with its proximity to the Convention Center, Mercedes Benz Superdome, Smoothie King Center, Harrah's casino, and the many other popular destinations in the Arts/Warehouse District. This property allows Kimpton to re-establish a presence in New Orleans after a fifteen-year absence from the market.

Mike DeFrino, Chief Executive Officer, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, said: "Returning to New Orleans has been a priority for us for more than a decade. This is one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in the country, drawing people from all over the world to its incredible music, culture and food scene. We're very excited our long-time partner JMI Realty LLC will help us bring our signature brand of Kimpton hospitality back to the heart of it all."

Greg Clay, President, JMI Realty LLC, said: "We're thrilled to grow our presence in New Orleans. Last year we acquired the Staybridge Suites and the three adjacent historic buildings located in what we consider to be the best location in the city - Poydras and Tchoupitoulas. We have spent the last 12 months re-inventing those buildings and we can't wait to introduce Hotel Fontenot to the market in early 2020. Our history of successful partnerships with Kimpton proves that together we can create something very special around all that New Orleans has to offer."

The reconfiguration includes an adaptive reuse of former Historic New Orleans buildings, allowing Kimpton to continue its commitment to historical preservation of celebrated structures. Recent projects that highlight Kimpton's leadership in this arena include the Gray Hotel in Chicago, the Schofield in Cleveland and the Cardinal in Winston-Salem.

MarkZeff Architecture and Interior Design and Delawie Architecture are leading the design work on the project.

Kimpton and JMI opened the Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt in Austin in 2015. In 2017 and 2018, the Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards voted the Hotel Van Zandt the number one hotel in Texas.

The Kimpton brand continues to grow in the US and internationally with over 25 Kimpton hotels across 20 new global destinations including Mexico City, Paris, Barcelona, Bali and Shanghai, scheduled to open in the next three to five years.

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Coming up in December 2019...

Hotel Law: A Labor Crisis and Cyber Security

According to a recent study, the hospitality industry accounted for 2.9 trillion dollars in sales and in the U.S. alone, was responsible for 1 in 9 jobs. In an industry of that scope and dimension, legal issues touch every aspect of a hotel's operation, and legal services are required in order to conform to all prevailing laws and regulations. Though not all hotels face the same issues, there are some industry-wide subjects that are of concern more broadly. One of those matters is the issue of immigration and how it affects the ability of hotels to recruit qualified employees. The hotel industry is currently facing a labor crisis; the U.S. Labor Department estimates that there are 600,000 unfilled jobs in the industry. Part of the problem contributing to this labor shortage is the lack of H2B visas for low-skilled workers, combined with the difficulty in obtaining J-1 visas for temporary workers. Because comprehensive immigration reform is not being addressed politically, hotel managers expect things are going to get worse before they get better. Corporate cyber security is another major legal issue the industry must address. Hotels are under enormous pressure in this area given the large volume of customer financial transactions they handle daily. Recently, a federal court ruled that the Federal Trade Commission had the power to regulate corporate cyber security, so it is incumbent on hotels to establish data security programs in order to prevent data breaches. The lack of such programs could cause hotels to face legal threats from government agencies, class action lawsuits, and damage to their brand image if a data breach should occur. These are just two of the critical issues that the December issue of Hotel Business Review will examine in the area of hotel law.