The Return of Regent

Last year, at the Condé Nast Traveler Reader Awards, Regent hosted a breakfast for travel agents with plans to unveil the company's rebranding efforts. Though 2005 was a bit premature to announce the change, at this year's breakfast, Mark Conroy, president of Regent, updated agents on the eight-month-old integration of the hotel and cruise line division, which had changed from Radisson Seven Seas to Regent Seven Seas.  An exterior view of the stunning Regent Shanghai

"We've got a well-known brand with a great legacy," says Conroy, "and we have operational skills from both the cruise line (which essentially is a complicated luxury hotel that floats and moves) and the hotels."

According to John Cardona, vice president of hotel sales for Regent, the chain will be extremely "agency-centric," building on its solid relationships on the cruise side, which brings in 92.5 percent of business from the retail community.

In addition, as part of Carlson Hotels Worldwide, Regent Hotels & Resorts plans to join the company's "Look to Book" travel agent incentive program (800-333-5600, www.looktobook.com) within the next 90 days. Agents who currently participate earn 10 points for every $1 spent on Carlson branded hotel bookings. The program has more than 340,000 registered agents in 107 countries.

One of 500 guest rooms at the Regent Beijing, which opens next month

As for new development, Regent is embarking on an ambitious expansion, with plans to double its portfolio. Currently, Regent has six hotels in Berlin, Zagreb, Shanghai, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Taipei. According to Conroy, the brand will add two hotels a year in each of the company's three theaters: Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Asia and the Americas over the next three to four years. Yet to compete with the other high-end hotel brands, Conroy recognizes the need to be in certain cities, such as New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, London and Paris.

"There are two pipelines for the brand," says Conroy. "We need to be in the major gateway cities and resort destinations, such as the Caribbean, southern California and Mexico." Conroy hints that the brand is actively looking for a property in the Big Apple that may even debut in 2009.

Yoga by the pool at the Regent Shanghai

Next month, the company plans to open the Regent Beijing, marking the firm's second hotel opening in China in less than one year. The 500-room property will have five restaurants, a 10-treatment room spa, fitness center, indoor swimming pools and upscale shops.

In the Americas, the RegentSouthBeach will debut late this year between

Ocean Drive
and
Collins Avenue
at
14th Street
. In addition to balconies in each of the 80 suites, highlights of the RegentSouthBeach include Table 8 South Beach restaurant by celebrity chef Govind Armstrong, personal assistant cell phone service and Mercedes-Benz S550 sedan house cars.

Another Florida addition for the brand is the RegentBalHarbour, which is set to open spring 2007. Guests staying at this 124-suite hotel can walk to the Bal Harbour Shops, dine in the gourmet restaurant or indulge in the 10,000-square-foot spa managed by L'Institut de Guerlain. Every guest staying in a suite will have their own private elevator.

In the fourth quarter of next year, Regent also plans to open the Regent Boston at Battery Wharf Hotel & Residences, with a European spa and health club, water shuttle service to LoganAirport, Charleston and the Seaport District.

Also look for Regent to add hotels in Bangkok, Thailand; Ningbo, China; Dubrovnik, Croatia; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The company is also taking over management of The Palms on GraceBayBeach in the Turks and Caicos in early 2007. The beachfront resort has 72 two-and three-bedroom suites (that can be divided) with a balcony or terrace, a 25,000-square-foot spa and a $1.8 million infinity pool.

The Regent Experience— the incorporation of the local culture, a true sense of luxury, attention to detail and personalized service—will be infused into the resort. For more information on Regent, visit www.theregentexperience.com.

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