Written By: Chris Austin, Vice President of Global Leisure and Luxury Sales, Starwood Hotel and Resorts Today, Starwood is the leader in luxury hospitality. We are the leader in innovation. We represent iconic and amazing brands in more than 100 countries around the globe. When you, as a travel professional, select a Starwood property for your customers, you are selling the best in hospitality. Within our incredible portfolio of brands we are always adding, innovating, and setting standards for our industry and creating amazing experiences for your customers and our guests. This month I thought it might be good to share a few of our newest gems with all of you. I wanted to focus specifically on our iconic St. Regis brand. Combining classic sophistication with a modern sensibility, St. Regis is committed to delivering exceptional experiences at over 35 luxury hotels and resorts in the best addresses around the world. Since the opening of the first St. Regis hotel in New York City over a century ago by John Jacob Astor IV, the brand has remained committed to an uncompromising level of bespoke and anticipatory service for all of its guests, delivered flawlessly by signature St. Regis Butler Service. Starwood’s ultra-luxury brand is set to expand its legacy to 50 hotels by 2020. As a travel professional, you are challenged to know the world and know what’s new and what’s next. Just as an example, we added two properties in Malaysia this year and I thought I might highlight these amazing new St. Regis properties for you to share with your most discerning global travelers! Introducing the St. Regis Langkawi, MalaysiaTucked away in an exclusive enclave in its own tranquil, private cove on Langkawi’s southern tip, The St. Regis Langkawi is fringed by a 600-meter private white sand beach overlooking the emerald green waters of a 100,000 square meter natural salt, private swimming lagoon, and integrates with the shimmering Andaman Sea. From the moment of arrival, guests are immersed into a dreamlike atmosphere. Blue lights, cooling mists, and a dramatic garden oasis are wrapped in lush ferns and surrounded by villas with azure tiled plunge pools and airy cabanas. One incredibly unique opportunity at the St. Regis Langkawi are the Nature Walks. Beginning on our beautifully appointed resort grounds, your guests can learn the meaningful history behind The St. Regis and the powerful symbolism of the beringin tree. Our expert guide will reveal fascinating facts about our poolside date trees and our exquisite garden, including anecdotes about the durian, the “King of Fruits.” As the walk wends toward and along our pristine beachfront, guests will hear the mythical history of Langkawi, the significance of its name, and the archipelago’s geological evolution in the past 250 million years. Then, delving into the lush tropical rainforest, our guide will touch on the cultural heritage, biodiversity, and medicinal aspects of this rich ecosystem as well as the importance of mangrove trees to the island’s coastal areas. Following an overview of the fishes native to the Andaman Sea, our engaging naturalist will also share information about UNESCO Global Geopark Langkawi, such as the various bird species found on the island and their migration patterns. As the walk concludes, your guide will highlight the abundant species of butterflies and monkeys native to these vibrant surroundings. Introducing the St. Regis Kuala LumpurSet against one of the most prominent and romantic neighborhoods in the city, The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur boasts magnificent vistas of Malaysia’s bustling capital including Kuala Lumpur’s largest park, the Lake Gardens, as well as the National Museum and Houses of Parliament. Inspired by a luxurious Manhattan apartment, with interiors and architecture by G.A. Design, the hotel features a timeless design scheme created with historical context and a sense of opulence. The exquisite art collection includes masterpieces such as a monumental 11.5 foot horse sculpture by Fernando Botero; Grace Thunders, a specially commissioned diptych of two 16 foot hand-etched leather murals by Mark Evans depicting a powerful polo charge; and a three-dimensional Birds and Butterflies artwork by Barnaby Hosking. The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur houses 208 gracefully appointed accommodations, each with a walk-in wardrobe. Starting at 678 square feet, the guestrooms are the largest in the city, and suites, starting from 1,485 square feet, are also unmatched in size. The Royal Suite, spanning 4,000 square feet, offers private elevator access, an outdoor terrace with panoramic skyline views, a show kitchen, separate his-and-hers walk-in wardrobes as well as an en-suite massage room and gym. Further enhancing the experience, The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur offers the brand signature St. Regis Butler Service which presents discreet, personalized, and anticipatory attention, including complimentary daily pressing, unpacking and packing, and in-room morning coffee and tea service. The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur features six distinct restaurant and bar venues including Taka by Sushi Saito, the first restaurant to open outside Tokyo by three Michelin-starred chef Takashi Saito. Ginza Tenkuni offers Edo-style tempura created the same way since the original restaurant opened its doors in 1885. The BrasBeyond rare culture and compelling surroundings, our sixth floor offers guests a haven of relaxation and rejuvenation. Along with the holistic 1,100-square-meter Iridium Spa, it houses a fitness center, yoga studio, and outdoor rooftop pool. The hotel’s singular private art collection comprises specially commissioned works, including a monumental horse sculpture by Fernando Botero, leather murals by Mark Evans, and a three-dimensional Birds and Butterflies work by Barnaby Hosking, inspired by the leafy enclaves of the Lake Gardens. Moreover, each work is carefully positioned throughout the hotel to align with its respective area and our staff is happy to provide informal tours. A local docent is available by appointment for aficionado tours and private events. SPG® Pro Reminder As an SPG Pro you would always be in the know, and we would communicate our new openings and opportunities for your customers on a regular basis. I invite you to take a quick video tour of our SPG Pro website to see how to get started and where you can access STARPRO rates for your personal travel and ProLearning, our online library of training modules. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q50iF3s779g&EM=DM_TN24267_W21_A1_OTH_LPPBLAST16_GLOBAL_EN&SWAQ=1VC&SWAQD=24287 We are also in the business of motivating you, our partners in the travel professional community. You must always remember we have the award winning BEST consumer and B-to-B loyalty program–SPG® Pro. We are constantly recognized by you and your peers as best in sales and service, best overall chain, best brands, best individual properties. In fact, it is award season in the industry these days. If you see us on the ballot, we would always love your support. Remember to VOTE Starwood and vote for our loyalty program, our training program, our brands and our individual resorts.
Brock University alumnus Mike Edwards (BSM ’05) has only lived in Regina for two months, but he already knows that celebrating the Roughriders in Saskatchewan is as important to the province’s football fans as being Canadian.“For Canada Day, the Roughriders celebrated our nation’s birthday with 30,000 cheering fans in a sea of just as much green as red,” Edwards said. “Being able to kick off being a part of Canada’s national premier sporting event on this day, really I couldn’t ask for a better place to do it in than in the heart of CFL country.”On Monday, July 15, the Saskatchewan Roughriders announced that Sport Management alumnus Edwards had been named Executive Director of the 2020 Grey Cup Committee.In this role, the Barrie native will be responsible for leading staff support of both the Grey Cup 2020 Volunteer Festival Committee, which hosts five days of family-friendly cultural, sport and interactive activities, as well as the Operations Committee responsible for overseeing and executing the 108th Grey Cup game day.“Solidifying our leadership group is a positive step forward in our planning for the Grey Cup,” said Roughriders president-CEO Craig Reynolds. “With the personnel we have in place, alongside world-class facilities, a hardworking group of volunteers and the best fan base in the CFL, we know we have the winning combination to make the 108th Grey Cup a tremendous success.”Edwards brings to his new role a broad background in organizing major sporting events including three FIFA World Cups, the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, the Canada Games, Red Bull Crashed Ice, World Triathlon Series and the Special Olympics Canada Games.“I’m what is known in the sport industry as a games gypsy,” Edwards said. “This means I move from one event to another. The CFL and Grey Cup have always been on my bucket list and I have been very strategic about the positions I have taken within the industry to prepare me for this leadership role.”Edwards said there are four main areas in any major event: the organizing committee, facility operators, various partners including volunteers and governments, and sponsorship.“In order to gain an understanding of how to execute an event of this size, I’ve spent time in each role at various events,” he said. “This not only gave me a broad understanding on how each stakeholder approaches the event, but also an understanding of how each role works together.”Being new to Saskatchewan, Edwards said “Roughriders fans are everywhere in Saskatchewan and around the country. In the past two months, I have felt so welcomed here by the Riders club. In fact, it reminds me of the sense of community I felt at Brock.”He credits a friend from high school, who was already enrolled in the Sport Management program at Brock, for encouraging him to visit the campus and sit in on a first-year class. As a result, his career direction began to take shape.“After that first lecture, that was it for me. I didn’t want to do anything else. I’m proud to be a Brock alumnus because of what sport means to Canada. My experience set me up for an enjoyable life both in and out of work,” Edwards said. “My Brock professors introduced me to the business side of sport and the diverse pathways within the industry beyond the athletes on the bench and what’s happening on field.”Reflecting on what advice he would give to future graduates, Edwards said “first and foremost, make sure you are doing what you love and enjoy what you do.”“Never stop learning and don’t let any opportunity pass you by,” he added. “You never know what kind of growth you will experience or what doors will open from those opportunities.”Brock University has many partnerships within the CFL that provides Sport Management students with unique learning experiences.“We are proud of all of our alumni, many of whom who have taken on leadership and executive roles in major sport organizations,” said Department of Sport Management Acting Chair Lisa Kikulis. “On behalf of the department, we are very excited for Mike as he begins this exciting journey in leading Grey Cup 2020. Having lived and worked in Saskatchewan, I came to appreciate the importance of the Roughriders and their legion of fans.”The Grey Cup is the single-biggest sporting day in Canada and is one of Canadian television’s largest annual sporting events.“This event is really the second Canada Day,” Edwards said. “It’s a time when you can see fans from two differing CFL teams hugging and enjoying the festivities together as a unified nation, as opposed to being rivals.“Saskatchewan has a reputation for hosting some of the most successful and most exciting Grey Cup events the CFL has seen,” he said. “This wouldn’t be possible without the best volunteer base in Canada. We aim to continue that legacy in 2020 by engaging existing CFL fans and making new fans of all ages.”The CFL’s 108th Grey Cup will be played Nov. 22, 2020 at Mosaic Stadium in Regina.