Entries in hotel (6)


Middle East Hotel Looks to Go Underwater

Hemera/Thinkstock(DUBAI, United Arab Emirates) -- A new hotel in the Mideast is about to go under the sea.

Dubai is planning to build a luxury underwater hotel that would be surrounded by a coral reef and feature rooms submerged 32 feet below the surface.

The Water Discus Hotel is designed at a cost of up to $120 million -- no word yet on the room rate per night.

The plans are reminiscent of Dubai's heyday. Another underwater hotel was announced in 2006, but was never built.  The city is still working through a debt pile of over $100 billion from construction boom.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Hotel Attack Won't Deter Security Transition in Afghanistan

ABC News(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Afghanistan's government is determined to move ahead with plans to take over security chores from coalition forces in seven cities and provinces despite an attack by Taliban militants on a luxury hotel that is frequented by Westerners.

Tuesday night's surprise assault on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul left 12 people dead, while all eight enemy fighters were either killed by NATO helicopters or blew themselves up.

Afghan officials haven't figured out how the gunmen and suicide bombers managed to penetrate the circle of security surrounding the hotel, given that it's one of the most fortified buildings in Kabul.

The Taliban said a conference of 300 officials to discuss the security handover was the target but fewer than 40 had shown up at the time of attack.

It's possible the Taliban might have been tipped off by sympathetic officials about the hotel's security arrangements or were allowed access to the facility by the very forces assigned to protect it.

Despite all the questions left unanswered, the government said Wednesday that the police and army will take over protecting seven areas of the country, including Kabul, from U.S. and NATO forces on or around July 20.

Dr. Ashraf Ghani, who's in charge of the transition, said, "Our enemies should understand that they do not have the ability to block our national intentions."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


IMF Head Accused of Sexually Assaulting Maid at NYC Hotel

Harold Cunningham/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and a man considered a likely French presidential candidate, was taken into custody by police on Saturday at a New York airport after a hotel maid said he sexually assaulted her.

Authorities said a maid at a midtown Manhattan hotel told police that Strauss-Kahn stepped out of the bathroom naked as she was cleaning the room and assaulted her.

Strauss-Kahn was taken into custody aboard an Air France jet at John F. Kennedy International Airport, just as the doors were closing to take off on a flight to Paris.

Detectives from the New York Police Department picked up the IMF president from Port Authority police and took him to east Harlem for questioning at the department’s Special Victims Unit.

Strauss-Kahn faces a charge of attempted rape.

NYPD officials notified Port Authority police of the allegations against Strauss-Kahn and asked that they "take him off the plane," Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne told ABC News.

Port Authority detectives did so moments before the flight's departure, Browne said.

Browne said the maid notified hotel managers of the alleged assault and the hotel contacted police, who arrived at about 1:30 pm.

"She reported the attack to hotel officials who called police," Browne said.

When police arrived they found Strauss-Kahn's cell phone, Browne said.

"It appeared he left in a hurry," he said.

Authorities said the hotel maid's account "is credible."

According to senior police officials Strauss-Kahn has no diplomatic immunity, despite his position with the IMF, which makes him technically an administrative official with the United Nations.

On Sunday the IMF issued a statement saying that it had no comment on the case and that “the IMF remains fully functioning and operational.”

Copyright 2011 ABC New Radio


Record Deaths in Japan Spurs New Businesses, Like Hotels for the Dead

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TOKYO) -- The Liss Center stands three stories high, sandwiched between large warehouses on the outskirts of Tokyo. A flickering sign greets visitors in the parking lot, and the hotel's "guests" are welcomed through large metal doors. The antiseptic white walls and smell of disinfectants don't exactly scream business hotel, but owner Nyokai Matsushima affectionately calls this "a business hotel for the dead."

The Liss Center in the Shinkiba neighborhood acts as a temporary morgue. On this day there are 37 "guests," or bodies. Each corpse is tagged with a bar code to avoid mix-ups. The bodies are carefully placed in one large refrigerator, and the ceilings come with antibacterial lights attached to avoid any decay.

"Guests" stay for 7,350 yen a night -- roughly $88, while bereaved families can opt to seek out advice on funeral services from hotel staff. The center is the first business venture for the longtime Buddhist monk and is intended to give Japanese families a place to hold bodies while dealing with the grief and pressure of a funeral. "I was inspired to build this hotel about 14 years ago," Matsushima says. "I wanted to create a space where the deceased could come to rest, without any pressure from funeral companies."

The Liss Center is just the beginning for Matsushima who is joining an expanding list of businesses looking to cash in on the booming funeral industry in Tokyo.

The number of deaths in Japan reached an all-time high last year, while the population dropped to record lows. Nearly a quarter of Japanese are 65 years or older, and that number is expected to climb to 40 percent by 2050 in the world's fastest aging country. Those figures alone have prompted everyone from large retailers to former wedding providers to vie for a share in an increasingly crowded industry.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rest in Peace? Japanese Hotel Takes in the Dead

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TOKYO) -- You've heard of business hotels before, but a business hotel for the dead?  A Japanese company is banking on the concept, taking in corpses for a nightly fee to help families buy time to plan funerals.

The LISS Center in Tokyo looks like any apartment building from the outside, but inside you'll find caskets lined up, a refrigerator large enough to hold 37 bodies and anti-bacterial lights hovering above to keep the rooms sanitized.

Center counselor Nyokai Matsushima says he wanted to create a place where the dead can stay so families wouldn't feel rushed to plan the funeral.  He charges about $90 a night and helps with funeral planning.

The hotel is the first of its kind in Japan, but the LISS Center isn't the first to cash in on death.  With Japan's elderly population growing faster than in any other country, the funeral industry's expanding with it.  Last month, a popular convenience store announced it was considering getting into the funeral industry, and last year, one of Japan's largest retailers began offering funeral service arrangements.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Seven Killed After Blast Rips Through Mexican Resort

Photo Courtesy - Jose Dominguez/AFP/Getty Images(PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico) -- An explosion ripped through a Mexican resort hotel on Sunday, killing seven people and leaving several others injured.  Among the seven dead were five Canadian tourists and two hotel employees.

Authorities believe the blast at the Grand Riviera Princess hotel in Playa del Carmen, Mexico may have been caused by natural gas from a nearby swamp.  They believe swamp gas somehow accumulated under the floor of the hotel and triggered the explosion.

William Breakey of Ontario, a recent guest at the hotel, says he could smell the natural gas when he stayed at the resort.

"There was always kind of a pungent smell," Breakey says.  "It smelled a little bit like sulphur, rotten eggs, whatever, in the air in and around the kitchen."

Guests first feared the blast was terrorist-related.  Pete Travers, a program director at a Toronto area radio station who is staying at the hotel, says, "Everyone shared the same fear.  The fear is 'was this deliberate?'  So when we started hearing that it was an accident, everyone was quickly latching onto that as a means of comfort."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio