Expedia and Marriott rise as stimulus checks and easing restrictions boost optimism for travel and hospitality

family travel road trip
  • Expedia stock ended Thursday’s session at a record high and Marriott gained as travel optimism grew.
  • The US will begin sending $1,400 checks after President Biden signed off on a stimulus package.
  • New York State will lift some travel restrictions starting on April 1.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Shares of Marriot and other hotel chains pushed toward record highs Thursday as investors anticipated that new stimulus checks for millions of Americans and relaxed travel restrictions will lead to more bookings.

Hotel names rode up alongside other consumer discretionary stocks, in turn drawing the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR Fund up by 1.5% at the close.

Online travel bookings site Expedia rose by 2.1% at end at a record close of $171.08. Marriott tacked on 1.6% to end at $148.83, a third winning session. The stock two weeks ago logged its all-time high of $159.98.

The S&P 500 closed at an all-time high Thursday, the same day President Joe Biden signed off on a $1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus package passed by Congress. With his signature, the government will begin sending $1,400 checks to most Americans with the aim of assisting them until the economy fully recovers.

Some industry watchers have said consumers having more spending money can help the travel sector recover from the coronavirus crisis, but hurdles remain. The pandemic is still not over and millions of Americans are still out of work, they’ve cautioned.

But COVID-19 case counts “continue to decrease every day,” as more people are vaccinated, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday as the state lifted its requirement for domestic travelers to quarantine after arrival, effective April 1. International travelers will still be required to quarantine.

Among other travel stocks, Hyatt rose 1.6% and InterContinental Hotels Group added on 0.6%. Hilton had been more than 1% higher intraday before turning lower, ending down by less than 1%.

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Waldorf Astoria has unveiled a private island in the Maldives for the ‘privileged few’ at $75,000 a night – take a look around

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

  • Waldorf Astoria has unveiled its Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.
  • The island can be booked for $75,000 a night for up to 24 guests.
  • The hotel chain has another resort nearby, but wanted to unveil a private island for the “privileged few.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

If you’re looking for a lush and expensive getaway distanced from other people, Waldorf Astoria’s latest private island offering may be the perfect place for you.

The luxury hotel chain already has a nearby $1,700-a-night resort in the Maldives that was launched in 2019, but if you’re looking for more exclusivity and luxury, head to its latest Ithaafushi private island instead

Here, social distancing should be no problem, especially since you and whoever you travel with will be the only guests on the island (accompanied by a personal concierge team, of course).

Read more: Wealthy parents are investing in high-end, ‘backyard’ camp experiences and private excursions to give their kids a taste of summer in light of COVID-19

“We have launched the private island for discerning travelers during this time when we know that safety and security are a top priority amongst the evolving needs of travellers,” Etienne Dalancon, general manager at Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, told Insider in an email interview. “The Ithaafushi private island offers a high level of exclusivity and natural social distancing. “

“The main focus of Ithaafushi private island was to offer an escape where guests can have their own private haven that connects with nature, offering more outdoor spaces so they can enjoy holistic activities in distanced spaces,” Dalancon told Insider.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The two-bedroom villa at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Waldorf Astoria has done just that with this new island.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

The Ithaafushi private island is the hotel chain’s “crown jewel of their luxury portfolio in Asia Pacific,” Nils-Arne Schroeder, vice president of luxury and lifestyle at Hilton’s Asia Pacific segment, said in a statement.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The three-bedroom beach villa at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Source: Hilton

According to the hotel chain, Ithaafushi is Dhivehi for “pearl island.”

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

The island is a 40-minute yacht ride away from Malé, Maldives.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Don’t worry about providing your own boat: guests can take one of the resort’s six yachts.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The two-bedroom villa at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

If you’re prone to seasickness, the island can also be accessed via a 15-minute seaplane flight.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

The private property spans 344,445 square-feet, providing space for up to 24 guests.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The four-bedroom residence at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Upon stepping foot on the island, visitors will be greeted by a concierge team.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Despite its isolation, the private island houses plenty of activities, including watersports and diving.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The beach swing at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Not much of a water person? Yoga enthusiasts can head to the yoga pavilion or gym, where guests can also request a personal trainer or classes.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The fitness center at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

There’s also a wellness concierge and a spa for those who need some more relaxation time on the private getaway.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The yoga pavilion at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

The island may be surrounded by an ocean, but its occupants can instead choose to swim in one of the island’s five pools, which includes an almost 115-foot infinity pool.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

No need to travel by foot around the Ithaafushi private island: guests can take a bicycle or one of the buggies.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Accommodations on the Ithaafushi private island include two villas and a four-bedroom home.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The four-bedroom residence at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

The first two-bedroom villa come with two primary bedrooms, dressing rooms, and a living room

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The two-bedroom villa at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

The villa also has an infinity pool and jacuzzi.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The two-bedroom villa at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

When it’s time to clean off, the villa’s occupants can either use the indoor or outdoor rain showers.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

The other villa, which has three bedrooms, has direct beach access and two swimming pools.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The three-bedroom beach villa at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

The final four-bedroom unit is made up of two king and two queen bedrooms.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The four-bedroom residence at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Like its smaller counterparts, the four-bed home has a living area, jacuzzis, and easy beach access.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The four-bedroom residence at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

When it’s time to eat, the on-island culinary team can prepare your meals. But if that’s not enough, guests can take a speed boat to the main resort and dine at one of its 10 eateries.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The entertainment center at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

This getaway is perfect for a variety of people, from a wedding party to a group of loved ones to a work trip for clients, according to the hotel chain.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The entertainment center at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

And if you’re planning on bringing children, they can spend time on the island’s children’s pool or gaming section.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The entertainment center at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Despite its high nightly price, all of these amenities have caught the eyes of several potential visitors.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The three-bedroom beach villa at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

According to Dalancon, the hotel chain has already seen a “significant number of requests” for the private getaway.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

“We are committed to making the Ithaafushi private island a highly sought after, world-class destination for the privileged few,” Dalancon said in a statement.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The yoga pavilion at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Source: Hilton

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