Welcome to SecureHotel.US. Here, you will find news and commentary on hotel attacks, hotel security, and related legal and insurance issues. It’s also the portal to the Muir Analytics SecureHotel Threat Report; an analysis of global hotel attacks that the hospitality industry can use to help improve the protection of patrons, staff, and assets.

Hotel Attacks

7 May 2017, Miami Beach, Florida, USA

The Miami Herald reports that on 7 May at around 8:49 p.m., a gunman opened fire on a couple in the valet parking area of the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel. The presumed weapon was a handgun. Local 10 ABC News Miami reports that witnesses in the hotel say they heard five to seven shots. The male victim was hit multiple times, the female only once. Despite being wounded, both victims managed to retreat from the assailant and into the hotel where staff called the police and an ambulance. The victims were taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center where they were last reported in stable condition. The Fontainebleau is an opulent hotel described as sitting in the heart of “Millionaires’ Row” in Miami Beach. Scenes from several movies have been filmed there, including Goldfinger, Scarface, and The Bodyguard. It is also a … Continue reading

31 January 2017, Predlitz-Turrach, Austria – hotel hacked, guests NOT trapped in their rooms, but security upgraded, nonetheless

On 28 January, The Local, an Austrian news source, reported that cybercriminals had recently hacked into the Romantik Seehotel Jaegerwirt in Turrach. The attackers damaged the hotel’s electronic key system and also shut down all the hotel’s computers, which included the front desk, point of sale, and reservations systems. Initial press reports saying that hotel guests were locked in or out of their rooms have been retracted by one of the original reporting sources, and Cristoph Brandstaetter, manager of the hotel, told Motherboard, “It was just a normal cyber attack and no guests were locked in.” Brandstaetter did say, however, that they were unable to make electronic room keys for new guests. Because of this last issue, there is continued reporting suggesting that scores of guests, and not just new guests, were locked out of their rooms. (Interviews with hotel guests who were … Continue reading

Insurance

10 October 2016, UK Pool Re announces international terrorism risk pool forum

On 10 October, the Insurance Journal wrote that the UK’s government-backed Pool Re, which covers commercial property losses from terror attacks, had launched the International Forum of Terrorism Risk Re/Insurance Pools (IFTRIP.) IFTRIP is designed to build relationships and increase cooperation amongst other national pool res around the world. It was started in response to the dramatic increase in global terrorism. The Insurance Journal reported the following key points about IFTRIP: IFTRIP was formally launched on 10 October 2016 at the 2nd Annual Global Terrorism Risk Insurance Congress, hosted by the Australian Reinsurance Pool Corporation (ARPC,) Australia’s pool re, in Canberra The overarching goals of IFTRIP are to: 1) improve how the insurance sector reacts to terrorism, and 2) improve how nations protect their respective economies The presidency of IFTRIP will revolve on a yearly basis Francois Vilnet, Vice President of France’s pool … Continue reading

5 January 2016, Building premiums under review post Dubai hotel/apartment fire; might impact terrorism insurance

Following the major fire at The Address Downtown Dubai on New Year’s Eve, real estate community premiums in UAE are under review, and they might rise, reports The National.   Two other 2015 skyscraper fires in Dubai are contributing to this possibility: one is the Regal office tower fire that happened in November, and the other is the Torch Tower fire that happened in February. None of these fires were reportedly suspicious or terrorist related, though three major building fires in a single year in Dubai do seem odd. Buildings with aluminum cladding panels, says Mohammed Hesham, Operations Manager of Capital Shield Insurance Brokers, is one reason for potential premium increases. “Cladding” refers to the outside surface of buildings. If the materials used for cladding are flammable, then the risk of damage and loss of life from accidental fire, arson, or terrorist bombing … Continue reading

Security

4 November 2016, Terror group specializing in hotel attacks joins ISIS

On 30 October, a group called al-Murabitun (The Sentinels,) which is a faction of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM,) pledged support to ISIS, according to PJ Media and ISISliveuamap.com. A statement by the group, lead by Abul-Walid al-Sahrawi, simply read: “The Murabitun Brigade under leadership of Abul-Walid al-Sahrawi in northern Mali pledges allegiance to Shaykh Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and joins the Islamic State.” Al-Sahrawi, an Algerian, had pledged his individual support to ISIS in 2015, but reportedly few, if any, AQIM fighters followed. This caused some confusion in intelligence circles regarding the march of ISIS in North Africa. Now, however, the issue is clear. The better-known senior leader of the Murabitun Brigade, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, appears to be remaining with AQIM at the moment. Belmokhtar previously lead an organization going by several names, including the Masked Brigade and Those Who Sign in Blood. … Continue reading

8 October 2016, Singapore increases hotel security

On 8 October, Jeremy Koh of The Straits Times wrote a telling piece describing how Singapore has increased hotel security in light of the global increase of terrorism. Mr. Koh wrote: “Mr Steve Tan, executive secretary for the security employees union, told The Straits Times that hotels and other building owners have stepped up security over the past few years. But in the last 12 months, these preparations have increased further as the terror threat has moved closer to home. For example, in the past, people may not have prepared for an improvised explosive device scenario, but now this is not out of the question.” Hotels that The Straits Times said had increased security included, but were not limited to, the Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa, the Sheraton Towers Singapore, and the Parkroyal. As coordinated as Singapore is regarding security, the number of hotels participating in the increased … Continue reading

Legal

21 March 2017, Assault victims sue UK hotel for “breach of its duty of care”

On 21 March, The Guardian announced that three sisters from the UAE had begun a lawsuit against The Cumberland, a hotel in London, over an assault they suffered at the hands of a career criminal, Philip Spence. On 6 April 2014, Spence made his way into the trio’s room and attacked them with a hammer, inflicting grievous injuries. The Cumberland, owned by London and Regional Properties, is listed as a four-star hotel in the heart of central London. It is a Guoman Hotel (management), which is part of GLH Hotels Management Ltd. Guoman has five properties: four in London, and one in Shanghai. GLH owns five brands, including Thistle. Hospitalitynet.org says GLH has 4,000 plus rooms between the UK and Asia – mostly in the UK – and it has ambitious expansion plans that target 100 cities in 10 years. On 21 October … Continue reading

13 March 2017, Lawsuit against TUI regarding Sousse hotel massacre moves forward

A group of families whose relatives were killed and/or injured in the June 2015 ISIS attack on the Riu Imperial Marhaba hotel in Sousse, Tunisia, is moving forward with their lawsuit of tour company TUI Group that arranged their vacation, reports The Mirror. They are seeking a £10 million ($12,205,350.00 USD) payout. This move resulted from a two-month inquest by the British coroner’s office that declared ISIS gunman, Seifeddine Rezgui, murdered or “unlawfully killed” 30 UK citizens in the attack. The term “unlawfully killed” is the precise legal language that the plaintiffs’ attorneys were waiting for in order to take their lawsuit to the next phase. Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith was the judge/coroner in this case. At least two UK law firms, Irwin Mitchell and Slater and Gordon, are involved in the suit. If a settlement cannot be reached, then the opposing parties will … Continue reading

Features

15 October 1997 Bombing of the Galadari Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka

At 7:00 am on 15 October 1997, terrorists from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) attacked the Galadari Hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka, with a massive truck bomb. The main target was, however, the 39-story Sri Lanka World Trade Center that sat directly next to the hotel. The Hilton Colombo was a mere 400 feet from the Galadari. The blast and the light infantry attacks that followed killed 15 and wounded 105. The Galadari Hotel was then, and remains, a five star luxury hotel in the heart of Colombo’s business and government district. It is located at Lotus Rd, Colombo 00100, Sri Lanka. The attack point was a mere 200 yards from a suicide bombing that targeted the Central Bank in 1996, killing 88 and wounding 1,400. The hotel/Trade Center attack was one of hundreds that had happened in Sri Lanka’s bloody … Continue reading

12 July 2016, Jazeera Palace Hotel manager talks terrorism

In a one-on-one interview, The Standard newspaper in Kenya talks to Justus Kisaulu, manager of the Jazeera Palace Hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia, about his views of operating a hotel in war torn Somalia and the impact of terrorism. He sees operating the hotel not just as a business enterprise, but part of stabilizing and modernizing Somalia, a nation he loves. Said Kisaulu, “I felt that this was an important part of history of Somalia that I could not miss. I wanted to be part of that reconstruction.” Read the full and telling article here: “Terror attacks did not kill Jazeera Palace Hotel manager’s spirit,” The Standard, 12 July 2016. Copyright Muir Analytics 2016