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Hotel Development

Madrid welcomes new tech-driven, Rockwell-designed Aloft Hotels property

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Madrid welcomes new tech-driven, Rockwell-designed Aloft Hotels property

Aloft Madrid Gran Via embraces the brand’s new future-proofed design formula, complete with a rooftop pool featuring 360-degree views of Madrid’s skyline…

Aloft Hotels, Marriott International’s hotel brand for music fans and tech-savvy travellers, brings a new beat to Spain with the opening of Aloft Madrid Gran Vía. Located in the vibrant heart of the capital, the new 139-key hotel is a stone’s throw from some of the city’s most popular hotspots.

Designed by world-class architecture firm the Rockwell Group, the property’s tech-forward, future-proofed design is aimed at the next generation of travelers, juxtaposed against the rich history of Gran Vía.

“Madrid has long topped destination wish-lists for travellers in Europe, thanks to its spirited culture, ” said John Licence, Vice President Premium and Select Brands, Europe at Marriott International. “Aloft Hotels is set to put its own unique spin on the capital’s social scene with live music programming, the hottest emerging artists, and great signature cocktails.”

Image credit: Marriott International/Aloft Hotels

Staying true to its roots as an innovative incubator brand, Aloft Hotels, in partnership with the Rockwell Group, developed a cohesive design strategy for Aloft Madrid Gran Via that draws on the sense of humor and the vivid color story the brand is known for. In a nod to the brand’s focus on tech and bold use of color, the property’s free-flowing design embraces the “glitch” design trend to aestheticise digital or analog errors, materialising in design details from distorted city art throughout the public spaces and guestrooms. The always-on, buzzing communal areas reflect the eclectic spirit of the city and respond to the needs of the modern traveller, allowing guests to seamlessly transition between work and play.

“Rockwell Group’s design concept celebrates Madrid’s vibrancy and energy,” said Elisa Rodriguez, Studio Leader, Rockwell Group Madrid. “We were inspired by the idea of seeing the city and its people through a kaleidoscope, rendering the resulting images as pixelated, blended, and multifaceted, to create dynamic moments throughout the hotel.”

Each of its 139 spacious guestrooms feature Aloft’s ultra-comfortable beds in the brand’s signature artful, clutter-free and innovative loft layout, 49-inch televisions with Plug & Play connectivity, fast and free Wi-Fi. Additional amenities include the Re:chargeSM fitness centre and Splash pool; Tactic, an interactive private creative meeting space with natural light equipped with modern audio-visual hardware; and Re:fuelSM by Aloft, a convenient 24-hour cafe for a quick bite on the go. Marriott brands were the first in the industry to introduce Mobile Key, the industry’s first keyless entry system. Marriott Bonvoy members can use the Marriott Bonvoy app on their smartphone or Apple Watch as their room key wherever available.

The brand’s signature Re:mix Lounge and W XYZ bar provide vibrant hubs for locals and travellers alike to socialise and enjoy live music performances as part of the Live At Aloft Hotels music series. The hotel programming will range from cultural, design and tech events, offering a new perspective in this vibrant city.

There are currently 161 Aloft Hotels in 25 countries and territories around the world. In Europe specifically, Aloft Hotels is present in key city-break destinations such as Dublin, London and Liverpool with expected openings in The Hague, Munich and more.

Main image credit: Marriott International/Aloft Hotels

Hilton is on track to open most luxury hotels in company’s history, says CEO

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hilton is on track to open most luxury hotels in company’s history, says CEO

Hilton’s CEO has announced that this year will go down in history for the hotel giant as it will open more luxury properties than ever before… 

Hilton’s President and CEO, Chris Nassetta, has announced that the company is on track to open more luxury properties in 2019 than in any previous year of its 100-year history. The hotel group expects to open seven hotels by the end of the year, in addition to the four hotels that opened in Q1 and Q2, across its luxury brands.

Hilton’s current and projected luxury openings in 2019, which join the 65 existing luxury properties, include:

  • Waldorf Astoria: Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre, Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregaland, Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi
  • LXR: The Biltmore, Mayfair in London and Zemi Beach House Resort & Spa in Anguilla
  • Conrad: Conrad Hangzhou, Conrad Hangzhou Tonglu, Conrad New York Midtown, Conrad Shenyang, Conrad Tianjin and Conrad Washington, DC

The record-breaking year marks the beginning of impressive momentum for Hilton’s luxury category and stems from more than a decade of strategic investments and planning. Following this year’s openings, Hilton’s luxury pipeline includes more than 30 properties, approximately 25 of which are expected to open through 2025.

“After more than a decade of honing Hilton’s distinct luxury offerings and investing in key markets around the globe, we are embarking upon a very exciting phase for the category,” said Martin Rinck, executive vice president and global head, Luxury & Lifestyle Group, Hilton. “Over the next five years, starting with this year’s openings, we will start to see the positive impact of our efforts, and we are confident that our amazing portfolio of properties will reinvent luxury travel for Hilton – and for the entire industry.”

Luxury became a top priority for Hilton when Nassetta took over as President and CEO in 2007 and re-focused the company’s business strategy around organic growth. Hilton leadership mapped out a luxury growth strategy that centered on two priorities: refining the two core luxury brands at the time, Waldorf Astoria and Conrad, to resonate with specific customer needs; and bringing the brands to diversified markets. Last year, Hilton identified a gap among independent luxury hotels and launched LXR, its third luxury brand, to provide customers with a portfolio of distinctive, iconic hotels and resorts – full of character and individuality – that are backed by a world-class commercial engine.

“Hilton was among the first to predict that luxury travel was poised to take off across generations and markets in the years to come – and we wanted to be at the forefront of its reinvention,” said Ian Carter, president, global development, architecture, design and construction, Hilton. “Development in the luxury space requires time and resources to do it properly. Our thoughtful and targeted approach has enabled us to grow Hilton’s luxury presence globally – in many cases from the ground up – from new properties to spectacular conversions.”

As part of the enterprise’s organic growth strategy, Hilton’s luxury development team works with strong ownership groups to select markets and tailor the respective brand’s presence. Over the past decade, Hilton and its partners expanded the luxury category’s global presence from 15 to 29 countries and territories, and they are continuing to grow the portfolio with a finely curated pipeline of more than 30 signings that are diverse in regions and market-types.

Waldorf Astoria is growing to include more resort destinations, such as Los Cabos, Mexico and the Maldives, and is building a presence in more key urban markets like London (expected to open in 2021), San Francisco (expected to open in 2022) and Miami (expected to open in 2024). The Conrad brand, which has been concentrated in the Asia Pacific region, is gaining traction in other parts of the world, including the U.S. where it recently signed deals in Nashville (expected to open in 2021) and Orlando (expected to open in 2022) and opened a flagship property in Washington, D.C. LXR is gaining speed in a variety of markets with the additions of Anguilla’s world-class Zemi Beach resort and London’s sophisticated Biltmore Mayfair.

Hilton and its ownership partners continue to elevate and expand the company’s luxury offerings. The Waldorf Astoria hotels in New York and Las Vegas, as well as the Conrad in Miami, are among Hilton luxury properties undergoing substantial renovations to upgrade design and enhance the on-property experience. In addition, Hilton has increasingly invested in its luxury residential portfolio, which now includes more than 2,800 units across 22 properties.

The hotel group currently has a portfolio of 17 world-class brands, which comprises of more than 5,700 properties with more than 923,000 rooms, in 113 countries and territories around the world.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

MAMA Shelter to debut in Bahrain

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MAMA Shelter to debut in Bahrain

With its welcoming energy as the center of trade in the Middle East, Mama Shelter found another place to call home…

Bringing its joyous hospitality and accessible style, Mama Shelter will debut in Bahrain by the end of the year. The hotel brand, which prides itself on creating and choreographs lively accommodation and restaurant facilities on a daily basis, will open a new 160-key boutique hotel, complete with a restaurant and a rooftop pool/bar in the capital city of Manama.

Some say Bahrain was the Garden of Eden, and the ancient stories and poetry peeks out all over this verdant island nation where twisting glass towers and spired skyscrapers shimmer over the emerald green waters and the lush palm groves.

Mama Bahrain, with will be the hotel brand’s 13th property, will have all the chic of a boutique hotel and the affordable ease and openness of the home we’ve all dreamed of. Effervescent, provocative, both completely warm and totally chill. In keeping with the brand’s playful philosophy, it interprets the spirit of its location through the design, while offering guests a well-priced option from which to explore the city.

Mama Bahrain houses 160 rooms where the emphasis is on comfort and simplicity with style, focusing on king size beds, five stars bedding alongside cutting-edge design elements by MAMA’s Design Studio, led by Benjamin El Doghaïli. Each room comes complete with complimentary films and WiFi as well as a selection of products from the MAMA SKIN range of organic amenities, designed in partnership with French skincare brand Absolution and available to purchase in the Mama Shop.

“Mama Bahrain is the first MAMA which will face the sea.” – Benjamin El Doghaïli, head of MAMA’s Design Studio

Serge, Benjamin and Jérémie Trigano, co-founders of Mama Shelter, which has already revolutionized the hospitality industry in places as far apart as Paris, Prague, London, Los Angeles or Rio, recently visited the island and returned thrilled by what they had seen. The company’s Chairman, Serge says, “When we visited Bahrain for the first time, we found men and women who were open to the cultures of other people and who were tremendously excited at the prospect of welcoming the MAMA experience to the city.” MAMA’s CEO, Jérémie Trigano adds “We also discovered a beautiful site in the city of Manama on the banks of the Persian Gulf and a modern, forward-thinking partner, GFH properties, brought to us by the Accor teams. The chemistry was there and we therefore decided to bring the MAMA magic to the country, with the hope of opening in late 2019”.

Mama Bahrain will make its home in the prime waterfront area, enjoying unobstructed views of the marina. A new place to gather, meet friends and make new ones in the financial and diplomatic district, well-known for its delicious food and social atmospheres within the city. “Mama Bahrain is the first MAMA which will face the sea, explained Benjamin El Doghaïli, head of MAMA’s Design Studio. “The design has been thought out in two ways. Firstly, the relationship with the sea as it is a waterfront hotel with a marvelous rooftop bar / pool. The second is to propose a lifestyle experience which refers to the nomadic aesthetic and the hospitality from the inner part of the region. Just like a chic camp that just stopped in front of the sea to play table football and dance with our artists!”

Those travelling or living in the city can feast at Mama Bahrain’s all-day 470m2 restaurant, its brick oven pizzeria, as well as cocktail bars and specialty coffee shop, catered by the French award winning Terres de Café. They will enjoy homemade food and relax in that special atmosphere entertained by a team of talents providing guests a human, individualized and personal experience that MAMA is so successful in creating. It’s all about MAMA taking care of you.

And of course, Mama Bahrain could simply not exist without a trademark rooftop, luring guests up to a new urban refuge. Clients will appreciate the swimming pool and solarium or simply eat great food, smoke hookah or have a cocktail on the 500 m2 rooftop. MAMA has everything set up to complete the experience with a state-of-the-art mini sports club and for businesses, several Ateliers equipped with the latest technologies for workshops and meetings.

Bahraini hospitality is legendary and Mama Shelter sets the same standards in terms of welcoming travelers and locals, making them feel at ease, remaining accessible to all. Mama Bahrain is a place to live in, a sanctuary where the notion of sharing is a fundamental value. Guests will be able to relax a unwind while Mama takes care of absolutely everything else.

Main image credit: MAMA Shelter

Concept to completion: Stock Exchange Hotel, Manchester

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Concept to completion: Stock Exchange Hotel, Manchester

As the opening date draws ever nearer, Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester is starting taking form. Hotel Designs caught up with architecture firm jmarchitects to understand how the company restored a historic city building so that it can shelter Manchester’s new kind luxury hotel… 

The Manchester Stock Exchange building is a Grade II listed, fine example of Edwardian Baroque architecture.

Built between 1904 and 1906 and designed by Bradshaw, Glass and Hope, this historically symbolic institution has been lovingly extended and refurbished to create a new boutique hotel with a restaurant headed by Chef Tom Kerridge and a luxury penthouse residence.

When co-owners Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs first purchased the building, it comprised of three floors of office space which were converted in the 1980’s. These sat above a previously popular ground floor restaurant housed under a magnificent domed ceiling. Several trees had rooted themselves on the roof and had spread through the drainpipes, unfortunately causing water and material damage to the historic asset.

Stripping the building back to its bare bones, retaining only historical features and carefully preserving rooms of historical significance was the necessary starting point for the restoration and refurbishment. This process provided the opportunity to sensitively strengthen the existing structure in preparation for a two-storey roof extension.

Architect studio, jmarchitects began the design process with a thorough appraisal of the building and a brief to create a unique boutique hotel and restaurant with a luxury penthouse residence; focussing on the guest’s experience through the building while paying homage to its history.

Artist impression of public areas

image credit/caption: Artist impression of public areas,/Autoban

“Several schemes to extend the building were explored with the client in virtual reality, arriving at an extrusion of the existing mansard roof form, set back from the building frontage and clad in monolithic zinc.,” says Laura Turner, Architect, jmarchitects. “A contemporary insertion routed into the building via a seven-storey sculptural staircase in place of the former 1980’s circulation core.”

The complex nature of the historic building fabric was unveiled during the strip-out, which necessitated an ever-evolving design approach in adaption to the building’s needs. This was executed by working in close collaboration with a design team of engineers and specialists.

Artist impression of guestroom/

Image caption/credit: Artist impression of guestroom/ Autoban

The interiors are designed by internationally renowned, Istanbul-based, multidisciplinary design studio Autoban. The finished designs are opulent yet elegant, drawing on the building’s material palette of original marble, brass and woodwork.

“After three years testing and developing designs with the team we are thrilled to see this 100 year old building repurposed for modern use; bringing it up to date with current standards and technologies to see it through the next century,” adds Andrew Rogers, Director, jmarchitects. “We are confident that this sensitive, yet extensive refurbishment and extension will see The Stock Exchange become the first choice for hotel accommodation and dining in this fantastic city. We eagerly await the November opening and the excitement it will bring to those who visit.”

The Stock Exchange will be welcoming guests once again on November 15,  2019 as the first ever Relais & Châteaux member in Manchester.

Main image credit: jmarchitects/Stock Exchange Hotel Manchester

MINIVIEW: COMO Metropolitan London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: COMO Metropolitan London

COMO Metropolitan London has announced the opening of ten luxury Residences, which all offer private apartment-style accommodation adjacent to the main 144-key luxury hotel… 

Located in one of London’s trendiest neighbourhoods that is surrounded by discreet private members’ clubs, cult restaurants and a number of high-end boutiques. COMO Metropolitan London, like all luxury hotels in the area, has to work hard in order to stand out from the crowd and remain relevant to well-travelled guests.

Since opening in in 1997, ‘the Met‘, as it became known has seen many minor renovations and redesigns – the most significant of which was in 2015 – in order to keep ahead of demand and trends. The mood has changed from the late-night antics once centred around the Met Bar to a more holistic experience that balances work, play and wellbeing while still underpinned by COMO’s commitment to passionate service.

Most recently, the hotel has completed and opened of ten luxury Residences. Designed by Linzi Coppick of Forme UK, the Residences offer private apartment-style accommodation adjacent to the hotel on Brick Street, in Mayfair’s historic heart and opposite leafy Hyde Park.

The two-bedroom Residences provide an ideal base for long or short stays in London, reflecting all the comforts of home living at its finest.

Discretion is a significant draw, with the Residences benefitting from a separate entrance on Brick Street, as well as access to a courtyard designed by landscape architect Peter Curzon, shared only with the other Residences. The central feature of the courtyard is a strikingly crafted pergola, fitted with heaters for the cooler months and contemporary furniture from iSiMAR. Residences on the ground floor benefit from additional outdoor space, with private patios offering an unusual oasis in the heart of London.

Inside the Residences, Coppick has prioritised a sense of home. Natural daylight floods the spacious apartments, augmented by contemporary design with subtle warmth and bespoke artwork by Marta Suarez. In the open-plan living and dining area, natural wood floors and furniture from BO Concept create a sleek entertainment area adapted to the modern traveller, whether guests are staying as a family or visiting for business. A fully equipped Lauren Nicholas kitchen blends a refreshing white palette with marble countertops, incorporating breakfast-bar seating for more laidback meals. For formal dining, a dark wood BO Concept table can extend to seat eight people, while a large corner sofa and a reading chair in warm grey leather ensures plenty of space for relaxation.

Main image credit: COMO Hotels & Resorts

Agreement signed between Hotel Investment Partners and Room Mate Hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Agreement signed between Hotel Investment Partners and Room Mate Hotels

Hotel Investment Partners (HIP) to invest EUR23 million in fully refurbishing the first hotel resort to be run by Room Mate Hotels…

Hotel Investment Partners (HIP), the largest owner of hotel resorts in Spain, has signed an agreement with Room Mate Hotels, the chain owned by Kike Sarasola, to manage the new Pax Barracuda hotel in Palma de Mallorca.

The agreement involves two hotels (Calviá Dreams and Barracuda), which HIP will convert into one by investing EUR23 million in a full-scale refurbishment and repositioning project. The opening of this new hotel will mark the renowned Spanish chain, Room Mate Hotels’ debut in the world of hotel resort management.

HIP’s strategy for assets such as these – large-scale properties with prized locations – is to create value via an investment and management plan designed to reposition the hotel on the market. “After investing EUR23 million in completely transforming the hotels, it was paramount to select the right management firm to operate them. We are in no doubt that Room Mate Hotels will bring the hotel management expertise needed to fully complete the repositioning process”, said Alejandro Hernández Puértolas, Founder and CEO of HIP.

“Entering the resort sector with HIP in a place like Mallorca is a surefire recipe for success for our first beach hotel,”  said Kike Sarasola, CEO and Founder of the Room Mate Group. “With this investment we are making a bold commitment to the Magaluf area, as so many other great chains have done, including the Escarrer de Meliá family. Our guests wanted Room Mate to open a beach hotel, so we’re going to take them by surprise once again.”

The brand new Pax Barracuda will open in April 2020 following 18 months of renovation works. It will boast a new and updated look and feel, and offer a range of guest experiences that will make it one of the most unique and appealing hotels in the area. The new hotel will have a four-star rating (the former Calviá Dreams had three stars and the Barracuda four) and 391 rooms. This is slightly fewer than before given the number of junior suites and suites has been considerably increased – a new premium 22-room building will be added, while the main building will also offer an additional 18 premium rooms. The new Room Mate Hotels beach complex – with a built area of 39,481 sqm and situated on a plot comprising over 19,665 sqm – is set to create more than 240 direct jobs.

The rooms and communal areas have been designed by the highly-esteemed Barcelona interior designer Jaime Beriestain. The new design will also feature complementary services including beauty treatments, a gym, children’s club and activities in the swimming pool areas. To further enhance the experience, guests will be able to choose from a range of new dining options, from an all-you-can-eat buffet to à la carte restaurants, and will also be able to enjoy show-cooking that will be held in open spaces and feature a wide variety of culinary options.
This is a unique project designed to completely transform both the hotel’s concept and range of services, and target guests with a medium-high purchasing power, including families. It also aims to upgrade the service to bring it into line with the Room Mate’s exacting standards and create additional value as part of the hotel’s repositioning process – a process that also affects the marketing strategy, which aims to reduce the number of guests who come via tour operators.

Room Mate Hotels, which was founded in Spain in 2005, boasts 26 hotels – equating to close to 1,800 available rooms – and has a further 11 hotel openings in the pipeline. Its philosophy is based on the idea that the best way of travelling is by visiting friends in different cities, friends with similar lifestyles who can show us what they have learnt and experienced in the city by giving us a guided tour.

Design plays a defining role at Room Mate Hotels. Renowned designers such as Patricia Urquiola, Lázaro Rosa Violán, Tomás Alía, Lorenzo Castillo, Pascua Ortega and Teresa Sapey, amongst others, have all showcased their design prowess on the company’s hotels throughout the world.

Main image credit: Room Mate Hotels

Four Seasons Hotel Singapore unveils botanical twist

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Four Seasons Hotel Singapore unveils botanical twist

Four Seasons Hotel Singapore goes botanical, unveiling reinvented interiors, including luxury suites, F&B and wellness areas…

Nestled within a city/country that is widely known as a modern metropolis that is leading the way in sustainable design and architecture, Four Seasons Hotel Singapore has lifted the lid on its newly completed interior design renovation, celebrating the natural, verdant flora that the island is unmistakeably known for.

Somewhat becoming a major source of inspiration for the design team, the hotel is situated amidst lush foliage on the fringe of one of the world’s largest shopping street, Orchard Road, a mere five minutes away from the a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Singapore Botanic Gardens. With the creative direction of celebrity Floral Art Director Nicolai Bergmann since April 2019, guests are greeted fresh florals in the Grand Lobby at arrival.

“Replacing deep, rich palettes are now contemporary interiors that feature a natural colour palette of dusty cool blue tones and lime green accents.”

The guestrooms and luxury themed suites alike were revamped in the last six to twelve months in preparation for the hotel’s Silver Anniversary. Replacing deep, rich palettes are now contemporary interiors that feature a natural colour palette of dusty cool blue tones and lime green accents, inspired by the water and tropical lotus leaves of the Singapore Botanic Garden’s Swan Lake. Each room also features a mural wall composition of traditional Peranakan tiles, adding an artistic touch and reminiscent of Singapore’s rich and multicultural heritage. Peranakan culture represents the union between two or more major ethnicities of the Straits Peninsula – a result of Singapore’s historical significance as a major trading port. Large floor-to-ceiling windows provide sweeping views of the city and surrounding greenery, while white-colonial style doors and windows with plantation shutters, reminiscent of Singapore’s once-agricultural history, allowing for the natural light to brighten the rooms.

Comprising four distinctive residences – the Royal Suite, Governor Suite, Ambassador Suite and the Presidential Suite – the quartet of luxury suites unfurl Singapore’s legacy through subtle design motifs, natural textures and serene palettes of subtle sophistication that portrays and acknowledges the Garden City’s dynamic, cosmopolitan storied history.

The passion for a nature-enlivened, tropical ambiance continues from the private areas to the restaurants and bar at the Four Seasons Hotel Singapore.

Relaunched in March 2019 after a month-long revamp, One-Ninety, the breezy, botanical modern Asian brasserie teases with its Asian twist on wholesome Provençal cuisine. The adjourning resort-style alfresco Terraza is perfect for unwinding with a classic in hand and weekend tete-a-tete over a tri-terraced Floral Afternoon Tea that intrigues with flora-infused treats, launched in end-May 2019. Embodying the concept of “Xiang Le Zhu Yi,” or the principle of enjoyment and happiness, newly minted Michelin-starred restaurant Jiang-Nan Chun is not only evocative of the pastoral lifestyle of Jiang Nan region’s traditional river villages through its rustic décor, but also through its authentic Cantonese cuisine.

Main image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

In Conversation With: Simon Naudi, CEO of Corinthia Hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Simon Naudi, CEO of Corinthia Hotels

With a Dubai debut around the corner, Corinthia Hotels is strategically expanding its luxury arm one region – and one hotel opening – at a time. Editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with the CEO of Corinthia Hotels, Simon Naudi, to understand the trials and triumphs of evolving one of the world’s most luxurious hotel brands…

Given its esteemed reputation among the design community, luxury enthusiast and of course its loyal returning guests, the news that Corinthia Hotels will open a property in the Middle East comes with little surprise.

The 55-storey hotel, which will add to the ever-expanding city skyline of Dubai, is slated to open in 2020. Considering that the destination’s hotel room supply is set to reach 132,000 by the end of 2019, according to a study by the emirate’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) – and occupancy levels are forecast to remain at 76-78 per cent despite growth in capacity – the question is not why, but rather more ‘why now’. “Real Estate is expensive,” says Simon Naudi, CEO of Corinthia Hotels. “We are looking to expand sensitively. Our plan is to grow the portfolio sensibly and steadily, prioritising on looking for the right building or site in the right location.”

According to STR, the UAE as a whole gained approximately 8,000 new branded hotel rooms last year. As of June 2018, the Middle East had 358 projects/113,830 rooms under construction, up 13 per cent by projects YOY. “We’ve had several opportunities in the past, but we are happy to have waited for this project to come along,” explains Naudi. “We have the right partners, Meydan Group, and the right location, prime seafront on JBR, and a top-notch project being built to make the very best in the city. From the design of the building itself to the interior elements, the aesthetics of Corinthia Meyden Beach with be synonymous with the Corinthia brand: confident, exquisite and elegant.”

Image caption: Interior render of a suite bedroom inside Corinthia Meydan Beach Dubai

While all eyes and ears focus on the brand’s Middle Eastern arrival, further west there’s also much happening between now and then. “Our main focus remains on Europe and the Mediterranean,” Naudi says. “We are currently working on projects in Bucharest, Brussels, Moscow and several other projects are under consideration. We’re also focused on the USA, Manhattan in particular.”

Having recently featured in a two-part documentary with Corinthia London’s Managing Director Thomas Kochs, who also appeared on Hotel Designs’ Brit List last year, Corinthia London is arguably the brand’s most iconic building, and for good reason. With its headline-grabbing extravagant suites, innovative public areas and an out-of-this-world four-floor spa, the hotel has been a timeless gem for almost a decade since it was redesigned. But while the 283-key majestic hotel has stood the test of time, its interior design has had to evolve along with the brand in order to cater to the shifting demands of modern travellers. “Larger bathrooms, the less decreased demand for fixed TVs, connectivity and interactivity are all trends that have required guestroom designs to be functionally different today than they were previously,” explains Naudi. “In our case, we also continue to explore multiple uses of the foyer and lobby space, to double up as a space for meetings, social interactions and evening dining to a degree.”

With esteemed regular guests including a long list of celebrities as well as world leaders, Corinthia Hotels seems to have mastered the formula for offering seamless luxury. “It is tantamount to making an effort,” explains Naudi. “It is an effort in terms of investment on all levels, in the product, in the generosity of space, the quality of materials, the beauty of finishes and in the architecture. It is investment in technology, upkeep, maintenance. It is also effort in terms of choice of colleagues, investment in their training and wellbeing, and above all giving time to the pursuit of happiness. Uplifting lives is our company philosophy, and that is what we aim to do, both with our guests and our colleagues. If all of the above is in place, luxury follows.”

“Our single most effective weapon is indeed our size,” – Simon Naudi, CEO, Corinthia Hotels

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hamish Kilburn: What is the number one item you cannot travel without?
Simon Naudi: My passport!

HK: What has been the highlight of your career to date?
SN: Developing and launching Corinthia London

HK: What is the next destination on your travel bucket list?
SN: The regions of Spain

HK: What would you say is the number-one tool for success?
SN: Hard work, and more hard work

HK: What book are you reading at the moment?
SN: The Wise Men by Walter Isaacson

With so many lifestyle brands emerging in the market under the umbrella of large hotel groups, it’s refreshing to see an independent hotel group, like Corinthia Hotels, expanding and evolving without taking away its own core values as a brand known and loved by so many around the world. “Our single most effective weapon is indeed our size,” Naudi explains. “Being independent, and relatively small, means we can be, and are more open to be, true to who we are, and crucially nimble. We can also stay closer to our colleagues in all our hotels, the people who matter most to our guests and ensure we are all part of the spirit driving the company towards our aim of uplifting lives.”

“In most of our hotels, the spa is a key, central component, with large physical spaces allocated to this activity wherever we could.” – Simon Naudi, CEO, Corinthia Hotels

One of the major trends that seems to be dictating international hotel design, with the aim no doubt to ‘uplift lives’, is wellness and wellbeing, which is one topic that the brand identified early, if its London hotel is anything to go by. “We have always taken wellness seriously,” says Naudi. “In most of our hotels, the spa is a key, central component, with large physical spaces allocated to this activity wherever we could. Our guest profile has evolved over the years, and we are now more geared towards leisure guests, than corporate visitors, although all segments engage with our spas.”

Corinthia London ESPA spa

Image caption: Corinthia London ESPA spa

Hotels, especially ones operating in the luxury sector, seem to be adding value to their properties with the openings and renovations of in-house spas. And with Corinthia Hotels arguably leading the way for other hotels to follow suit, the challenge for brand is more around how to build on its already successful products. “We have had several highly successful partnerships with spa brands and products, but we are evaluating all options for our future in 2019,” says Naudi. “We have beautiful spas being built to add to our portfolio and wish to use this as a basis for a spa strategy that is relevant to our guests.”

Now that the hotel brand has pin-pointed its next destinations and is signing on dotted lines to secure them, calling the shots may be stressful and high-pressure at times, but it also carries with it unparalleled rewards. “I would count two main sources of satisfaction,” adds Naudi. “The first is to see old, abandoned properties, many of which may be heritage sites, rebuilt and launched as luxury hotels, with a legacy to span decades. Corinthia London was a case in point, but also our current projects in Moscow, Brussels and Bucharest too. Secondly, is seeing younger colleagues grow into more senior roles and take on leadership and entrepreneurial positions.” And with that, Corinthia Hotels continues to inspire generations by designing a healthy and strong family of hotels worldwide with a luxury metaphorical thread of impeccable service and innovative design connecting them all together.

UK predicts 130,000 new hotel rooms by 2025

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
UK predicts 130,000 new hotel rooms by 2025

Prime Minister announces a new tourism sector deal that will prepare the UK for an extra 9 million visits per year, with commitment to build 130,000 new hotel rooms by 2025…

The Prime Minister has announced the UK’s first ever tourism sector deal today (Friday 28 June), reaffirming the UK’s global role as a key player in the industry. The new deal is said to revolutionise the way data is used by the sector, through the creation of new Tourism Data Hub.

The hub will collate regularly updated data showing  the latest trends and spends, allowing businesses to better target overseas visitors.

“By 2025 experts predict that there will be an additional 9 million visitors to the UK.”

The deal will also support the creation of an additional 10,000 apprenticeships for people building their careers in the tourism and hospitality sectors.

Last year around 38 million people visited the UK, contributing £23 billion to the local economy. By 2025 experts predict that there will be an additional 9 million visitors to the UK. The new deal commits to building an additional 130,000 hotel rooms to respond to the increased demand for infrastructure.

The deal also outlines the government’s ambitions for the UK to become the most accessible destination for disabled visitors, through improvement of disabled facilities and access to destinations across the country.

“This deal recognises the important role tourism plays, and will continue to play, in showcasing what our great country has to offer.” – Prime Minister Theresa May

Prime Minister Theresa May said:“As one of the most visited countries in the world, the UK is a world leader in international tourism and it is crucial that we remain globally competitive to meet growing demands.

“That’s why today I am pleased to announce the UK’s first ever tourism sector deal, ensuring that we continue to innovate, boost connectivity and economic productivity, expand career pathways and breakdown barriers for visitors with disabilities.

“This deal recognises the important role tourism plays, and will continue to play, in showcasing what our great country has to offer.”

Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright said: “Today we have set out our vision for the future of UK tourism – a commitment to an industry that is vital for the prosperity of our communities, our businesses and our economy.

“The UK is one of the world’s greatest destinations and this deal recognises the importance of maximising our natural assets. We are dedicated to supporting life-long careers for those that work in tourism, offering insightful data to help grow businesses and ultimately creating a better visitor experience throughout the UK.”

Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “Tourism is one of our most valuable industries and it plays a vital role in our economy, with nearly two million people employed in the communities across the country and £23 billion pounds spent by visitors in the UK last year.”

“As part of today’s ground-breaking Deal, new Tourism Zones will deliver a direct boost to holiday destinations across the country, helping create new jobs as well as supporting improvements in transport connections.

“This is one of the many ways in which the Deal will be key in building a world-class experience economy, helping us deliver on the ambition we set out in our modern Industrial Strategy; Government and industry working hand-in-hand to build on our exceptional strengths in this sector, boosting productivity and further increasing the UK’s attractiveness as a holiday destination.”

Other commitments in the Tourism Sector Deal include:

  • More than 130,000 new hotel rooms are set to be built across the UK, with 75% being built outside of London.
  • £250,000 to improve broadband connectivity in conferences centres across the UK for business visitors.
  • Pilot of up to five new Tourism Zones to drive visitor numbers across the country. Zones will receive Government support for growing their local visitor economy, through initiatives like targeted support for product and promotion development, mentoring support to businesses and digital skills training.
  • 10,000 employees in the sector to benefit from new mentorship schemes.
  • A new government strategy to grow the number of Business Events and Conferences, helping to drive off-season visitors.

Developed in partnership with the British Tourist Authority and Industry, the sector deal forms part of the UK Government’s Modern Industrial Strategy supporting the continued growth of the tourism sector, ensuring the UK remains globally competitive as a top tourist destination.

British Tourist Authority Chair Steve Ridgway CBE said: “This sector deal is a game-changer for tourism, one of the UK’s most valuable export industries, spelling a step-change in how we underpin the success of tourism for a generation, moving it to the top table as a leading industry for the UK Government’s future economic planning.

“And it is a game-changer for the economy, growing the value of the industry and employment in tourism, fixing issues from skills and productivity to extending the season year-round, building stronger tourism destinations up and down the country and developing world-class experiences for domestic and international visitors.

“Tourism is one of the most fiercely competitive global industries and this deal ensures we can continue to compete internationally as a top destination for visitors, driving major economic growth across the whole of the UK.”

Main image credit: Corinthia Hotel London

IHG debuts Hotel Indigo brand in Qatar

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IHG debuts Hotel Indigo brand in Qatar

The signing of the 200-key Hotel Indigo Doha Lugsail marks the brand’s debut in Qatar…

Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG) has signed a management agreement with Qatari holding company Al Sraiya Hotels & Hospitality Group, which is under Al Sraiya Holding Group, to debut the Hotel Indigo brand in Qatar. The hotel will be strategically located in Lusail Marina, Qatar’s newest urban centre, just 30km from the airport and will feature marinas, residential areas, commercial districts, luxury shopping and leisure facilities, as well as an entertainment district.

Commenting on the partnership, Pascal Gauvin, Managing Director, India, Middle East & Africa, IHG, said: “After the success of the recently opened Staybridge Suites Hotel in Lusail, we are delighted to once again partner with Al Sraiya Hotels & Hospitality Group to open another hotel in Qatar, especially in a visionary development such as Lusail Marina. As the guest profile visiting the country diversifies, the hospitality sector in Qatar continues to evolve. The introduction of the Hotel Indigo brand in Lusail will respond to the growing demand for upscale lifestyle hotels in the market and also demonstrates our commitment to Qatar National Vision 2030. We look forward to offering a unique, locally inspired boutique hotel experience to our guests with the reassurance of a global brand, when we open our doors in 2023.”

Slated to open in 2023, the hotel will feature an array of leisure facilities such as a spa, a gymnasium and a swimming pool. Featuring a three-meal restaurant, a neighbourhood café, a lobby lounge and an executive lounge, Hotel Indigo Doha Lusail will offer a variety of dining options and exclusive F&B concepts. The hotel will also feature meeting and banqueting facilities.

Established in 2004, Hotel Indigo now has a presence in more than 15 countries with over 100 hotels, and nearly another 100 hotels in the pipeline. Just as no two neighbourhoods are alike, no two Hotel Indigo properties are the same, taking inspiration from the area around each hotel to touch all aspects of the guest experience, from the boutique design to locally-inspired restaurants and cafes.

We are pleased to partner with IHG for the second time to develop Hotel Indigo Doha Lusail and introduce their popular boutique brand, Hotel Indigo to the capital city of Doha, Qatar,” said Mr. Rashid Al Kaabi, Vice Chairman of Al Sraiya Holding Group. “We are confident that this design-led hotel inspired by the neighbourhood story, that differentiates itself form the traditional offerings will be a popular choice amongst the travellers visiting the city.

“Through our partnership with IHG for Staybridge Suites Hotel in Lusail, we are benefiting greatly from their global distribution system and best in class revenue management tools. We look forward achieving the same success with Hotel Indigo Doha Lusail, and together with IHG, offer a strong portfolio of different accommodation options to varied guest profiles.”

IHG currently operates 92  hotels across seven brands in the Middle East, including: InterContinental,Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites, voco and Six Senses with a further 38 in the development pipeline due to open within the next three to five years. In Qatar, IHG currently operates seven hotels across four brands : InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Staybridge Suites . **

**Numbers as of March, 31 2019

Main image credit/caption: IHG/Signing Ceremony Hotel Indigo Doha Lusail

Starwood unveils new disobediently designed hotel brand

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Starwood unveils new disobediently designed hotel brand

Starwood Capital Group’s latest iconic brand, Treehouse Hotels, will debut in Q4 of 2019 with a 95-key luxury hotel in London…

Hotel visionary Barry Sternlicht, original founder of W Hotels, and Chairman and CEO of Starwood Capital Group, has once again worked his magic to reinvent the hotel experience by launching Treehouse Hotels. Described by Sternlicht as “the little brother of the 1″, the Treehouse Hotels brand is less serious – think more torn jeans and t-shirts and infinitely accessible.

Treehouse Hotels are about freedom and each property will shelter sunny, homey, witty and fun spaces. The brand has been designed with the wondrous feeling we each had as kids climbing into a treehouse and making our own “clubhouse” rules. Inside, it’s about friendship, community and shared secrets. Inspiring, boho and nostalgic, guests will find surprisingly intimate spaces, simple toys, books, nooks, games and a bit of magic.

“Treehouse, with its truly sensational rooftop lounge and bar, will fill a void in the London marketplace which is missing a hotel that revels in the fun of it all.” – Barry Sternlicht

Like all hotels in Sternlicht’s portfolio, Treehouse will embrace sustainable protocols. “It’s all about getting back in touch with ourselves, with each other and remembering all the simple things that used to make us smile, giggle and embrace,” he explains.

Abstract art in the middle of a bare modern room

Image credit: 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

Treehouse London will be the first of the brand’s portfolio to open in late 2019, with additional locations in the U.S. and beyond. “It’s really exciting to showcase our first property in one of the great travel markets in the world, London,” said Sternlicht. “I believe this Treehouse, with its truly sensational rooftop lounge and bar, will fill a void in the London marketplace which is missing a hotel that revels in the fun of it all and doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

Located directly across the street from the BBC Headquarters, Treehouse London will feature 95 guestrooms, including 15 suites, a penthouse restaurant, and the spectacular rooftop bar boasting 360-degree skyline views. The restaurant and bar will be operated by The Madera Group, an L.A.-based international hospitality group that owns and operates venues in Southern California and Arizona, including Tocaya Organica and Toca Madera.

“Partnering with industry pioneer Barry Sternlicht is an honor for us and aligns exceptionally well with our mindset of innovation and striving to raise the experience of our guests to new heights,”  said Aneil Handa, Director at Cairn Group. “Our landmark location on Regent Street will provide the perfect stage to spearhead a new type of hotel experience and we look forward to delivering the global showcase of the first Treehouse hotel in the world with our new partners Starwood Capital Group and SH Hotels & Resorts.”

Treehouse London will be open to all guests, from business and weekend travellers to locals seeking refuge from the busy streets of London. Located at 14-15 Langham Place, Marylebone, London W1B 2QS, UK, Treehouse London is scheduled to open in Late 2019.

Image credit: 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

H-Hotels Group to add 11 hotels by 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
H-Hotels Group to add 11 hotels by 2020

H-Hotels Group announces it will add 11 hotels in 2020 to its brand portfolio following sales in the group increasing to €436 million…

The H-Hotels Group has announced that it has seen strong growth for another year in a row. Revenues of €436 million for 2018 have marked a new all-time high in the company’s history. Occupancy figures have shown a similarly positive development, with an average of 73 per cent across the company’s 63 properties, and increased average room prices of €101 have paved the way for considerable profitability increases within the hotels themselves.

The continued growth of the brand can also be seen in both its operating locations and brand portfolio. Its newly opened H+ Hotel in Vienna not only marks a new regional presence on the H-Hotels map, but also demonstrates further expansion into other European countries. 2020 will see a new H2 Hotel opening in Budapest, as well as a Hyperion Hotel within the historic Palais Faber in Salzburg.

With the launch of its hostel brand H.ostels in the centre of Münster and the introduction of new serviced apartment brand H.omes, the H-Hotels Group’s portfolio has grown to incorporate six of its own brands. “With H.ostels and H.omes – Serviced Apartments, we have created a brand portfolio that covers the entire range of guest and location requirements,”  stated Alexander Fitz, CEO of H-Hotels AG.

All signs point to further expansion for H-Hotels in the years to come: with H4 Hotel Mönchengladbach in BORUSSIA-PARK, the Hyperion Hotel in Munich, the H2 Hotel in Olympia Park Munich and the Munich opening of H.ome Serviced Apartments, H-Hotels has already celebrated four new openings in 2019 so far. Autumn will also see the launch of its Hyperion Hotel and H2 Hotel double brand, which will open close to Leipzig central station. A total of 1572 new rooms will become available this year.

Further projects have already been signed for 2020, with a total of five new openings in the pipeline in Düsseldorf and Mainz, among others. 2024 will also mark the start of a double brand between H2 Hotel and H4 Hotel, with 501 new rooms set to become available in the terminals of Düsseldorf Airport. Discussions are now in the final stages for a number of short and medium-term acquisitions, as well as new projects such as H2 Hotels in Saarbrücken and Hamburg.

Main image credit: H-Hotels Group

500 new hotels slated to arrive in China by 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
500 new hotels slated to arrive in China by 2020

TOPHOTELCONSTRUCTION has reported that the hotel projects currently on the boards in China will welcome almost 150,000 new rooms for one of the world’s most dynamic hospitality markets…

Following the news that Hyatt Centric brand will debut in Greater China, new statistics from the TOPHOTELCONSTRUCTION‘s database paints a dynamic and exciting picture of the hotel development pipeline in China.

The new report highlights that there are currently 1,062 projects in the works in China, making it the most robust hospitality market on the planet.

Once completed, those projects will yield a grand total of 256,506 guestrooms. This drastic expansion means that some hotels groups and brands will be more than doubling their footprint in China in the coming years.

The TOPHOTELCONSTRUCTION database indicates that much of this grown is slated to take place in the very near future. Roughly 55 per cent of the projects currently in China’s pipeline are planned to open by the end of 2020 and will add more than 500 new hotel projects and nearly 150,000 rooms to the market.

For the following years, figures are still more approximate as some projects’ plans are not completely finalised and opening dates are not yet decided.

Leading the way is Hilton Hotels & Resorts, which has 40 projects and 11,272 rooms currently under development in China. Hot on its tail is Four Points by Sheraton with 38 projects and 10,016 rooms. The world’s largest hotel group, Marriott International, has 35 projects and 8,770 rooms coming to China soon.

The recent statistics come as the Asia Pacific market remains one of the most popular in the world and numbers of visitors travelling to this region, and China in particular, grow year on year.

Main image credit: Alila Yangshuo hotel in Guilin, China

EDITOR CHECKS IN: Running on empty in Clerkenwell

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
EDITOR CHECKS IN: Running on empty in Clerkenwell

Editor Hamish Kilburn explains some of the benefits that come with being a runner on the editorial desk – especially during Clerkenwell Design Week… 

I believe that nine problems out of 10 within this ever-evolving industry can be solved with a fresh perspective. Whether the issue is a lack of inspiration or perhaps you can’t decide which soft furnishings to purchase for a fussy client, there are times where you – and your project – could benefit from taking some time out so that your ideas and thoughts can authentically mature.

For most, the obvious ‘time out’ would follow booking 10 nights away in bare-foot luxury, and I must conquer that the undisturbed nature of this thought also appeals. However, if it’s simply a case of a blockage of traffic in the brain, then I suggest you hop onto the pavement. For me, it is often only after a gentle jog – at any time of day or night – where most of my editorial ideas for Hotel Designs stem from – or at least final decisions are made.

This month, I went one step further in my fitness therapy and signed myself up to complete what will be my third marathon. But while I have been there, done that and got the T-shirt twice before, one thing has changed – I am the busiest I have ever been. And so, like so many amateur runners who have or are pacing in my footsteps while balancing a career, finding the time to train is often the hardest challenge – a test that carries great unparalleled rewards, including being able to juggle time wisely.

“What’s running got to do with hotel development, design and architecture,” you may ask. Well it turns out, this month in particular, being able to confidently trot around town was an essential skill for those for those of us attending Clerkenwell Design Week as ‘Press’. Entering double digits, this year’s volume of celebrating of design, which witnessed hundreds of showrooms opening their doors to the public, was turned up to the max – and it was, undoubtably so, a fabulous festival to amplify to our readers. For the 10th year, it recognised the UK once more as an incubator for incredible design, architecture and ideas. Despite this, at times it was also like hitting the dreaded wall during a marathon, each showroom becoming more of a fuel station as we got further through the course. Passed the finish line, though, and we were able to reflect on the journey, which was like every long-distance race, full of unforgettable moments including witnessing art outside the frame at almost every turn.

Brick wall with loud and colourful mural of shapes bursting out

Image caption/credit: One of the many art installations at Clerkenwell Design Week 2019 | Sophie Mutevelian

In addition to clocking up the miles around the design hub that is Clerkenwell, my mini adventures on foot have allowed me to experience some pretty incredible places from an unmatched perspective; from the sandy beaches of Barbados to the cobbled streets of Amsterdam – and sprinting through New York’s Time Square at 5am. With the right pair of trainers – and the will power to get out whatever the weather, travelling to – and seeing – these places has been extraordinary.

“Each time I head out for a run in Manchester, usually between exhibitions or events, I notice a new building taking shape.”

Closer to home, Manchester is within my top five locations to go for a run in and around. Having spent a year living in the beehive, I fell in love with the ‘on the boards’ skyline and at times juvenile personality locked within its ever-expanding city walls. Given its striking façade, and spirited soul, it is no coincidence, therefore, that hotel development up north is booming. Each time I head out for a run in Manchester, usually between exhibitions or events, I notice a new building taking shape. Top Hotel Project recently reported that between 2020 and 2021, 11 new hotels will open – the majority of which will be for the luxury sector. In response to this, we’re taking our Meet Up North networking evening back to the city that everyone is talking about, this year taking over Hotel Gotham’s much-admired rooftop bar, Club Brass.

Today, my running shoes have taken me back to my hometown of Whitstable in Kent, a beautiful rustic and trendy town – think Shoreditch style but by the sea and with oysters. The gorgeous weather combined with a steady westerly breeze was all the motivation I needed to add a totally unplanned half marathon (13.1 miles) into this week’s training plan. It was all the motivation I needed to write and complete this column.

During June, Hotel Designs will be putting Hotel Groups and Software & Controls under the spotlight. If you would like to contribute to these topics, please do not hesitate to email me.

Editor, Hotel Designs

Hotel Designs becomes media partner for Outstanding Property Award London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn

[vc_row padding_top="35"][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_column_text el_class="newposttitle"][page_title][/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Hotel Designs become an official media partner for the Outstanding Property Award London as editor Hamish Kilburn is confirmed on the jury...  The Outstanding Property Award London (OPAL), which honours innovation and talent in the most exceptional projects globally within property development, interior design and architecture, has confirmed Hotel Designs as an official media partner.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3" el_class="top-left-border"][vc_column_text][thumbnailnew][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In addition to covering news and features around the awards, Hotel Designs has also put forward its editor, Hamish Kilburn, to be on the jury. "As the leading international hotel design website, Hotel Designs is all about supporting awards, events and concepts that are dedicated to rewarding outstanding individuals and projects worldwide," he said. "There's a lot of synergy between OPAL and Hotel Designs. For starters, both brands aspire to identify and celebrate the leading individuals and firms who are pushing the boundaries of design and architecture. On a personal note, as a member of this year's jury, I am eager to sift through the entries, but what I am most looking forward to is helping to amplify the individual property developers, designers and architects who are internationally shaping the future of our industry." Other jury members of OPAL 2019 include Richmond International's Fiona Thompson, Stylt's Erik Nissen Johansen, Zaha Hadid Architects' Michele Salvi, Beauchamp Estates' Gary Hersham and Yasmine Mahmoudieh among others.  "The awards are now open to outstanding entries from around the world." Described on its website as "not just another award", OPAL creates the opportunity for each participant to gain visibility for their latest innovative projects and allows developers, designers and architects to connect with leading professionals within the industry and beyond. The awards are now open to outstanding entries from around the world. An exclusive event, organised in London, will celebrate the winners. OPAL will reward the world's most outstanding property projects and expose them to the world - and Hotel Designs will now be there alongside the awards with live updates between now and the ceremony. OPAL accepts applications for project submissions from three industry sectors, which are property developers, interior designers and architects. To apply for this year's OPAL, and/or to find out more information about the concept and the jury, please click here. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Hard Rock Hotels to arrive in Barcelona

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hard Rock Hotels to arrive in Barcelona

Hard Rock International continues growing its European hotel portfolio, announcing the development of Hard Rock Hotel Barcelona…

The global brand, Hard Rock International, is set to bring its signature musical flair to the shores of Barcelona in a €200 million new hotel to be developed on the last available seaside plot in metropolitan Barcelona.

Construction of the 504-room hotel will begin in late 2019, set to open on the shores of Barcelona in early 2022.

“This is set to be another ambitious project for Hard Rock International, alongside ASG,” comments Todd Hricko, senior vice president and head of global hotel development at Hard Rock International. “Hard Rock Hotel Barcelona will bring the brand’s dynamic and vibrant hospitality to Barcelona’s Mediterranean Coast, injecting energy and world-class entertainment into the city’s hotel scene.”

The project is owned by ASG’s fifth real estate fund and will be operated by Hard Rock Hotels. It is the fourth project in ASG’s Spanish hotel development strategy following the dramatic surge in visitor growth in Spain.

Saul Goldstein, ASG’s founder and managing partner, said: “Our agreement with Hard Rock International is an important milestone for this signature investment. It’s our second collaboration with HRI’s renowned hospitality brand following the announcement on the opening of Hard Rock Hotel Madrid. The Barcelona project amps up our hotels’ development strategy in Spain, which targets opportunities in major visitor destinations with a shortage of rooms.”

Hard Rock Hotel Barcelona, which will be designed by B720 Arquitectos, will offer a stunning rooftop terrace and bar with swimming pool, two Speciality Restaurants, Lobby Bar with Grab and Go and Music Bar. Guestrooms will have luxurious private balconies overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

The brand will bring a selection of its signature amenities to Barcelona, including a Body Rock Fitness Centre and a Rock Spa to keep the mind and body healthy, the Sound of Your Stay in-room music program, a Rock Shop and a Hard Rock Roxity Kids’ Club, providing entertainment for younger guests. The hotel’s seven meeting rooms and ballroom will cover 21,530 square feet of meeting and conference space to accommodate a variety of events and occasions.

Adjacent to the Fòrum beach and Marina in Sant Adrià del Besòs, with direct subway and tram access to Barcelona city centre, Hard Rock Hotel Barcelona will be near Parc del Fòrum and Parc de la Pau, a regular host of spectacular music events and festivals, some of which Hard Rock has previously organised.

Barcelona’s incredible climate, cultural heritage and easily accessible transport links have made this city one of the most visited in Europe. Filled with incredible entertainment and activities, the city is the perfect fit for Hard Rock’s next European venture.

Main image credit: MAAD Architectural Imagery /B720 Arquitectos

MANCHESTER: luxury hotel design scene shows no signs of slowing

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MANCHESTER: luxury hotel design scene shows no signs of slowing

Ahead of Meet Up North 2019 in Manchester, Hotel Designs takes a peak at the northern city’s hotel design scene to establish why it is considered as one of the most fast-growing design hubs in the UK. Editor Hamish Kilburn investigates… 

Manchester has a lot to be proud of. Not only is it home to two of the country’s most celebrated football teams (one of which is adjacent to a luxury football-themed hotel), the city’s property market has sky-rocketed in recent years.

With no signs of slowing, the market in Manchester for hotel development has recently been described by real estate experts JLL as being “in a league of its own”. With new hotels planning to pop up to join the hive of activity, Manchester has become a magnet for designers aiming to disrupt conventional hotels and make their mark on the city. Some of the most recent openings include Hotel Indigo Manchester and the highly anticipated arrival of Dakota Manchester – but there’s still more to come.

In 2019, according to research carried out by Top Hotel Projects, there will be six new hotel openings in Manchester, adding 835 guestrooms into the city. From the year 2020 to 2021, a further 11 more hotels are slated to open, which further indicates that Manchester is anything but at capacity for hotel development.

Hotel Designs is coming back to Manchester!

Following the success of Meet Up London, Hotel Designs will take its next Meet Up networking event to Manchester’s Hotel Gotham on July 1. The hotel, which in a few years will become the older and wiser sibling of the brand’s latest hotel that is on boards, The Brooklyn, has been an epicentre of the city’s action since it opened in 2015. The general manager of the hotel and brand, Mario Ovsenjak, and the owner, Robin Sheppard, were both listed in The Brit List 2018 as being among the top hoteliers in the country. Located on the rooftop, Club Brass will transform on July 1 from a private members’ bar  into a premium networking evening for designers, hoteliers, architects and suppliers alike – and here’s how you can get your hands on a ticket.

Designer, architect and hotelier tickets: £20 + VAT
– 
If you are a designer, architect or hoteliers to the industry and would like to attend Meet Up North, click here.

Supplier tickets: £150 + VAT
– 
If you are a supplier to the industry and would like to attend Meet Up North, click here.

There are also various sponsorship opportunities and packages available for Meet Up North. If you would like to discuss these with our team then please contact Zoe Guerrier by either emailing z.guerrier@forumevents.co.uk or calling 01992 374059.

Image credit: Hotel Gotham

The inaugural Meet Up North took place last year at King Street Townhouse and was attended by more than 200 designers, architects, hoteliers and key-industry suppliers.

About Hotel Gotham

Hotel Gotham is sheltered in what is arguably the city’s grandest properties and is an exclusive city-centre sanctuary, previously a bank that was designed in 1935 by none other than architect Edwin Lutyens.

The hotel prides itself on offering a modern and comfortable experience in a unique and luxurious environment, with exquisite service all within a bespoke private club in the heart of Manchester.

Main image credit: 20 Stories Manchester

Vienna House Wroclaw hotel to open following bleisure boom in Poland

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Vienna House Wroclaw hotel to open following bleisure boom in Poland

Vienna House plans to open a 240-room hotel in the centre of Wroclaw. The group’s seventh hotel in Poland is slated to open in Q1 of 2022 following a rise in the country’s bleisure market…

Following the acquisition of 17 city hotels from hotel brand arcona, Vienna House has announced plans to open its seventh hotel in Poland, further utilising on the destination’s booming business traveller market.

The new smart-casual city hotel is part of a redesigned building complex which surrounds a historically listed bakery. Vienna House Easy Wroclaw will be a base for business and leisure traveller alike, featuring a vibrant restaurant, lifestyle lobby and bar, modern fitness facilities and spacious conference area. Guests will receive a warm welcome from the famous Wroclaw dwarves’, an insight into the city’s history and unique culture. The complex in which the hotel sits also features a student apartment concept from the BaseCamp brand.

“Wroclaw is an exciting, growing market, and the location in the city centre, near the botanical garden, is ideal, ” said Rupert Simoner, CEO of Vienna House, in a press release. “The combination of the casual, service-oriented Vienna House Easy and the lively student concept fits very well together and will develop into a fresh, lively meeting place.” Vienna House Easy Wroclaw, the Austrian hotel group’s seventh hotel in Poland, underscores the enormous interest in the Polish market.

Rendering of modern guestroom with dark-green wallcoverings and twin beds

Image credit: Vienna House

The hotel will be operated by Vienna House under a lease agreement from ST Wroclaw Sienkiewicza Sp. z o.o., which offers student apartment solutions with BaseCamp in Poland, Denmark and Germany.

Vienna House Easy Wroclaw offers 236 double rooms along with four suites. The rooms come with extra-long, super comfortable beds, modern writing and seating solutions, and bathrooms with walk-in showers. The hotel also has a 360 m² meeting and conference area, ideal for working. The fitness area features state-of-the-art exercise equipment, in addition to a massage area.

Vienna House Easy stands for smart casual design, hospitality DNA within our employees, established analogue services and meaningful digital offerings. These include televisions with connectivity for guest devices, high-speed WiFi, mobile concierge, self-check-in/check-out and much more. The hotel lobby provides a cosy meeting place, inviting reception area, cool bar and lounge all rolled into one.

Main image credit: Vienna House

Vienna House acquires 17 city hotels from arcona

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Vienna House acquires 17 city hotels from arcona

Vienna House, Austria’s largest hotel chain, has expanded its portfolio of city hotels by acquiring 17 properties from German hotel group arcana…

The Austrian hotel group Vienna House has bought 17 city hotels and two projects from Rostock-based arcona Group. In addition to eight successful arcona Living and four arcona Hotels, the purchase also concerns the five Steigenberger operations of franchisor Deutsche Hospitality as well as two projects in Greifswald and Mannheim.

The parties have agreed not todisclose any details as to the purchase price. “The arcona city hotels fit perfectly into the portfolio of Vienna House,” said Rupert Simoner, CEO of Vienna House. “Here two partners have found each other who are focusing on their brand positioning, who want to grow meaningfully from it and who also get along splendidly.”

“The group currently operates and is developing more than 40 hotels in Europe with a focus on city hotels.”

All employees of the affected arcona city hotels will be taken over by Vienna House. The hotels will be managed as lease operations under the umbrella brand Vienna House. The group currently operates and is developing more than 40 hotels in Europe with a focus on city hotels under the brands Vienna House, Vienna House Easy and Vienna House R.evo.

“A total of 20 Barefoot hotels are to be opened over the next 10 years.”

In contrast, arcona Managing Director Alexander Winter sees his hotel market of the future in the holiday hotel sector. Remaining in the arcona portfolio are six hotels in successful destinations such as Sylt, Kitzbühel and Rügen as well as the Hotel Elephant in Weimar and the Romantik Hotel at Wartburg Castle in Eisenach.

An important growth driver in the future will be the Barefoot Hotels, as arcona recently signed a long-term agreement with Barefoot founder Til Schweiger for theworldwide implementation of the concept as a licensee. “With the remaining houses and theBarefoot concept, we will now be concentrating fully on the growing holiday hotel market andsuccessfully embarking on the future together with our employees,” said arcana shareholders Alexander Winter and Stephan Gerhard. A total of 20 Barefoot hotels are to be opened over the next 10 years. “We see tremendous potential here, both nationally and internationally,” Winter confirms.The arcona headquarters will remain in Rostock, where the group will move into its new corporate headquarters, Villa Zeeck, in the second half of 2019.

Main image credit: Vienna House Easy Wuppertal

Autograph Collection Hotels debuts in Kenya

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Autograph Collection Hotels debuts in Kenya

Autograph Collection Hotels debuts in Kenya welcoming Sankara Nairobi to its dynamic portfolio of Passionately Independent Hotels…

Autograph Collection HotelsMarriott International’s distinctive collection of passionately independent hotels, today welcomed Sankara Nairobi to its diverse and distinguished portfolio around the world, marking the debut for the brand in Kenya.

Set in the heart of Westlands, Sankara Nairobi lies in the epicentre of the city’s commercial, retail, and entertainment quarter and boasts quintessential Kenyan charm and hospitality, contemporary interiors and carefully curated modern African art throughout the hotel.

“We are thrilled to welcome Sankara Nairobi, a distinctive hotel which evokes the spirit and heritage of this vibrant city, to our portfolio,” said Alex Kyriakidis President and Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International. “As the first Autograph Collection Hotel in Kenya, Sankara Nairobi is a significant addition to our rapidly growing portfolio in the region and a testament to our conversion friendly strategy. The hotel perfectly embodies the brand’s unique perspective on design, craft, hospitality and its Exactly Like Nothing Else philosophy. This rebranding is in lockstep with the growing demand from consumers and their desire for differentiated experiences wherever they travel.”

Just a short drive away from the city centre and the United Nations Headquarters, and within easy access from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and the Wilson Airport, the hotel is situated at the heart of the city’s vibrant social and business life.  It comprises 168 thoughtfully designed rooms, a tempting choice of authentic and award-winning restaurants, destination bars, social and meeting spaces, and fitness facilities. The newly refurbished guest rooms including a brand-new Presidential Suite captures the hotel’s personality with signature elements showcasing a unique character and a defining sense of place.

“We are excited to join the brand’s global portfolio of iconic hotels around the world and deliver a thoughtfully curated and authentic experience,” said Krishna Unni, Group General Manager of Sankara Hotel Group. “Socially and culturally immersive, Sankara Nairobi creates a vibrant and warm character that is deeply ingrained in the art, culture and lifestyle of Nairobi. We are confident that Sankara Nairobi will soon emerge as a preferred choice for travellers to Nairobi welcoming both Marriott International’s loyal members as well as new guests”.

Autograph Collection Hotels advocates for the original, championing the individuality of each of its over 171 independent hotels located in the most desirable destinations across more than 30 countries and territories.

Rosewood to open luxury hotel in Ningbo

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Rosewood to open luxury hotel in Ningbo

Rosewood has unveiled drawings for a new luxury hotel in Ningbo, China, which is slated to open in 2024…

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts has announced that it will continue to strengthen its presence in China with the opening of Rosewood Ningbo in 2024. The latest project adds to Rosewood’s growing pipeline in China’s ‘megacities’ including Guangzhou, Shanghai, Chengdu and Shenzhen, further expanding the brand’s established presence in Beijing, Sanya and the recently opened Rosewood Hong Kong.

Rosewood Ningbo is an example of the brand’s selective approach to strategic growth with unique and highly differentiated projects in locations that are finely attuned to the next generation of ultra-luxury travellers. One of China’s oldest cities, Ningbo has both a storied international trading history and a contemporary culture of dynamic innovation that combined provide a perfect backdrop for Rosewood’s newest project. “Ningbo is a vibrant city attracting a growing wave of young entrepreneurs and technology companies and is at the heart of innovation in China,” says Sonia Cheng, chief executive officer of Rosewood Hotel Group. “Combined with its rich history, the destination makes an ideal choice for Rosewood’s growing presence in China. Rosewood Ningbo will join its sister properties across China to create a rich collection of distinct and unique properties for our affluential explorer guests to access the rich diversity of China’s local cultures.”

Rosewood Ningbo will be the main anchor of the integrated property complex Ningbo New World Plaza, a CNY15 billion worth project encompassing 100,000 square meters, in the city’s central business district of Sanjiangkou (Three Rivers Junction), owned by New World China Land. Developed in three phases, Ningbo New World Plaza will comprise Rosewood Ningbo, the latest K11 Art Mall, K11 Atelier offices, high-end residences and the first art park in the city.

Rosewood Ningbo will be ideally situated at the city’s junction of three major rivers and two prominent commercial axes, at the intersection of Zhongshan Road East and Jiangdong Road North. The area will be a new green landmark for the city with Ningbo New World Plaza designed as an eco-friendly environment with key sustainable concepts, including a bioretention pond, a rain-water garden, permeable pavements and ecological rooftops. Within walking distance from the hotel, guests will be able to access Ningbo’s bustling city life at the adjacent commercial districts of Heyi Avenue and the shopping area of Tianyi Square, with its multiple entertainment and dining venues. Rosewood Ningbo will be a perfect springboard from which to experience the city’s many historical attractions, such as Chenghuang Temple, Baoguo Temple, Tianfeng Pagoda and Tianyi Pavilion. Rosewood Ningbo will occupy levels 43-56 of a striking mixed-use high-rise tower. The hotel’s 185 guestrooms and 15 oversized suites will feature unobstructed views of the urban landscape.

Complementing the hotel’s guestrooms, generous and versatile spaces for meetings and events will be a hallmark of Rosewood Ningbo, including a 1,125-square-meter grand ballroom and other meeting facilities totaling an additional 1,055 square meters. Five innovative food and beverage venues promise an exciting addition to the dynamic local gastronomical landscape. The hotel will also feature Sense, A Rosewood Spa, an urban haven to unwind from the hustle and bustle of the city, on the 55th floor. An indoor pool and a fitness centre will complete this sanctuary of wellness for holidaymakers and business travellers alike.

Rosewood Ningbo will join a growing collection of distinctive Rosewood properties in Asia including Rosewood Phnom Penh, Rosewood Bangkok, Rosewood Phuket and Rosewood Luang Prabang. Upcoming locations include Taipei, Yangon, and Hermana Mayor.

More than USD 500m raised for new hospitality fund dedicated to Sub-Saharan Africa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
More than USD 500m raised for new hospitality fund dedicated to Sub-Saharan Africa

In a region that offers robust growth opportunities, the fund raised by Kasada Capital Management will target both greenfield and brownfield projects in Sub-Saharan Africa… 

Sub-Saharan hospitality investment platform Kasada Capital Management has reached a first close on its maiden fund Kasada Hospitality Fund LP with equity commitments of more than USD 500 million.

This is in line with a first announcement disclosed in July 2018 by Katara Hospitality and Accor who are respectively contributing USD 350 million and USD 150 million.

“This is the best structure to address the needs of the region” – CEO, Olivier Granet

The hospitality market is currently one of the most promising and yet underserviced sectors in Sub-Saharan Africa where growing economies and emerging middle class are creating high-growth markets that are left largely untapped. “There is an incredible opportunity ahead to try out an innovative hospitality investment platform in the region,” said CEO Olivier Granet.”While in other parts of the world such initiatives are already thriving, they do not exist with critical size and integrated structure in Sub-Saharan Africa. The time is now for bold strategies to be implemented. Thanks to Accor and Katara’s support we benefit from a unique competitive advantage supported by a strong portfolio of brands enhancing our ability to raise debt efficiently from local banks and international financial institutions. This is the best structure to address the needs of the region, develop attractive products and reach critical mass quickly to take a leadership position. I believe that our team of professionals combining experts from project financing to hotel management all with a solid local knowledge is exceptionally well placed to succeed.”

The first platform of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa, Kasada Capital Management intends to bridge the gap between the local hospitality market players and international investors. The team is co-led by Granet and David Damiba, CIO and Managing Partner who collectively have more than 50 year’ experience in the hospitality industry. They will put in place a unique team of professionals combining world class experience from the hospitality industry, private equity and financing sectors underpinned by track record in the African market.

Kasada believes its positive social impact is key to becoming the number one sustainable hospitality fund dedicated to Africa. Co-investments with local partners will support local job creation and further local business opportunities throughout the hospitality value chain, from investors to constructors and equipment suppliers.

Main image credit: Max Pixel

Hyatt to develop design hotel at Japan’s historic racing circuit

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt to develop design hotel at Japan’s historic racing circuit

Plans have been approved for an Unbound Collection hotel by Hyatt to be developed at the Fuji Speedway, marking the brand’s entrance into Japan… 

Hyatt Hotels Corporation has announced that a Hyatt affiliate has entered into a management agreement with Towa Real Estate Co. Ltd., an affiliate of TOYOTA Group, to develop a 120-key hotel at the Fuji Speedway, Japan’s historic racing circuit.

Slated to open in 2022, the project will be the first in Japan under The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand and the first hotel in the world to be built by Towa Real Estate.

“We are excited to see The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand in Japan for the first time with a project at Fuji Speedway, an iconic destination for motorsports fans across the globe seeking a luxury experience,” said David Udell, group president, Asia-Pacific, Hyatt Hotels Corporation. “As we look to expand Hyatt’s brand footprint in Japan, we are excited to be entering into a management agreement with TOYOTA group company, Towa Real Estate, as it builds its first-ever hotel.”

Hotel amenities will include multiple fine dining restaurants and bars, as well as indoor pool, fitness center, spa and natural onsen hot-spring bathing facilities. The hotel interior will feature a car museum with an innovative presentation of the site’s attractions that showcase the historic significance of Fuji Speedway. Items such as rare historic automobiles and other museum-worthy collections will provide an unconventional experience that guests would expect from The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand.

“It is deeply gratifying and encouraging to us to have been able to enter into this agreement with Hyatt, which has a history of providing exceptional quality and service to guests in a wide range of cities,” said Masao Ukai, president, Towa Real Estate Co. Ltd. “This luxury hotel will be an integral part of a motorsports-themed entertainment area with Fuji Speedway at its core. Together, Motorsports Village and The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand will provide guests with environmentally conscious and unconventional experiences as we aim to make motorsports more accessible and entertaining.”

In the foothills of Mount Fuji, the hotel’s Fuji Speedway location will offer guests convenient access to motorsports events and the upcoming Motorsports Village facility, currently under development by Towa Real Estate in concert with the hotel development.

Situated on the grounds of Fuji Speedway, the hotel will offer unsurpassed views of Mount Fuji, in addition to housing a Motorsports Museum. The site’s immediate proximity to the Oyama Parking Area Smart Interchange, scheduled to open in 2021, will make the hotel’s location accessible to guests arriving from remote areas by car.

The hotel will feature approximately 120 tastefully designed guest rooms and suites of at least 484 square feet (45 square meters) each, a flexible banquet room of 5,381 square feet (500 square meters), and a 2,152 square foot (200 square meter) conference room. These extraordinary facilities will position the hotel as an ideal venue for story-worthy meetings and events.

Main image credit: Hyatt

Hilton expands its presence in Morocco

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hilton expands its presence in Morocco

Hilton expands its presence in Morocco with opening of Hilton Tangier Al Houara Resort & Spa…

Set on a pristine beach, Hilton Tangier Al Houara Resort & Spa has opened, marking the group’s third property in Morocco. With its upscale accommodations, beachfront location and extensive range of leisure facilities, the resort is an oasis for relaxation and rejuvenation. The 304-key Hilton Tangier Al Houara Resort & Spa is located within a protected national park, offering direct access to five kilometers of idyllic white sandy beach.

Tangier, a cosmopolitan port-city on the Strait of Gibraltar is the embodiment of culture with its UNESCO sights and nearby attractions, such as The Kasbah. Famous for its year-round pleasant weather and beautiful beaches, the city is seeing increasing numbers of visitors every year.

“Morocco is a flourishing tourism destination which welcomed more than 12 million visitors last year,” said Rudi Jagersbacher, President, Middle East, Africa, and Turkey, Hilton. “We are delighted to be expanding our footprint in the country and hope this will continue to support the Moroccan government’s tourism ambition to make Morocco one of the top 20 tourist destinations in the world by 2020.”

Spread across an impressive 850m², the hotel’s eforea spa is equipped with state of the art treatment rooms, a beauty salon, hairdresser, jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and a 24/7 gym. For those looking to perfect their swing during their stay, the hotel offers two spectacular golf courses alongside a Golf Academy.

In addition, The hotel boasts 4,500m² of flexible event space with capacity for up to 1,400 guests. The hotel offers 15 flexible meeting rooms as well as two pillarless ballrooms. With an expansive foyer that leads to an outdoor terrace, the space is ideal for hosting coffee breaks, cocktail receptions and buffets.

Meanwhile, the culinary experience is said to be at the heart of the hotel with the hotel boasting a total of five restaurants and bars.

Boasting 304 exquisite guestrooms and suites, including 50 apartments, all guestrooms feature a blend of Moroccan and international design touches with private balconies overlooking either the Atlantic Ocean or 11 hectares of garden.

“We are excited to introduce Hilton Tangier Al Houara Resort & Spa to our growing brand portfolio,” said Vera Manoukian, senior vice president and global head, Hilton Hotels & Resorts. “The opening of this property highlights our commitment to expanding in key destinations across the world, in the world’s most sought-after destinations for guests who know that where they stay matters.”

With more than 585 hotels across six continents, Hilton Hotels & Resorts properties are located in the world’s most sought-after destinations for guests who know that where they stay matters. This particular opening marks a significant growth in North Africa.

Main image credit: HILTON TANGIER AL HOUARA RESORT & SPA

£5.5 million transformation for Edinburgh city centre

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
£5.5 million transformation for Edinburgh city centre

Holiday Inn Express Edinburgh City Centre to add 25 new rooms as part of major refurbishment…

Managed by the UK’s leading independent hotel management company, RBH, the Holiday Inn Express Edinburgh City Centre is about to undergo a £5.5 million refurbishment.

The hotel’s existing 161 bedrooms have already been refurbished to ensure today’s smart travellers enjoy all of the amenities they are used to.

And the Edinburgh property has also received extensive remodelling to its lobby and public areas, with over £350,000 spent upgrading its facilities to Holiday Inn Express’ new Generation 4 standards.

The refurbishment programme does not stop there, with an extension featuring a further 25 brand new bedrooms, also following the Generation 4 concept, set to be added to the property by mid-July this year – taking the total rooms available to 186

The substantial investment will see the new rooms feature large beds with padded, noise reducing headboards, as well as flexible work and rest corners where traditional desks are replaced with comfortable, ergonomically designed multi-use tables and chairs that can be easily moved around the room.

“The transformation of Holiday Inn Express Edinburgh City Centre really gives us an edge when it comes to providing excellent city centre accommodation, and is proving to be a very exciting time for the hotel,” said Stephen Harron, Divisional Director for RBH. “The bedrooms and public areas have been completely revamped, along with the installation of air conditioning and high speed IHG connect complimentary WIFI throughout the building, ensuring we can offer the best in guest experience, whether staying in Edinburgh for business or leisure.”

Edinburgh is currently the UK’s most desired destination for hotel investment and development, and last year reported higher room occupancy rate – at 83 per cent – than anywhere else in Europe.

Rendering of beachside project

Corinthia Hotels to debut in the Middle East

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Corinthia Hotels to debut in the Middle East

Corinthia Meydan Beach Dubai, which is slated to open in 2020, will be Corinthia Hotel’s debut property in the Middle East…

Corinthia Hotels has announced that it will open the brand’s first hotel in the Middle East. Due to launch in 2020, the contemporary beachfront hotel marks the beginning of ambitious expansion plans by the hotel group. Corinthia Meydan Beach Dubai will be located on the prestigious JBR beachfront, reflecting the enriching brand values for which Corinthia is known.

Rendering of beachside project

Working in partnership with Meydan Group, Corinthia Meydan Beach has been designed as a new beachfront resort and destination that will aim to reflect both the bliss of the beach and the excitement of the city.

“The energy, vision and quality of resources assembled for this project by Meydan means that this hotel is in the enviable position of offering the market something fresh and new.” – Matthew Dixon, Area Managing Director Middle East, Corinthia Hotels

Situated within Dubai Marina, overlooking a pristine stretch of white sand, the 55-storey hotel will be home to 360 guestrooms and suites. This beachfront landmark will be complete with cascading infinity pools, the region’s first ESPALife Spa and unforgettable culinary experiences. It’s also intelligently designed for spectacular views across to the Dubai Eye and Palm Jumeirah. Internationally renowned American design professionals AE7 have ensured each detail of the hotel has been meticulously considered to create a tribute to the region’s tradition of architectural grandeur and cultural traditions.

Plush interiors in render

Image credit: Corinthia Hotels

“Corinthia Meydan Beach is an exciting addition to the region’s hospitality landscape, representing both a landmark milestone for us as a brand, and for Dubai,” said Corinthia’s Area Managing Director Middle East Matthew Dixon. “The energy, vision and quality of resources assembled for this project by Meydan means that this hotel is in the enviable position of offering the market something fresh and new; an interpretation of heritage, culture and service values that we feel have not yet been bought to the UAE. We are confident that this property will enhance the Corinthia brand in the region, brilliantly enhancing our existing portfolio.”

The existing Corinthia portfolio features the flagship Corinthia London, as well as award-winning Corinthia Hotels in Budapest, Malta, St Petersburg, Prague, Lisbon, Khartoum and Tripoli. From city-centre hotels to coastal resorts, each one is connected by a strong Corinthia philosophy. Inspired by its Mediterranean, family-run heritage, the brand is dedicated to providing uplifting moments, unforgettable experiences and exquisite service.

Main image credit: Corinthia Hotels

Great Hotels of The World confirmed to speak at Hotel Summit

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Great Hotels of The World confirmed to speak at Hotel Summit

Pedro Colaco, the CEO of Great Hotels of The World, will join editor Hamish Kilburn  for an engaging seminar at Hotel Summit on how hotels can increase revenue by channeling bleisure trends… 

Following an exclusive interview with Hotel Designs, Great Hotels of The World (GHOTW) has confirmed that it will speak at the up-coming Hotel Summit, which takes place on July 8 – 9 at Herythrop Park, Oxfordshire.

The CEO of the company, Pedro Colaco will join editor Hamish Kilburn for the live seminar and Q&A entitled: How to increase revenue by utilising on blesiure trends. “I’m delighted to be a part of this year’s Hotel Summit representing Great Hotels of the World, discussing the importance of bleisure travel in today’s market,” said Colaco. “We believe that the lines between leisure and work are blurring, and will dominate the travel industry for years to come. Hence, we handpick the upscale hotels that we represent in the GHOTW portfolio to cater to this growing demographic of corporate travellers who expect more from their hotel experience, and advise our members on how to make the most of their offerings and market them proactively to fit the bleisure trend.”

The topic was decided after a recent study by GHOTW concluded that 75 per cent of business travellers would extend their business trip for leisure purposes. The live session will explore how hoteliers can operate flexible working spaces that are suitable for both business and leisure travellers. The seminar will aim to identify ways in which hotel owners and managers can increase revenue.

“Pedro’s knowledge and first-hand experience in transforming hotels into becoming beleisure gems is something that really inspires me to ‘go big or go home’ on this topic,” said Kilburn. “I am thrilled that Pedro and I are putting this topic under the spotlight for this session, and I am looking forward to hearing the conversations and debates ripple out of the seminar room.”

The Hotel Summit is specifically organised for senior professionals who are directly responsible for purchasing and procurement within their organisation, and those who provide the latest and greatest products and services within the sector.

A highly focused event that brings together hotel professionals and key industry solution providers, the Summit consists of one-to-one business meetings, interactive seminars and valuable networking opportunities; in less than two days!

How to register 

If you are a supplier to the hospitality industry looking to meet top hotel professionals, contact Jennie Lane at j.lane@forumevents.co.uk– or click here to book your place.

If you are a hotelier and would like to attend the Summit, please contact Liam Cloona on l.cloona@forumevents.co.uk – or click here to book your place.

Why UK hotel investment is booming

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Why UK hotel investment is booming

Real estate professionals from Fieldfisher believe that the low sterling exchange rate is why UK hotels have becoming more affordable, while Colliers  International UK identify mass investment in tier-two cities…

Despite the political landscape of the UK hanging in the balance at the moment, hotel development experts and real estate professionals have identified that UK hotel investment is booming, with a major focus on tier two cities.

European law firm Fieldfisher, which represents hotel developers such as Dominvs Group, Easy Hotel, Millennium & Copthorne Hotels, Morgans Hotels and Searni Hotels as well as their investors has identified some of the reasons why UK hotel investment is performing particularly strongly at the moment.

The low exchange rate, the genuine shortage of stock in real estate investment sector and the rise in budget brands are among the main factors identified by the firm and real estate experts Fieldfisher.

Paul Houston, a real estate partner and head of the hotels and leisure practice at Fieldfisher, has produced announced a comment on why UK hotel investments in particular are performing so strongly at the moment – although we are also seeing very strong growth in Spanish hotels as well – which is partly to do with innovation in the sector and offering new kinds of services tailored to the needs of business travellers and guests on tight budgets.

In a statement, Houston said: “The hotels and leisure sector is very buoyant at the moment.

“The low sterling exchange rate has made UK hotels that much more affordable – both for tourists to stay in and for international investors to build – and because hotels are prime real estate, they are good investments for people who want long-term capital growth.

“The genuine shortage of stock in the real estate investment sector has led institutions to look at alternative asset classes and hotels have been one of the main beneficiaries. Where funds would have traditionally invested in office, retail, logistics or industrial assets – they will now look at hotels.

“Hotels are also fighting back against the big accommodation sharing sites with more budget brands. They are re-engineering the hotel offering with more basic, more affordable accommodation which often provides a better, more consistent product than alternative short-term rentals  – which is important for business travellers. And there is a lot of business travel happening right now.

“The acquisition of a hotel may be a pure property transaction, but quite often hotels sit within a corporate wrapper, meaning the transaction involves the full gamut of property, finance, franchising, employment, tax and corporate legal matters – which is good news for advisers to this sector.”

The comment from the law firm follows another report that was published this from Colliers International UK Hotels Market Index highlighted that Edinburgh remains the number-one location for hotel investment.

Marc Finney, head of hotels and resorts consulting at Colliers International, stated: “The UK hotel market adds about 10,000 new rooms each year and this has increased in pace recently, with almost 18,000 new rooms expected to open in 2019. This leaves hotels as a rare bright spot in a property market that is facing challenges in other sectors.”

The top 10 UK spots for hotel investment and development are as follows:

1 Edinburgh
2 Belfast
3 Liverpool
4 Chester
5 Bath
6 London
7 Glasgow
8 Brighton
9 Cambridge
10 Leeds

To have your say on this topic, please tweet us at @HotelDesigns.

Accor’s new lifestyle brand to arrive in 150 destinations by 2030

870 470 Hamish Kilburn

With one hotel open, 10 in the pipeline and a further 50 under construction, Accor launches lifestyle brand Tribe… 

Accor continues to expand its portfolio by launching a new lifestyle brand in the midscale segment, TRIBE. The brand launches with the aims to surprise travellers with an original, exciting and carefully curated offer that focuses on style rather than price. Reshaping the traditional hotel experience, guests checking in to TRIBE hotels are promised to be able to live, work and play in contemporary interiors.

TRIBE currently consists of one 126-key address in Perth, Australia – one of the largest inner-city parks in the world. Ten other openings are already scheduled to take place by 2022 in Europe and Asia Pacific, totaling more than 1,700 rooms. “The pipeline of more than 50 hotels currently being negotiated for the coming years leads us to believe that the Tribe brand will achieve significant growth all over the world including in gateway locations such as Paris, London, Singapore, Dubai Bangkok,” said Gaurav Bhushan, Chief Development Officer at Accor. “It will be making its debut in 150 international destinations by 2030.”

Image credit: TRIBE/Accor

At TRIBE, design finds its expression beyond the details. In each living space and for every service, particular attention has been paid to user-friendliness without overlooking either style or comfort. Everything has been designed to increase the sense of space, enhance the decor and improve the customer perception. The design is sleek – the hotel’s common areas, like that of the guest rooms, create a feeling of greater space by opening out onto the exterior.

Several creative areas are available to guests. Working, arranging a meeting or enjoying a drink, everything is possible. As welcoming as a hotel, as laid-back as a trendy urban hub and as relaxing as a home, Tribe is constantly reinventing itself.

Modern and quirky living area

Image credit: TRIBE/Accor

The modern style is complemented by artfully designed objects giving the perception of an upscale space. Moroso chairs, an array of Jean-Paul Gaultier cushions, lamps provided by the renowned British designer Tom Dixon, etc. From the lobby to the guest rooms, and encompassing the common areas, each TRIBE object has been carefully crafted, selected and installed in order to bring a distinctive decor to the hotel.

Echoing the smart design, TRIBE is going back to basics to give customers what they want, and nothing else. In their rooms, guests will benefit from under-bed storage, have the opportunity to unwind in front of the Smart TV or enjoy a refreshing shower using Kevin Murphy professional products. Nespresso coffee capsules and T2 teabags are provided free of charge in place of a pricey minibar. A Grab & Go station is also available 24/7.

As a world-leading actor in the travel and lifestyle sectors, Accor continues to expand its brand portfolio. Following the success of JO&JOE and partnerships with 25Hours, Mama Shelter and, more recently, sbe Entertainment (including the Delano, SLS, The House of Originals, Mondrian and Hyde brands), Accor proceeds with the enforcement of its lifestyle ecosystem.

25hours to arrive in Denmark in 2021

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Adding to its 13 hotels in Europe, 25hotels signs a milestone contract to unveil a new hotel in Denmark designed by Martin Brudnizki Design Studio…

Hotel Group 25hours Hotel Company is preparing to expand its arm deeper into Europe by signing a long-term lease agreement with the Hines real estate company for a building in Copenhagen’s Old Town that will offer 243 rooms, a wellness area and a large, landscaped courtyard.

“We are currently aiming to open in June 2021,” said Florian Kollenz, chief development officer of the 25hours Hotel Co. “Copenhagen has always been a favored destination…We have extensively studied the hotel market for the past five years and have reviewed a number of projects. It has finally worked out for us after several attempts and we couldn’t be happier. The combination of location, size of the property and development partner is simply unique.”

The former university building—next to the Round Tower—was home to the Faculties of Theology and Law until 2017, and was the Royal Porcelain Factory from 1775 and a printers and paper factory from 1885. All these influences will be reflected in the hotel concept. Local architects from BBP Arkitekter in Copenhagen and British interior designers from Brit List winner Martin Brudnizki Design Studios are working on this with the support of the in-house creative team.

James Robson, Hines’ Nordic regional head, said 25hours Hotels will “offer something unique” in central Copenhagen. “Købmagergade’s popular location and the dynamic combination of brands we are looking to partner with will create an attractive destination for international tourists and the domestic market,” he said. “This is a very positive investment in Copenhagen and reflects the city’s growing appeal as an international destination.”

The company already has hotels in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France. In 2020, the company is set to open the 25hours Hotel Firenze and the 25hours Hotel Dubai.

Main image credit: 25hours

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Two new hotels with 500 rooms to arrive at Düsseldorf airport.

1024 576 Hamish Kilburn

H-Hotels signs a new contract for H2 Hotel and H4 Hotel at Düsseldorf airport, both slated to open in 2024…

H-Hotels Group is embarking upon the next stage of its dual brand concept by announcing two new hotels at Düsseldorf airport. The hotels will be constructed on Wanheimer Straße, in the immediate vicinity of Düsseldorf airport, and will be of particular interest to business travellers as a conference and congress venue.

The building complex will occupy grounds of around 15,000 square metres, located to the north of the state capital of North Rhine-Westphalia. It will host an H2 Hotel featuring 237 rooms as well as an H4 Hotel offering 264 rooms. A generous conference centre with an area of around 1,000 square metres will be available to guests of both hotels. This will also be the case for the planned fitness centre and ‘sky bar’ on the eighth floor. Around 18,000 square metres of office facilities will occupy the area that is parallel to the hotels. An underground car park with 700 parking spaces will complete the facilities.

Thanks to its unbeatable location in the immediate vicinity of the airport, the terminals can be reached using the SkyTrain in just a few minutes. The ICE long-distance train station is just five minutes away, which means that both the city centre of Düsseldorf as well as the exhibition complex can also be reached quickly using public transport.

“Our dual brand concept with its impressive conference facilities is the perfect response to this exclusive location, right next to one of the largest airports in the country,” said Alexander Fitz, CEO of H-Hotels AG. “This means that travellers can choose between completely different accommodation options depending on their preferences.”

The real estate partners for the project are Nördliche Spitze GmbH & Co. KG, a joint venture between Reggeborgh, Delta Project Development, and Kondor Wessels. Managing Directors Johannes G.S. Hegeman and Lars Stillmann are delighted by the joint project: “In the H-Hotels Group we have found a very experienced hotel operator, whose concept corresponded perfectly with the project and its environment. Future office users will be able to take advantage of all of the hotel’s services within the building.”

Reggeborgh is a family-led investment company from the Netherlands and has also been active as a property business in Germany for more than 25 years. The company is responsible for the fund and asset management of several property funds in Germany and the Netherlands, with which Reggeborgh is also significantly involved. Another of the company’s fields of activity is the development and management of projects for high-quality residential and commercial property projects. In this respect, Reggeborgh stands for the sustainable and innovative development of ambitious property projects, as well as their implementation.

“The fundamental idea behind their property developments is the C2C concept.”

With more than 120 completed projects, primarily within Germany and the Netherlands, the Delta Group is active as a property development company. The fundamental idea behind their property developments is the C2C concept. The intelligent use of all kinds of resources – as well as the possible reutilisation of these resources – is one of the challenges facing the property sector of today and the future. The value of the group’s current portfolio, with a focus on residential and commercial properties, is in excess of €500 million.

Kondor Wessels boasts more than 25 years of experience in the development, planning and construction of residential properties, care homes, and office properties as well as mixed residential districts. With all of its projects, the company takes responsibility for the entire construction process as a partner, as well as delivering added value – all from a single source. Currently, more than 38 property projects with a total value of more than 700 million euros are being supervised by Kondor Wessels in Berlin, Frankfurt and North Rhine-Westphalia.

The project was supervised by Horwath HTL Germany – hcb hospitality competence berlin GmbH, operating as a consultant. The tenants were assisted by GVW Graf von Westphalen lawyers, and the lessors were assisted by lawyers from Bornheim and Partners.

Main image credit: H-Hotels

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts to arrive in Okinawa, Japan

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Four Seasons Resort and Private Residences Okinawa, which will shelter 120 guestrooms and suites, is expected to complete in 2023…

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and Berjaya Okinawa Development Co. Ltd. (“Berjaya Okinawa”) have announced its new development on the island of Okinawa. The project will debut as part of the development’s master plan as Four Seasons Resort and Private Residences Okinawa.

Comprising a total of 100 acres (more than 40 hectares) of beachfront, the project site is located along the western coast of the island, approximately 31 miles (50 kilometres) northeast of Naha International Airport, with easy access by highway from the airport and close to tourist attractions. The Resort will comprise 30 acres (12 hectares) of the project development land area, with 120 hotel rooms, 120 residences and 40 villas. The project is expected to take approximately four years to complete with a total development cost of USD 400 million and estimated gross development value of USD 1 billion.

“Four Seasons Resort and Private Residences Okinawa is another iconic project in Japan for the Berjaya Group, emulating the success of Four Seasons Hotel and Residences Kyoto, which officially opened in December 2016,” said Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Vincent Tan (“TSVT”), Founder and Executive Chairman of BCorp. “I am sure that with the prestigious Four Seasons branding and management, along with its strategic location in central Okinawa, the hotel will be one of the best on the island of Okinawa.”

“We are proud to continue our successful partnership with Berjaya Group with another exceptional project in Japan, extending our presence in the region and offering both guests and residents more chances to experience Four Seasons,” says Bart Carnahan, Executive Vice President, Global Business Development, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “Together with Berjaya, we will not only create the very finest resort and residences of the highest quality, but will also offer a level of unparalleled service, one that is synonymous with the name Four Seasons around the globe.”

The master plan for Four Seasons Resort and Private Residences Okinawa, including planning and landscape architecture, is developed by internationally renowned landscape architecture and urban design firm EDSA Inc, and world-renowned Japanese architects Kengo Kuma and Kuniken will serve as joint architects of the project. Kengo Kuma’s work has been internationally acknowledged and he was chosen to design Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium for the 2020 Olympic Games recently; and Kuniken is the largest architecture firm in Okinawa.

The vision is to create a destination that portrays the cultural heritage of Okinawa island along with its natural landscape and resources. The Resort will be anchored by a resident beach club nestled on the east side, where guests as well as the homeowners will be able to access the natural beach. Additionally, the low-density layout of the resort will also allow guests and homeowners to access every amenity by foot, bicycles or golf carts. The resort facilities will include an all-day dining restaurant, specialty dining and lounge, retail shops and recreation facilities, as well as public grounds and gardens.

Main image credit: Four Seasons Resorts

Radisson Blu opens two hotels in Abu Dhabi

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Radisson Blu has announced the opening of two hotels in Abu Dhabi…

Two new Radisson Blu-branded landmark hotels have arrived in Abu Dhabi, one of which is located on the vibrant and iconic sea walk of Abu Dhabi, while the other is situated in one of the UAE’s cultural gems, known as the Garden City for its natural springs, plantations and lush palm groves.

“We’re delighted to begin 2019 in such a positive manner with the opening of these amazing properties in the UAE, arriving under the upper upscale Radisson Blu flag,” said Tim Cordon, Area Senior Vice President, Middle East and Africa, Radisson Hotel Group. “Both properties remain iconic landmarks in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, offering guests the opportunity to enjoy such unique locations. Abu Dhabi continues to flourish as a destination, with significant investment going into demand generators for the tourism sector – from cultural landmarks to entertainment and leisure offerings. We’re proud to be playing a supporting role in this evolution.”

Khalid Anib, Chief Executive Officer, Abu Dhabi National Hotels, said: “We’re pleased to lead our hotels into their next generation under the globally recognized Radisson Blu brand. Both hotels are undergoing extensive renovation works that will see them reach leading standards. Each hotel has its own distinct and attractive offering for both business and leisure segments. We’re confident that our guests will enjoy many memorable moments at our hotels, whilst discovering all that Abu Dhabi and Al Ain has to offer.”

Radisson Blu Hotel & Resort, Abu Dhabi Corniche

Image credit: Radisson Blu

Offering stunning views of Abu Dhabi’s coastline, the Radisson Blu Hotel & Resort, Abu Dhabi Corniche is ideally located for travellers looking to enjoy the hotel’s extensive leisure facilities and private beach or explore the city centre attractions.

Stepping inside, the hotel also has everything guests need to enjoy memorable moments. As well as 327 spacious rooms and suites, the Radisson Blu Hotel & Resort Abu Dhabi Corniche brings together culinary excellence and entertainment. The nine restaurants provide an ample choice of international cuisines for breakfast, lunch or dinner, while the three swimming pools, spa, fitness centre and the beach club offer plenty of opportunities for relaxation. The meeting and events space can host events for 10 to 2,000 guests, with 14 meeting rooms, two ballrooms and outdoor facilities that include a private beach club for special events.

Radisson Blu Hotel & Resort Al Ain

Image credit: Radisson Blu

Set in the UAE’s remarkable Garden City, the Radisson Blu Hotel & Resort Al Ain gives guests the opportunity to enjoy an authentic UAE experience away from the urban buzz of the main cities. The hotel is located in one of Al Ain’s stunning historic properties and offers easy access to a number of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Well-equipped for guests looking to relax or explore, the hotel features 210 rooms including a range of suites, villas and studios – as well as six restaurants and four bars. It also has a fantastic selection of leisure facilities, including swimming pools, tennis courts, a sauna and steam room. In addition to this 1,070sqm of event space (including four versatile meeting rooms and the Oasis Ballroom) provides a unique setting for events – especially the ballroom that can host 650 guests or the garden area that’s ideal for social gatherings.

Main image credit: Radisson Blu

Top five stories of the week: New hotel openings, living coral inspires Kaboom rug and Citizenm’s award-winning Dometic Drawer minibar

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Following a swathe of new hotel openings, editor of Hotel Designs Hamish Kilburn, lists this week’s top stories…

As the year comes to a close and we head into 2019, the editorial desk at Hotel Designs has witnessed a major uplift in known hotel brands expanding into yet-to-be discovered areas this week.

This also coincides with the feature for January 2019, where we will have a key focus on new hotel launches and spas. If you wish to find out more, or know of a product that we should be talking about, please contact Zoe Guerrier on 01992 374059 or z.guerrier@forumevents.co.uk.


1) Curio Collection by Hilton opens in Canary Wharf

Lincoln Plaza London
Located for the curious traveller looking to explore the city, Lincoln Plaza London is a short distance from iconic landmarks such as the Tower of London, Big Ben, the London Eye, Buckingham Palace and The O2. The hotel echoes the sleek architectural cues of Canary Wharf, drawing inspiration from the area’s rich industrial heritage.

2) Illullian unveils Kaboom rug in living coral
Illulian unveil Kaboom ru
Kaboom depicts a great explosion that recalls the action painting, a highly-charged, impulsive style of abstract gestural painting during which paint is energetically splashed, spilt or dribbled onto a canvas. The outcome? A veritable work of art: Kaboom is the distinctive, irreverent sign of a splash of colour, enhanced by the use of blue & living coral.

3) Citizenm agree to use award-winning Dometic Drawer minibar

Lifestyle hotel brand CitizenM has selected Dometic to equip its rooms with stylish Noiseless Drawer Minibars and sleek in room Top Opening Safes. Dometic, a brand widely associated for providing products for use in recreational vehicles and premium car are devoted to trying to enrich people’s experiences away from home.

4) Four Seasons opens its first Greece Hotel
Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel
Long a favoured playground of Athenians and international celebrities, the Astir Palace Hotel is now being transformed into the first Four Seasons experience in Greece. Following a significant renovation and reinvention, a new generation of travellers is poised to fall in love with this very special seaside enclave.

5) Longevity Wellness worldwide takes state-of-the-art Wellness Hotel to Portugal

June 2019 will witness the grand opening of the five-star Longevity Health & Wellness Hotel, located in Alvor, Portugal. The state-of-the-art wellness centre is the first of its kind in the region, where it will boast modern, integrative and regenerative medicine with advanced wellness and preventative diagnostics, therapies and programmes.

Great Hotels of the World sees increased investment over next two years

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The increased investment comes after Great Hotels of the World was recently acquired by GuestCentric… 

Great Hotels of the World (GHOTW), which includes in its collection properties such as Atlantis The Palm Dubai and Altis Belém Hotel & Spa, will receive more than €3,000,000 investment over the next two years.

GHOTW is a well-established sales and marketing hotel representation company for upscale independent hotels, specialising in the business travel and MICE market.  Following GuestCentric’s full acquisition of the brand, GHOTW now provides unparalleled access to technology, and high-tech, high-touch experiences to its member hotels across the world.

GuestCentric’s investment will be focused in enhancing GHOTW’s presence in the bleisure market. The GHOTW portfolio includes 60 hotels in prime locations, with an average of 150+ bedrooms, and always with superb business and meeting facilities. Crucially, each hotel also has exceptional leisure and spa facilities, meaning they are perfectly positioned to target bleisure travellers.

Image credit: GHOTW

Since its founding in 2004, GHOTW has offered buyers the utmost in MICE offerings via its venue-searching services in particular, and member hotels have had the benefits of belonging to a larger soft-brand group while retaining individuality and autonomy. Now, members will have access to even more cutting-edge technology and services, following GuestCentric’s investment.

Of the investment, President & CEO of GHOTW, Pedro Colaco, commented: “Following the full acquisition of GHOTW under GuestCentric, we are excited to be bringing together two likeminded brands who put technology and service at the forefront of business and bleisure travel. This renewed investment feels particularly relevant given the bleisure market now affects between half and two thirds of all business trips in the world’s main outbound markets; to stay at the forefront of this sector, we must continue our investment and grow the services as far as we can.”

GHOTW has been providing its members with a globally recognised brand, best-in-class MICE Sales & Lead Generation and Corporate Sales & GDS Connectivity, for many years. Now, hotel members also have access to a cutting-edge digital suite that includes integrated Web Design, Booking Engine and Channel Manager. These services are offered in flexible and modular packages, so that members can commit only to the services relevant to their individual property.

Main image credit: GHOTW

Scandic Hotels to expands with new design-led hotel in Munich

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Scandic Hotels has signed a long-term lease agreement with developers Art-Invest Real Estate and Accumulata Real Estate regarding the operation of a new hotel, Scandic Munich Macherei…

The largest hotel; company in the Nordic countries, Scandic Hotels, will operate the Scandic Munich Macherei, which is expected to open in 2021.

The 234-key hotel will be part of the new area “Macherei”, which will undergo a total transformation, from current industry area to an urban and vibrant neighborhood with space for art and culture, modern offices and open meeting and communication zones. Scandic Munich Macherei is being designed by New York architects HWKN Hollwich Kushner and will be inspired by typical former developed industrial areas such as Brooklyn in New York.

“Scandic Hotels currently has four hotels in operation in Germany.”

“Scandic Munich Macherei is in line with Scandic’s strategy to expand in the largest cities in Germany. Munich is a sought-after city for hotel developments and we are proud to be part of this project that will further raise the awareness of Scandic in Germany,” says Even Frydenberg, President & CEO, Scandic Hotels Group.

Scandic Hotels currently has four hotels in operation in Germany – two in Berlin, one in Hamburg and one in Frankfurt and a second Scandic hotel will also open 2021 in Frankfurt.

“We believe that in Scandic we have found a perfect partner for this project. Scandic has a successful track record of operating prestigious hotels in Germany and will bring a new design edge to the city,” says Dr. Peter Ebertz at Art-Invest Real Estate. “We’re very happy to have entered this agreement and are hoping for future projects together.”

Munich is the third largest city in Germany and a popular business location and financial centre.

Scandic Hotels has 16,000 team members and a network of around 280 hotels in operation and under development in more than 130 destinations. Expanding to Munich confirms the company’s German focus and strategy and the new hotel will be an important addition to Scandic’s hotel portfolio.

Ikos Resorts begins construction on €150 million development project

Hamish Kilburn

The resort will be the company’s fifth property in the Ikos Resort portfolio and first outside of Greece, slated to complete construction in 2020… 

Ikos Resorts has announced its move full speed ahead with the construction of Ikos Andalusia, having recently celebrated the cornerstone laying ceremony at the hotel. Located in Estepona, the €150 million development will be the group’s fifth resort and its first outside of Greece, opening its doors in May 2020.

Construction of Ikos Andalusia started on November 15 with the placing of the first stone and will complete in March 2020. Once the works are complete, the resort will initiate a pre-opening period during April and will start welcoming guests in May 2020.

The objective of the company is to position Ikos Andalusia as a benchmark for excellence in the luxury all-inclusive resorts sector in Spain, bringing its award-winning* Infinite Lifestyle experience to the Costa del Sol.

Ikos Resorts announced the acquisition of the current Costa del Sol Princess hotel in Estepona in the first quarter of 2018. The brand will invest a total of €150 million in the reconstruction of the current building and its adaptation to the product and service standards of Ikos Resorts.

“We are also delighted to be transforming the existing property into a world-class premium resort, adding further to the proven success story of Ikos Resorts, while investing further in beautiful Estepona and this magnificent region, said  Dr. Andreas Andreadis, CEO of Sani/Ikos Group. By offering premium holiday experiences to international luxury travelers we aim to contribute in Estepona’s development as a top luxury tourism destination worldwide”.

The ceremony of the first stone was attended by different representatives of the company at an international level – Andreas Andreadis, CEO of Sani/Ikos Group; Luis Herault, CEO of Ikos Iberia, as well as local and regional authorities, who wanted to support the presentation of a project that will constitute as a milestone in the tourism transformation process in the region.

“Located on the shores of a 14,000 square meter beach, Ikos Andalusia will offer 411 rooms and suites.”

José María Urbano, Mayor of Estepona, thanked Ikos Resorts for investing in Estepona and expanding the city’s tourism offering.  “We are convinced that this new high-end resort will strengthen Estepona’s touristic brand in the international markets, while promoting employment and the revitalization of the economic sectors linked to tourism”, he said.

On another note, Luis Herault, Chief Executive Officer of Ikos Iberia, commented: “With Ikos Andalusia, we will contribute to further develop Estepona as a high end destination by offering world class service excellence and individual unique Ikos touches such as the Dine-Out Service, which includes selected restaurants from the surrounding area in our offer to our guests, the Local Discovery complimentary drive around experience promoting interesting destination experiences, sourcing local produce, the Ikos Green initiatives and recruiting approx. 60% of the minimum of 635 jobs required, from the local community.”

Located on the shores of a 14,000 square meter beach, Ikos Andalusia will offer 411 rooms and suites. In addition, the new resort will house seven restaurants, top-level sports facilities, a theatre, 3,100 square meters of heated and outdoor swimming pools, and a spa. It will also offer Ikos Deluxe Collection, an exclusive service meticulously created for the most discerning guests, offering a wide range of privileges and services including the use of reserved pool and beach areas.

Ruby Hotels unveils plans for UK and international expansion in 2019 and 2020

Hamish Kilburn

The Munich-based hotel brand, Ruby Hotels, has announced plans to open an additional eight hotels by 2020…

Pioneering the ‘Lean Luxury’ concept, Ruby Hotels is attempting to break new ground in international hotel developement as it announces that it will add eight new hotels to its portfolio by 2020.

The hotel group, which currently operates six hotels, plans to expand the brand across international waters with a hotel slated to open its first UK-based hotel, opening on London’s vibrant Southbank in Autumn 2019. In addition, the Group is preparing to open hotels in areas such as Zurich, Cologne, Frankfurt and Shanghai before the end of 2020.

The ‘Lean Luxury’ model eschews hotel features typically associated with high-end properties, such as in-house restaurants, mini-bars and room service. These are replaced with communal areas serving an organic breakfast without the need of a chef or full kitchen, as well as ‘maxi bar’ vending machines and galley kitchens.

The guestrooms sheltered underneath each property portray a more relaxed vibe. Each room is luxurious, white and clean-looking with strong interior statements in the lighting and fittings. Meanwhile, the facilities such as a 24-hour bar, co-working spaces, a boutique movie theatre and a yoga studio appeal to the modern-day traveller and current modern traveller trends.

The public areas in all the hotels balance an industrial look and feel with a distinct music theme running throughout. The corridors, on the other hand are playful, with vibrant pops of colour in the carpet dominating the space.

Modular architectural designs capitalise on space, while flexible, unconventional layouts and intelligent technological solutions allow the hotel group to occupy real-estate traditionally seen as unsuitable for hoteliers, without compromising on the experience offered to guests.

Technology is also a major theme that is explored throughout the properties; in each room guests will find a personal tablet PC and smartphone pre-loaded with Ruby Hotels’ local city guides, social media apps and unlimited data and calls, while a state-of-the-art self-check-in system makes use of tablet-computers to reduce check-in time to under one minute.

Ruby Group, led by founder and CEO Michael Struck, launched in 2013. By having a lean organisational structure and concentrating on the essentials, Ruby Hotels has managed to create a contemporary, affordable form of luxury for modern, cost- and style-conscious customers.

MOB HOTEL speaks to Hotel Designs about expansion plans in Europe and the US

Hamish Kilburn

The hotel group, which launched last year with two properties, has announced large plans to expand its lifestyle portfolio in Europe and the US with a Washington hotel in the pipeline. Editor of Hotel Designs, Hamish Kilburn, sat down with the CEO, Cyril Aouizerate, to find out more.. 

I predict a riot, at least in the hotel scene anyway. Since launching in November of last year, MOB HOTEL has started a revolution, proving that the centre of a city’s action does not have to neccessarily be geographically pinned in the centre of the city. The lifestyle brand has turned up the volume – and thrown in a bit of colour – in the mid-market sector with two quirky hotels; one located in a Paris Flea Market, the other situated riverside in Lyon.

The brainchild of the MOB HOTEL – and its growth – is Cyril Aouizerate, alchemist, founder and CEO. He believes that a great hotel is designed around great people. “My desire to was create movement,” he says. “My objective is to use the hotels in our portfolio to create a new vision in the world that a hotel is more than just a bed for the night. That is why, for me, understanding the culture of each of our hotel’s location is so important.”

 “I can see that this movement flows in the design as much as it does around the people.”

With the support of designers and hotel experts such as the former partner of Standard Hotels, Steve Case, and close friend Philippe Stark, it is no wonder why the brand’s quirky look and feel is turning heads in Europe and beyond. In a press release from the brand, it describes the creative team as a family that is united by a movement for progress. Speaking with Aouizerate, I can see that this movement flows in the design as much as it does around the people. “We don’t have a uniformed design concept for MOB HOTEL properties,” explains Aouizerate. “Each hotel is different, because as far as the design is concerned, we ensure that the property is completely relevant to its surrounding neighborhood. Creating a strong sense-of-place is everything!”

Although each property’s design starts as a blank canvas, the guestrooms and suites are imagined in such a way to be minimal, unpretentious and effortlessly stylish. The clutter that would be evident in a more traditional hotel offering has been removed – and the focus of the MOB HOTEL experience seems to be in the public areas, which are enjoyed by both the guests as well as the locals; a vital ingredient to the brand’s success. “We have taken risks with the location of the properties in order to be able to open larger spaces,” admits Aouizerate. “And, having created areas that can be enjoyed by the locals as well as the guests, we are able to harmoniously bridge the gap between the explorational traveller and the people at the heart of the location, which is always so wonderful to watch.”

The friendly, charming and relaxed attitude attached to the brand could very well be a welcome answer to opening up the mid-market sector within hotel development even more. Speaking to Aouizerate, I am reminded of the many conversations I have had recently that service in hotels should be considering as the extension of the design. Aouizerate explains: “You will never see a security man with crossed arms standing outside any of our hotels. Instead, you will find a warm and friendly character welcoming people – guests and locals – inside.

But where next for the brand that is slowly making its mark on the European hotel scene? Crossing oceans and several time zones, Aouizerate believes that his concept has no boundaries, with plans to open properties in Boston, LA, Washington, New York and of course expand in Europe with another HOTEL PARIS Gare de l’EST due to open next year.

The mid-market sector in hotel development is booming, and with the growing demand for affordable luxury, hotels are having to think further and further outside the box in order to stand out, nailing their marketing colours and USPs to the mast. As with all great ideas and launches, however, uncertainty and criticism from outsiders soon follows, and this was no different for the start of MOB HOTEL’s early years. “We had to destroy, slowly, the prejudice. When you are on the fringes of the city centre of  Paris, it feels as if you are on the other side of a huge wall,” explains Aouizerate. “This was a difficult at the beginning, but once we won over the locals, the rest follows.”

As the hotel group grows into new territories, becoming infected by many local cultures along the way, I end my meeting with Aouizerate with the strong feeling that this brand is one to keep an eye on. With each opening, it will help travellers explore new places and things while comfortably encouraging bonds between fellow guests and other people in the neighbourhood – all under a quirky shell that can change its colours in a blink of an eye. For this reason, I look forward to this modern family evolving in time.

 

IN CONVERSATION WITH: Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO, Meliá Hotels International

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To identify what it takes to be at the helm of one of the most established luxury hotel brands, editor of Hotel Designs Hamish Kilburn sat down with Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO, Meliá Hotels International Gabriel Escarrer Jaume to discuss core values, sustainable goals and all things design…

Since first meeting Gabriel Escarrer Jaume three years ago at what was the newly opened ME London, things have changed – but the same visionary remains to steer Meliá Hotels International into new waters, while keeping the brand fresh and always ahead of the curve. But in addition to the more obvious evolution that a hotel chain experiences – with new openings hapenning all over the world – Escarrer Jaume is also leading strong initiatives throughout the brand. The brand is reducing water usage per stay by eight per cent, achieving 70 per cent overall green energy use, all while achieving sustainability certification for 52 per cent of hotels. In addition, he aims to generalise sustainability clauses and codes in agreements and relationships with suppliers, ensure 90 per cent of suppliers are local and reduce CO2 emissions by 18.4 per cent per stay. It seems as if our meeting at WTM 2018 has come an appropriate time, and in between international phone calls to suppliers and contractors while keeping track of the 325 open hotels within the portfolio, he joins me for a coffee.

Hamish Kilburn: Having read a lot about the hotel group’s plans, how are you achieving to reduce water usage throughout the entire hotel portfolio?
Gabriel Escarrer Jaume: Sustainability has to always played a major role for the family owned company – we have strong values. Water savings is key. We have been working to  help reduce water wastage mainly in the public areas. We also have plans to help save water usage in the rooms without it affecting the overall guest experience. The goal is to continue to reduce water wastage per stay by eight per cent year-on-year, and we have done so for the past three years.

 “I believe that our hotels have helped the modern traveller explore new areas around the world.”

HK: I believe that the group has 59 hotels currently in the pipeline, when will they be completed by?
GEJ: The goal is to have these open within the next two and half years.

HK: How has consumer behaviour changed in the last few years, and how have you adapted your hotels to cater to the modern traveller?
GEJ: It affects it a lot. In my opinion, sustainability has always played a major role in hotel design, but even more so now, it seems. I believe that our hotels have helped the modern traveller explore new areas around the world. Part of our business model has been to develop hotels in new destinations. As you would expect, we are now in places such as Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mexico, Costa Rica etc. But we are also making an impact in places like Zanzibar, Tanzania and Cape Verde. We approach each new hotel with tremendous respect to the local culture and the environment.

HK: Africa seems to be a major focus at the moment, why is that?
GEJ: Yes, but you won’t find us in the capital cities as we, like lour guests, prefer to explore new areas that are not necessarily on the tourist map. Meliá Hotels were the pioneers in Cape Verde, for example. We feel as if we can do the same in Africa. Serengeti is a focus for us, as well as Arusha which will be announced soon. There is a huge potential to develop hotels in Africa – and in fact the third-world.

HK: With The Brit List 2018 on the horizon, why is the UK such a major design hot spot?
GEJ: London has so much to offer for creative minds. Like all of our hotels around the world, London is iconic in its design. When guests check into the ME London, we want them to recognise and to feel the design of British architect Norman Foster. All of our hotels around the world have been deliberately designed with local architects and designers. We are working very closely with Zaha Hadid Architects at the moment with a hotel in Malta. Paris’ Melia ME was designed by Dominique Le Roux. All of these hotels have been created, from the very beginning, by real local legends in design.

HK: Will Meliá Hotels International be making a splash in Malta?
GEJ: Yes, in fact we are working with Zaha Hadid Architects on that project at the moment, which is scheduled to open next year.

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

HK: What’s your favourite colour?
GEJ: Blue
HK: What’s the number-one tool for success in hotel development?
GEJ: Location, service and product (sorry, that’s three)
HK: What can you not travel without?
GEJ: My iPhone, my iPad and coffee
HK: Who is your inspiration?
GEJ: My father who founded Meliá Hotels International
HK: How do you shut off from work?
GEJ: I love sailing – it’s so peaceful.

Meliá Hotels International is the leading hotel Group in Spain and the third leading Globally, and has over 50 new hotels in its current pipeline. The Group is continuing to invest in loyal markets such as Spain, continuing the regeneration of Magaluf with pivotal new opening The Plaza, whilst expanding into emerging markets such as APAC, where the Group is opening 20 new hotels before the end of 2020. In fact, it seems as if the hotel group is expanding all over the globe and delving into areas where no group before has dared to venture.

 

Top five stories of the week: New artistic heights, when two industries collide and The Brit List 2018 approaches

Hamish Kilburn

Feeling inspired from recent conversations and exclusives, editor of Hotel Designs Hamish Kilburn, lists this week’s top stories… 

The most common answer I hear when I ask designers, architects and hoteliers where they source their inspiration from is ‘everywhere’. The more I hear this answer, the more I sit and wonder how far-reaching everywhere can be, and can anything really spark the concept of a great idea?

If you’re looking for a company that is pushing the boundaries in where inspiration can be found, look no further. The creative genius’ at Zaha Hadid Design demonstrated to the world late last month that design has no ceiling. The design firm unveiled a new collection of fitness clothing, believe it or not, having turned to the arena of performance sportswear to find new ideas and (that key word) inspiration. Since this product dropped, the thought that inspiration can lead to innovation has been a theme that has seamlessly weaved itself into the majority of this week’s headlines. This comes as the team at Hotel Designs prepare to unveil The Brit List 2018, which will name the top 75 inspirational individuals (designers, hoteliers and architects) who are keeping Britain at the centre of the design world. Prepare to be inspired, ladies and gentlemen, as we break down this week’s top five stories.

1) SPOTLIGHT ON: Reaching new creative heights with artist Beth Nicholas

Known artist Beth Nicholas is used to seeing her masterpieces on the walls of some of the world’s finest examples of hotel design. Among working with clients such as Christian Louboutin, Langham Hotels and Waldorf Astoria, one of the most challenging briefs came recently when she was asked to create a large art installation for The Address Downtown Dubai‘s lobby area. I was fortunate enough to catch up with Nicholas after the hotel had reopened and she could finally take a sigh of relief now that her art is the first impression for guests checking in.

2) Architecture meets fashion: Zaha Hadid Design’s latest collaboration weaves a new direction in sportswear technology

Design giant Zaha Hadid Design unveils collaboration with a Swiss performance sportswear brand, suggesting that inspiration for designers and architects is not limited to one – or even two – industries. Hamish Kilburn investigates.

3) The Brit List 2018: Less than two weeks to go

 

There are still limited tickets available to attend The Brit List 2018 on November 2018 at BEAT London. The evening will welcome Britain’s leading interior designers, hoteliers, architects and suppliers to celebrate Britain as an international design hub in hotel design. As well as unveiling the 75 most influential designers, hoteliers and architects who deserve their place in The Brit List 2018Hotel Designs will also announce the winners of the six newly launched awards. These include:

  • Inspiration in Design – Innovative use of Technology (Sponsored by DLAppTap)
  • Inspiration in Design – Hotelier of the Year
  • Inspiration in Design – Interior Designer of the Year (Sponsored by Tarkett)
  • Inspiration in Design – Architect of the Year
  • The Eco Award
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Hotel Industry

4) Amsterdam named top city for hotel investment for third year in a row

Amsterdam

Investors have named Amsterdam as the most attractive European city for hotel investment for the third year in a row, according to the 2018 European Hotel Investment Survey from Deloitte. The findings, based on responses from 122 senior hospitality figures from across the world, are revealed ahead of the 30th annual European Hotel Investment Conference taking place in London this week.

5) DLAppTap confirmed as sponsor of The Brit List 2018 Innovation In Technology Award

Following its official launch at the Independent Hotel Show last monthDLAppTap has been confirmed as the official Sponsor of the Innovation In Technology Award at the The Brit List 2018.

Trump Hotels’ prices down as much as 65 per cent

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The cheapest room rate found at Trump Doral in Florida is just £254 for two nights in November 2018, that’s 35 per cent cheaper than last year and 65 per cent cheaper than January 2017 at Donald Trump’s inauguration…

Travel currency expert FairFX, has revealed the cost of a stay in Trump hotels around the world has dramatically dropped since Trump’s inauguration, as American voters hit the polls again for the USA’s mid-term elections – showing it doesn’t necessarily pay to be president.

Two years on from Donald Trump’s shock election victory, the outcome of these votes could affect how the rest of Trump’s presidency turns out and are considered a test of the President’s time in office so far.

Outside of his political performance, FairFX has investigated the success of the President’s hotel empire, revealing the price of a luxury room at his hotels have dropped by as much as 65 per cent since his inauguration in January 2017 and are down by 35 per cent since this time last year. This research suggests that the success of the Trump brand could be being impacted by Trump’s time at the White House.

“Even the most expensive room at a Trump hotel – the Trump Townhouse – is down £8,813 for a 2-night stay in November 2018.”

Of the 22 room prices tracked since Trump’s inauguration, 17 of them have slumped by between 10 per cent and 65 per cent with an average price slump of £865.

The dramatic slump in hotel prices could go some way to explaining how the president – who became the first billionaire president in U.S. history when he took office – was knocked 138 places lower on this year’s Forbes 400 list where his net worth was listed as $3.1billion, down $1.4billion compared to the end of 2015.1

Even the most expensive room at a Trump hotel – the Trump Townhouse – is down £8,813 for a 2-night stay in November 2018 at £38,687 compared to the £47,501 price tag it boasted in January 2017.

Meanwhile, a stay in the Presidential Suite in the Trump Doral in Florida comes in at £4,936 less than January 2017 – a difference of 35 per cent. And compared to this time last year, the price tag is 19 per cent less.

But it’s not just the premium suites that have taken a price hit, superior and deluxe rooms are also being sold at much cheaper rates compared to the start of Trump’s presidency.

A two-night stay in a ‘Superior Room’ at both Trump Las Vegas and Trump Vancouver is now £342 and £314 respectively cheaper than it would have been back in January 2017.

And it seems that some room prices are slumping around the world, as the price of a Deluxe Room at either Trump Waikiki in Hawaii or Trump Turnberry in Scotland is now two per cent less than January 2017, with a price drop of £251 and £140 respectively.

Top Trumps

But it’s not all bad news for Trump’s Hotel empire as five of the hotel room prices have been bumped up, with an Ocean View Suite in Trump Turnberry up 44 per cent (£400) compared to January 2017 and 35 per cent compared to this time last year.

 

References available on request

Amsterdam named top city for hotel investment for third year in a row

Hamish Kilburn
Deloitte’s European Hotel Investment Survey 2018 reveals that Amsterdam is the number-one hot spot hotel investment, as London climbs to second…

Investors have named Amsterdam as the most attractive European city for hotel investment for the third year in a row, according to the 2018 European Hotel Investment Survey from Deloitte. The findings, based on responses from 122 senior hospitality figures from across the world, are revealed ahead of the 30th annual European Hotel Investment Conference taking place in London this week.

The news comes in after Independent Hotel Show announces its 2019 Amsterdam arrival. The European design hub continues to be seen as the most attractive hotel investment destination in Europe, with more than a third of respondents (34 per cent) ranking the Dutch capital top. London (24 per cent) has climbed back to second place from fourth in 2017, ahead of Paris (22 per cent) and Madrid (19 per cent). Dublin (18 per cent) and Barcelona (16 per cent), which featured in the top three last year, have slipped to fifth and sixth, respectively.

London’s rise comes despite 70 per cent of respondents saying that the UK is at a ‘peak’ or ‘downturn’ in its investment cycle. By contrast, investors identified France (50 per cent), Greece (48 per cent) and Spain (46 per cent) as the European markets that are currently on the ‘upturn’.

Andreas Scriven, head of hospitality and leisure at Deloitte, comments:  “When it comes to hotel investment, Amsterdam is head and shoulders above the rest of Europe. It remains a standout destination for business and leisure, and is strategically placed as a gateway city. Given the investor appetite and lack of supply in the Dutch capital, we expect to see further inbound investment in 2019.

“It is reassuring to see London climb back up the rankings, and somewhat curious considering the uncertainty around the manner in which the UK will exit the EU in less than five months’ time. For London to continue to remain attractive to hotel investors, it will need to address concerns around over-supply and high pricing. Investors will be keeping a close eye on currency markets in the coming months, as sterling’s weakness is likely to be a key driver of inbound investment into the UK capital.”

Investors still expect top-line growth in the Regional UK hotel market

Respondents were also asked about their investment appetite towards the UK regional hotel landscape. For the fifth year in a row, Edinburgh has been named the most attractive UK regional city for hotel investments in the next 12 months, according to 39 per cent of respondents. Second-place sees Cambridge (30 per cent) overtaking Manchester (28 per cent). All three cities are also expected to see the highest growth in RevPAR (revenue per available room) in 2019.

The majority of hotel investors are optimistic about 2019 growth prospects in the Regional UK hotel market, with 52% of respondents expecting RevPAR growth to be between one – three per cent across the UK, although this is down from 70 per cent last year. Hotel investors were less confident when asked about 2019 expectations for gross operating profit per available room (GOPPAR), however. One in four respondents (25 per cent) expect GOPPAR to enter negative territory in London over the next 12 months, while 21 per cent expect negative GOPPAR in the Regional UK.

The research also revealed growing concern around pricing multiples, with expectations on EBITDA multiples for both London and Regional UK falling year-on-year. Despite the majority (53 per cent) expecting multiples of 11-14x in 2019, one in four respondents (25 per cent) expect less than 10x multiples across Regional UK, up from 11 per cent last year. Around a third (32 per cent), however, still expect to see EBITDA multiples of over 16x in London, falling slightly from 36 per cent in 2017.

Two-fifths (41 per cent) of respondents expect the primary source of investment into the Regional UK market to come domestically. More than a third (36 per cent) of hospitality leaders expect to see inbound investment coming from Asia Pacific (excluding China and India), increasing from 26 per cent last year. The perceived importance of North America and China as a source of investment has continued to decline, falling by five and ten percentage points respectively year-on-year.

Nikola Reid, director and head of UK hospitality at Deloitte comments: “The majority of hotel investors anticipate continued RevPAR growth in the Regional UK in 2019. However, one only has to scratch away at this surface to reveal clear concerns and intensity in operational cost pressures caused by inflation, staffing challenges and Brexit uncertainties. With significant headwinds to profitability, UK hotel owners and operators will need to continue to be more innovative with efficiency and productivity to preserve the bottom line whilst having to adapt to ever changing consumer habits and value expectations.

“Despite this, we’ve seen no shortage of capital chasing the exceptional level of portfolio activity this year fuelled by a number of new players in town and ensuing aggressive pricing. With a number of portfolios and large single assets still expected to come to market next year, and, as we move closer to a resolution on the Brexit negotiations, the strength of the transaction market may be tested.”

Economic backdrop fuelling concerns around talent retention

According to the research, 38 per cent of respondents identified ‘lack of economic growth’ as the number one strategic risk facing the European hotel industry over the next five years. Terrorism, which was last year’s number one risk after a series of high-profile attacks across Europe in 2017, has slipped to second place (34 per cent, down from 67 per cent).

In order to address the staffing issue prevalent in the European hospitality sector, three-fifths of hotel investors believe increasing pay would help attract the top talent over the next three years. Ensuring a faster career progression (48 per cent) and improving employee benefits (43 per cent) would also help attract and retain employees, according to respondents.

Scriven added: “Hotel investors are understandably concerned about the macroeconomic environment, which has exacerbated fears about attracting and retaining talent. Understandably, hospitality leaders are thinking about how they can keep hold of their staff. This is why we are seeing evidence of the need to increase pay and improve benefits packages, in order to mitigate factors out of their control.”

Main image credit: Pexels

UK Trade associations react to the Autumn Budget Statement 2018

Hamish Kilburn
UKinbound, Hotel Booking Agents Association and the British Property Federation comment on The Budget 2018…

Following Philip Hammond’s delivery of his third Budget as chancellor, UKinbound, Hotel Booking Agents Association (HBAA) and the British Property Federation have commented on the key points that will affect building infrastructure and tourism in the UK.

UKinbound

UKinbound – the trade association that represents nearly 400 of the UK’s top tourism businesses – has cautiously welcomed some of the new policies and initiatives outlined in the chancellor’s 2018 Budget but urges the Government to re-consider its decision not to change VAT or APD regimes, particularly in Northern Ireland.

New policies that will have a positive effect on the UK’s tourism industry include:

  • The opening of e-passport gates to citizens from the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan which will help to reduce queues and waiting times for these visitors.
  • Funding to help restore historic high streets and for Coventry to help it prepare for hosting the UK City of Culture in 2021.
  • The roll out of full fibre broadband for rural areas, which will help tourism businesses to connect and market their businesses more effectively to visitors.
  • Funding to repair and improve roads and extension of the Transforming Cities Fund, which will help to improve connectivity and transport links in cities.  This will help to encourage tourists to visit and further explore the UK’s cities, likely resulting in increased economic benefit across the whole of the UK from enhanced visitor spend.

“We are pleased that the Budget includes several policies that will have a positive impact on the UK’s tourism industry,” said Chairman Mark McVay. “These include the welcome introduction of e-gates for more of our international visitors, improvement of  transport links in our cities and digital connectivity in rural areas and funding to help restore and sustain our historic high streets.

“However, it is disappointing that there will be no change to APD and VAT regimes at this point, even though there is strong evidence that cutting these taxes will in fact generate more revenue for the Government in the long term.”

HBAA

Louise Goalen, HBAA Chair, comments on on the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget Statement: “While we welcome many of the Chancellor’s initiatives and the benefits they will bring to the UK hospitality and events industry, there is not enough to address the major talent gap we are facing.

“On a more positive note, it’s good to see a reduction in business rates for smaller companies.”

“The changes in the apprenticeship levy are good news and we hope that venues and agencies whose levy has been reduced to 5% will take advantage of this, and take on more trainees under this scheme.”

“UK business events will ultimately benefit from the £30 billion spend on roads and the freeze on fuel duty. However, when it comes to overseas events, a rise in long haul APD is definitely unwelcome, as this will impact the incentive market. On a more positive note, it’s good to see a reduction in business rates for smaller companies as this will help reduce the overheads of some HBAA agency members.

“Let’s hope there is good news in the Chancellor’s ‘red books’ – the important small print that goes with these headline statements.”

The British Property Federation

Melanie Leech, Chief Executive, British Property Federation comments:

Business Rates

It is good to see the Chancellor acknowledge that many small retailers are struggling against powerful headwinds and provide additional relief from business rates. However, Monday’s announcement does not change the fact that at almost 50 per cent, the rate of business rates is simply too high for occupiers of all sorts. It is time to recognise that business rates are unsustainable in their current form and causing untold damage to our economy; time for a fundamental review.

Digital Tax

As the UK economy evolves, so must the tax system – and we welcome that the Government is taking steps to respond to this. However, this is not an alternative to much-needed support for our high streets, which still require urgent support in the form of fundamental business rates reform. They will also require local plans that can drive adaptation, incentives to encourage town centre investment and more flexibility around change of use and we are pleased that the Chancellor recognised this.

“A new tax relief for commercial property owners is a real surprise.”

 

Structures and Buildings Allowance:

A new tax relief for commercial property owners is a real surprise. This move brings the UK more closely in line with the many other countries that already provide tax relief for the cost of building commercial property, making the UK more attractive to invest in. It makes investing in new and refurbished buildings cheaper from a tax perspective, and is a welcome move.

Town centres and high streets

The announcement of additional investment into a Future High Streets Fund is welcome, and when combining with the proposed planning reform and a High Streets Task Force has real potential to be a game changer for urban centres facing a change in the way that people shop, how they spend their leisure time, and where they want to live.

However, it’s crucial not to forget some of the other knotty issues that property owners have to grapple with. We support the proper use of CVAs to help businesses in genuine distress and are keen that CVAs continue to achieve these objectives. There is, however, increasing frustration about the practice of some recent CVAs. The BPF has called on Government to conduct an independent urgent review of CVAs.

Land value uplift

We welcome the Government’s sensible, measured approach to land value uplift. In a noisy environment with multiple views on land value capture being aired, it is pleasing to see such a considered response providing more certainty for developers and local authorities, and enabling more infrastructure provision for local communities.

The Letwin Review

We welcome Sir Oliver Letwin’s recommendations, and in particular, his focus on the need for a more diverse, multi-tenure approach to large sites. The benefits will be three-fold, both helping to address market absorption rates and deliver properties quicker and help to create more sustainable places home to different demographics, socio-economic backgrounds, fostering a greater sense of community. In addition, adding a tenure such as build to rent to a development site brings with it an investor with a long term interest.

The Review also recognised the skills crisis in which we find ourselves. Time is of the essence, and whilst we applaud the Government’s intention to take a few months to consider the response to the wider Review, this is an area in which we need urgent action to sure that we can hit the 300,000 target.

Main image credit: Pixabay

AHC: Best Western shakes hands with Peel Hotels

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The deal will bring all nine Robert Peel’s hotels into the Best Western GB brand…

More than 950 delegates gathered in Manchester for the 15th Annual Hotel Conference (AHC). The positive mood allowed for conversations to flow with ease and the diverse range of speakers and topics created a fantastic opportunity to learn, network and be inspired.

Best Western GB has agreed a group deal with Robert Peel to bring all nine of his hotels into brand.

The deal, which will see all nine properties activated into Best Western’s soft brands over the next 12 months, follows news that Best Western is on track for a record recruitment year.

Robert Peel, chief executive of Peel Hotels Plc, said: “I was looking for a brand that would allow the hotels flexibility to maximise their independence but at the same time support us with distribution, access a global loyalty scheme and benefit from new sales, marketing and revenue technologies. Best Western GB’s range of soft brands and strategy for the future made it the perfect fit for a profitable partnership.”

Rob Paterson, chief executive of Best Western Great Britain, said: “This deal is a great endorsement of our strategy for the future.

“We recognise that owners and operators want to retain control and leverage the independence and heritage of their properties in Great Britain. We work in partnership to provide support, strategies and resources to help them do that driving total revenue and optimising costs

“Over the next 18 months we are investing significantly in new technology which we think will lead the market in sales, marketing and revenue to make our membership more attractive and give owners and operators more compelling reasons to join us.

 

Hilton perpares to more than double its footprint in Africa

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The announcement comes as Hilton Hotels opens ‘legend hotel’ Lagos Airport, Curio Collection by Hilton…

As it continues to grow its presence in Africa by introducing new brands and entering new countries, Hilton has announced it is on track to more than double in size in the next five years with the opening of Legend Hotel Lagos Airport, Curio Collection by Hilton – the company’s first Curio Collection by Hilton hotel in Africa.

Legend Hotel Lagos Airport is located at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, which serves more than eight million passengers each year. The stylish hotel is adjacent to the airport’s private jet terminal and has an exclusive immigrations and customs desk in the hotel for private jet passengers. Handpicked to be part of the exclusive collection of one-of-a-kind hotels and resorts celebrated for their individuality, the hotel joins more than 60 Curio Collection hotels around the world. This is Hilton’s first hotel in Lagos and its second in Nigeria, with an additional seven hotels in its development pipeline for the country.

Speaking ahead of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) in Nairobi, Hilton’s President and CEO, Chris Nassetta, said: “We continue to innovate in Africa with new brands and products, and we are pleased to introduce our Curio Collection brand here with the opening of Legend Hotel Lagos Airport. As the continent continues to undergo rapid urbanization, with the UN forecasting that the world’s 10 fastest-growing cities will all be in Africa by 2035, this hotel is a part of our strategy to connect guests to key cities and airport locations across the region.”

Hilton is seeing strong demand for its brands across the continent and expects to open eight hotels in total across Africa this year, three of which will fly under the Hilton Garden Inn flag. This brand appeals to the rising tide of middle class travelers into and across Africa and the company expects to open at least 16 Hilton Garden Inn hotels in the coming five years, including brand entries in Kampala, Ghana, Malawi, eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) and many other strategic locations across sub-Saharan Africa.

Last year, Hilton launched the Hilton Africa Growth Initiative, which will support the conversion of existing hotels to Hilton brands with an investment of US$50 million over five years. During that period, Hilton expects to secure 100 conversion opportunities with some 15-20,000 rooms added to its portfolio to meet the growing need for quality branded hotels across the continent.

Hilton is committed to growth and opportunity across Africa and has been a continuous presence on the continent since 1959. With 41 open hotels and 53 in its development pipeline in Africa, Hilton expects to double its footprint across the continent in the next five years. This includes market entries in 13 countries where it does not currently operate including Botswana, Ghana, eSwatini (formerly Swaziland), Uganda, Malawi and Rwanda.

Mapped: The UK’s future hotel supply 2018-2021

Hamish Kilburn

Commercial property specialists Savoy Stewart predicts the rise in UK hotel development between now and 2021…

As the industry gears up to this year’s Brit List, which will recognise and celebrate Britain’s best interior designs, hoteliers and architects, a report by commercial property specialist Savoy Stewart suggests that the UK will remain an international hotel design hub as figures suggest major growth in tier two cities in particular.

Last year, the proportion of new build hotels in the UK rose by 37 per cent, which reflects 2.4 per cent growth in the UK hotel supply.

In 2018, new build hotel growth in Britain has continued its upward trajectory. Per Knight Frank’s report UK Hotel Development Opportunities 2018, projected forecasts proclaim the UK hotel market will grow by 3.3 per cent this year, eclipsing 2017 and equating to over 21,000 new hotel rooms. In fact, more than 5,200 new hotel rooms opened during the first six months of 2018 and a further 15,000 hotel rooms have been in the works since then.

“Belfast has experienced the largest increase in new hotel supply.”

Such extensive growth in new build hotels is, after all, fuelling the pace of hotel development across the UK. To achieve this, Savoy Stewart analysed Knight Frank’s Hotel Development Opportunities report in depth, to pull the facts together and present a picture of what the future hotel supply will look like in the next three years (2018 to 2021.)

Belfast has experienced the largest increase in new hotel supply and hotels under construction (as a % of supply) in 2018 – at 34 per cent. Meanwhile, Glasgow (18 per cent) and Manchester (17 per cent) have experienced healthy growth in new hotel supply and hotels under construction in 2018 too.

“London aside, Manchester holds the next highest total of new rooms in the pipeline.”

Comparatively, Hull has experienced the smallest increase in new hotel supply and hotels under construction (as a % of supply) in 2018 – at 2 per cent. Meanwhile, Newcastle (7 per cent) and Leeds (8 per cent) have experienced similar, slow levels of growth in new hotel supply and hotels under construction in 2018.

Future Hotel Supply 2018-2021

In terms of rooms in the pipeline/under construction (2018-2021), it may come as no surprise that London will see the highest number of new rooms developing in the future – at 14,699. The capital accounts for 40 per cent of the development pipeline of hotels under construction in the UK.

London aside, Manchester holds the next highest total of new rooms in the pipeline, with an impressive 2,895 expected, followed closely by Edinburgh with 2,122. With the successful regeneration, transformation and reshaping of several UK cities, largely through joint public/private initiatives and institutional investment; targeted hotel development in key UK cities has been the driving force behind such growth. Manchester is a prime example.

Tier two cities such as Glasgow (1,431), Birmingham (1,371) and Liverpool (1,161) will follow suit, with considerable numbers of new rooms in the pipeline over the next few years.

At the other end of the scale, with far fewer new rooms forecast 2018-2021 is Bath (225), Southampton (209) and Gloucester with 128. East Yorkshire’s port city, Hull, lands last in the list with just 35 new rooms in the pipeline.

With the aim to celebrate the best British designers, architects and hoteliers, this year’s Brit List will take place on November 22 at BEAT London. Please click here in order to purchase your ticket.

Main image credit: Titanic Hotel, Belfast

 

Establishing shot of Budapest

Hotel Development: Budapest is on the up

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HVS has released a new report on the hotel sector in the Hungarian city of Budapest, which highlights the strong recovery the city’s hotels have seen on the back of increased visitor numbers…

A report published by HVS suggests that Budapest, with big name hotel groups planning to open over the next three years, is on the rise when it comes to hotel development.

The capital city of Hungary and the ninth-largest city in the EU, with close to 1.7 million inhabitants in 2018, Budapest traditionally had a strong industrial focus, but has since shifted to the service industries including banking, finance and real estate. The city is also a cultural and historic centre, with several renowned monuments including UNESCO World Heritage sites such as the Buda Castle district and the banks of the Danube. The city is also filled with various museums, parks, squares and a variety of restaurants and bars, making it the perfect weekend destination.

Hotel performance

During the economic crisis (2008-10), hotels experienced drops in visitation. To remain competitive they reduced rates, resulting in price wars. However, the market has recovered strongly, with hotel performance continuously improving, making Budapest one of the fastest-growing hotel markets in Central Europe. The increased arrivals to the city provide a positive outlook for average rate and occupancy growth, already evident in 2016 and 2017, with above-average RevPAR growth in the market.

Hotel Supply

The report mentioned that Hungary has seen continued growth in hotel supply since 2010. As of December 2017, the country had 1,094 hotels providing some 151,000 beds, approximately 35 per cent of which are in Budapest.

Owing to the positive trend in visitor arrivals and the strong trading performance of hotels, there has been increased interest in the city from developers and operators. Several of the world’s leading hotel brands, including Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, Kempinski, InterContinental, Hilton, Marriott and Sofitel, are already represented in Budapest. Within the next three years, Hyatt, as well as Marriott’s W and Luxury Collection brands, are also due to open, which will further boost the draw of the Budapest market. Several other proposed new hotels are also in the pipeline; however, we would also note that construction costs have risen sharply and hence some of these projects might not materialise.

Overview

The outlook for visitation to Budapest remains positive, with an expected continued increase in arrivals to the city. The recent boost in hotel performance is one of the main reasons behind the growing interest from investors, developers and operators in the market. Although RevPAR levels remain somewhat lower compared to other European cities, the development and increased offer of five-star properties is expected to help increase average rates in the market.

Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas Hotel & Residences opens on iconic Las Vegas Strip

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The Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas Hotel & Residences re-brands ahead of an extensive redesign slated to take place in 2019…

Following its debut in South East Asia, Waldorf Astoria has opened a 389-guestroom hotel in Las Vegas. Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas Hotel & Residences brings a new spirit to The Strip, where graceful service meets modern luxury. Formerly Mandarin Oriental, the hotel is now operated by Hilton Management Services and in 2019 it will be redesigned with newly-styled rooms and public spaces.

“Las Vegas continues to be one of the most celebrated and exciting cities in the world, and a destination where visitors seek both extraordinary and remarkable moments,” said Martin Rinck, executive vice president and global head, Luxury & Lifestyle Group, Hilton. “The Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas – delivering on an unrelenting commitment to True Waldorf Service – will be the perfect environment for guests visiting Las Vegas who want to Live Unforgettable and create ever-lasting memories that will extend beyond their stay at the hotel.”

Located in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip, Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas is steps from world-class shopping and entertainment and neighbours the 20,000 seat T-Mobile Arena.

“Two remarkable personalities are being united as Waldorf Astoria arrives in the legendary city of Las Vegas,” says Donald Bowman, General Manager.

Accommodations

Boasting 389 guestrooms and 225 residences, including 55 suites and three expansive Presidential Suites, Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas is set in a luxurious, non-gaming, non-smoking environment. As new design plans and vision emerge, the hotel has embarked on an 18-month journey to reimagine the property’s guestrooms. The current accommodations boast a sleek, contemporary design with floor-to-ceiling windows that frame spectacular views of The Strip and the surrounding desert landscape. Surprise and delight design features include a discreet valet closet, allowing for deliveries without disruption.

Culinary

With exhilarating views, inspired dishes and mesmerizing suspended wine loft, Chef Gagnaire’s award-winning restaurant, Twist, is the first-ever U.S. eatery to serve his legendary interpretation of classic French cuisine. The SkyBar on the 23rd floor brings a distinctive mix of treasured décor and sophisticated ambiance, the perfect accompaniments to the spirited cocktail collection handcrafted by master mixologists. The highly-coveted Tea Lounge offers three afternoon tea times serving the finest blends with sweet accompaniments and paired with unrivalled views overlooking The Strip.

Wellness

Complementing its signature hospitality, the hotel features various spaces for guests looking to escape to a personal sanctuary. The 27,000-square-foot spa spans two entire guest floors, offering a deeply serene environment to pamper the body and re-engage the senses. At the Waldorf Astoria Spa, a new suite of services features a completely customised experience tailored to personal skin qualities, aesthetic expectations and a holistic analysis.

The 8th floor pool deck, a desert retreat tucked away from high-rise towers, offers a chic respite with stunning views, two exquisite pools, two whirlpools and a plunge pool. Redefining relaxation with unobtrusive service, guests can enjoy serenity in poolside cabanas.

Meetings and Events

The property offers 12,000-square feet of stylish, distraction-free function space, delivering perfection on a grand scale and features natural lighting within each meeting room. The glamorous Waldorf Ballroom, for instance, is situated three floors above Las Vegas Blvd and features a unique walk-out balcony and floor-to-ceiling windows featuring views of the Strip.

The opening of the hotel

Main image credit: Waldorf Astoria

 

The Indian Hotel Company Limited (IHCL) signs fourth Taj hotel in Dubai

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The opening of the new Taj hotel in 2022 will increase the company’s inventory to over 1000 keys in the city…

India’s largest and hospitality company, The Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL),  hasannounced the signing of a new Taj hotel at the Deira Creek in Dubai in partnership with Ithra Dubai LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD). The new Taj hotel is a Greenfield project slated to open in early 2022 and will be part of Deira Waterfront Development – one of Dubai’s most significant rejuvenation projects. An urban oasis, the hotel will have approximately 200 spacious rooms and suites with a selection of rooms cantilevered over the water, with scenic waterfront views. The hotel will include all-day dining and specialty restaurants, a bar and lounge, banqueting facilities and a spa.

“The Middle East is a significant market for IHCL.,” said Mr. Puneet Chhatwal, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at The Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL). “We are honoured to partner with Ithra Dubai for this new hotel in Deira – the historical and cultural center of Dubai. IHCL has a long tradition of managing marquee hotels with rich heritage links   across the world.”

Commenting on the partnership, Mr. Issam Galadari, Chief Executive Director, Ithra Dubai LLC, said, “We are delighted to partner with The Indian Hotels Company Limited and look forward to working with them to bring the iconic Taj brand to the Deira Waterfront Development in Dubai.”

Deira is a culturally rich and vibrant part of Dubai which has been part of a major international trade route since time immemorial. Some of the popular attractions in Deira include the Spice Market, Gold Souk, Women’s Museum, Heritage House and the Dubai Dolphinarium.

IHCL also operates Taj Dubai in downtown Business Bay and has two new hotels, Taj Jumeirah Lake Towers and Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, The Palm, Dubai opening in late 2018 and 2019 respectively.

Main image credit: Taj Hotels

Hotel construction pipeline in Europe continues to accelerate forward

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Statistics from Lodging Econometrics show impressive double-digit growth year-over-year in hotel development in Europe…

Lodging Econometrics’ (LE) analysts report another year of accelerating growth for Europe’s hotel construction pipeline which is at the highest level since LE began recording in 2007. The total pipeline stands at 1,388 projects/219,251 rooms for the second quarter of 2018. It is an impressive 18 per cent increase year-over-year (YOY).

Europe had significant growth in new hotel openings in the first half of 2018 with 198 hotels/26,164 rooms, up 38 per cent over the first half of 2017

There are 693 projects/112,580 rooms currently under construction, 403 projects/62,538 rooms planning to start construction in the next 12 months, and 292 projects/44,133 rooms in the early planning stage. Projects currently under construction and those in early planning are also at their highest since 2007.

Europe had significant growth in new hotel openings in the first half of 2018 with 198 hotels/26,164 rooms, up 38 per cent over the first half of 2017 when 144 hotels/21,288 rooms opened. The LE forecast for new hotel openings shows continued growth for the next several years with a total of 367 new hotels/49,295 rooms opening by the end of 2018, followed by 383 hotels/53,030 rooms expected in 2019, and 392 hotels/60,740 rooms in 2020.  Metrics for new hotel openings are also at their highest since 2007.

London skyline

The top countries in Europe’s construction pipeline are Germany with 247 projects/47,155 rooms, the United Kingdom with 247 projects/36,487 rooms, France with 130 projects/15,198 rooms, Portugal with 83 projects/8,531 rooms, and Poland with 80 projects/12,221 rooms. All of these countries reached their highest levels since 2007 in either the first or second quarter of 2018.

The top hotel companies in Europe’s construction pipeline are AccorHotels with 220 projects/28,281 rooms, Marriott International with 178 projects/29,740 rooms, Hilton Worldwide with 166 projects/26,114 rooms, and InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) with 138 projects/23,044 rooms. These four companies comprise 51 per cent of the total hotel construction pipeline in Europe.

The largest brands for each of these top companies are AccorHotel’s Ibis brands with 125 projects/15,391 rooms, Mercure Hotel with 24 projects/2,371 rooms, and Adagio City Aparthotel with 21 projects/2,844 rooms; Marriott International’s Moxy with 54 projects/9,615 rooms, Courtyard by Marriott with 32 projects/5,797 rooms, and the Autograph Collection with 14 projects/1,926 rooms. In addition, Hilton Worldwide has Hampton Inn with 69 projects/ 10,438 rooms, Hilton Garden Inn with 43 projects/6,644 rooms, DoubleTree by Hilton with 21 projects/3,042 rooms; and IHG’s Holiday Inn Express with 65 projects/9,873 rooms, Holiday Inn with 33 projects/7,116 rooms, and Hotel Indigo with 15 projects/1,897 rooms.

Modern and quirky lobby

How the fastest brand to launch in the industry opened 13 hotels in three months

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Tru by Hilton continues to heat up this summer with the openings of 13 new hotels from June through August that span 11 states in America…

Tru by Hilton’s growth and success follows an aggressive development, with more than 35 open properties and more than 300 hotels in the pipeline. The latest Tru by Hilton properties have expanded the options for both leisure and business travelers seeking a quality stay at an affordable price point in these 13 markets.

“Tru by Hilton continues to disrupt the midscale segment as demonstrated by the growth we’ve seen this summer with 13 new open properties as well as the groundbreaking of our largest property to-date, located in Orlando,” said Alexandra Jaritz, global head, Tru by Hilton. “During an especially busy travel season for our guests, we’re offering what matters most to travelers, which are minimal yet meaningful features and amenities in a fresh, consistent and surprisingly affordable way.”

The newly opened properties represent the first Tru by Hilton hotels in Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, South Carolina and South Dakota. With the wellness travel trend soaring, outdoor adventurers will enjoy Tru by Hilton Deadwood in South Dakota, located near Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Black Hills National Forest, and Tru by Hilton Pigeon Forge in Tennessee, close to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Image credit: Tru by Hilton

Tru by Hilton continues to expand in college towns, with Tru by Hilton Syracuse North Airport Area and Tru by Hilton Syracuse-Camillus, both near Syracuse University in New York, Tru by Hilton Harbison Columbia, near the University of South Carolina, and Tru by Hilton Bowling Green, near Western Kentucky University.

In addition to these 13 property openings, Tru by Hilton continued its momentum this summer by breaking ground on its largest property to-date, located in Orlando, Florida. Developed by Epelboim Development Group, the eight-storey, 259-room Tru by Hilton Orlando Convention Center Area will be situated just south of the Orlando Convention Center and a short drive from Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld, making it an easy choice for business and leisure travelers alike. The property is expected to open the fall of 2019.

Tru by Hilton properties feature the amenities and experiences that matter most to guests, including comfortable beds, smaller, more efficiently designed rooms with a mobile desk, large bathrooms with premium Not Soap, Radio bath amenities, top-rate in-room entertainment, a complimentary build-your-own “Top It” breakfast bar with hot items, a 2,880-square-foot lobby offering 24/7 complimentary LavAzza coffee with areas for guests to work, play games, eat and lounge, and a 24/7 “Eat. & Sip.” market with gourmet snacks and drinks, including single-serve wine and beer. The tech-savvy hotels feature mobile check-in, Digital Key, free fast Wi-Fi, free wireless printing, lobby tablets and accessibility to outlets everywhere. Additionally, Tru by Hilton properties offer fitness centers that leverage the latest fitness trends including barre, TRX bands, free weights, cardio and flexibility gear.

Main image credit: Tru by Hilton

 

Modern guestroom

Foster + Partners completes final element of Central Park Precinct, Sydney

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Four Points by Sheraton, a new four-star 297-key hotel that is strategically located as part of DUO Central Park, has just opened in Sydney…

Architectural Design & Engineering Firm Foster + Partners has completed final stages of work in Sydney on DUO, a multicomplex which comprises of a hotel, apartments, offices and a creche. The new property is part of a major masterplan for the city that has injected new life with an unprecedented mixture of uses. Located on Broadway, the masterplan developed for Frasers Property Australia and Sekisui House, extends the historic area of Chippendale by reinstating the original grid to re-integrate the formerly closed-off land to the north with its surroundings.

The development is permeable at ground level, encouraging people to walk through the site with its proximity to the central station. At its heart is a new urban park, a popular lunchtime spot for students of the neighbouring University of Technology, residents and locals alike. The buildings step down from high-rise blocks to the west of the site to smaller apartment buildings, negotiating the transition from Broadway to the lower-rise residential area to the south.

“The masterplan regenerates the site at the heart of Sydney through a combination of new public spaces and a balance of residential hotel and commercial property,” said Gerard Evenden, Head of Studio at Foster + Partners. “This new piece of city is anchored by the retention of a number of existing heritage red brick buildings and historic features, alongside sensitive contemporary buildings whose dimensions and materials are in keeping with the surrounding structures to visually unify old and new – as they rise, the material palette becomes more contemporary and the distinction clearer. The project reverses the dominance of vehicles to create a welcoming, pedestrian-friendly community.”

Image credit: Ethan Rohloff Photography. Image caption: Aerial photography of Central Park Duo whole
masterplan (masterplan by Foster + Partners)

DUO Central Park is a mixed-use development that forms a key part of the masterplan. An ensemble of two adjacent buildings at the intersection of Broadway and Abercrombie Street along the northern edge of the precinct, DUO features new public spaces with retail lining the ground plane. A ‘neck’ level creates a break between the podium and towers above, giving the impression that they hover above the streetscape reinforcing the sense of scale at street level along Broadway. The different uses are expressed in the massing and design of the elevations.

The overall proportions and materials have been chosen in keeping with the surrounding structures to visually unify old and the new, drawing inspiration from the early 20th century Art Deco style of the Australian Hotel building located on the north-western corner of the site.

Image credit: Tom Evangelidis

The two DUO buildings are bisected by a new pedestrian promenade lined with cafes and shops, reversing the dominance of vehicles in the area to create a welcoming, pedestrian-friendly community. The development is arranged as two separate buildings, the easternmost building comprises the 297-room Four Points by Sheraton hotel, a development that offers excellent connections and a bustling location for visitors and Sydney staycationers in this multi award-winning destination, a downtown urban village which is one of the best-connected locations in Sydney. The furnishings and fit out have been designed by interior architect Andrea D’Cruz in collaboration with Foster + Partners. Alongside it on the corner above the heritage Australian Hotel is the branded DUO Limited apartments on five floors as well as a 6,200 square metre office and a childcare facility for up to 90 children.

Spectacular unobstructed views are afforded from the DUO development reaching from the airport in the south, across verdant Western Sydney to the iconic Anzac bridge in the North. At its heart is a tranquil planted atrium, featuring full grown palm trees and vines, which acts as the residents’ lift lobby from where they can access their apartments via elevated bridge links.

Kitchen and eating area in the one bedroom apartment

Image credit: Tom Evangelidis. Image caption: Kitchen and eating area in the one bedroom apartment

Mick Caddey, Project Director – Central Park, Frasers Property Australia said: “The completion of DUO is another important step for Sydney’s Central Park. The concept of design excellence we had for DUO has now manifested itself and its physical presence is very powerful.  The beauty of its architecture is now immediately apparent and there for all to see.’’

The adjacent building is a 17-storey residential block with stunning views over Chippendale Green and the CBD. Internally, the apartments have flexible layouts that take advantage of Sydney’s wonderful climate, maximising natural light and ventilation throughout. The residents can enjoy the facilities of the DUO Club which includes a pool and state-of-the-art fitness centre, a library and entertaining spaces with kitchen and lounge as well as a large roof terrace with BBQ facilities overlooking Chippendale Green and the Brewery Yard.

Evenden added: “With the completion of DUO this multi-award winning Central Park Precinct is Sydney’s new must-visit destination. The new development is truly mixed use, its name emphasising the duality of activities within the cluster of buildings. We are delighted to have been part of this pivotal project that embraces the way Sydneysiders live their lives with sustainability and community at its heart.”

Central Park is an exemplar of a sustainable, dense masterplan in the heart of Sydney. Significant sustainability initiatives have been introduced, with several buildings reaching 5 star Green Star ratings. Central to this aspiration is the district-wide energy and water strategy which reduces plant spatial requirements. The tri-generation plant provides heating, cooling, and low-carbon electricity to the whole masterplan reducing carbon emissions by almost 200 kilotons over its lifetime while the onsite water recycling plant meets 100% of the precinct’s non-potable water demand. Green roofs throughout capture rainwater, and the massing and orientation of the buildings additionally aid their green credentials.

Main image credit: Tom Evangelidis

Scotland doubles hotel investment in 2018

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Criton’s CEO & founder comments on how hoteliers must continue this momentum in Scotland…

Real estate advisor, Savills, has announced that in the first six months of 2018, hotel investment in Scotland reached £389.67 million, doubling the total investment volumes recorded in 2017 at £195 million. It indicated that UK buyers were the biggest buying group, accounting for 41 per cent of activity, while the rest were overseas investors. This news comes after Scotland invested in better overseas links, such as Hainan Airlines running direct return flights between Edinburgh and China from June 2018.  

“It’s fantastic that Scotland’s hotel investment in the last six months has already surpassed the annual investment figures for 2017 – it shows the strength of the visitor economy in Scotland which is currently worth around £6BN of GDP to the Scottish economy, five per cent of the total,” said Julie Grieve, CEO & founder of Criton. “Investors are clearly seeing the future potential in Scotland and what it has to offer the tourism industry, as well as the wider economy – and I am particularly delighted that Edinburgh, where my own company is based, is becoming a priority for investors in the UK and across the globe.

Put simply, it is the responsibility of Scotland’s hoteliers to welcome visitors with open arms

“While hotel investment in Scotland is strong, the impact of Brexit is already being felt as it becomes harder to recruit and retain good staff. Scottish hoteliers can counter this by investing in technology, allowing them to continue to deliver with less staff and therefore grow profits. Of course, improving the guest experience will be critical, and as we move forward in the digital era, it will be the hoteliers that offer guests hospitality how and where they want it using technology that will succeed. Put simply, it is the responsibility of Scotland’s hoteliers to welcome visitors with open arms – and those that are ahead of the game will be able to capitalise on the recent investment boost.”

Top 5 stories of the week: Mountain-mad retreats, chart-topping hotel groups and cliff-hanging hotel design

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As our month of threading together the latest in fabrics and soft furnishings comes to a close, we wrap up another fast-paced week in the creative world of international hotel design with the top five stories of the last five days…

Following on from the successful Meet Up North networking event we hosted in Manchester’s King Street Townhouse, this week we’ve covered hotel design news from around the world. We’ve seen ambitious plans launching, hotel groups becoming leaders and Hotel Designs has announced its Spotlight On features for August. Here are the top five stories of the week, as selected by editor Hamish Kilburn.

1) Spotlight On: Hotel Concepts and Flooring & Carpets

Throughout August, Hotel Designs will be putting the spotlight on two massively talked-about areas of international hotel design, namely: Hotel Concept and Flooring & Carpets…

2) IHG becomes the UK’s leading luxury hotel operator

The story with the most views this weeks comes from a brand that is taking luxury travel to a new level – and fast! IHG has just been named the UK’s leading luxury hotel operator after a series of shifts and openings. The hotel group has confirmed the UK debut locations for its boutique brand Kimpton® Hotels & Restaurants and its recently launched upscale brand, voco™ Hotels. This move follows the announcement made in May of an agreement with Covivio (formerly Foncière des Régions), to rebrand and operate 12 high-quality open hotels in the UK and one pipeline hotel. Nine of the hotels join IHG’s brand portfolio today, making IHG the UK’s leading luxury hotel operator. The remaining three open hotels are anticipated to be added in the coming weeks…

3) Design hotel in the Dolomites will define a new model of mountain luxury hotels

The plan for the new Faloria Mountain Spa Resort, historical glamorous hotel based in Cortina, has finally been unveiled. A new design hotel in the Dolomites, the Faloria Mountain Spa Resort, is said to set a new standard in mountain luxury hotels. The project, signed by the architect Flaviano Capriotti, upgrades the resort to the highest hospitality standards, achieving the fifth star and presenting a new hospitality model: at crossroads between local tradition, innovation and comfort.

4) Opposites attract at Wyndham Grand Phuket Kalim Bay

Guestroom image with stunning ocean views

Nestled behind vibrant streets, where thousands of Gap-Year backpackers find shelter in cheap hostels, rises a luxury hotel with personality, style and unmatched ocean views. Editor Hamish Kilburn checks in to ‘a new kind of luxury’ at the Wyndham Grand Phuket Kalim Bay to see for himself how opposites in South East Asia can attract after all…

5) Waldolf Astoria Bangkok prepares for ‘Asia’s most anticipated hotel openings this year’

Image credit: AFSO

The anticipated opening of Waldorf Astoria Bangkok, designed by the award-winning André Fu is said to evolve the hotel landscape in Southeast Asia. The end of August will see the opening of what is said to be Asia’s most anticipated hotel openings of 2018. The grand Waldorf Astoria in Bangkok, meticulously designed by, André Fu, from AFSO who was named Designer of the Year for Maison & Objet Asia in 2016, captures the brand’s iconic image in the vibrant Thai capital.

Render of Wyndham Palau

Luxury over-water villa resort to debut in Palau

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The luxury resort of Wyndham Palau is being developed by the Sea Sky International Development Group, a subsidiary of Global International Development Group…

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has unveiled a new luxury resort with over-water villas in Palau, the pristine western Pacific island paradise.

The resort is located in the unspoiled region of Aimeliik, which is home to spectacular natural landscapes, ancient villages and crystal clear seas teeming with colourful marine life.

Upon completion, the 593-key resort will offer a choice of beautifully-appointed accommodations, including 132 hotel guestrooms and more than 400 villas, with some perched on stilts over the warm, shallow seas. These exotic rooms will be accompanied by other luxury villas nestled in the hillside and on the edge of the mangroves.

Guests will be able to access two free-form pools surrounded by a large sun deck and shady cabanas, a children’s pool, a kid’s club and a serene wellness centre. The resort also includes a purpose-built conference centre with a wide variety of options for event planners, including a ballroom seating up to 140 guests and four meeting rooms for up to 60 people. Meanwhile, a collection of distinct F&B outlets will include a chic lobby lounge, beach bar and terrace, and pool bar.

Render of over-water luxury featuring guests in ocean

“With its tropical climate, rich history and pristine landscapes, Palau is a compelling proposition for international travellers,” said Joon Aun OOI, President and Managing Director, South East Asia and Pacific Rim, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. “Wyndham Palau will break new ground in this beautiful country, becoming the first upscale international resort in the Aimeliik region.”

“International visitor arrivals to Palau have jumped 50 percent since 2010, and the country remains an intriguing and appealing destination for many Asian travellers. With direct air links from key source markets such as Seoul and Taipei, the prospects for Palau’s tourism industry – including the MICE sector – remain incredibly bright,” Mr Ooi added.

Render of front of hotel

Palau comprises more than 200 lush, jungle-clad islands in the western Pacific Ocean, about 1,500 kilometres east of the Philippines. While the country is small, its surrounding marine sanctuary is anything but; Palau’s government has committed to protecting about 500,000 square kilometres of ocean – an area about the size of Thailand.

“We identified Aimeliik as the perfect place to open up a new frontier in Palau’s tourism industry. Easily accessible from the Koror City and the airport, this is a stunning region with pure shores and lush natural landscapes. With the global support of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, one of the hotel industry’s most famous and respected names, I am confident that our stunning new resort will mark the start of an exciting new era for Palau,” commented Ms Selina Zhong, President, Global International Development Group.

IHG becomes the UK’s leading luxury hotel operator

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IHG UNVEILS DEBUT LOCATIONS FOR KIMPTON® AND VOCO™ BRANDS IN THE UK…

IHG has become the UK’s leading luxury hotel operator after a series of shifts and openings. The hotel group has confirmed the UK debut locations for its boutique brand Kimpton® Hotels & Restaurants and its recently launched upscale brand, voco™ Hotels. This move follows the announcement made in May of an agreement with Covivio (formerly Foncière des Régions), to rebrand and operate 12 high-quality open hotels in the UK and one pipeline hotel. Nine of the hotels join IHG’s brand portfolio today, making IHG the UK’s leading luxury hotel operator. The remaining three open hotels are anticipated to be added in the coming weeks.

“I am delighted to be able to confirm the UK debut locations for Kimpton® Hotels & Restaurants and our new upscale brand, voco™ Hotels,” said Kenneth Macpherson, Chief Executive Officer, EMEAA, IHG. “By launching these brands in prime city centre and destination locations around the country we will give our guests even greater choice. The expansion of our global footprint in high-growth luxury and upscale segments is gaining momentum, with IHG now the leading luxury operator in the UK.”

Kimpton® Hotels & Restaurants

IHG will launch its leading luxury boutique brand Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants in the UK in London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Renowned for their innovative and playful design and personal approach to guest service, the Kimpton hotels will each be in prime UK city-centre locations:

  • London’s most literary neighbourhood, Bloomsbury, will become home to the capital’s first Kimpton Hotel later this year. Located in Russell Square, the iconic building and currently The Principal London, originally opened in 1898.
  • Manchester is set to open its first Kimpton Hotel in 2019. Currently The Principal Manchester, the hotel occupies the corners of Oxford Street and Whitworth Street, across three buildings dating back to the turn of the last century.
  • The Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square, originally built in 1791, overlooks one of the city’s prettiest garden squares, and is set to become a Kimpton Hotel next year.
  • In Glasgow, The Principal Blythswood Square Hotel, home of the former Royal Scottish Automobile Association, will operate under the Kimpton brand in 2019.

This marks an important milestone in IHG’s plans to take the Kimpton brand global. It follows the signing of the first Kimpton in Japan, in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, last week as well as the signing of three properties in prime markets in South East Asia and Greater China last year. It also adds to Kimpton’s expansion in Europe, with the opening of Kimpton® De Witt Amsterdam in 2017, the signing of Kimpton Paris, due to open in 2020 and Kimpton Frankfurt, due to open in 2023.

voco™ Hotels

The recently launched upscale brand voco™ Hotels will be making its UK debut in Cardiff. Overlooking Cardiff Bay, The Principal St. David’s Hotel, will take on the voco brand later this year. It is expected that further voco Hotels will be coming to the UK soon, each will keep their individuality but with the reassurance of a global brand.

InterContinental® returns to Edinburgh

InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, the largest luxury hotel brand in the world, will be returning to the historical Principal Edinburgh George Street. The property will be re-branded as an InterContinental by late next year.

Hotel Indigo®

Leeds will debut the vibrant and stylish Hotel Indigo brand in 2020. Every aspect of the property, currently the Principal Met Leeds Hotels, will be inspired by stories of the local area – from intriguing design to distinctive local ingredients in its menus.

The Principal York, will be rebranded at a later stage; and the well-known De Vere Wotton House hotel, near Dorking Surrey, will capitalise on its strong name, operating unbranded as Wotton House.

The Principal Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow; De Vere Oxford Thames and The Principal Oxford Spires Hotel are expected to join IHG’s portfolio in Q3, 2018.

1950s-style boutique hotel slated to open in former Coventry Telegraph offices

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The new Telegraph Hotel, which will be operated by Bespoke Hotels, will retain much of its original features…

Bespoke Hotels, which manages 9,500 hotel rooms in 21 countries from Australia to America, has reached an agreement with Developers Complex Development Projects (CDP) to operate a 1950s-style boutique hotel at the former Coventry Telegraph offices.

Construction is planned to commence at the end of the year on creating 100 guestrooms, a ground floor restaurant and bar, meeting rooms, penthouse suites and a rooftop bar after planning approval was granted by Coventry City Council on July 16. Final approval from the Council is awaited for long lease extensions necessary to deliver the project.

The original features of the building, which include the panelled Board Room and Lord Iliffe’s apartment, will be retained as unique features of the building’s former life. Around 130 jobs will be created when the hotel opens which is scheduled to be ahead of Coventry being UK City of Culture in 2021.

The project is unique and we needed an operator that embraced our vision for something that will be truly Coventry

“This is an iconic building charged with much recent history of the City of Coventry with a really strong tone of voice from which we hope to deliver a rich narrative with nods to the 1950s heyday of the building and a cool contemporary twist,” said Chairman of Bespoke Hotels, Robin Sheppard, who founded the business with Haydn Fentum. “This will be a destination hotel with tons of character and a cheeky smile.”

A perfect example of this is Hotel Gotham which is a five-star hotel that was named World’s Best New Hotel and Coolest Boutique Hotel following its opening in 2015 because of its attention to detail ranging from its art deco design to providing a luxury chauffeur service.

Image caption: Interiors of Hotel Gotham

“The project is unique and we needed an operator that embraced our vision for something that will be truly Coventry,” said Ian Harrabin, Managing Director of CDP. “We took advice from national hotel experts and Bespoke was our first choice of partner. We have been working with them for the past six months on the detail of the project and are happy that they share our enthusiasm for Coventry and recognise the opportunity of this unique building. We want to create a style of hotel that is not offered anywhere else in the area – a style that is truly bespoke. Their experienced team bring out the heart and soul of hotels with their professionalism, experience, flair and individuality.”

Partnered with CDP’s track record of delivering creative developments that break the conventional mould such as FarGo Village and Electric Wharf, the new Telegraph Hotel is siad to be be unlike any other.

Harrabin continues: “We want to give the city an hotel that Coventry can be proud of and provide a focus for the City of Culture status that has been bestowed for 2021. We have been delighted to have received such strong support from all local stakeholders, not least within the council and are determined to create something special with our chosen award-winning hotel operators.”

The project is supported by West Midlands Combined Authority through the Collective Investment Fund managed by Finance Birmingham. Designers and Architects that will be working on the project are yet to be confirmed.

Site of the new Rosewood Hotel in Houston's Uptown District (PRNewsfoto/Rosewood Hotels & Resorts)

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts to open first hotel in Houston

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Houston continues to be an area of interest as Rosewood Hotels & Resorts announces plans to open Rosewood Houston…

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts has been selected by McNair Interests to manage a new, ultra-luxury hotel in Houston. Set to open in 2023 in the city’s Uptown District, the hotel will be Rosewood’s second in Texas and their ninth in the United States.

The 150-room hotel will be located in an exclusive mixed-use and high-rise development led by McNair Interests, managed by the Patrinely Group and designed by architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP. In addition to the hotel, the six-acre site will include 80 luxury residences atop the hotel, multi-family residences, lifestyle-driven amenities, and retail and office space.

“Texas is the birthplace of the Rosewood legacy, which launched with the Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas in 1979, so we are thrilled to expand our presence in one of Texas’ most vibrant cities,” says Sonia Cheng, Chief Executive Officer of Rosewood Hotel Group. “Offering innumerable cultural attractions, a sophisticated culinary scene, and unparalleled shopping, Houston is a natural destination for Rosewood’s affluential explorers.  Ideally situated in the Uptown District, Rosewood’s new property in Houston will serve as the ultimate urban retreat from which travelers can explore everything this exciting city has to offer.”

Boasting two distinct dining venues, including a full-service restaurant and a vibrant outdoor pool bar, the hotel will offer visitors a sophisticated urban dining experience. Guests will also have access to Sense, a Rosewood Spa, as well as an outdoor pool and fitness center. The property’s extensive meeting and events spaces will accommodate a variety of private gatherings, conferences and special events.

“This is a defining development for McNair Interests and the city of Houston,” said Cary McNair, Chairman and CEO of McNair Interests. “Our vision redefines the southernmost entrance of Post Oak Boulevard and the Uptown District, fusing a distinctive, sophisticated design with Houston’s future. We are excited for what this project will bring to our city and to visitors from around the world.”

The news that Rosewood Houston will open in 2023 follows statistics showing that more than 2,300 rooms will come online in the area in the next few years, which heavily suggests that Houston continues to be a major hot spot for travel, tourism and business travel.

Dubai skyline

The Middle East and Africa hotel construction pipelines continue to grow

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Analysts at Lodging Econometrics (LE) report that the construction pipelines for the Middle East and Africa continue to grow resulting in 875 projects/216,045 rooms combined, according to LE’s recent Trend Report.

The Total Middle East pipeline has 594 projects/170,490 rooms and is up 23 per cent by rooms Year-Over-Year (YOY). This is the 16th consecutive quarter of pipeline growth seen by the Middle East. In the Middle East, there are 358 projects/113,830 rooms under construction, up 13 per cent by projects YOY. Those scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months are at 127 projects/31,752 rooms, up 9 per cent while projects in early planning stand at 109 projects/24,908 rooms are up 31 per cent.

The total Africa pipeline has 281 projects/45,555 rooms and is up 21 per cent by projects YOY. In Africa, there are 127 projects/21,233 rooms under construction, up only 1 per cent by projects YOY. Those scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months are at 79 projects/11,954 rooms, up a whopping 65 per cent, while projects in early planning stand at 75 projects/12,368 rooms are up 29 per cent.

Swiss-Belhotel continues expansion in Egypt

Swiss-Belhotel International continues expansion in Egypt

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Global hotel management company, Swiss-Belhotel International (SBI), has announced its further expansion in Egypt with the signing of Swiss-Belresort Marseilia Beach 4 on the country’s north coast.

The agreement was formalised at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai in the presence Mohamed Yehia Rashed, Minister of Tourism for Egypt.

Swiss-Belresort Marseilia Beach 4 is the second property owned by Marseilia Egyptian Gulf Real Estate Investment that will be managed by Swiss-Belhotel International.

With a robust pipeline of more than 2,296 rooms in development across four hotels, Egypt has emerged as a key growth market for Swiss-Belhotel International.

Boasting 150 well-appointed rooms, Swiss-Belresort Marseilia Beach 4 enjoys an idyllic location in Sidi Abd El Rahman Bay which is considered to be one of the most beautiful areas in Egypt. The hotel is being developed as an upscale 4-star resort to offer guests exceptional recreational facilities and varied dining options.

swiss-belhotel.com

Sheraton Hotel, Addis Ababa - Hotel Development in Africa

Hotel development in Africa jumps 30% to 64,000 rooms

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The number of planned hotel rooms in Africa has soared to 64,000 in 365 hotels, up almost 30% on the previous year, according to new figures from the annual W Hospitality Group Hotel Chain Development Pipeline Survey.

The increase is largely down to strong growth in sub-Saharan Africa, which is up 42.1% on 2015 and is significantly outstripping North Africa which achieved only a modest 7.5% pipeline increase this year.

A major shake-up in the rankings by country saw Angola, never before listed among the top 10, push Egypt out of second place, due to a major deal there signed by AccorHotels.

The W Hospitality Group survey is published ahead of the African Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) (www.Africa-Conference.com), which is organised by Bench Events. The conference attracts all the major international hotel investors in Africa and is being held for the first time in Lomé on 21-22 June. A second AHIF will also take place in Kigali, Rwanda on 4-6 October.

Trevor Ward, W Hospitality Group managing director, said: “The evidence from our survey is clear – investors remain confident about the future of the hospitality industry on the continent. Even when pummelled daily by low commodity prices, exchange rate problems, political challenges and poor infrastructure, Africa remains resilient.”

Hotel Development in Africa 2016The IMF forecast for economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is for an increase of 4% this year and 4.7% in 2017, up from 3.5% in 2015. Overall this is down on the 5-6% increase enjoyed over the past decade, but it’s still double or more the forecast for the world’s advanced economies, such as Europe, the USA and Japan.

Matthew Weihs, managing director of Bench Events, said: “Africa is still on the up. For business, trade and capital investment, the continent remains an attractive proposition, leading to continuing demand for accommodation and other hospitality services.”