CHECK IN! – latest hotel highlights from across the globe

29 December, 2020

CTC - Corporate Travel Community brings you a round up of some of the latest accommodation and hospitality news from across the globe.

  • IHG unveils new look Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas following its 11-month renovation
  • Scandic Hotels sees slow recovery as occupancy remains low, especially in city markets
  • Wyndham debuts Super 8 Brand in UAE alongside Wyndham Dubai Deira as part of Deira Enrichment Project
  • Higashiyama Niseko Village marks debut of Ritz-Carlton Reserve brand in Japan
  • Mali becomes home to Africa's first Radisson Collection Hotel
  • Data metrics - latest performance insights from STR
  • News briefs - bitesize updates of latest industry news and developments

IHG unveils new look Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas following its 11-month renovation

InterContinental Hotels & Resorts has unveiled the 'new' Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas after an 11-month renovation, which saw the transformation of the exterior of the hotel, Club InterContinental Lounge and all guestrooms from the 7th floor to the 33rd floor. As the first international hotel brand in the Gangnam area of Seoul, the reopening marks "a new standard set for a luxurious way of living," according to IHG. The hotel worked with 1508 London, a British interior design group, on its new interiors and create a design narrative encompassing themes, 'Return to Nature', 'Balance' and 'Crafted Detailing'. For a distinctively luxurious atmosphere, the design also incorporated Korea's unique lines and warm colours, creating harmony between materials for an exquisite finish. All guestrooms at Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas are now fitted with panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows, and the hotel exterior has also been retrofitted with full-panelled glass. The Club InterContinental Lounge was previously located on the 26th floor and was moved to the hotel's top floor at level 34 to provide an elevated club experience in its new location. The property now offers 16 different types of rooms across its 550 key portfolio that are tailored to guest needs.

Scandic Hotels sees slow recovery as occupancy remains low, especially in city markets

Scandic Hotels Group anticipates that the hotel market will recover slowly with continued low demand at the beginning of 2021 and that it will probably take several years for market RevPAR and occupancy to return to levels prior to the pandemic. Its warning comes as its latest data for the month of Nov-2020 shows no signs of improvement, but in fact a worsening environment. Scandic's average occupancy rate in the month was approximately 20% due "to extremely weak demand in all markets" and a decline compared with 36% during the third quarter and 33% in Oct-2020. In Nov-2020, market RevPAR is estimated to have gone down between 68% and 74% in the Nordic countries, it says, as demand has been weak in all markets due to the increased spread of COVID-19 and more comprehensive government restrictions. The situation is particularly critical in the capitals where Scandic reveals occupancy is less than one-third of what would be considered normal. Scandic expects continued low activity levels in Dec-2020 and the average occupancy rate for the fourth quarter is expected to be about 20-25%. Scandic has intensified negotiations with its landlords and will consequently pay lower rents until agreements on new terms and conditions have been reached. So far, these negotiations have resulted in agreements for rent reductions and offers for rent reductions from landlords amounting to approximately 500 MSEK. A number of rent negotiations "are still in the early stages" and given the very weak market, "further rent adjustments will be necessary," it acknowledges.

Wyndham debuts Super 8 Brand in UAE alongside Wyndham Dubai Deira as part of Deira Enrichment Project

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has continued its continued expansion across the UAE with the opening of the 290-room upscale Wyndham Dubai Deira, and the 94-key Super 8 by Wyndham Dubai Deira-its first property in the country under the well-known economy brand. Located in the historic area of Deira, the newly opened hotels are the first in the highly anticipated Deira Enrichment Project and part of a strategic effort by Wyndham to meet travellers' growing demand for accommodations at varying price points across the region. The Deira Enrichment Project-a development by Ithra Dubai and fully owned by Investment Corporation of Dubai-is a mixed-use project situated along the Dubai creek in the southern part of Deira. With the goal of expanding the urban fabric of the existing Deira community towards the waterfront, the project is expected to become one of the largest waterfronts and man-made developments in the world. Designed for budget conscious travellers, the Super 8 by Wyndham Dubai Deira features guestrooms with contemporary interior design elements complemented by traditional Arabian touches. Meanwhile, appealing to upscale guests looking for tailored services, the 14-floor Wyndham Dubai Deira boasts 290 rooms and suites, all designed with an eye for detail. The new hotels will add to Wyndham's current portfolio of 16 hotels in the UAE, including eight in Dubai. The company is also on track to open another hotel, the previously announced Days Hotel by Wyndham Dubai Deira, in the first half of 2021. The hotel is slated to be the first to open under the Days Inn by Wyndham brand in the UAE.

Higashiyama Niseko Village marks debut of Ritz-Carlton Reserve brand in Japan

Higashiyama Niseko Village, the newest resort in the prestigious Ritz-Carlton Reserve portfolio, has opened to guests visiting Japan's winter sports destination of Niseko. Located in the country's northernmost island of Hokkaido, Higashiyama Niseko Village offers an escape for guests seeking personal and physical exploration. The resort, owned by YTL Hotels, is a ski-in/ski-out property that interweaves the highest level of personalised service and care with the charm of Japan's local history, culture and cuisine. Higashiyama Niseko Village is only the fifth Ritz-Carlton Reserve in the world, and the very first Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Japan. The property features 50 guest rooms and suites appointed with refined amenities.

Mali becomes home to Africa's first Radisson Collection Hotel

Surrounded by historical landmarks such as The Great Mosque of Bamako and the Monument of Independence, and in close proximity to the National Zoo of Mali and Bamako National Park, the Radisson Collection Hotel brand has arrived in Africa with an offer suitable for business and leisure guests alike. Located in Bamako, the capital and largest city of Mali, in one of its most sought-after city neighbourhoods, ACI 2000, the Radisson Collection Hotel, Bamako consists of 200 rooms, including 32 suites and three accessible rooms, offering panoramic views over the Niger River and the lush green hillside dotted with mango tree plantations and city skyline. Complementing the hotel's five-star luxury experience is a selection of four diverse restaurants and bars, while a pool, 24-hour fitness centre, and 11 meeting rooms with over 1,100 square meters of flexible event space adds to the amenities.

Data metrics - latest performance insights from STR

  • The key hotel markets in the United Arab Emirates have reached or surpassed 50% occupancy due to strong domestic and recent international demand, according to preliminary data and analysis from STR. For the week ending 06-Dec-2020, Abu Dhabi (69.0%), Ajman (66.5%) and Dubai (65.8%) experienced the highest occupancy levels in the country. Fujairah (62.4%), Sharjah (53.9%) and Ras Al Khaimah (52.5%) also showed continued week-to-week performance improvement. On 02-Dec-2020, UAE National Day, hotels in the country posted 73.5% occupancy, the highest daily level since 28-Feb-2020 (76.8%). Abu Dhabi's daily hotel occupancy reached as high as 82.3% on National Day, while Dubai hotel occupancy improved to a level as high as 70.3% that same day.
  • The United States of America hotel industry showed lower performance from the month prior, according to Nov-2020 data with each of the three key performance metrics declining from the previous month. In comparison with Nov-2019, occupancy declined -34.5% to 40.3%, ADR was down -27.7% to USD90.92, while RevPAR fell -52.6% to USD36.67. Among the Top 25 Markets, Oahu Island, Hawaii, reported the lowest November occupancy level (22.6%), but the highest ADR (USD167.49). Phoenix, Arizona, reported the highest occupancy level (49.6%). In addition to Oahu Island, only eight other markets posted ADR above USD100.

News briefs - bitesize updates of latest industry news and developments

  • The Amanyara, Turks & Caicos has unveiled a complete refurbishment of its 38 pavilions, and introduced a host of new activities. In anticipation of the resort's 15th anniversary next year, the rejuvenation welcomes a new chapter for this Caribbean oasis, which is set on the shores of a 7,200-hectare nature reserve on the island of Providenciales.
  • The Best Western Cotton Tree Inn - Sandy has implemented the BeyondTV GuestCast guestroom entertainment solution from Hotel Internet Services (HIS). The property, located just 20 miles south of Salt Lake City, now offers the ability for guests to instantly convert guestroom televisions into their own highly personalised entertainment portals using the latest in secure content casting technology.
  • The Cornerstone Collective announced a record year of growth as it continues to expand further into the hospitality space. This year's highlights include two completed hotel openings (the 111-room Residence Inn Scottsdale Salt River and 142-room AC Marriott Santa Rosa), two completed hotel renovations (Hilton Garden Inn - Seattle North / Everett and Sleep Inn - Billings), as well as providing design & procurement services for an additional four hotels.
  • Universal Orlando Resort has recently welcomed the first guests to its newest hotel - Universal's Endless Summer Resort - Dockside Inn and Suites. The second hotel in the destination's Value category, alongside sister property Surfside Inn and Suites, the extra-affordable resort adds 2,050 guest rooms, featuring standard rooms and two-bedroom Suites.
  • InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has launched its first branded hotel in East Malaysia with the opening on 21-Dec-2020 of the Holiday Inn Express Kota Kinabalu City Centre. The contemporary hotel is located in the heart of Sabah's bustling capital city a 13-minute drive from Kota Kinabalu International Airport and in close proximity to local attractions. The 250-room hotel comprises of queen and twin-bedded rooms, with the option of rooms with a sofa bed that accommodate up to three guests.
  • Hotelbeds has entered into a strategic partnership with Rosewood Hotel Group. The strategic partnership provides the hotel management company with access to Hotelbeds' more than 60,000 travel trade buyers from more than 140 source markets worldwide, including tour operators, airlines, points redemption programs and retail travel agencies. At the same time, Hotelbeds' clients will gain access to preferential rates and availability across the 41 properties that form Rosewood Hotel Groups's portfolio in 19 countries throughout North America, Caribbean/Atlantic, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
  • Design partnership twenty2degrees appointed by Olympia London to design the interiors of the new Hyatt Regency London Olympia in West London. As part of a GBP1.3 billion regeneration, the property will be located directly adjacent to the famous exhibition centre within an architecturally significant listed Art Deco building that previously served as a multi-storey car park. twenty2degrees previously created the interiors for landmark London hotels, The Dixon and Hilton Bankside.
  • Jurny, a hospitality tech company offering SaaS-based management solutions, has announced a strategic partnership with Pensio Realty and Grupo VerdeAzul to integrate its proprietary technology and booking services to operate exclusive hotel residential condominium units at the Buenaventura Beach & Golf Resort, a premier beach community in Panama. Jurny currently operates more than 370 units across five markets, including hotels in Dallas, Miami and Nashville. Each of its units is upgraded with smart home technology to enable a contactless, on-demand experience from check-in to check-out.
  • Michael Paul Holidays has announced its acquisition of Caravan Sitefinder, an online portal to caravan, camping and holiday parks across the United Kingdom. Drawing almost one million visitors a year, Caravan Sitefinder will now benefit from a major investment package to further reinforce its value to consumers and park businesses.
  • Increasing travel restrictions in London - as the city was first added to Tier 3 and then a new Tier 4 level - has meant Nobu Hotel London Portman Square has been forced to close less than two weeks after it made its debut. Already delayed from the summer, the property - formerly the Radisson Blu Portman Hotel - opened on 04-Dec-2020, closing again from 15-Dec-2020. With uncertainty over guidelines no firm date for the reopening has been confirmed.
  • Operto Guest Technologies, a property automation system, has partnered up with Yale to offer an automatically programmed Linus smart lock that's connected to reservations in real-time and enables keyless access. The solution fully automates guest entry by programming unique entry codes for every reservation into the Yale Linus Smart Lock and keypad, giving guests the ability to arrive and leave whenever they want, and eliminating the need to use additional apps. The system can be incorporated across short-term rentals, holiday cottages, small B&Bs and even through huge hospitality brands.