CHECK OUT! – latest hotel highlights from across the globe

10 November, 2021

CTC - Corporate Travel Community brings you a round up of some of the latest accommodation and hospitality news from across the globe. Here's our offering for this week.

  • IHG signs first Kimpton in Hungary in its historic capital, Budapest
  • Life House reopens boutique hotel in Miami's Little Havana neighbourhood
  • Newly-renovated Radisson Blu brings stylish boutique hotel to the cultural heart of Madrid
  • Thompson Central Park New York brings contemporary luxury offer to Midtown Manhattan
  • Largest Holiday Inn Express in Europe opens in Düsseldorf
  • The Loutrel's boutique offering brings a chic retreat to Charleston's historic district
  • Courtyard by Marriott opens on the Thailand tropical island of Phuket
  • Dallas tops US hotel construction pipeline; top five city markets account for 15% of rooms
  • Data metrics - latest performance insights from STR
  • News briefs - bitesize updates of latest industry news and developments

IHG signs first Kimpton in Hungary in its historic capital, Budapest

IHG Hotels & Resorts has completed the signing of the Kimpton Budapest in Hungary, under a management agreement with the owner of the property MAM BUDA PROJECT, a subsidiary of Market Asset Management. Set to open in early 2025, it will be the first Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants property in Hungary, located in heritage Jozsef Bem square in central Budapest, on the Buda side of the river Danube. When open, the 127-key hotel will support the brand promise of spacious and thoughtfully designed rooms with a touch of playfulness as the signature Kimpton touch arrives in the heart of Hungary's capital city. Kimpton first opened in Europe in 2017 with the opening of Kimpton De Witt in Amsterdam, and since then the brand has rapidly increased its footprint across Europe with openings from Paris to Barcelona, London, Edinburgh and beyond. There is now a total of seven Kimpton hotels open across Europe, with a further four in the pipeline, covering locations from Mallorca to Frankfurt, as demand for luxury and lifestyle stays grows. Globally, there are 75 open Kimpton hotels and 32 in the pipeline. This signing follows the recent opening of Crowne Plaza Budapest. IHG Hotels & Resorts currently has three hotels in Hungary, operating under the InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts brands, with an additional two hotels in the pipeline.


Life House reopens boutique hotel in Miami's Little Havana neighbourhood

Life House is working on a mission to make travel more meaningful and more accessible through the creation of authentically local places "with narrative and substance" that help serve to bring travellers and locals together for a shared sense of place and belonging. Its latest addition is the reopening this week of Life House, Little Havana in Miami, which follows the brand's most recent opening of Life House, Lower Highlands in Denver and Life House, Nantucket. The brand will be launching several more hotels next year across the country and has plans to "grow delicately" into international territories, it says. The Life House, Little Havana building is a historic 1920s icon that incorporates elements of Mission Revival style architecture. Located just minutes from the vibrant Calle Ocho, it features 33 rooms, a first floor living room lobby, library and coworking space, courtyard garden, and a rooftop bar and restaurant, Terras - an elevated take on the Latin street food cuisine. The hotel tells the true story of Little Havana - that of a diverse plurality of cultures, not only Cuban - that settled into a Spanish-speaking neighbourhood after fleeing their home regimes from Cuba to Ecuador, from Colombia to Venezuela and more, explains Life House. It tells this story through the lens of a high-born expeditionist who has discerningly travelled throughout Latin America and curated a tropical mansion with a collection of vintage and custom furniture, fixtures, and contextual artwork and textiles to depict the various places and global perspectives he discovered.


Newly-renovated Radisson Blu brings stylish boutique hotel to the cultural heart of Madrid

Set in the heart of the Spanish capital, Radisson Blu Hotel, Madrid Prado has been fully refurbished and is again welcoming guests to enjoy contemporary yet comfortable design, a new all-day dining tapas restaurant and outstanding service. Located in the Barrio de Las Letras, Madrid's liveliest and most exciting district, the hotel is a stone's throw from Spain's top art venues - the Prado, Reina Sofía and Thyssen museums - and within walking distance of the city's main shopping districts. The hotel, which occupies an elegant early twentieth-century building, has undergone an extensive refurbishment on all bedrooms and common areas, carefully respecting the listed features that make the property so unique. It has almost 60 rooms and suites, all of which boast enviable views of the Prado Museum and the Paseo del Prado boulevard. Large photographs by Scandinavian artists adorn the walls and are a nod to Radisson Hotel Group's origins, while the use of wood and marble create an atmosphere of quality and relaxation. The layout of the bathrooms has been updated, with grey stone used throughout the design. Technological features have also been updated, including a mixer control in the shower that permits the setting of the temperature automatically before stepping in. In 2018, Radisson Hotel Group started an ambitious plan to transform the company. For the Spanish market, the ambition - always with a "prudently optimistic approach," it says - is to open more than 20 hotels within the next five years. Radisson Collection Hotel, Magdalena Plaza Sevilla recently opened its doors and, in the coming months, a Radisson Collection hotel will open in Bilbao, and Spain's first Radisson RED lifestyle property will open in the centre of Madrid.


Thompson Central Park New York brings contemporary luxury offer to Midtown Manhattan

Hyatt Hotels has confirmed the opening of Thompson Central Park New York, located steps from the southern edge of Central Park on West 56th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues in the former space of the Parker New York. The arrival of the lifestyle hospitality brand delivers newly designed interiors, including a redesigned lobby, public spaces and 587 guestrooms and suites including the 174-room highly anticipated Upper Stories, a collection of luxurious accommodations offering expansive views, high-end amenities and exclusive offerings and programming, including access to the private Upper Stories Lounge, all set to debut in spring 2022. Hyatt partnered with Stonehill Taylor to design the hotel's 587 guest rooms and suites, as well as guest corridors. The renowned architecture and design firm has incorporated design elements that accommodate the popular 'work and play' concept, boasting elevated finishes and many unexpected details.


Largest Holiday Inn Express in Europe opens in Düsseldorf

IHG Hotels & Resorts has outlined the continued growth of its Holiday Inn Express brand with the opening of Holiday Inn Express Dusseldorf - Hauptbahnhof, the largest Holiday Inn Express in Europe. This latest opening marks a further expansion of the Holiday Inn Express brand across Europe, where it is becoming known for its consistent offer for business and leisure travellers. Opened in partnership with PRIMESTAR, the property offers 455 guestrooms. The hotel is designed with modern city-seeking travellers in mind, in a great location just one kilometre from the city's central railway and near to its Old Town. The property features Holiday Inn Express' contemporary Next Generation design and also houses two fully-equipped meeting rooms for up to 18 people and a self-service business centre. In recent months IHG Hotels & Resorts has unveiled several new Holiday Inn Express signings and openings across Europe, furthering the brand's presence across the region. These include: Holiday Inn Express Edinburgh City West in the UK; Holiday Inn Express Fulda in Germany; Holiday Inn Express Nice - Grand Arenas in France; and Holiday Inn Express Lustenau in Austria.


The Loutrel's boutique offering brings a chic retreat to Charleston's historic district

The Loutrel, a new 50-room luxury hotel, has opened its doors, bringing a chic retreat to Charleston's historic district. Inspired by the Holy City's famed gardens, the property is managed by Charlestowne Hotels and features a porch-inspired lobby and bar, private Clubroom reserved exclusively for hotel guests, rooftop terrace and lush biophilic-inspired design. Marrying Art Deco architecture with Southern charm, and just minutes from the neighbourhood's bustling King Street, it certainly brings a fresh perspective to the city for travellers seeking a destination for culture, style and community. Designed by architecture and design firm Michael Graves, The property draws inspiration from Charleston's vibrant gardens and natural landscapes to create a rich design complemented by luxurious, modern comforts. The hotel is immersed in a palette of verdant greens, blues and golds that capture the colour and varied light of the Lowcountry, while tactile materials that evoke nature, such as linen, wool and wood, are used throughout the spaces. Property accommodation includes a mix of California king rooms, corner kings with views of the Ravenel bridge or Charleston harbour, five suites, and a premier suite, with many of the rooms featuring balconies.


Courtyard by Marriott opens on the Thailand tropical island of Phuket

Marriott International has opened its newest hotel on the tropical island of Phuket in Thailand. Located in the heart of Phuket's old town, the 248-room Courtyard by Marriott Phuket Town aims to provide a "sophisticated yet comfortable" environment for guests as they explore the rich culture and heritage of southern Thailand. The opening grows Marriott's property count in Thailand to 46 and compliments a commitment to growth in the region with a diversified portfolio to meet the needs of different types of travellers to the popular leisure destination. The hotel is positioned in the historical centre of the provincial capital and features 248 rooms and suites, including two 140-square-metre Presidential Suites.


Dallas tops US hotel construction pipeline; top five city markets account for 15% of rooms

The top 25 US markets account for 33% of all pipeline projects and 37% of all rooms in the US hotel construction pipeline, with the top five markets accounting for 13% of the projects and 15% of rooms, according to 3Q 2021 data from Lodging Econometrics. Dallas heads the hotel construction pipeline with 147 projects/17,711 rooms, ahead of Atlanta with 139 projects/18,659 rooms, Los Angeles with 133 projects/22,145 rooms, New York City with 130 projects/22,417 rooms, and Houston, with 90 projects/9,225 rooms. The data shows that there are currently nine markets across the country that have 20 or more projects under construction in their pipelines. Lodging Econometrics analysts note the increased demand for building materials and shortages in supply, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, has led to higher prices and continues to be major hurdles for contractors, developers, and investors. Nevertheless, in the third quarter, Dallas has the highest number of new projects announced into the pipeline with 18 projects/1,756 rooms. Atlanta follows with 17 projects/1,777 rooms, Phoenix with 10 projects/1,819 rooms, and then Houston with 9 projects/946 rooms. Meanwhile, the renovation and conversion pipeline "shows no sign of decline," notes Lodging Econometrics. Its data shows that presently, there are 1,253 hotels/176,305 rooms under renovation or conversion across the US, and twenty-four of the top 50 markets in the US currently have 10 or more hotels undergoing renovation or conversion activity at the end of 3Q 2021. Looking back across the first three quarters of 2021, across the US 665 new hotels opened with 85,306 rooms, according to the data. The markets with the highest number of new openings throughout the first three quarters were New York City with 21 hotels/3,554 rooms, Atlanta with 21 hotels/2,925 rooms, Orlando with 19 hotels/2,908 rooms, Houston with 16 hotels/2,166 rooms and Nashville with 16 hotels/2,116 rooms. In 2021, New York City is forecasted to open 51 new hotels and 7,074 rooms, Atlanta follows with 25 hotels/3,499 rooms, then Nashville with 23 hotels/3,011 rooms, Houston with 23 hotels/2,787 rooms, and Orlando with 21 hotels/3,393 rooms. US supply growth is forecasted to be +2.0% in 2021, according to Lodging Econometrics and is expected to remain the same into 2022.


Data metrics - latest performance insights from STR

  • The hotel industries in seven key Asia Pacific markets reported profitability levels well below pre-pandemic levels, with only Beijing above 40% of the 2019 comparable, according to STR's Sep-2021 monthly P&L data release. Beijing's GOPPAR of USD29.91 was 70% of Sep-2019 levels. Singapore (USD39.99) came in at 35% using the same time comparison, while Hong Kong (USD6.22) was at just 10%. Sydney, Bali, Bangkok and Tokyo were all in negative GOPPAR territory. Tokyo has seen the biggest profitability decline over the past several months, according to the data.
  • Data from STR's Forward STAR showcases the importance of events during traditionally low performance periods, as highlighted in Cardiff, Wales where the city's Principality Stadium is playing a key role in attracting large crowds, in turn increasing the levels of bookings for hotels throughout the market. The platform identifies clear spikes in occupancy on the books alongside Wales international rugby matches, while musical performances from Stereophonics in Dec-2021 and Ed Sheeran in May-2022 also deliver upticks in demand and significant spikes in pickup (the difference in levels from one reporting period to the next). STR says it is "extremely beneficial" for hotels when large-scale events draw visitors into their market during the quieter seasons, especially as leisure demand reduces and business travel remains weak.
  • Hotel occupancy during the National Day holidays in China was not as strong as expected, and the expected "retaliatory" rebound in performance did not happen, notes STR. This year's Golden Week holidays showed the "weakest demand" of the past three years as domestic pandemic control measures remained relatively strict and several institutions and universities shortened their holidays. Performances during the Golden Weeks from the past three years did show similar growth trends, however, with the occupancy rates gradually increasing from the days before the National Holiday on 30-Sep-2021, peaking during the first week of Oct-2021, and then slowly declining. This year the aggregated hotel occupancy in Mainland China exceeded 70.0% for just two days (2-Oct-2021 and 3-Oct-2021) and was still 10 percentage points below the peaks from the previous two years.

News briefs - bitesize updates of latest industry news and developments

  • Cambria Hotels has formally started construction on the Cambria Hotel Austin Downtown in Austin, Texas. The 14-storey, 212-room hotel is expected to open in the summer of 2023, joining other properties in the state capital that are anticipated to open this year, including the Cambria Hotel Austin Airport and Cambria Hotel North Austin Near The Domain. The brand already has six open hotels across the state located in Dallas, Houston, McAllen, Plano, Richardson and Southlake.
  • Hotelbeds has become a launch partner and the first strategic partner globally for Accor's new Leisure Partner Platform (ALPP). This deal represents an extension of an already successful preferred distribution agreement between the two businesses. Scheduled to go live in 2022, this new platform will enable Accor's hotels to reach Hotelbeds' network of more than 60,000 B2B travel buyers, such as tour operators, retail travel agents and airlines, across more than 140 source markets worldwide.
  • Hyatt Hotels has confirmed the completion of its acquisition of Apple Leisure Group (ALG) from affiliates of each of KKR and KSL Capital Partners. The purchase of the luxury resort-management services, travel and hospitality group will see Hyatt double its global resorts footprint through the addition of approximately 100 hotels and resorts operating in 10 countries, as well as a pipeline of 24 executed deals in the Americas and Europe.
  • Hetherley Capital Partners (HCP) has announced the conversion of the 307-room Travelodge Hotel at London's Heathrow Airport to an Ibis Budget, and an opening under its new guise is planned for Dec-2021. Owner and investor HCP will asset manage the property under an agreement which it believes to be the first of its type, with the group rewarded when the hotel returns to its pre-covid value. Accor will manage the property under a 25 year agreement.
  • The Lesante Cape Resort & Villas will become the third property in the Lesante Collection on the Greek island of Zakynthos when it opens in May-2022, providing a new offering of high-end hospitality and cultivated cultural experiences. A luxurious network of villas and suites, the hotel has been accredited as one of the Leading Hotels of the World.
  • Guests and fans of Mandarin Oriental are now able to experience a range of the Group's branded products in the comfort of their home. Providing a global online shopping experience, Shop M.O. features a collection of signature luxury items, from hotel bedding and award-winning spa products to bespoke gifts from individual hotels within the portfolio.
  • Q International Group has successfully completed a significant equity investment by Glade Capital to facilitate its future expansion. This will see QIG double its existing UK portfolio of serviced apartments by 2023, plus support an expected launch of an Aparthotel brand across the UK and Europe as owner operator, commencing in 2023; a complementary addition to their traditional corporate serviced apartment portfolio.
  • Quartz Inn Hotels is a new European hotel chain made up of independent and sustainable hotels, owned and operated by their owners. Debuting at WTM London, its concept is specialised in facilitating access to the latest hotel technology for those independent hotels that do not have sufficient means to compete with the large hotel chains. All hotels will be operated by their owners under the Quartz Inn Hotels brand, which will formalise the standards of service, safety, hygiene and sustainability, while preserving the authentic character of each establishment.
  • Six Senses Southern Dunes, The Red Sea will open during the first phase of development of The Red Sea Project in Saudi Arabia, which is well underway and on track to be completed by the end of 2023. The 76-key resort aims to "take guests on a journey into seldom-experienced nature, wildlife and culture," while "setting new standards in sustainability and desert hospitality" as Saudi Arabia drops its pin on the global tourism map.
  • The Viva Wyndham Azteca reopened its doors to guests from Nov-2021 following extensive renovation work totalling more than USD6 million. The all-inclusive, oceanfront resort is located in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. Renovations include upgrades to the lobby, public areas and all room categories, including Superior Rooms which are outfitted with heritage-rich, Mexican-inspired décor.
  • WhyHotel has acquired The Cadence, a Nashville hotel that marks its first Hospitality Living property in the city. The Cadence, operated by WhyHotel, developed in partnership with Gaw Capital USA, will follow a brand promise that aims to blur the lines of home and hospitality by providing guests with the comforts of a home-like space, blended with the convenience of a traditional hotel experience. The [property is welcoming long-term guests from Nov-2021 and will start to welcome transient guests in Jan-2022.