CHECK IN! – latest hotel highlights from across the globe

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 first offering of the week.

  • Accor signs for debut SO/ property in Maldives
  • IHG opens first premium collection voco Hotels property in the Netherlands
  • Tru By Hilton midscale hotel brand hits 200th property milestone
  • Radisson Blu Resort Dharamshala opens in India’s Himachal Pradesh
  • Hu.Hotel to reopen in Aug-2021 with promise of Southern hospitality on banks of Mississippi River
  • Data metrics – latest performance insights from STR
  • News briefs – bitesize updates of latest industry news and developments

Accor signs for debut SO/ property in Maldives

Accor has signed a hotel management agreement with S Hotels and Resorts and Wai Eco World Developer to introduce the SO/ Hotels & Resorts to the idyllic Maldives archipelago in the Indian Ocean. SO/ Maldives will showcase a selection of 80 spectacular luxury villas, including beachfront and over-water options, all adorned with designer interiors and what is described as “an audacious twist”. Nestled on its own exclusive island overlooking the azure Emboodhoo Lagoon, just 15 minutes by speedboat from Malé’s Velana International Airport, the eclectic resort will certainly bring a fresh sense of avant-garde style and sophistication to the Maldives, while also reflecting the local spirit of the country. Scheduled to open in 2023, the new resort will take centre stage on the third island of CROSSROADS Maldives, the integrated leisure destination in the exotic South Malé Atoll.

IHG opens first premium collection voco Hotels property in the Netherlands

IHG Hotels & Resorts’ premium collection brand, voco Hotels, has opened its very first hotel in the Netherlands. voco The Hague sees quintessential Dutch design and voco’s unstuffy style come together in the royal and administrative capital of Den Haag (as it’s known in Dutch). Based in the city’s Royal Quarter, this striking former bank building is located near the city’s shops, museums, and heritage sites, plus the embassy quarter and Peace Palace are within walking distance. The historic building, which dates back to 1923, has undergone a complete transformation with bank offices and ATMs making way for 204 elegantly furnished rooms, spread over the hotel’s seven floors. When walking through the doors of the hotel, guests are immediately greeted with a spacious, airy atrium full of greenery which sets the tone for the hotel design which is inspired by nature and offers an indoor green oasis. Guest rooms have what is described as “a metropolitan design,” with a warm, but also playful touch, as has become expected with the voco brand.

Tru By Hilton midscale hotel brand hits 200th property milestone

Tru by Hilton, Hilton’s midscale brand, is marking its five-year anniversary with the opening of its milestone 200th hotel. This feat represents the tremendous growth the brand has experienced since its record-breaking launch in 2016, adding nearly 100 hotels to its portfolio since the beginning of 2020, all in the midst of the global pandemic. Tru was developed from the ground up using owner and consumer feedback – and the brand continues to attract owners and developers around the globe. It has grown its pipeline to nearly 270 hotels, and is now set to make its debut in the Caribbean and Latin America, with a new regional prototype and hotel developments in Brazil, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Tru was designed to disrupt the midscale category and offer a new type of product to appeal to owners and developers and since its inception, nearly one of every four Tru hotels was developed by an owner new to Hilton. Tru is expected to make its Caribbean and Latin America bow in late 2021 with the opening of Tru by Hilton Criciuma in Brazil, followed by Tru by Hilton Monterrey Fundidora in Mexico in early 2022. Similar to Tru’s North American design, the Caribbean and Latin America product is inspired by the region and is designed by Mexico-based firm Arquitectura de Interiores.

Radisson Blu Resort Dharamshala opens in India’s Himachal Pradesh

Radisson Hotel Group has confirmed the further expansion of its Radisson Blu upper upscale brand in India with the opening of Radisson Blu Resort Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh. Located on the scenic foothills of the mighty Dhauladhar Range, the resort offers a combination of business and leisure amenities for guests. With easy accessibility from Kangra Airport, the resort features 120-uniquely designed modern rooms overlooking the spectacular Kangra Valley. The resort enjoys an independent access from Khaniyara road connected to national highway 503 and is conveniently placed to explore all popular tourist destinations around Dharamshala. Spread over 30,000 square metres, the resort features rooms across standard, superior, deluxe, suite and presidential suite categories.

Hu.Hotel to reopen in Aug-2021 with promise of Southern hospitality on banks of Mississippi River

The Hu. Hotel, part of the Aparium Hotel Group portfolio, will reopen its doors to visitors in Memphis in Aug-2021 will a reimagined rooftop bar and casual café. Evoking the irreverent and laid-back nature of its hometown, the refreshed 110-room hotel is located at the corner of Madison Avenue and South Main Street, and stands on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River. The hotel was inspired by the spirit of Memphis and is named after one of its legendary citizens, Hugh ‘Hu.’ Lawson White Brinkley. The 110-keys include 42 suites with views overlooking the Mississippi River. With design details that pay homage to the city’s comfort, ease and charm, the property features a distinct, carefree attitude paired with contemporary touches. Mid-century modern details share a palette of artwork showcasing local destinations .

Data metrics – latest performance insights from STR

  • July and August are two of most important hotel performance months in Europe with travellers typically spread across the continent on summer holidays. However, even with expanded vaccinations, phased reopenings and improved travel sentiment, “summer 2021 continues to be far from normal in the region,” says STR. Overall, Europe has quite a way to go before the region is back to pre-pandemic levels. The region’s occupancy came in at 31.6% for May-2021. That was up from May 2020 (13.7%) but substantially below May-2019 (74.8%). At the country level, the United Kingdom posted the highest May occupancy (43.1%), but even that level was far off the 2019 comparable (78.9%). Spain (33.8%) ranked second thanks to limited domestic demand and France (33.1%) was third. On the other side of the spectrum, Germany (17.3%) was the lowest occupancy performer in Europe due to stricter restrictions.
  • The accommodation industry across United States of America (USA) has begun Jul-2021 with more hotels seeing occupancy levels above 60%, but with overall performance levels below those seen in Jun-2021. Following the normal pre-04-Jul-2021 slump, US industry occupancy rebounded to 67.2% for the week ending 10-Jul-2021 – positive, but a much less than expected rise up +3% to 26 million, versus 13% week-on-week, when occupancy hit 74% in 2019. STR believes this illustrates the “continued shortfall in business and group demand” that in normal times would have supplemented seasonal leisure demand. While overall industry occupancy and demand have slowed a little, ADR continues to strengthen, hitting “an all-time high” of almost USD140, according to STR, that was 5% above the 2019 comparable. More than 71% of markets reported higher weekly ADR versus the comparable week in 2019, according to its data.

News briefs – bitesize updates of latest industry news and developments

  • ASG, a portfolio company of Alpine Investors that buys, builds and operates vertical SaaS companies, has acquired hotel operations management platform ALICE from Expedia Group in a carve-out transaction. It marks the 36th acquisition for ASG and the fourth within the ASG Hospitality Technology vertical. ALICE joins Transcendent, acquired in 2019, ProfitSword, acquired in 2020, and Visual Matrix, acquired in 2021.
  • DiamondRock Hospitality Company has completed the repositioning of The Lodge at Sonoma into Marriott International’s Autograph Collection. Located in the heart of Sonoma, the property has been transformed into a luxury boutique resort with an intentional design that honours the spirit of Sonoma. All 182 guest rooms and suites have been redesigned to incorporate the spirit of Sonoma, most notably the intimate cottages which feature private outdoor soaking tubs and fireplaces.
  • The BEI San Francisco has newly reopened its doors as a Trademark Collection by Wyndham hotel in the heart of San Francisco. One block from the Orpheum Theatre and Bill Graham Civic Center Auditorium, the 396-room hotel puts guests at the nexus of art, entertainment and tech with instant access to the nearby Financial District and Union Square. The dog-friendly contemporary lifestyle hotel completed a USD30 million transformation in Jan-2020 and aspires to “cultivate authentic connections through harmonious spaces centred around community”.
  • Best Western Hotels & Resorts has announced the opening of a new upscale hotel in Vietnam, located on the waterfront overlooking Ha Long Bay, the iconic UNESCO World Heritage-listed ecological and geographical wonder. The Best Western Premier Sapphire Ha Long is a 31-storey property that features 1,008 rooms and suites all with private balconies and including a selection of two-bedroom suites as a long stay option.
  • Electra America Hospitality Group, a joint venture between Electra America and AKA targeting the acquisition and repositioning of underperforming hotels in gateway markets, has purchased a 178-key hotel in the heart of Old Town Alexandria – a hotel that was once a part of the Old Colony Inn – for an undisclosed amount. This comes on the heels of the leasehold acquisition last month of the Roger New York, a 194-room boutique hotel in the heart of Manhattan’s NoMad neighbourhood.
  • The St Joe Company has revealed plans for a Home2 Suites by Hilton hotel in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. The hotel will be located on its property near West Hewett Road just north of US Highway 98 and plans call for the four-story hotel to feature 107 guest rooms including some one-bedroom suites. St Joe says it intends to break ground on the planned Home2 Suites by Hilton hotel later in 2021 and anticipates a 2023 opening.
  • Hotel St Michel, a European style boutique hotel in Coral Gables, Miami, Florida, has implemented the BeyondTV GuestCast streaming platform from Hotel Internet Services to enhance the guest entertainment experience at the property. The solution offers a guest streaming service that supports personalisation flexibility and user-friendly interaction.
  • Hyatt Hotels Corporation has unveiled World of Care – a global Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) platform – designed to address the pressing challenges faced by Hyatt’s colleagues, guests, owners, and communities and enact meaningful change within the hospitality industry. World of Care builds on Hyatt’s more than 60 years of efforts to care for the planet, people, and responsible business, and the launch of this platform provides the brand with an opportunity to support key milestones and initiatives.
  • Hotel and tourism consulting specialist PKF hotelexperts group is to now operate as PKF hospitality group having recently relaunched its event business under the umbrella brand 196+ events. New divisions of the group include PKF hotelexperts – hotel consulting, PKF livingexperts – serviced living consulting, PKF tourismexperts – tourism consulting, PKF leisureexperts – leisure consulting and PKF hospitality research – data analytics for hotel, living, tourism & leisure.
  • South Florida’s iconic Boca Raton Resort & Club will become known as The Boca Raton, and will usher in an entirely new perspective on travel, what it describes as “a new golden era” as it completes the evolution. This will begin with a USD175 million Phase One physical transformation to be unveiled during Winter 2021/2022 with bespoke enhancements to every guest experience, from “exceptional accommodations to dynamic culinary concepts and innovative programming”.
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