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.

  • IHG opens Ireland’s first new-build Holiday Inn property at Dublin Airport
  • St Regis Qingdao marks arrival of Marriott’s luxury brand in China’s northeastern Shandong region
  • Hyatt doubles up in New York with second Hyatt Centric opening
  • UK hotel bookings hit their highest levels since Mar-2020 as freedom and staycations drive demand
  • Avani Barbarons Seychelles Resort to rise as Avani+ Seychelles Barbarons Resort in early 2023
  • Data metrics – latest performance insights from STR
  • News briefs – bitesize updates of latest industry news and development

IHG opens Ireland’s first new-build Holiday Inn property at Dublin Airport

IHG Hotels & Resorts has confirmed the opening of its first new build Holiday Inn in Dublin and eighth hotel in Ireland with he debut of the Holiday Inn Dublin Airport, Ireland, developed in partnership with JMK Group. The hotel has 421 modern rooms that showcase Holiday Inn’s newest room design which creates a ‘Central Living’ space for guests to relax and work in if needed. The rooms include an in-room sofa bed providing a flexible space ideal for watching TV, socialising, and lounging. A dedicated work area with a desk and multiple device connection options is offered for those who want to get some work done in their room. All rooms are soundproof and fully air-conditioned and are fitted with a smart TV plus tea and coffee facilities. The hotel also has free Wi-Fi and food available 24-hours a day to ensure that all guests feel welcomed at any time of day and night. The property is located only a ten-minute drive or free shuttle from Dublin Airport T1 and T2 and a fifteen-minute drive to Dublin City Centre. The brand’s signature ‘Open Lobby’ has transformed the traditional hotel lobby format by combining the front desk, restaurant, bar, lounge and business centre into one open, cohesive space with a bright, contemporary feel, offering guests the ability to eat, relax, work, or have fun all in one area. There is a full-service restaurant that is open all day serving an international menu made with locally sourced products.


St Regis Qingdao marks arrival of Marriott’s luxury brand in China’s northeastern Shandong region

The St Regis promise of an uncompromising level of bespoke and anticipatory service for all guests, delivered flawlessly by its signature St Regis Butler Service, has arrived in the northeastern Shandong region of China with he debut of the St Regis Qingdao. Strategically located in the landmark Haitian Center in the heart of historic Qingdao, the hotel occupies the 58th to 78th floors of the 369-meter-tall building, offering the highest hotel experience in the region, enthralling guests with panoramic vistas of the Yellow Sea and picturesque coastal scenes. Within an hour’s drive from Qingdao Liuting International Airport, the hotel is adjacent to scenic Fushan Bay, the venue for the sailing competitions during the Beijing Olympics. Drawing inspiration from the brand’s rich heritage, the renowned Singapore based interior design firm, LTW Designworks, has subtly infused local Qingdao influences with St. Regis’ avant-garde aesthetic. This includes a crystal chandelier inspired by a legendary dress of golden thorns that Caroline Astor, mother of St Regis founder John Jacob Astor IV and doyenne of New York high society in the Gilded Age, wore to one of her famed Midnight Suppers. The backdrop of the nearby grand staircase is a 74-meter-high atrium art wall that reflects the delicate traces left on the beach by the ebb and flow of the Yellow Sea. The hotel features 233 guest rooms, including 30 luxury suites with spectacular ocean views. In each guest room, the bedside backplate features camellia motifs as an homage to the official flower of Qingdao, representing inspiration, integrity and romance.


Hyatt doubles up in New York with second Hyatt Centric opening

Hyatt Hotels Corporation has announced the debut of Hyatt Centric 39th & 5th New York, which marks the lifestyle brand’s second hotel in New York City. The 22-storey property features 162 modern guestrooms, including six spacious suites, which seek to showcase the vibrancy of New York City, with the playful layering of textures, graphics, and curated curiosities. The property is centrally located in New York City’s Midtown East neighbourhood, providing a launchpad for guests looking to be in the heart of the action in the US city. The hotel’s modern architecture and interiors, designed by New Jersey-based VLDG, reflect the spirit and elegance of the Gilded Age in New York City, which encompasses opulence and romance and boasts artful touches that pay homage to the city’s historic 5th Avenue neighbourhood, and features a vibrant colour palette, floral motifs throughout, unique velvet pieces and Art Nouveau-style gold steel light fixtures. The guestrooms feature a jewel-toned colour palette, leather headboards, illuminating lights underneath the bed and behind the headboard, antique gold floor length mirrors, velvet plush seating, and a floral stitched curtain design.


UK hotel bookings hit their highest levels since Mar-2020 as freedom and staycations drive demand

Hotel bookings in the UK have reached their highest level compared to pre-pandemic times, some 20 percentage points above the global average, and up to 15 percentage points above Germany, France and Portugal, according to SiteMinder’s World Hotel Index. Coastal destinations are performing best, but major cities across the UK are also experiencing growth, according to the research, sourced from the company’s open hotel commerce platform. This “concrete confirmation” it says of so far of the staycation boom the UK is currently experiencing, with bookings hitting 84.57% of 2019 levels on 29-Jul-2021 and remaining stable at 84.18% of 2019 levels on 01-Aug-2021. With international restrictions the bookings are being driven by domestic tourism with 92% of hotel bookings currently coming from within the country. SiteMinder says the UK’s overall hotel bookings, as a comparison to pre-pandemic times, first surpassed the global average on 09-May-2021, and have since grown to sit at 19.99% percentage points above the current global average of 64.19%. The comparative booking levels are also outperforming those in a number of major European markets, including Portugal (82.48%), France (69.7%), Germany (71.36%), the Netherlands (66.77%) and Malta (73.88%). The UK’s coastal destinations have performed especially strongly this year, with hotel bookings in Brighton, for example, currently at 107.72% of 2019 levels – having surpassed pre-pandemic volumes on 06-Jun-2021, and peaked at 123.29% a few days later. Edinburgh is another standout destination, sitting at 111.76% of 2019 bookings, while Bristol stands at 97.53% by the same measure. Hotel bookings in London also continue to grow and currently stand at 65.61% of 2019 levels – the highest since Mar-2020. This compares favourably to a number of European capitals, including Paris (53.28% of 2019 volumes), Amsterdam (53.24% of 2019 volumes) and Vienna (50.42% of 2019 levels),according to SiteMinder data.


Avani Barbarons Seychelles Resort to rise as Avani+ Seychelles Barbarons Resort in early 2023

Avani Barbarons Seychelles Resort, one of the brand’s earliest properties to launch back in 2015, will be undergoing a multi-million dollar upgrade. The resort, located on the west coast of Mahé, the largest island in the Seychelles archipelago, on the white sands of Barbarons Beach,  will once again welcome guests in early 2023 and will relaunch as Avani+ Seychelles Barbarons Resort. The existing resort will receive a full make over with new restaurant options and a beach club, plus a brand new extension which will see a new lagoon-style swimming pool with lagoon access rooms, plus the introduction of Avani Beach Suites. The substantial refurbishment aims to reinvent the popular beach club resort with a more contemporary look and feel while staying respectful of the pristine natural environment. The project will include the refurbishing of the existing 124 guest rooms and suites, while an additional 68 keys are being added in a completely new extension to the resort and introducing new room types – 26 Lagoon Access rooms which boast vistas of the pool and ocean and four new Avani Beach Suites, each with four keys forming a small cluster of rooms with direct beach access. Since the launch of the Avani+ portfolio in 2018, the collection has expanded to include Bangkok, Hua Hin and Koh Samui in Thailand as well as Luang Prabang in Laos, with more on the way. Avani+ encompasses a selection of hotels and resorts that showcase the next-level in style, design and facilities with each designed to tell its own unique story so that guests will discover a little something extra, from architecture to design to location and beyond.


Data metrics – latest performance insights from STR

  • After being one of the highest-performing countries during the early portion of 2021, hotel occupancy in Australia has been on a rapid decline amid the latest COVID-19 lockdowns across the country, according to data from STR through 01-Aug-2021. Markets with longer restrictions have seen occupancy levels below 20%. For the week ending 01-Aug-2021, the STR-defined Sydney Surrounding market, as well as Sydney, posted 15.6% and 15.8% occupancy levels, respectively. Those were each market’s lowest weekly levels in 2021. Although up week-over-week, Adelaide (30.0%), Melbourne (27.1%) and Canberra (21.2%) also came in at notably low occupancy levels for the same period. The Darwin Area posted Australia’s highest occupancy for the week, at 65.4%. The market’s weekly occupancy was as high as 82.0% in late May. Queensland came in second during the week, at 61.8%, followed by Perth and Brisbane at 48.1% and 44.7%, respectively.
  • Hotel occupancy levels in the United States of America (USA) ended Jul-2021 with a dip in performance compared to the previous week, although room rates were up slightly, according to STR‘s data through 31-Jul-2021. In comparison with pre-pandemic levels (the same week in 2019), occupancy was down -6.2% to 70.1%, ADR was up +6.8% to USD142.76, while RevPAR was relatively unchanged at USD100.07, a +0.1% rise. ADR remained at an all-time high on a nominal basis but not when adjusted for inflation (USD135).

News briefs – bitesize updates of latest industry news and development

  • A new design and technology-oriented independent hotel has opened in the heart of Mountain View, a city in Santa Clara County, California, USA. The Ameswell Hotel has been inspired by the backdrop of California’s wilderness and Silicon Valley’s legacy of unconventional thinking. The 255-room hotel brings together innovation, art, wellness, sustainability, and natural beauty, featuring an extensive art collection, multiple destination bar and restaurants, a library, meeting and event space, all within a resort-like setting. The property, owned by Broadreach Capital Partners and Rockwood Capital, and managed by Storey Hotel Management Group, is located close to Google, Apple, and Facebook’s Silicon Valley headquarters, as well as Microsoft’s sustainable campus.
  • NEWMARK Hotels, Reserves, Lodges & Residences has expanded its portfolio with the opening of The Catalyst Hotel, a stylish 206-bedroom apartment hotel in the heart of Johannesburg’s affluent residential Sandton municipality. The serviced apartments aim to recreate the ‘home from home’ experience, offering convenience and space, in equal measure for visitors spending an extended period in the area. The property is initially deploying strict COVID-19 protocols, only occupying between 50 to100 of the 206 rooms at any given time and separating guests between the floors and tower blocks.
  • Chatham Lodging Trust, a hotel REIT focused on investing in upscale, extended-stay hotels and premium-branded, select-service hotels has added two further premium-branded hotels to its portfolio adding 269 rooms in Austin. Texas. In a USD71.2 million deal (approximately USD265,000 per room) it has acquired the 132-room Residence Inn Austin Domain, which opened in Jul-2016, and the newly added 137-room TownePlace Suites Austin Domain.
  • The EVEN Hotel Shenandoah – The Woodlands has started welcoming wellness-minded travellers to Greater Houston. Owned by Flourish Hospitality and managed by Sunway Hospitality, the 120-room property is surrounded by natural beauty for outdoor enthusiasts but still close to major business hubs with easy access to Downtown Houston for business travellers.
  • Fastpayhotels, the global B2B accommodation distribution business, has launched Rate Control Plus, a new technology suite for the next generation of rate distribution control. This represents a major step forward on what is a significant pain for the industry, hotel direct sell and revenue management. Fastpayhotels now trades with over 300 chains around the world including 10 of the 12 largest hotel chains globally. The control of how hotel rates are distributed has seen major improvement as many hotels gradually move from using static to dynamic rates, however incidences of rate leakage have seen a spike during the pandemic across the industry.
  • The Grand Geneva Resort & Spa has completed a transformation of its indoor lobby space and added outdoor dining to this 1,300 acre AAA Four-Diamond resort. The design project has been led by New York City based architecture and design firm, Rotett Studio. The improvements at the property, approximately three miles from Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, USA, sees the lobby and lobby lounge reimagined as an open-concept space featuring large windows allowing guests to enjoy the natural light and landscape views across the resort.
  • The new Holiday Inn Werribee, which opened in Melbourne West in late Jul-2021 highlights the global transformation over the last 18-months of the IHG brand and illustrates its next-generation design with innovative open lobbies and revised offerings. Encompassing the top four floors of 22 Synnot Street, the brand new, purpose-built hotel features 150 contemporary and modern rooms, an open lobby, onsite bar and restaurant and versatile meeting spaces.
  • Sceptre Hospitality Resources (SHR) says hotels using its Windsurfer booking engine saw a record amount of traffic to their direct websites in Jun-2021 and converted 3.4% of that traffic, higher than most reported industry averages. Hotels have seen demand – mainly from leisure guests – creep up slowly but surely since the beginning of the year. The 3.3 million travellers on hotel websites across SHR’s client base was the most traffic since SHR began tracking visitors in 2018.
  • Algarve real estate development and management company, the Swiss/Dutch managed Carvoeiro Clube Group, has formally opened the doors to its latest project, the Vivenda Miranda Boutique Hotel in Lagos, in mid-June. The iconic 4-star+ luxury design hotel, famous for its spectacular cliff-top location just above Porto de Mos beach, was acquired at the beginning of this year and has since undergone an extension and thorough facelift, now offering a boutique style with 27 individually decorated rooms.
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