CHECK OUT! – 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 offering for this week.

  • IHG takes-off at numerous airport locations with Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express openings
  • citizenM brings promise of affordable luxury stays to the Los Angeles Downtown area
  • Accor and Edamah to introduce sustainability focussed Mantis brand to the Middle East market
  • Pan Pacific London to provide ‘a serene haven’ away from the hustle and bustle of the capital city
  • It is ‘same, same but slightly different’ for consumer accommodation preferences as smaller types continue to attract more interest
  • Wyndham debuts Registry Collection in Georgia with new ART Tbilisi property
  • Hyatt grows in Europe with the help of strong leisure demand
  • Le Méridien lands in the Maldives with 141 villa resort on Thilamaafushi
  • Data metrics – latest performance insights from STR
  • News briefs – bitesize updates of latest industry news and developments

IHG takes-off at numerous airport locations with Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express openings

IHG Hotels & Resorts has outlined the continued growth of two of its much-loved global brands – Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn Express – following a flurry of signings and openings at airport locations across Europe. It says, the growth demonstrates “the ongoing confidence of owners in these brands” and supports IHG’s vision for long-term expansion across a multitude of European cities as industry recovery continues. IHG’s Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express brands have demonstrated real resilience in the tougher trading times accounting for more than half of all new signings in 2020 and 60% of new openings. The new airport projects include: the Holiday Inn Express Madrid Airport, a partnership with Bartila and is set to open by the end of 2023, with 156 guest rooms, a restaurant and bar, and an outdoor pool; the recently signed Holiday Inn Express Seville Airport, a 146 guest room property in partnership with Cayman Group that will also open its doors in 2023; the 224-room Holiday Inn Express Rome – Airport, also opening in 2023 through a franchise agreement with Caltagirone Group and Borealis Hotel Group, located in the Parco Leonardo shopping and business centre; the 122-room Holiday Inn Express Ankara Airport, the first property for the brand in Ankara and a partnership with Asal Grup Otomotiv İnşaat Ticaret due for completion in 2022. Recent new openings include the Holiday Inn Express Nice – Grand Arenas, in partnership with HPVA and part of a dual-branded property alongside the Crowne Plaza Nice – Grand Arenas; and the new-build, 421-room, Holiday Inn Dublin Airport which recently opened in the Irish capital in partnership with owner group JMK. The Holiday Inn brand now includes 282 open hotels (46,301 guest rooms) across Europe and a further 24 properties in the development pipeline.

citizenM brings promise of affordable luxury stays to the Los Angeles Downtown area

citizenM this month opens the doors to the new citizenM Los Angeles Downtown, the first of two properties planned to debut in California this year. This is part of a focus on building a presence in the US market for the affordable luxury hotel brand and will see the opening of properties in San Francisco Union Square in Oct-2021 and two further hotel openings in Miami later this year (citizenM Miami World Center and citizenM Miami Brickell), as well as the citizenM Washington DC NOMA in Feb-2022. These openings will complement the existing citizenM US portfolio in Boston, New York, Seattle, and Washington, DC, bringing the total offering to 10 hotels across the country and 27 worldwide. The 315-room, 11-storey Los Angeles hotel offers a gym, five societyM meeting spaces, and a collectionM retail space with an unconventional assortment of travel essentials. The bedrooms are all one style – cosy in size, but optimised for relaxation with a wall-to-wall window, XL king-size beds topped with the finest European linens, the brand’s “jetlag-busting” power shower and a HD TV with streaming capabilities to support guests own entertainment demands. To mark the brand’s arrival in Los Angeles, citizenM has partnered with Downtown Los Angeles photographer Corinne Schiavone to fill the hotel’s windows with polaroid-style portraits of locals, transforming the seven-storey property into a public gallery in the days leading up to its opening.

Accor and Edamah to introduce sustainability focussed Mantis brand to the Middle East market

Accor has signed a deal to open a new Mantis property on Bahrain’s Hawar Island, merging luxury with eco-tourism. Mantis was founded in 2000 by global entrepreneur and conservationist Adrian Gardiner and features a diverse collection of destinations around the globe. Since joining forces in 2018, Accor and Mantis have worked together to take on new opportunities to welcome guests in authentic curated hotels, eco-lodges and waterways while prioritising the cause of sustainability and to promote further appreciation of the natural environment across every unique destination. The group is partnering with Edamah (Bahrain Real Estate Investment Company), the real estate arm of Mumtalakat Holding Company, for the project on Hawar Island, which is a 45-minute boat ride from the Bahrain mainland and enjoys recognition from UNESCO for its natural history. Guests will have the chance to stay in overwater villas offering direct access to the sea while experiencing superior service, quality, and the beautiful island nature. Situated on the west coast of the Hawar Island, the property will be surrounded by a wildlife sanctuary. It will feature 72 keys and is scheduled to open in 2024.

Pan Pacific London to provide ‘a serene haven’ away from the hustle and bustle of the capital city

The Pan Pacific London claims to take innovation and understated luxury to new heights, but certainly fuses together architecture and contemporary design with Singaporean hospitality to create a lifestyle destination in London. Located in Liverpool Street, Pan Pacific London is on the doorstep of world-renowned locations yet also home to its own inner world. Sitting proudly in the landmark tower at One Bishopsgate Plaza, the hotel is situated near many of the City’s finest attractions including high-end shopping in Spitalfields, the Barbican cultural hub, the stylish Shoreditch neighbourhood and also central for business. The Bishopsgate Plaza encapsulates not only a 43-storey bronze tower encompassing Pan Pacific London and private Sky Residence apartments, but also the 144-year old Devonshire House featuring designer shops, a destination restaurant and a contemporary cocktail bar. A landscaped public plaza seamlessly connects these two cultural hubs together. The 237 guest rooms have been designed as retreats from the bustling city and feature a lighter colour palette offering peace and tranquillity to the private spaces. The signature Pan Pacific Suite, on the 19th floor, offers spectacular views of city landmark, The Gherkin. On the event side, the property claims to provide “the most technologically advanced and largest” ballroom in the area, a 464 square metre space accommodating up to 400 guests. The hotel also features an Event Emporium alongside a further nine flexible meeting and events venues.

It is ‘same, same but slightly different’ for consumer accommodation preferences as smaller types continue to attract interest

Despite continued challenges due to the Delta variant, many countries around the world, thanks to successful vaccination programmes, have started to relax travel restrictions and social distancing requirements. As a result, more travellers can now explore beyond their locality. But, as restrictions have relaxed and different parts of the world have become more accessible, have there been any changes in consumer accommodation preferences. According to benchmarking specialist STR it is the “same, same but slightly different” with most recent findings from its Traveler Panel showing a familiar picture compared with our previous research. Most notably, smaller types of accommodation continue to attract more interest as consumers adapt to living in a COVID-19 world. In July 2021, traveller interest in short-term rentals was 15% above the pre-pandemic level of interest, according to STR. Consistent with previous research, hotels with less than 50 rooms also recorded higher interest compared with before the pandemic. Indeed, the trend shows increasing interest in this form of accommodation which is likely due to improved confidence in hotels as many brands have implemented elevated cleaning and other COVID-safe protocols. Meanwhile, at the other end of the scale, hostels continue to suffer more than other types of accommodation. Some six in 10 travellers said that they were less interested in staying at a hostel now compared with before the pandemic. While this is a difficult reading for the sector, it was an improved result compared with previous findings which again suggests that there is growing confidence in the accommodation sector, says STR. Consumers were also asked for their views on different classes of hotel accommodation. Overall, travellers are still less interested in staying at hotels now than compared with before the pandemic. Interestingly, economy and budget hotels were perceived significantly more negatively than upscale and luxury hotels in the current environment.

Wyndham to debut Registry Collection in Georgia with new ART Tbilisi property

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has announced plans to debut its newest brand, Registry Collection Hotels, in Georgia with a flagship 100-room newly-built property in the heart of the capital city of Tbilisi. Due to open in early 2023, the ART Tbilisi, a Registry Collection Hotel, will be located in the picturesque district of Abanotubani, one of the most sought-after locations in the old town. Wyndham recently introduced the Registry Collection Hotels with the opening of the Grand Residences Riviera Cancun in Jun-2021, adding a luxury offering to the upper end of the its growing brand portfolio. The collection brings together properties “handpicked to deliver incredible experiences in spectacular destinations” that “combine individuality with thoughtful design and world-class service,” says the hotel group. Nestled on a hill with spectacular views of the bustling old city and its traditional brick houses, the new build property will offer guests a tranquil retreat in a popular part of Tbilisi. Wyndham’s portfolio in Georgia already includes Wyndham Grand Tbilisi, Wyndham Batumi, Ramada By Wyndham Tbilisi Old City, Ramada Encore Tbilisi, in addition to a development pipeline of 11 hotels across the country.

Hyatt grows in Europe with the help of strong leisure demand

Hyatt Hotels Corporation has revealed that an affiliate has entered into six new management and franchise agreements for hotels in Europe across The Unbound Collection by Hyatt, JdV by Hyatt, Hyatt Centric, and Hyatt Regency brands, further emphasising a growing desire from travellers and owners for hotels that offer unique, differentiated experiences and foster genuine connections with people and cultures. The announcement builds on Hyatt’s growth strategy to significantly expand its brand portfolio in Europe by the end of 2023 and follows its recent announcement over the planned acquisition of Apple Leisure Group (ALG), which is expected to expand Hyatt’s European brand footprint by 60%. The newly executed deals include: The Unbound Collection by Hyatt hotel in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, a luxurious boutique hotel in the Swiss Alps which is expected to join The Unbound Collection by Hyatt in 2023. The 41-room Rhodania hotel is currently located right on the third tee of the famous Severiano Ballesteros golf course; the ll Tornabuoni Hotel in Florence, Italy, a luxury boutique 62-room hotel expected to open in Oct-2021 and will be the first Hyatt-branded property in Florence; the 52-room upscale Tribune Hotel in Rome, Italy which will mark Hyatt’s arrival in Rome and will join the JdV by Hyatt brand when it opens in October 2021; a new JdV by Hyatt hotel in Bordeaux, France as part of a franchise agreement with Alboran Hotels and Hospitality for a new 147-room property which is expected to open in 2022; the debut of the Hyatt Centric brand in Germany for the Hyatt Centric Altstadt Hamburg, due to open in 2025 on Moenckebergstrasse, one of Hamburg’s most vibrant shopping streets; and the Hyatt Regency Madrid Residences in Spain, where the Hyatt Regency Hesperia Madrid will expand on its current hotel accommodations to include a residential component offering 22 premium apartments in a new complex located at Paseo de la Castellana, in the heart of the financial centre of the capital and in close proximity to many international businesses, diplomatic offices and embassies.

Le Méridien lands in the Maldives with 141 villa resort on Thilamaafushi

Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts, along with Singaporean developer Chiu Teng Enterprises, have confirmed the opening of Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa, marking brand’s debut in the popular luxury travel destination. Located on Thilamaafushi, the southern pocket of Lhaviyani Atoll, the resort certainly celebrates the fabric of the Maldives, its people, nature and art, all married with Le Méridien’s distinctive European-chic and nostalgic nod to the glamour of the French Riviera in the 1960s. Spanning nine hectares, Thilamaafushi is defined as “island surrounded by vast lagoon” in Dhivehi, the local parlance of the Maldives. The natural island is an eco-conscious haven abundant with indigenous flora and fauna, enveloped by a shimmering lagoon and coral reefs bursting with vibrant marine life, including pods of Manta Rays and turtles. The resort presents 141 villas that are tucked amongst the tropical landscape featuring unparalleled views across the pristine beaches, the Indian Ocean or turquoise lagoon. A selection of one, two and three-bedroom villas unites the concept of art and industrial design with clean lines, a muted colour palette and a contrast of renewable materials that fosters simplicity, openness and functionality. The resort is accessible by a 35-minute seaplane journey north of Velana (MLE) International Airport, Malé, the air gateway to the archipelago.

Data metrics – latest performance insights from STR

  • Hotel occupancy in the United States of America (USA) fell by more than two percentage points to 61.0% for the week ending 28-Aug-2021. This was the fifth consecutive week with lower occupancy and the fourth straight week with an occupancy decline of more than two percentage points. More than 77% of all STR-defined markets in the country reported lower weekly occupancy, and nationwide occupancy is now at its lowest level since mid-May as just 57% of hotels saw weekly occupancy above 60%—the lowest percentage in 14 weeks. Weekday and weekend occupancy have each been trending down for the past five weeks. On a total-room-inventory basis (TRI), which accounts for temporarily closed hotels, weekly occupancy was 58.8%. In the US, there are still 49,000 rooms closed, 40% of which are in New York and Orlando, according to STR.

News briefs – bitesize updates of latest industry news and developments

  • The adults-only lifestyle hotel brand Casa Cook will introduce a new hotel on the Greek island of Samos in May-2022. Nestled in the island’s lush landscape, overlooking the beaches of the northeastern Aegean Sea and close to the historical village of Pythagorion, the 128-room adults-only Casa Cook Samos is the collection’s first new-build since Casa Cook El Gouna in 2019.
  • UAE-based smart and green facilities management company Farnek has developed its hospitality division into an all-embracing hotel management company. Currently responsible for managing the reservation services, concierge, front office services and housekeeping for over 2,200 apartments, under the new trade name of Farnek Hotel Management, the company will expand its services to cover all aspects of hotel and resort management from initial consultation to day-to-day operations.
  • US hotel development and third-party management company Pathfinder Development has added the Best Western Plus in Pflugerville, Texas to its growing portfolio of management contracts. This marks the fifth property to be managed by Pathfinder alongside the Residence Inn Austin Southwest, Holiday Inn Express & Suites – Austin Arboretum Area, Staybridge Suites Houston – Humble Beltway 8 and Staybridge Suites Houston – Nasa/Clear Lake. The Aloft Austin Southwest will join this list when it opens in Jan-2022.
  • Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has expanded its Ramada by Wyndham brand in Romania, with the opening of Ramada by Wyndham Targu Jiu. Centrally located in Targu Jiu, one of Romania’s up-and-coming cities situated by Carpathian Mountains and the banks of the river Jiu, the newly opened 64-room hotel offers a location for travellers discovering the history and culture of the Gorj county and its mountain scenery. The newly built hotel will be complemented by the 85-room Ramada by Wyndham Slatina, slated to open in the first half of 2022.
  • IHG Hotels & Resorts (IHG) and First Inn Group have opened the eighth Staybridge Suites hotel in the UK, and the first in Wales on Cardiff Bay’s Atlantic Wharf. The Staybridge Suites Cardiff has been designed to meet the needs of extended-stay travellers looking for a break from the travel norm. Opened in a prime position on the East Dock at Atlantic Wharf, Staybridge Suites Cardiff offers 73 pet-friendly, modern one-bedroom suites that deliver the comforts of home with fully equipped kitchens, free Wi-Fi, living areas and working spaces.
  • The Barfield, an Autograph Collection hotel has announced the implementation of a high-speed guest Wi-Fi service from Hotel Internet Services (HIS) to provide business and leisure guests at the property the high-speed connectivity and reliability that they require. The new luxury boutique property is located in Amarillo, Texas, USA.
  • UniFocus, a provider of workforce management systems, has acquired Knowcross, the task management and operational optimisation software for the hospitality industry. The merging of the two organizations’ technologies under the UniFocus umbrella is set to provide service business operators a single, streamlined solution for determining the real-time labour needs of their business.
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