Twenty14 Holdings and Accor partner to open Pullman in Dubai
22 February | Hotel openings
UAE-based hospitality company Twenty14 Holdings has collaborated with French hospitality group Accor to open a new Pullman in Dubai, Business Bay.
The new hotel, named the Pullman Downtown Dubai, comprises 353 rooms and suites, a ballroom, two meeting rooms, a private boardroom, a club lounge, a spa, fitness facilities with sauna and steam rooms, a squash court, a lop pool, a children’s pool and outdoor Jacuzzi.
It offers views of the Dubai Canal, the Dubai Skyline and the iconic Burj Khalifa, and is situated near the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition centre.
Twenty14 Holdings managing director Adeeb Ahamed said: “We are pleased to partner with Accor and be part of their strong footprint and network in the region.
“Pullman is aligned with our expectations and vision as an asset owning company, and with Accor’s loyalty programme and management expertise, we are confident that guests at our property will get to experience the best of global hospitality.”
The company has made an investment of more than $750m in assets across the Middle East, Europe, the UK and India, including Great Scotland Yard Hotel, London, Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh’s The Caledonian, and Port Muziris, Kochi, Kerala (Marriott’s first Tribute Portfolio Hotel in South Asia).
Additionally, Accor and Twenty14 Holdings are also working together to develop the dining offering at the hotel.
Recently, Qatar-based Katara Hospitality has partnered with Accor to launch Maison Delano brand in Paris.
To be located in the 8th Arrondissement in an 18th century mansion at 4 Rue d’Anjou, the new Maison Delano hotel will feature 56 rooms and suites, a restaurant and a bar in the mansion’s historical courtyard.
22 February | Hotel openings
The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts debuts in Jaipur, India
The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts debuts in Jaipur, the capital city of Rajasthan, in India, with the opening of The Leela Palace Jaipur.
The new hotel, located amidst serene surroundings near Amber fort on the Delhi-Jaipur highway, has been branded following extensive refurbishment and enhancements in the product and service offerings.
It introduces The Leela Palace Programming and signature Palace Service, which is delivered with Indian hospitality to the Pink City.
The Leela Palace Jaipur is located a short distance from historical places of interest, buzzing bazaars brimming with textiles, art and handicrafts and the famous silver and gemstone markets.
It includes 74 Palace Rooms, 16 Palace Suites, 22 Grand Villas, 22 Grand Villas with Terrace, 23 Royal Villas with Countryard, 41 Royal Villas with Plunge Pool, 1 Royal Suite and 1 Maharaja Suite.
The new property, which is in easy driving distance from Delhi, comprises more than 50,000ft2 of indoor and outdoor event space along with a pillarless Grand Ballroom and verdant lawns. It also includes Sukh Mahal-All day dining, Mohan Mahal-Indian Speciality restaurant, swimming pool, gym, and Spa, along with the meandering walkways.
18 February | Hotel openings
Cambria Hotels opens fifth hotel in Washington D.C.
Cambria Hotels, a brand franchised by Choice Hotels International, has opened Cambria Hotel Washington D.C. Capitol Riverfront, a nine-story hotel with 154 rooms.
This is the brand’s fifth property in the greater Washington, D.C. area, with the other hotels located at College Park, Maryland; Rockville, Maryland; Arundel Mills, Maryland; and in D.C. near the Convention Center.
It represents the expansion of the brand into the D.C. and Maryland region.
Situated at 69 Q Street SW, the hotel lies in the centre of the district’s Capitol Riverfront neighbourhood.
It offers views of the Potomac River, besides being conveniently located to several attractions such as the Wharf, the Nationals Park, the Yards Marina, and the new Audi Field soccer stadium.
Choice Hotels upscale brands senior vice president Janis Cannon said: “For Choice Hotels, along with many of our collaborators on this project, this area is our home, so we’re especially proud to continue our expansion in the region and support the community we love with the opening of yet another Cambria hotel.
“Like all Cambria properties, the Cambria Hotel Washington D.C. Capitol Riverfront is designed to ‘wow’ guests with locally inspired touches and stunning design, and built to accommodate the evolving needs of today’s traveller — whether they’re just getting back on the road, wanting to elevate their telework venue, or seeking the perfect staycation spot.”
19 February | Hotel openings
Boho-chic inspired Aloft Tulum hotel opens in Mexico
Aloft Tulum, a boho-chic inspired hotel managed by Highgate in the Mexican city of Tulum, has become operational.
The four-floor hotel features 140 loft-style guest rooms and suites, offers several kinds of spaces for socialization and music including a signature Ático Rooftop Lounge & Bar with an infinity pool.
This property is Marriott International’s first hotel to launch in Tulum.
Aloft Tulum general manager Sergio Parra said: “After much anticipation, we are thrilled to welcome visitors to the Aloft Tulum. It is the perfect choice for travelers and digital nomads who are in search of a more affordable boutique hotel option with luxury touches.
“Not to mention, we are celebrating several firsts including being the first Marriott International property and first internationally branded hotel to enter Tulum.”
The hotel’s lobby features modern furniture and floor-to-ceiling windows and urban art that would be changed seasonally .
The guest rooms have a 10ft high ceiling, plush platform beds and light airy décor that is infused with natural textiles to provide a sense of comfort.
The rooms also have high-speed Wi-Fi, 55-inch LCD televisions, Aloft custom toiletries from Bliss Spa and walk-in showers with rainfall showerheads.
18 February | Deals
Aman teams up with Mori Building for Janu Tokyo hotel in Japan
Mori Building, a Japanese urban landscape developer, has partnered with Aman, an operator of luxury hotels and resorts, in the Toranomon-Azabudai Urban Redevelopment Project, an urban renewal project that is expected to revitalise central Tokyo once completed in 2023.
The two main results of this partnership will be the branded residence Aman Residences, Tokyo and luxury hotel Janu Tokyo, which is Aman’s sister brand.
Janu Tokyo will also represent the debut of the Janu brand in Japan.
Mori Building president and CEO Shingo Tsuji said: “Tokyo must add to its magnetic power if it is to succeed in its competition with the world’s greatest cities. Mori Building is joining hands with Aman, which operates diverse world-class resorts, to provide a world-leading residential environment and hotel unlike anything ever seen in Tokyo, where people will achieve harmony with nature as well as connect with and inspire others through creativity. By realizing this new form of ‘urban wellness,’ Mori Building will enhance Tokyo’s magnetic power.”
Aman and Janu chairman and CEO Vladislav Doronin said: “Launching our first urban Aman Residences in Japan is a milestone moment in the history of Aman and speaks to our brand’s close relationship and symbiosis with this country and its incredibly special culture."
17 February | Deals
Louvre Hotels Group enters technology partnership with Sabre
Louvre Hotels Group, a hotel group in Europe with approximately 1,600 hotels across 54 countries and a subsidiary of Jin Jiang International, has entered a strategic long-term technology partnership with Sabre, a US-based software and technology provider.
Through this new agreement, Louvre will stand to benefit from SynXis Central Reservations, with its connections to almost 900,000 travel agents and nearly 700 online channels throughout the world, including online travel agencies (OTAs) and metasearch engines.
This deal will enable Louvre Hotels Group to follow its ambitious plans to expand its hotel footprint and global distribution reach while improving operational efficiencies.
Louvre Hotels Group CEO Pierre-Frédéric Roulot said: “This partnership with Sabre is a priority to sustain our ambitions, especially in this global context. We constantly develop our network across the world with our brands from 1 star to 5 stars.
"Therefore, we want to deploy innovative distribution strategies with robust technology solutions, to provide cutting edge solutions to our investors and franchises while ensuring technical and operational efficiency for our hotels."
Google France agrees to pay fine over misleading hotel ratings
Google France has agreed to pay a $1.34m fine over misleading hotel star ratings on its platform. The fine was slapped on Google France and Google Ireland, which is where the tech major’s European headquarters is located, after a probe was launched by France’s finance ministry and fraud and competition watchdog.
Saudi Arabia’s TRSDC reveals Coral Bloom concept for Shurayrah island
The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) has announced Coral Bloom concept, created by architectural firm Foster + Partners, as the design for its main hub island Shurayrah under the Red Sea Project. The Coral Bloom concept, unveiled by TRSDC chairman and Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has been designed to avoid disruption to the island’s mangroves and other habitats.
Sonesta adds 88 hotels to its global portfolio
US-based Sonesta International Hotels is expanding its global portfolio with the addition of 88 hotels. Of the total, 78 hotels were reflagged to Sonesta and the remaining ten hotels are set for transition to Sonesta before the end of March. These 88 hotels fall under five of the Sonesta brands – Royal Sonesta, Sonesta ES Suites, Sonesta Simply Suites, Sonesta Hotels & Resorts and Sonesta Select.
Hotel Nikko Narita receives SGS Japan’s certification
Hotel Nikko Narita has secured a certification under SGS Japan’s Cleaning and Disinfection Monitoring and Verification Process. With more than 2,600 offices and laboratories worldwide, SGS Japan is an independent inspection, verification, testing and certification company that provides the global benchmark for quality and integrity.
SVC transitions 78 hotels to Sonesta from Marriott International
Service Properties Trust (SVC) has completed the transfer of 78 hotels to US-based Sonesta International Hotels’ subsidiaries from Marriott International.
By the end of next month, ten additional hotels are expected to be transferred to Sonesta.
17 February | Deals
Al-Sharif Holding signs financing agreement for renovation of Egypt’s Shepherd Hotel
Al-Sharif Holding Group has signed a long-term financing agreement with the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) for a loan of approximately $62.5m (EGP978.2m) to upgrade the Shepherd Hotel in Egypt.
The loan, which carries an interest rate of 8%, will go towards funding the total cost of renovation of $89.5m (EGP1.4bn).
Al-Sharif Group first vice-president Hussein Al-Nattai was quoted by Daily News Egypt said: “These facilities are the beginning of new fruitful business relations with the NBE. We have great confidence in the success of this project to be a distinguished tourist destination to attract the public from all over the world.”
The hotel management process will be entrusted to a global five-star management company.
Renovation and upgrade works of the hotel is expected to take 42 months. The works involve modernisation of all services and facilities. The hotel’s capacity will be increased from 260 rooms to 316 rooms.
The hotel is expected to open by the end of 2024.
16 February | Technology
Johannesburg’s Hotel Sky becomes first hotel in Africa to deploy robot staff
Hotel Sky, a recently opened hotel in Johannesburg of South Africa, has deployed automated or robot attendants, thereby claiming to have become the first hotel in Africa to opt for robot hospitality.
Robot hospitality is not a new concept given that several Japanese hotels have embraced it since 2015, reported Reuters.
The deployment of the automated attendants is claimed to help the hotel, located in Johannesburg’s wealthy Sandton district, to adhere to the Covid-19 protocols.
It is staffed with three robots – Lexi, Micah and Ariel.
This concept is expected to raise concerns in a country, where unemployment has touched 30.8%.
Hotel Sky managing director Paul Kelly told the news agency: “It’ll never replace people, but it is going to change the space.”
“I think that it is the future,” he added.
The three AI-powered robots provide room service, travel information and can carry up to 300kg of luggage from lobby to the rooms.
These robots are deployed to attend to guests with Covid-19 symptoms.
Hotel Sky general manager Herman Brits told the news agency: “Guests can choose whether they want to interact with staff members or make use of the self service, which is all controlled by their phone choose.”
The robots were supplied by CTRL Robotics.
CTRL Robotics CEO Steve Pinto said the machine staff could also scan facial expressions of customers to find their satisfaction.