Category Archives: Hotels

Ascott 5 Star Villas in Riyadh by 2017


The Ascott Limited (Ascott), the serviced residence owner- operator, is continuing to expand its operations in Saudi Arabia by unveiling plans for ‘The Ascott Villas Riyadh’. The 92-unit 5-star serviced villas would be the group’s landmark and exclusive offering in the Saudi Arabian capital. Ascott, the service residence operator, and Bathel Alkhair Establishment for Trading and Real Estate, inked a management contract on Thursday 14th July, which puts the project on track to open by November 2017. It will also strength Ascott’s position as the leading serviced residence operator in Saudi Arabia, with 980 units in 7 properties across 3 cities. Located in the prestigious Hittin district, north of Riyadh, with easy access to the city’s key business and leisure landmarks, the property will boast a new type of serviced residence experience, combining luxuriously furnished villas with Ascott’s award-winning hospitality service. The Ascott Villas is located close to the upcoming King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD), which has been billed as Riyadh’s new central business district and is the future home of the Saudi Stock Exchange, Capital Markets Authority and a host of other financial and professional services firms. Ascott has another property in Riyadh, the 234-units ‘Ascott Rafal Olaya Riyadh’, which is due to open in the latter part of 2016. Providing a brief introduction about the owners of the property, Miccolis said that the Bathel Alkhair Establishment for Trading and Real Estate, is a Saudi based establishment with the main activities in real estate and financial investments, including the development of residential and hospitality projects, and investment in capital and private equity markets. Currently, the group owns several residential properties and hotels in various cities in Saudi Arabia.

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288-room Hard Rock Hotel comes to Dubai


The United Arab Emirates’ capital, Dubai, is preparing to get its first Hard Rock Hotel, and company representatives say the new location could open as soon as late this year, or early next year. Dubai’s Hard Rock Hotel will inhabit the first 33 floors of the towering Marino 101 building that stands 101 stories tall. It’s a fairly middle-sized property in terms of Hard Rock’s chain, where hotel capacities vary from 150 to 2,000 rooms. The Dubai hotel will be a 288-room property with adjoining amenities, from a fitness center to a ‘rock and roll’ spa and restaurant areas. Just 31 kilometers from Dubai International Airport, Hard Rock Dubai will be within walking distance from Jumeriah beach areas and not far from other big attractions like Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall. Hard Rock Dubai is planning an exciting, unique program called “Sound of Your Stay” in which guests can get a variety of Fender electric guitars delivered to their rooms — or try their hands at the turntables with in-room DJ equipment services. “The Sound of Your Stay program has been a success since it was globally rolled out at all our hotels,” Hard Rock representative Josh Littman said. “We expect the program to be just as much of a success at Hard Rock Hotel Dubai.” With Sound of Your Stay, guests will choose from Hard Rock’s trademarked “Picks,” “Tracks” or “Mix” services: With “Picks,” guests choose a guitar from a variety of 20 Fender electric guitars, as well as headphones and a floor amplifier to play for free during their stay. Video lessons are also available. With the “Tracks” service, guests get curated playlists — hand-selected by celebrities and …

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59% UAE residents prefer staycations


A recent survey by Emaar Hospitality Group conducted by YouGov stated that staycations are very popular during the summer. 63% of respondents voted Dubai as their preferred leisure destination with the staycation serving as a hassle-free, cost-effective option when looking for a quick getaway or a last minute weekend break. Staycations are most popular among Western expatriates with 80% polled stating they take one at least once a year compared to 59% Emiratis and 55% Asian expatriates. On average, 59% of UAE residents take a staycation at least once a year. 62% of over 35-year-olds opted for staycations compared with 55% of those below the age of 35. The word ‘staycation’ refers to a vacation taken in the country of residence. In the UAE, staycations are gaining ground as the survey, which was conducted ahead of the recent launch of the U By Emaar rewards programme, reveals. The survey also revealed interesting lifestyle habits of people relating to staycations with 68% choosing to take a staycation to spend quality time with loved ones, and 40% stating they take staycations with family. Some 32% take a staycation 4 to 6 times a year, while 21% take a staycation at least two times every year. Further, 34% of 18 to 24-year-olds take staycations to spend time with friends, while 36% females do so to pamper themselves. The top activity during a staycation is enjoying a dining experience according to 49% respondents, while 40% use the pool and sauna and 34% voted for visiting tourist attractions and going shopping. The key factors in choosing which hotel to stay, as well as choosing where to return, were value for money, special offers, and consistently …

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Novotel Sharjah Expo poised to boost MICE tourism

Basma Group Sharjah and Klampfer Middle East - medium resolution- KBW Investments 3

A formal agreement to build the Novotel Sharjah Expo, an exclusive business hotel, was signed between Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Basma Group and Günther Hinterberger, Managing Director, Klampfer Middle East, in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah and Chairman of United Investment, and Khalifa Al Shaibani, Director-General of United Investment. The Dh120 million Novotel Sharjah Expo is being developed under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and will serve as the official hotel of Expo Centre Sharjah. The upcoming hotel is being seen as a new milestone for business and MICE tourism in Sharjah. The Chairman of Basma Group said, “We in Sharjah are constantly striving, under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, to improve our emirate in a way that makes it keep pace with changing times and represent a beacon of modernity and authenticity at the same time. It is this endeavor that spawned the idea to build Novotel Sharjah Expo.” The business hotel is the latest addition to Sharjah’s hospitality and tourism industry and will comprise 200 rooms that fall under three categories – standard rooms, club floor rooms and executive suites. The Novotel Sharjah Expo is strategically located close to Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Dubai, as well as to the vital leisure areas in Sharjah. The hotel will feature a business centre with workstations and two meeting halls including a large meeting-cum-function hall of approximately 200 square metres.

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R Hotels’ The Palm property to focus on health and wellness

R Hotels The Palm (3)

R Hotels has announced that its 253-key property at the Palm Jumeirah, scheduled to open next year, will be the first holistic health and wellness resort in the UAE. The group is expected to sign a partnership with a renowned global brand in developing the concept and providing the services. Sumair Tariq, Managing Director, R Hotels, commented, “People are more health-conscious than before and we have witnessed an increased demand for products which are designed for healthy lifestyle including leisure activities, food, and even gadgets. With this trend, our group is keen to introduce the region’s first health and wellness resort, by partnering with trusted brands.” The pre-opening of the property will be headed by Samir Arora, who is currently the General Manager of Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham JBR. The property, which is the first four star-rated hotel at The Palm, will offer not just spa and beauty treatments, but various wellbeing and lifestyle packages – from proper diet and nutrition, fitness classes and health treatments. The hotel will hire certified nutritionist and wellness coach for the programs such weight loss, both for kids and adult. Some of the fitness classes planned includes yoga, tai chi, Pilates and aerobics. The overall design concept of the property will be organic, with the use of earth colours and materials like wood, to imbibe a fresh, calm and soothing atmosphere. It will offer an Executive Lounge on the seventh floor, and Executive and Presidential Suites on the sixth and seventh floor, all boasting private terrace with exquisite views. In addition to trendy sun loungers, the pool area and private beach will have cabanas for families and groups to enjoy. There will also be …

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23.5% rise in Middle East hotel development


STR’s June 2016 Pipeline Report shows 154,576 rooms in 550 hotels Under Contract in the Middle East and 55,736 rooms in 289 hotels Under Contract in Africa. The Under Contract total in the Middle East subcontinent represents a 23.5 per cent increase in rooms Under Contract compared with June 2015 and a 14.1 per cent year-over-year increase in rooms In Construction. The Middle East reported 81,951 rooms in 256 hotels under construction for the month. Under Contract data includes projects in the In Construction, Final Planning and Planning stages but does not include projects in the Unconfirmed stage. The Under Contract total in Africa represents a 29.1 per cent increase in rooms Under Contract compared with June 2015 and a 31.5 per cent year-over-year increase in rooms In Construction. Africa reported 30,703 rooms in 157 hotels under construction for the month. Among the countries in the Middle East and Africa, Saudi Arabia reported the most rooms In Construction with 35,770 rooms in 81 hotels. United Arab Emirates followed with 26,989 rooms in 93 hotels. Two other countries each reported more than 5,000 rooms In Construction: Qatar (7,125 rooms in 30 hotels) and Egypt (6,095 rooms in 18 hotels).

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TIME Hotels receive Green Key Awards

Time Hotels

UAE-headquartered hospitality company, TIME Hotels Management, has earned its first Green Key status for all hotels and hotel apartments across the hospitality groups’ portfolio. Six TIME properties viz., TIME Oak Hotel and Suites, TIME Grand Plaza Hotel, TIME Ruby Hotel Apartments, TIME Opal Hotel Apartments, TIME Topaz Hotel Apartments and TIME Crystal Hotel Apartments, received the Green Key award; each property recognised across 12 criteria including waste management handling and guest awareness. The Green Key award is a voluntary eco-label that represents a commitment by businesses that their tourism establishments adhere to the strict criteria as stipulated by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). It aims to contribute to the prevention of climate change by awarding and advocating facilities with positive environmental initiatives and, to qualify, the hotel passed an exhaustive audit.. The annual Green Key award also promotes awareness and encourages the creation of behavioural changes in guests, staff and suppliers, as well as applauding increased use of environmentally friendly and sustainable concepts and applications within hotel operations. The audit covered 12 key areas from water conservation, waste management systems and indoor environment to green activities, staff involvement and guest awareness.

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Swissotel Al Maqam, Makkah to open in September


Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts has signed an agreement with Sarah Towers For Real Estate Investment Company to manage the 1,624-room Swissôtel Al Maqam, Makkah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Swissôtel’s second property in the Holy City, Swissôtel Al Maqam will be situated in the prestigious Abraj Al Bait complex, part of the King Abdul Aziz Endowment Project, overlooking the Masjid Al Haram. The property is scheduled to open in September this year and will join the existing Swissôtel Makkah. Approximately one hour from King Abdulaziz International Airport, the property is footsteps away from the Masjid Al Haram, the largest mosque in the world, and the Ka’aba, known as the most sacred site in the Muslim faith. Swissôtel Al Maqam will be flanked by other properties already within the FRHI Hotels & Resorts (FRHI) portfolio, Raffles Makkah Palace and Fairmont Makkah Clock Royal Tower, in addition to Swissôtel Makkah, with the entire complex currently housing the largest number of guestrooms within the Abraj Al Bait complex.

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TCA expands to Saudi Arabia


UAE-based Travel Connections Arabia (TCA) is expanding its footprints with a new office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It is the company’s second office in the GCC. TCA offers a sales and marketing extension to its world-class partner hotels, generating lucrative inbound travel business from the Middle East to properties and destinations located around the world. TCA’s collection of hospitality and tourism clients include some of the most exclusive hotels and resorts around the world, such as Iniala Beach House in Phuket, Thailand; The Mark in New York City, USA; The Lanesborough in London, England; Kulm Hotel St. Moritz in Switzerland; Villa Cora in Florence, Italy; and six exceptional Constance Hotels & Resorts, spread across the Indian Ocean’s top destinations: the Seychelles, the Maldives and Mauritius. Regional Sales Manager Hamada Hefnawy, with more than four years’ experience in the travel and tourism industry, has recently been appointed to cover all of Saudi Arabia.

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304-room Aloft Dubai City Centre Deira to open in 2018

Representatives from Majid Al Futtaim and Starwood Hotels & Resorts at the signing of Aloft City Centre Deira

Majid Al Futtaim and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, announced they have signed an agreement to open an Aloft hotel directly connected to City Centre Deira. Scheduled to open in 2018, Aloft Dubai City Centre Deira will bring a vibrant social scene and tech-forward mindset to hospitality in Dubai. Aloft Dubai City Centre Deira will feature 304 spacious guest rooms, including 29 suites, with plush platform beds, large walk-in showers and complimentary Bliss amenities. The hotel will also feature an outdoor rooftop VOX Cinema and a cinematic themed floor of rooms and suites. Designed with the needs of the savvy next-generation traveller in mind, the hotel includes SPG Keyless, Starwood’s industry-first keyless entry system that enables guests to use their smartphone or Apple watch as a room key, as well as fast and free Wi-Fi throughout the property. Aloft made its debut in the Middle East in 2009 with Aloft Abu Dhabi. The signing of Aloft Dubai City Centre Deira reinforces the momentum behind the brand’s rapid expansion in the Middle East, where there will be 14 Aloft hotels by 2020 in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and the UAE. Simon Barlow, Chief Executive Officer of Hotels at Majid Al Futtaim Properties, said, “We look forward to welcoming Aloft Dubai City Centre Deira to our world-class hotel portfolio. The hotel will offer guests an exceptional experience not only because it will combine Majid Al Futtaim’s development expertise with the operational excellence of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, but because it will be directly linked to the iconic City Centre Deira and feature an outdoor VOX Cinema. It is this integration, which sits at the heart of our business model, that sets our hotels apart …

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