Category Archives: Hotels

Marriott launches hospitality training in Saudi Arabia

Tahseen launch 2

Marriott International, in co-operation with Cornell University, launched ‘Tahseen’ programme, a training programme that focuses on fast-tracking next-generation Saudi leaders in hospitality. The launch event was held at the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh. Introducing the programme, David Leman, Marriott International’s Chief HR Officer Middle East & Africa, said, “With hands-on training, expert guidance, and invaluable, full exposure to the business of running a hotel, the ‘Tahseen’ programme will set participants up for a bright future in the industry. We’re very excited to see the begin their onboarding programme following today’s inauguration.” Developed in conjunction with Cornell University and supported by key partner DUR Hospitality, ‘Tahseen’ was specifically launched for Saudi nationals and will run over a course of 12 to 18 months. The programme offers graduates six months of cross-exposure to all departments, as well as six to 12 months of departmental specialisation led by a team of professional leaders across Marriott’s participating hotels, as well as a managerial opportunity at the end of the course. It also provides graduates access to Marriott International’s world-renowned core management development programmes.

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Hilton, Tilal Properties plan 2nd Double Tree by Hilton in Sharjah


Hilton and Tilal Properties have signed an agreement to come up with a new property adjacent to Tilal Mall by 2021. This will be the second Double Tree-branded property in Sharjah. DoubleTree by Hilton Sharjah Tilal Mall will offer 200 guest rooms, an outdoor pool and café, a restaurant, lobby lounge, fitness centre and business centre. Hilton announced the DoubleTree by Hilton Sharjah Waterfront Hotel & Suites in April 2017, which offers 254 suites and serviced apartments. Together with the new DoubleTree by Hilton Sharjah Tilal Mall and its existing Hilton Sharjah on Corniche Road, Hilton will operate three hotels in the emirate. According to Tilal Properties, the 2 million square meters (21.5 million sq. ft.) Tilal Mall will be Sharjah’s largest shopping mall and will open before the end of 2020. The mall is part of the AED 2.4 billion (US$ 653m) Tilal City mixed-use Tilal City community project and will offer a hypermarket, a fashion corner with exclusive brands, a family entertainment centre, a multi-screen cinema and Tilal Boulevard, a restaurant area featuring a selection of culinary outlets. A 65-hectare recreational park is being landscaped in the area next to the mall. Strategically located on the Emirates Road (E611), close to Al Dhaid interchange, Tilal City is just 10 kilometres away from Sharjah’s International Airport and within convenient commuting distance to nearby emirates, with Dubai only 2 kilometres away.

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Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens’ debut by spring 2018


Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and Astir Palace Vouliagmeni S.A. have announced plans to bring the first Four Seasons Hotel to Greece on the Astir Palace peninsula. Following extensive upgrades to the existing hotel, the new hotel will debut as Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens in spring 2018. Located 25 kilometres south of Athens and 24 kilometres from the Athens airport in the area of Vouliagmeni along a pristine shoreline of the Aegean coast, the new hotel will bring Four Seasons’ signature service to Greece for the first time. The peninsula, stretched across 30 hectares (75 acres) of pine-dotted and scenic landscaped gardens, also comprises upscale retail and dining options, including Matsuhisa Athens by Nobu; Astir Beach, a unique seaside concept; Astir Marina; and high-end seafront residences. “Astir Palace has always been a landmark destination of international stature, located in the Athenian Riviera, one of the most coveted areas in Greece,” says Stelios Koutsivitis, CEO, Astir Palace Vouliagmeni S.A. “We are strongly committed to embrace its legacy and elevate Astir Palace to a world-class premium destination. Our redevelopment plan includes the hotel’s complete renovation, a significant upgrade of Astir Marina, the advancement of Astir Beach, the development of up to 13 high-end residences, and the creation of Peninsula Park.

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Marriott TestBED in Middle East & Africa

Marriott TestBED

Marriott Hotels has launched its TestBED programme in the Middle East & Africa. First launched by Marriott Hotels across Europe in 2016, the unique 10-week accelerator programme gives start-ups the opportunity to test their products within an operating Marriott Hotel in a major city. The programme is open to seed and early stage start-ups with products or services that are ready to pilot in a live hotel environment. It offers them an invaluable opportunity to gain worthwhile feedback from guests and associates to help further develop and perfect their product. Participating start-ups are hand-picked in an effort to uncover those that can revolutionise a guest’s stay, reinventing the hotel experience throughout the region. Those selected will also be offered mentoring and global exposure. While the start-ups are not required to relocate for the duration of the programme, they may need to travel since the majority of this period will be spent in action within a Marriott Hotel. This will be the first year that the initiative is available in the region, and the programme will begin its roll-out in the United Arab Emirates.

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Al Hokair’s MENA Plaza Albarsha Dubai opens doors

PR - MENA Hotels.docx - Sept 6

Saudi-based hospitality and entertainment group, Al Hokair announced the expansion of MENA Hotels in the UAE with the opening of MENA Plaza Albarsha Dubai. The official ceremony was held in the presence of Majed Al Hokair, Vice Chairman, Board of Al Hokair Group. Founded in 2008 by Al Hokair Group, MENA Hotels currently boasts a portfolio of eight projects including five in Saudi Arabia, two in Jordan and one in the UAE. Making the announcement, Sami Al Hokair, CEO and Co-Founder, MENA Hotels, stated, “We are delighted to debut MENA Hotels that is a family-oriented, affordable lifestyle brand, into the UAE. MENA Plaza Albarsha Dubai is an exciting addition to our portfolio of hotels as we continue to expand our presence in the region. Al Hokair is a trusted name in hospitality and we are confident that the great experience our guests associate with our hotels will position MENA Plaza Albarsha Dubai as a preferred address in the city. Our strategy is to invest in high-growth markets such as Dubai and we believe this latest property will prove to be a valuable asset for us and will generate superb financial returns for the company.” Located in close proximity to the Mall of the Emirates, MENA Plaza Albarsha Dubai has been conceptualised to be a distinctive and elegant address for discerning business and leisure travellers. Featuring 90 rooms and suites, the hotel is equipped with facilities including two dining outlets, a spa and a gym. Elaborating on the brand’s vision, Fadi Mazkour, Regional Director, Branding & Business Development, MENA Hotels, said, “By the end of 2018 we expect to reach 18 hotels with over 2000 rooms. This incredible growth is supported …

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Aloft Deira City Centre set to open in Q1 2018

Aloft City Centre Deira Dubai - 1

Majid Al Futtaim celebrated the topping out milestone for the new Aloft City Centre Deira, Dubai. Announced in collaboration with Marriott International, the hotel development began in June 2016 and has now completed the installation of the final concrete pour for the project. Set to open in Q1 2018, the hotel spans an area of 28,800 square meters and aims to redefine the upscale hospitality offering in the GCC. Located in the historic heart of Dubai, the Aloft City Centre Deira, Dubai, will offer tourists and local community access to an all-star line-up of hotels surrounding the iconic City Centre Deira. The hotel development marks the 13th addition to the Majid Al Futtaim Hotels portfolio and sixth hotel development in Deira and; introducing a distinctive destination experience to the vibrant heart of the city. Designed to meet the needs of diverse audiences, with a special emphasis on millennials, the cinema-themed hotel is intended to extend a novel experience through the integration of intelligent technologies, vibrant interiors and ambience, and memorable dining, leisure and entertainment options. Aloft City Centre Deira, Dubai, features 304 spacious guest rooms, including 29 suites and offers direct connectivity to the shopping mall via a direct link on Level 2. Guestrooms on Level 5 of the hotel, comprising of four suite rooms, 25 standard rooms and associated public circulation areas, will immerse guests in a ‘world cinema’ and experiential journey.

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Address Maldives by 2020


Emaar Hospitality Group announced its expansion to South Asia with a hotel management contract to operate Address Madivaru Maldives Resort + Spa, a picturesque beachfront resort set in a private island in the Indian Ocean, only 20 minutes by seaplane from Male International Airport. Scheduled to be operational in 2020, Address Madivaru Maldives Resort + Spa will be the first-of-its-kind island hotel project by Address Hotels + Resorts, the premium lifestyle hotel and serviced residences brand of Emaar Hospitality Group. A part of the 2.42 sq km Ethere Madivaru Private Island, owned by Adam Abdul Gafoor, Chairman of Finolhu Investment Ltd, Address Madivaru Maldives Resort + Spa spans a total area of 75,000 sq m, with its design and contours defined by the vast coastline. Billed to be a spectacular vacation destination, the hotel project includes 80 beach and over-water villas including selected units for sale. Adam Abdul Gafoor said: “We are delighted to welcome Emaar Hospitality Group’s Address brand to Maldives to manage our exceptional property that will complement our nation’s focus on tourism growth. Maldives has been the cornerstone of Indian Ocean tourism, and the government has announced visionary initiatives to drive the role of the private sector, including the long-term lease of islands for resort development. Address Hotels + Resorts bring a unique brand of hospitality that will appeal to the international holidaymakers in Maldives. With a strong intake of Middle East visitors, Address Madivaru Maldives Resort + Spa will appeal to visitors and investors from the region for holiday-homes and luxury stays in our country.” The expansion to the Indian Ocean archipelago underlines the international growth plans of Emaar Hospitality Group, which now has 29 upcoming …

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New Four Seasons opens in Kuwait at Burj Alshaya

FS Hotel Kuwait Al Soor and Staircase

Located within the new two-tower Burj Alshaya development in Kuwait City, Four Seasons is ideally located for business and leisure travellers visiting the city, as well as the local guests. With 2,912 square metres of event spaces hosting up to 1,200 guests, Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait already has many important business meetings and social events on the calendar – including 21 weddings so far. The property boasts of 217 guest rooms plus 67 lavish suites, and offers myriad options for shopping, sightseeing and playing in the outdoor pool. A two-level spa complex hosts innovative treatments as well as a state-of-the-art fitness centre and second swimming pool.

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Millennium Hotels takes over 2 prime properties in Makkah

Makkah Millennium Hotel and Towers

Millennium Hotels and Resorts, Middle East and Africa has signed a management agreement with Makkah Construction & Development Company, to operate Makkah Millennium Hotel and Makkah Millennium Towers, with effect from September 1, 2017. The move solidifies the Group’s target to open over 20 hotels in Saudi Arabia within the next four years. The 614-key Makkah Millennium Hotel is scheduled to go under extensive renovation with the plan to convert the hotel into a unique luxury property part of The Biltmore Collection set to provide the highest level of guest experience to pilgrim travellers. Meanwhile, the 802-room Makkah Millennium Towers adjacent to Makkah Millennium Hotel will deliver the high service standards expected from Millennium Collection. As the nearest hotels to Al Masjid Al Haram, with direct access to The Holy Kaaba, the properties occupy a premium location in Makkah, providing an ideal base for pilgrim travellers.

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1st AVANI resort to open in Maldives in Q4 2019

Alejandro Bernabe - Group Director AVANI Hotels & Resorts

AVANI Hotels & Resorts has announced the development of its first resort in the Maldives. AVANI Fares Maldives Resort will be located on Fares Island in the Baa Atoll and is scheduled to open in Q4 2019. The new upscale AVANI Fares Maldives Resort will comprise 200 guest rooms, including standard rooms and a selection of villas. Every attention will be given to wellbeing. The décor will be a blend of comfort and modernity, soothing materials, textures and high-tech equipment such as complimentary Wi-Fi, media hub docking station and 40-inch flat screen TV. Ideal for millennial minded travellers, this untouched, private 12.4 hectare island will provide a natural playground surrounded by a soft white sandy beach and every colour of blue imaginable. This $70-million resort development is a joint venture partnership between Minor Hotels and Cyprea Group. Cyprea Group’s diversified Sri Lanka and Maldives business portfolio includes ownership and operation of Club Med Kani Maldives Resort located in North Male’ Atoll. Alejandro Bernabe, Group Director AVANI Hotels & Resorts said: “The AVANI design philosophy is interestingly relaxed and contemporary and in tune with the environment of this development, using natural textures, colours and materials that reflect the location whilst incorporating advanced technology and modern conveniences.”

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