Category Archives: Hotels

59% UAE residents prefer staycations

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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

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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

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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

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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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SPG Keyless extends access

SPG Keyless Entry

Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), the loyalty program from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., has announced the next generation of SPG Keyless with even wider access to this leading-edge technology. SPG Keyless is now extending this functionality to select Le Méridien, Westin, Sheraton, and Four Points properties worldwide, including Le Méridien Parkhotel Frankfurt, Le Méridien Hamburg, Le Méridien Columbus, The Westin Westminster, Westin Palo Alto, Westin Camino Real Guatemala, Sheraton Bloomington, Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas, and Four Points Cupertino. Many additional properties will be going live with SPG Keyless on a rolling basis in the coming months. These distinct lifestyle brands join Aloft, Element, and W properties already providing access to SPG Keyless, currently available at more than 160 properties in over 30 countries. The wider roll-out of SPG Keyless acknowledges the role mobile is playing as the remote control for travelers’ stays across a broader range of brands. Now even more guests can share in the SPG Keyless experience by unlocking their doors with their smartphone.  Starwood is also expanding SPG Keyless to enable multiple guests sharing the same room to take advantage of keyless entry. All they need is an SPG account and the SPG app. In this upcoming product update, SPG is also expanding mobile check-in capabilities on the SPG app, rolling out over the next few months.

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Millennium & Copthorne to open 12 hotels in next one year

Grand Millennium Hotel Muscat

Millennium & Copthorne, Middle East and Africa has announced plans to substantially expand its operating portfolio in the Middle East region over the next year with 12 hotels set to open in the next 12 months. The hotel openings for the global hotel operator will be in UAE, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and its first property in Georgia. The new properties will add over 4,000 rooms to the Group’s existing operating portfolio of 26 hotels in the region, reinforcing its position as one of the fastest growing hotel operators and ensuring it stays on track to have 100 hotels by 2020. Ali Hamad Lakhraim Alzaabi, President and CEO, Millennium & Copthorne MEA, said that they are entering a very exciting period in the group’s evolution which will see them extend their presence across the Gulf region as well as in new markets such as Georgia. They are building an enviable market share, with a unique portfolio of brands catering towards different audiences, from mid-scale through to luxury. They believe they are in a strong position to meet the needs of the market by offering global expertise alongside an understanding of the local market. These new openings bring them closer to realising their ambitious vision of having 100 hotels by 2020 and solidifying their position as a leading hotel operator in the region.

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