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70 percent of travellers never use hotel minibars: survey

More than 70 percent of travelers say they never use hotel mini-bars according to a survey conducted jointly by GO Airport Express, and The GO Group, LLC, an international ground transportation service provider.

Just fewer than four percent said they always raid the mini-fridges, while 20 percent said they do so sometimes or occasionally.

Several of the more than 733 survey respondents had comments, noting they think the food and beverage offerings are too expensive, or they use the mini-fridges to store their snacks bought elsewhere.

Of those who did purchase from the hotel mini-bars, men were more likely to purchase alcoholic beverages, at 27 percent, compared with 14 percent of women. Women bought more bottled water (47 percent) compared with men (35 percent). Women also purchase healthier snacks such as nuts and granola bars, than men, at 14 percent and seven percent respectively.

“Today’s travelers are more savvy, health and budget conscious,” says John McCarthy, president of GO Airport Express. “Successful hotels are starting to respond by catering to the changing preferences of their guests.”

 

Source: http://ehotelier.com/global/2015/05/04/70-percent-of-travellers-never-use-hotel-minibars-survey/

Conrad ‘Stay Inspired’ initiative turns team members into curators of 1, 3, and 5 hour experiences

Conrad Hotels & Resorts announced the launch of Stay Inspired (www.stayinspired.com), a global, brand-wide initiative that marks a cultural shift and overhauls the way the brand trains its team members as storytellers of their destinations. At each one of its 24 global properties, Conrad now offers guests who seek out inspired experiences a more customized and curated collection of 1, 3, and 5 hour experiences available through Conrad Concierge mobile app and at StayInspired.com.

Spearheading the Stay Inspired initiative is Nilou Motamed, the luxury brand’s first ever Director of Inspiration, who is responsible for developing and implementing the Stay Inspired vision and what it means for travelers. Nilou joins Conrad having previously served as Editor-in-Chief of Condé Nast’s digital food brand, Epicurious, and Features Director and Senior Correspondent for Travel + Leisure.

As Director of Inspiration, Nilou has traveled to Conrad properties worldwide to create the initial series of Stay Inspired experiences. Catering to the modern traveler’s desire to merge work, life, and pleasure, StayInspired.com now offers experiences in convenient 1, 3, and 5 hour increments, or what the brand is calling the Conrad 1/3/5. Each Conrad 1/3/5 recommendation reflects an inspired view into each destination covering food, shopping, art and design, culture, family, and adventure.

“Today’s luxury traveler wants to discover destinations where they can be truly inspired. So we are shifting how not only our concierges communicate and connect with our guests, but all of our team members,” said John T.A. Vanderslice, global head, Conrad Hotels & Resorts. “Through our partnership with Nilou, we have trained our team members and empowered them to make thoughtful recommendations within our destinations, stepping away from the standard transactional relationship between a concierge and a guest. We now have become more like storytellers.”

StayInspired.com, accessible via mobile device through the Conrad Concierge mobile app, offers a modern luxury traveler on any schedule the ability to browse activities in 1, 3, and 5 hour itineraries, or by interests. Using StayInspired.com, travelers can now save and share their Conrad 1/3/5 itineraries, access custom content in the form of photos, videos, and maps, or book a room and an experience through the hotel’s concierge. On property, concierges will be equipped with tablet devices to guide guests through the itineraries.

“Guests want to use whatever free time they have while traveling to discover something new. They want to find those hidden gems that are off the beaten path and that can’t be found in the pages of a guidebook,” said Nilou Motamed, Director of Inspiration, Conrad Hotels & Resorts. “This collection called the Conrad 1/3/5 curates content and experiences in a way that aligns with the way our guests live their lives.”

Source: http://ehotelier.com/global/2015/10/28/conrad-stay-inspired-initiative-turns-team-members-into-curators-of-1-3-and-5-hour-experiences/

Dinah-Louise Marrs named General Manager of Swiss-Belhotel Brisbane

Swiss-Belhotel International has named industry veteran Dinah-Louise Marrs as General Manager for the launch of Swiss-Belhotel Brisbane. Mrs. Marrs brings a wealth of experience to the role having worked in key positions in the hospitality industry in Australia and Thailand over a distinguished 20-year career.

Mr. Gavin M. Faull, Swiss-Belhotel International Chairman and President, said Mrs. Marr and her team would ensure all pre-opening preparations were in place while achieving high operational and branding standards and the financial goals set by Swiss-Belhotel International.

“Dinah-Louise is the ideal person to steer the 4.5-star Swiss-Belhotel Brisbane when the leisure and business hotel opens on 15 October 2016 at this beautiful city’s vibrant South Bank precinct overlooking the Brisbane River,” Mr. Faull said. “This is a project hotel – our first in Brisbane – and we are very excited about expanding our footprint in Australia and imparting our unique brand of passion and professionalism in another key destination.”

Prior to joining Swiss-Belhotel, Mrs. Marrs was General Manager of The Point Brisbane Hotel for a decade. She also spent three years at Six Senses Hotels and Resorts in Thailand, first as a Reservations and Guest Relations Manager and then as a Strategic Planner and Operations Analyst.

Mrs. Marrs graduated from the prestigious US-based Cornell University School of Hotel Administration’s General Managers program in January 2016. She is an Associate Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management.

“It’s a huge honour to be entrusted with the role of launch General Manager for this property and to begin my relationship this way with such an esteemed group as Swiss-Belhotel International,” Mrs. Marrs said. “South Bank is Brisbane’s premier lifestyle and cultural destination, with South Bank Parklands boasting 17 hectares of key attractions such as world-class restaurants and cafés, parks, markets, the Wheel of Brisbane – a 60-metre ferries wheel – and a massive man-made beach. We couldn’t be situated in a better location.”

Swiss-Belhotel Brisbane is also located close to international sporting facilities, private hospitals, Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Queensland Maritime Museum, Griffith University and many more popular attractions and facilities.

The hotel offers 134 guest rooms and suites and other international-standard amenities include a pool, fitness center and conference facilities. Café 63, a very successful café and restaurant group in Brisbane, is subleasing a space at the hotel and will also provide room service as well as other F&B services.

The spacious, beautifully designed rooms and suites span levels one to seven. The room categories are Superior Rooms, Deluxe Studios, Executive Studios and Swiss-SuperSuites. There is also a residential component called Peak Apartments, located above the hotel comprising 46 spacious apartments and penthouses. Swiss-Belhotel Brisbane will also manage and service the apartments and their residents.

 

Source: http://ehotelier.com/news/2016/07/19/dinah-louise-marrs-named-general-manager-swiss-belhotel-brisbane/

Chip Eng Seng partners with Park Hotel Group to buy Maldives resort

Singapore construction and property group Chip Eng Seng Corporation Ltd will make its foray into the Maldives together with Singapore-based Park Hotel Group with the acquisition of Kodhipparu Island Resort for US$65 million. JLL was exclusive advisor on behalf of the resort owner, Kodhipparu Investment Private Limited.

park-hotels-maldives

Located in the North Malé Atoll, the resort has 120 villas and is a 15-minute speedboat ride from Malé International Airport. Set to open in second quarter of 2017, the resort is under development by world-renowned hospitality design firm Hirsch Bedner Associates, and will offer two restaurants, a harbour beach club, an infinity pool and bar as well as comprehensive spa facilities. The Resort will be managed by Park Hotel Group as Grand Park Kodhipparu, Maldives as the Group enters Indian Ocean’s most dynamic hotel market.

“As an investment destination, the Maldives provides a transparent policy-making environment and generous incentives for foreigners, including full ownership rights, legally-backed investment guarantees and the ability to fully repatriate profits. This paired with its positive economic outlook is attracting Asian investors seeking to enter the international market,” says Nihat Ercan, Executive Vice President, JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group, Asia.

“As a result, we’re starting to notice a rising trend of Southeast Asian, and in particular Singaporean property developers, who are drawn to the market because it offers high yields underpinned by healthy trading fundamentals.”

Excluding the Kodhipparu sale, the Maldives has seen more than US$120 million in investment transactions so far in 2016. Tourist numbers to the island nation reached 1.23 million in 2015, a 2.4 percent increase on the previous year according to JLL’s report Hotel Destinations Indian Ocean.

This deal will mark the ninth resort JLL has sold in the Maldives since 2012, taking the group’s resort sales in the archipelago to US$500 million and over US$600 million in the Indian Ocean region. In February 2016, JLL also advised on the sale of Zitahli Kuda-Funafaru Resort and Spa to Singapore-listed Roxy Pacific Holdings Limited.

 

Source: http://ehotelier.com/news/2016/10/10/chip-eng-seng-partners-park-hotel-group-buy-maldives-resort/

Hotel Food and Beverage Trends

In past articles, PKF Hospitality Research (PKF-HR) has labeled the period 2000 to 2010 as the “lost decade” for the U.S. lodging industry.  During this volatile period, hotel revenues remained virtually flat through two major recessions and one extended period of prosperity.  On the surface, it appears that hotel food and beverage (F&B) revenue followed a similar pattern.

To understand recent trends in hotel food and beverage departments, PKF-HR studied the financial performance of hotel restaurants, lounges, and catering departments for the period 2000 to 2010.  The information came from a same-store sample of full-service hotel operating statements taken from PKF-HR’s Trends® in the Hotel Industry database.  These hotels average 413 rooms in size, and offer multiple F&B outlets and extensive banquet facilities. Hotel data was estimated for 2010.

Total hotel food and beverage revenue decreased slightly from 2000 to 2010 within the study sample.  Measured on a compound annual basis (CAGR), F&B revenue declined 0.6 percent.  This is comparable to the 0.5 decline in total hotel revenue experienced by these same properties.  However, when analyzed on a dollar-per-occupied room basis, hotel F&B revenue increased 1.6 percent on a compound annual basis during the decade.  This is significantly greater than the 0.1 percent rise in total hotel revenue per occupied room.  During the study period, the number of occupied rooms declined 0.5 percent CAGR.

The relative stability of F&B revenue per occupied room can be partially explained by the ability of hotels to attract local patrons to their restaurants, lounges, and catering facilities.  This is especially evident during the recessionary years of 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2009 when the declines in food and beverage revenue were less than the decreases observed in rooms revenue.

Conversely, during the prosperous years of 2004 through 2007, total hotel revenues grew stronger than F&B revenues.  During these years, stout increases in both occupancy and average room rates boosted total hotel revenue.  This implies that the ability of hotel managers to raise room rates is greater than their ability to increase F&B prices.

Sources of F&B Revenue

Averaging 413 rooms, it is not surprising that banquet related revenue was the greatest source of F&B revenue for study sample in 2010.  The combination of catering revenue, public room rental income, audio visual fees, and banquet service charges accounted for an estimated 55.5 percent of total F&B department revenue.  Other sources of F&B revenue included restaurants (30.2%), lounges (5.6%), and room service (4.4%).  It is interesting to note that the combined beverage sales within the hotel restaurants were twice as great as the liquor revenue generated at the bars within these properties. Whole bottle wine sales in the restaurants partially explain this disparity.

Due to changes in the Uniform System of Accounts in the Lodging Industry(USALI) it is not possible to equitably compare changes in F&B revenue by source over the 2000 to 2010 period.  However, changes in revenue can be estimated for 2009 to 2010.

From 2009 to 2010, total F&B revenue increased 8.6 percent.  This compares favorably to the 6.5 percent increase in total hotel revenue for the study sample during the same period.  The greatest increases were observed in beverage revenue (9.4%), followed by food revenue (9.1%) and other F&B revenue (6.2%).  Other F&B revenue consists of public room rental, audio/visual, and service charge income.  Of note is the fact that the majority of growth in beverage revenue came from catering events as opposed to the hotel bars.

Expenses and Profits

Food and beverage profitability is dictated by management’s ability to control the prime costs of labor and costs of goods sold.  From 2000 to 2010, the prime costs of F&B departments in our sample averaged 64.3 percent of total department revenue.  Labor costs during this period averaged 43.4 percent, while the cost of goods sold averaged 20.9 percent.  This cost of goods sold number includes expenses associated with the other F&B revenue sources.  If you examine the combined costs of goods sold for just food and beverage sales, the average ratio rises to 29.1 percent.

Hotel departmental profit margins averaged 26.4 percent from 2000 to 2010.  In accordance with the USALI, this ratio is calculated before undistributed expenses such as marketing, maintenance, and utilities.  Once again, the depth of the recession becomes evident.  The lowest level of F&B departmental profitability was experienced in 2009 (21.6%), while the greatest profit margin was observed in 2000 (32.6%).

Haves and Have Nots

Food and beverage operations within the lodging industry have become a story of haves, and have nots.  The vast majority of new properties and brands entering the U.S. lodging industry offer either limited, or no F&B service at all.  On the other end of the spectrum are full-service hotels with multiple restaurants, lounges, and banquet facilities.  For these full-service hotels, the offering of F&B is not just a source of revenue, but an amenity used to position the property within the marketplace.

Losses within the F&B department are no longer tolerated by owners. F&B managers struggle to contain costs and grow revenues.  The ability of management to attract local patrons, boost catering revenue, and increase beverage sales within their restaurants are examples of successful tactics that have generated profitable revenue.

 

Source: http://hospitalitybusinessnews.com/2011066172/hotel-food-and-beverage-trends

Marriott International Caps 2016 With Historic Global Expansion

Marriott International announced that 2016 represented the strongest year of rooms growth in its history. Marriott opened a record 55,000 rooms in 2016, excluding the 381,000 rooms gained with the Starwood acquisition.  The combined company signed 880 new hotel deals, representing nearly 136,000 rooms, under long-term management and franchise agreements, and opened over 400 hotels with more than 68,000 rooms around the world. Marriott now operates or franchises over 6,000 hotels and nearly 1.2 million rooms.

“2016 will go down as a remarkable year in Marriott’s history.  We completed the acquisition of Starwood and posted record growth that underscores the strong preference that owners and franchisees have for our unmatched brand portfolio, best-in-class sales and marketing platforms, and the most dedicated associates in the industry,” said Arne Sorenson, Marriott’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our accomplishments this year position Marriott for continued success and create greater opportunities for our guests, associates, development partners, shareholders and the communities where we do business.”

“We achieved strong global growth across both established and emerging markets in 2016,” said Tony Capuano, Marriott’s Executive Vice President and Global Chief Development Officer. “According to STR as of December 2016, Marriott’s North American pipeline accounted for a leading 36 percent of industry rooms under construction and 14 percent of industry rooms open. For the first time in Marriott’s history, more than half the rooms in our development pipeline are outside of North America, with 44 percent of those rooms under construction.”

The combined company’s global distribution of select-service hotels included nearly 4,000 properties at the end of 2016. The combined company’s select-service portfolio continues to experience strong global momentum with 275 openings and over 640 new deals signed last year. Growth should accelerate with nearly 1,800 select-service projects in the pipeline. The powerful, select-service growth trajectory was led by the established Courtyard by Marriott, Fairfield Inn and Suites, and Residence Inn by Marriott brands and bolstered by the newest members of the company’s select-service portfolio, Aloft and Element, each of which recorded their highest number of signings ever.

The combined company further strengthened its leadership in STR’s high value luxury and upper-upscale segments with the signing of 236 new hotels, representing over 50,000 rooms, and the opening of over 100 hotels, representing over 27,000 rooms, in destinations such as Singapore, Houston and Sanya, China as a new generation of travelers seek distinctive experiences around the world.  Marriott’s share of the industry’s luxury rooms pipeline is 29 percent.  Independent hoteliers have more options than ever to leverage Marriott’s powerful loyalty and distribution systems with the Autograph Collection, which last year exceeded 110 open hotels, as well the Tribute Portfolio and The Luxury Collection brands.  Combined, these three brands generated nearly 80 signed deals during the year, contributing to the opening of 28 hotels in 2016.

“Marriott is well-positioned for continued strong growth in the years ahead,” continued Capuano. “We offer our development partners the benefits of scale and competitive advantages that can help them maximize their returns on investment. We also offer the broadest portfolio of brands and the industry’s leading loyalty platforms. We have the right brand for the right place, whether a new hotel development or an opportunity to reposition an existing asset.”

 

Source: http://hospitalitybusinessnews.com/20170127026/marriott-international-caps-2016-historic-global-expansion

Dream Hotel Group Signs Two Resort Hotels In The Maldives

Renowned hotel brand and management company Dream Hotel Group signed two hotels in the Maldives with local entrepreneur Mohamed Manik and Alpha Kinam Holdings to develop The Chatwal Maaga Maldives and Dream Gasveli Maldives. Set to open in 2019 and 2020 respectively, the new locations triple the group’s presence in Asia and mark a pivotal step in Dream Hotel Group’s global expansion strategy.

“Last year, we signed more new hotels and resorts than ever before,” said Dream Hotel Group CEO Jay Stein. “I’m thrilled to announce another equally strong year of growth momentum with the signing of The Chatwal Maaga and Dream Gasveli in the Maldives, one of the strongest luxury leisure resort markets in the world.”

Nestled in picturesque North Ari Atoll, The Chatwal Maaga Maldives will feature 80 ultra-luxury villas, six private beach villas and two presidential villas, as well as three world-class culinary experiences bringing fine dining and casual barefoot elegance to the lagoon’s edge. The Chatwal Maaga Maldives will be the second location to debut in The Chatwal collection of luxury hotels.

Dream Gasveli Maldives will feature 500 villas, eight experiential dining and nightlife venues, including the brand’s signature Dream Beach Club, a 20,000-square-foot wellness spa and a dozen designer brand retail outlets for exclusive duty-free shopping on site. Spanning across three islands in Meemu Atoll, Dream Gasveli will be the largest fully-integrated resort ever developed in the Indian Ocean.

“I’ve been in the resort and hotel business for over 30 years in the Maldives,” said Mohamed Manik, Chairman of Alpha Kinam Holdings. “I am pleased to partner with Dream Hotel Group in bringing its leading edge lifestyle brands to the Maldives and look forward to taking our luxury market experiences one step beyond here with many more projects in the future.”

“I have known Mohamed Manik for a number of years and there is no better partner we’d rather work with to bring The Chatwal and Dream brands of hospitality into the Maldives, delivering on the standards of excellence we hold so high.” said Kevin Wallace, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Dream Hotel Group.

Late last year, Dream Hotel Group announced the signing of its first hotel in Vietnam with locally owned Beegreen Group to develop Dream Oceanami Villas & Spa in Long Hai, Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, the country’s top tourist destination. Set to open in June 2017, Dream Oceanami Villas & Spa will be the first of four new resort hotels developed by Beegreen Group and managed by Dream Hotel Group in Vietnam over the next two years. Future locations include Vung Tau City, Hoi An, Ho Tram and Con Dao.

Dream Hotel Group plans to sign more than 150 hotels and resorts worldwide across all its brands – Dream, Time, The Chatwal and Unscripted – over the next four years, continuing to solidify its burgeoning portfolio worldwide.

“This will be a milestone year for us as we welcome an unprecedented number of new hotels into our ever-growing family of brands across the globe,” added Stein.

 

Source: http://hospitalitybusinessnews.com/20170227102/dream-hotel-group-signs-two-resort-hotels-maldives

Mandarin Oriental to Acquire Boston Hotel

Mandarin Oriental International Limited will acquire the freehold interest in the property that houses Mandarin Oriental, Boston together with its hotel business for US$140 million.  Mandarin Oriental has managed the 148-room Hotel, which is situated on Boylston Street in Boston, under a management contract since its opening in 2008. The Group also manages 85 privately owned Residences at Mandarin Oriental connected to the Hotel.

Mandarin Oriental has exercised its right under its long-term management contract to acquire the Hotel from CWB Hotel Limited Partnership. The Hotel had been offered for sale by auction, and a number of bids had been received. Under Mandarin Oriental’s management contract, it has the right to acquire the property for a sum equivalent to the highest bid. Completion of the sale and purchase of the Hotel, subject to final court approval of the terms agreed at auction, is currently expected to take place in the first quarter of 2016.

Edouard Ettedgui, Group Chief Executive, said, “We are delighted to acquire the property that houses our luxury hotel in the heart of Boston. This acquisition ensures the continuity of our position in Boston, and we look forward to maintaining our award-winning service in this key gateway city.”

Mandarin Oriental’s total investment of US$140 million will be funded through a mixture of existing cash reserves and debt. The acquisition of the Hotel is anticipated to have a positive impact on the Group’s earnings. For the year ended 31st December 2014, the Hotel generated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (‘EBITDA’) of US$5.0 million. For the same period, the Group received management fees and other contributions of     US$2.3 million, which were charged against the Hotel’s EBITDA.

 

Source: http://hospitalitybusinessnews.com/20160124365/mandarin-oriental-to-acquire-boston-hotel-mandarin-oriental-to-acquire-boston-hotel

Accor – FRHI: The ‘Done’ deal

The existing AccorHotels luxury portfolio of Sofitel, MGallery and Pullman will grow to include FRHI’s three brands: Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel. The unification of these two hotel companies establishes AccorHotels as a leader in the global luxury hotel market. The two chains combined form a network of over 4,000 hotels and resorts globally across 20 brands. In the Middle East, AccorHotels has now added 28 Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel properties in operation and in the pipeline, representing over 14,000 rooms in the luxury and upscale segments. Granet believes that the integration of the FRHI brands is the perfect addition to Accor’s existing portfolio, particularly in the Middle East, as over 70 percent of the chain’s key partners within the region are interested in the further development of the multi-segment market.

Transaction’s financial returns
Through the transaction, AccorHotels announced an objective to generate approximately USD 71 million (€65 million) in revenue and cost synergies in the medium-term due to the combination of brands, maximization of hotel earnings, increased efficiency of marketing, sales and distribution channel initiatives, and the optimization of support costs. This will also be supported by the combination of operational expertise and talent within the combined entity.

Mutual benefits
The integration will enable AccorHotels to bring in additional talent, expertise and resources around management and development of luxury and upscale properties. The deal will allow Accor to re-focus on the importance of innovation and provide positive dynamism to the hospitality market. All brands within both FRHI and AccorHotels’ networks will maintain their positioning and brand promise while being part of a more globally established organization. “On a global level, the deal will provide us with a sizeable footprint in the North American market, enabling us to enter into the growing branded residential business,” explained Granet. For the Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel brands, this deal allows them to enjoy the scale and growth made possible by AccorHotels’ global platform. FRHI will also be able to yield new development opportunities, increased sales and marketing presence alongside greater cost and revenue synergies.

About employees
As of July 12, 2016, employees from both groups have access to job opportunities and career development prospects throughout the combined network. On another level, AccorHotels is known for its community outreach programs that are specially designed for this region. “We are the only international hotel group in the region with a permanent and dedicated
training academy: Tamheed,” explained Granet. AccorHotels is also the first and only international hotel group in KSA to develop the Saudi Management Training Program, a special management program, which is certified by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage. It encourages nationals to engage with the hospitality industry and nurture their skills. These programs will benefit FRHI’s properties in the Kingdom too. “Following the acquisition, we are keen to further develop and increase the scale of our regional training programs.”

Eye on the future
With this merger, two investment groups are now part of AccorHotels’ board: Kingdom Holdings and the Qatar Investment Authority. “With their presence, our focus on the Middle East as a key growth market is now stronger than ever,” he explained. AccorHotels’ long-term development strategy for the region continues to remain aligned with regional initiatives such as Dubai’s vision for 2020 and Saudi Arabia’s plan to welcome a larger number of visitors, especially in the holy cities. These factors increase the region’s demand for quality accommodation across each market segment. “AccorHotels is now the second largest hotel operator in the region with the most significant presence across all segments, allowing us to be ideally positioned to meet this need for diversified accommodation. We are planning to open over 100 hotels within five years in order to double our network and reach 50,000 rooms in operation by 2020,” he concluded.

 

Source: http://www.hospitalitynewsmag.com/en/event/HN-BUSINESS_Interview

Virtuoso® Best Of The Best: A Look At The Hottest Hotel Trends Awaiting Luxury Travelers This Year

NEW YORK — Virtuoso, the global network of luxury travel agencies, has released the 2017 Best of the Best directory, featuring its exclusive collection of hotels and new experiential itineraries. The largest collection to date, with a record-setting 656 pages, includes 75 new properties, bringing the total portfolio to more than 1,150 hotels in 100 countries. Here are the top trends and insights seen among recent additions to the Virtuoso Hotels & Resorts collection.

Luxury Hotel Boom in Emerging Destinations: According to the 2017 Virtuoso Luxe Report, South Africa, Portugal and Colombia are among the hottest up-and-coming destinations this year. As a result, a new crop of luxury hotels and resorts are opening, such as South Africa’s Tswalu Kalahari and Six Senses Douro Valley in Portugal, giving travelers more options in these emerging regions.

Hotel Lobbies that Really “Work”: Hotels are continuing to reinvent the functionality of lobby spaces by creating ultra-cool lounges as places to meet, network and conduct business. The Palace Hotel in San Francisco offers a stunning historic court, with people on laptops gathering in a bar equipped with Wi-Fi and outlets. The new Four Seasons in downtown Manhattan offers lobby-specific amenities, such as laptops and interpreters for business meetings.

Hotels Bring the Destination to Life: To accommodate travelers’ growing desire for authentic and adventurous experiences, hotels are increasing on- and off-property activities. Virtuoso has also responded to this demand by expanding Best of the Best to feature 76 pages of cultural itineraries, including sushi making with one of Tokyo’s top chefs, camel rides along Erg Chebbi – the largest dunes in the Sahara – and nighttime safaris in Laos. Hotels immersed in the region’s terrain also play an important role in attracting travelers. Those include Amanera Resort, recently opened in the heart of Dominican Republic’s jungle, and the new Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba, based in Peru’s Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Boutique Reigns King: The desire for personalized travel experiences and Instagram-worthy design continues to drive the popularity of boutique hotels. Of the 40 properties accepted into Virtuoso since June 2016, 60 percent have fewer than 100 rooms. New additions include Ted Turner’s one-room Ladder Ranch in New Mexico, where guests will have outstanding wildlife-spotting opportunities on the 156,000-acre property, and at his 18-room Sierra Grande Lodge & Spa, also in New Mexico, guests can enjoy outdoor hot springs, which were first established by the region’s Native Americans as a healing tradition.

Wellness 3.0: The rapidly growing travel niche is expected to hit $680 billion this year. It is expanding 50 percent faster than the overall tourism industry and hotels are responding accordingly. Mii amo, a destination spa in Sedona, goes beyond traditional treatments by offering restorative therapies such as Reiki, a Japanese technique for stress reduction, and Clinique La Prairie in Switzerland is a pioneering medical retreat that combines cell therapy and holistic wellness.

Best of the Best is currently being distributed to the homes of 150,000 of Virtuoso’s best clients, as selected by their advisor. To view the directory online, click here.

Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, Virtuoso Hotels & Resorts is the longest running and most prestigious program available to travelers. Virtuoso provides guests with exclusive benefits worth up to $450 per stay with value-added amenities such as spa treatments and rounds of golf when a visit is booked through a Virtuoso advisor.

 

Source: http://www.hospitalitynet.org/news/global/154000320/4080318.html