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Austria in lockdown: Hotels set to open just 12 days before Christmas

Austria’s tourism sector was plunged back into lockdown this week – for the fourth time since the pandemic began.

It’s the first country to take the drastic measure, despite spiralling COVID-19 infection rates across Europe. The hotels, restaurants, bars and cultural attractions forced to shut on Monday are unlikely to be able to reopen until 13 December – leaving just 12 days until Christmas.

From the traditional Christmas markets of Vienna, to the ski slopes of the Alps, there’s plenty of reasons why tourists flock to Austria over the festive season. Businesses were no doubt hoping the Yuletide spirit would work some magic on their finances, after a tough two years. So how are they faring now?

The luxury hotel still open for a lucky few

Inside Vienna’s historic Sacher Hotel, Christmas has already arrived. The lobby is decked out in its finery, though only a few fortunate business travellers are there to see it.

One told owner and managing director Matthias Winkler that “he feels like a king, because he has the whole building to himself”, which is quite something, given the hotel’s 152 luxury rooms.

Though he remains sanguine, Winkler says it was emotional to see an increase of guests coming to Austria – with visits approaching 70 per cent of 2019 levels – before his growing confidence was cut short by the lockdown announcement.

Practice makes perfect, however, and one thing Sacher Hotel has learnt over previous lockdowns is how to keep bringing its world-famous chocolate cake to the world.

Having observed that McDonald’s drive-thu was one of the few places open in the city last year, the concierge began selling ‘Sacher Torte’ on a little stand outside the hotel.

“We expected this to make a nice Instagram story but probably not more,” says Winkler.

“Completely wrong, people were loving it.”

This time they’re even doing home deliveries, with other Viennese specialities such as Wiener Schnitzel on the take-away menu. Some of the 16 to 18-year-old staff also had the idea to make Christmas sweets in the kitchens and sell them for charity.

“You would be surprised how much Christmas you would find,” Winkler says of the hotel’s interior.

With New Year also around the corner, they’re hoping to host a large number of guests for the renowned New Year’s Day Concert, performed by the Vienna Philharmonic just down the road. No one yet knows if it will go ahead.

A clear signal is needed from the government in the next few days, says Winkler, to stem the tide of cancellations in the city.

‘Another catastrophe’ for some businesses

Not all businesses are feeling so optimistic. One leading Viennese restaurant, whose owners did not want to be named, said “there is not much to say other than it is a catastrophe for our industry for the fourth time now.”

There’s an acknowledgement among others that while the lockdown is a blow to business, it shows that health is an important issue in Austria.

“This lockdown is epidemiologically necessary,” the Vienna Tourist Board tells Euronews Travel.

“At the same time, it means a frustrating situation for Vienna as a tourist destination, where efforts were made throughout the year to prepare for the important winter business by also taking all necessary measures according to scientific standards.

“The booking situation before Christmas this year was promising, the recovery tendencies were clearly visible.

“However, the increasing demand of the last months has proven that Vienna’s international attractiveness is unbroken. We hope that international travel will be possible again from 13 December.”

Source: https://www.euronews.com/travel/2021/11/25/austria-in-lockdown-hotels-set-to-open-just-12-days-before-christmas

China Outbound Tourism Set to Jump More Than 25% This Year – State Media

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese outbound tourism numbers are set to jump by more than 25% this year from 2020 but remain “basically at a standstill” compared to pre-pandemic levels, state broadcaster CCTV reported on Monday, citing official projections.

The dramatic drop in travellers from China, the world’s most populous nation, since the rapid spread of coronavirus early last year, has left a $255 billion annual spending hole in the global tourism market.

A total of 25.62 million Chinese tourist trips overseas are expected to be made in 2021, CCTV said, citing an annual report on outbound tourism from the China Tourism Academy, part of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

That is up from 20.334 million in 2020, which was itself an 86.9% plunge from a year earlier as the coronavirus outbreak led to severe restrictions on global travel.

This year’s projection, which includes trips to special administrative regions of China such as the gambling hub of Macau, will still be well below annual numbers of over 100 million before the pandemic hit, CCTV noted.

Macau, a former Portuguese colony, has become a “bright spot” for outbound tourism from mainland China due to effective virus prevention and control measures, CCTV said.

The pace of recovery in 2022 will depend on how other destinations handle tourism, it added.

China’s National Immigration Administration said this month it would continue to guide citizens not to go abroad for non-urgent and non-essential reasons.

Source: https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2021-11-22/china-outbound-tourism-set-to-jump-more-than-25-this-year-state-media

Country overview: Japanese hotel market to grow by 18,000 rooms

According to the TOPHOTELPROJECTS construction database, Japan will experience steady growth in the coming years, fuelled by expansion in Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo.

Our researchers report that 72 hotels with 17,730 rooms are currently in the pipeline across Japan. We take a closer look at the country’s development slate and highlight some schemes that are well worth keeping an eye on.

Japan’s hotel openings by year

Before 2021 draws to a close, five more hotels with 1,085 rooms will open their doors in Japan. For 2022, 28 launches with 4,733 keys have already been pencilled in, followed by another 14 schemes with 2,915 rooms in 2023. A further 25 projects and 8,997 keys are in the works for 2024 and beyond.

Of Japan’s 72 new hotels, 43 will be in the four-star category, while the remaining 29 are targeting the five-star market.

Top urban growth markets

Osaka, one of the country’s key economic hubs, will get eight new hotels in the coming years, adding 4,553 rooms to the city’s offering. Over half of this impressive figure stems from a single megaproject incidentally – the 2,500-key MGM Resort Osaka.

Elsewhere, and only a short drive from Osaka, the cultural hotspot of Kyoto will get seven new properties with 995 keys. And the capital Tokyo will see six hotels with 1,348 rooms open soon.

International hotel brands expanding in Japan

All three of Japan’s fastest-growing hotel brands hail from North America.

Fairfield Inn & Suites, by Marriott International, takes the lead with 11 active projects set to bring 900 new rooms into play. Fellow US giant Hilton Worldwide’s signature brand Hilton Hotels & Resorts, meanwhile, will add five properties and 1,747 keys to its offering in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Lastly, Canada-based Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts is currently working on three projects with 495 rooms.

Exciting new hotels in Japan’s project pipeline

Let’s start with Hoshino Resorts Omo7 Osaka Shin-Imamiya, which is due to open opposite a major train station in Q2, 2022. From here, guests will be able to easily reach Kansai International Airport as well as popular downtown areas. On top of its convenient location, the hotel will benefit from expansive green spaces, multiple restaurants, a cafeteria and open spaces for public events.

Over in the foothills of Mount Fuji, Unbound Collection by Hyatt, Fuji Speedway will offer guests convenient access to events at the new Motorsports Village facility. Once the property opens, it’ll feature 120 rooms and suites, a flexible banquet room of 500 sq m, a 200 sq m conference room, fine-dining restaurants, bars, an indoor pool, a fitness centre, a spa and natural onsen hot-spring bathing facilities. Guests will also be able to gain access to the onsite car museum, celebrating the historic significance of Fuji Speedway.

Finally, in early 2023, Four Seasons Resort and Private Residences Okinawa will begin welcoming guests. The 120-room resort is located on the beachfront along the island’s western coast, just 31 miles from Naha International Airport. Its facilities will include an all-day dining restaurant, specialty dining, a lounge, shops and recreational facilities, as well as public grounds and gardens.

Source: https://tophotel.news/country-overview-japanese-hotel-market-to-grow-by-18000-rooms-infographic/

2022 hotlist: Europe’s top three openings

Europe is set to debut hundreds of new hotel projects next year, with a total of 87,206 rooms expected across 535 openings – here’s our pick of three stellar schemes to watch out for.

We take a look at a trio of standout hotel schemes scheduled to complete in 2022 – an architecturally ambitious project in Frankfurt, a historic conversion in London and a landmark hotel for Belgrade.

Roomers Park View, Frankfurt

Developed by RFR and Hines in partnership with the Gekko Group, this under-construction hotel forms part of a mixed-use project consisting of two buildings: a 19-storey hotel tower and a 26-storey tower for condos with access to Roomers services. Located in Frankfurt’s Westend, Roomers Park View will afford impressive views over Grüneburgpark and the city’s skyline when it opens in late 2022.

The 136-key Roomers hotel will place the focus on suite accommodation and come with a host of amenities, including a special gastronomic concept, 19th-floor panoramic bar and 18th-floor spa. The project is being designed by architect KSP Engel, with interiors courtesy of Piero Lissoni.

Fulham Town Hall by Room2, London

The former Fulham Town Hall site, which is currently being restored by Ziser London, is set to enter a new era as a premium Room2 hometel. The hometel will span the property’s elegantly restored wings and a newly developed space, with Da Costa Mahindroo Architects and Corstorphine & Wright working on the architecture, juxtaposing innovative elements with the grade II*-listed building’s historic façade.

The interiors of Name Architecture promise to push the boundaries of artistic rebelliousness. On completion in the third quarter of 2022, it’ll house both event and co-working space, along with 90 guestrooms.

The St Regis Belgrade

A five-star newbuild, The St Regis Belgrade will occupy the first nine floors of Kula Belgrade, a 40-storey mixed-use tower within Eagle Hill’s huge Belgrade Waterfront development. The under-construction property is being designed by architectural firm SOM in London, with interiors by HOK’s London studio.

Expected to launch in the second quarter of 2022, the 119-key scheme will offer guests views over the city or River Sava, along with a destination restaurant at the top of the tower. There’ll also be an all-day dining restaurant and a St Regis Bar, inspired by the King Cole Bar at The St Regis New York. Among the other notable amenities being planned are a spa, a pool, a fitness centre and event space.

Source: https://tophotel.news/2022-hotlist-europes-top-three-openings/

Utopia Hospitality Group prepares for Phuket tourism growth

Announcing  a total 10  projects in new landmark projects in 5 years (with 3 in the pipeline) and also developing a ‘superhero’ team of senior executives, Utopia Corporation has expanded its business unit under the Utopia Hospitality Group (UHG) to introduce a new midscale hotel by October next year and is developing two landmark projects in Phuket worth a total 4 billion baht Mr Hachi Yin chief executive and founder of Utopia Corporation, said recently at the media launch in Bangkok’s plush embassy district.

UHG, its wholly owned hospitality management company, offers three brands under midscale “aparthotel” which merges apartment and hotel for flexible stays, as well as an upscale lifestyle resort and hotel focusing on wellbeing.

UHG will launch in Southeast Asia with premium midscale to ultra-luxury hospitality projects starting with the rebranding of the group’s existing properties in 2022.

UHG’s master plan covers the development of new landmarks at two prime locations in the north and south of Phuket. “Bay of Icons” is situated on Ao Por Bay on the island’s northern coast, while the second project, Utopia Dreams, is on Nai Harn beach on the island’s southwest coast.

The firm plans to introduce the two landmarks valued at 4 billion baht to attract international high-net-worth individuals, slated for the fourth quarter of 2025.

There is also an ultra-luxury brand under a collaboration with partners such as Tonino Lamborghini to introduce Tonino Lamborghini Boutique Hotel Phuket, slated for 2024.

Mr Yin said the first midscale hotel will open next October, followed by an upscale hotel in February 2023.

Utopia Corporation, founded in 2015, has real estate projects in Phuket under an investment budget of 8 billion baht and plans to list on the Stock Exchange of Thailand through an initial public offering by 2025.

Bay of Icons consists of Tonino Lamborghini Boutique Hotel Phuket, beach club and another hotel with a second partner in the field of ultra-luxury fashion brand.

Mr Yin said in his stage presentation that other famous destinations such as Bangkok, Singapore or Hollywood have landmarks, but there is no landmark in Phuket to attract ultra-luxury tourists to come and stay.

He estimates that the projects will coincide with a surge in tourism from 2023.

Source: https://www.traveldailymedia.com/utopia-hospitality-group-prepares-for-phuket-tourism-growth/

Retailers hail lifting of travel ban, return of international tourists with hopes of sales rebound

As the holiday shopping season picks up, retailers across the country hope to get a lift from another wave of spenders: international tourists who can visit the U.S. once again

Starting Monday, the Biden administration will allow visitors from abroad into the country again. Most foreign travelers from more than 30 countries, including the U.K. and Brazil, have been restricted since early 2020, as Covid-19 cases rose globally. Visitors must be fully vaccinated against Covid and have a negative Covid test within three days before departure. Exemptions apply to travelers under the age of 18, if they have medical reasons preventing them from getting a vaccine, or are traveling from one of 50 countries with low vaccine availability.

For retailers, the policy is a much-awaited change that may help them fill up stores and ring up bigger sales again. At stake are billions of dollars that tourists spend on not only souvenirs, but luxury handbags, high-end makeup, top-shelf liquor and other items they often can’t find at home. Global visitors fueled more than $43.4 billion of shopping in 2019 — or 27% of the total shopping driven by travel and tourism, according to the International Trade Administration.

Yet retail experts and companies say it will take time for tourists to return to the U.S. and spend at post-pandemic levels. Airlines still have fewer flights. Other countries, including China, tightly restrict outbound travel. And pandemic-related logistics, from long lines at the airport to show proof at vaccination to Covid test when returning home, could delay travelers from booking a trip.

“Airlines will tell you that they are seeing a surge in booking. What they don’t quantify is when. Hotels will tell you is they’re seeing an uptick in bookings. What they won’t tell you is when,” said Daniel Binder, a partner for Columbus Consulting who focuses on travel retail. “The ban will lift, and it will take time.”

Binder saw the spending power of international tourists — especially Chinese tourists — up close as a longtime executive at DFS, a luxury goods travel retailer that’s owned by LVMH. He said he also saw the many months it took for global tourists to flock back and spend freely after other challenging periods, including the 9/11 terrorism attacks and the SARS outbreak.

Still, National Retail Federation CEO Matt Shay said there is a feeling of optimism as the ban lifts. He said that as Americans feel comfortable booking trips, dining out and having more active lives, they are also shopping. As international tourists visit, that will “give a jolt to the retail side,” too, he said.

“The return to the service and the experience economy is going to be positive and beneficial for retail and it’s going to be enhanced furthermore by these international visitors returning to the U.S.,” he said Wednesday on a call with reporters.

‘Shot in the arm’ for New York City

International shoppers will be a key ingredient needed for New York City’s recovery. During a typical year, visitors from other countries spend an estimated $4.75 billion on shopping, according to NYC & Company, the city’s tourism board.

Shopping is the most popular activity for people visiting the city from other countries — with 88% of international visitors saying they participate, according to a 2018 survey by the Department of Commerce. That’s compared to 86% who participate in sightseeing, 54% who go to art galleries and museums and 29% who experience fine dining.

In contrast, less than 30% of tourists from other parts of the U.S. shop when they are in New York City.

“It’s a pivotal milestone in our recovery, for sure,” said Chris Heywood, executive vice president of global communications at NYC & Company. “Welcoming back the international traveler is exactly the shot in the arm that New York City needs right now.”

In the coming days, Heywood said the tourism group will unveil a project with Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and other retailers to incentivize visitors to return to their stores. Over the next few months, he said the group plans to spend $6 million across the globe on advertising about New York City. He said that money will be concentrated in countries that have loosened their policies in a way that makes it easier for their citizens to leave and return home. These include South Korea, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, France and Italy. Places where restrictions are till very tight, such as China, will not be part of the advertising campaign.

Heywood said New York City benefits from having many shopping districts that are themselves tourist destinations — such as Fifth Avenue, Times Square and Hudson Yards — along with attractions like Broadway shows and art museums.

“This is a chance to actually get back to this notion of that shopping experience and having the bragging rights to say ‘I bought that on Fifth Avenue’ or ‘I bought that in New York,’” he said. “That’s something people have not been able to have.”

Still, he said it will take years to build back up the city’s tourism and shopping revenue. The group expects about 2.8 million international visitors to come to New York City this year, compared with 13.5 million international visitors in 2019. Next year, it expects international visitors to triple to about 8.5 million and by 2024, it expects international tourism to roughly match pre-pandemic levels.

“We’re hoping to accelerate that timeline as much as possible,” he said.

‘We don’t see tremendous movement’

Some retailers said they don’t expect the lifted travel restrictions to result in an immediate jump in sales. For many companies, especially those outside of the luxury space, the market doesn’t make up a significant chunk of their businesses. Department store chain Macy’s, for example, said that international tourists accounted for just about 4% of sales in 2019.

Capri Holdings, which owns Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo, believes that some international tourists will book trips to the U.S. in the coming weeks. But CEO John Idol noted on an earnings conference call on Wednesday that there was only a minor return among international tourists into Europe, after travel restrictions were lifted. And there has been no return into Japan nor Korea, he said.

“In our forecast, we don’t see tremendous movement changing our trajectory at least in next fiscal year,” Idol said.

For a company like Tiffany, however, it could be worth the extra effort to try to court international visitors back to its U.S. stores. The jewelry chain, now owned by LVMH, typically sees about 12% of sales domestically coming from foreign tourists.

This holiday season, Tiffany has opened a pop-up shop in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan, which pays homage to the legendary Tiffany designer Jean Schlumberger. The space, which features a number of Instagram friendly backdrops and activities for visitors such as painting, is open to the public from Monday until Jan. 8.

It’s the mall operators — some of the most challenged by stay-at-home trends in 2020 and consumers shifting into e-commerce — that say they expect to see a boon to traffic as foreigners return.

“We still think that there’s another leg up if we get the international tourist that we haven’t seen for a couple — two, three — years,” Simon Property Group CEO David Simon told analysts on an earnings conference call held Monday.

Simon’s malls include The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, The Galleria mall in Houston, as well as a number of premium outlet centers.

Over in New Jersey, the American Dream megamall is antsy for foreigners to visit. A portion of the 3 million-square-foot development first opened to the public in October 2019. But it was shut down shortly after due to pandemic restrictions. When it had first kicked open American Dream’s doors in the fall of 2019, operator Triple Five Group told CNBC the megamall would draw 40 million visitors annually, many of them foreigners. It has likely only since seen a sliver of that.

American Dream is ramping up its efforts to court tourists to New Jersey’s Meadowlands in preparation for Monday. The megamall has a team entirely dedicated to tourism that is corresponding with travel agencies and helping visitors book trips to the development.

“American Dream was always designed to be a top global tourism destination,” said Jill Renslow, executive vice president of marketing at Triple Five. “We’re also working with New Jersey … making sure we’re showcasing all the things that New Jersey has to offer.”

The fact that sales of clothing and footwear in New Jersey are generally tax exempt should be another appealing factor for foreign visitors to head to the state, she said.

Just last month, the first round of luxury retailers — including Saks Fifth Avenue, Hermes and Dolce & Gabbana — opened up at American Dream. These high-end shops also have their own wing within the megamall, which includes a separate escalator entrance for buses that are there to transport tourists and their shopping bags.

Jeweler David Yurman has laid the groundwork during the pandemic to grow its international sales. It has 45 stores in the U.S. and a handful in Canada, but has partnerships with jewelry and department stores in other parts of the globe.

Over the past year and a half, it has launched dedicated websites in other countries and kickstarted initiatives to woo more Chinese customers, David Yurman head of marketing Lee Tucker said. It started to sell a limited collection through social media and messaging app, WeChat, he said.

Tucker said that salespeople at the jewelers’ stores know how to speak numerous languages, including Mandarin, Arabic and Farsi, so they can welcome tourists and make them feel at home.

Starting this month, a double-decker bus wrapped in the company’s advertisement is driving to destinations like Rodeo Drive and Newport Beach, where international tourists may see it and get inspired to shop.

“We’re holding our breath to understand how international tourists are going to come back to our cities and which groups are going to travel here first,” he said.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/11/07/retailers-hail-lifting-of-travel-ban-return-of-international-tourists-with-hopes-of-sales-rebound.html

Robotics operation in travel and tourism industry set to grow, says GlobalData

The utilization of robotics will continue to grow in importance in the travel and tourism industry. However, companies need to be sensitive in how they deploy this form of smart technology, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

According to a recent GlobalData poll*, 31% of the respondents stated that their company will invest in robotics in the next 12 months, with robotics being the third most popular answer for this question, above the likes of IoT and cloud. A significant contributing reason as to why business executives and employees think that investment in robotics will increase is due to the long-term cost savings this technology can provide along with its ability to meet the sudden changes in consumer demands.

Ralph Hollister, Travel & Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Prior to the pandemic, the utilization of robotics in tourism was mainly seen as a gimmick. Robot butlers in hotels would provide good Instagram opportunities for guests, creating exposure for the accommodation provider, and customer service robots at airports would entertain guests to reduce feelings of boredom. These same robots are now a necessity for the likes of hotels and airports due to the need for COVID-safe experiences.”

According to GlobalData**, 74% of global consumers are is still either ‘quite’ or ‘extremely’ concerned regarding the impact of COVID-19. These robots reduce the need for human contact, which increases safety for travelers across multiple stages during their trip.

It is also no secret that COVID-19 has battered the finances of many companies involved in travel and tourism. Although the initial cost of investing in robotics to replace human jobs will be high, many companies will recover what they have invested in just a short number of years. Subsequently, companies will then continue to shrink fixed costs and increase profit margins.

Mr. Hollister concludes: “Investing too heavily in robotics to replace human jobs could tarnish brand image. Travel and tourism employment has fallen substantially across the globe due to the pandemic, and many consumers will feel that it is a company’s social responsibility to employ people in need of work as travel recovers, especially if they have appropriate skill sets. Filling vacancies with robots could be deemed as insensitive in the current climate, especially in destinations that heavily rely on tourism as a key contributor to the local economy.

“Through increasing operational efficiency and improving traveler confidence, robotics in tourism will continue to grow. However, companies need to ensure that they are not seen to be shunning their social commitments. It must be emphasized that the robots are deployed to work alongside humans, not instead of them.”

Source: https://www.traveldailynews.com/post/robotics-operation-in-travel-and-tourism-industry-set-to-grow-says-globaldata

Garth, a luxury neo-Bistro opens this week at Kempinski Hotel, Mall of the Emirates

Located inside a new private members club, The 9 Lounge, at Kempinski Mall of the Emirates, the premium culinary hub has opened its doors to those with a penchant for refined, delicious medleys of Italian, Greek, and Southern French cuisines. Guests that are not members of The 9 Lounge are encouraged to make reservations in advance and abide by the formal dress code, suited to the elevated ambiance of the locale.

The space comprises of a beautiful verdant terrace, a cigar lounge, and a restaurant, where guests can indulge in the finest mix of seafood, meat, and vegetarian dishes. Whilst diners can enjoy a host of raw fish and seafood plates courtesy of a specialty raw bar, the menu also includes an array of meat, vegetarian and vegan options that are guaranteed to gratify even the most selective appetites.

Guests are promised satisfaction as they acquaint their palates with the gastronomical innovations, born from the proficiently sourced quality ingredients at Garth. The food and menus are expertly designed by celebrity chefs Sergei Andreychenko and Mohammed Musthafa. A team of professional mixologists and sommeliers assist guests in selecting from a carte of Old World and New World wines, cocktails, and premium spirits.

The mouthwatering menus include dishes such as Zucchini Carpaccio, Beef Cheeks Paccheri, Poached Sea Bass, Truffle Risotto, Niçoise Salad, Beef Tartare, Burrata Grande and many more.

At the raw bar, guests can opt for the Salmon or Tuna Tartare, Sea Bass Ceviche, or indulge in an assorted tartare platter featuring three varieties of the dish. The desserts menu is home to rich classics such as Basque Burnt Cheesecake, Tiramisu, Almond Crumble with Berries, Dark Chocolate Mousse, and hand-crafted Ice Creams and Sorbets.

Garth features a new lunch menu each week, featuring daily specials, to keep it fresh and interesting for afternoon guests, from 12pm till 3pm. Although the culinary adventure is the primary focus of the experience, the menus will maintain the sophisticated taste and plating associated with the brand.

Open daily, from 12pm till 12am on weekdays and from 12pm till 2am on weekends, the lounge creates a relaxed atmosphere with unique sound design, featuring a distinct combination of genres. Produced skillfully by an ensemble of instrumentalists from Moscow, the music will include streams of new wave funk, soul, jazz, chill rave, and afro beats genres. Breezy terrace evenings can be enjoyed with a soundtrack of electronic chill rave beats, whilst soulful piano music will grace special dinners at the restaurant.

The layered interiors feature neutral tones of cream, beige and brown, complemented by blush pink furniture. Plush pampas grass lines the windows and the bar canopy, accented by bright neon lighting that lends an effortless luminous glow to the space. A promising venue that is bound to be the next hotspot in Dubai, Garth takes guests on a journey that goes beyond the plate, offering an ideal space to socialize and indulge in finer experiences.

Source: https://www.hotelnewsme.com/hotel-news-me/garth-a-luxury-neo-bistro-opens-this-week-at-kempinski-hotel-mall-of-the-emirates/

MARIOTT ROLLS OUT WIRELESS CHARGING IN HOTEL LOBBIES

Marriott Hotels wants to cut its customers’ cords. It’s therefore partnered with hospitality technology company Kube Systems to install portable wireless charging stations in the lobbies of 29 Marriott hotels this month, it announced yesterday.

The new “KS Portable” charging stations utilize Kube Systems’ Qi technology, which allows compatible smartphones to charge simply by resting on top of the charging station. It can simultaneously power six Apple, Android, or Windows devices — all without a power cord.

“You cannot travel brilliantly when you are running on empty,” said Michael Dail, vice president, Marriott Hotels Marketing. “Through our collaboration with Kube Systems, we’re providing an industry-leading solution to a common traveler worry, and now we’re bringing it to Marriott Hotels across the country.”

Added Kube Systems Vice President Dave Weinstein, “Leisure and business travelers have struggled for power on the road as battery technology has not kept pace with the demands of larger screens, faster processors, and more app-driven devices. A two-year development effort in collaboration with Marriott technologists has resulted in the KS Portable: a truly unique solution to charge virtually every mobile device on the market today, without the need for guests to carry cables or adaptors.”

Choice Hotels’ Ascend Hotel Collection Expands In Caribbean

Ascend Hotel Collection from Choice Hotels International, Inc., one of the world’s leading hotel companies, today announced its Caribbean growth with the addition of the charming ACOYA Hotel Suites & Villas on the island of Curacao to its rapidly expanding and impressive list of distinctive hotels in key destinations.

ACOYA Villa

Ascend Hotel Collection is an international portfolio of independent hotels that uniquely reflect the character of their host cities. For guests, Ascend hotels deliver a richly local experience. For hoteliers, the great appeal of Ascend is that the Collection allows operators to maintain their individuality while giving them access to Choice Hotels International’s robust distribution system and industry leading Choice Privileges® loyalty rewards program along with support from a vast network of other member hotels around the globe.

“Ascend Hotel Collection is extremely pleased to welcome the ACOYA Hotel Suites & Villas to our distinctive portfolio of hotels and to be able to offer guests a truly elegant island stay,” said Michael Murphy, senior vice president of upscale brands at Choice Hotels International. “With its commitment to delivering a uniquely authentic Caribbean experience through a high level of service, ACOYA represents the essence of Ascend Hotel Collection.”

Deep in the southern Caribbean and near the islands of Aruba and Bonaire, Curacao offers world-class diving, gorgeous golden sand beaches, invigorating outdoor adventure and a rich history dating back to 1499 and the exploration days ofChristopher Columbus. ACOYA Hotel Suites & Villas embodies the history, style and culture travelers would expect from a Caribbean resort with gracious hospitality that truly embraces the Ascend Hotel Collection motto – let the destination reach you.

The Hotel

ACOYA Hotel Suites & Villas is an upscale, charming island vacation resort located on 10 pristine tropical acres. The property surrounds a magnificent natural lake, formed by water from all over the island naturally flowing to this central location, providing unparalleled water views for guests. Located in the center of Willemstad near Mambo Beach, approximately 15 minutes from Curacao International Airport, the hotel offers easy access to local beaches and other area attractions.

At ACOYA, guests can choose from spacious studios, suites and villas that are fully equipped with upscale amenities such as LCD TV, fully equipped kitchen, 220 and 110 volt electric outlets, coffee makers and in-room safe. Additional hotel amenities include laundry service, beach towel service, daily housekeeping, car rental, shuttle service to neighboring beaches, and free Wi-Fi.

“At ACOYA we pride ourselves on delivering impeccable service through a personal approach,” said Ghatim Kabbara, head of business development for ACOYA Hotel Suites & Villas. “We go above and beyond to ensure we satisfy our guests’ needs and provide an unforgettable Caribbean experience. We are excited for this partnership with Ascend Hotel Collection and know that membership with a valued company such as Choice Hotels International is a sign of our top quality and conveys our service guarantee to guests.”

A Destination for the Thrill Seeker

This tranquil, family-oriented resort is conveniently located near some of the most beautiful beaches and exciting tourist attractions in Curacao. The island is renowned for its coral reefs which make for excellent scuba diving. ACOYA’s Dive Center provides guests with a fully-certified diving school that provides courses led by experienced instructors. The Dive Center also has a private pool for lessons and practice before guides take guests out to the beautiful coast.

Also located near the hotel is the Hato Cave. This historic attraction is said to be over 200,000 years old and originally housed Amerindian Arawaks before serving as the hiding place for escaped slaves during the slave trade. And no visit toCuracao would be complete without a trip over to Handelskade, Curacao’s famous Old Dutch waterfront. Visitors can shop, grab a quick meal and watch the ships come in.

Healthy Dining

Visitors to ACOYA Hotel Suites & Villas don’t have to leave the property to experience the taste of the Caribbean. Seasons Restaurant offers authentic, homemade Caribbean “comfort food” available everyday of the week. Guests and non-guests can choose to dine in or grab a fresh salad or sandwich from the shop. In the evenings, Seasons also offers fine dining that is unmatched anywhere on the island. Sumptuous cuisine is brought to life through innovative fusions prepared by a talented culinary team. The restaurant is located near the pool and offers stunning views any time of the day.

Health and Wellness

The Kintjan Center for Health and Wellness is the place to take care of all things mind, body and soul. Guests can enjoy an intense workout in the gym, alone or with the guidance of the on-site personal trainer, indulge in a relaxing massage or participate in a meditating yoga session. Spa treatments such as facials, manicures and pedicures are available, as well as treatments such as Osteopathy and Physiotherapy.

Conduct a Meeting Caribbean-Style

ACOYA Hotel Suites & Villas is also serves as an ideal location for meetings and celebrations of all kinds. The Celebration Building, perfectly situated by the lake, offers two floors and a deck that provide space for up to 250 people. Guests may ask for include catering and bartending services provided by Seasons Restaurant.

Additionally, the Reading Room is ideal for business travelers to host business meetings or conduct workshops or training sessions.

An Oasis for Everyone

By providing a diverse selection of rental home types, ACOYA is the perfect Caribbean location for a family getaway. The ACOYA Kids Club & Playground provides a variety of activities for kids and professional supervision allows parents some time to relax. The entire family can enjoy the beautiful three level pool area which includes a pool for children, Jacuzzi, man-made beach area and plenty of lounge chairs. Guests can also choose to relax in cabanas, surrounded by palm trees, and enjoy service from Seasons Restaurant. The pool is the perfect place to enjoy the pleasant Caribbean weather and take a refreshing dip.

ACOYA Hotel Suites & Villas is now accepting reservations.

The Choice Hotels International Caribbean portfolio currently includes hotels in the Caribbean islands of the Bahamas,Cayman Islands, Aruba, Curacao and Puerto Rico. For further information, visit www.choicecaribbean.com.

About Ascend Hotel Collection
The Ascend Hotel Collection membership program made its debut in late 2008 and now has 128 hotels open throughoutthe United States, Canada, Europe, Central America, Australia and the Caribbean.  The eclectic portfolio of upscale, independent hotels appeals to the growing number of people who like to immerse themselves in the destination and live like the locals when they travel.  For more information, visit www.ascendcollection.com.

About Choice Hotels
Choice Hotels International, Inc. franchises more than 6,300 hotels, representing more than 500,000 rooms, in the United States and more than 35 other countries and territories.  As of June 30, 2014, 423 hotels, representing more than 32,000 rooms, were under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in the United States.  Additionally, 93 hotels, representing approximately 8,300 rooms, were under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in more than 15 other countries and territories.  The company’s Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria hotel & suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn brands, as well as its Ascend Hotel Collection membership program, serve guests worldwide.