AC Hotel by Marriott Punta Cana opens its doors | News

AC Hotels by Marriott has welcomed the opening of the 129-room AC Hotel by Marriott Punta Cana.

With open and multifunctional public spaces, guests are invited to experience a hotel in the centre of one of the most important tourist and corporate destinations in the Caribbean.

“With a picture-perfect location, the first AC Hotel in the Dominican Republic offers visitors elegant and purposefully designed spaces, modern rooms and a refined culinary experience,” said Jeff Tomczek, vice president and global brand leader, distinctive select brands, Marriott International.

“We’ve created an ideal environment to become a benchmark in hospitality for Punta Cana and throughout the country, which will allow discerning travellers to live life by design with everything they need and nothing they don’t.”

The culture and rich history of the Dominican Republic served as inspiration for the hotel, defining it as a relaxed, upscale option in the city.

The hotel’s design features subtle nods to Caribbean nature and culture, including coffee accessories, local crafts, ceramics and ornaments.

In addition, the hotel’s dedication to the creative community will be reflected in its programming with local artists of various genres showcasing the beauty of the destination with their interpretations.

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Travelodge begins autumnal recruitment drive | News

Travelodge has today kick-started an autumn recruitment drive, with the company looking to fill 750 positions immediately.

The effort includes 720 full and part time positions with flexible working hours at hotels the length and breadth of the country.

These include management roles for hotel manager and assistant hotel manager positions, as well as in the housekeeping team and on reception.

The company is also looking to fill 30 roles at its head office in Thame, Oxfordshire which includes positions in finance, property, revenue, sales and operations.

Craig Bonnar, Travelodge chief executive, said: “There has never been a better time than now to join the UK hospitality sector – the career opportunities are endless, and it also opens a door to the world.

“We need to fill 750 positions, and if you have passion, determination and a real desire to look after people then we will help you learn the rest. 

“Joining Travelodge also opens the door to training, coaching and career progression.

“Our in-house management development programme, Aspire, has helped over a thousand entry-level colleagues into a management job.

“We operate a dedicated programme to help parents work around the school run by offering flexible working hours and jobs close to home so that they can raise their family and keep one foot firmly on the career ladder too.”

More Information

Find out more about how to apply here.

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Staybridge Suites Dubai Financial Centre opens to guests | News

IHG Hotels & Resorts and SRG Holding have opened the third Staybridge Suites hotel in the United Arab Emirates, Staybridge Suites Dubai Financial Centre.

This 48-story tower adds an eye-catching feature to iconic skyline and is located opposite the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a few steps away from the metro station.

The property is surrounded by variety of leisure, dining, shopping and entertainment destinations like City Walk, Coca Cola Arena, La Mer and Dubai Downtown.

Each of the 360 studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom suites comes equipped with a fully fitted kitchen and living space including top-of-the-line Siemens and Smeg appliances, smart TVs and your very own washer/dryer.

Many of the apartments feature their own balcony from which to enjoy spectacular views of the city or the sea.

Several interconnecting units offer greater flexibility for families or small groups traveling together.

With a large working table, high-speed Wi-Fi and seamless technology, working privately from the suite will be a seriously productive for many of our guests who work from home.

Some guests prefer to get some of their work done in cafés or public spaces, so they will love setting camp in our den or public living and dining rooms.

“We are absolutely delighted to partner with one of the world’s leading hotel companies, IHG Hotels & Resorts, to open our second Staybridge Suites in Dubai,” said Fahad Al Rafi, chief executive of SRG Holding.

“The aim with the launch of the new Staybridge Suites Dubai Financial Center is to provide guests with a hotel where they could stay for a few days, weeks or months in one of Dubai’s most vibrant areas.”

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Marriott outlines net-zero pledge | News

Marriott International has outlined plans to reach net-zero value chain greenhouse gas emissions by no later than 2050.

The ambition was confirmed in a letter to the Science Based Targets initiative.

“We are driven to make a positive and sustainable impact wherever we do business, and this rigorous climate commitment to reach net-zero emissions is a needed step for us to do our part to help the communities and environments where we live, work and visit remain resilient and vibrant,” said Anthony Capuano, chief executive, Marriott International.

“Even as we navigate one of the industry’s most difficult periods, we know this ambition will be a challenge.

“We are proud to join companies and institutions around the world striving to tackle climate change and build a healthier, more sustainable world.”

Marriott International’s portfolio of hotels has been working to reduce its carbon footprint as part of its existing 2025 sustainability goals and this latest commitment to climate action is the next step in the company’s sustainability journey.

Over time, initiatives may include increased use of renewable energy, building electrification to maximise renewable electricity and continued modifications to design standards so buildings are more efficient.

Marriott also hope to work on the installation of automation systems and energy efficiency upgrades – for example, smart thermostats.

The company said customers will see enhanced focus on existing sustainability efforts such as solid waste and food waste reduction and natural capital restoration, with the opportunity to participate in activities such as reforestation as well as coral and mangrove plantings.

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AHIC 2021: Radisson celebrates record year in Middle East & Africa | News

Radisson Hotel Group has secured a record year in its fastest growing region, the Middle East & Africa, with 21 signings and seven hotel openings achieved thus far.

The expansion drive includes the announcement of eight hotels in Morocco, the entry into Thakher Makkah with nearly 1,000 rooms, as well as the introduction of the Radisson Individuals brand in both the Middle East and Africa.

From opening the first Radisson hotel in Dubai and Africa’s second Radisson Red in South Africa, to multiple Radisson Blu resort offerings, it has been a year lined with significant milestones for the group.

With additional hotel signings and a further seven openings across destinations such as the UAE, Madagascar and Saudi Arabia expected before year end, Radisson Hotel Group remains prudently optimistic regarding the business recovery within the last quarter of 2021.

With more than 100 hotels currently in operation and 70 under development across the region, the aggressive expansion places them firmly on track to reach over 250 hotels in its Middle East and Africa portfolio by 2025.

Radisson Hotel Group has put forward growth priorities across key markets such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Egypt and South Africa.

With over 75 hotels in operation and under development, the Middle East remains a key focus for Radisson Hotel Group’s global strategy as it is set to reinforce its position as a global leader across the region, striving to reach 100 hotels by 2025.

In line with the Saudi Vision 2030, the group has placed a focus in further expanding its presence across the kingdom and across all segments from resorts to city hotels but also serviced apartments and conversion offerings.

As the economic and commercial capital of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh is the largest city and remains a strategic destination for the group’s expansion. The recent signing of Radisson Blu Resort, Riyadh Hills Itlalat and Radisson Blu Resort, Riyadh Hills Shalalah, is in line with an ambition to continuously supplement this market with modernised and exceptional experiences.

From the first airport hotel located in Riyadh to the second Radisson Collection in Saudi Arabia, the group aims to open an additional four properties during the last quarter to reach the total addition of 1,000 keys in Riyadh alone this year.

With the ambition to double the portfolio across the region, Radisson Hotel Group continues to drive their growth journey across sub-markets and support investors to develop and operate real estate efficient operations with a pragmatic approach to conversion solutions, especially during these unprecedented times. 

Elie Milky, vice president, development, Middle East, Cyprus, Greece and Pakistan, said: “With the launch of Radisson Individuals and the reinforcement of our strategy for resorts as well as serviced apartments, we stay more relevant to changing owner needs and remain one of the best conversion-friendly partners in the industry.

“Our focus on conversions and our recent signings have resulted in a target opening of 1,800 keys this year in the Middle East alone, with at least 1,500 keys planned to open in 2022.”

From a single hotel in Africa 20 years ago, Radisson Hotel Group’s African portfolio has grown to almost 100 hotels in operation and under development in more than 30 countries across the continent, cementing the Group’s leading position as the hotel company with the largest active presence in the most countries across Africa.

Setting a hotel expansion record in Africa with 13 hotel signings to date, translating to a new hotel signed every 20 days, the group remains firmly on track with their ambitious development strategy to reach over 150 hotels by 2025 across the continent.

Ramsay Rankoussi, vice president, development, Africa & Turkey at Radisson Hotel Group, added: “For the remainder of the year, we will continue to build on the success and momentum we’ve had thus far, with a continued focus on our identified key markets, specifically Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa.

“We aim to further accelerate our presence across the continent through both new build and conversions.

“Africa is mainly led by business hotels, but with the recent signings, we have expanded our leisure offerings and serviced apartments which has not only proven resilient during Covid-19 but is also fuelling a faster recovery.

“Our ambitions are driven by creating critical mass in each of our identified focus markets but also ensuring market proximity.

“These regions are sub divided based on priorities, focus and potential scale.”

Federico González, chief executive of Radisson Hotel Group, speaks to Breaking Travel News at AHIC 2021:

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AHIC 2021: Industry gathers in Dubai as confidence returns | News

More than 700 hospitality owners, investors, developers and operators from across the Middle East and Africa have gathered to kick off the 2021 edition of AHIC.

The event is being held from September 20-22 at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai live in person.

For the first time, AHIC 2021, organised by Bench and Meed, has brought together the four close-knit investment communities of the Arabian Hospitality Investment Conference (AHIC), Saudi Arabia Hospitality Investment Conference (SHIC), Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) and the Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) under one roof.

Jonathan Worsley, chairman of Bench and founder of AHIC, said: “After months of careful planning, we are thrilled to be here in Dubai today to launch this very special edition of AHIC, just a few days before Expo 2020 Dubai begins.

“United by the theme Rise Together, more than 700 investors, financiers, franchise owners, innovators, developers, brand leaders and tourism officials are here to network, share insights and do business, with the potential for partnerships greater than ever.

“We are excited to present our delegates with a programme featuring close to 200 speakers, including keynote interviews with hoteliers such as Sébastien Bazin, chairman, Accor; José Silva, chief executive, Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts; and Kenneth Macpherson, chief executive, Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa, IHG.

“While conversation on the main stage has centered on how to recover and rise up from the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve also had a roster of workshops, numerous networking opportunities and a host of special features including the Sustainability Hospitality Challenge and the AHIC Innovation Den.

Day one of AHIC 2021 has been underpinned by AHIC Intelligence, with industry data, insights and predictions for the region’s pipeline, performance and profitability setting the tone for the rest of the conversation.

Robin Rossmann, managing director, STR, presented some of the key learnings from the past 18 months.

He revealed that 97 per cent of Middle East hotels have now reopened, with some markets tracking a full occupancy recovery by the end of the year, and highlighted that half of the hotels in Dubai are close to or exceeding 2019 average daily rates.

Rossmann said: “Rate has been the big surprise.

“Typically, we see rates take three to four years to recover after a downturn, but many markets are close to 2019 levels already.

“We think rates will be back to 2019 levels by the end of the year and continue into next year.”

AHIC day one was also jam-packed with sessions dedicated towards the GRIF community, with focus groups exploring how to expand concepts beyond the GCC, customer trends, the potential of food halls, and flexible destination dining.

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AHIC 2021: Hilton grows Middle East pipeline as market recovers | News

Hilton will be bringing a major presence to the Arabian & African Hospitality Investment Conference (AHIC) in Dubai this week off the back of a year that has seen it continue to expand its regional pipeline across Middle East and Africa (MEA).

Led by Carlos Khneisser, vice president, development, MEA, the pipeline for the company has grown to 146 hotels and over 35,000 rooms in the region.

The flagship Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand leads the way as the MEA largest pipeline brand by number of rooms according to latest STR data, with the midscale Hilton Garden Inn and upscale DoubleTree by Hilton also featuring in the top five positions.

With a focus on organic growth, pipeline numbers remain robust despite continuing to bring major projects through to opening.

Khneisser commented: “Looking at this year alone, we have several marquee properties that have already opened, including Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island, Hilton Salwa Beach as well as LXR Mango House Seychelles.

“The outlook is even more positive in the medium term, and we are firmly on-track with our development plans across the region.

“In the next three to five years, Hilton will double its portfolio in the Middle East and Africa.”

Hilton’s latest new signing in MEA has been confirmed today as DoubleTree by Hilton Douala, which will become its second property in Cameroon.

The 141-guestroom hotel is expected to open in 2023 following a multimillion-dollar renovation of the Douala Rabingha Hotel – carried out in partnership with owners, Société Nouvelle des Cocotiers.

With hundreds of key industry figures gathering for AHIC, the week is set to provide ample opportunity for Hilton is set to offer the development team to speak with owners and investors from across the region to discuss new opportunities.

Key executives have confirmed participation in the three-day event with EMEA president, Simon Vincent, to conduct an on-stage discussion around the importance of culture and purpose to delivering great hospitality.

Speaking ahead of his AHIC session, Vincent added: “As our industry emerges from the greatest challenge we have ever faced and customer confidence continues to rise, we are now in a position where guests are returning to travel with expectations for memorable experiences delivered by passionate hospitality professionals.

“Ensuring that we work with our owners to meet these expectations and retain the best talent is vital as the industry continues its recovery.”

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AHIC 2021: Days Hotel by Wyndham Dubai Deira takes brand into UAE | News

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts is further expanding its international footprint with the opening of the newly built 131-room Days Hotel by Wyndham Dubai Deira.

The hotel becomes the first property in the UAE under the renowned economy brand.

Ideally located close to Dubai’s popular landmarks with a direct access to the Dubai Metro, the launch of the Days Hotel by Wyndham Dubai Deira joins the recent openings of the Super 8 by Wyndham Dubai Deira and Wyndham Dubai Deira as part of the Deira Enrichment Project and as a continuation of rapid growth across the region.

Days Inn by Wyndham is one of the largest and most recognised economy hotel brands in the world, with a global portfolio of 1,600 properties and nearly 50 Days Inn by Wyndham hotels in the UK.

The launch of Days Hotel by Wyndham Dubai Deira follows the debut of the brand in Turkey in June and marks the eighth hotel brand Wyndham has launched in the UAE, following the recent debut of the La Quinta by Wyndham brand in Bur Dubai.

Michel Augier, regional director, Middle East and Africa, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, said: “Dubai is one of the most sought out destinations for travellers from all corners of the globe, looking for a variety of accommodation options, making it the ideal location to launch our Days Inn by Wyndham brand.

“The launch of the Days Hotel by Wyndham Dubai Deira perfectly complements the recently opened Wyndham Dubai Deira and the Super 8 by Wyndham Dubai Deira, which are already situated within the spectacular Deira Enrichment Project and our portfolio of over 60 hotels in the Middle East and Africa.

“We look forward to continuing to expand our brands and offerings in destinations we know our travellers want to be, such as the exciting and evolving destination of Dubai.”

The Deira Enrichment Project – a development by Ithra Dubai, a fully owned subsidiary of Investment Corporation of Dubai – is a mixed-use project situated along the Dubai creek and waterfront in the western part of Deira.

With the goal of expanding the urban fabric of the existing Deira community towards the sea, the project is expected to become one of the largest waterfronts and man-made developments in the world.

The new hotel adds to Wyndham’s current portfolio of 19 hotels in the UAE, including 11 in Dubai.

Dimitris Manikis, managing director, EMEA, for Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, tells Breaking Travel News about the new property as the Middle East market recovers from Covid-19:

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AHIC 2021: Accor to take Novotel into Saudi Arabia

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AHIC 2021: Accor to take Novotel into Saudi Arabia | News

Accor is growing its portfolio in Saudi Arabia, partnering with Taiba Investments to open the first Novotel branded property in the city of Madinah.

Once open, the property will include 394 keys, three food and beverage outlets as well as meeting rooms and retail space

Since the launch of the Vision 2030 for the kingdom in 2016, Accor has continuously been involved in the development of the hospitality landscape including the introduction of unique development projects across the country, now adding a greenfield project.

The group is partnering with Taiba Investments, considered to be one of the largest real estate companies in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The organisation provides various services such as real estate property investment, development and management.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Accor to develop our new hotel in the holy city of Madinah,” said Saleh Habdan Al-Habdan, chief executive from Taiba Investments Real Estate Company.

“We are confident that this new property will benefit greatly the hospitality landscape of the city and kingdom overall, offering travellers a new and convenient accommodation option.”

Novotel Madinah will be in close proximity to the Holy Mosque, and directly on King Faisal Road at its intersection with Amr Bin Al Aas Street, offering guests easy access to every main road in the city.

“This is a great opportunity to introduce the first Novotel property to the Holy City and increase further Novotel’s footprint in the Kingdom,” added Mark Willis, chief executive of Accor India, Middle East, Africa & Turkey.

“As a key player in the Saudi 2030 vision, we are proud to contribute to the country’s development on the hospitality and tourism front while expanding Accor’s presence as leading hospitality group in the region.”

Take a look below as Mark Willis brings Breaking Travel News up to date with the recovery in the Middle East hospitality market:

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AHIC 2021: DoubleTree by Hilton to debut in Cameroon

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AHIC 2021: DoubleTree by Hilton to debut in Cameroon | News

Hilton has announced the signing of an agreement with Société Nouvelle des Cocotiers (SNC) to launch its upscale DoubleTree by Hilton brand in Cameroon.

The hotel is expected to open in 2023 following a multimillion-dollar renovation of the Douala Rabingha Hotel and will join Hilton Yaounde, which recently celebrated its thirtieth anniversary of operation within the country.

Andrew McLachlan, managing director development, sub-Saharan Africa, Hilton, said: “Hilton has a strong tradition of hospitality in Cameroon, welcoming guests for over 30 years.

“I am delighted that we are expanding our portfolio and launching a second brand in the market.

“DoubleTree by Hilton Douala gives us a presence within the country’s key commercial hub in an established location well known to international visitors to the city.”

Located within the Bonanjo district, the primary commercial district of Douala, the 141-guestroom hotel will be located next to the French Consulate near to a multitude of corporate and government offices.

It is approximately six kilometres from Douala International Airport.

The property will feature five dining outlets, including a specialty restaurant, all-day dining restaurant, spectacular rooftop bar as well as lobby bar and café.

Meeting space will consist of four individual meeting rooms and a ballroom, whilst the hotel will also feature spa and fitness facilities as well as a children’s playground.

DoubleTree by Hilton has over 18 properties trading or under development across the African continent – adding to a global portfolio of more than 600 hotels across 48 countries – including destinations such as Addis Ababa, Cape Town and Nairobi.

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