Check in! – latest hotel highlights from across EMEA

The Blue Swan Daily brings you a round up of some of the latest hotel news from across Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Ibis aims to deliver ‘human touch’ to its properties with social transformation

Ibis is taking an alternative look at the guest experience in response to the findings of an Ipsos study conducted on its behalf across six countries. Initially piloting within its London Blackfriars property, but expected to be extended throughout its portfolio, Ibis aims to offer travellers and local residents a totally new customer experience that focuses on hospitality, opening out to the local community and increased social interaction.

The survey found that 80% of respondents wanted a hotel to be a social venue, where everyone, including “non-staying” guests, feels welcome. Ibis now aims to position its hotels as “genuine living spaces for everyone, that are flexible, welcoming and on-trend, and which satisfy the various expectations of their clientele at any time of day”.

As part of the transformation, the traditional and symbolic reception desk has been removed and on arrival, guests are welcomed by a member of the “Ibis Smile Team” and can complete check-in formalities in the lobby or even at the bar while enjoying a drink. A whole new design is also being adopted evolving from “a uniform and standardised approach” into “a flexible and personalised one”.

Ibis has also decided to make music an integral part of the customer experience to encourage social interaction between all the people passing through its hotels. As highlighted by 79% of respondents in the Ipsos survey, listening to music is a key part of their lives. In 2019, more than 100 live performances are planned to be hosted in Ibis hotels from emerging local artists.

Ascott opens prestigious La Clef Champs-Elysees Paris as part of The Crest Collection

Ascott Limited has opened La Clef Champs-Elysees Paris in France, its third property under The Crest Collection – a prized selection of some of Ascott’s most prestigious and unique luxury serviced residences.

Located in the heart of Paris’ most iconic 8th arrondissement, it is housed in a building steeped in history. Built as a private residence by renowned cognac distillers – the Hennessy family in 1907, La Clef Champs-Elysees Paris is housed in a five-storey Haussmannian-style building.

Hilton’s new vegan-friendly experience opens at London Bankside

Hilton has introduced a vegan-friendly hotel stay at its London Bankside property offering everything from a plant-based check-in desk and keycard, to eco-stationery and carpet. Following guest feedback, the vegan suite is now available for reservation at the UK property. Created in partnership with multi-sensory design experts Bompas & Parr and given the thumbs up by The Vegan Society, it offers a vegan experience throughout.

Responding to evolving values, the whole suite has undergone a complete refurbishment. Reimagining the aesthetic associated with a contemporary vegan lifestyle, everything from the pillow options and toiletries to the in-room menu and minibar offerings have been redesigned to create a boutique, luxurious and welcoming experience for ethically-conscious travellers.

The vegan experience welcomes guests from the moment they step foot into the hotel and are greeted with a specially designed plant-based check-in desk, botanical artwork, keycards and seating made of Piñatex – a vegan-friendly leather made from the pineapple’s cellulose fibres. In the rooms a Piñatex leather headboard hand-embroidered by local embroidery artist Emily Potter dominates.

Aleph Hospitality to manage the first Four Points by Sheraton in Liberia

Aleph Hospitality has signed a franchise agreement with Marriott International for the first Four Points by Sheraton Monrovia hotel in Liberia. Located in the capital city, Monrovia, the hotel is due to become the first internationally branded hotel in the country upon opening in 2020 and will be managed by Aleph Hospitality under the Four Points by Sheraton brand.

The landmark property is ideally situated in the city’s central business district, adjacent to the United Nations mission and in close proximity to a number of government organisations and commercial offices. It will offer 111 guest rooms to the capital’s expanding business traveller base and will play a vital role in helping to realise the country’s tourism strategy, which aims to deliver 15 million international visitors by 2023.

Marriott International has also confirmed a further two hotel signings in Africa. The Stt Regis Marrakech Resort in Morocco, anticipated to open in 2024, owned by Assoufid Properties Development SA and developed by United Real Estate Company (URC), part of the Kuwait Projects Company (KIPCO) group of companies. Meanwhile, the 160-suite Residence Inn by Marriott Accra Kotoka Airport franchised property will open in 2023 managed by Yamusah Hotels Management Company Limited, the owner and developer of the property.

News Briefs

  • InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has signed a franchise agreement with CL Capital to debut its new upscale voco brand, in the West Midlands town of Solihull. The 180-room voco St. John’s, Solihull has recently opened following a transformative refurbishment. It is managed by Kew Green Hotels (KGH) and is the second voco property in the UK, following the opening of voco St. David’s, Cardiff.
  • Munich Airport, in a submission via TED Europa, awarded a contract to Bummer Hof Planning GmbH for engineering, planning and supervision of modernisation of the existing 389 room Hilton Hotel. The hotel covers a gross surface area of 38,000sqm and is equipped with suites, spa, conference and restaurant areas.
  • Leonardo Hotels plans to open a new 116 room Leonardo Hotel at Zurich Airport in Feb-2020. The property will appeal to travellers from Switzerland’s largest gateway and will be located adjacent to a new office complex.
  • Thomas Cook Group has said it will increase focus on high quality, higher margin hotels and destinations in a outlook for the forthcoming summer 2019 season. The tour operator says group bookings are consistent with capacity reductions made to closely manage risk capacity throughout 2019. As a result, tour operator bookings are down 12%, helping to support pricing, which is up across all key segments and 4% higher overall. Average selling prices are up 6%, with higher yields in both short and medium haul and long haul.

And finally… How much extra does it cost to live next door to famous landmarks?

The fascinating new research from Bolsover Cruise Club that shows the significant additional cost to live within one mile of famous landmarks, compared to rest of the city, will be read with interest by hotels and home sharers in these locations.

The study looked into the average house price in international cities and compared this to the average price within one mile of the landmark. Its research shows an amazing 1057% premium to live near to the Hollywood Sign, a GBP1,219,076 extra spend, with Burj Khalifa(687%), Washington Monument (678%), Sydney Opera House (459%) and Eiffel Tower (334%) following behind.

On the other end of the scale, the most affordable landmarks to live near were revealed to be the Colosseum in Rome (the only landmark that actually saw a decrease to live within 1 mile) followed by the CN Tower in Toronto (11% increase) and Prague Castle (12% increase).