Earlier this month, Spanish company Barceló Group agreed to pay a penalty fee of £20.25 million after it pulled out of an agreement early to operate 21 hotels across the UK. The hotels’ owner, London-based Puma Hotels, has now resumed operation of the four-star properties, with assistance from independent hotel management firm Chardon Management, and relaunched them on the market under its new group, Puma Hotels’ Collection. The new brand will focus on the unique characteristics and location of each hotel, whether through local cuisine, the grounds (particularly in the case of the flagship countryside properties like the Imperial Hotel in Torquay and the Lygon Arms in Gloucestershire), or the nearby facilities and attractions. Also, starting on May 1, all properties will offer guests complimentary WiFi access.
Dubai-based Jumeirah Group has opened its first resort property in Europe: the Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa. Comprising 11 low-rise buildings connected by garden walks and internal passageways, the 120-unit resort is in the bay of Soller on the northwest coast of the Spanish island of Majorca. The hotel also features two swimming pools, a handful of unique vantage points and large spa facilities, offering 10 treatment rooms, as well as its own outdoor heated Hydropool overlooking the valley (pictured).
Starwood Hotels and Resorts has signed an agreement with Dubai-based Al Habtoor Group that will see it open three new hotels in Dubai and mark the debut of its St. Regis and W brands in the emirate. The 241-room St. Regis Dubai, the 384-room W Dubai – Sheikh Zayed Road and the 1,050-room Westin Dubai – Sheikh Zayed Road will be part of the US$1.4 billion, 1 million ft² Habtoor Palace complex. The three hotels are expected to open within months of each other in 2017.
Following the co-operation between Marriot International and Madrid based AC Hoteles, the former AC Diplomatic Hotel in Barcelona has been refurbished and rebranded as the Renaissance Barcelona Hotel. The hotel, which has 211 rooms and 500 m² of meeting space, aims to upgrade to five stars in the future.
Groupe Germain, a family-run, luxury boutique hotel company based in Montreal, is expanding its sister hotel brand ALT Hotels to Winnipeg, Toronto and Halifax. Groupe Germain opened their first ALT Hotels in Québec City and Montréal. Their concept is simple and follows a worldwide trend: maximize modern design and minimize unnecessary amenities while also aiming to be green hotels. Groupe Germain Hospitality owns five hotels under its luxury moniker, Le Germain Hotels, like ALT Hotels all featured on stylehotelsweb.
Last week we brought you the news about the first of the Baccarat hotel chain opening in New York City across from the MOMA. Now we hear that the chain, which “marries Louis XV with the modern era” will open a hotel in the Moroccan capital of Rabat in 2014 just before the Manhattan property opens. Baccarat will be particularly looking for more locations in Asia and Dubai where the Baccarat design and heritage really will appeal well.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts is spending more than $6 billion revamping its iconic Sheraton brand. What the new look has in stall for can be seen at the completely renovated Sheraton Grand Hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland. The hotel reopened this week after being closed two years for renovations. The hotel now offers 269 fully refurbished guest rooms (with frosted glass-walled bathrooms), newly renovated meeting
and event spaces and a new restaurant. The new interiors feature a neutral color palette, modern materials and clean lines throughout, which are accented with elegant Scottish finishes.
A survey by Hotels.com indicates that 38% of travelers base their booking decisions on free Wi-Fi availability, beating all other amenities. Additionally, 31% say they want Wi-Fi services to become a standard hotel amenity this year. “Given the explosion of mobile use in the past few years, it is no surprise that travelers are requiring free and fast Wi-Fi,” said Taylor L. Cole of Hotels.com. Free breakfast is rated by 25% of travelers and free parking by 18%. Unless you are over 60, where 34% value free breakfast over free wi-fi (27%).