Briefs: Armani comes to KSA project; First Atwell Suites opens in Miami

Armani hotel comes to KSA project: An Armani-branded hotel has been announced for the Diriyah Gate development outside Riyadh in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Diriyah will offer 13 districts filled with museums, cultural institutions, fine dining, residences, hospitality offerings, office space, retail and outdoor attractions. Armani Hotel Diriyah will be developed under the Armani Hotels & Resorts banner, a venture between Giorgio Armani SpA and Dubai-based developer Emaar Properties PJSC that was established in 2005. Armani Hotel Diriyah will include 70 rooms, two restaurants and a high-end spa, while suites will also have their own spa and a swimming pool. The hotel will be connected to 18 Armani-branded residences.

Pro-invest, Next Story Group launch new company: Pro-invest Group, Sydney, has partnered with Singapore-based Next Story Group to launch a new management company, Vista Hospitality Group, with a foundation portfolio of seven brands. The new company will be chaired by hospitality veteran Tony Ryan and will launch with over 1,500 rooms in operation and aims to grow its footprint to 5,000 rooms over the next five years. The new company will create a one-stop-shop approach for the sector and offer services from development planning and asset management, to franchising and revenue generation modeling through daily hotel operations. Hotel brands from each party — including Next, Ink, Sage and Country hotels, plus Sebel, voco and Hotel Indigo brands — will be combined to create a portfolio.

Oak View acquires land for multipurpose arena: Oak View Group, Los Angeles, California, has acquired a 25-acre plot of land in Las Vegas, Nevada, to build an entertainment district, including a sports and entertainment arena, as well as a hotel. Groundbreaking and construction for the estimated US$3 billion destination are scheduled for 2023. The land will include an 850,000 square foot arena, a casino, hotel and additional entertainment venue amphitheater. Featuring around 20,000 seats and amenities including suites and hospitality clubs, the arena will host live events, concerts, sporting events, conventions, meetings and exhibitions. Marc Badain, former president of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders and sports executive, has partnered with Oak View to consult and lead the project, along with the President of Business Development, Francesca Bodie who will be in charge of business transactions and operations. The arena will be designed by Gensler and Populous.

Reybier buys in London: In a deal first announced earlier in March 2022, it has now been reported that Michel Reybier Hospitality has acquired from Triangle Hotels and Resorts the 39-room L’oscar London for an undisclosed price. The hotel opened in 2018 and was supposed to develop into a collection of properties named after writer Oscar Wilde. This marks MRH’s first hotel in the U.K.

Atwell Suites Miami Brickell

First Atwell Suites in Miami: IHG Hotels & Resorts and Sunview Companies have officially opened the first Atwell Suites property, the upper-midscale 90-room Atwell Suites Miami Brickell. The dual-branded hotel is located on the building’s top floors shared with the Hotel Indigo Miami Brickell, which opened in March 2021. The property offers flexible spaces, including a lobby that consist of huddle areas and public coworking spaces. The lobby also features a 24/7 complimentary beverage station. The brand portfolio will comprise both new-builds as well as conversion properties in primary, secondary and tertiary markets. Currently, there are more than 22 hotels in the pipeline across the U.S. with two more — a prototypical new construction hotel in Denver, Colorado, and a conversion in Austin, Texas — expected to open later in the year.

Another hotel loses pandemic-related claim: An attempt by the owners of New York’s Plaza Athenee to recover from its insurance carrier losses incurred as a result of the pandemic reportedly was denied on Monday by a federal judge.

Remington debuts in Sedona: Remington Hotels has assumed management of the 109-key Sky Rock Sedona in Sedona, Arizona, marking the company’s first property in Sedona. The hotel, now part of Remington’s Twin Bridges Hospitality portfolio, will undergo a full renovation that will include enhancements of room products, spaces and elevated food and beverage offerings. Remington currently manages 87 hotels in 22 states and Washington D.C. across 20 brands.

Xenia closes W Nashville acquisition: Xenia Hotels & Resorts, Orlando, Florida, has completed the acquisition of W Nashville. The newly-developed 346-room luxury lifestyle property was acquired for US$328.7 million (US$950,000 per key) with available cash. Xenia currently owns 34 hotels and resorts totaling 9,814 rooms in 14 states.

DiamondRock COO resigns: DiamondRock Hospitality Co., Bethesda, Maryland, announced its Executive Vice President and COO Thomas Healy is resigning from his position effective April 15 to pursue new opportunities. Healy will be succeeded by Mark Brugger, president and CEO of the company. DiamondRock currently owns 33 properties with more than 9,400 rooms.

Sustained recovery for Accor in Queensland: Gradually increasing occupancy levels on the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast is driving a resurgence in Accor’s performance in Queensland, Australia. Between January and March, Accor’s hotels in Queensland registered an average occupancy of 70%. The Gold Coast saw a strong recovery of domestic markets with booking demand going higher than 2019 levels. Holiday season occupancies at the Sunshine Coast were at par with 2019 figures as the region saw consistently high levels of interstate and intrastate business. Accor has 101 hotels across Queensland, with more than 4,000 team members. Accor will be launching new hotels and brands in the Queensland market in the next few years, including Movenpick Brisbane Spring Hill, Fairmont Port Douglas and Mondrian Gold Coast.

“Cannabis friendly” hotel in Vegas: Alex Rizk, owner of Phoenix, Arizona-based Pro Hospitality Group, has acquired the 64-key Artisan Hotel in Las Vegas Strip, Nevada, for US$11.9 million. Rizk plans to make the hotel “cannabis friendly,” pending finalization of rules and regulations in Nevada. The sale, by the Siegel Group founder Stephen Siegel, was completed this month. Rizk is planning a US$3 million renovation of the boutique hotel, which is expected to start in the next two months and finish by September. Pro Hospitality’s portfolio includes The Clarendon in Phoenix, which offers cannabis-friendly rooms and amenities along with a cannabis lounge that can be accessed by hotel guests and general public. Nevada is one of the nine states that allow on-site consumption of recreational marijuana. While locals can consume cannabis at home, tourists cannot legally consume it in public although they can buy all sorts of products from retail stores.

Russian hotel owner shelters Ukrainians: Russian hotel owner and former construction engineer Mikhail Golubtsov has opened his hotel in Batocina, in central Serbia, for Ukrainians fleeing the war. So far, 34 Ukrainian refugees have taken shelter at Golubtsov’s hotel. The refugees can stay at the hotel for free for as long as they need, he said. Golubtsov left Russia in 2014 over Moscow’s “unacceptable” annexation of Crimea. He said it was partly the shame he felt at Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine that persuaded him and his family to accommodate the fleeing Ukrainians at his hotel.

Hospitality trend report: Extended-stay and limited-service hotels and lodging in drive-to leisure destinations indicated the resilience of the hospitality sector, with markets and properties setting new RevPAR records, according to a new report by the Valuation & Advisory team at Cushman & Wakefield. As per the report, daily housekeeping is gradually fading as guests’ expectations have changed across price segments. Breakfast buffets are also decreasing in popularity, with guests preferring grab-and-go options. The combination of staffing challenges, supply chain concerns and pandemic behavior has enabled operators to streamline the breakfast service and its associated costs. The use of QR codes for menus and ordering has become the norm in hotel and standalone restaurants and the use of this technology has become critical in the present environment. Self-check-in is also being widely promoted at hotels and is popular among guests. The use of robots is still evolving. While robotic cocktail mixers have become standard for bigger bar operations in Las Vegas, robots that deliver the cocktails are still more of a novelty than a necessity. Similarly, housekeeping robots are also an emerging trend.

Glimpse secures US$6.2M in seed funding: Glimpse, the platform providing consumer-facing brands and service providers to reach customers through product placements in luxury short-term rentals and resorts, has completed a seed funding round bringing total investments in to US$6.2 million. The investment was led by GSR Ventures, Origin Ventures, Y Combinator and angel investors like Julia and Kevin Hartz, Bangaly Kaba and Bradley Horowitz. Founded in 2020, Glimpse serves over 8,000 luxury properties in the U.S. and has so far launched its services in 40 states.