Briefs: BWH grows in Middle East; Deutsche Hospitality residences in Doha

BWH grows Middle East portfolio: BWH Hotel Group plans to open four hotels in the Middle East this year — three in Saudi Arabia and one in Dubai.  The four properties include the 118-room Best Western Plus Quruyyat City Center in Qurayyat, Saudi Arabia; the 160-room Best Western Plus Tabuk City Center in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia; the 201-room Best Western Ajyad Makka in Makkah, Saudi Arabia; and the 600-room Best Western Plus Academic City in Dubai International Academic City. With 16 properties open and 34 in the pipeline, the group plans to grow to 50 hotels in the region within a few years.

Steigenberger Residences Doha in Doha, Qatar

Deutsche Hospitality residences in Doha: Deutsche Hospitality has signed a management agreement for the Steinberger Residences Doha in Qatar. Slated to open in 3Q22, there will be 278 furnished apartments complementing the newly opened Steigenberger Hotel Doha – both owned by Sheikh Abdullah bin Abdulrahman bin Saoud Al Thani. The residences range from one-, two- and three-bedroom units and feature a rooftop swimming pool. The serviced apartments will be connected to the retail facility of the master development.

Kaylan Hospitality sells Hilton Garden Inn: Kaylan Hospitality has sold the 154-room Hilton Garden Inn in Lynnwood, Washington, for US$31.8 million (US$206,493 per room) to a joint venture between Olympia, Washington-based Palma Investments Co. and HMS Management.

Marriott in Nashville refinanced: Knighthead Funding, Greenwich, Connecticut, has provided a five-year first mortgage loan of US$37.6 million to refinance the 204-room Marriott TownePlace Suites in Nashville, Tennessee. The non-recourse loan refinances the in-place construction loan for the hotel, which opened in October 2020, and is one of Marriott’s most recent extended-stay, all-suite properties in the market. The hotel exceeds ADR and occupancy projections year-to-date.

Direct booking gains ground in Europe: In HOTREC’s biannual study on the European distribution market, results for 2021 show that hotels’ reliance on OTAs remained almost at the same level as 2019 during the pandemic episode, while direct bookings increased significantly. The share of OTAs in 2021 was 28.8%, while direct bookings increased to 55.2% (an 8-percentage point increase over 2019).

NFT sales helps plastic waste collection: Hotel Lancaster in Paris said that the sale of its new Sustainable NFTs has generated sponsorship to recover 15,000 kg of plastic waste in Sao Paulo in Brazil. Each NFT in the collection removes 1,000 kg of plastic waste. This follows the launch of the hotel’s partnership with Green Mining, where the reverse logistics start-up provided recycling data to embed into a collection of NFTs, which were available for sale and linked to a luxury experience in one of Paris’ hotels. Half of the NFTs were sold since it launched less than a week ago on Plastiks, a marketplace which uses smart contract NFTs to upgrade the commercial value of recovered plastic waste. Along with the artwork of the hotel room where the guest will be staying, the NFT will contain the Plastic Recovery Guarantee that certifies that plastic has been removed from Brazil.

IHG removing single-use bath amenities: IHG Hotels & Resorts will collaborate with Unilever to stop using single-use bathroom miniatures and replace them with bulk amenities in more than 4,000 hotels. It will start with IHG Essentials and Suites Collection properties, including Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express in the Americas and EMEAA regions, and in Staybridge Suites, avid hotels and Candlewood Suites in the Americas. This is estimated to save almost 850 tonnes of plastic annually in IHG’s Americas region. The roll out of the full-size products in IHG’s mainstream brands, which represent almost 80% of IHG’s portfolio, comes after the recent launch of bigger size bathroom amenities in InterContinental Hotels & Resorts properties. In 2019, IHG committed to replace bathroom miniatures with larger-size amenities across all its brands by 2030.

Resource hub to train Ukrainian refugees: The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance has launched a resource hub and a set of guidelines for hotels to support the recruitment of refugees from Ukraine and internally displaced people. The guidance will also aid hotels in providing accommodation for people in transit, while the curated resource hub will provide links to job opportunities and access to training resources to enable refugees to reskill themselves. A significant part of the guidance and trainings for hotels will be on ethical recruitment amid the increased risk of human trafficking caused by displacement. The group has included experience and expertise of members of the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, including Accor, Four Seasons, Marriott International, IHG Hotels and Resorts and Radisson Hotel Group.