Briefs: Diriyah Gate adds more brands; plans for London’s Admiralty Arch

Diriyah Gate adds 16 more brands: Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA) has added 16 new global hotel brands to its existing hospitality portfolio in Diriyah. The new brands include Anantara, Corinthia Hotels, Marriott EDITION, Taj Hotels, The Langham, Waldorf, 1 Hotels, Pendry Hotels & Resorts, Treehouse Hotel, Hyatt Place, Moxy Hotels, Radisson RED, Faena Group, via global venture with Accor, Montage Hotels & Resorts, The Chedi, by GHM Hotels & Well Health Retreat. With the number of hotel management agreements now totaling 32, the first hotel is set to open in 2023. Diriyah is being developed as a giga project to simultaneously open, ground-break, and announce assets annually from this year until the project is completed. The 16 hotel brands scheduled to open will be located across two of DGDA’s masterplan areas, Diriyah and Wadi Safar.

Waldorf Astoria London Admiralty Arch will open in 2025

Reuben brothers accelerate plans for Admiralty Arch: Reuben Brothers, the new owners of London’s iconic Admiralty Arch, have been working with their partner Hilton to accelerate plans to upgrade the site and open a luxury, 5-star hotel under the Waldorf Astoria brand. Waldorf Astoria London Admiralty Arch is expected to open in 2025. Central to the updated plans is a recently-developed two-bedroom suite offering views of Buckingham Palace. The suite is located at the center of the building on the fourth-floor bridge. The hotel will include two outdoor spaces — the sixth-floor rooftop terrace and one on the ground floor overlooking St. James’ Park. The property will also add rooms and a spa. The hotel will join a portfolio of over 30 Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts globally. Reuben brothers, the British businessmen, acquired the building this summer. Admiralty Arch was originally commissioned by King Edward VII in memory of Queen Victoria and offers views of Buckingham Palace in one direction and across Nelson’s Column and Trafalgar Square in the other. Over the years, the building has been home to prominent figures of state and society.

Mandarin Oriental, DAMAC agreement: DAMAC Properties, the property development arm of Dubai-based DAMAC Group, has signed a contract with Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group to operate The Mandarin Oriental Bolidhuffaru Reef, a new resort on a group of private islands in the Maldives. The luxury resort, spanning 34 hectares, is under construction and will open in 2025. The property will mark DAMAC Group’s debut in the islands. The resort will feature 130 standalone villas, comprising 61 overwater villas and 66 beachfront villas, including 10 branded residences. The resort will also offer seven dining venues, indoor and outdoor event areas, wellness facilities and leisure activities. Currently, Mandarin Oriental operates 36 hotels and seven residences across 24 countries.

Delta Hotels by Marriott milestone: Delta Hotels by Marriott has opened its 100th property, Delta Hotels by Marriott, Dubai Investment Park, in Dubai. The hotel offers 248 rooms and suites, a full-service restaurant, a coffee shop lounge area, pool bar, a grab-and-go pantry and meeting and conference areas expanding across three flexible areas, including a soon-to-be-launched hall for bigger meetings and events. Part of Marriott Bonvoy’s portfolio, Delta Hotels by Marriott now has two properties in Dubai and three overall across the Middle East.

Riu grows footprint in Mexico: Spain-based RIU Hotels & Resorts has opened Riu Palace Kukulkan, a new 5-star 428-room hotel in Cancun, Mexico. The all-inclusive, adults-only hotel offers seven restaurants, five bars, four pools, a spa and a shopping center. With this opening, Riu now has 22 hotels in six Mexican destinations. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Spanish hospitality company in Mexico. Riu currently has 22 hotels across five Caribbean and Pacific states, totaling 12,000 rooms.

EJC’s first joint acquisition: New York-based EJC Hotels, LLC has announced its first joint acquisition — the former Newark Garden Finger Lakes Hotel in Newark, New Jersey. After the completion of the transaction, the hotel ceased operations to start a US$10 million redevelopment of the site to revitalize the interior, exterior and identity of the project. Property enhancements will also include the addition of a rooftop bar overlooking the Erie Canal and updated event areas. The company is in talks with major brands to reflag the property, with Trademark Collection by Wyndham being considered as a brand. Additionally, 40 new upscale apartments will be added to the hotel, with their own private entrance and private elevator access. EJC Hotels is partnering with David Eckert, who heads a group of EB-5 capital investors. The hotel will be managed by EJC.

IHCL adds in Jaipur: Mumbai, India-based Indian Hotels Co. Ltd. (IHCL) has opened Taj Amer, a 245-key hotel in Jaipur, Rajasthan. The luxury hotel features multiple dining venues, a rooftop infinity pool, a spa, a 16,000 square feet pillarless ballroom and an 8,000 square feet banquet area. Currently, IHCL’s portfolio includes 250 hotels including 66 under development globally across four continents, 11 countries and in more than 100 destinations.

Davidson adds to portfolio: Davidson Resorts, the operating vertical under Davidson Hospitality Group, has been selected by JEMB Realty to operate the 343-room Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach, Florida. The oceanfront resort features three restaurants and bars, a spa, around 22,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor event space, a pool, and a fitness center. Currently, Davidson Hospitality Group has 80 existing properties, over 195 restaurants, bars and lounges and over 1.5 million square feet of meeting space across the U.S.

Legendary Hotels adds in Portugal: Iceland-based Legendary Hotels & Resorts has acquired a 50-key hotel in the Serra da Estrela national park in Portugal, close to the town of Celorico da Beira. The hotel will undergo extensive renovations and will be renamed Legendary Serra Hotel, with rooms upgraded to a 4-star standard and the addition of a spa. The enhancements will be financed by multiple individual investors, allowing them to obtain a golden visa and become a citizen of Portugal after five years. Legendary Hotels and Resorts recently announced plans to open 12 hotels, with over 1,000 rooms, in Iceland by the end of 2025. The company is also adding more properties globally.

Carbon fund to reach net zero: The Travel Corporation (TTC), consisting of 40 brands including Trafalgar Tours, Contiki Tours and Uniworld River Cruises, is introducing an internal carbon fund to focus on reducing its carbon footprint. All brands within the company will contribute to the fund twice a year, creating a pool of money to address TTC’s sustainability goals and help it reach net zero. The fund will also be made available for the company’s business leaders who can apply for financing to use for other ways to cut down energy usage and employ sustainable options. Each brand’s contributions will depend on an internally-set carbon price formulated on a per-passenger basis. TTC plans to achieve its net zero target by 2050.

Global hotel market outlook: Global hotel and other travel accommodation market reached around US$645.44 billion in 2021, decreased at a CAGR of -6% since 2016, but is expected to grow 12.5% a year over the next four years to reach US$1.16 trillion by 2026 and $1.46 trillion by 2031, a new report from The Business Research Company says. Rising disposable income; growth in mobile apps for hotels, restaurants and travel; better-earning capacity; emerging markets growth; and an aging population retiring earlier fueled growth but were offset by coronavirus, inflation, the increasing power of online travel agencies and low customer retention. Going forward, Africa and South America will be the fastest growing regions in the hotel and other travel accommodation market, with CAGRs of 20.1% and 16% respectively from 2021-2026.

UK performance review: The U.K.’s hotel industry saw strong growth and recovery in hotel trading performance this year, according to the latest performance review by Knight Frank. There are currently 700,000 hotel rooms open across the country, with London representing 21% of the total supply. About 19,100 rooms have closed since the beginning of 2020, with 56% of the closures taking place in 2020. For the six-month period to end September, London has achieved RevPAR growth of 0.6% and regional U.K. by 1.6% in nominal terms compared to the same period in 2019. While GOPPAR for 2022 was lower than 2019 figures, the pandemic acted as a reset opportunity for structural changes, creating a more favorable backdrop for proven operators to navigate the current headwinds and the intense macroeconomic uncertainty. The country’s hotel construction pipeline is expected to slow, with growth in London projected to slow to 2% per year between 2022 and 2025, and to 1.2% for regional U.K. Weakening consumer sentiment might add downward pressure on demand and revenues, but ADRs provided a cushion to the current high-cost inflation. ADR is expected to be more moderate in 2023.