Briefs: Fairfield by Marriott grows in Japan; LXR’s Abu Dhabi debut

Fairfield by Marriott grows in Japan: Fairfield Marriott announced the planned openings of seven new Fairfield properties across prefectures of Nara, Hokkaido, Hyogo and Okayama in Japan throughout the year. Along with these openings, Fairfield by Marriott Michi-no-Eki Hotels (developed in partnership with Sekisui House in 2018) is slated to grow its portfolio to 21 hotels across nine prefectures in Japan by this year. Currently, there are 14 Fairfield by Marriott hotels across five prefectures in the country.

New addition to IHG’s Americas leadership team: IHG Hotels & Resorts announced that Chief Development Officer, Americas, Joel Eisemann will be retiring in June. Senior Vice President, Development — Luxury & Upscale, and Development & Owner Support Julienne Smith will be replacing Eisemann and will join the Americas regional leadership team. Eisemann joined IHG in 2011 and has rebuilt and elevated IHG’s development teams in luxury, upscale and mainstream for the Americas and Americas’ development & owner support team. Under him, the brand portfolio and estate in the region grew to almost 3,500 open hotels in 2011 to 4,300 open hotels and more than 900 hotels in the pipeline across the region by the end of 2021. Eisemann led the growth of IHG’s franchised and managed brand portfolio in the Americas, including the launches of avid hotels, voco Hotels, Atwell Suites, EVEN Hotels and Vignette Collection. In a career spanning 42 years, including around 29 years at Marriott International, he has also served on the board of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and the co-chair of the AHLA’s HotelPAC. Smith joined IHG in August 2019 and has 20 years of development experience. At IHG, she has been responsible for growing the company’s presence in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean for new0builds and conversions for InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, EVEN Hotels and Hotel Indigo brands.

Rendering of Al Nawras Island, LXR Hotels & Resorts

LXR announces Abu Dhabi debut: LXR Hotels & Resorts, Hilton’s collection of independent luxury properties, announced its debut in Abu Dhabi with the signing of an agreement for a new resort in the private Al Nawras Island in Abu Dhabi. Slated to open in 2023, Al Nawras Island, LXR Hotels & Resorts will feature 80 beach and water villas and a 450-square-meter, two-bedroom Royal Villa surrounding a golf course. The property will include a private marina, an exclusive beach club and two signature restaurants. Currently, there are nine LXR Hotels & Resorts-branded hotels.

Accor to launch Sofitel in Madinah: Accor has signed its first Sofitel property in Madinah, Saudi Arabia, which is slated to open in 2023. The existing hotel, which is set to undergo a revitalization and rebranding under the Sofitel brand, will continue to operate under a white label. Partnering with Waqf Sheikh Abdul Bari al-Shawi, represented by the principal of Sheikh Hamza Al Shawi, the hotel ownership is part of a joint charitable entity. The 469-key hotel will feature two- and three-bedroom suites and three dining outlets. Currently, Accor operates 40 properties with 14,660 keys in Saudi Arabia with a pipeline of 42 properties, accounting for another 10,864 keys.

Dusit Thani, Central Pattana plan integrated development: Dusit Thani, Bangkok, is redeveloping the site of Dusit Thani Bangkok, its former flagship hotel, into The Dusit Central Park, a landmark integrated development, in partnership with property developer Central Pattana. The Dusit Central Park has a total development value of US$1.92 billion. Dusit Thani’s joint venture company with Central Pattana, Vimarn Suriya, will oversee the development of Dusit Central Park. Dusit International has a 60% stake in the joint venture, while Central Pattana holds the remaining 40%. The mixed-use project will feature four elements, including a new, 5-star Dusit Thani Bangkok hotel. The 259-key, 39-story hotel will be managed by Dusit International. The hotel tower’s architecture is inspired by the design of the earlier building. The project will also include Central Park Offices, a 40-story Grade-A commercial tower spanning 968,400 square feet, and Central Park, an eight-story retail mall. The development will also feature two branded residential concepts. Dusit Parkside will comprise 246 one- or two-bedroom units, while Dusit Residences will consist of 160 two- to four-bedroom units and seven penthouses. The mixed-use development will open in three phases. The hotel will open in 2023, followed by Central Park Offices and the retail space Central Park. The residential units are expected to be completed by Q3 2025.

Change in business travel sentiment: Sentiment around business travel is changing, with 77% of business travelers and 64% of employed Americans agreeing that it’s more important now to resume business travel, as per a new survey conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA). Almost two-thirds of business travelers said the increased reliability on virtual work is negatively affecting productivity (64%) and workplace culture (65%). Around 69% Americans approved of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recent decision to ease mask mandates, with many travelers responding by making additional travel plans. About 43% employed Americans said they   were more likely to travel for business, compared to 2020-21.

Kempinski to manage resort in Indonesia: Kempinski Hotels has signed a management agreement with Indonesian developer PT. Teluk Agung Alami to operate The Apurva Kempinski Lombok in Indonesia. This is Kempinski’s second collaboration with the Indonesian company, after The Apurva Kempinski Bali, which opened in February 2019. The resort features 200 suites and villas and is part of a wider development that will include 10 hotels and resorts on Mekaki Beach, as well as an organic farm, a ranch and an equestrian center.

Laundy Hotel Group acquires Mercure Centro Hotel: The Mercure Centro Hotel in Port Macquarie, Australia, has been sold by HLP Pty Ltd. to the Laundy Hotel Group in an off-market transaction which was brokered by HTL Property. The 72-room corporate hotel has been owner-occupied and indexed to a franchise agreement with Accor Hotels under the Mercure brand since the property opened in 2007.

Singha Estate to invest THB11 billion in projects: Thai property company Singha Estate said it will invest THB11 billion (US$329 million) in new and current projects this year, aiming to achieve a 74% increase in revenue, once global tourism improves. Out of that figure, THB4 billion (US$119 million) will be kept aside for fresh plots of land for low-rise housing developments for the upper end of the market, as the company looks to improve their net profit by at least 10% this year. The company expects to launch three new, low-rise housing projects this year, including a 32-residential unit project in Bangkok and four units of home offices. Singha plans to spend THB1.5 billion (US$44.8 million) on hotel business, THB1.5 billion on industrial estates, THB2 billion (US$59.8 million) and THB1 billion (US$29.9 million) for the development of a new office building, S Oasis. The company said its 38 hotels across five countries have been recovering since the second half of 2021. As of January, 36 hotels had reopened.

Artotel Group to operate tourist site in Indonesia: PT Taka Anugrah Perkasa has appointed Artotel Group to operate the Batuangus 369 tourist site, a resort complex in Batu Angus Nature Tourist Park, Bitung City, Sulawesi in Indonesia. Built inside a 13.18-hectare complex, the resort will comprise two main areas — Colosseum and Resort. The Colosseum complex will feature a hotel, villas, restaurants, a ballroom and an amphitheater which can accommodate 2,000 people. The Resort complex will consist of villas, cabins, camping ground, four meeting rooms for 300 people and restaurants. Construction has already started on the project. The resort is slated to open in early 2023.

Singapore occupancy rebounds: The hotel industry in Singapore has started showing signs of recovery, with a 65.3% occupancy rate, a rise of 6.5 percentage points from Q2 2021. According to a report by CBRE, this was mostly because of a 172.4% YOY rise in visitor arrivals during the same period. Since the Vaccinated Travel Lane was launched in September 2021, the scheme is open for 32 markets and helping in the easing of border restrictions. The reopening of the MICE industry further helped recovery. More than 200 MICE events were held in 2021, with around 50,000 guests attending the events. RevPAR during this period jumped 35% to US$111.4, with ADR rising 23.8% to US$168.1. Luxury hotels saw the highest rise in RevPAR, while economy hotels recorded the weakest performance. The revival is still in its early stages, with RevPAR in 2021 59.8% below 2019’s figure.

Barrows looks to buy distressed hotels: Barrows Hotel Enterprises, the Dubai-based provider of hotel investment and advisory services, is looking to acquire distressed hotels — specifically airport hotels, beach resorts and business hotels — in West Africa and transform them into a successful hospitality brand. The company focuses on hotel companies with an urgent requirement of liquidity and well-functioning management. The company plans to acquire 50 distressed hotels, totaling to 7,500 rooms, and bring them together under the Barrows Hospitality and Leisure Group. Barrows currently manages more than 10,000 rooms in over 10 countries.

Hogan Hospitality consolidates brands: Hogan Hospitality Group (HHG), Honolulu, Hawaii, announced it will discontinue the Marin Management name three years after acquiring the California-based hotel management company. Adopting the parent name is necessary to consolidate the brand, HHG said, adding that it is growing its services across the U.S. The transition is not expected to affect daily operations and will be seamless. HHG operates 23 branded and independent hotels totaling to over 3,000 rooms across California, Oregon, Hawaii and Arizona.

HEI adds Ocean City resort to portfolio: HEI Hotels & Resorts has added the 250-key Ocean City Fontainebleau Resort in Ocean City, Maryland, to its management portfolio and will be working with the new ownership — a joint venture between affiliates of Monomoy Property Ventures LLC, Highlands Investments LLC and Certares Real Estate Management LLC — on the property’s transformation into an upscale, independent resort. This is HEI’s second collaboration with the joint venture. The seaside resort will undergo extensive renovations and rebranding. Renovations are slated to be completed by 2023 summer.