Radisson to Canary Islands: Radisson Hotel Group has debuted in Lanzarote at Spain’s Canary Islands, with the opening of Radisson Blu Resort, Lanzarote. Opened after extensive year-long renovations, the resort offers 225 suites, all with terraces, of which 13 are swim-up suites. The property also includes three restaurants with sea views, a wellness center, spa and gym. Focused on clean energy, solar panels installed at the property generate 100% of the hotel’s daytime energy consumption. A geothermal plant produces renewable energy to heat water, operate air conditioning system and heat the pools. This marks the third Radisson property in Canary Islands, joining two Radisson Blu resorts in Gran Canaria.
Le Méridien adds in NYC: Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts has announced the opening of its latest property in New York City — Le Méridien New York, Fifth Avenue. This marks the second Le Méridien hotel in the city. The 21-story building, designed by Gene Kaufman Architect, features 165 rooms and 17 apartment-style residences for longer-term stays. The interiors are designed by Paul Vega and Vennie Lau of New Jersey-based design studio VLDG. The hotel includes a lobby bar, an all-day restaurant and a 24-hour health club. Currently, Le Méridien’s portfolio comprises over 110 properties in more than 30 countries.
Hard Rock completes The Mirage acquisition: Hard Rock International has completed the acquisition of The Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas from MGM Resorts International. Hard Rock assumed the property’s operations control on Monday. Under the terms of the deal, Hard Rock paid $1.075 billion in cash for the operating assets of the 3,044-room hotel. Hard Rock has entered into a long-term lease agreement with VICI Properties Inc. for the real estate property of The Mirage. The hotel will continue to operate as The Mirage Hotel & Casino until its renovation and rebranding to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas is complete. Barclays served as exclusive financial advisor to Hard Rock, while Jones Day served as legal advisor together with Fox Rothschild LLP and McDonald Carano LLP as special gaming counsel.
Playa expands Jewel Resorts: Playa Hotels & Resorts N.V. has grown its Jewel Resorts brand with the addition of two new Jewel Resorts in the Dominican Republic. Set to open on Wednesday, the 620-room Jewel Punta Cana will be the first Jewel resort in the Dominican Republic. Its sister property, the 500-room Jewel Palm Beach will open on January 7, 2023. Playa currently owns and/or manages a portfolio comprising 23 resorts totaling 8,595 rooms.
Mondrian’s LatAm debut: Mondrian announced its first property in Latin America with the opening of Mondrian Mexico City Condesa in Mexico City, Mexico. The new luxury, lifestyle hotel features 183 rooms, including two penthouse suites and 16 luxury suites, meeting and events facilities and four culinary venues. The hotel is a new venture between Mondrian and Grupo Murano.
Indians to get UK visa in 15 days: The U.K. announced that the British High Commission has resumed processing visa applications from India to the U.K. within the standard time of 15 days. “Good news for those travelling from India to the U.K. – visit visas now within standard time of 15 working days (with a small number of trickier cases taking longer),” said Alex Ellis, British High Commissioner to India, in a video message. However, there are still a few, complex cases which take longer. A UK Standard Visitor visa is applicable for vacation, business trip, meeting family and friends or a short study program.
Eccleston Square Hotel secures £9.8 m: Eccleston Square Hotel in London has secured a £9.8 million ($11.88 million) loan from OakNorth Bank. The funding will be used to refinance existing debt and support the hotel’s growth plans. The luxury boutique hotel offers 39 double en-suite guest rooms, a 25-cover restaurant, a bar and conference area. Earlier known as Elizabeth Hotel, the five-story hotel was converted from a B&B in 2010 and is managed by Olivia Byrne.
Meetings industry survey: Meetings saw an upward trend in 2022, with attendance nearing 2019 volumes and COVID no longer a concern, according to the latest study by Knowland and ConferenceDirect. Attendee size is no longer a major challenge and meeting figures continue to increase. More than 70% of 2022 events had attendance at or above, 80% of 2019 levels. About 75%of planners don’t expect the number of events and meetings to drop. Cost leveling, the return of business travel and budget increases will boost the recovery’s home stretch. However, staff crunch and inquiry backlogs impact planners’ satisfaction with hotels and venues. Less than 22% are very or extremely satisfied with the response they get from hotels/venues. Rising costs might cause planners to change their approach, including looking at new planners. Fluctuations in the industry service levels and rising costs of up to 50% have resulted in organizers redefining event strategies and goals, including profitability. Technology and diversity, equity and inclusion emerged as key trends.