AccorHotels to acquire 50% stake in sbe Entertainment Group for USD 319 million

Posted by - June 30, 2018

Mondrian Doha, an sbe property AccorHotels and sbe Entertainment Group have signed a Letter of Intent and entered into exclusive negotiations for AccorHotels to acquire a 50% stake in sbe. This partnership demonstrates AccorHotels’s strategy to expand its offering in the luxury lifestyle hospitality segment.
Accor will acquire the 50% of sbe’s common equity held in part by Cain International for $125 million. Sam Nazarian – who founded the company in 2002 – will continue to own the remaining 50% of sbe. In addition, AccorHotels will invest $194 million in a new preferred debt instrument that will be used to redeem all existing preferred units, also held in part by Cain International. AccorHotels’ total investment in sbe will be $319 million.
This long-term investment will allow sbe to leverage AccorHotels’ global hospitality platform while remaining an independent luxury lifestyle operator. Sbe will continue to be led by its founder and CEO Sam Nazarian as well as its management team while retaining its global headquarters in New York.
Sam Nazarian Through this investment, sbe will accelerate its international growth with expansion into new markets outside of the US, including priority growth markets in the Middle East and Latin America.
sbe’s pipeline includes projects in some of the most important global gateway cities such as Atlanta, Chicago, Washington D.C., Dubai, Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, Cancun, Tokyo and Los Cabos.
Nazarian said: “This partnership with AccorHotels marks a new milestone in sbe’s history. This long-term investment by AccorHotels provides sbe, its customers and hotel owners with greater depth and breadth around the world and supports our collective ambition to be the best lifestyle hospitality company in the market.
“Building on our acquisition of Morgans Hotel Group in 2016, this investment will further accelerate our growth both domestically in the United States and in new markets internationally, particularly in Europe.
“Myself and the over 7,000 associates at sbe are thrilled and honoured to partner with AccorHotels.
“Moving forward, sbe and AccorHotels together are committed to bringing our unique lifestyle experiential offering to more destinations.”
Related Posts “Expanding AccorHotels’ footprint in this fast growing segment in key US cities”
Sébastien Bazin, chairman and CEO of AccorHotels, added: “I am delighted to announce this strategic partnership with one of the most innovative groups in the luxury lifestyle space worldwide. It marks a new step in expanding AccorHotels’ footprint in this fast growing segment in key US cities such as Miami, Los Angeles or Las Vegas, and in other international destinations.
Sébastien Bazin “‘The new luxury’ is all about exclusive experiences and incredible lifestyle concepts and sbe brands have the perfect know-how that will complete perfectly the AccorHotels portfolio.
“We remain committed to providing all our guests with unparalleled service and always renewed experiences around the world”.
Jonathan Goldstein, chief executive of Cain International, concluded: “Cain International became partners to sbe in 2016 providing the investment required at that time to enable the group to expand its footprint of some of the leading luxury lifestyle hospitality assets in the world.
“We are confident that sbe will continue to go from strength to strength with its new partners, AccorHotels; we wish them every success in the future and are proud of the role we have played in their exciting growth story.”
SBE Entertainment’s portfolio sbe’s accommodation brands include SLS, Delano, Mondrian, Hyde, The Originals (Sanderson, St. Martin Lane, Hudson, 10 Karakoy, Shore Club) and Redbury Hotels. Through its Disruptive Restaurant Group platform, sbe has created culinary brands Katsuya, Umami Burger, Cleo, Leynia, Diez & Siez and Filia and entertainment brands including Hyde nightclub and dayclub, Nightingale, Privilege dayclub Black Orchid, S Bar, Skybar and the Doheny Room.
By the end of 2018 sbe will operate 25 hotels, comprising 7,498 keys with a majority in North America. It currently has a further 20 hotels and residences in its pipeline, as well as 59 standalone restaurants and nightlife venues.
The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals. It should be completed by 31 July 2018.

Travel tribulations: One-time, upfront payments are turning off travellers

Posted by - June 29, 2018

Paying upfront for holidays has caused frustration among online shoppers, as 16% complained of spending their holiday budget before they even travel, according to new research from payments provider, Klarna.
In a report that was commissioned by Klarna – a payments provider which prides itself on being ‘smooth’ – it showed that the steep upfront costs of paying for travel online has had a negative impact on people’s holiday experience. Over 1,000 UK consumers took part in the survey, and 18% said they were being forced to skimp and save, even before they arrive at the destination, forcing them to settle for trips with lower standards.
More than 12% said they’d prefer an upgrade, but unfortunately could not afford the upfront costs. But it’s not only trip quality that travellers are sacrificing: 25% of the respondents reported to actually missing out on holidays, for the reason that not everyone can afford the lump payment.
“Browsing for and buying travel should be as exciting as packing for your trip”
Related Posts Commenting on the research, Luke Griffiths, managing director at Klarna UK, said: “The holiday countdown begins at the moment of booking, so browsing for and buying travel should be as exciting as packing for your trip or heading to the airport. Sadly, our research shows this isn’t the reality for many UK holidaymakers.
“It’s clear that travel providers need to do more to make shopping for travel online more accessible and enjoyable for consumers, from providing quality customer support throughout the purchase journey to offering deferred payment options at checkout.”
These negative connotations are deeply affecting both the consumers and travel vendors. The study showed that 16% of the consumers prefer to book smaller breaks to avoid upfront payments, and worse, 12% chose not to book at all, worrying about putting high one-time charges on credit.

In addition, hidden and unexpected costs were a major source of frustration as well. These include hidden airline charges (31% of respondents), additional costs at checkout (27%), and credit card fees (20%). A lack of flexible payment options was also an issue, with 17% reporting feeling annoyed about having to pay before they travel.
The option to pay for travel in installments would seem to encourage shoppers to go ahead and book. Staggered payments ease the financial burden when booking holidays, revealing that 31% of consumers would be more likely to buy travel if they had the option to spread the cost over time.

Project Deepblu dives into adventure travel

Posted by - June 29, 2018

Deepblu CEO James Tsuei “My whole career has always been in tech, but I have always loved the ocean,” sales and marketing professional James Tsuei shared with Travel Daily. As proof, the Taiwan-based veteran of Foxconn, iBase Technology and GiiNii Global has teamed up with local scuba diving and free diving enthusiasts as well as ocean explorers active in the tech industry, like co-founder Brad Chen, to form Deepblu.
The start-up opened Planet Deepblu as part of its long-term plan to unite divers and dive businesses into an interdependent ecosystem. Inspired by Tsuei’s own frustration to plan a Bali dive holiday, a process of back-and-forth email correspondence that ran a full month with neither a flight or a hotel in sight, it has cut the time spent by divers planning and booking their experiences to three business days (“But it’s usually done within the hour,” he added).
Planet Deepblu is a global marketplace that allows the start-up’s community of more than 40,000 divers to coordinate with its network of more than 500 dive shops. A diver first enters the site or logs into the app to shop for their preferred dive site, itinerary or business. Once they find it, they may choose to either book the trip straight up, or directly approach the dive operator through a messaging chat that’s familiar to users of the alternative accommodations unicorn.
“Dive travel is a slow-moving industry… not like the hotel industry where you have a fixed amount of inventory”
More than 10,000 dive spots across the globe are currently featured on the platform, with new ones being added. The most popular sites are in Asia Pacific and Central America. All sorts of adventures can be seen and had: day trips, night trips, wreck exploration, cave dives, marine park tours, immersions with nature, conservation programmes, underwater museums with life-size cement sculptures, underwater photography, island tours, and dive-hopping through multiple sites in a day.
Some dive holiday packages come with hotel accommodations attached, while others are open for those who would rather snorkel. Operators hosted on the Taiwan-based, internationally-run aggregated sales channel also offer lessons, coaching sessions and practise dives for beginners and inexperienced divers. Enthusiasts with a little more mastery, if not confidence, can avail of certification dives.
Planet Deepblu’s interface Planet Deepblu synchronises with the dive computer COSMIQ+, launched in 2016 as part of the start-up’s first phase to compile a centralised and more permanent dive database online. Using COSMIQ+’s electronic watch and app, the platform allows divers to share their experiences and feedback online in real-time through integrated dive log cloud syncing and social sharing – aligning with Tsuei’s goal of turning it into the ‘Airbnb and Facebook’ of the global diving community.
Planet Deepblu allows divers to arrange their own dream dive without need of third-party travel agents. Relevant businesses are added to the marketplace based on their ability to follow through with their offers and take care of their customers. Private guides, instructors, safety kits and oxygen are prerequisites. Transfers and snacks are also part of the arrangement, while meals are provided depending on the length of time divers spend outside of their hotel.
Wading the ‘Blue Ocean’ of travel marketing Tsuei’s seemingly easygoing way of describing Planet Deepblu to a non-diver like this writer both belies and compliments a passion for attracting a new generation to engage in water-based adventure travel. After stumbling into scuba diving on a 2008 trip to the Maldives and also after the Bali trip planning experience, the self-professed ‘serial businessman’ took it upon himself to channel everything that he learned first-hand about dive travel into a more organised resource.
“The dive travel industry, unlike the hotel industry, is a slow-growing industry based on many fluid, dynamic elements,” he explained. “Here, inventory is affected by the seasons, the weather, the rise and flow of the tides, the accessibility of the dive site, and the availability of instructors or guides.
Related Posts “More than big diving companies, it is run by many mom-and-pop businesses with minimal or zero online presence, much less marketing savvy. Planet Deepblu brings all these small operators, with their one-of-a-kind itineraries and knowledge of dive locations, together into a global marketplace.”
Tsuei as ambassador of Deepblu Tsuei shared that the response to Planet Deepblu has been “phenomenal” months after its formal launch early this year. He said, “As customers, diving enthusiasts like how this platform allows them to speak directly with actual dive experience organisers. By allowing for direct interaction instead of going through a third party, transactions between buyers and sellers are resolved within three working days at low cost.”
“A community of divers mostly at the ‘starting age’ of 35 to 45 years old”
The platform has also grown popular with dive operators, Tsuei added. “Dive businesses see (Planet Deepblu) as a completely new and easy way to reach out and communicate market that they never really accounted for. It helps that, unlike other new sites trying to do the same thing, we already have an existing community of divers mostly at the ‘starting age’ of 35 to 45 years old, given that most Western divers fall between 55 and 65 years old.”
Tsuei and his team are still on the lookout for the next big innovation – case in point, he co-founded the Bitcoin mining start-up BitCrane Technologies. But with their collective passion to revolutionise scuba diving as a lifestyle and their ability to harness existing skills, technology and experiences towards this end, the team has garnered support from both divers across the globe and Hongkong-based venture capital firm Silverlink Capital.
It’s not just Asia that’s looking to sink into Planet Deepblu’s disruptive action. Queensland in Australia recently allowed them to set up a base of operations in its dive spot, Cairns. This has given Deepblu entry into the competitive The Hot DesQ programme, where it was one of 25 entrepreneurs worldwide that managed to inject new ideas, skills and talent into the state in exchange for network expansion, global market access, and a grant of AUD100,000.
Plans for the future So what’s next for the upstart company? Of course, it’s planning to scale up; Tsuei is contemplating setting a commission scheme in place that will still allow Planet Deepblu to pass savings on to its users. The site has also recently opened an online magazine to better promote its hosted dive spots.
The start-up has also landed a partnership with the Diving and Resort Travel Expo or DRT, considered the largest dive-related expo in Asia.
Supported by globally recognised dive organisations, dive and water sport equipment manufacturers, dive resorts, tourism boards, travel agencies, marine conservation, dive operators, commercial diving companies, underwater photographers and videographers, this opens up Deepblu’s horizon to more than 90,000 registered members, underwater and adventure sport enthusiasts as well as the general public.
Of course, you can bet Tsuei will continue to make use of his downtime inviting dive operators to join the Deepblu ecospace while exploring and enjoying the deep blue in ‘some island destination’ out in the world.

Western companies go east: Overcoming the Great Firewall of China

Posted by - June 29, 2018

China’s population of 1.4 billion has attracted companies from all over the world. The Asian country opens vast growth opportunities. However, travel tech companies must first overcome the Great Firewall of China.
The huge volume of Chinese outbound tourists attracts a number of western travel companies who want to dip their hands in the luxurious Chinese market.
Many western travel companies are going east by either purchasing, entering into a business venture or strategic partnership with their Chinese counterparts. China is rapidly becoming one of the most important tourism markets in the world.
According to the China Tourism Academy, the number of Chinese tourists that travelled abroad rose by 7% to 130 million in 2017. And these tourists are also biggest spenders when travelling overseas, they shopped for approximately USD 115.3 billion last year. With this jaw-dropping number, experts would say, if you get China, you get Asia.
However, China is not an easy country to get into. The Great Firewall of China (GFW) is the coined term for the different legislative actions and technologies enforced by the People’s Republic of China to regulate internet in the country.
The main role of GFW is internet censorship that blocks access to selected foreign websites and slows down cross-border internet traffic. The Great Firewall is the main reason why there is no Google and Facebook in China. This is because the country requires internet tools and mobile apps to adapt to domestic regulations. GFW also, in a way, fosters the development of Chinese internet companies as they create similar platforms offering the same services as the banned websites.
Penetrating GFW The Great Firewall was in full effect since 2011 preventing IP addresses to be routed through and blocking Virtual Private Network (VPN) services. The Great Firewall was able to “learn, discover and block” the encrypted communications methods used by a number of different VPN systems.
During his talk at the Techsauce Global Summit last week, Bob Zheng, founder and CEO of People Squared – a Shanghai-based co-working space that provides a well-equipped work environment for freelancers, shared what the Firewall does for China and how start-ups and big companies can overcome the intimidating internet filter.
Bob Zheng, founder and CEO of People Squared “Because of this firewall, there are actually a lot of new opportunities being created. So there is ‘almost’ an equivalent of anything in China.
“So, with Google, we have Baidu, which is also a search engine in local language allowing people to search for anything. There’s also a Twitter equivalent Sina Weibo. So, that actually created a lot of opportunities just within those time period to allow some local companies to grow,” Zheng said.
He said that many companies have tried and failed in trying to gain business in China. The average success rate of foreign start-ups in the country is 5%.
Then, Zheng shared the secret: “You need to look around and understand the market in a local way.”
Related Posts It seems that one of the biggest mistakes of multinational companies is their lack of knowledge of the Chinese culture. He said that companies in Hong Kong and Taiwan may have the advantage for they are quite familiar with the market.
“You need to understand the market itself in China, the user behaviour in China, the way people monetise in China are actually very different,” Zheng said.
“Be specific on who are your users. There is nothing wrong in focusing on a niche, for the market is too big and 1% in China is huge.”
Zheng said that China is a rapidly changing market and what worked a year ago may not work now. Moreover, China has moved on from being a manufacturing country to being innovative and China has become the biggest app market.
Therefore, it is best to immerse yourself and know the locals and find the strategies that work for you and not because everybody else is doing it.
He also said that it is important to know your target. “Be specific on who are your users. There is nothing wrong in focusing on a niche, for the market is too big and 1% in China is huge,” he said.
Reap the benefits While it is difficult to get inside the Chinese market, the rewards are huge in terms of profit. Start-up companies are not the only ones chasing the Chinese travellers. A number of big names in the travel industry are dipping their hands in the treasure trove.
Marriott International signed a joint venture with China’s tech giant Alibaba. The strategic partnership allows Marriott to penetrate China and for Alibaba to expand its products, Fliggy and Alipay.
Following the joint venture, Marriott and Alibaba announced that they created an exclusive booking platform for Marriott’s properties in Asia and the Pacific. Also, Alipay is accepted in all Marriott hotels in China. The hotel giant plans to expand this service globally to accommodate Chinese travellers abroad.
Marriott is not the first hotel to dive into the Chinese market, AccorHotels paired up with Ctrip too.
Even airline companies are seeking strategic partnerships with Chinese firms as the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) relaxes the rules that would allow state and private firms to independently or jointly make investments in the industry.
Chinese travellers during a holiday. “Chinese tourists are the most powerful single source of change in the tourism industry.” Taleb Rifai, secretary general of the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), said.
“Not only is it the biggest domestic market in the world, where 4.4 billion trips are made each year, but it’s also the leading global outbound market, with over 135 million international departures in 2016. This number has been increasing in double digits since 2010 and it’s merely the tip of the iceberg. The potential of the Chinese market is far greater because only 6% of Chinese people own a passport. So we expect 200 million Chinese to travel abroad in just a few years’ time,” he added.

Riviera Travel announces six new itineraries, including Jordan and Montenegro

Posted by - June 29, 2018

Riviera Travel has revealed its 2019 short-haul escorted tours collection, with six brand-new itineraries, including new tours to Montenegro, Sardinia, Ireland, Italy, Jordon and Spain and updated tours to Sicily, Lake Como and Madeira.
The British escorted tour operator offers an extensive range of short haul itineraries, to Europe’s most famous sights and iconic attractions, as well as undiscovered destinations that are off the tourist map. Each itinerary includes return flights from a choice of UK airports, transfers, tours, excursions and hotel accommodation, with a variety of packages available from short four-day breaks to a full two-week holiday.
Tours are offered on either a breakfast-only or a half-board basis depending on the specific itinerary, with a number of tours now offering the option to add on a pre-booked dinner package.
New itineraries for 2019 Montenegro Combining history with magnificent mountain scenery and stunning coastlines to rival neighbouring Croatia, Montenegro has rapidly become one of the world’s fastest growing tourism destinations. Riviera Travel’s new Montenegro Budva, Cetinje & the Bay of Kotor escorted tour explores well-known attractions, such as Budva’s picturesque old town and the bay of Kotor, as well as hidden gems like the beautiful city of Shkodër in neighbouring Albania.
Highlights include guided tours of Budva, including a wine tasting afternoon at a local winery, the royal capital of Cetinje with a tour of the Royal Palace and the UNESCO-listed Kotor and Perast villages. Prices start from GBP 849 (USD 1118) per person and include return flights from London and Manchester airports, seven nights in four-star accommodation with daily breakfast and four evening meals and all tours and transfers as detailed in the itinerary.
Spain and France With Spain and France continuing to be the UK’s most visited holiday destinations, Riviera Travel has introduced a new eight-day Basque Country, La Rioja and Burgos escorted tour. Highlights include guided tours of San Sebastian, featuring traditional tapas tastings, medieval Bayonne and the foothills of the Pyrenees.
The itinerary also includes a tasting at a renowned La Rioja winery and visits to the gothic cathedral of Burgos and the UNESCO-listed Altamira Caves. Prices start from GBP 899 per person and include return flights from selected UK airports, seven nights’ in four-star accommodation with daily breakfast and one dinner and all tours and transfers as detailed in the itinerary.
Ireland With Ireland’s tourism industry expecting another year of record figures for 2018, Riviera Travel is adding a second Irish tour to its European collection. The Belfast, Galway and the Ring of Kerry Ireland tour itinerary offers an immersive journey into the history and culture of both Ireland and Northern Ireland, exploring the beautiful cities, countryside and coastline.
Trip highlights include visits to Belfast, Dublin and Galway and travelling the world-famous Antrim coast road trip route. Additional highlights include the Connemara countryside and a drive along the Wild Atlantic Way and the famous Ring of Kerry. Prices start from GBP 949 per person including return flights from selected UK airports, seven nights four-star accommodation with daily breakfast and three dinners and all tours as detailed in the itinerary.
Italy Assisi, Umbria, Italy. Related Posts Brits are inspired by popular TV shows and personalities, such as Antonio Carluccio’s celebrated segment on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen which has showcased Italy’s lesser known regions. So Riviera Travel will introduce a scenic Heart of Italy Umbria, Perugia & Assisi tour. Highlights include a visit to Perugia and its chocolate factory, the Tuscan hilltop town of Cortona and Lake Trasimeno with a ferry trip to its largest island, Isola Maggiore.
The itinerary also features wine tasting in the Spoleto countryside, a visit to medieval Gubbio and the Frasassi Caves, and Orvieto sampling some of the regions’ finest traditional food in a local ‘agriturismo’. Prices start from GBP 899 per person and include return flights from 10 regional UK airports, seven nights’ four-star accommodation with daily breakfast and all tours as detailed in the itinerary.
Sardinia For 2019, Riviera Travel introduce a new eight-day Alghero, The Costa Smeralda & Corsica tour exploring one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean, Sardinia. The itinerary features the glamorous Costa Smeralda as well as the more traditional inland areas such as the historic town of Alghero, known as the capital of the ‘Coral Riviera’.
Additional highlights include a ferry trip to Bonifacio in Corsica, a tour of the island of Bosa in the West and a visit to the ancient cities of Tharros and Nuraghe. Prices start from GBP 899 per person and include return flights from UK regional airports, seven nights’ four-star accommodation with daily breakfast and four dinners provided and all tours as detailed in the itinerary.
Jordan & Petra (plus Jerusalem) Jordan has an extraordinary landscapes of dunes, windswept sandstone, and world-class monuments that include Roman amphitheatres and Crusader castles. Highlights of Riviera Travel’s new Jordan & Petra escorted tour include a stay in a Bedouin-style tented camp in the desert, two days relaxing on the shores of the remarkable Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth, and an expert led tour to Petra, one of the ‘new Seven Wonders of the World’.
On selected dates Riviera Travel offers a Jordan & Petra, plus Jerusalem tour with a three-night extension to explore Jerusalem including the Old City, the Mount of Olives and Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Prices start from GBP 1,389 per person for the seven-day tour of Jordan and Petra and from GBP 1,989 per person for the ten-day tour with Jerusalem extension. Prices include return flights airports, four-star accommodation on a half board basis and all tours and transfers as detailed in the itinerary.
Updates to existing tours Additionally, Riviera Travel has changed the board basis for a number of existing European tours to offer more flexibility with optional dinner packages. Examples include:
The Sicily escorted tour will feature a lunch in a local ‘agriturismo’, which has been added to the itinerary for guests to experience the true taste of Sicilian food, with traditional dishes using locally grown and sourced ingredients.
Prices start at GBP 1,079 per person from a 9 April 2019 departure onwards and include return flights from five regional airports, seven nights’ accommodation at four-star hotels and all tours and transfers as detailed in the itinerary.
The Lake Como, St Moritz & the Bernina Express escorted tour will feature stays on a bed and breakfast basis at the Grand Hotel Menaggio with the option to pre-book a dinner package for GBP 48 per person four nights or GBP 84 per person for seven nights. Tour prices start at GBP 899 per person, including return flights, seven nights’ accommodation with breakfast and dinner at the Grand Hotel Menaggio and all tours and transfers.
The Madeira escorted tour features daily breakfast and four evening meals. For the remaining evenings guests can experience the local cuisine in a restaurant of their choice, or choose to pre-book a two-night dinner package for GBP 36 per person. Tour prices start at GBP 839 per person including return flights from 11 regional airports, seven nights’ accommodation at the four-star Enotel Quinta do Sol hotel and all tours and transfers as detailed in the itinerary.
Riviera Travel has also introduced a variety of new pre-bookable ‘personalise your holiday’ options like the ‘Fast Track’ skip the queue security and airport lounge access at a selection of airports.

Anantara completes Vietnam hat-trick with Anantara Quy Nhon Beach Villas

Posted by - June 29, 2018

Beach Villa The increasingly popular Vietnam has yet again upped its luxury hotel quotient with the announcement that Anantara Hotels and Resorts has added its third site to its local network. Slated to open at the end of November 2018, Anantara Quy Nhon Villas is found in a peaceful bay approximately 50 minutes’ drive from Quy Nhon Airport, which operates daily services to Vietnam’s main hubs at Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
When it comes to location Anantara Quy Nhon Villas could do no better. Sat on its hilltop perch, swaddled by jungle surroundings, the villas provide majestic views of the sparkling waters of the South China Sea.
Inside, Anantara Quy Nhon Villas, is made up of 26 one- and two-bedroom ocean-facing villas, featuring granite sundecks, minimalist plunge pools and extended low overhang roofs, all finished in a contemporary style with wood, granite and marble elements.
Related Posts Hillside Pool Villa Ramping up the luxury, each villa will come with dedicated butler services and a range of customisable luxury amenities such as preferred room scent, bathroom and beauty products and – wait for it – an in-villa cellar stocked with vintage wine. Cheers!
Alongside Sea Fire Salt, the all-day dining restaurant, Anantara Quy Nhon Villas also serves refreshments at the pool swim-up bar where guests can sup on cocktails and Vietnamese craft beers or even sample Cuban cigars. These experiences are enhanced by Anantara’s Salt and Wine Gurus, on hand with expert advice and guided tastings.
In-villa dining aims to recreate a restaurant experience in the privacy of one’s villa, with gourmet breakfast in bed, fully catered poolside barbecues and a luxury Vietnamese street food concept. Anantara’s signature Dining by Design delights with “Castaway” island picnics and exhilarating fishing trawler expeditions followed by five-star dining.

Sarovar Hotels & Resorts opens in Indian smart city Jhansi

Posted by - June 29, 2018

Famous for the legend of queen Jhansi ki Rani, the historic city of Jhansi is currently undergoing a facelift under India’s ambitious smart city project. Consolidating their foray into Uttar Pradesh, Sarovar Hotels has announced the opening of Nataraj Sarovar Portico Jhansi.
One of the fastest growing hotel chains in India with over 75 operating hotels across 50 destinations in India and Africa, Sarovar Hotels has launched a 72-room hotel which is also the first branded hotel in the smart city. Sarovar Hotels & Resorts is one of the fastest growing chains of hotels in India and Geoffrey’s, its popular English pub brand operates at multiple destinations across India.
Nataraj Sarovar Portico Jhansi Owned by Nataraj Sai Hotels, the Nataraj Sarovar Portico is Jhansi’s first contemporary hotel with fully equipped conferencing and banquet spaces and facilities for up to 500 guests. Savour a meal at the hotel’s multi-cuisine restaurant ‘Flavours’ or sip on cocktails, beers and other drinks at ‘Lancers – The Bar’.
Related Posts The property has a fitness centre, 24-hour in-room dining, swimming pool, salon and free hi-speed internet access all in the heart of the city, 2km from the railway station, and in the midst of palaces, forts and temples, IT hub, shopping malls
The hotel was inaugurated in the presence of Sanjay Khanna, managing director, Nataraj Mobiles and Ajay K. Bakaya, managing director, Sarovar Hotels & Resorts.
“A rising number of visitors from across the country”
Commenting on the development, Bakaya said, “We are glad to open the first branded hotel in this historic city of Jhansi and fifth hotel in Uttar Pradesh. With its significant development, Jhansi is an important destination with rising number of visitors from across the country. It is an important location for us and a significant addition to our product portfolio. This is set to be the best hotel in the city and will cater to the needs of corporate groups, leisure and conferences.”
Sarovar Hotels plans to have 100 hotels under its portfolio by 2020. Expected openings in 2018 include hotels in Jaisalmer, Somnath, Dibrugarh, Junagadh, Gorakhpur and Lusaka, Zambia.

European Waterways announces luxury ‘Cruises for Everyone’

Posted by - June 29, 2018

Luxury hotel barge operator, European Waterways, has announced its ‘Cruises for Everyone’ promotion with up to 20% discount on whole barge charter prices.
A barge is a flat-bottomed boat, typically designed for carrying freight on canals and rivers. But for more than 35 years, European Waterways has redefined the meaning of barge travel by turning it into a luxury cruise experience.
Travelling on a barge means staying away from the hustle and bustle of city life. And with the appeal of small-group travel continuing to grow in popularity, European Waterways has launched ‘Cruises for Everyone’, with prices starting at GBP 17,800 (USD 23,270*) for six nights and apply to a range of cruise areas in France. The promotion runs until 6 August 2018.
La Belle Epoque According to Derek Banks, managing director of European Waterways, the company has been expanding its cruise options, as travellers from all walks of life discover the appeal of hotel barge cruising. The relatively small number of guests per vessel (from 8 to 20) allows tailor-made experiences to match the interests of each group.
Related Posts “Tailored family activities such as waterpark visits, zoo trips, or mini golf are available”
“Whether it’s golf, wine appreciation, or special occasions such as anniversaries and birthdays, we can modify our itineraries to include more of what they love,” Banks said. “With multi-generational groups, for example, adults can savour gourmet meals prepared with locally- sourced ingredients by our onboard master chef, while children can enjoy an informal array of delicious BBQ food. In addition to this, tailored family activities such as waterpark visits, zoo trips, or mini golf are available in abundance and we can even arrange tennis tournaments, bicycle rallies, or golf competitions to accommodate the sports enthusiasts amongst you.”

With one of the largest fleets in Europe, European Waterways also provides barge transfers to allow guests to have more than a one-week cruise. Guests who wish to extend their holiday can charter two barges on consecutive weeks, with European Waterways chauffeuring them between the two. The barges can also be chartered in tandem to accommodate large groups.
“Our goal is to ensure that every passenger, whatever their age, or special interest, has precisely what they need for a memorable holiday,” added Banks.
European Waterways’ 6-night cruises include all gourmet meals, fine wines, open bar, daily escorted excursions, admissions and private chauffeured transfers.

Club Med to offer discounts on all-inclusive holidays

Posted by - June 29, 2018

Club Med, the French company specialising in all-inclusive holidays, has announced that its discounted sales will start on 18 July 2018.
During the three first days of the sales opening, clients will benefit from a guaranteed Early Booking Offer with 15% off for all 28 resorts and for all departure dates. Below are some of the holiday destination highlights from Club Med:
Club Med Cefalù This summer’s best-seller is Club Med Cefalù, which recently opened on Sicily’s Northern Coast. The resort is a natural reserve, nestled on rustic rugged cliffs and surrounded by lush vegetation.
Club Med Cefalù has been the 3rd best seller at a global level for this summer season with an occupancy rate of more than 90% since its opening date back in June. For Club Med UK, this new resort represented more than 6% of the revenue obtained for the entire summer season.
The resort offers three gourmet restaurants and four bars for guests to choose from including the main restaurant, La Rocca, serving an array of traditional Sicilian food as well as gluten-free options, and the Palazzo Gourmet Lounge, serving an a la carte menu created by Michelin starred chef, Andrea Barton.

The Exclusive Collection Related Posts For the next coming years, Club Med has planned an upscale strategy, moving towards a more premium offer for its customers. In line with this strategy, an exclusive collection of holiday packages have been launched to start on 18 July 2018.
By booking in one of the 5 Trident Resorts or Exclusive Spaces, clients will enjoy premium accommodations from private villas to luxury suites and deluxe rooms, with customised services for an ultimate luxury experience.
5 Trident Resorts opening for sale on the 18 July 2018:
Cefalù, Italy La Plantation d’Albion, Mauritius Albion Villas, Mauritius Finolhu Villas, Maldives Valmorel Chalets, France
La Pointe aux Canonniers Opening in 2019, Club Med La Pointe aux Canonniers has been completely refurbished as a family-friendly 4 Trident resort. Located in Mauritius where the weather is perfect during the summer. The resort has added 12 Club Rooms and 96 brand new connecting Superior Rooms to accommodate all types of families.
La Pointe aux Canonniers offers a new family zone and its Family Fun pool with water games. Moreover, its restaurants have also been upgraded, along with the creation of a new wine and rum cave.

Open for the Open: Sleeperz Dundee launches in time for British Open golf championship

Posted by - June 29, 2018

With the 147th Open Golf Championship (aka the British Open) set to tee off in mid-July, Sleeperz Hotels could not have picked a better time to open Sleeperz Hotel Dundee, located just 19km from the Carnoustie Golf Links, hosts of the first and oldest competition in the game.
The company is so excited about the alignment of its new property’s debut with the prestigious golf tournament that it has built the Sleeperz Hotel Dundee launch campaign, Open for The Open, around it. As Manny Baber (below, left), general manager of Sleeperz Hotel Dundee said: “Open for The Open is a great thing to be able to tell Dundee and Scotland. We’re taking bookings now and rooms are selling fast.
“We have recruited a great team here, the final fit is progressing well and it’s the start of an exciting new chapter for Sleeperz Hotels.”
Manny Baber, with Steve Allan, ops director for Sleeperz Dundee The 120-bed hotel, part of the GBP 14 million redevelopment of Dundee Railway Station by the Dundee City Council in partnership with construction firm Balfour Beatty, will feature laptop safes, innovative space saving furniture. tea and coffee making facilities and free Wi-Fi throughout.
Related Posts In addition, the hotel’s bar and lounge enjoy panoramic views over the River Tay, the neighbouring V&A Museum of Design Dundee – opening 15 September – and the RRS Discovery, one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions.
Carnoustie Golf Links David Myers, chief executive of Sleeperz Hotels, said: “The regeneration of Dundee has been a long term project and the vision of a vibrant cultural city, open for business and tourism, has been fully realised.”
Myers went on to highlight the benefits the hotel will have on local employment when he said: “We’re delighted to be opening here, creating up to 40 new jobs and enhancing the tourism offer for visitors and business travellers. I’d like to thank our partners at Dundee City Council and everyone involved in the build of this superb new hotel.”
Sleeperz Hotel Dundee will open on 9 July.