Virgin Hotels ‘at least two years away’

Sir Richard Branson has said that his much-anticipated new hotel brand Virgin Hotels is still two years away from launching. He told the American Lodging and Investment Summit that finding sites for the new hotel chain wasn’t proving easy, although he did confirm a few places where travelers will be able to enjoy Virgin’s almost-legendary … Continued

Russia’s Caucasus to get Armani hotel

Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani’s luxury hotel brand is planning to develop a hotel in Russia’s Caucasus region, a report said Friday. Armani Hotels and Resorts, which opened its first development in Dubai last year, will launch another one in the Stavropol region’s mineral springs resort area, together with other investors, Kommersant daily reported. Investment … Continued

Morgans hotels offer luxury minibar for the mind

Luxury hotel chain Morgans Hotel Group is to introduce a program to ensure that the minds of its guests are as well exercised as their bodies. Morgans will partner with The School of Life, an organization that runs programs and services aimed at increasing personal fulfillment. The first product of the collaboration will be a … Continued

New Ritz-Carlton Hotel Opens In Dubai

After much anticipation and years of preparation, The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) officially opens its doors today. The 341-room hotel, with 124 executive residences, is the second Ritz-Carlton in Dubai and the sixth property in the region for the luxury hotel company. This hotel is directly linked to the Dubai International Financial Centre … Continued

Sleep At Westin Hotels, Get Free New Balance Gear

Westin has become the latest global hotel chain to partner with a sportswear manufacturer, announcing a collaboration with fitness brand New Balance. The luxury hotel brand said December 14 that it will provide guests with New Balance sneakers and sportswear to use when staying. In-room exercise programs that include stretching, cardio and yoga will also … Continued

2010 ends with a bang for French luxury hotel chain

Accor-owned brand Sofitel is to wrap up 2010 with a triple-whammy of hotel openings in exotic locations around the world, the company said December 13. The five-star brand is opening properties in Austria, Mauritius and Cambodia this week, including a new flagship for Europe in Vienna. The new Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom features a futuristic glass … Continued

Saudi royalty buys Paris’s Crillon hotel

Paris’ world-famous luxury Crillon hotel has been sold to Saudi investors linked to the royal family for around 250 million euros ($446 million). US-based Starwood Capital is in the final stages of the sale which does not include a reportedly 100-million-euro programme needed to modernise one of the world’s oldest luxury hotels, according to the … Continued

Luxury hotel opens in Mecca landmark

Fairmont has opened its new landmark property in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, becoming the second hotel brand to occupy the Abraj Al Bait Complex. The hotel is situated inside the Makkah Clock Royal Tower, the focal point of an enormous project to upgrade the precincts of the Two Holy Mosques in Mecca … Continued

First luxury hotel to open in Ramallah

The opening of Ramallah’s first five-star hotel will mark another small step in the West Bank town’s steady march towards something resembling normal life. But its sixth-floor executive lounge looks out on a panorama of unresolved issues that cloud the economic outlook — a built-up Israeli settlement on a nearby hilltop, a Palestinian refugee camp … Continued

Hilton launches Eforea spa

Global hotel chain Hilton has announced that it is to follow competitor Sheraton in revamping its global spas. The brand, which operates 123 spas around the world and has another 80 under construction, says that its new “eforea” spas will “bring balance and wellness to the body and take guests on a transformative journey of … Continued

Another boom week for China’s hotels

Major hotel brands have been unveiling expansion plans in China at a key conference over the past week. Many chains are planning to considerably beef up their presence in the country, with a series of deals unveiled this week at the Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific. Hyatt announced a total of 11 new properties, confirming … Continued

Respire by Hyatt – Hypoallergenic Rooms

Hyatt is to offer guests hypoallergenic rooms in all of its North American properties, it confirmed October 12. The group, which operates Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency and Andaz properties, is to roll out approximately 2,000 hypoallergenic rooms in its hotels across the US, Canada and the Caribbean. Branded Respire by Hyatt, the rooms use … Continued

Sheraton launches fitness program

Hotel chain Sheraton has announced a major revamp of its fitness offerings around the world in partnership with fitness and lifestyle brand Core Performance. As part of the brand’s $6 billion global revitalization, Sheraton’s new Fitness Centers will feature “themed” workouts, designed to appeal to time-pressed travelers staying in the brand’s hotels. Guests will also … Continued

The Luxury Collection to publish travel guides

Luxury hotel chain The Luxury Collection has launched its own series of travel guides, becoming the latest brand to launch a guide for well-heeled travelers. The Luxury Collection will publish six travel guides to cover Italy, Argentina, India, Spain, Greece and the United States in association with publisher Assouline. The guides feature personal commentary from … Continued

W, G and now B

New hotel group B Hotels & Resorts unveiled its flagship Fort Lauderdale property September 23, ahead of its December opening date. The company, which promises “fresh, innovative and unpretentious” hotels in the upper-upscale category, plans to open a series of hotels, resorts and boutique properties in the US and internationally over the coming years. The … Continued

Sir Richard Branson launches Virgin Hotels

Sir Richard Branson has announced his Virgin Group plans to invest around £320 million on a string of new luxury hotels. A new website leads with the strapline: ‘Fancy getting into bed with Virgin’ and describes the project as ‘our next (ad)venture’. The site says that Virgin Hotels will be a four-star chain that … Continued

Ritz Carlton introduces loyalty program

Luxury hotel chain Ritz-Carlton introduced its new loyalty program September 15, revealing some of the high-end names it has partnered with. Ritz-Carlton Rewards goes “far beyond providing complimentary stays and airline flights,” offering a broad selection of unique travel experiences. Fashion names already confirmed for the program include clothing brand Vera Wang and retailer Neiman … Continued

Sol Melia to make U.S. debut in Atlanta

Spanish hotel chain Sol Melia is to open its first hotel in the US October 15, the firm announced September 7. The brand, which has a strong presence in Spain and South America, as well as hotels in several other countries, says that the opening of the Sol Melia Atlanta is a “landmark” for the … Continued

How to find a green hotel

Many hotels promise to be green nowadays, but where can travelers find more information to help them choose the most eco-friendly hotel? Online booking site Travelocity believes that travelers actually prefer green hotels. According to its statistics, eco-friendly properties get higher reviews than their non-green counterparts. For many consumers, search sites such as Travelocity, Expedia … Continued