Just a few months into 2021, a lot has already changed on the global hotel scene. From a major brand refresh to acquisition agreements and a slew of new properties, here are some of the most noteworthy headlines.
Equality Recognition and New Hotels for Wyndham
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has announced seven new hotel franchise agreements for its namesake Wyndham brand in the U.S. The properties are owned by national hotel development company The Thrash Group, and include the Origin Hotel Collection, one historic hotel and a new construction hotel, all of which will operate under the Wyndham umbrella.
The hotel company was also recently designated a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality, thanks to a perfect score on the 2021 Corporate Equality Index, a national benchmarking survey and report on practices related to LGBTQ workplace equality. It was Wyndham’s third consecutive year earning a perfect score, reflecting its commitment to supporting the LGBTQ community both within the company and in the wider community.
Preferred Hotels & Resorts Welcomes 18 New Hotels
From Sept. 1, 2020, through Jan. 31, 2021, 18 new member hotels joined Preferred Hotels & Resorts' global portfolio.
Highlights of the new additions range from the art nouveau Hotel Diplomat in Stockholm, Sweden, to Pendry Manhattan West in New York City, slated to debut this summer as part of the Hudson Yards development. Other new-to-Preferred properties include Chatham Bars Inn, set on Cape Cod in Massachusetts; Hotel & Spa Mansion Solis by Hotsson, located within the UNESCO World Heritage Center of Morelia, Mexico; the 52-suite Andronis Arcadia in Santorini, Greece; Live Aqua Beach Resort Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic; Arte Hotel Lima in Peru; and more.
InterContinental Hotels Group Makes Brand Updates
As part of a brand refresh for this year, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has renamed itself IHG Hotels & Resorts, as well as reorganized its 16-brand portfolio; introduced a new logo and visual identity; and shortened the name of its IHG Rewards Club to IHG Rewards.
IHG’s 16 brands are now organized into four collections: The Luxury and Lifestyle Collection, The Premium Collection, The Essentials Collection and The Suites Collection.
“Our evolved brand articulates how we bring our purpose of ‘True Hospitality for Good’ to life for our guests, hotel owners, colleagues and communities,” said Claire Bennett, chief customer officer of IHG Hotels & Resorts, in a press release. “So, as we continue to lead through and beyond the pandemic, we’re clear who we are, what we stand for and how we can help guests open up their world again when they’re ready to travel.”
IHG also recently launched “Journey to Tomorrow,” a series of ambitious new commitments to making a positive difference for people, communities and the planet over the next decade. Goals include championing a diverse culture where everyone can thrive; improving the lives of people in communities around the world; reducing energy use and carbon emissions; reducing waste; and water conservation and access efforts.
New Offerings From Hilton Luxury Brands
Upscale clients now have more options within Hilton Hotels & Resorts'portfolio of luxury properties, thanks to three newly introduced offerings.
Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi recently unveiled Ithaafushi – The Private Island, touted as the largest Maldivian private island. The exclusive estate accommodates 24 guests in two villas and one four-bedroom residence, and also features a dedicated culinary team, a Wellness Concierge, children’s facilities and fully personalized service.
Hilton’s newest brand, LXR Hotels & Resorts, made its U.S. debut with the addition of the recently redesigned Oceana hotel in Santa Monica, Calif. The intimate, 70-room retreat has undergone a $30 million transformation of the former Oceana Beach Club Hotel to offer a private residence experience with a slate of upscale amenities.
The former Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, Calif., is now a Waldorf Astoria property. Now called the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club, the award-winning AAA Five Diamond resort features a private beach club, 400 guestrooms and suites, an expansive outdoor pool area, seven culinary options and a new spa, slated to debut this spring.
Marriott Makes Major Moves
Sunwing Travel Group’s hotel division, Blue Diamond Resorts, has signed an agreement with Marriott International to combine brand concepts, making 19 of Blue Diamond’s properties part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection by mid-2021. The agreement includes resorts in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Costa Rica and Antigua.
Sunwing will now benefit from Marriott’s worldwide distribution and partnership agreements, as well as Marriott’s loyalty program, while Marriott will add two new leisure destinations (Saint Lucia and Antigua) to its footprint; double its presence in the segment; and offer Marriott Bonvoy members the ability to earn and redeem points on all-inclusive vacation experiences.
Other significant news for the company comes by way of Marriott Vacations Worldwide, which has entered into a $430 million agreement to acquire the Welk Resorts portfolio of vacation resorts, programs and property management contracts.
Nickelodeon Riviera Maya Resort Opening This Summer
Fans of “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “Dora the Explorer,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “PAW Patrol” have something to look forward to this summer as Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Riviera Maya is scheduled to open in June.
Reservations are currently open for Mexico’s first Nickelodeon Resort — part of Karisma Hotels & Resorts — which will offer one of the largest water attractions in Mexico, as well as 280 oceanfront swim-up suites accommodating families of five.
Aqua Nick, a six-acre themed waterpark, will include 2,000 square feet of slides and more than 1,820 square feet of river rides. And the resort’s Nickelodeon Place will feature Club Nick, a play zone for kids with special themed days, as well as a craft laboratory, a playground, a stage, surprise visits by Nickelodeon characters and more.
Three Properties Planned for Virgin Hotels in 2021
Virgin Hotels has announced plans to open three new U.S. hotels this year: Virgin Hotels Las Vegas in the spring, Virgin Hotels New Orleans in the summer and Virgin Hotels New York City this fall.
The Las Vegas property, part of the Curio Collection by Hilton, will be a reimagining of the former Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas, featuring more than five acres of poolside space and outdoor event venues, as well as an immersive, 60,000-square-foot casino. When Virgin Hotels New Orleans opens in the city’s Warehouse District, the newbuild property will offer a rooftop pool and lounge, plus the brand’s Commons Club, which will feature a restaurant, bar and lounge area. Virgin’s New York City flagship hotel, meanwhile, will be boasting multiple concept suites, a rooftop pool and numerous dining outlets (including Commons Club).