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US$40 million investment in Bahrain Hotel demonstrates positive outlook for tourism sector and wider economy.
The recent launch of the US$ 40 million Holiday Inn Express Bahrain, the Kingdom's first limited service hotel, is indicative of the growing opportunities in Bahrain for the travel and tourism sector over the coming decade. The investment has been made by Dubai International Capital, the international private equity arm of Dubai Holding, through its majority owned vehicle Ishraq Gulf Real Estate Holding Company. Ishraq is an experienced developer and operator of Holiday Inn Express hotels across the GCC, focusing on price-conscious business and leisure travellers. Located along the commercially important Exhibition Road, the 274 room hotel is close to Bahrain International Airport as well as the King Fahd Causeway, Bahrain Financial Harbour, key diplomatic facilities and shopping centres. Maissan Jalal Al Maskati, Chairman of Ishraq Gulf Real Estate Holding and Managing Director of Dubai International Capital, commented on the investment opportunity presented by the Bahraini tourism sector and the launch of the Holiday Inn Express hotel in the Kingdom: "Bahrain has been and continues to be an attractive tourism and hospitality market. In fact, our decision to make such a substantial investment was driven by our long term confidence in the market's historically healthy occupancy levels and hotel rates, coupled by a sophisticated consumer base that demands a high quality limited service product. Further to the launch of four Holiday Inn Express hotels in Dubai, we are now delighted to be here and to have chosen Bahrain to launch our fifth and newest location. We look forward to building on this success and continuing to evaluate new investment opportunities in Bahrain in the future."
Unique Accommodations: Yankee Ferry
Looking for unique accommodations in New York? How about a former Ellis Island ferryboat, re-imagined into a boho-glam five room "boatel." Yankee Ferry is the brainchild of married artist couple Victoria and Richard Mackenzie-Childs, who renovated the ferry and now rent it by the room. The ferry was originally put into operation in 1907 and has served, by turns, as a shuttle for the wealthy to Maine's Calendar Islands, a WWI Navy vessel, and a ferryboat to Ellis Island, the Daily Mail reported. The 16-bunk ferry technically has five bedrooms (but just one and one-half baths) and can be rented via Airbnb from $599 per night. The stunning photos were captured by Navid Baraty (find him also on Facebook and Twitter) and depict a boho glam existence - complete with chickens roaming the deck. By McLean Robbins. To view photos, Click Here.
South African Hippo Stranded In Resort Swimming Pool
Visitors to the Monate Conservation Lodge in South Africa found an unexpected guest in the swimming pool earlier this week. A young hippo, driven away from his herd, wandered onto the property on Tuesday to take a refreshing dip. The only problem is the pool doesn't have any steps and the large animal has been stuck in the water ever since. According to this story from the Guardian, the four-year old hippo's mother recently gave birth to another calf causing dominant males to drive him away. Hippos prefer to be in water whenever possible, however, and the lone young male simply found the nearest unoccupied pool to make his new home. While stranded in the 8-foot-deep pool, the lodge staff have been feeding the animal who doesn't seem all that concerned about his current situation. Over the course of the past few days the hippo has sullied the water in the pool with its waste and as a result the staff has been slowly draining it in preparation for cleaning. An animal capture team is due on site today to sedate the animal and then remove him from the water using a crane. Once that operation is complete the young male will be taken to another animal reserve where he'll be introduced into a new herd. Hopefully, none of the guests at the lodge were especially looking forward to swimming in the pool these past few days. We visit Africa to get close to these amazing animals, but that might be just a little too close for comfort. By Kraig Becker, Gadling.
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments...
White Lodging Services is pleased to announce Scott Crowley has been named as the General Manager of the Courtyard by Marriott in Merrillville, Indiana. "I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such an innovative company as White Lodging," Crowley said. Crowley joins White Lodging from the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, Florida, a Five Star, Five Diamond Golf Resort where he served as the Meetings and Special Events Manager since 2010. "Scott brings a wealth of quality, high end guest service experience to his new role in Merrillville," said Regional Vice President John O'Connor. "I'm looking forward to seeing the process improvements Scott will bring to this property." He has held a variety of other positions at the Ritz-Carlton property as well, including Destination Services Sales Manager, Front of the House Manager, Overnight Hotel Manager/Guest Relations Manager, and Front Office Agent/Front Office Supervisor. Having thirteen years of experience with Ritz-Carlton, Crowley is ready to maximize the success of White Lodging and exceed the expectations of clients, employees, and stakeholders. "The primary focus is maximizing financial performance while focusing on our associates and guest satisfaction," Crowley said. "It is truly an exciting time to be joining the company."
Absolute Hotel Services' Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Wigley has the pleasure to announce the appointment of Mrs. Napan Khumbute as Business Development Manager, effective September 1, 2012. Napan will focus on generating even greater growth for all our brands in all current and new regions with alignment to the company strategy. She has been part of the Absolute Hotel Services Thailand Marketing Team since 2010, prior to that she held various sales, marketing and administration roles with the Centara Group. "We are delighted to have Napan join our business development team located at our headoffices in Bangkok so she can play an important role in the further expansions our brand portfolios in Asia and beyond." said Jonathan Wigley, Chief Executive Officer. Absolute Hotel Services is expecting to have secured over 75 properties under management across its brand spectrum by 2014. New hotels and resorts locations targeted will include additional properties in India, Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
Pebblebrook Hotel Trust has acquired the W Los Angeles - Westwood from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide for US$125 million. At the same time, Starwood has entered into a 40-year management agreement to continue operating the hotel under the W flag. As part of the sale, Pebblebrook has agreed to continue with the planned property renovations to expand and re-define the hotel's Living Room, bar and public spaces. "The purchase represents generally in-line pricing for an asset expected to benefit from persistent low supply growth given high barriers to entry in the west Los Angeles sub-market," David Loeb, industry analyst with R.W. Baird & Co., wrote in a note to investors. "The deal was an off-market opportunity presented by Starwood. Near-term renovations are expected to be modest, and we expect Pebblebrook to drive strong EBITDA growth with implementation of asset management best practices."
Casablanca welcomes Sofitel. For the first time, Sofitel is to open its doors in Casablanca, Morocco's economic capital, with Sofitel Casablanca Tour Blanche. The glass building designed by Belgian architect Patrick Guénard reflects the breath of modernity that the country's largest city is currently experiencing. Situated at the heart of the business district the 24-story hotel stands out in the skyline. Frenchmen Marc Hertrich and Nicolas Adnet were given the job of decorating its interior. The pair have managed to ingeniously mix clean lines with Moorish trimmings. The innovatively designed 141 bedrooms and 30 suites all have a view of the white city. The hotel also offers a variety of dining possibilities. Mourad Mahfoud, Moroccan chef of L'Arabesque restaurant, who trained in Paris, subtly combines French cuisine with local seasonal products in this gastronomic restaurant. L'Atelier Oriental mixes flavours from the Maghreb, Arabia, Persia and Asia. The La Casart bar is the latest addition to Casablanca's reputable night life. The bar lounge is dedicated to art, and its paintings and sculptures fit in perfectly with the decor, in particular René Caussanel's mural "Jaune Soleil" (Yellow Sun). Finally, resembling the apartments on the New-York roof-tops, the Penthouse situated on the 24th floor is a prestigious villa on the hotel rooftop, with protected access. The exclusive suite is breathtakingly decorated and has a 120m² terrace with an unobstructed view of the city.
Grand Dorsett Chengdu To Open Soon! Set to open in September 2012, the Grand Dorsett Chengdu, under Kosmopolito Hotels International (KHI) is located at the famous historical Luoma Market area of Chengdu, the neighboring bustling downtown Chunxi Road; and renowned Chengdu sports centre. With the Metro Line 1 and 4 directly in front of the hotel, the up-scale Grand Dorsett Chengdu offers easy accessibility for both business and leisure travelers. The hotel's 556 spacious guestrooms and suites are well furnished with a full array of amenities, contemporary and innovative décor; and each one offer an inviting ambience complemented with modern facilities such as iPod dock and complimentary high speed internet access to ensure instant connectivity.
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