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In the know

In the know

Bali tourism on the road to recovery after bomb horror
Business to Bali is returning now that the Foreign Office has removed it from its list of places not to visit following the devastating nightclub bomb attack two years ago.

Bali high: international arrivals in
August were well up on last year
Above: Jati bar, Four Seasons Sayan

John O’Sullivan, general manager of the Four Seasons Resorts Bali, overseeing operations at Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay and Sayan, said business in Bali was starting to pick up and tourism figures were slowly regaining ground.

“Total international arrivals to Bali in August this year increased by slightly over 50% over the same period in 2003 and Four Seasons Resorts Bali saw an increase of 70% from the UK market in October this year compared with last year,” he said. “With the lifting of the advice not to travel by the British Government in July, the island is expecting an increase in the number of UK visitors in the future.”

Up to 80% of Bali’s economy relies on tourism. At 2,136 square miles, Bali is one of the smaller islands on the Indonesian archipelago.

It’s a spa thing
Leading Hotels of the World has launched Leading Spas, the first international luxury spa evaluation and certification

Estate living room, Four Seasons
Jimbaran Bay
programme. To achieve the certification the spa facilities and services must pass an inspection covering more than 200 criteria. Of the 90 Leading Hotels that have requested the inspection, only 48 have met the requirements so far.

The Rock Spa has opened on Fr‚gate Island Private in the Seychelles. The spais approached through a natural rock archway under the roots of banyan trees. Terraces have open-air stone baths and massage tables to enable treatments to be administered outdoors.

There’s an on-site apothecary where therapists prepare botanical treatments out of local ingredients and, it’s claimed, combine knowledge of indigenous plants with the principles of herbalism and aromatherapy for maximum therapeutic effect.

US and UK companies merge
UK-based Grand Heritage Hotels International has merged with USA-based Distinguished Hotels to create a new management and marketing consortium called Distinguished Hotels International.

It will have 150 member hotels and will offer corporate and leisure guests a collection of luxury properties around the world. The company will be operated by president William Burruss from the US side of the business, and chairman Tim Hadcock-Mackay, owner and chief executive officer of Grand Heritage Hotels International.

Kempinski adds two to China portfolio
Kempinski Hotels & Resorts continues to expand in China with the signing of two new properties, bringing its total in China to 10. The Kempinski Hotel Shenzhen and Kempinski Hotel Yinchuan join a portfolio including Kempinski properties in Beijing (pictured below), Shanghai and newly opened hotels in Chengdu and Shenyang.

The 400-bedroom Shenzhen property, in the southern tip of Guangdong province, will open towards the end of 2005, while the Yinchuan property, in the special economic zone of Yinchuan will open in 2007. Kempinski opened its first hotel in Berlin in 1897.

Rising Gulf stars
Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have been nominated as the top three emerging Gulf countries in a recent survey of tourism leaders conducted by organisers of the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference to be held in Dubai from 30 April to 2 May next year at the Madinat Jumeirah resort.

In addition, Saudi Arabia was identified as a new destination with potential to develop as a successful long-term tourism product. Conference organiser Jonathan Worsley said that while the consensus was that Dubai was the leader in the regional hospitality industry, its success was set to be replicated in neighbouring states, many of which had already set in motion development plans to exploit their tourism potential.

Refurbishment news

Le Royal Méridien,
Abu Dhabi: largest
guest rooms

Le Royal Méridien, Abu Dhabi
Le Royal Méridien in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates has completed a refurbishment and added an extension, bringing its total room count to 264. It becomes the second Le Royal Méridien property and the seventh Le Méridien in the UAE.

An average size of 40sq m makes the rooms the largest standard guest rooms in any Abu Dhabi hotel, offering high-speed internet access, wireless keyboard, games console, dedicated fax/printer, data ports and a complete desk set-up as standard as well as an on-call IT butler.

The revamped hotel also offers the Liwa Grand ballroom, with capacity to host dinner for up to 500 seated as well as a further 200 on the terrace. Le Méridien took over the property in June 2002.

Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort, Penang
The 512-room Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort in Penang, Malaysia, will close next month for major redevelopment. The new-look 306-room resort is scheduled to reopen in 2006. The redevelopment of the 31-year-old resort will include an expanded lobby, more spacious guest rooms and the introduction of club floors with dedicated lounge and concierge.

Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts currently manages 44 hotels with more than 21,000 bedrooms in Australia, mainland China, Fiji, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates. In addition, the group has 20 projects under development in areas including mainland China, the Maldives, Oman, Qatar, and Thailand.

In the House: the boutique hotel has 32
suites with private balcony or patio
The House, Barbados
The House, in Barbados, part of the Elegant Hotels Group, has reopened following a month-long refurbishment of all bedrooms and bathrooms before the start of the winter season. The boutique hotel on the west coast of Barbados has 32 suites each with its own private balcony or patio.

There are also plans for ongoing refurbishment at the four other properties in the group: Colony Club, Tamarind Cove, Crystal Cove and Turtle Beach, all in Barbados. Elegant Hotels Group appointed Michael Poynter as its new chief operating officer at the start of this year.

Le Méridien Barbarons: revamp for all
124 bedrooms

Le Méridien Barbarons, Mahe
Le Méridien Barbarons on the west-coast island of Mahe in the Seychelles is to close for six months to complete a redesign and renovation costing US$12.5m (£6.79m) and will reopen next May. All 124 bedrooms, including four suites and 30 family rooms, will be rebuilt and enlarged and decorated in a contemporary scheme. Two new restaurants, including one that will offer food cooked in front of the guest, will also be added.

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