ME by Meliá launches in Dubai

Luxury lifestyle hotel brand, ME by Meliá, has announced its debut property in the Middle East with the launch of ME Dubai at the end of 2018. Designed by late architect, Zaha Hadid, ME Dubai is set to become a legacy hotel. The hotel will take residence in the 95 metre-high, Opus building, which is the newest architectural icon in the Dubai skyline. Situated in the heart of the upcoming Burj Khalifa district in Downtown Dubai, The Opus building is managed by leading Middle East real estate developer, Omniyat. ME Dubai will consist of 93 rooms and suites, across 19 floors, the ‘Suite ME’, will have 98 serviced apartments.

Shangri-La Hotel Colombo opens with presidential event

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts this weekend celebrated the grand opening of Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo. The festivities signalled the city’s most highly anticipated hotel launch in nearly 30 years, and presented the best of Sri Lankan and Chinese culture at a gala dinner at the hotel’s Shangri-La Ballroom – the largest pillarless ballroom in the region. The opening was attended by more than 500 guests including HE Maithripala Sirisena, The President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. Located at the exclusive One Galle Face address, Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo has 500 guestrooms and suites, and 41 serviced apartments with uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean.

VITS opens latest four-star in Agra

VITS Hotels Worldwide has launched its 4-star property, VITS Agra, located on National Highway 2, and is well connected by air, road and rail. With major tourist attractions like the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Akbar Tomb and Jama Mosque in close proximity, the hotel boasts 60 rooms for business and leisure alike.  Each room has amenities ranging from Wi-Fi connectivity, 24-hour room service and tea/coffee maker. The hotel includes a multi-cuisine restaurant with wide range of culinary choices, banquet hall for parties, travel desk, same day laundry services, conference room with audio visual equipment and large lawn for wedding and receptions.

VITS Luxury Hotels presently operates 9 properties located in Mumbai, Pune, Dwarka, Aurangabad, Latur, Ankleshwar, Silvassa, Agra and Bhubaneshwar. As part of its expansion plans, VITS Hotels will unveil more properties in Mumbai (Colaba), Nanded, Dahej, Ahmedabad and Mangalore by April 2018.


Ibis opens in Coimbatore

AccorHotels has opened ibis Coimbatore City Centre, marking the debut of the smart hotel brand in the second largest city in the state of Tamil Nadu, Coimbatore. The business hotel is strategically located in the city’s central business district at Lakshmi Mills Junction, within close proximity to local tourist attractions and shopping hubs and a short drive from the city’s railway station and airport.

The 129 guest rooms are contemporary, replete with all modern in-room amenities including an LED TV and high speed Wi-Fi Internet access. For business travellers, ibis Coimbatore City Centre offers guests a unique blend of modernity, comfort synonymous with ibis hotels globally, and also succeeds in imbibing some of the local culture and heritage that Coimbatore is known for, such as a warm and vibrant lobby featuring a colourful display of local craftsmanship. In deference to the city’s long term association with the textile industry, the walkways and corridors of the hotel feature wall art are inspired by the weaves and thread work that have earned the city the title of ‘Manchester of South India’. ibis Coimbatore City Centre features ‘Spice It’ restaurant, a 24/7 food concept tailor made for India. Serving Indian, Oriental and European cuisine along with the choicest South Indian delicacies, ‘Spice It’ offers well-priced, quality home style and healthy food and beverages with buffet and an a la-carte menu, including an eight hour non-stop breakfast concept starting from four in the morning until noon.

The hotel features two modern, stylish meeting rooms with state-of-the-art technology, which can collectively accommodate up to 70 guests making it ideal for small business events. The cardio centre is equipped with the latest fitness equipment for gym enthusiasts.

Experience Six Senses in a 700 year-old fort

Six Senses Hotels’ first foray into India will splash out in regal splendour in a 700-year old fort in Rajasthan, in the village of Chauth ka Barwara, about 110 kilometres south east of Jaipur in the second half of 2018. The 48-suite Six Senses Fort Barwara will be the second heritage property of the brand after Six Senses Douro Valley in Portugal. Bangkok-based Six Senses is working with Espire Group to restore the fort to its old glory while design consulting firm Panika will manage the conservation and architectural design aspects of the refurbishment.

Rajasthan has many forts, palaces and erstwhile royal villas in Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur that have been converted to hotels and are popular with tourists and incentive groups who savour the out-of-the-world luxury experiences.

Spanning 5.5 acres, the site is surrounded by an imposing 1.5 metre thick rock wall, which stands six metres high in some areas. Within the historic fort stand three buildings that are being preserved and restored, while outside the fort the property faces the local village to the west and protected land that will be reforested to the east.

The property will include a Six Senses Spa that will feature Ayurveda, meditation and wellness programmes, traditional gardens and landscaping, water bodies and Shekhawati traditional art. It will also feature two restaurants, a bar and a lounge, a fitness centre, a kids’ club, retail outlets, two swimming pools and a meeting venue. The resort will offer daily excursions to the 1400 square kilometre Ranthambore National Park, located 30 minutes away, renowned for its tiger population and a popular destination for incentive groups.

Ritz-Carlton opens Langkawi resort

Set in a tranquil private bay, the Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi oceanfront resort has opened on the Malaysian island. The resort marks the company’s first destination resort in Malaysia, and the second property in the country following The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur. The resort is surrounded by ancient jungle, while its beachfront is sheltered by trees and extends to the Andaman Sea. It has 70 guest rooms, 15 suites and 29 villas. Hervé Humler, president and chief operating officer of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, said: “With spectacular coastal views, lush rain forests and a blend of cultures, Langkawi offers stunning natural beauty with a fascinating story. The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi, provides guests with the opportunity to experience the wonders of this unique island for themselves.”

Club Med to open in Sri Lanka in 2019

All-inclusive resort brand Club Med has announced plans to open Club Med Ceylon, it’s first resort in Sri Lanka. The new property will be located in Sri Lanka’s South West Province in the small town of Beruwela, a 90-minute drive from Colombo International Airport. The resort is scheduled to open in August 2019. Henri d’Estaing, president of Club Med, said: “We are very excited to venture into a new market with such potential – Sri Lanka is a beautiful and mystical country with rich history and culture. I am delighted to welcome Club Med Ceylon into the Club Med family. Together with our partner LOLC, we are very excited at the prospect of our resort in Sri Lanka growing into the region’s premium holiday destination in time to come.” Club Med Ceylon will be located on Golden Beach, a 1.5km-long beach, and have 372 rooms and meeting and conference facilities.

High level adventure in Ladakh

An adventure location is offering MICE travellers options to hold their meetings and team-building activities with a difference. The Grand Dragon, a 100-room property in Ladakh, is 11,300 feet above sea level in the northern-most region of India, Jammu & Kashmir, and offers customised packages and activities like yoga sessions, cycling and soft treks.

Participants can start the trek early in the morning through the Leh Old Village, cross the mountain, have breakfast by the river, experience river rafting or ride on a Royal Enfield motorcycle. The peak season for the corporate events and MICE groups are August and September. The first day is spent acclimatising to the rarefied air with lower oxygen levels than in the plains and clients are educated about climate conditions. It has the capacity to host groups of 200 delegates. Danish Din, director of The Grand Dragon Ladakh, said: “We have hosted international conferences as well as small functions, meetings and conferences. Ladakh is a cultural and adventure destination, with rare, rugged beauty including lakes that are completely frozen in winter, offering a unique range of activities.”

Leh Ladakh has not been seen in the past as a place for MICE events but there are quite a few companies and corporates who like to do soft adventure. Daily flights operate from New Delhi and Srinagar.

Mercure debuts in holy city

Mercure has made its debut in the holy city of Dwarka with the opening of Mercure Dwarka. Strategically located in the Devbhumi Dwarka district of Gujarat, the hotel is a short drive from the Dwarkadhish temple, popularly known as Jagat Mandir, and is conveniently located a five minute drive from the railway station, an hour’s drive from Porbandar Airport and a little over two hours from the Jamnagar Airport. The opening of Mercure Dwarka marks AccorHotels’ fourth property in the land of legends, Gujarat.

Featuring 99 well-appointed guest rooms, including one suite, the hotel offers contemporary comfort. Each guest room features spacious interiors and modern design; the rooms are equipped with in-room amenities and high speed Wi-Fi access. Fitness enthusiasts can also work out at the state-of-the-art fitness centre. Bringing local culture to life, the rooms are designed with Lord Krishna frames connecting guests with the divinity of the city.

The hotel is also home to Makhan, an all-day dining restaurant that offers a wide selection of quintessential local delicacies and an array of local and international cuisines. For small meetings and events, the hotel features a modern meeting room that can accommodate up to 40 guests.

A special inaugural rate of INR 4,999 plus GST per room night is on offer in August. Complimentary daily drop-off and pick-up is available from Dwarkadhish Temple on a shared basis.

Kota debut for Country Inn & Suites

Country Inn & Suites by Carlson Kota has made its debut in Kota, Rajasthan. The hotel is the first international brand to have a presence in the city. Strategically located, Country Inn & Suites by Carlson Kota offers 85 rooms and suites close to corporate zones and educational service institutes, making it the perfect stay for both business and family guests.

The hotel offers amenities including free high speed Wi-Fi, complimentary breakfast, minibar, coffee and tea making facilities, satellite TV, in-room dining and wellness and recreation facilities such as a rooftop swimming pool, spa, steam room and health club. A choice of F&B outlets such as Mosaic, the all-day dining restaurant, features a spirited mix of local and international delicacies. FLAVI, an Indian specialty, pure vegetarian restaurant presents Awadhi, Chetinnad, Punjabi, Kashmiri, Gujarati, Bengali and Rajasthani dishes in exquisite new ways. The Unwind Lobby Bar, serves a wide selection of cocktails, wines, single malt whisky, non-alcoholic beverages and snacks in an elegant and modern setting. On the terrace, poolside bar, Splash, offers slow-roasted, aromatic barbeque innovations paired with a collection of liquor blends.

Ideal for meetings and events, the hotel features an expansive 20,000 square feet outdoor garden and flexible banquet hall as well as meeting space of over 10,200 square feet, complete with state-of-the-art audiovisual facilities.