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Marriott International expects to add 40 new properties across Africa by 2023

Company announces four new deals including entry into Cape Verde; Development pipeline expected to drive owner investment of over $2 billion and generate 12,000 new jobs.

From the Africa Hotel Investment Forum in Addis, Marriott International reinforced its commitment to Africa by announcing it expects to add 40 properties and over 8,000 rooms across the continent by the end of 2023. The company also announced signed agreements to open its first property in Cape Verde and further expand its presence in Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria. Marriott’s development pipeline through 2023 is estimated to drive investment of over $2 billion from property owners and is expected to generate over 12,000 new jobs in Africa.

Marriott International’s current portfolio in Africa encompasses close to 140 properties with more than 24,000 rooms across 14 brands and 20 countries and territories.

“Africa is a land of opportunity with untapped potential and remains core to our strategy,” said Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International. “The economic growth the region is witnessing, along with the substantial emphasis countries across the continent are placing on the travel and tourism sector, present us with immense opportunities for growth.”

“With compelling, well-established lifestyle brands and Marriott Bonvoy, our industry-leading travel program, we continue to offer different attributes that resonate with the region’s fast-growing middle class and cater to its evolving market place,” Kyriakidis added.

Marriott’s expected growth through 2023 is driven by a strong demand and steady growth for its premium and select-service brands– led by Marriott Hotels with eight anticipated openings and six slated openings under Protea Hotels by Marriott. The company is expected to introduce the Courtyard by Marriott, Residence Inn by Marriott and Element Hotels brands.

Marriott also continues to see growth opportunities for its luxury brands and expects to double its luxury portfolio in Africa by year-end 2023, with more than ten new openings across The Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, Luxury Collection and JW Marriott brands. The company also expects to launch W Hotels in Africa with the opening of W Tangier in Morocco by 2023.

Key markets fuelling Marriott’s growth in Africa include Morocco, South Africa, Algeria and Egypt.

“Marriott’s established presence and local expertise in Africa, along with our diverse brands and the collective strength of our global platform, put us in a great position to further enhance our footprint in the region where owners are looking to develop high-quality lodging with brands that can differentiate and elevate their product,” commented Jerome Briet, Chief Development Officer, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International.

The company announced three deal signings, further reinforcing its commitment to Africa and the significant growth opportunity the region continues to provide.

Marriott’s recent deal signings in Africa are:

Four Points by Sheraton São Vincente, Laginha Beach (Cape Verde)
The company anticipates making its debut in Cape Verde with the Four Points by Sheraton São Vincente, Laginha Beach. The property is scheduled to open in 2022 with 128 stylishly appointed guestrooms, three dining outlets, meeting rooms and leisure facilities, including a fitness centre and outdoor pool. Four Points by Sheraton São Vincente Laginha Beach will be situated on the second most populated island, São Vicente, in the town of Mindelo, and will also feature a bridge to provide guests direct access to a private, exclusive area of the popular Laginha Beach. The hotel is a franchised property owned by Maseyka Holdings Investments Sociedade Unipessoal LDA and will be managed by Access Hospitality Development and Consulting.

Rendering of Four Points by Sheraton São Vincente, Laginha Beach in Cape Verde

Four Points by Sheraton Mekelle (Ethiopia)
Marriott signed an agreement for its first Four Points by Sheraton in Ethiopia slated to open by 2022. Owned by A Z PLC, Four Points by Sheraton in Mekelle will offer 241 stylishly appointed rooms, an all-day dining restaurant, a bar and lounge, an executive lounge, meeting facilities, a fitness center and a spa. A growing industrial and manufacturing hub, Mekele also lies along Ethiopia’s historic northern tourism circuit, which includes a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites located in Lalibela, the Simian Mountains National Park, Axum, Gondar and the Blue Nile Falls. The hotel is located along the airport road in a prime location overlooking the city.

Four Points by Sheraton São Vincente, Laginha Beach and Four Points by Sheraton Mekelle will both feature Four Points by Sheraton’s approachable design and excellent service and reflect the brand’s promise to provide what matters most to today’s independent travellers.

Protea Hotel by Marriott Kisumu (Kenya)
The company also expects to expand its footprint in Kenya with the signing of Protea Hotel by Marriott Kisumu in Kenya. The property is expected to be the first internationally branded hotel in Kisumu, Kenya’s third largest city and will be located on the shores of Lake Victoria, the continent’s largest freshwater lake. Scheduled to open in 2022, the hotel will feature 125 rooms with views of the lake, three food and beverage outlets, more than 500 square meters of event and meeting space and a rooftop infinity pool, along with other leisure facilities. Protea Hotel by Marriott Kisumu is a franchised property owned by Bluewater Hotels and will be managed by Aleph Hospitality.

Residence Inn by Marriott Lagos Victoria Island (Nigeria)
Marriott plans to introduce its extended-stay brand, Residence Inn by Marriott, in Nigeria with the signing of Residence Inn Lagos Victoria Island. Owned by ENI Hotels Limited, the property will be situated in Lagos Lagoon on Victoria Island – the financial and commercial centre of Lagos. Residence Inn by Marriott Victoria Island will be designed for those taking longer stays with 130 spacious one- and two-bedroom suites featuring separate living, working and sleeping areas and fully-functional kitchens. The property will also offer a 24/7 Grab’n Go market and Fitness Centre. Residence Inn by Marriott Lagos Victoria Island is anticipated to open in 2023.

Hyatt Regency Zhuzhou Opens in Central China

The new Hyatt Regency branded hotel delivers views of Xiangjiang River and golf course greenery

Hyatt Hotels Corporation has announced the opening of Hyatt Regency Zhuzhou in the Hunan Province of Central China. The new 246-room hotel aims to bring the Hyatt Regency brand’s stress-free environments for seamless gatherings and empathetic service to both business and leisure guests alike.

Hyatt Regency Zhuzhou Guestroom

“We are thrilled to announce the opening of Hyatt Regency Zhuzhou,” said John Zhang, general manager of Hyatt Regency Zhuzhou. “As the newest global-branded hotel in the city, we are excited to welcome our guests to experience this premium property, offering guests exquisite facilities alongside a scenic setting near the Xiangjiang River.”

Hyatt Regency Zhuzhou Indoor Pool

Hyatt Regency Zhuzhou is located in the south of Zhuzhou City, along the Xiangjiang River Scenic Belt and adjacent to a 27-hole golf course. The hotel is only a 12-minute drive from the Zhuzhou West high-speed train station and a 60-minute drive from Changsha Huanghua International Airport. Zhuzhou is one of the key industrial and transportation junctions in China. Together with Changsha and Xiangtan, the three cities make up the economic development zone of Hunan — known as the “Changzhutan Golden Triangle.”

The hotel offers 246 modern rooms ranging from 484 square feet to 2475 square feet including 21 Regency Suites, nine Regency Executive Suites, one Premium Suite with a private terrace, and one Ambassador Suite on the top floor with a kitchen, reading room and large private terrace. All guestrooms feature panoramic French windows with views of either the Xiangjiang River, golf course greenery or the city. Guests staying in suites and Regency Club rooms can enjoy exclusive Regency Club benefits such as complimentary breakfast, evening cocktails, and more.

Barron Hilton

It has been announced that Barron Hilton, son, entrepreneur and philanthropist sadly passed away at his home in Los Angeles on September 19th 2019, aged 91.

“Today the world of hospitality mourns for one of the greats.

“Barron Hilton was an incredible family man, business leader and philanthropist. From his leadership of our company for more than three decades, to the transformative work he led with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation for many years, Barron was a man unlike any other. I always found inspiration in how he saw the tremendous potential of hospitality to change the world for the better – and in the unique and meaningful ways he sought to make that happen.

“On behalf of everyone at Hilton, I extend our deepest condolences to the Hilton family.” – Christopher J. Nassetta, President and CEO, Hilton.

Barron Hilton is preceded in death by his wife of nearly 60 years Marilyn Hawley Hilton. He is survived by his eight children, 15 grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, thousands of friends and associates from his extended hotel family.

To find out more on his life and contribution to the Conrad N Hilton Foundation please read HERE

Radisson RED set to make Johannesburg debut with new signing

Radisson Hotel Group has announced the signing of its second Radisson RED in South Africa. Scheduled to open early 2021, the Radisson RED Johannesburg Rosebank will arrive and shake up the hospitality industry in Africa’s second largest city. The hotel brings the group’s African portfolio to almost 100 hotels in operation and under development.

Rosebank is one of the fastest-growing business precincts in Johannesburg, offering an ideal opportunity for expansion. The new Radisson RED hotel will be located in Oxford Park, a vibrant mixed-use precinct comprising premium offices, apartments and supporting retail and restaurants, all situated within an exceptionally high-quality, privately managed and walkable public environment.

Elie Younes, Executive Vice President & Chief Development Officer, Radisson Hotel Group, said: “We are excited to have signed our second Radisson RED in South Africa, building on the successful opening of Radisson RED Cape Town and introducing our third brand to Johannesburg, alongside Radisson Blu and Park Inn by Radisson. Rosebank is regarded as Johannesburg’s art district, making it the ideal fit for the vibrant Radisson RED brand. The hotel will be the first internationally branded lifestyle hotel in Johannesburg and our fourth hotel in the city. We thank our owners for their trust in us and look forward to a long and successful partnership.”

Thinus Crafford, Developer and Oxford Parks’s representative, commented: “The hotel will be located in the first phase of Oxford Parks – a unique, holistic urban space designed to uplift and enhance the community and promote a sense of belonging. The Radisson RED will complete phase one of Oxford Parks, consisting of 4 commercial buildings, the Radisson RED hotel and ancillary retail on the ground floor of each of the commercial buildings. Oxford Parks offers you an experience where business, lifestyle and leisure are harmoniously integrated. We are proud to announce that tenants such as BPSA, the Life Healthcare Group, Thebe Investment Corporation, ARUP, Metier, Credo Wealth and Sony have decided to relocate their corporate offices to Oxford Parks. All buildings within Oxford Parks will be designed to meet a minimum 4-Star Green Star rating. In Oxford Parks, sustainable technology becomes a lifestyle and not just a passing trend. We are delighted and honored to welcome to Oxford Parks, both Radisson RED and the investor, RDC Properties Limited, and are confident that soon both will experience and be part of this uniquely compelling urban space”.

Guido Giachetti, Executive Chairman of the Realestate Group future owners of the hotel, via RDC Properties Limited, commented: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Radisson Hotel Group in bringing the first Radisson RED hotel to Johannesburg, injecting a new life into the district through the hotel’s leading and unconventional concepts. This Radisson RED will be a welcome addition to our portfolio of hotels and to our property investments in the Republic of South Africa. As foreign investors based in the SADC region we are pleased to contribute to the growth of this magnificent country through capital inflow and employment creation”.

The new-build, 222-room hotel will comprise of standard studios and suites in bold designs. The hotel will feature the famous Radisson RED food and beverage concepts and social scenes, such as the ‘all day dining’ OUIBar + KTCHN. Following the footsteps of its sister hotel in Cape Town, voted the best rooftop bar in the city, Radisson RED Johannesburg Rosebank will also boast a trendy rooftop bar and terrace. This will also include a swimming pool and fitness room, giving guests various options to unwind, all while basking in the stunning Johannesburg skyline views.

The largest single metropolitan contributor to the national South African economy and home to the largest and busiest airport in Africa, Johannesburg is an important destination for business travelers. Introducing its distinct and quirky meetings and events space to the city, the hotel will offer six event studios, a conference room and a large meeting room – each with high-speed Wi-Fi, the latest audio-visual technology and creative spaces to drive inspiration.

Rosebank is located to the north east of Johannesburg, 4.5km from the Sandton area, and is one of the most popular nodes in the economic capital. The area is connected to the OR Tambo International Airport by the Gautrain, one of the most important mass transportation systems in Africa – providing guests with easy access to the hotel and offices, as well as Greater Johannesburg and Pretoria.

Hilton Opens New Dual-Brand Property in Columbia

Located near the University of South Carolina, Hilton Garden Inn and Home2 Suites by Hilton together welcome guests visiting South Carolina’s capital city

Hilton (NYSE: HLT) today announced the opening of its newest hotel, the dual-branded Hilton Garden Inn Columbia Downtown and Home2 Suites by Hilton Columbia Downtown, bringing a total of 223 new rooms and suites to the Columbia area. The dual-brand hotel complements the strong business and tourism environments in South Carolina’s growing capital city, which now boasts the second-largest population in the state (according to Experience Columbia). 

“As Hilton Garden Inn and Home2 Suites by Hilton continue their strong expansion, we are excited to provide all of their amenities and offerings under one roof in South Carolina’s capital,” said Bill Duncan, global head, All Suites and Focused Service categories, Hilton. “Adding a new dual-brand hotel in Columbia gives business and leisure travelers the variety of price points and value-added amenities they search for when visiting the heart of the Palmetto State.”

Hilton Garden Inn Columbia Downtown and Home2 Suites by Hilton Columbia Downtown is owned and operated by CN Hotels, Inc. Established in 1994, CN Hotels owns and manages a portfolio of 26 high quality hotels throughout the Southeast.  This will be the fourth hotel opened by CN Hotels, Inc. this year, with an additional seven hotels under construction including four which are slated to open by the end of the year.  

The dual-brand concept creates enhanced and larger communal areas than what would be standard at a single-branded property, benefiting both business and leisure travelers.  The property, located at 1615 Gervais St., has two distinct dining areas – each catering to the needs of their respective guests – as well as a shared 24-hour fitness centre and indoor heated pool for guests to unwind. The hotel also offers 4,500 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space that can accommodate up to 600 people. Guests have convenient access to the University of South Carolina, Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, Williams-Brice Stadium, Colonial Life Arena and EdVenture Children’s Museum. 

Guests of Hilton Garden Inn Columbia Downtown will have access to The Shop, a 24-hour, grab-and-go retail space, offering an upscale mix of healthy, indulgent and fresh foods, including salads, gourmet snack items and artisanal food offerings, various beverages and a self-serve speciality coffee bar. Each guest room boasts the brand’s signature bedding, featuring fresh, white duvets and crisp linens; a spacious and clutter-free work desk with an ergonomic desk chair; and an in-room “hospitality centre” with a mini fridge, microwave oven and Keurig® coffee maker. The hotel offers other amenities and services, including complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the property, 24-hour business centre with Print Spots™ remote printing and a state-of-the-art fitness center. 

Home2 Suites by Hilton Columbia Downtown offers all-suite accommodations with fully accessorised kitchens and modular furniture, providing guests the flexibility to customise their suite to their style and preference. The hotel also features complimentary Internet, inviting communal spaces and the Inspired Table, a complimentary daily breakfast that includes more than 400 potential combinations. Guests can also enjoy a heated indoor pool. Home2 Suites by Hilton Columbia Downtown is pet-friendly.  

Hilton Garden Inn Columbia Downtown and Home2 Suites by Hilton Columbia Downtown are a part of Hilton Honors®, the award-winning guest-loyalty program for Hilton’s 17 distinct hotel brands. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose nearly any combination of Points and money to book a stay, an exclusive member discount that can’t be found anywhere else and free standard Wi-Fi. Members also enjoy popular digital tools available exclusively through the industry-leading Hilton Honors mobile app, where Hilton Honors members can check-in, choose their room and access their room using a Digital Key. 

Hilton Garden Inn Columbia Downtown information HERE

Home2 Suites by Hilton Columbia Downtown information HERE

Dukes London appoints Paul Skinner as General Manager

The five-star luxury hotel is thrilled to announce its latest appointment

DUKES LONDON, Mayfair announced the appointment of Paul Skinner as the new General Manager from the 2nd September 2019.

With a 27 years experience within the catering and hospitality sector, Paul joins the five-star hotel from Jumeriah Carlton Tower, London where he held the position of Operations Director.

CEO of DUKES LONDON, Bin Sulayem, has said of Paul’s appointment: “The team and I are delighted to welcome Paul to the DUKES family. I’m sure that Paul will help DUKES LONDON to maintain and enhance its reputation, delivering world-class service and exceptional guest experiences at the hotel”.

Of his new appointment, Paul says, “I am delighted to be joining DUKES LONDON; the hotel is a prestigious establishment and has a long tradition of providing luxury service and hospitality for its customers. It is an honour to be appointed as the General Manager, and I very much look forward to commencing my position in September”.

Located within London’s West End, DUKES LONDON provides 90 guest rooms, 11 suites, a penthouse overlooking Green Park, a Private Members Health Club and Spa, Great British Restaurant and DUKES Bar.

Radisson Hotel Groups signs new Radisson Blu Resort in Ostroda Mazury Lakes, Poland

Radisson Hotel Group has announced an agreement with Polish hotel investor Europlan for a new Radisson Blu resort in Poland. Located in Mazury Lakes, a district known as the ‘land of a thousand lakes’, the Radisson Blu Resort, Ostroda Mazury Lakes offers a resort experience with its own marina and water park. The new property brings the group´s portfolio in Poland to 19 properties across five brands – including Radisson Collection, Radisson Blu, Radisson RED, Radisson and Park Inn by Radisson.

Elie Younes, Executive Vice President & Chief Development Officer, Radisson Hotel Group, said: “Radisson Blu remains the largest upper upscale brand in Europe. We thank our partners for their trust and confidence and look forward to accelerating our expansion journey in Poland; creating opportunities to our guests, owners and employees.” 

“We’re very happy to be able to revive the construction of this great hotel project located amongst the picturesque scenery of Mazury Lakes. We’re looking forward to successfully cooperating with Radisson Hotel Group, which is both an experienced hotel operator in Poland and a renowned global brand. We’re convinced that the hotel and its facilities will attract many leisure and MICE customers, and will become a landmark destination at Mazury Lakes,” added Artur Kozieja, EUROPLAN’s owner and CEO.

Due to open in Q3 2020, the Radisson Blu Resort in Ostroda – Poland’s ninth Radisson Blu hotel – will perfectly complement Radisson Hotel Group’s array of mountain and beach resorts across Poland. The new-build hotel will feature 240 rooms and suites, as well as a lobby bar and one all-day dining restaurant. Guests will be able to enjoy a compact water park, including an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, a sauna and gym zone. 

Focusing on MICE business, the Radisson Blu Resort in Ostroda Mazury Lakes will offer 2,600sqm of space set across a ballroom, four function rooms, seven meeting rooms and a separate area that can be used as a foyer or a function space.

Cambria Hotels debuts in Massachusetts with South Boston Opening

Cambria Hotels an upscale brand franchised by Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE: CHH), announced its official entry into Massachusetts with the opening of the Cambria Hotel Boston, Downtown-South Boston. The hotel is the eighth Cambria location to open its doors this year — together representing over 1,100 upscale rooms. Up to five more Cambria hotels are expected to open in top-tier markets across the country by the end of the year.

A visible addition to the South Boston skyline at 6 West Broadway, the Cambria Hotel Boston, Downtown-South Boston is located within walking distance of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center and the city’s rapidly developing Seaport District — which, in addition to offering numerous shopping, dining, and cultural attractions, is home to major corporations including General Electric, Gillette, and Amazon’s regional technology office. The hotel sits directly across from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Red Line T station, providing easy access to all points in the city, Cambridge, as well as Boston Logan International Airport.

“We couldn’t think of a more fitting place to welcome the Bay State’s first Cambria hotel and continue a busy period for the brand than South Boston — one of the city’s fastest growing neighbourhoods,” said Janis Cannon, senior vice president, upscale brands, Choice Hotels. “The hotel conveys a unique sense of place through dramatic design and architecture, which perfectly bridges the area’s industrial past with the city’s academic spirit. The Cambria Hotel Boston, Downtown-South Boston embodies what resonates with today’s experience-hungry travellers looking for modern, little luxuries, without the guilt.” 

The Cambria Hotel Boston, Downtown-South Boston features unique and upscale amenities that appeal to modern guests, including:

  • A 4,000-square-foot rooftop bar and lounge that offers expansive city views and a full-service menu, including weekend brunch 
  • A bar and café with outdoor seating that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a focus on breakfast-to-go for busy travellers 
  • Multifunction event space with a two-story glass wall overlooking the city skyline for up to 200 people — ideal for weddings or corporate events 
  • Contemporary and sophisticated guest rooms, complete with modern fixtures, abundant lighting and plush bedding 
  • Locally inspired décor that celebrates the neighbourhood’s industrial past as well as New England’s rich literary tradition 
  • Digital plant installation by London-based artist Simon Heijdens, bringing natural elements into the hotel’s urban location 
  • State-of-the-art fitness center

The hotel was developed by City Point Capital, an experienced real estate investor that has developed and designed numerous commercial and residential properties throughout the Greater Boston area, and will be managed by Meyer Jabara Hotels, an award-winning hospitality and management company. 

“Boston is our hometown, so it was important that the hotel reflect the heart and soul of the neighborhood,” said Ryan Sillery, principal and owner, City Point Capital. “We’re proud that the Cambria Hotel Boston, Downtown-South Boston manages to convey a genuine ‘Southie’ experience while embracing the area’s innovative future — and thrilled to work with Choice to bring this hotel to life.”

There are currently more than 45 Cambria hotels open across the U.S. in popular cities, like Chicago; Dallas; Los Angeles; Nashville, Tennessee; New York; New Orleans; Phoenix; and Washington, D.C. The brand is on pace to break its openings record for the second-straight year and is fast approaching 50 open Cambria hotels, including a soon-to-open property in Anaheim, California.

New General Manager Announced at JA Manafaru Maldives

JA Resorts & Hotels announces the appointment of Karen Merrick as General Manager at multi award-winning island resort, JA Manafaru.

JA Resorts & Hotels recently announced the appointment of Scottish National, Karen Merrick to take over the operation of multi award-winning JA Manafaru, the private island resort in the Maldives. Karen is the second female General Manager in the JA Resorts & Hotels portfolio of 8 properties, and currently one of few female General Manager in the Maldives. She joins the JA Manafaru team to maintain the islands longstanding popularity with international guests and to communicate the unique soul of the island with her innate understanding of Maldivian culture and heritage.

Karen’s career spans 30 years across a variety of boutique hotels in the Indian Ocean and Europe. This will be Karen’s fifth leadership role in the Maldives, as she has a personal connection to the area with a home on Addu island with her Maldivian husband, Alim. Prior to joining JA Resorts & Hotels, Karen has spent the last three years running the Song Saa Private Island in Cambodia. with her previous tenures being The Taaras Resort & Spa in Malaysia, Kemang Icon by Alila in Indonesia, Soneva Fushi Resort & Residences, Diva/White Sands Resort & Spa and The Rania Experience – all based in the Maldives and Ackergill Tower, Scotland.

Choice Hotels Appoints Vikas Bhalla as Chief Transformation Officer

Newly created role to advance company’s data-driven culture

Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE: CHH), has announced it has appointed Vikas Bhalla to the newly created role of chief transformation officer.

As a key member of Choice Hotels’ senior executive leadership team reporting directly to President and Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pacious, Bhalla will advance the company’s data-driven culture and lead the corporate strategy, business transformation, and data analytics teams. In addition to identifying new business opportunities, Bhalla will work closely with Pacious to develop strategies that fuel the company’s long-range growth.

“After an extensive search, we’re confident Vikas is the right leader to help position our brands and offerings to appeal to the customer of the future, while expanding the profitability driven by Choice’s platform business,” said Pacious. “As the chief transformation officer, Vikas will further advance our culture of data-informed decision-making, which is core to our business strategy and will remain so in the years ahead.” 

Bhalla has more than 20 years of experience shaping business strategies for large corporations. He joins Choice Hotels from CVS Health, one of the nation’s premier health innovation companies, where he served as vice president, strategy and business development, pricing and analytics. In this capacity, Bhalla was CVS’s core retail strategist, driving both identification & execution of the company’s multi-year growth initiatives across 8,000 locations and e-commerce. Prior to that, Bhalla led several large-scale transformation projects as a principal at Strategy&, now the global strategy consulting business for PwC. Bhalla also was a member of the leadership team at startup technology company Exela Technologies. 

“Choice Hotels is an industry leader with an exciting, long-term vision for the future,” said Bhalla. “I am honored to join this highly effective leadership team and look forward to bringing a fresh perspective on the power of data analytics and customer-centric innovation to advance Choice’s growth strategy, especially as it relates to deepening the company’s relationship with guests.”

Bhalla earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and a Bachelor of Science in electronics engineering from Nagpur University in India. He will be based at Choice Hotels’ Rockville, Maryland, headquarters.

Success is on the menu for innovative, eco-friendly disposable plate firm The Good Plate Company

The war on single-use plastics has found a new ally – The Good Plate Company. Especially when it comes to tackling the colossal amount of rubbish generated by takeaway food outlets, events and festivals.

According to WRAP – the national waste reduction charity – the hospitality sector produces two million tonnes of waste every year.

The Good Plate Company has found a way to manufacture 100% organic, compostable tableware, including eco-friendly disposable plates, bowls and cutlery. The firm’s ambitious plans to roll out its product line has been given a boost through receiving a start up loan and mentoring from Virgin Start Up and the government Start Up Loans fund

This ethical, sustainable tableware is the brainchild of friends Hersh Thaker and Raghav Chandegra.

Company Co-Founder Hersh Thaker said: “We’re pleased to have secured the funding and it acts as further validation that we have a real opportunity to grow in this market.

“Consumers and businesses are increasingly looking for an alternative choice to single-use plastics and are becoming more conscious about their waste. This loan and business support will give us a real opportunity to scale our business and allow us to continue to provide environmentally conscious and quality products and services in this market.”

Not only are items made by The Good Plate Company fully biodegradable, but their production process also uses absolutely no chemicals.

A majority of the firm’s products are made from compressed Areca Palm Leaves. Sourcing this base material is also highly sustainable, as the manufacturing process relies only on naturally fallen leaves. Once these are gathered up and washed, they are dried out then heat pressed to form tableware that’s both ‘green’ and meets food hygiene standards.

The items such as palm leaf disposable plates compost without any assistance, and even if they do get dumped somewhere, they biodegrade quickly and cleanly.

Another important benefit of buying compostable and eco-friendly tableware from The Good Plate Company is that it provides an income for farmers in Shivamogga, South India, where the base material is sourced.

The Start Up Loan received by The Good Plate Company will be used to develop further products, including custom branded tableware, and items produced using sugarcane bagasse as an alternative component.

The UK based company is currently scaling up and hopes that its efforts to tackle single-use plastics will also be a source of further job creation for farmers in Shivamogga and staff in the UK.

DoubleTree by Hilton Debuts New Hotels in Southeast Asia’s Booming Travel Hubs

Newly opened hotels in Bangkok and Phuket amplify the brand’s growth in two of the most visited cities in the world and across the broader Asia Pacific region

With new hotels in Thailand’s premiere travel destinations, DoubleTree by Hilton maintained the brand’s rapid development across Asia Pacific, bolstering the Hilton footprint as the fastest growing hospitality company in the region. Worldwide, DoubleTree by Hilton opened 15 hotels in the first half of the year.

This month, DoubleTree will celebrate the openings of new properties in two of the world’s most visited cities according to Business Insider – No. 1 ranked Bangkok and No. 12 ranked Phuket. Since opening its first property in Thailand with DoubleTree by Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok in 2013, the brand eyes additional development this year as the country continues to see healthy year-over-year growth in both tourism and business travel.

Accommodating business travelers visiting Embassy Row or leisure travellers looking to immerse themselves in Thai culture, DoubleTree by Hilton Ploenchit will open its doors in Bangkok’s city centre with close access to one of the area’s vibrant neighbourhoods. The hotel is neighboured by lively streets, cultural landmarks, trendy nightlife and the Ploenchit BTS Skytrain, offering convenient access to the rest of the city.

The brand also recently opened DoubleTree by Hilton Phuket Banthai Resort, an idyllic tropical getaway to Thailand’s southern beaches that contrasts the bustling metropolitan north and is situated on the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea. The newly converted property sits in the heart of Patong and offers guests a complete resort experience with a number of breathtaking pools and swim-up bars, an array of international cuisines at The Port and The Shore, and for a limited time, will feature a deluxe cookie-themed suite complete with an in-room DoubleTree Cookie bar and cookie scented amenities and décor.

“Asia Pacific continues to be an integral part of the DoubleTree by Hilton growth story, especially during the brand’s 50th anniversary year. In addition to these new properties, we are slated to open close to 100 DoubleTree hotels throughout the region in the coming years, totaling more than 24,000 rooms,” said Shawn McAteer, global head and senior vice president, DoubleTree by Hilton. “Destinations throughout Thailand continue to see an increase in international visitors, and we are excited to extend our warm welcome that guests have come to appreciate.”

“Our momentum in Asia Pacific, which is home to more than half of the world’s youth population, presents a tremendous opportunity for DoubleTree by Hilton to further deepen The Hilton Effect through meaningful career opportunities,” said Sean Wooden, vice president of brand management, Asia Pacific at Hilton. “This year, Hilton has been certified as a Great Place to Work in Thailand and six other countries across Asia Pacific. For the third year running, we also continue to be the top hospitality company to work for in the list of Asia’s Best Multinational Workplaces. With every new DoubleTree by Hilton property that we launch, we open doors to growth and progress for more communities throughout the region.”

DoubleTree by Hilton is the second fastest growing Hilton brand in Asia Pacific behind Hampton by Hilton. Close to half of the DoubleTree global pipeline is in the region, some of which include: DoubleTree by Hilton Napier Hotel & Suites in New Zealand, DoubleTree by Hilton Putrajaya Lakeside in Malaysia and DoubleTree by Hilton Weerawila Rajawarna Resort in Sri Lanka.