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Hyatt and BTG Homeinns Unveil New Hospitality Brand Under Joint Venture

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Following the pioneering joint venture announcement in February, Hyatt and BTG Homeinns Hotels Group continue to make great strides with the unveiling of a new hospitality brand on Wednesday, June 19. Leveraging the respective strengths and resources of Hyatt and Homeinns, the UrCove brand is positioned to compete in the currently underserved upper-midscale segment. UrCove is an entirely homegrown hotel brand, built specifically to meet Chinese travelers’ preferences and growing expectations for a seamless, comfortable and premium travel experience in the upper-midscale market.

Announced at the China Hotels and Tourism (CHAT) conference today, UrCove, pronounced as “your cove”, is a metaphorical reference to having a safe harbor for a boat while on a journey at sea. The Chinese name Yifei (逸扉) also takes on the same concept of providing comfort, assurance and an overall feeling of being at home for travelers. The logo design of the UrCove brand uses a streamlined approach—the elegant C-shaped symbol references a bay as well as waves of the vast sea. The arching details within it echo UrCove hotels being the reliable shelter, as the brand aims to provide a cozy sanctuary for travelers to recharge with excellent quality and care backed by Hyatt.

“As we commemorate our 50th year in Asia Pacific and Greater China region, we are committed to maximizing our core business to drive purposeful growth and cater to the high end travelers of every segment we serve,” said Stephen Ho, president of Greater China, global operations, Hyatt. “Given China’s growing economic importance and the phenomenal growth of its middle-class segment, the UrCove brand strengthens our representation in the underserved upper-midscale segment, and we believe that this locally developed brand will advance our commitment to this important market.”

Data released by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of The People’s Republic of China showed that domestic tourism revenue increased by 13% in 2018, bringing in a solid revenue of CNY 5.05 trillion. The growing middle-class population and a government policy to boost domestic consumption continues to ensure long-term growth for the travel and hospitality market.

“We are one step closer to fulfilling our commitment to elevate the business travel experience of the growing upper-midscale segment,” said David Sun, general manager of BTG Homeinns Hotels Group, chairman & chief executive officer of Homeinns Hotel Group. “The UrCove brand is designed to better serve local consumers. By combining our extensive knowledge and vast network of the local market with Hyatt’s experience in premium care and hospitality, we are on track towards setting a new benchmark for hospitality in China.”

UrCove hotels will cater to the ‘Road Warriors’ – a term used to identify an extension within the upper-midscale segment of frequent business travelers. These highly mobile travelers often seek out efficiency and comfort but are limited in opportunities to get the best out of their travel experience. With its population expected to reach 440 million by 2020 and continuously rising income levels, China’s middle class is greatly underserved when traveling for work.

Located in highly accessible locations in gateway cities where travelers can get the best business and leisure experiences, UrCove hotels will adopt best-in-class design. Functional business space and practical amenities will allow travelers to manage work tasks while exploring their host city with ease. Leveraging Hyatt’s highly renowned food and beverage excellence, UrCove hotels will also provide delicious food including a nutritious breakfast with lavish choices to ensure a whole day’s energy for work, as well as group or business dinner options. The first two UrCove hotels are expected to open in Shanghai and Beijing by late 2020.

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Hyatt Announces Plans for its First Hotel in Cyprus

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Hyatt Hotels Corporation announced today that a Hyatt affiliate has entered into a management agreement with Anolia Holdings Limited for the first Hyatt hotel on the island of Cyprus, Grand Hyatt Limassol. The 300-room luxury resort is expected to open in 2025 and signifies Hyatt’s continued growth into Europe’s leading travel destinations.

The new-build beachfront resort will be situated at a Blue Flag beach east of Limassol, one of the island’s most cosmopolitan cities. With a prime beachfront location on the southern coast of the island and 300 bold, light-filled rooms offering sea views, Grand Hyatt Limassol will be a captivating destination within a destination featuring a stunning 43,000-square-foot (4,000 square meter) beach club including premium spa and fitness facilities as well as an indoor pool and two outdoor pools. The resort will additionally offer five elevated food and beverage concepts as well as 15,000 square feet (1,400 square meters) of event space. Furthermore, Grand Hyatt Limassol will be a key element of Zaria Resort, a mixed-use luxury development, comprised of residential apartments and private villas totaling more than 861,100 square feet (80,000 square meters). 

“We’re delighted to work with Anolia Holdings Limited to bring the Grand Hyatt brand, known for its access to iconic locales, to the island of Cyprus, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe,” said Takuya Aoyama, vice president development for Europe and Africa, Hyatt. “Grand Hyatt Limassol represents a key element of our growth strategy in Europe as we continue to seek opportunities to extend our resort footprint in the Mediterranean.”

Only a 30-minute drive from Larnaca International Airport, the hotel will bring with it the exceptional brand of luxury and vibrant design that the Grand Hyatt brand delivers to guests worldwide. Arriving guests will drive past the lush greenery of the hotel’s 150,000-square-foot (14,000-square-meter) public garden and promenades and enjoy a spectacular view of the Mediterranean. The resort promises to be a celebration of all the exquisite details of Cypriot culture, offering guests a stay beyond the ordinary through magnificent moments of more and superior service.

“We are thrilled to team-up with Hyatt on this development,” said Alexander Iakovlev, director of Anolia Holdings “The Grand Hyatt brand is synonymous with luxury and creating unique experiences for guests which remain authentic to the destination itself. In addition, given Limassol’s status as a financial capital of Cyprus, the hotel will not only attract leisure guests but may also prove popular for business travelers, conference-goers and event attendees. We are eager to see Grand Hyatt Limassol become the heart of the Zaria Resort development.”

The announcement of Grand Hyatt Limassol follows a significant expansion in Hyatt’s brand footprint in Europe over the last 12 months. Nine new hotels including Great Scotland Yard, Hyatt Centric Dublin, Andaz Vienna Am Belvedere, Hyatt Regency Chantilly and more opened in the region in 2019, with four more additions in Barcelona, Manchester and Frankfurt this year. These plans for a hotel in Cyprus represent a key opportunity in Europe as it builds upon Hyatt’s existing and upcoming portfolio in Malta, Athens Thessaloniki and Izmir. The island has furthermore proven to attract travelers from Hyatt’s key strategic markets including the UK, Russia, Greece, Germany and the Middle East.

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Expansive Gaylord Hotels Re-Open Marking a Positive Return for the Hospitality Industry

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Today marks a significant milestone in the return to business of the U.S. hotel industry, as three sprawling resorts reopen their doors. Ready to welcome back travelers this summer, Gaylord Rockies in Colorado, Gaylord Palms in Florida and Gaylord Opryland in Tennessee join the recently opened Gaylord Texan to offer four hotel and entertainment destinations that provide a multitude of experiences within acres of indoor space as well as outdoor pool play. Diverse summer programming includes family-friendly activities and live entertainment for all ages while socially distanced; the hallmarks of what consumers need from a summer escape in today’s travel environment.

In accordance with Marriott’s “Commitment to Clean” protocols, the resorts will provide enhanced cleaning technology, hospital-grade disinfectants, attendants dedicated to sanitizing frequently throughout the day, new social distancing protocols, and hundreds of new cleaning processes to take care of guests while they enjoy the resorts’ amenities. Additionally, the Gaylord Hotels ownership group, Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. selected Vanderbilt University Medical Center, a leader in medical research, as its official wellness advisor. These combined efforts will further support the multi-phased health and sanitation plans, procedures, and employee training.

Frequent guests of Gaylord Hotels also know the brand to have phenomenal convention and meeting space. As the meetings industry focuses on the right way back to business, Gaylord Hotels have taken the opportunity to introduce new processes that will help meeting planners understand and navigate what business gatherings could look like in the months ahead. Each property has 400,000 square feet or more of meeting space, and as events reschedule, the hotels are working with groups to embrace and incorporate new technology such as live streamingand contactless options. Marriott’s Meeting Services App allows meeting planners to request meeting room adjustments like temperature, set up and audio visual services, as well as review billing, and Marriott Bonvoy Members can access Mobile Check-In via the Marriott Bonvoy app. Gaylord Hotels’ new meeting and event protocols include changes to banquet guidelines and meeting space. Banquet food and beverage standard updates include the elimination of self-service buffets and reduced seating at dining tables from 10 persons to six. Meeting space guideline changes include reduced capacity, adding chair space for theater style set ups, and additional sanitization of all meeting room touch points, hard services and chairs.

“The reopening of the Gaylord Hotels marks a key moment for the industry. These remarkable hotels have customized programming for guests, plenty of space and are innovating with technology appropriate for the times,” said Mike Stengel, Senior Vice President of Gaylord Hotels at Marriott International.

Providing “everything in one place” for visitors, Gaylord Hotels are delivering re-imagined summer experiences and amenities to meet the demand of drive-market leisure travelers. Highlights of these summer offerings include:

Gaylord Rockies – Aurora, CO

Visitors will experience a summer escape full of adventure, from a Colorado Explorer Scavenger Hunt where children and adults alike become real-life explorers, to the Grand Lodge featuring a winding walkway, tranquil lake and bubbling rapids. The resort’s water experience, Arapahoe Springs, features indoor and outdoor pools, three waterslides, and a 720-foot long lazy river.

Gaylord Palms – Kissimmee, FL

Guests can relax and soak up the Florida sun at Cypress Springs Water Park featuring a zero-entry swimming pool, multi-level water playground, racing slides, drop slide and FlowRider® surf simulator. In addition to spaced pool seating, guests can rent private cabanas that include shaded seating, flat-screen televisions, refrigerators and snacks. Premium guaranteed pool seating will also be available for purchase.

Gaylord Opryland – Nashville, TN

Visitors of the “Music City” resort will be entertained by live musical performances, fountain and light shows, indoor flatboat rides, garden tours, scavenger hunts, and golf at Gaylord Springs Golf Links. Guests can also book packages that include access into SoundWaves™ Water Attraction, a 4-acre upscale indoor/outdoor resort water attraction featuring a wave pool with 37-foot video screen, double FlowRider® surf stimulator, multi-level play structures, lazy rivers, multiple winding waterslides and adults-only exclusive pools and bars.

Gaylord Texan – Grapevine, TX

Guests can splash into Texas-size fun at Paradise Springs, a 10-acre outdoor pool complex offering a 600-foot long lazy river, 6,000-square-foot family lagoon, multi-level water playground, zip-lining, multiple winding waterslides, and plush private cabanas for rent. Summer activities include canvas painting, morning yoga, live music performances, scavenger hunts and more.

In addition to the family-friendly events and outdoor pools, each of the four reopened Gaylord Hotels provide acres of airy indoor atriums under soaring glass ceilings, kept at a comfortable 72 degrees, where visitors can roam, play, and discover lush gardens and waterfalls – all while supporting social distancing protocols.

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The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko Opens its Doors Amidst a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Japan

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The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C today announced the opening of the latest hotel to join its luxury Asia Pacific portfolio, The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko. The property – set amidst a UNESCO World Heritage Site – introduces a new level of luxury to the destination, with an experience marked by an emphasis on immersing oneself in the majestic natural surroundings.

Ideally located in the Northern Kanto region of Japan, The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko is set two and a half hours north of Tokyo, accessible by rail or car, and is a true oasis promising access to a breadth of outdoor activities and cultural experiences. It features many natural treasures including the Kegon Falls and an array of famous Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. Nikko, and the surrounding area, has long been known as a holy place and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for the cultural, religious, and architectural significance of its richly decorated shrines and temples. Perched along Lake Chuzenji and Mount Nantai, guests can easily access prominent scenic attractions, such as Nikko National Park, where the hotel is located, as well as the UNESCO World Heritage designated area.

“Following much anticipation surrounding its debut, we are thrilled to finally open the doors to The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko and to continue the growth of the luxury segment in Japan,” said Rajeev Menon, President Asia Pacific (excluding Greater China), Marriott International. “Today marks an extremely monumental day for our brand and the entire company as we set the bar in luxury travel, embracing the new normal, while consistently instilling confidence in travel amongst all of our guests.”

Taking cues from its picturesque surroundings, the hotel articulates graceful Japanese design through a modern lens to bring the natural beauty of Nikko indoors. Earthy materials such as woods and stones permeate the property and are enhanced by streaming natural light. The hotel’s 94 spacious guest rooms and suites all feature a private balcony that flows seamlessly with an engawa lounge area, offering an expanded space for guests to take in the striking scenery surrounding the hotel.

Though nature takes center stage at The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko, Japanese tradition and craftsmanship guide the property’s four distinct dining experiences: The Japanese Restaurant offers all-day dining and showcases the vibrant elements of Japanese cuisine; Lakehouse uses fresh, local ingredients to create imaginative Western dishes in a tranquil setting; The Bar, is a sophisticated haven of relaxation where local ingredients are highlighted in original cocktails celebrating the culture, nature and spirituality of the ancient city; and The Lobby Lounge is the ideal place to unwind, where visitors can enjoy light bites and Afternoon Tea overlooking a picturesque garden. Ingredients from local purveyors find their way onto plates and into glasses, with every dish and drink a reflection of the culture’s appreciation for beauty and design. This acknowledgement is further showcased by exclusively crafted pottery by the well-established Mashiko pottery artists, GENDO, or by traditional wood carving motifs created by the first female wood carving artists in the 400-year history of the shrines and temples.

An urban sanctuary of wellness, the Spa at The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko showcases treatments inspired by the abundance of natural revitalizing elements and the rich heritage of the Nikko region within four specialized treatment rooms. The hotel is the first Ritz-Carlton property to feature an authentic hot-springs experience in the Japanese onsen tradition. Guests are invited to enjoy the spacious indoor and open-air hot spring baths, where therapeutic thermal waters drawn from the springs of nearby Yumoto Onsen will rejuvenate their body and mind. The onsen experience promises the ultimate holistic journey, with a secluded tension-melting soak before any of the supremely relaxing and personalized treatments.

Guests of The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko will feel embraced by the traditions and practices of the local culture and surrounding natural environment, and enjoy the highly tailored and authentic service for which the brand is known. Further enhancing the hotel’s meditative and spiritual setting, guests are invited to participate in a nightly meditation. Every day at dusk, the lobby area will be transformed into a place of spiritual respite, offering a moment to reset and appreciate the day that has passed. Upon departure, guests will receive a sacred omamori (Japanese amulet), their own keepsake memento and a wish for safe travel.

Taking full advantage of its location within Nikko National Park, a destination revered for its scenic beauty as well as the splendid architecture of its UNESCO-designated Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, the hotel offers a wide selection of activities that showcase the unique offerings of its highland setting. Visitors can choose from a collection of unforgettable excursions ranging from cycling through protected wetlands, to strolling through the precincts of centuries-old sanctuaries, meditating under waterfalls, ascending their frozen cascades in winter, and more. Entwined with local culture, the hotel also offers guests the opportunity to master the Japanese skill of furoshiki wrapping, witness a mystical temple fire ceremony or enjoy the sounds of drums and Japanese flute music at a sacred ritual ceremonial dance. Spanning nature, culture, spirituality, and Ritz-Kids programming categories, there is something for curious explorers, thrill-seekers and everyone in between.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer an elevated level of luxury and the first of its kind to be located in the sublime mountain region of Nikko,” said Jennie Toh, Vice President, Brand, Asia Pacific, Marriott International. “Our Ladies and Gentlemen at The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko are looking forward to welcoming guests and providing enriching, authentic experiences that truly embrace the local culture and destination.”

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