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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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Hotels & Resorts

Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! by Marriott opens in Durban

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Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! by Marriott Durban uMhlanga Ridge officially opened this month, making it the first Fire & Ice! by Marriott hotel in KwaZulu-Natal and the fourth in South Africa. A highly anticipated addition to the brand’s fast-growing portfolio, it joins Fire & Ice! by Marriott hotels in Melrose Arch (Johannesburg), Cape Town and Menlyn (Pretoria).

A short drive from King Shaka International Airport, Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! by Marriott Durban uMhlanga Ridge is nestled along the picturesque KwaZulu-Natal coastline in the sought-after seaside town of uMhlanga, just north of Durban. In close proximity to the breathtakingly beautiful uMhlanga Rocks Beach, the Gateway Theatre Mall and the Moses Mabhida Stadium, it provides easy access to the region’s resplendent natural beauty, rich cultural heritage as well as its burgeoning energy and vibe.

Featuring the hallmarks of the Fire & Ice! by Marriott brand such as comedy and DJ nights, bold décor, and associates who go the extra mile, it is set to transform the hotel scene in uMhlanga and emerge as the new coolest hotspot. A Durban-inspired menu, a retro VW combi, DJ booth, and design elements linked to a beach and surf theme, lend the hotel its own unique flavour and twist.

“Durban is a dynamic, cosmopolitan city with a need for a hotel brand that matches its spirit. We are thrilled to introduce Fire & Ice! by Marriott brand with its trend-setting aesthetic fused with local influence to the thriving town of uMhlanga. Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! by Marriott Durban uMhlanga Ridge will provide the quirky, modern vibe that guests and locals in this area are looking for. The property reflects our agility and adaptability to identify and transform a property to suit an evolving destination,” said Volker Heiden, Area Vice-President for Marriott International.

Previously a Protea Hotel by Marriott, Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! by Marriott Durban uMhlanga Ridge has been rebranded after a complete transformation

“This entailed heavy-duty renovations, an aesthetic metamorphosis, and a complete change in operations. Fire & Ice! by Marriott hotels dare to be different − they are progressive and fun, and while each hotel is individual in its personality, it is this edge that unites them under the brand. We had to balance that in creating this beautifully sassy hotel,” said the designer of Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! by Marriott Durban uMhlanga Ridge, Peter de Klerk.

Guests are welcomed into a refreshed lobby that brings to life the vibe of the Fire & Ice! by Marriott brand, with mixed seating, a DJ booth and a TV wall. The new reception area features three pods and a dedicated guest relations desk. The outdoor deck features a retractable awning, three exterior pods for relaxing and dining, and a swimming pool. The VW combi completes the Fire & Ice! by Marriott atmosphere.

205 completely renovated chic and stylish guest rooms offer both comfort and thoughtful amenities including complimentary Wi-Fi. Guests can enjoy a sumptuous buffet breakfast at the Breakfast Room on the first floor and choose indoor seating, one of the two private dining rooms or the outdoor deck. Whether you’re swinging by for a crafted cocktail or looking for an indulgent delicious meal, the stylish restaurant, which features sophisticated neutral décor and delicious global cuisine prepared in an open kitchen offers the ideal venue with both indoor and a scenic outdoor patio seating option. The new menu reflects a strong African focus rooted in KwaZulu-Natal’s culinary specialties. Guests can expect a fresh take on the likes of bunny chow and curry, with a Fire & Ice! twist and elegance as well the brand’s signature (egg-ceptional) Fire & Ice! By Marriott breakfast options.

No Fire & Ice! by Marriott hotel would be complete without a strong link to music. Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! by Marriott Durban uMhlanga Ridge will host Friday DJ nights, featuring top local and national DJs. The hotel will also share the brand’s renowned sense of humour, with regular comedy nights playing host to South Africa’s top comedians.

“We have put considerable thought into making this property utterly unique, while still retaining the high standard of guest experience and professional and efficient service for which Fire & Ice! by Marriott hotels are known. This hotel will do more than just provide a room or a place to eat. We’re a lifestyle hotel that curates experiences and we look forward to welcoming guests and visitors and showcase this new-age take on hospitality,” said Thuthukile Moloto, General Manager of Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! by Marriott Durban uMhlanga Ridge.

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Unveiling Twenty Grosvenor Square: Four Seasons Private Residences

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Finchatton, the renowned property development and design firm, in partnership with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, the world’s leading luxury hospitality company, today unveil the first look at Twenty Grosvenor Square, A Four Seasons Residence, the very first standalone Private Residences from Four Seasons.

Located on one of London’s finest squares in the heart of Mayfair, the landmark address of historical significance offers 37 residences, masterfully designed by Finchatton, in collaboration with award winning architects Squire & Partners, with high-touch, legendary service and an incredible complement of amenities provided by Four Seasons. The residences – a combination of three, four and five bedroom apartments – are inspired by the building’s historic past and include exquisite design features such as elegant classical drawing rooms, soaring ceilings, media rooms, family and professional kitchens, and separate access for staff.

The 250,000 square feet (23,225 square metres) prestigious development also includes a private wine cellar; a spa with a 80 foot (25 metre) swimming pool; a treatment suite with steam room and sauna; vitality pool; a state-of-the-art fitness centre; crèche; games room; a cinema; business suite; garden library and landscaped courtyard garden.

The Lifestyle Experience at Twenty Grosvenor Square

Setting new standards in luxury London real estate, Twenty Grosvenor Square is the world’s first standalone Four Seasons Private Residences. Along with the highly personalised services and amenities one would expect at a luxury hotel or resort, Four Seasons also acts as the property managers of the residences once open, one of the only branded residential companies to do so.

Twenty Grosvenor Square combines the best of hotel services and private ownership, with the assurance that each home is being cared for to the highest standards of quality by Four Seasons. Together, Finchatton and Four Seasons are offering a product that is far beyond anything seen on London’s residential market to date. 

“Twenty Grosvenor Square marks an exciting milestone for our brand, debuting Four Seasons first ever standalone property in a top luxury market, within one of the best addresses in London, and in a building with a remarkable history,” says Paul White, President, Residential, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “With our partners at Finchatton, the building has been exquisitely restored and, together with Four Seasons dedicated service and property management, residents will be immersed in the world of Four Seasons with an exclusive lifestyle experience.”

Andrew Dunn and Alex Michelin, Co-founders, Finchatton remarked, “Our vision for Twenty Grosvenor Square was to deliver a lifestyle that transcends any other residential scheme in London. Passionate about craftsmanship, architecture and great design, we wanted to deliver a building with exceptional amenities and the highest level of service in the very heart of London’s most desirable postcode.”

About Twenty Grosvenor Square, A Four Seasons Residence

Residents of Twenty Grosvenor Square, A Four Seasons Residence have access to a concierge, security, catering and in-residence dining, housekeeping, a world-class spa, fitness and wellness facilities and the option of membership to Mayfair’s most sought-after members’ clubs including Annabel’s and Harry’s Bar, as well as Wentworth golf and country club.

Residents also benefit from a designated Four Seasons Director of Residences. Acting exclusively for the residents of Twenty Grosvenor Square, the Director of Residences’ enviable little black book of contacts, from the world’s leading personal trainers and internationally renowned nutritionists to top executive chefs, will enhance the day-to-day life of residents at Twenty Grosvenor Square.

Twenty Grosvenor Square’s Historic Roots

Reclaiming its title as the most coveted address in London, Twenty Grosvenor Square has a rich and storied past. Once the Headquarters of the US Naval Forces in Europe, and from where General Dwight Eisenhower orchestrated the D-Day landings during the Second World War, the square itself has been home to royalty, prime ministers, actors, musicians and artists and featured in literary masterpieces from Austen, Dickens and Wilde.

Masterful architectural detailing, both inside and out from award-winning architectural practice Squire & Partners, acknowledges the history and character of the building. Twenty Grosvenor Square has been lovingly created behind the retained historical façade of Grosvenor Square – which has been extended with a contemporary stepped mansard – a new façade on North Audley Street drawing from the rich history and context of the area.

Henry Squire, Partner, Squire & Partners says, “Timeless architecture is understanding that a building is part of an evolutionary process that connects the past and future in the present.  For Twenty Grosvenor Square, the past and future are connected with the creation of a new façade intertwined with a retained façade, through contemporary use of traditional materials, reinterpreting classical proportions and details in a modern way and using current day technologies to re-imagine ancient craft.”

Benefitting from Finchatton’s nearly 20 years of experience of designing and building some of the world’s most exceptional homes, the vision for Twenty Grosvenor Square is best described as sophisticated, timeless elegance with an emphasis on traditional craftsmanship and exquisite finishes.

Jiin Kim-Inoue, Design Director at Finchatton, and the Finchatton team have carefully choreographed a perfect sequence of spaces, from the grand entrance lobby and extensive amenity areas through to each square foot of every individual residence. Vast windows flood the rooms with natural light, while voluminous proportions and meticulously considered layouts create spaces that are grand and yet utterly warm and welcoming.

With an emphasis on traditional craftsmanship and exquisite finishes Twenty Grosvenor Square sees unrivalled excellence in choice of materials and interior furnishings. From Italian book-matched marble and Tai Ping silk rugs to Loro Piana cashmere wall panels and De Gournay hand-painted silk wallpaper, the Finchatton design team has travelled the world to source materials and meet suppliers. Further works have also been commissioned from the likes of cutting-edge Czech manufacturer LASVIT and British leather-etching artist Mark Evans.

At Twenty Grosvenor Square, A Four Seasons Residence, Finchatton has again reinforced its reputation as London’s leading property design firm with a profound understanding of how people want to live, while Four Seasons solidifies its position as a leader in luxury lifestyle and branded residential offerings.

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Hotels & Resorts

Marriott Bonvoy Brings Once-In-A-Lifetime Manchester United Experiences to Asia Pacific

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Members of Marriott International’s travel program, Marriott Bonvoy can enjoy an exclusive series of experiences during Manchester United’s pre-season tour in Perth, Singapore and Shanghai. As part of the multi-year marketing partnership between Marriott International and Manchester United, over 130 million Marriott Bonvoy members can look forward to once-in-a-lifetime exclusive experiences with Manchester United players and legends – including the chance to travel on the team’s exclusive charter plane.

“With Marriott Bonvoy Moments, we are committed to offering differentiated and unique experiences that fuel the passions of our members. Our partnership with Manchester United drives our members’ passion for sports by providing VIP access to the games and opportunities to be closer to their sporting idols,” highlighted Alan Tsui, Vice President, Digital, Loyalty and Portfolio Marketing, Marriott International Asia Pacific. “Together with Marriott Tours & Activities, we offer approximately 120,000 experiences in 1,000 destinations available for purchase or by redeeming points, giving members more ways to redeem their points for travel, sports, music, and culinary experiences they are most passionate about.”

Unveiled earlier this year, the partnership between Marriott International and Manchester United allows Marriott Bonvoy members to look forward to creating unforgettable moments and receiving unmatched member benefits – including Manchester United experiences during the team’s visit to Perth, Singapore and Shanghai from today till 25 July 2019 through Marriott Bonvoy Moments. Marriott Bonvoy Moments gives members exclusive and VIP access to concerts, culinary experiences, premier sporting events and more — starting at only 1,000 points. Members may redeem their points for either fixed-price experiences or auction-style experiences.

Marriott Bonvoy Moments with Manchester United in Asia Pacific
With the Manchester United partnership, Marriott Bonvoy members will have the opportunity to partake in local experiences with Manchester United players and legends, which includes:

Manchester United’s Pre-Season Tour kick off in Perth, Australia – Marriott Bonvoy members can get closer to the action with access to exclusive experience with Manchester United Legends Bryan Robson and Denis Irwin and acclaimed chef Guy Grossi at Garum. During the matches against Perth Glory and Leeds United, members will enjoy a VIP hospitality experience within the VIP Sports Bar at Optus Stadium.

Manchester United Pre-Season Tour Match vs. Inter Milan in Singapore – Marriott Bonvoy members can enjoy a VIP hospitality experience in the Manchester United suite at Singapore National Stadium. Members will also have access to an exclusive experience with Manchester United Legend, Bryan Robson. In addition to a meet and greet, members can enjoy a local Mooncake making workshop with Robson and Executive Chef Bryan Wong from Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant.

Manchester United’s Pre-Season Tour in Shanghai – Already sold out, the ultimate fan experience will see two Marriott Bonvoy members experience the Manchester United Pre-Season Tour in Asia like a first team player by joining the team on their exclusive charter plane as they travel from Singapore to Shanghai. Additionally, they will have access to a Manchester United training session, have their pictures taken pitch side with a Club Legend and enjoy hospitality to the match against Tottenham Hotspur F.C. Other experiences available in Shanghai include training at the Manchester United Soccer School for children and adults with Dwight Yorke; as well as VIP hospitality at the match against Tottenham Hotspur F.C, which are still available to bid on.

Marriott Bonvoy is poised to elevate the experience for members with their favourite Manchester United players and legends.

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