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Check-In From the Skies: Waldorf Astoria Arrives in Dubai’s Financial Centre

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Today, the highly anticipated Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) opens its doors, joining two other Waldorf Astoria properties in the UAE and reinforcing the brand as the pinnacle of luxury in the region. The 275-room hotel is a welcome addition to Dubai’s bustling financial district, bringing a slice of the French Riviera with its stylish rooftop bar and pool, a piece of New York City with acclaimed restaurant Bull & Bear and a timeless design that evokes the elegance of the 1960s.

Waldorf Astoria DIFC occupies the 18th to 55th floors of the Burj Daman, a complex featuring residences and office towers. Guests will enjoy a unique reception and check-in experience on the 18th floor, which is also home to the hotel’s dining and wellness facilities and acts as the true heartbeat of the hotel.  All 275 guest rooms, including 46 suites and 28 residential suites, offer breathtaking, unobstructed views of the downtown Dubai skyline, which can be viewed through floor-to-ceiling windows in each room. Guests can reach The Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Fountain within minutes during their stay in one of Dubai’s most vibrant districts.

“We are delighted to expand our luxury presence in the region with the opening of Waldorf Astoria DIFC which is located in an important economic hub within the region,” said Rudi Jagersbacher, President, Middle East, Africa & Turkey, Hilton. “Earlier this year, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum approved the launch of DIFC 2.0 which will add 13 million square feet of space to the Centre. We are pleased to be part of this rapidly growing district and look forward to delivering unparalleled experiences to guests staying in DIFC.”

Inspired by the iconic architecture, lifestyle and mid-modern style of the 1960s, the hotel exudes a contemporary elegance and understated luxury. With its stylish furniture, multifunctional design peppered with marble, ebony, brass and bronze materials, the hotel boasts a sleek and contemporary look.

In line with Waldorf Astoria’s legacy of culinary expertise, Waldorf Astoria DIFC is primed to be a best-in-class dining destination. All restaurants and bars are located on the 18th floor, a stunning location from which to view the city. 

Bull & Bear: Inspired by the original once located in the Waldorf Astoria New York, Bull & Bear is the hotel’s signature restaurant which offers a twist on the legendary eatery. Diners can enjoy imaginative cuisine in a stylish, relaxed setting.

St Trop: An oasis in the heart of the city, St. Trop serves up a slice of the French Riviera in DIFC. This stylish rooftop lounge ⁠— with its pool, whirlpool, timber decking and bright colours ⁠— is perfect for drinks and light bites from day to night. Truly an urban escape, St Trop brings laidback poolside chic to Dubai’s financial district.

Peacock Alley: Peacock Alley is an elegant lounge and bar ideal for both sophisticated gatherings and informal gatherings. The term “Peacock Alley” was coined to portray the daily promenade of people through the original colonnade connecting The Waldorf and The Astoria hotels in New York City. The iconic venue is present at all Waldorf Astoria hotels worldwide ⁠— and this historical part of New York heritage is now in DIFC. 

For those looking to unwind, the Waldorf Astoria Spa ⁠— with its floatation tank, hydrobath, hammam and Vichy shower ⁠— is a sanctuary of relaxation in the middle of the city. Secluded on the 18th floor, the spa offers four treatment suites and the hotel’s fitness centre offers state-of-the-art equipment and views of Dubai’s skyline from 18 floors up.

The hotel offers five elegant, innovative settings, including a unique library concept which houses an open kitchen. The hotel also features spacious meeting rooms, a grand ballroom with a pre-function area and a sophisticated boardroom that is perfect for corporate meetings. All spaces have a residential, personal feel, providing the ideal setting for every type of event.

“We are thrilled to bring Waldorf Astoria to DIFC and offer True Waldorf Service in such a thriving and dynamic location within the city,” said Dino Michael, Global Head, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts. “From Bangkok to Amsterdam, Waldorf Astoria properties are set in landmark locations all over the world, and Waldorf Astoria DIFC is a remarkable addition to our growing portfolio in the Middle East and beyond.”

Waldorf Astoria DIFC joins two award-winning Waldorf Astoria properties in the UAE ⁠— Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah and Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah ⁠— and is the brand’s first city-based hotel in the country. Like all Waldorf Astoria properties in the world, Waldorf Astoria DIFC offers True Waldorf Service: graceful, anticipatory service from the moment a guest books through checkout. 

Waldorf Astoria DIFC is part of Hilton Honors, the award-winning guest-loyalty program for Hilton’s 17 distinct hotel brands. Members who book directly 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, free standard Wi-Fi and the Hilton Honors mobile app. Book direct at Hilton.com, through the Hilton Honors app or through other official Hilton channels for more perks and a price match guarantee.

To celebrate the hotel’s opening, Hilton Honors members will earn an additional 5000 Points per night, with a minimum stay of three nights ⁠— for bookings through 30 December 2019, when booking directly with Hilton.

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St. Regis Hotels Debuts On Venice’s Esteemed Grand Canal

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St. Regis Hotels & Resorts today announced the debut of The St. Regis Venice, located steps away from Piazza San Marco and boasting the largest waterfrontage in Venice. The opening follows a two-year, full-scale renovation, restoring the grandeur of the former Grand Hotel Britannia, which opened in 1895 – the same year as the inaugural Venice Biennale. The hotel offers 169 guestrooms and suites, many of which boast private terraces or Juliet balconies for sweeping views of Venice’s iconic landmarks. Situated across the Grand Canal from Punta della Dogana, the hotel marries its celebrated heritage with the St. Regis brand’s modern design and bespoke service throughout a unique collection of five Venetian palaces, with the oldest dating back to the 17th century. The hotel’s spacious secluded garden sets the hotel apart, making it a lifestyle destination where guests and locals alike can enjoy remarkable views of the Grand Canal. The St. Regis Venice marks the brand’s third location in Italy, joining The St. Regis Florence and The St. Regis Rome.

Venice is one of the world’s most inimitable cities; one which has inspired royalty, artists, merchants and jet setters alike for more than fifteen centuries,” said Jenni Benzaquen, Vice President of Luxury Brands – Europe, Marriott International. “The St. Regis Venice unites the captivating spirit of the city with the timeless sophistication and service of the brand, re-interpreting Venice’s rich history through a modern lens.”

From its ideal location at the mouth of the Grand Canal, The St. Regis Venice offers unparalleled vistas of some of Venice’s most celebrated landmarks, including the Santa Maria della Salute Basilica and the Punta della Dogana Museum. Behind the hotel lies Calle XXII Marzo, a street which is home to elite boutiques and contemporary art galleries, which allows for seamless access to the Grand Teatro La Fenice, the city’s temple to opera. With Piazza San Marco a four-minute walk from the hotel, guests will find Venice’s famed attractions within easy reach.

Throughout its storied history, The St. Regis Venice, in its various guises, has played host to a roster of illustrious guests, global influencers and tastemakers. The five ‘palazzi’ that make up the hotel enjoy a position of privilege overlooking the Grand Canal, with Badoer Tiepolo being the oldest palazzo, which dates back to the 17th century. By the 19th century, palazzi Tiepolo, Barozzi and Regina were converted into the Grand Hotel Britannia, more recently known as Hotel Europa & Regina. The Grand Hotel Britannia attracted notable intellectuals and socialites as well as renowned painters J.M.W. Turner, John Singer Sargent and Claude Monet, who in the autumn of 1908 was inspired by the hotel’s spectacular views during his stay as a guest and worked to capture the passage of light in his artwork. It is recorded in the book “Monet in Venice” by Philippe Piguet that Claude Monet’s wife, Alice, remarked in her daily letters to her daughter during their stay, “the views from our hotel room are the most magnificent of all Venice, and it’s all for Monet!”The hotel was also the first in Venice to have electricity in every room.

Evolutionary and Avant-Garde: A Modern-Day Venice, by Design
Led by London-based interior design studio Sagrada, The St. Regis Venice boasts 129 guestrooms and 40 suites with a third of the rooms overlooking the hotel’s luxurious gardens, as well as the Grand Canal. Following an extensive restoration, each room has been reverently furnished to cherish the artistic and cultural heritage of the building, while also embracing the evolution of La Serenissima and the St. Regis brand’s spirit of modern glamour. The exquisitely-designed suites include a two-bedroom, art-inspired Presidential Suite – a true contemporary artist’s residence overlooking the Grand Canal – and a three-bedroom Penthouse Suite with a wraparound furnished terrace showcasing extraordinary views over Venice from three separate viewpoints. The five Roof Garden Suites spectacularly combine garden-inspired interiors with uninterrupted vistas and contemporary touches while furnished terraces offer a quietly seductive atmosphere. Set against twilight tones, the Venetian Suites showcase crafted details of modern design, influenced by the artistic heritage of the city, while the colour palette of the Monet Suites pay homage to the reflection of light across the Grand Canal. As a hallmark of the St. Regis experience, all guests have access to the signature St. Regis Butler service. Honoured to maintain a long-standing tradition of making guests feel at home, the St. Regis Butler is poised to provide an ever-present, yet unobtrusive, service attending to guests’ every need.

A Muse of the Arts
Inspired by the Venetian masterpieces of former guest and Impressionist painter Claude Monet, the interiors of the refined guestrooms showcase a distinctive colour palette that represents how light changes throughout the day from dawn to dusk. The design of the public spaces pays homage to Carlo Scarpa, one of Venice’s greatest artists and architects. Venetian styling is seen throughout the hotel in tailored fabrics and custom, handcrafted furnishings inspired by the gentle curves of gondolas, the patterns of the Doge’s Palace, the pavements of St. George’s churchyard and the water flow of the canal.

Inspired by the artistic heritage of the city, an eclectic collection of artwork and sculptures will also be curated, bringing ancient Venice to today’s luxury travellers in a modern way. Paying homage to the hotel’s tradition of welcoming famed artists, The St. Regis Venice will host artists from around the world to take residence and create unique pieces inspired by the hotel and its beloved locale. The hotel’s first resident artist, Parisian Olivier Masmonteil, has been commissioned to create original artworks for the Gran Salone and the Monet Suites. The Venetian tradition of glassmaking also lives on, celebrated through a partnership with Glasstress. This unique partnership marries contemporary art and historical glass blowing techniques, inviting world class artists of various disciplines to collaborate with Murano Maestros (masters) to create one-of-a-kind glass works of art.

Cultivating the Vanguard: A Social Beacon for Contemporary Connoisseurs
Uncompromising glamour extends naturally to the hotel’s restaurants and bars, which offer a range of exquisite dining and beverage options. Authentic, modern Italian cuisine will be celebrated at Gio’s, the hotel’s signature restaurant anchored by the Grand Canal and the hotel’s private garden, and which promises to shake up Venetian and Italian traditions. Dishes will be elevated and perfected at the table, with the freshest ingredients to reflect the season. With immediate access to the inviting garden, the mood of the restaurant transitions seamlessly from a smart-casual setting during the day, to a more refined scene in the evening, as the nightly St. Regis champagne-sabering ritual begins.

The secluded garden, with curated landscaping, reflects a modern interpretation of classic Venice, further complemented by geometric patterning, curlicue topiary, flowering plants and fluid pathways. Designed to provide a refined space for local tastemakers and guests to mingle, the garden is set to become Venice’s choice address for relaxing and socialising. With extraordinary views across the Grand Canal, the social heart of the hotel provides an opportune occasion to sample the famous Spritz from the roaming, custom-made Spritz Trolley, or enjoy the Santa Maria –the hotel’s unique twist on the brand’s signature cocktail, the Bloody Mary. Playful sculptures blend with the garden’s décor and discreet seating to offer guests a moment for introspection away from the crowds.

The intimate Arts Bar is a journey of the senses, serving art-inspired modern and classic cocktails with a flourish. The collection of drinks comprised of old favourites and new creations reflect masterpieces by celebrated avant-garde artists. Notable artworks include pieces from Banksy, Yayoi Kusama, Jeff Koons, and more. Upending tradition, the mood is set by modern Jazz interpretations, live or DJ-led, with convivial service. As dusk descends, the area transforms, unfolding into the early hours as casual elegance spills onto the outdoor terrace.

Advocating total relaxation, The St. Regis Venice will feature the Spa Suites, in partnership with Carita Paris. Treatments may be cultivated around time – permitting short but effective beauty lifts, or longer, more in-depth therapies and programmes. For those keen to uphold their fitness regimes, the fully equipped Exercise Room with Technogym® equipment provides an ultra-modern environment for targeted workouts.

Social Gatherings
For larger celebrations and more formal functions, The St. Regis Venice offers a choice of areas that can be easily personalised to host guests, supported by an extensive menu of locally-sourced cuisine. Crafted occasions can be held in the Library, with its urbane atmosphere and curated selection of books and art; in the well-appointed Lounge; or in its adjacent Astor Boardroom. The Canaletto Room will embody the modern spirit of a Venetian palazzo, with its impressive ballroom making an ideal backdrop for celebrations and events. Finally, the secluded garden and private terraces lend themselves to unforgettable moments beside breath-taking views.

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Hilton Announces Tajikistan Premiere with Flagship Dushanbe Property

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Hilton today announced its debut in Tajikistan with the opening a flagship property in the heart of the country’s historic capital city – Hilton Dushanbe. The hotel joins seven Hilton properties trading or under development in Central Asia, demonstrating the group’s growing international presence in new and emerging tourism markets worldwide.

Conveniently located only a seven-minute drive from Dushanbe International Airport, and just three miles away from the Tajik Railway Station, Hilton Dushanbe offers both working professionals and leisure travellers a comfortable stay with 145 spacious rooms, all ergonomically fitted and with stunning mountain views. The property also offers Executive Rooms and access to its Executive rooftop lounge, featuring a private meeting room and terrace overlooking the city.

Hilton Dushanbe offers state-of-the-art amenities for hosting meetings and events, including ranging six conference rooms equipped with the latest A/V technology, two large ballrooms and a stunning outdoor terrace that can accommodate up to 400 people. Guests can also enjoy a relaxing treatment at the hotel’s spa following use of the fitness centre, cool off in the on-property swimming pool, or indulge in a number of delectable dining options.

“We look forward to welcoming guests to a world-class Hilton hospitality experience right here in Dushanbe. Whether celebrating a special occasion, hosting a memorable event, travelling for business, or simply exploring the city’s historic sites, guests can take comfort in our spacious rooms, distinguished amenities, and exceptional service,” said Pavel Jindra, general manager, Hilton Dushanbe.

Gagan Malhotra, Director of CJSC CHL International, the hotel’s owning company, commented: “We are delighted to partner with Hilton as we introduce their iconic brand in Tajikistan with the debut of Hilton Dushanbe. We believe that our partnership with a globally recognised company will have a positive impact on hospitality in Dushanbe as well as Tajikistan going forward.”

Hilton Dushanbe is part of Hilton Honors, the award-winning guest-loyalty program for Hilton’s 17 distinct hotel brands. Members who book directly 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, exclusive member discounts, and free standard Wi-Fi. Book direct at Hilton.com, the Hilton Honors app or through any official Hilton channels for more perks and a price match guarantee.

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Marriott International Signs Deal To Introduce The Luxury Collection To Saudi Arabia In 2020

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Marriott International, Inc. has signed an agreement with Assila Investments to bring its Luxury Collection brand for the first time to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Situated in the heart of Jeddah, Assila Hotel is anticipated to join The Luxury Collection’s portfolio of more than 100 world-renowned hotels and resorts in 2020.

“We are thrilled to have Marriott International manage the beautiful Assila Hotel, under the Luxury Collection brand,” said Bader Alissa, CEO, Assila Investments. “This only affirms Assila Hotel’s position as a premier luxury hotel in Jeddah.”

“We are delighted to announce plans for the first Luxury Collection property in Saudi Arabia, in collaboration with Assila Investments,” said Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International. “This deal signing supports our plans to further diversify our footprint in the Kingdom while enhancing our overall luxury portfolio in the region.”

Assila Hotel features 210 guestrooms, including a 590 sqm Royal Suite, and 94 apartments. It comprises multiple food and beverage venues, including a Café Lounge and Argentinian and Mediterranean specialty restaurants. The hotel also includes a 348 sqm ballroom and nine meeting rooms, as well as full-service recreational facilities such as a spa, fitness center and squash courts.

The hotel is situated on Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz (Tahlia) Street, on the main commercial and retail strip of the city and within close proximity to the Corniche and many of the city’s landmarks. The site is also within five kilometers of the planned ‘New Jeddah Downtown’ development, a mixed-used project on Jeddah’s five million square meter waterfront anticipated to launch in 2022. The waterfront corniche is expected to include residential, cultural and retail spaces.

This signing of Assila Hotel under The Luxury Collection also underscores Marriott’s growing luxury portfolio in the Middle East, where the company now has more than 30 open luxury hotels, including The Ritz-Carlton Riyadh and The Ritz-Carlton Jeddah.

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