Mid-range hotel brands break into India

Mid-range hotel brands are slowly but surely making their appearance in the Indian market whose major cities and secondary hubs are in dire need of reasonably priced rooms.

In May, Marriott International launched its mid-scale Courtyard by Marriott in Pune. Located in Hinjewadi, this new 153-room hotel is Courtyard’s second in the country. Facilities include Café Momo which serves Indian, Italian and Oriental cuisine, a 668.9sqm meeting space and high-speed internet access.

Until August 31, a promotional rate of INR8,500 (US$181) is offered along with INR1,500 (US$32) worth of credit for use at restaurants, room upgrades, in-room dining and weekend tours.

Pune is India’s eighth largest city, and hosts many IT and automotive operations. Boasting more then a hundred educational institutes and nine universities, it is also a recognised centre of learning.

In other developments, Four Points by Sheraton, belonging to Starwood Hotels and Resorts, makes its debut in Navi Mumbai – one of Mumbai’s fast developing areas – in the first week of June.

According to general manager Sumit Kant, the budget-priced hotel will open with 89 out of 150 rooms. The rest of the rooms and the Chavana Spa will follow at a later date. Amenities include a 24-hour coffee shop, lounge bar,  restaurant, poolside garden for barbecues and fitness centre. For business travellers, a business centre, four boardrooms accommodating 10 to 15 people and a 483sqm pillarless banquet hall are available. The hotel is accepting reservations for arrivals on or after June 10.

For more information, visit http://bit.ly/hUIoE (Four Points by Sheraton) and http://bit.ly/BKj72 (Courtyard by Marriott).

Sandy Goh

Hotel news and packages

OPENINGS

The Ascott Group has launched its second serviced apartment, Somerset Youyi in Tianjin, China. Located in the Hexi commercial district, it boasts 250 units, ranging from studios to three-bedroom models which feature a fully equipped kitchen, home entertainment system and broadband internet access among other amenities. Until July 31, there  are special promotional rates, starting from RMB 488 (US$71) nightly for a Studio Executive apartment which come with free breakfast for two and free broadband internet access.
http://bit.ly/QD7Xf

Alila Villas Hadahaa, a boutique luxury resort under Alila Hotels and Resorts, will open in the Gaafu Alifu (North Huvadhoo) Atoll in The Maldives in August. The new resort boasts 14 over-the-water Aqua Villas and 36 Island Villas, 20 of which include a private plunge pool. Other facilities include a dive and water sports centre, two freshwater swimming pools, a Leisure Concierge, the Mandara Spa, a gym and yoga centre, a Maldivian restaurant, a poolside and cigar bar and a library with a stargazing roof.
http://www.alilahotels.com/hadahaa


OFFERS

St Regis Singapore says to get away this summer with its special rates starting from S$395 (US$274), single occupancy, and S$430 (US$298), double occupancy. The packages, valid between June 19 and September 6, include one Bloody Mary cocktail at Astor Bar per person per stay, welcome amenities, 30-minute massage at Remède Spa per person per stay, complimentary access to the spa wet lounge, breakfast at Brasserie Les Saveurs and 24-hour butler service. Advance booking for the massage is required three days prior to the date of arrival.
http://bit.ly/onF8b

Hilton Melbourne International Airport Hotel has upgraded its facilities with a Deluxe Floor on the ninth storey. Guests booked there will enjoy welcome drinks, breakfast, security access, newspapers, additional magazines, turndown service and late checkout among other perks. Female travellers will benefit from extra in-room items such as a hair-dryer, hair straightener, curling wand, nail polish remover and stockings.
http://bit.ly/Uqi8A

Sandy Goh

Jet Airways pushes deals to London

Jet Airways is pushing a return Premiere Class offer of INR60,000 (US$1,266) to London from five Indian cities. Bookings must be done online by June 1 for travel until September 30.

The routing from Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Pune to London via Mumbai is also extended to passengers on the Mumbai-London leg of the flight.

Jet Airways has two other London Business Class promotions with longer validity dates.

The first is an INR89,000 (US$1,876) return fare for Premiere Class passengers from Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Vadodara to London, also via Mumbai. Tickets are good throughout the year.

The second is an INR94,000 (US$1,982) Premiere Class return fare likewise available for flights from Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Pune, Goa, Bengaluru and Hyderabad to London, via Delhi. Passengers from Delhi can avail of a Premiere return fare of INR106,000 (US$2,236) to London. While there is no expiration date, booking must be done at least 14 days prior to the date of departure.

All fares exclude the applicable taxes and surcharges, and travellers have to stay in London for a minimum of three days.

For more details or to book flights, visit www.jetairways.com

Latest airlines bytes

Air New Zealand will reduce its daily Hongkong-London flights to five times weekly, starting July 1, Bloomberg news has reported. This is part of a second round of cuts following reduced demand on international and domestic travel. A number of domestic services will also suffer the same fate and two hundred employees will be made redundant in November.
www.airnewzealand.com

Emirates will be adding 22 weekly flights to India from its Dubai base starting June 2. The emphasis is on high-demand routes Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram. This bumps up the current 163 flights weekly to the sub-continent to 185 weekly.                                                 www.emirates.com

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is set to carry more passengers weekly between Singapore and Amsterdam, following the deployment of the higher capacity Boeing B777-300ER on two of its daily flights starting June 3.

The new aircraft can carry 425 passengers (35 in World Business Class and 390 in Economy Class) and flies the route on Mondays and Wednesdays. It takes over from the Boeing B777-200, which will fly between Singapore and Amsterdam on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The B777-300ER is more fuel efficient than its predecessor, and offers the same inflight entertainment system as the B777-200 featuring individual screens for every seat with an interactive audio-video system, video on demand, language courses, audio books and SMS and email system.                                                                                  www.klm.com

Joshua Tan

Raffles announces KL hotel

Raffles Hotels
and Resorts is to open a 200-room hotel in Kuala Lumpur in 2011.

Raffles Kuala
Lumpur will be located in the central business district within Pavillion Kuala
Lumpur, a mixed use development housing a shopping centre, office tower and
residential apartments.

Rooms will start
from 50sqm, and the hotel will feature six restaurants and bars, as well as the
signature Raffles Amrita Spa.

Other forthcoming
Raffles properties include the Raffles Makkah Palace, Saudi Arabia (2009), Raffles
Konottaa, Maldives (2010), Raffles Tianjin, China (2010), and Le Royal Monceau –
A Raffles Hotel, Paris (2010).

For more
information visit raffles.com.

Report by Mark
Caswell

Last chance to enter this month’s businesstraveller.com competitions

This month we’re giving away three great prizes at businesstraveller.com:

  • For the second month in a row Sofitel T5 is giving away an overnight stay, dinner, breakfast and parking for up to 15 days

  • Marriott is offering one lucky reader the chance to
    win a luxury weekend break at the newly-opened London Marriott Hotel Twickenham

  • The Regal Airport Hotel Hong Kong is offering three fantastic prizes, including four nights’
    accommodation in a duplex suite

To enter any of these great prizes, click here.

As well as these great competitions we have also launched a new competition section for UK visitors of businesstraveller.com. Simply register your details for a chance to win great prizes including a year’s free shopping at Tesco, £750 of Argos vouchers, a Sony Reader digital book, and a Nintendo DSi Console. For your chance to win, click on the links below.

BA to drop Gatwick-New York route

British Airways is to drop flights from Gatwick to New York, just a year after they were restarted.

The carrier announced the cessation of the route at the same time as announcing new services to Male in the Maldives and Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt. BA will cease plying the Gatwick-New York route on October 25, almost exactly one year after the service was reinstated.

The airline is due to launch all-business class flights from London City airport to New York this autumn, but the dropping of the Gatwick service will be a blow to business travellers living within the airport’s catchment area.

For more information visit ba.com.

Report by Mark Caswell

Singapore Airlines expands reach of mobile service

Singapore Airlines’ new SIA Mobile service has now been extended beyond the Lion City to cover mobile phone users anywhere in the world.

Launched on April 7, it initially applied to Singapore-registered mobile phones (read story here). The airline’s customers must install the SIA Mobile” application onto their mobile phone’s web browser before they can use the new service. The SIA Mobile software can be downloaded at m.singaporeair.com.

SIA Mobile permits passengers to check in for their flights between two and 48 hours before departure on SIA flights as well for connecting flights on any airline that SIA has an agreement with, as long as the connection is from an SIA flight. Passengers can also select their seats via the SIA Mobile application. There are also plans to further upgrade the SIA Mobile service later this year to include features like ticket booking and access to KrisFlyer services.

For more details about SIA Mobile, visit www.singaporeair.com/mobile

Joshua Tan

Mumbai gets first Novotel hotel

Novotel, the Accor chain’s business-oriented brand, will be making its debut in Mumbai in July.

Located along the popular Juhu beach facing the Arabian Sea, Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach is the third Novotel hotel in India, after the Novotel Hyderabad Airport and Novotel Hyderabad. It will feature 203 guestrooms and suites – each to be equipped with a media hub for connectivity and entertainment – a Premier Floor and lounge for those desiring more exclusivity. 

To capture the “home away from home” experience, the new property will boast various dining and recreation options, a spa, swimming pool and a health club, and if they must work, meeting spaces with modern facilities have been provided. From July 1 to September 30, a promotional rate of Rs7,500 (US$158) for a Standard Room and Rs8,500 (US$179) for a Premier Room with ocean views, breakfast and transfers is available.

Jean-Michel Casse, vice-president of Accor India, said the Indian market holds great promise for the Novotel tier. Thus, 15 of these hotels will be rolled out from now until 2012. Locations include New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Pune, Goa, Lavasa, Mumbai and Hyderabad.

For more information, visit www.novotel.com

Sandy Goh