W Hotels to open Nashville property

W Nashville

Marriott’s W Hotels brand has announced plans for a 346-room property in the Tennessee capital Nashville.

The hotel will be located in the Gulch district of the city, between Nashville’s Music Row and Downtown areas.

Scheduled to open in 2020, W Nashville will features the brand’s signature Living Room take on the lobby concept, as well as two restaurants, a gym, swimming pool, and meeting and events space including 3,600 square feet of terraces.

There will also be a rooftop bar with views of the Nashville skyline, featuring a central fireplace and “sliding garage doors along the perimeter”.

Marriott says that the W brand is on track to reach 75 properties globally by 2020, with soon-to-open US hotels including W Aspen and W Philadelphia.

The brand recently confirmed its much rumoured return to Sydney, with a new 593-room property set to open with The Ribbon development close to Sydney’s Darling Harbour.

marriott.com

One in seven US travellers miss flights due to long queues at airport

Airport queue (iStock)

Long waits at airport check-in counters and security checkpoints were blamed by 14 per cent of Americans for missing flights last year, according to a new survey by credit-card company Capital One.

Millennial-aged travellers, in particular, had a problem arriving early enough to the airport to ensure making their flight.

More than one in four millennials (28 per cent) said that long waits at the airport caused them to miss flights in the previous 12 months.

Overall, three-quarters of the 1,000 US travellers surveyed said wait times influenced their arrival time at the airport, as well as how they dress and pack for trips.

The survey found that about half of travellers who said concerns about wait times influenced their arrival time at the airport got to the terminal one and half to two hours prior to takeoff.

Majorities of travellers also said they wore slip-on shoes and avoided wearing belts or jewelry to ease their passage through security.

Accorhotels to take 50 per cent stake in SBE

Sea Containers London

Accorhotels is continuing its recent acquisition spree with plans to purchase a 50 per cent stake in SBE Entertainment Group.

The US-based group owns hotels brands including Delano, Mondrian, Hudson and SLS, as well as London’s Sanderson and St Martins Lane properties which are marketed under the Originals Collection.

The Letter of Intent calls for Accorhotels to take a 50 per cent stake in SBE, for a total investment of $319 million. The transaction is expected to complete by July 31, subject to regulatory approvals.

SBE properties will be available to book at accorhotels.com, and will participate in the group’s loyalty programme.

Under the agreement SBE will continue to be led by founder and CEO Sam Nazarian, who said that the investment “provides SBE, its customers and hotel owners with greater depth and breadth around the world and supports our collective ambition to be the best lifestyle hospitality company in the market”.

The investment will enable SBE to accelerate its international growth into markets outside of the US including the Middle East and Latin America. Pipeline projects include locations in Atlanta, Chicago, Washington DC, Dubai, Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, Cancun, Tokyo and Los Cabos.

Commenting on the news Sébastien Bazin, Chairman & CEO, Accorhotels said:

“I am delighted to announce this strategic partnership with one of the most innovative Groups in the luxury lifestyle space worldwide. It marks a new step in expanding Accorhotels’ footprint in this fast growing segment in key US cities such as Miami, Los Angeles or Las Vegas, and in other international destinations.

“’The new luxury’ is all about exclusive experiences and incredible lifestyle concepts and SBE brands have the perfect know-how that will complete perfectly the Accorhotels portfolio.”

Accorhotels recently announced plans to buy Chilean hotel chain Atton Hoteles, following an agreement to acquire Swiss hotel group Movenpick.

In 2017 the Accorhotels purchased Australian-based Mantra Group and “elite travel broker” Travel Keys, and in 2016 it acquired the Fairmont, Raffles and Swissotel brands.

accorhotels.com, sbe.com

IndiGo adds Surat to its network

IndiGo adds Surat to its network

IndiGo adds Surat to its domestic network. Starting from August 16, the low-cost carrier will connect Surat with Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Jaipur.

In addition, the airline will also be operating flight services between Jaipur-Varanasi, Jaipur-Guwahati and Mumbai-Bagdogra from August this year.

Flight Schedules are:

Flight No. Departure Arrival Time of Departure Time of Arrival Frequency Effective
6E 2065 Bengaluru Surat 1110 1300 Daily except Tuesday August 16
6E 6065 Delhi Surat 0630 0820 Daily August 16
6E 0723 Hyderabad Surat 1620 1750 Daily August 16
6E 0941 Jaipur Surat 1340 1520 Monday, Wednesday and Friday August 17
6E 0264 Mumbai Surat 1520 1650 Daily August 16
6E 6065 Surat Bengaluru 0850 1040 Daily except Tuesday August 16
6E 2129 Surat Delhi 2130 2320 Daily August 16
6E 0722 Surat Hyderabad 1820 1950 Daily August 16
6E 0942 Surat Jaipur 1550 1720 Monday, Wednesday and Friday August 17
6E 0983 Surat Mumbai 1720 1835 Daily August 16
6E 654 Mumbai Bagdogra 0830 1120 Daily August 16
6E 3175 Bagdogra Mumbai 1150 1500 Daily August 16
6E 952 Jaipur Varanasi 1340 1515 Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday August 16
6E 953 Varanasi Jaipur 1545 1720 Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday August 16

IndiGo has added Surat as its 56th destination to promote the airline’s operations in addition to providing better connectivity between Surat and other key cities of India.

William Boulter, chief strategy officer, IndiGo said, “We are pleased to have the opportunity to fly out of Surat starting August 2018. Surat, undoubtedly holds immense potential for IndiGo, and launching operations to and from the diamond city is in line with our growth strategy for the India market. IndiGo is looking at introducing new flights connecting Surat with Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Jaipur. We are also launching three other new routes which includes Jaipur- Varanasi, Jaipur-Guwahati, and Mumbai-Bagdogra.  With these new services, we are providing more flexibility of choice to our customers as IndiGo continues to offer them on time, courteous and hassle-free service and an always affordable flying experience.” goindigo.in

IndiGo adds Surat to its domestic network. Starting from August 16, the low-cost carrier will connect Surat with Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Jaipur.

In addition, the airline will also be operating flight services between Jaipur-Varanasi, Jaipur-Guwahati and Mumbai-Bagdogra from August this year.

Flight Schedules are:

Flight No. Departure Arrival Time of Departure Time of Arrival Frequency Effective
6E 2065 Bengaluru Surat 1110 1300 Daily except Tuesday August 16
6E 6065 Delhi Surat 0630 0820 Daily August 16
6E 0723 Hyderabad Surat 1620 1750 Daily August 16
6E 0941 Jaipur Surat 1340 1520 Monday, Wednesday and Friday August 17
6E 0264 Mumbai Surat 1520 1650 Daily August 16
6E 6065 Surat Bengaluru 0850 1040 Daily except Tuesday August 16
6E 2129 Surat Delhi 2130 2320 Daily August 16
6E 0722 Surat Hyderabad 1820 1950 Daily August 16
6E 0942 Surat Jaipur 1550 1720 Monday, Wednesday and Friday August 17
6E 0983 Surat Mumbai 1720 1835 Daily August 16
6E 654 Mumbai Bagdogra 0830 1120 Daily August 16
6E 3175 Bagdogra Mumbai 1150 1500 Daily August 16
6E 952 Jaipur Varanasi 1340 1515 Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday August 16
6E 953 Varanasi Jaipur 1545 1720 Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday August 16

IndiGo has added Surat as its 56th destination to promote the airline’s operations in addition to providing better connectivity between Surat and other key cities of India.

William Boulter, chief strategy officer, IndiGo said, “We are pleased to have the opportunity to fly out of Surat starting August 2018. Surat, undoubtedly holds immense potential for IndiGo, and launching operations to and from the diamond city is in line with our growth strategy for the India market. IndiGo is looking at introducing new flights connecting Surat with Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Jaipur. We are also launching three other new routes which includes Jaipur- Varanasi, Jaipur-Guwahati, and Mumbai-Bagdogra.  With these new services, we are providing more flexibility of choice to our customers as IndiGo continues to offer them on time, courteous and hassle-free service and an always affordable flying experience.” goindigo.in

The big picture: Airbus Beluga XL exits paintshop

Airbus Beluga XL

The first of Airbus’ new Beluga XL aircraft has rolled out of the paintshop, featuring a livery designed to make it look like the whale after which it is named.

The manufacturer said the livery was chosen by Airbus employees from a shortlist of six designs, with 40 per cent of votes going to a design featuring “beluga whale-inspired eyes and an enthusiastic grin”.

The Beluga XL is the successor to the manufacturer’s existing Beluga air transporter, which is used by Airbus to carry aircraft parts and oversized cargo.

The new version will be six metres longer and one metre wider than the model it is replacing

Based on the A330-200 Freighter, the Beluga XL will undergo ground tests before a first flight planned for this summer, and entry into service in 2019. A total of five Beluga XLs are set to be built.

airbus.com

Air India to increase frequency between New Delhi and Tel Aviv

Air India to increase frequency between New Delhi and Tel Aviv

Air India will increase the flight frequency between New Delhi and Tel Aviv, Israel from July 14. As per the new schedule, the flag carrier of India will be operating this service four times a week- Tuesday, Thursday Saturday and Sunday (Prior to this, the service was operated thrice a week).

This New Delhi-Tel Aviv operations by Air India began from March 22 this year.  The airline has been deploying its 256-seater Boeing 787 Dreamliner on this route.

Hassan Madah, director of Israel ministry of tourism for India and Philippines said, “We are pleased with Air India’s move to increase weekly flight frequency in light of the significant rise in tourist arrivals from India. The outbound numbers to Israel have grown exponentially in the last few years and this introduction will help meet the growing demand from India.”

Meanwhile, Israel has also reduced visa fee for Indian travellers to cater to this growing tourist flow between the two countries. airindia.in

Air India will increase the flight frequency between New Delhi and Tel Aviv, Israel from July 14. As per the new schedule, the flag carrier of India will be operating this service four times a week- Tuesday, Thursday Saturday and Sunday (Prior to this, the service was operated thrice a week).

This New Delhi-Tel Aviv operations by Air India began from March 22 this year.  The airline has been deploying its 256-seater Boeing 787 Dreamliner on this route.

Hassan Madah, director of Israel ministry of tourism for India and Philippines said, “We are pleased with Air India’s move to increase weekly flight frequency in light of the significant rise in tourist arrivals from India. The outbound numbers to Israel have grown exponentially in the last few years and this introduction will help meet the growing demand from India.”

Meanwhile, Israel has also reduced visa fee for Indian travellers to cater to this growing tourist flow between the two countries. airindia.in

ANA’s domestic self-service check-in kiosks get an international upgrade

ANA self-service check-in kiosk

Japanese airline ANA has given its domestic self-service check-in kiosks an upgrade that will make connecting between domestic and international flights noticeably simpler.

The domestic kiosks will now feature a passport reader, meaning passengers checking-in to domestic flights will also be able to get their boarding passes for connecting international flights rather than having to check-in a second time, as is currently necessary.

Additionally, passengers booked on Experience Japan fares will be able to check-in using the self-service kiosks rather than having to go to the counters.

“We are very excited about the technological upgrades to ANA’s capabilities and services for our international travelling customers,” said Shigeru Hattori, senior vice president of ANA Airport Center.

“Our goal is to make travelling as convenient and seamless as possible for our passengers. The benefits of this change go far in doing that.”

Roll-out will be gradual starting from the beginning of July at Hiroshima Airport, with ANA expecting to have the upgraded kiosks available at all 50 airports that it flies to domestically by the end of October.

The full schedule for the rollout over the next few months is as follows:

  • July – Hiroshima, Sapporo (New Chitose), Osaka (Itami), Sendai, Osaka (Kansai), Komatsu, Fukuoka, Toyama, Niigata, Matsuyama, Okayama
  • August – Kagoshima, Akita, Takamatsu, Tokyo (Haneda), Kumamoto, Iwakuni, Kochi, Miyazaki, Nagasaki, Yonago, Hakodate
  • September – Osaka (Kobe), Shonai, Tottori, Yamaguchiube, Ishigaki, Oita, Tokushima, Asahikawa, Saga, Kushiro, Tokyo (Narita), Rishiri, Okinawa (Naha), Odate Noshiro, Miyako, Memanbetsu, Noto, Hagi Iwami
  • October – Nemuro Nakashibetsu, Wakkanai, Gotofukue, Okhotsk Monbetsu, Hachijojima, Aomori, Shizuoka, Fukushima, Tsushima, Nagoya (Chubu)

The kiosks have been programmed with five languages available, including Japanese, English, Korean and both Traditional and Simplified Chinese.

Singapore Airlines prepares new business class dining concept for China flights

Singapore Airlines' new Shi Quan Wei Mei dining concept

Business class passengers flying on Singapore Airlines’ routes to and from China can expect to see a new Chinese in-flight dining concept starting next month.

The new concept, which Singapore Airlines is calling Shi Quan Wei Mei, will be available from July 1 onwards on flights between Singapore and Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Meals have been developed in partnership with chef Zhu Jun, a one-Michelin-star chef from Shanghai, and vice president and chief technology officer of the Jade Group of restaurants.

“The design philosophy for the new Shi Quan Wei Mei is based on the innovative use of the freshest seasonal ingredients to showcase the essence of Chinese food culture,” said chef Zhu Jun.

So what can passengers expect from the new business class dining concept?

Meals will be offered in three courses, and will take after the airline’s suites and first class dining concept, Shi Quan Shi Mei, which it launched back in 2015 on select flights between Singapore and China.

Passengers will have the choice of one of two cold Chinese-style appetisers, including fried marinated sea bass and spicy tofu beef salad. This will be followed by a main course – served on separate tableware from the rice and noodles – that includes pepper braised beef brisket with turnip and carrot, and braised pork belly in pickle sauce.

The final course comprises a dessert such as chilled orange-scented malva nut soup, and chilled double-boiled papaya and snow fungus soup. Side dishes such as pumpkin with scallion oil or marinated cucumber will also be provided.

A number of airlines have recently announced revamped in-flight dining propositions, often developed in partnership with established chefs from notable restaurants. Business Traveller rounded up six new menu collaborations earlier this month.

Meanwhile, rival airline Cathay Pacific announced it would be introducing a new business class dining concept across its long-haul network starting next month. The new concept focuses on added flexibility for passengers when it comes to selecting their meals, and notably will include a “room service” style of dining for breakfast meals.

InterContinental Hotels Group to open Holiday Inn Agra MG Road

InterContinental Hotels Group to open Holiday Inn Agra MG Road

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) will be debuting in Agra with the launch of Holiday Inn Agra MG Road. The hospitality company has partnered with Hotel Marina Agra for this project, which is expected to open this year.

Located on MG Road, Holiday Inn Agra MG Road is a 15-minute drive from tourist spots such as Agra Fort and Taj Mahal. The 150-key hotel will feature a spacious banquet hall for organising MICE and social events.

Its F&B options include an all-day dining outlet, a specialty cuisine restaurant and a bar. An outdoor pool and a gymnasium are some of the recreational facilities that will be available at this IHG property.

Sudeep Jain, vice president, development, South West Asia, IHG said, “We are delighted to partner with Hotel Agra Marina to introduce our first hotel in Agra, under the Holiday Inn banner. Agra has been an important destination on the tourism map of India, and we are excited to be setting foot in this growing market. With an excellent location, facilities and best in class amenities, we are confident the hotel will be a great choice for varied guest profiles with diverse requirements. The Holiday Inn brand family is our growth driver in India, and this signing underscores our commitment to further strengthen our position in the midscale hotel segment.” ihg.com

 

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) will be debuting in Agra with the launch of Holiday Inn Agra MG Road. The hospitality company has partnered with Hotel Marina Agra for this project, which is expected to open this year.

Located on MG Road, Holiday Inn Agra MG Road is a 15-minute drive from tourist spots such as Agra Fort and Taj Mahal. The 150-key hotel will feature a spacious banquet hall for organising MICE and social events.

Its F&B options include an all-day dining outlet, a specialty cuisine restaurant and a bar. An outdoor pool and a gymnasium are some of the recreational facilities that will be available at this IHG property.

Sudeep Jain, vice president, development, South West Asia, IHG said, “We are delighted to partner with Hotel Agra Marina to introduce our first hotel in Agra, under the Holiday Inn banner. Agra has been an important destination on the tourism map of India, and we are excited to be setting foot in this growing market. With an excellent location, facilities and best in class amenities, we are confident the hotel will be a great choice for varied guest profiles with diverse requirements. The Holiday Inn brand family is our growth driver in India, and this signing underscores our commitment to further strengthen our position in the midscale hotel segment.” ihg.com

 

Star Alliance opens new lounge at Rome Fiumicino airport

The new Star Alliance lounge in Rome FCO Airport

Star Alliance opens its new lounge at Rome’s Fiumicino International Airport today, the seventh such facility under the Star Alliance brand worldwide.

The new facility will be open to all first and business class passengers departing Rome on flights operated by member airlines – Rome is served by 17 Star Alliance carriers – along with Star Alliance Gold Card holders.

Situated on the upper level of Terminal 3’s Boarding Zone D area, the lounge is positioned to provide swift access to departure gates for Star Alliance flights to destinations in the Schengen Zone in Europe.

“Star Alliance has set itself the overall goal of improving the customer’s travel experience,” said Christian Draeger, vice president of customer experience for Star Alliance.

“Offering a premium lounge product is an integral part of this strategy. Our new Rome Lounge expands the network of Star Alliance-branded lounges to seven and offers our customers flying from the ‘Eternal City’ a state-of-the-art lounge experience.”

So what does the alliance’s latest lounge offer?

For starters, the lounge – developed in partnership with Aviapartner and Aeroporti di Roma – is capable of accommodating about 130 guests split across various spaces for work, relaxation or socialising. Each of these has been outfitted with Italian designer furniture.

Meanwhile on the F&B front, the lounge has a dining space offering buffet stations as well as made-to-order dishes, along with both a staffed bar and a barista coffee station.

Guests looking to work will find a private space available for making phone calls, while complimentary wifi, USB and standard power outlets are available across the lounge.

The new facility will be open daily from 05:15 to 21:15.

The opening of the Rome facility comes ahead of the alliance’s eighth branded lounge, set to open in Amsterdam in early 2019.

This will also be joined by a renovation of the Star Alliance lounges at Nagoya airport in Japan and Paris Charles-de-Gaulle Airport.

Star Alliance now has branded lounges at Buenos Aires (EZE), Los Angeles (LAX), Nagoya (NGO), Paris (CDG), Rio de Janeiro (GIG), Rome (FCO) and Sao Paolo (GRU).

FCO has seen a medley of new lounges crop up over the past few months, including facilities from AlitaliaBritish Airways and Plaza Premium.