IHG to open new Holiday Inn & Suites in Penang

Rendering of the Holiday Inn & Suites Penang Prai

A new Holiday Inn & Suites will be opening in 2020 on mainland Penang in Malaysia, following a management agreement between Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) and Exopuri Development Sdn Bhd.

The new 288-room Holiday Inn & Suites Penang Prai will be located in the city’s Prai commercial district and approximately 30 minutes by car from popular downtown area, Georgetown. The property is set to be the tallest building in the vicinity with 35 levels, and will sit within the Juru Sentral mixed-use complex.

“We are delighted to have this opportunity to work with Exopuri Development Sdn Bhd to expand our presence in Penang as the state, also known to most as the ‘Silicon Valley of the East’, continues to experience growth in visitor arrivals and gain traction as a regional business hub for international companies,” said Leanne Harwood, vice president, operations for South East Asia and Korea at IHG.

In addition to its 288 rooms, the Prai Holiday Inn will have four F&B outlets including an all-day dining option, lobby lounge, pool bar and rooftop sky bar. An outdoor pool, fitness centre and spa will also be developed, along with 12 meeting rooms and a ballroom.

IHG plans to open a further seven hotels in Malaysia over the coming three to five years, including the first Hotel Indigo in the country. Meanwhile, the hotel group recently announced plans to bring its wellness-focused business hotel brand, Even, to Australasia with ten to 15 new properties in the country within the next few years.


IHG to debut Hotel Indigo in Milan

Hotel Indigo Milan Corso Monforte

Intercontinental Hotels Group has announced its second Hotel Indigo property in Italy, located in Milan’s city centre.

The 55-room Hotel Indigo Milan Corso Monforte will be housed within an historic palace building, and will feature a destination restaurant, courtyard and fitness centre. Design will draw on inspiration from the local area, which “has established a long history in the fields of fashion, textile and design”.

The hotel is scheduled to open in 2018, and will join the existing Hotel Indigo Rome St George which opened in 2014.

There are currently 19 Hotel Indigo properties open across eight countries in Europe, with a further 14 in the pipeline.

Hotel Indigo recently announced a new UK property to open in Stratford-Upon-Avon in 2018, and is also scheduled to open the Hotel Indigo London – Aldgate next year.

For reviews of the brand’s properties in Glasgow and Edinburgh (both published in 2012), click on the links below:


IHG to introduce wellness-focused Even brand to Australasia

EVEN Hotels signing ceremony

Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) has announced plans to introduce its wellness-focused business and lifestyle brand, Even, to the Australasian market with plans for an estimated ten to 15 new properties expected to be opened in the coming years. The expansion will mark the first region the brand will move into outside of the US.

Precise numbers, opening dates and specific locations have yet to be confirmed by the hotel group. Speaking at a media roundtable today at the Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP) in Hong Kong, Jan Smits, CEO AMEA for IHG said that key cities such as Melbourne and Sydney will be preferred destinations for the brand’s initial launch into the Australasian market, with the east coast of Australia being the early focus. He added that properties are anticipated to offer approximately 200 rooms each.

According to Alan Watts, COO AMEA for IHG: “The research we originally did in the US showed that the wellness economy sits at around US$3 trillion globally, and what the size of that wellness economy is in different markets. In Australia, US$5 billion is spent on wellness-related products and travel throughout the year.”

The Even brand is designed to cater to business travellers who value wellness while on a work-oriented trip and who often find exercise routines and diets difficult to maintain on the road.

“When we talk to our customers, one of the things they say is ‘I’m interested in wellness, I have a routine’, and for many executives that doesn’t mean pumping iron in the gym, it means they’re conscious about their sleep, diet, and the amount of time they’re on the road,” said Watts.

Smits added: “If you’re a regular traveller, the hardest thing is to stay on your routine of exercise and eating healthily. Being able to do that that in an environment that is linked around sleep, having the right meals and being able to work out… will really resonate with the Australia and New Zealand market.”

Even hotels are typically situated in city centres rather than resort locations in order to cater to corporate travellers, and offer healthy food choices, natural spaces, and best-in-class fitness experience. The brand also seeks to provide guests with assistance from wellness-savvy staff, and aims to attract experienced wellness professionals to work at the hotels as opposed to just training its hospitality staff in health and wellness.

While IHG will be looking to drive the expansion of its Even brand in Australasia over the coming years, as yet the company has no plans to grow the brand in other Asia-Pacific destinations for the foreseeable future, according to Smits. That said, US-based Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants – which was acquired by IHG in 2015 – will be looking to grow in the Asia-Pacific region over the next couple of years. Key locations for Kimpton’s Asia-Pacific debut include Hong Kong, Macau, Tokyo, Singapore and Bangkok.

The Even brand first opened in 2012 and today has a total of seven hotels with ten more in the pipeline. Meanwhile Kimpton has a total of 65 hotels in North America.


Intercontinental Kuala Lumpur completes room renovation

Intercontinental Kuala Lumpur has unveiled its new look following a multimillion-dollar renovation of 262 of its 473 rooms. The property has been given a contemporary facelift, offering travellers updated amenities across its 132 premier rooms and 130 deluxe rooms.

Plush bedding linens, contemporary ensuite bathrooms and 46-inch flat screen LCD TVs are now being offered in the hotel’s premier rooms, while the deluxe rooms also feature new carpets in earthy brown tones. The hotel’s deluxe, premier, grand premier and club Intercontinental rooms offer 42sqm of space with state-of-the-art equipment, executive work desks and high-end Agraria toiletries in the bathrooms. Meanwhile, the property has a further nine executive suites, three ambassador suites, as well as a presidential and a royal suite, which include complimentary Club Intercontinental lounge access.

Announcing the renovated rooms, Intercontinental Kuala Lumpur’s general manager, Clive Murray, said: “The fresh and contemporary hotel is designed for discerning business and leisure travellers, and now reflects a modern, functional design concept that fulfils today’s travellers’ needs, whether individuals, families or groups. The refurbishment complements the hotel’s mission to deliver great hotels guests love, and to achieve that we should be going beyond what they expect so they stay with us and recommend us to others.”

Intercontinental Kuala Lumpur is offering guests an exclusive IHG Rewards Club member-only rate offering savings of up to 35 per cent when booking directly with the hotel. The offer runs until June 30 next year for stays before December 31, 2017.


IHG signs deal to develop 20 hotels across Europe

IHG logo

IHG has signed a Multiple Development Agreement (MDA) with Germany’s Novum Hotel Group to develop 20 hotels across Europe.

Details are limited and no timescale has been given for the developments, but IHG says that the MDA will see properties opening in markets “such as Germany, Austria and Netherlands”.

The hotels will operate under existing IHG brands, although again no specifics have been given on this.

IHG currently has 650 properties in its European portfolio, while Hamburg-based Novum operates 99 hotels across Germany, under brands including Novum Select, Novum Style, and Novum LikeApart.

Commenting on the news Ron Shepherd, chief development officer, IHG, Europe, said:

“Europe is growing at pace and we are well positioned to take advantage of the appetite for branded growth. We cannot wait to kick off the beginning of this long-term partnership with Novum Group.”

IHG recently announced plans to add 46 properties across Eastern Europe in the next three to five years.


IHG opens fifth Intercontinental in Shanghai

Intercontinental Shanghai NECC hotel exterior

Intercontinental Shanghai NECC has opened its doors in the new Hongqiao CBD.

The hotel is in close proximity to Shanghai’s Hongqiao International Airport, 15 minutes away by car, while Pudong Airport is a one-hour drive away. Attractions such as Qibao Ancient Town, Zhujiajiao Watertown and Shanghai Outlets Mall are also near the hotel, as is the Metro Line 2.

The hotel is located in Section D of the NECC, the “largest single building and exhibition complex in the world” with 500,000 sqm of exhibition space comprising halls, commercial centres, office buildings, outdoor areas, as well as the hotel, and all are linked by an eight-metre-high elevated pedestrian walkway.

The 536-room hotel itself features 2,200 sqm of event spaces, including ten meeting rooms and a nine-metre high pillarless Grand Ballroom which can accommodate up to 1,000 guests.

“Shanghai and the Yangtze River Region is one of the world’s largest exhibition markets. Intercontinental Shanghai NECC is an integral part of Asia’s largest exhibition venue,” says Peter Pollmeier, general manager of Intercontinental Shanghai NECC.

“With the prominent location and leading MICE facilities, Intercontinental Shanghai NECC is poised to become the benchmark of luxury service in the burgeoning Hongqiao CBD.”

There are four F&B outlets at the hotel: Five Live is an interactive live-cooking theatre, focusing on regional Chinese flavours, plus European and Mediterranean cuisine; Cai Feng Lou has an elegant dining environment, presenting traditional and modern Cantonese cuisine; Bru is a bar serving a wide selection of bottled beer, drafts, whiskey, spirits, wine, cocktails, and bar snacks; and the lobby lounge offers Chinese teas, afternoon tea, and a range of alcoholic drinks.

Other facilities include Intercontinental Club, a business centre and an indoor swimming pool.

For more information, visit ihg.com

Valerian Ho

IHG set for Eastern European expansion

Hotel Indigo Krakow – Old Town,

Intercontinental Hotels Group is set for expansion across Eastern Europe, with 46 properties in the pipeline over the next three to five years, and four hotels due to open in the next few months.

The group unveiled the 160-room Holiday Inn Dabrowa Gornicza last month, located around 70km north west of Krakow.

This month sees the opening of Staybridge Suites Baku, and Hotel Indigo Krakow Old Town (pictured), while in October IHG will open a Holiday Inn property in Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second largest city.

Commenting on the expansion plans Robert Shepherd, Chief Development Officer, Europe, IHG said:

The success of our strategy in Eastern Europe has been fuelled by growing domestic travel, tourism from visa free countries including China, South Korea, India; as well as sustainable level of demand from our customers in Western Europe who are attracted by new travel experiences and low costs.

“Our outlook for the region is long-term. We are acting in order to ensure we provide options from across our brand portfolio to meet the demand from a range of consumer needs.”

IHG recently announced plans to open its first Intercontinental property in Bulgaria, with the existing Radisson Blu Grand Hotel Sofia being rebranded as the Intercontinental Sofia next year, once refurbishment works have been completed.


InterContinental Hotels Group to debut in Kolkata

Holiday Inn

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) will launch its mid-market brand, Holiday Inn near Kolkata Airport in the last quarter of this year. It will mark IHG’s entry in West Bengal’s capital.

The hospitality group has partnered with city-based real estate developer, Jain Group for the project.

“It is positioned very close to the city airport and is expected to attract travellers in business and leisure segment. We are hopeful to attract tourists in the festive season this year as it is the first hotel from the airport while entering New Town,” says Rishi Jain, the executive director at Jain Group.

He goes on to reveal that the IHG-Jain partnership has led to signing a deal for the launch of two more hotels in the state — in Durgapur and Siliguri. Their opening dates haven’t been confirmed yet.

All 137 rooms and suites at Holiday Inn Kolkata Airport will have an iron and ironing board, black-out shades, minibar, tea/coffee maker, free water bottles, a LCD television, iPod docking station, and a work desk.

For business meets, the property has 605 sqm of banqueting space, a meeting room and a business centre with a printer, scanner and copy machine.

An outdoor pool and a gym are the leisure facilities on the property. Wifi is free for IHG Rewards Club members.

“IHG has a strong sales and marketing initiatives utilising both technology as well as people to people contact. With the hotel’s location advantage and marketing initiatives, we are optimistic that there will not be any issues with occupancy,” says Kenneth Scott, general manager at Holiday Inn Kolkata Airport.

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport is a ten-minute drive to the hotel, and within proximity to one of the IT hubs of Kolkata.


IHG opens Even Hotels Brooklyn

EVEN Hotels Brooklyn

Intercontinental Hotels Group has opened its fourth Even Hotels property, and the second New York hotel under the group’s “wellness-minded” brand.

IHG launched Even Hotels in 2014, with the concept aimed at encouraging and facilitating wellbeing, and focused around four key pillars: Eat Well, Keep Active, Rest Easy, and Accomplish More.

The 202-room Even Hotels Brooklyn is located at 46 Nevins Street in downtown Brooklyn, and features a two-storey athletics studio, and an in-room training zone with foam roller, yoga mat, yoga block, core exercise ball and a mounted fitness wall with resistance bands.

Rooms also feature eucalyptus fibre linens which “offer a cooler sleep”, as well as fully glass-enclosed rainfall showers, naturally derived EO bath products, colour LED mood lighting, free wifi, and moveable and stand-up workdesk options.

Other facilities include The Cork and Kale Market and Bar, with dishes including the signature black kale salad, and an outdoor garden.

The first Even Hotels properties opened in Rockville, Maryland and Norwalk, Connecticut in June 2014, followed by a New York midtown Manhattan hotel in November 2015.

Further properties are in the pipeline in New York (Manhattan), Omaha, Seattle, Miami, Eugene, Houston and Pittsburgh.