Boutique Group Shines: Dazzling Saudi Luxury Debuts at ILTM Cannes

Boutique Group Shines: Dazzling Saudi Luxury Debuts at ILTM Cannes

By Author

Published on December 2, 2023

In a significant move to highlight Saudi Arabia's burgeoning ultra-luxury hospitality sector, Boutique Group, the first ultra-luxury hospitality group in the Kingdom, announces its participation at the prestigious International Luxury Travel Market Cannes (ILTM Cannes). Scheduled from December 4 to 7, 2023, this flagship luxury travel trade show is a vital platform for the industry's top players.

Owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, Boutique Group aligns with the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Culture's objectives to develop and promote the nation's tourism industry. The group specializes in transforming historic and cultural palaces into ultra-luxury boutique hotels, setting new industry benchmarks and redefining luxury hospitality in the Kingdom. These developments offer both domestic and international travelers an immersive experience into a modern Saudi Arabia, deeply rooted in tradition.

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Boutique Group's portfolio features historically significant properties, including Riyadh’s Red Palace, Jeddah's Al Hamra Palace, and the Aga Khan Award-winning Tuwaiq Palace, each a symbol of architectural and cultural prestige. The renovation of these palaces into luxurious accommodations provides guests with an experience that honors local history and culture, offering unparalleled service standards, cultural immersion, and modern comforts.

With private luxury villas and suites, Boutique Group emphasizes personalized services, including dedicated personal assistants, high-end dining options, and private spa facilities. These iconic palaces represent the epitome of Saudi hospitality and generosity.

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As Boutique Group prepares to showcase its unique brand at ILTM Cannes, the world’s most exclusive luxury travel event, it aims to introduce its offerings to leading travel agents, curators, and advisors. ILTM Cannes is renowned for bringing together top hospitality brands and travel designers, with last year’s event attracting over 3,600 professionals from 77 countries.

Mark De Cocinis, CEO of Boutique Group, expressed excitement about participating in ILTM Cannes, emphasizing Saudi Arabia's deep-rooted tradition of hospitality and the Group’s mission to offer a distinct ultra-luxury hospitality experience. He highlighted the significant investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia's travel and tourism sector, with the Ministry of Tourism expecting $6 trillion in investments by 2030. As the hospitality sector rapidly expands, Boutique Group aims to engage with global industry peers at ILTM Cannes and contribute to the Kingdom’s growing prominence in the luxury travel market.


TUI Group Expands Hotel Operations into Sub-Saharan Africa

TUI Group Expands Hotel Operations into Sub-Saharan Africa

By Nishang Narayan

Published on April 20, 2024

TUI Group, a prominent tourism organization based in Germany, is set to expand its footprint in the hotel industry by venturing into Sub-Saharan Africa. Building upon its robust presence in North Africa where it operates 76 hotels, TUI plans to introduce eight new properties across several key destinations including Cape Verde, The Gambia, Senegal, Tanzania, and Kenya.

The expansion not only signifies TUI's growth strategy but also marks the launch of its new luxury hotel brand, The Mora, with its inaugural property, The Mora Zanzibar, slated to open soon. This luxury brand is designed to offer contemporary luxury and tailored services, setting a new standard in high-end hospitality in the region.

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Artur Gerber, Managing Director of TUI Blue, highlighted the strategic intent behind the expansion: “With our diverse hotel brands, we aim to create novel hotel experiences in Africa for various target groups—from budget-friendly holidays at TUI Suneo to luxury experiences at The Mora. We are excited about contributing to the African hospitality sector and collaborating with local communities.”

In addition to The Mora, TUI is also introducing the TUI BLUE Watamu in Kilifi County, Kenya. This 117-room hotel represents the first TUI Blue branded hotel in Kenya and is being developed in partnership with Sands of Darakasi Resorts.

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Wesam Okasha, Head of Global Development at TUI Blue, emphasized the collaborative efforts: “This project in East Africa is a prime example of our commitment to sharing our expertise and developing new hotels on the African continent in partnership with local entities. We are actively seeking further franchise opportunities to continue our expansion.”

TUI Group’s strategic focus in East Africa includes key destinations like Mauritius, Tanzania, and Kenya, with a current portfolio that boasts over 90 hotels and more than 30,000 rooms across seven countries. This expansion aligns with TUI’s broader goal to diversify its global presence and enhance its offerings in emerging tourism markets.


Extendam Acquires Hilton Garden Inn Sevilla

Extendam Acquires Hilton Garden Inn Sevilla

By Nithyakala Neelakandan

Published on April 18, 2024

Extendam, a prominent player in the hospitality sector, has made waves with its recent acquisition of the Hilton Garden Inn Sevilla Hotel from Aliseda Inmobiliaria, a subsidiary of Blackstone. This strategic move adds another gem to Extendam's portfolio, marking its seventh operation in Spain.

Strategically located in Seville's bustling Torneo Empresarial business district, the 4-star hotel boasts 140 keys, a restaurant, fitness center, and meeting rooms, making it an ideal choice for both business and leisure travelers. Notably, the hotel underwent a refurbishment of its common areas in 2023, ensuring a contemporary and inviting ambiance for guests.

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Partnering with Continuum Hospitality Group for operations, Extendam is poised to offer exceptional services and experiences to patrons of the Hilton Garden Inn Sevilla. With its prime location adjacent to a bus and metro station, proximity to San Pablo airport and Santa Justa train station, and easy access to Seville's attractions, the hotel caters to a diverse clientele.

Jean-Marc Palhon, President of Extendam, expressed optimism about the investment, citing Seville's robust tourism sector and favorable market conditions. He highlighted Seville's status as the fourth most visited city in Spain, emphasizing its resilience to seasonality and potential for revenue growth.

Continuum Hospitality Group's expertise in the Spanish market further solidifies Extendam's confidence in this venture. The partnership underscores Extendam's commitment to delivering excellence while adhering to stringent ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) standards set by both Extendam and the Hilton brand.

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In line with Hilton's sustainability initiatives, the hotel management will prioritize environmental conservation, particularly in addressing water scarcity and reducing energy consumption.

The transaction received support from BPCE and CBRE, further underscoring the collaborative efforts behind this successful endeavor.

Extendam's acquisition of the Hilton Garden Inn Sevilla Hotel reflects its strategic vision and commitment to enhancing the hospitality landscape in Spain. With a focus on quality, sustainability, and guest satisfaction, Extendam and its partners are set to elevate the guest experience while driving value for stakeholders in the vibrant city of Seville.


Saudi Arabia Announces Plans for Oxagon, the World’s Largest Floating Structure in Neom

Saudi Arabia Announces Plans for Oxagon, the World’s Largest Floating Structure in Neom

By Nishang Narayan

Published on April 17, 2024

Saudi Arabia is set to redefine industrial and economic development with its ambitious project, Oxagon, touted to be the world's largest floating structure. Part of the expansive Neom development in the northeastern region of the Kingdom, Oxagon is strategically positioned on the Red Sea, near the bustling shipping lanes of the Suez Canal.

Designed with a unique octagonal shape, Oxagon will combine onshore and offshore developments with a significant portion extending into the Red Sea. The city is planned to serve as both a port and a logistics hub, enhancing Neom's role as a centre powered by renewable energy within Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 initiative. This initiative aims to diversify the nation’s economy and reduce its dependence on oil.

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One of the project’s striking features will be the division between the land-connected base and its massive floating counterpart, which is claimed to be the largest of its kind globally. The floating section is expected to feature innovative water-filled squares and small canals, a state-of-the-art cruise terminal, and an oceanographic research centre.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman emphasised that Oxagon will act as a catalyst for economic growth and diversification in Neom and across the Kingdom. He noted, "Oxagon will contribute to redefining the global approach to industrial development in the future, focusing on environmental protection while simultaneously creating job opportunities and stimulating economic growth."

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The project also aims to enhance Saudi Arabia's role in regional and global trade, positioning Neom as a new key player in international trade flows. This development is part of the broader Neom project, which includes various other futuristic initiatives like The Line, a 170-kilometre-long city designed to house nine million people with minimal environmental impact.

As Oxagon takes shape, it stands as a testament to Saudi Arabia's forward-thinking approach to blending advanced technology with sustainable urban planning. However, the Neom project continues to face scrutiny over sustainability practices and the impacts on local communities, highlighting the challenges of undertaking such transformative developments.

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