IHG Hotels and Resorts Leading the Way in Saudi Arabia's Hospitality Boom

IHG Hotels and Resorts Leading the Way in Saudi Arabia's Hospitality Boom

By Author

Published on October 18, 2023

Future Hospitality Summit recently held in Abu Dhabi with the prominent hoteliers around the world converging to share insights, innovations, and strategies to shape the future of the global hospitality industry.

Haitham Mattar, Managing Director of Middle East, Africa, and South West Asia for IHG Hotels and Resorts, was enthusiastic about IHG's role in the region, stating that over 100 projects are in the works in Saudi Arabia alone, accounting for 50 percent of IHG's regional development. This is primarily in response to Saudi Arabia's ambitious tourism vision, known as Vision 2030, which aims to attract over 100 million visitors to the Kingdom.

Mattar noted, "The Kingdom aims to build another half-a-million hotel rooms, and we obviously, being the first operator there, have a great name and a reputation to position ourselves to be one of the preferred brands for private investors and for the government."

IHG has a storied history in Saudi Arabia, having introduced the first international five-star brand to the country with the opening of InterContinental Riyadh in 1975. As one of the earliest international entrants into the Saudi market, IHG has played a pivotal role in supporting the Kingdom's Vision 2030 goals.

IHG currently stands as the largest operator in Saudi Arabia and has an array of upcoming projects. By the end of this year, the ultra-luxury brand Six Senses is set to make its debut in Saudi Arabia's Red Sea project. Additionally, InterContinental in the Red Sea is scheduled to commence operations by the second quarter of 2024.

It is also revealed that the soon-to-be-introduced Kimpton Hotel will be deeply intertwined with Saudi cultural elements. The Kimpton Riyadh, a first for the region, will feature five culinary venues, including an all-day dining establishment, a specialty restaurant, a lobby lounge, a lobby living room café, and a pool bar.

"In addition, we see immense growth potential in our midscale brands, especially with the Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express brands," Mattar added.

IHG Hotels and Resorts is at the forefront of Saudi Arabia's booming hospitality industry, aligning itself with the Kingdom's ambitious tourism goals and showcasing a commitment to both luxury and cultural authenticity in its diverse projects.


Virgin Hotels to Open First London Location in Shoreditch This Summer

Virgin Hotels to Open First London Location in Shoreditch This Summer

By Nithyakala Neelakandan

Published on June 18, 2024

Virgin Hotels is bringing its luxury lifestyle hospitality experience to London for the first time. Set to open on August 1, 2024, the new hotel will be located in the vibrant neighborhood of Shoreditch. This move marks a return to Virgin's roots, with Sir Richard Branson's iconic brand making its debut in the city where it all began.

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The 120-room hotel will be situated at 45 Curtain Road, right in the heart of Shoreditch. Known for its creative arts, tech scene, and fashionable culture, Shoreditch is the perfect fit for Virgin Hotels’ innovative and dynamic approach. The hotel’s striking building is set to become a prominent feature of East London's landscape.

Guests can look forward to a range of elevated experiences at the new Virgin Hotels London-Shoreditch. The hotel will feature a glittering rooftop bar, pool, private members club, and treatment rooms managed by Ibiza’s Blue Marlin. The existing Spanish restaurant BiBo, in partnership with renowned chef Dani Garcia, will remain open, as will the lobby bar and café, Christina’s, which will undergo a transformation into a unique Virgin-branded eatery by 2025.

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The interiors of the hotel will reflect Virgin Hotels’ distinctive style, including patented beds and mattresses, red Smeg fridges, and a top-tier suite named Richard’s Flat. Guests will also have access to the Lucy App, which allows complete room control via their phones.

This new London location is part of Virgin Hotels' ongoing global expansion. It will be the 17th property in the Virgin Hotels Collection, following recent openings in Edinburgh and New York in 2023. The London hotel will also feature Virgin’s The Know loyalty program and Virgin Red, allowing members to earn points for their stays to be redeemed across the Virgin Group.

Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, expressed his excitement about the new hotel: “We’re all absolutely delighted that Virgin Hotels Collection will be opening a Virgin hotel in London. Since the inception of Virgin Hotels, we’ve had our sights set on London; a place that so many of our customers either call home, or name as one of their favorite destinations – and of course where Virgin’s story started.”

James Bermingham, CEO of Virgin Hotels Collection, added: “This year will mark 10 years of Virgin Hotels, and what a way to celebrate as we announce our newest hotel in one of the world’s most famous cities. Shoreditch, London, will be home to the next location for Virgin Hotels, and what an extraordinary one it will be.”

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The London hotel is part of a long-term agreement between Virgin Hotels and Reuben Brothers, leaders in real estate investment and development. Jamie Reuben of Reuben Brothers highlighted the strategic partnership and the exciting future of the property in Shoreditch, emphasizing the synergy between Virgin’s innovative spirit and their own development goals.

Virgin Hotels London-Shoreditch will open its doors on August 1, 2024. Reservations will be available starting early July 2024. For more information and to book your stay, visit Virgin Hotels London-Shoreditch.

Join Virgin Hotels in celebrating a new era of luxury hospitality in London, blending the brand’s signature style with the vibrant culture of Shoreditch.


Exciting News for FRIENDS™ Fans: The Ultimate Experience is Coming to Las Vegas!

Exciting News for FRIENDS™ Fans: The Ultimate Experience is Coming to Las Vegas!

By Nithyakala Neelakandan

Published on June 16, 2024

Could we BE any more thrilled? Later this year, The FRIENDS™ Experience is debuting its West Coast flagship at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. This immersive attraction, brought to life by Warner Bros. Discovery Global Themed Entertainment, Original X Productions, and Warner Bros. Television Group, promises to transport fans straight into the world of the iconic TV show FRIENDS™.

The FRIENDS™ Experience will allow visitors to relive some of the most memorable moments from the show. Picture yourself at Ross and Rachel's famous Vegas wedding scene, lounging in Monica’s cozy apartment, or even dancing around the iconic fountain from the opening credits. This attraction will feature life-sized set recreations, behind-the-scenes content, and plenty of photo opportunities.

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Following its successful runs in over 24 cities worldwide, including a flagship in New York City and an upcoming location in London, “The One in Vegas” is set to be a major highlight of FRIENDS™' 30th anniversary celebrations. The attraction has already been recognized as one of USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Best New Attractions and listed among CNN’s 12 Best Immersive Experiences globally.

Fans can look forward to several nostalgia-filled rooms and interactive activations. From peeking behind the scenes of the show's production to exploring its costume designs, the FRIENDS™ Experience offers a comprehensive look at what made the series a cultural phenomenon. Plus, an onsite FRIENDS™ retail store will offer exclusive merchandise, making it a perfect stop for both ticketed and non-ticketed visitors.

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“Las Vegas is the perfect destination for our second U.S. flagship location,” said Stacy Moscatelli, CEO of Original X Productions. The city, which draws millions of visitors annually, played a significant role in some of FRIENDS™' most hilarious and memorable episodes. Partnering with MGM Grand, a giant in the entertainment industry, ensures that this experience will be nothing short of spectacular.

As FRIENDS™ celebrates its 30th anniversary, its enduring popularity continues to capture hearts across generations. The series’ witty humor, relatable characters, and memorable catchphrases have made it a timeless classic. Whether you’re a long-time fan or new to the series, The FRIENDS™ Experience in Las Vegas offers something special for everyone.

The FRIENDS™ Experience will be located within The District at MGM Grand, adjacent to the Grand Garden Arena. For more information and to join the waitlist for exclusive updates, visit The Friends Experience website.

About Original X Productions

Original X Productions is known for creating immersive and unforgettable live events. Celebrating the 5th anniversary of The FRIENDS™ Experience, OGX has entertained over 2 million guests worldwide. Their innovative storytelling and creative approach continue to transform how audiences engage with their favorite entertainment properties.

Don’t miss out on this chance to step into the world of FRIENDS™ and celebrate its lasting legacy. The FRIENDS™ Experience in Las Vegas is gearing up to be a must-visit destination for fans of all ages!


Four Seasons Solidifies Global Culinary Leadership with Top 15 Placement in World's 50 Best Restaurants and 34 Michelin Stars Across Its Dynamic Portfolio

Four Seasons Solidifies Global Culinary Leadership with Top 15 Placement in World's 50 Best Restaurants and 34 Michelin Stars Across Its Dynamic Portfolio

By Nishang Narayan

Published on June 15, 2024

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has once again set the benchmark for luxury dining, celebrating significant achievements in global culinary accolades. Known for its innovative craftsmanship and commitment to gastronomic excellence, the renowned hospitality brand is inviting guests to share in its excitement.

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Fresh from the June 5th announcement of the World's 50 Best Restaurants, SÉZANNE, the celebrated French culinary gem at Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi, secured the 15th spot on this prestigious list. Earlier in the year, SÉZANNE was also named the #1 restaurant in Asia's 50 Best Restaurants and the Best Restaurant in Japan for 2024.

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"Our restaurants and bars are the heartbeat of our hotels. Not only do they enhance the stay experience and foster memorable moments for our guests, but they also serve as an anchor to the community," said Rainer Stampfer, President, Global Operations, Hotels and Resorts, Four Seasons. "We are incredibly proud of our teams worldwide. Through our relentless pursuit of culinary innovation and exceptional service, we continue to elevate our brand and lead the industry."

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With more Michelin stars across its global portfolio than any other luxury hospitality brand, Four Seasons also introduced two new Michelin-starred projects in the past year. Pavyllon London, the first London restaurant from multi-Michelin-starred Chef Yannick Alléno at Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane, earned its first star just six months after opening. Auro, located at Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley and led by Executive Chef Rogelio Garcia, was recognized as the only Michelin-starred restaurant in Calistoga, California.

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"This industry recognition is a testament to our incredibly talented craftspeople worldwide and their commitment to culinary excellence," said Philipp Blaser, Senior Vice President, Food and Beverage, Four Seasons. "Our restaurants and bars are culinary institutions that drive the industry conversation around tradition, excellence, modernity, and sustainability."

Four Seasons culinary leadership shines with 34 Michelin stars across 25 restaurants in 20 hotels and resorts worldwide. This includes all restaurants at both Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris, and Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong holding Michelin stars at all their dining establishments. Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris, boasts six Michelin stars and one Green Star for sustainability across its landmark restaurants: Le Cinq, L'Orangerie, and Le George. Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong holds eight Michelin stars for its exceptional dining establishments: Caprice, Lung King Heen, Noi, and Sushi Saito.

Beyond Michelin stars, Four Seasons maintains a strong presence in a variety of acclaimed industry awards, including 50 Best, La Liste, Black Pearl, Gault Millau, and Wine Spectator, among many others.

To celebrate its culinary excellence, Four Seasons will host a series of bespoke culinary events and promotions in June and July. These unique dining experiences will showcase the personalized service, genuine care, and culinary artistry synonymous with Four Seasons, creating magical moments for every diner.

Highlighted Culinary Adventures at Four Seasons:

Pelagos on Tour in Greece: Chef Luca Piscazzi from Pelagos at Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens invites guests to explore the culinary treasures of Greece's Aegean islands. This tasting menu celebrates the unique flavors and rich culinary traditions of the Cyclades region.

Sunset Cruise and Michelin Dining in Hong Kong: Experience a breathtaking Victoria Harbour sunset aboard the Aqualuna Harbour Cruise, followed by an exquisite dining experience at Lung King Heen, the world's first three-Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant.

Wine Tasting Dinners in Napa Valley: Celebrate Napa Valley's local artisans with Auro's Wine Dinner Series at Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley. Enjoy a seven-course tasting menu paired with exceptional wines, highlighting the region's culinary heritage.

For more world-class dining experiences at Four Seasons hotels and resorts, visit fourseasons.com/dining and follow #TasteofFS on Instagram.

About Four Seasons

Founded in 1961, Four Seasons has become a global leader in luxury hospitality, with 130 hotels and resorts and 55 residential properties in 47 countries. The company is known for its unparalleled service and continues to expand with over 60 projects in development. Four Seasons offers more than 600 dining outlets, the Four Seasons Private Jet Experience, and the upcoming Four Seasons Yachts. Consistently ranking among the world's best, Four Seasons is dedicated to creating unforgettable experiences for its guests. For more information, visit fourseasons.com.

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