Zero-Covid in China is definitely on life support as, despite a continuing steady stream of new cases, Beijing’s International Airport and Daxing Airport have dropped the requirement for a negative Covid-19 test result to enter their terminals. While some will say President Xi has blinked after the recent protests, financial markets around the world had the heads up on this over a month ago. Over in Macau a cluster of cases that may have been started by a cab driver has not resulted in the closing of casinos or banishment of residents to their homes even though many in that cluster spent time in casinos, hotels, restaurants and bars in the city. The slow process of China reopening has officially begun and it is about time.
According to the South China Morning Post, even without the Chinese, hotels on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali are booked solid for the Christmas and New Year period. The article said Airbnb named Bali as the world’s most popular holiday destination last month. It was Kuta, a beachside district just 10 minutes from Bali’s airport which was named the number 1 trending destination for searches worldwide on Airbnb between July and October. Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia was second. As for the hotels, not only are they filling up with bookings, they are getting good prices with the Four Seasons at Jimbaran Bay said to be charging US$3,300 per night for a villa during the festive season and most are said to be already booked. In fact, based on this article, the vast majority of the hotels are reporting expected occupancy over 90% for the period. What will happen to places like Singapore and Bali when the Chinese can travel again? While there will be plenty of articles written about how these locations will need new hotels, it will just mean existing hotels will get even higher prices and make up for those two long years under Covid.
The Kyushu Tourism Organization in Japan sent us a press release on their expected new resorts and hotels opening in 2023. In spring of 2023, the 162-room Ritz-Carlton, Fukuoka and extended stay Nishitetsu Hotel Croom Hakata Gion, Fukuoka will open their doors. Come fall of 2023, the first Marriott-branded full-service hotel, Marriott Nagasaki will be opening and then in the summer, the Fairfield by Marriott Ukiha and Fairfield Marriott Ureshino Onsen will be opening, part of a major initiative by Suiseki House and Marriott International to create new accommodations throughout Japan along major tourist routes.
Pan Pacific Hotels Group announced they opened the Pan Pacific Serviced Suites Kuala Lumpur. The 25-story high-rise includes 210 suites in Bukit Bintang, joining the UOL Group Limited’s global expansion that will double its serviced suites portfolio by 2023, spanning 10 properties in eight cities including Bangkok, Hanoi, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. The new property offers one and two bedroom layouts, ranging from 47 sqm to 80 sqm. The top level, number 24, is where residents can work, relax or recharge within a selection of spaces, such as The Living Room that houses a meeting room, pool table, foosball table and other recreational fittings. The Pacific Lounge serves breakfast as well as all day coffee, tea and juices. There is a TechnoGym fitness center, and a rooftop pool overlooking Kuala Lumpur’s panoramic skyline. Residents are also welcome next door at ParkRoyal Collection at their rooftop garden terraces, St. Gregory spa or their dining outlets.
LyLo, a budget lifestyle hotel that features private rooms like those in a standard budget hotel, cheaper rooms with shared facilities, and even cheaper sleeping pod rooms, opened its doors in Auckland, NZ’s CBD. The hotel is a bit like the capsule hotels in Japan or like the Jucy Snooze sleeping pod accommodation options in Queenstown and Christchurch. LyLo also features a communal kitchen facility and quirky hangout places onsite as well as a large bar that serves a good selection of hot food options.
Stuff reported on the long-awaited Sebel Hotel in Lower Hutt in NZ finally getting ready to open in February. The four-star hotel has been the subject of a political battle over years of delays and debate about the rights and wrongs of the council backing the hotel. Raman Sarin has developed the hotel, getting the nod from the Hutt City Council back in 2015. An events center was built by the council and they gave Sarin’s company the right to run it. The hotel was originally supposed to open in 2017.
The Fern Hotels & Resorts, promoted as India’s leading environmentally sensitive hotel chain, announced they opened a new lifestyle resort, Arova Woods Zinc Journey by The Fern in Lonavala, Maharashtra. The hotel is a new-build upscale 23-room resort offering modern living spaces, Meraki restaurant, swimming pool and banquet hall, located on the Old Mumbai-Pune highway in Lonavala.
City Developments Ltd, controlled by Kwek Leng Beng, has deferred plans to list its commercial properties in the UK on the Singapore Exchange amid heightened market volatility and macroeconomic headwinds. The company had been looking to raise about US$607 million from the maiden share sale of a portfolio of UK commercial properties. City Dev said they have adequate liquidity following the divestment of the Millennium Hilton Seoul and sale of its stakes in two Singapore commercial properties. They also reported their hotel business is improving as travel demand has rebounded with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions. Globally, RevPAR has more than doubled in the first nine months of the year with those in London and New York showing marked improvements. Occupancy rates in Singapore jumped to 89% in the third quarter.
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts announced the reintroduction of direct franchising and management rights for its Ramada by Wyndham brand in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, replacing exclusive master license agreements for the brand in the country. The move is aligned with Wyndham’s strategy to expand the brand in the wider Middle East and Africa region where the company’s development pipeline includes approximately 26 hotels of which nearly 60% are under the Ramada portfolio. Wyndham recently opened Ramada by Wyndham Riyadh King Fahd Road, its thirteenth hotel in the country. That hotel has 189 rooms and suites, an array of F&B outlets as well as additional amenities such as a pool, indoor sauna, a banquet facility and a business center with versatile meeting rooms.
Langham Hospitality Group said they signed a new management agreement for the Langham Diriyah, located 15 minutes from downtown Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, with the Diriyah Gate Development Authority. The Langham, Diriyah, opening in 2026, will be an integral part of the development which is set to protect, preserve, and pay tribute to the cultural heritage of the Kingdom. The Langham Diriyah will have 200 rooms and suites, the intimate Langham Club Lounge, two new dining options, complementing the planned luxury destination dining district of Bujairi Terrace, Langham’s signature afternoon tea with new tea traditions to be created and the first international outpost of The Langham, London’s cooking school, Sauce, will make its debut. The Langham Chuan Spa will make its debut in Saudi Arabia at the property.