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Macau Announces End to Zero-Covid Policy

Alan Woinski

December 7th, 2022

Skift Take

  • Macau follows what China’s leadership tells them to and now it is confirmed that Zero Covid is dead.
  • ONYX Hospitality Group unveiled plans to strengthen its serviced apartment brand, Shama.
  • The Novotel Bali Benoa has reopened following a major renovation that will reposition the beachfront resort.

Macau follows what China’s leadership tells them to and now it is confirmed that Zero Covid is dead. Macau’s Secretary for Social Affairs formally announced that Macau is undergoing a ‘gradual reopening’ as authorities realize they can no longer control the outbreak in the community and mainland Chinese policies shift towards a more open approach. The translation is after falling a year behind everyone else in this world, Macau and China have finally realized it is time to learn how to live with the virus. The Macau official said they expect to have an increase in the number of cases in the city and that it will be impossible to continue to shut themselves in Macau. They said their future measures will not allow a large-scale outbreak and hope citizens can understand the characteristics of the pandemic. The officials referenced the weakening of the deadliness of the virus, something the rest of the world realized a long time ago. Early this week we told you there was a cluster of 30 cases in Macau and the government did not do what it did in the past, lock the city down. That has doubled in a few days and most likely will double again and again and without mass testing will probably be even bigger than that. Once that takes its course through the city, the casino resorts can finally look to the future.

ONYX Hospitality Group unveiled plans to strengthen its serviced apartment brand, Shama. They plan to open nine new properties in Thailand and one in Malaysia by the end of 2025, boosting their portfolio. The group currently operates six Shama properties in Thailand and 10 in Hong Kong and China. Onyx took over the Hong Kong-based Shama brand in 2010. Onyx launched Shama Social Club, a new lifestyle concept that looks to connect Shama guests with the fabric of the local community where the property is located. Each Shama property will use the social club platform to deliver locally-tailored programs of activities, events, games, social occasions, food & drink, music, as well as a variety of guest service hallmarks.

The Novotel Bali Benoa has reopened following a major renovation that will reposition the beachfront resort. The resort is located on the golden sands of Tanjung Benoa Beach and blends traditional Balinese architecture with contemporary facilities. The resort includes 187 rooms and suites, including family options with bunk beds and PlayStations, plus Beach Cabanas and Private Pool Villas. There are four restaurants and bars, three outdoor swimming pools, a spa and event spaces. Additional refurbishments will continue in the coming weeks with upgrades to the meeting rooms, kids club and fitness centers to be completed this month while work on the tennis court is expected to finish in February 2023.

Hospitality 360 Sdn Bhd, a Malaysian hotel management and consulting company, announced the signing of a strategic partnership with Wyndham Hotels and Resorts to expand their portfolio of hotels, resorts and serviced apartments across Malaysia. Several memorandums of understandings and agreements were signed for H360 to manage, under various Wyndham brands, four hotels and luxury serviced apartments in Sabah. The MoUs were signed between Wyndham and the developers of the hotel properties, namely Jesselton Newcity Development Sdn. Bhd; and Sumbangan Aru KK Sdn. Bhd; for properties that will in turn be managed as Wyndham Grand, Dolce by Wyndham, and Ramada by Wyndham brands. Construction of the hotels, totaling more than 2,000 rooms, will commence in phases beginning in 2023 with completion expected in 2027. H360 said they also have other hotel properties in the pipeline that will be part of the Wyndham partnership. Their future flagship property, the more than 190-room Wyndham Grand TRX KL, is being developed by Core Precious Development Sdn Bhd. Construction is underway with completion expected by Q4 2023. The newly built Ramada by Wyndham The Straits Johor Bahru, with more than 190 rooms, will be operational by Q1 2023. Other properties from H360 include the 85-room luxury serviced apartment project Isola KLCC, developed by OCR Berhand, the 152-room Shahzan Kuantan in Pahang, the 204-room Trinidad Suites Puteri Harbour in Johor and three more properties – the 88 room Lisbon Melaka, 158 room Trigo Kuala Lumpur and 90 room Shahzan Frasers Hill. All are expected to sign to Wyndham’s Trademark Collection brand. H360 is targeting achieving a portfolio of 5,000 rooms all over Malaysia by 2027.

Dubai-based DAMAC Group, under its DAMAC Properties arm, signed a contract with Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group to operate a new resort on a group of private islands in The Maldives. This was announced at the International Luxury Travel Market in Cannes, France. The 34-hectare luxury resort is currently under development and is scheduled to open in 2025 and will be DAMAC Group’s first foray into the tourist islands. The Mandarin Oriental Bolidhuffaru Reef’s accommodation comprises 130 stand-alone villas, made up of 61 overwater villas and 66 beachfront villas, including 10 branded residences. The villas, ranging in size from 100 to 600 square meters, will be some of the largest in the market with private pools and ocean views. There will be seven dining outlets, including three specialty restaurants and an exclusive dining venue along with a pool bar. Creative indoor and outdoor events spaces will be available for meetings, social gatherings and weddings. Spacious wellness facilities will be located in the resort’s tropical gardens and will include 12 treatment suites, vitality pools, sauna and steam rooms as well as a beauty salon. Additional leisure activities will include a water sports and dive center, tennis courts, kids and teens club, swimming pool and more.

Indian Hotels Company announced the opening of Taj Amer, a new oasis of modern luxury in Jaipur in India, located a short drive from Amber Fort. The luxury hotel includes 245 rooms and suites with peacock motifs, latticework and rich textures. There is a selection of bars and restaurants including a soon-to-launch Chinese restaurant at the signature House of Ming. The rooftop infinity pool, Jiva Spa and lavishly appointed 16,000 square foot pillarless ballroom, Jaigarh, and adjoining 8,000 square foot lawns and banqueting areas round out the amenities.

Savills Retail and Lifestyle has secured the lease for ARENA eSports Hotel at Cuppage Terrace at Orchard Road in Singapore following negotiations with Royal Holdings, a property investment focused group. The 12,000 square feet hotel has 46 rooms, a battle station for eSports competitions and a virtual reality lounge for guests. The hotel is located within the heritage building at Orchard Road, Southeast Asia’s shopping street.

Personnel Moves

Absolute Hotel Services announced four promotions within the sales, marketing & revenue and business development teams as well as the introduction of two new roles on the quality assurance team. Napan Khumbute has been named as deputy vice president business development. The promotion comes following 12 years year AHS with Khumbute tasked with continuing the growth of AHS’ brands with a particular focus on Laos, Cambodia and other international destinations. Karn Supatrabutra was promoted to business development & technical services manager while Sasipimon Singsuksawat was named vice president sales Asia. Yasin Shaikh has joined AHS as regional sales, revenue distribution director for AHS India region. Natasha Wigley was named director quality assurance while Kris Widellwas introduced as marketing intelligence & consumer interaction manager.

Alan Woinski

December 7th, 2022

Companies: Absolute Hotel Services, Accor, Core Precious Development Sdn Bhd, DAMAC Properties, Dolce Hotels and Resorts, Hospitality 360 Sdn Bhd, Mandarin Oriental, Novotel, ONYX Hospitality Group, Ramada, Savills, Shama, Taj, The Indian Hotels Company Ltd, Wyndham Grand, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

Locations: Bali, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Jaipur, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Singapore, Thailand

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