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Hilton’s Asia-Pacific Ambition

Alan Woinski
March 13th, 2023 at 7:24 AM EDT

Skift Take

  • Hilton’s Asia Pacific president, Alan Watts, told Nikkei Asia that they expect hotel guest numbers in China to return to their pre-pandemic levels by year-end.
  • The Macau Daily Times said they are being told the recent spike in hotel room prices in Macau is driving international visitors away.
  • SJM Holdings Ltd said they plan to launch the remainder of the hotel room inventory at its Grand Lisboa Palace on Cotai in Macau within the next quarter.

Hilton’s Asia Pacific president, Alan Watts, told Nikkei Asia that they expect hotel guest numbers in China to return to their pre-pandemic levels by year-end. By the fourth quarter, they are expecting to see regular 80% occupancies. Of the 7,000 hotels Hilton runs worldwide, Asia Pacific accounts for about 9% with 672 properties representing 12 brands. They have more than 500 hotels in China. By 2025, Hilton hopes to have 1,000 hotels operating in Asia Pacific. Outside of China, Hilton is focusing on emerging markets like India and Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia. They see opportunity at all tiers but particularly in luxury brands and entry-level hotels on the back of rising wealth and the increase in travel among younger people, both domestically and overseas. Hilton is expanding its Waldorf Astoria luxury brand, set to open its first hotel in Kuala Lumpur in 2024 and in Hanoi the following year. Watts does not expect Asia to recover until 2024 fully, saying airline flight inventory is the biggest issue in the region.

The Macau Daily Times said they are being told the recent spike in hotel room prices in Macau is driving international visitors away, or at least motivating them to stay for a shorter period. The couples they interviewed that felt prices were too high said they had no interest in gambling and were coming to sightsee. They also complained about the ferry schedules from Hong Kong to Macau. The Times picked a random weekend in March to test hotel prices and found Wynn Macau charging over MOP10,000 and the Ritz-Carlton Macau charging over MOP8,000. The majority of the hotels showed pricing in the MOP2,000 to MOP3,000 range but on Cotai, they said it was impossible to find one under MOP3,000.

SJM Holdings Ltd said they plan to launch the remainder of the hotel room inventory at its Grand Lisboa Palace on Cotai in Macau, along with further gaming tables, within the next quarter. The total room count at their Cotai casino complex is close to 1,900 but only 570 rooms have been opened. Their average occupancy rate on weekends with the few rooms is over 100%. This month they will open an additional 188 rooms at the west tower of Grand Lisboa Palace and in the second quarter of 2023 the second tower with 658 rooms and Palazzo Versace Macau will open. SJM will also open 100 more gaming tables in addition to the current 100, most of them when the hotel rooms open in the second quarter.

Accor has continued its rapid expansion in the Philippines with the signing of South Palms Resort Panglao Bohol – MGallery. The five-star resort is on the island of Panglao and joins a pipeline of 16 committed projects across the country. It will become the first resort-style property for MGallery in the Philippines. The 188 key resort is scheduled to open its doors in 2024, nestled within 6.4 hectare of expansive grounds. There will be four restaurants, a swimming pool, pool bar, fitness center, spa, ballroom and meeting rooms and more. The resort is being developed by Alturas Group of Companies with support from C9 Hotelworks.

The wellness-inspired Vietnamese hospitality brand Fusion said it’s expanding in Southeast Asia, announcing new hotel openings in Hanoi, Danang and launching a new brand in Binh DuongThe Hiive Binh Duong will be the first of the three new properties to open, targeting the growing mid-level business traveler, developed around Vietnam’s commercial and industrial hubs. The 172 key hotel will be centrally located in a leading Vietnam-Singapore Industry Park. The 242 key Fusion Resort & Villas Danang will be a prime beachfront property debuting in Fall 2023. The third will be the 238 key Fusion Suites Ha Noi, expected to open in early 2024 as part of a mixed-use development and high end shopping mall.

The Department of Education building in Sydney’s Sandstone Precinct will officially open on March 15 as Capella Sydney. The building has been restored and reimagined by Pontiac Land in collaboration with Make Architects. Capella Sydney is the first Australian property in the Capella Hotels and Resorts portfolio. The luxury hotel includes 192 guestrooms and suites, anchored by three ground-level food and beverage outlets, filled with collected artworks and sophisticated furnishings all within footsteps of the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge and Quay Quarter Lanes precinct. Suites start from 46 square meters with the Deluxe, Premier and Skyline rooms offering space while the crown jewel is the 235 square meter Capella Suite on the ninth floor. Other amenities include the Auriga Spa and 20 meter heated indoor pool.

Indian Hotels Company announced the opening of Ginger ChandigarhZirakpur. The hotel marks the debut of the Ginger brand in Zirakpur, a satellite town neighboring the Chandigarh Capital Region and IHCL’s second hotel in the city. The hotel is a part of Dhillon Plaza, a mixed-use development complex with high footfalls. The hotel features 102 rooms, all day diner Qmin, a meeting area, banquet hall and a fitness center. The hotel was developed in partnership with the Dhillon Group.

South Australian property developer Makris Group is in talks with lenders to back its $500 million expansion of Gold Coast’s Marina Mirage shopping precinct. The planned expansion includes a new luxury hotel, additional retail and dining outlets and 90 luxury apartments.

Keppel Corporation said they will sell the Sedona Hotel in Yangon in Myanmar for US$57.4 million. Nikkei Asia reported that the Singapore government-backed conglomerate is accelerating asset sales to bolster its environmental business. The company determined the value of the hotel that ceased operations due to the pandemic in the year ending December 2021. Keppel will sell its Myanmar hotel business to Spring Blossom Ventures, a Singapore-registered company that is described as an investment holding and investment business in the hospitality industry. The share sale is expected to be completed in the first half of 2023. Spring Blossom Ventures said they plan to continue operating the buildings as a hotel and are expecting to sign on with a new hotel operator.

Middle East Highlight

Ennismore signed an agreement with Olayan Financing Company to launch the first Mondrian hotel development in Saudi Arabia, Mondrian Riyadh Al Malga. The property is set to open in 2026 and will be Ennismore’s first hotel in the capital. Mondrian Riyadh Al Malga Hotel and Residences will include 200 keys, with 130 standard rooms and suites, with 25 one-bedroom, 35 two-bedroom, and 10 three-bedroom serviced apartments. The hotel will pioneer innovative culinary and mixology experiences in the Kingdom with three new restaurants and lounges by Ennismore’s in-house F&B concept studio, Carte Blanched. It will also be home to event spaces and state-of-the-art social wellness spaces. The hotel will be developed as part of the mixed-use Al Malga Urban Village. Located in the northern part of Riyadh, the Al Malga neighborhood is at the entrance of the recently announced 400-meter-high cube-shaped skyscraper Mukaab as part of the capital’s Murabba downtown plan. The Mondrian brand has a pipeline of 17 hotels and branded residences including upcoming openings in Singapore, Hong Kong, Bordeaux, Ibiza, Cannes, Dubai, Gold Coast Australia and Abu Dhabi, adding to its existing portfolio of seven open hotels.

Alan Woinski
March 13th, 2023 at 7:24 AM EDT

Companies: Accor, Capella Hotels & Resorts, Ennismore, Fusion Hotel Group, Fusion Resort, Fusion Suites, Hiive, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Makris Group, MGallery Hotel Collection, Mondrian, SJM Holdings Ltd, Spring Blossom Ventures, The Indian Hotels Company Ltd

Locations: Chandigarh, Danang, Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Riyadh, Sydney, Thailand, Vietnam

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