Hotels

Hotel Wrap: &Beyond’s new treehouse experience, Hilton celebrates hospitality excellence + MORE!

Looking to spice up your clients’ accommodation? Lucky for you, this week’s Hotel Wrap will take you around the world and back, all in the space of a coffee break.

&Beyond Launches Ngala Treehouse experience

Luxury travel company &Beyond has added a brand-new way to experience the romance, adventure and magic of Africa at &Beyond Ngala Private Game Reserve in South Africa.

The Ngala Treehouse is a remote overnight retreat that offers guests the ultimate in sleep-out experiences beneath the stars.

Cocooned in a pristine bush setting, the four-level treehouse features a choice of two sleeping areas: an enclosed and weatherproof bedroom with a king-sized bed, hot running shower and flushing toilet on the third level, or an elevated sleep-out platform set beneath a retractable awning on the rooftop.

The reserve is reportedly home to several largest prides of African lion and the packs of the endangered African wild dog may also be spotted moving through the reserve.

Guests enjoy exclusive game drives and bush walks on 14,700 hectares (36,000 acres) of private wilderness land.

Hilton celebrates Australasia hospitality excellence

Hilton has announced the winners of its highly anticipated F&B Masters Regional Grand Final for Australasia.

Held at Hilton Brisbane, the event saw 30 Hilton team members from across Australasia come together over two days to compete in three cup categories: culinary, barista and bar.

Culinary Cup

Winner: Tua Fatongiatau, Hilton Sydney

Winning creation: Swordfish with Bloody Mary sauce, corn and chorizo hash, braised cos lettuce and saffron

Prize: 5-days cross exposure at a Hilton property in Australia or New Zealand of winner’s choice with flights, accommodation and meals included.

Barista Cup

Winner: Sophie Dewhurst, Hilton Brisbane

Winning creation: A Turkish Delight inspired hot chocolate made with the addition of rose syrup

Prize: 5-days cross exposure at a Hilton property in Australia or New Zealand of winner’s choice with flights, accommodation and meals included.

Bar Cup

Winner: Aaron Foo, Parmelia Hilton Perth

Winning creation: A luxurious whisky and truffle infused cocktail inspired by the world’s most expensive car, the Rolls Royce.

Prize: 5-days cross exposure at a Hilton property in Australia or New Zealand of winner’s choice with flights, accommodation and meals included.

In separate news, Hilton has revealed brands Curio Collection by Hilton and Tapestry Collection by Hilton’s 2020 goals, including Curio Collection’s 100th hotel opening and Tapestry Collection’s debut in Europe.

IHG debuts upscale brand voco in Africa with Valor Hospitality Partners Africa

InterContinental Hotels Group has signed voco The Bank, Rosebank in South Africa in partnership with Valor Hospitality Partners Africa.

Earlier this year, IHG announced the signing of a Master Development Agreement (MDA) with Valor Hospitality Partners Africa to roll out multiple franchise hotels over the next 10 years, across IHG’s portfolio of brands in midscale, upscale and luxury segments.

This is the first signing under the MDA and adds to IHG’s growing pipeline in the Middle East and Africa and strengthens the growth of the company’s new upscale brand, voco, in the region.

Oyo fires 360 US staff amid business model shift

In a business model shift from growth at all costs to a more balanced approach, Oyo has laid off more than a third of its total United States-based staff.

This follows the firing of a reported 1,200 staff in India and China in the last few weeks.

In the recent round of job cuts, Skift reports, the layoffs took place across multiple job categories, and included business development managers, talent acquisition leads, and area general managers.

Record numbers attend Accor’s 2020 Pacific Franchise Hotel Awards

Pictured (L-R): Scott Flynn and Anthony Flynn, Brisbane Airport Hotels Group, and Simon McGrath, chief operating officer, Accor Pacific.

Accor’s highly-anticipated Pacific Franchise Awards were held at Pullman Melbourne on The Park on Wednesday, 29 January, as part of the group’s annual franchise conference. In attendance were more than 130 delegates.

Nine awards were presented throughout the evening by Yvonne Sampson, Australian television sports presenter and commentator, in recognition of the outstanding performance and achievements of the group’s franchise hotels:

  • Development of the Year: Mercure Sydney Rouse Hill
  • Guest Experience Hotel of the Year: Elements of Byron, MGallery by Sofitel
  • Loyalty Hotel of the Year: Novotel Sydney Brighton Beach
  • Food & Beverage Hotel of the Year: Mount Lofty House, MGallery by Sofitel
  • Service to the Community Award: Voyages Ayers Rock Resort
  • Business Transformation of the Year: Kristy Wallace, Mercure Orange
  • General Manager of the Year: David Hay, Mercure Kingfisher Bay Resort
  • Hospitality Industry Pioneer Award: Brisbane Airport Hotels Group
  • Hotel of the Year: Voyages Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge.

Groupe GM launches new range of solid bathroom amenities

As part of its ‘Care About Earth’ program, Groupe GM is launching the first solid amenity bath line, branded Damana Earth & Sun.

The DAMANA Solid Range is a soap-free vegan amenity line, formulated with natural origin ingredients. Thanks to its solid form, water consumption is significantly reduced by nine times that of the amount used with classic formulas.

Sanctuary Retreats announces new Kenyan camp in the heart of Laikipia

Luxury boutique safari operator Sanctuary Retreats has announced the latest edition to its portfolio of African luxury camps and lodges.

Scheduled to open in July 2020, the brand new Sanctuary Tambarare is nestled among fever trees in the shadow of Mount Kenya, in Kenya’s Laikipia County, north east of Nairobi.

Tambarare (which reportedly translates to ‘plains’ in Swahili) and the camp overlook the grassy plateau of the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, some 90,000 acres of unspoilt African landscape, which is home to the highest density of wildlife in Kenya outside the Maasai Mara.

Four Seasons Resort Dubai unveils 11 renovated imperial suites

Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach has completed its recent room renewal program with the revelation of its crowning jewels – 11 newly renovated Imperial Suites.

Designed by famed French interior architect Sybille de Margerie, the new Imperial Suites were created with the surrounding natural landscape in mind, inspired by the sorbet hues of the sunset on the Arabian Gulf, the winds that sway shady palm fronds and the orange desert sands found on the city’s outskirts, offering a modernised luxury suite experience.

Outrigger declares Australia Day event and fundraiser a success

Premier beach resort brand Outrigger Hotels and Resorts recently held its inaugural Australia Day Event at Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort to celebrate all things Aussie.

The event was also used to raise awareness and funds for the Australian Bushfire Crisis and more specifically its chosen charity WIRES Wildlife Rescue.

Guests participated in Aussie games, delighted in local Australian food and beverages, met the Australian ‘Surfers in Residence’, Travis Grant, and were encouraged to dig deep to support the fundraising efforts for WIRES, which resulted in a further $730 donation from “passing the hat” around during the event.

The event proved such a success that Revell Newton, general manager at Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort, confirmed the Australia Day Event will be held again in 2021.

More than 250 guests attended over the day, who were entertained by live music from DJ Teley and legendary local entertainer Henry Kapono.

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Wholesalers

Wholesaler Wrap: Collette celebrates 5th anniversary in Australia, Globus previews 2021 European tours + MORE!

Out of sorts when it comes to the who’s who of the wholesaler scene? This week’s Wholesaler Wrap comes in the nick of time. 

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Aviation

Boeing confirms debris found in 737 MAX engines, as Qantas eyes cut-price deal

by Christian Fleetwood

Alan Joyce says Qantas’ “unmatched” safety reputation positions it to negotiate a discounted deal with Boeing for a new fleet of 737 MAXs when the jet is re-certified.

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Travel Agents

AFTA considers partial ATAS review following collapse of online travel agency

by Huntley Mitchell

The liquidation of an OTA and ATAS member has caught AFTA by surprise. Travel Weekly apologises for the excessive acronym usage.

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Tourism

Police shoot man dead in Brisbane after tourist stabbing

by Christian Fleetwood

Police officers were called to a disturbance on Sunday following reports a man armed with a knife had stabbed an overseas tourist.

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Travel Agents

Helloworld posts profit and record TTV, but expects “minimal growth, if any” for rest of FY20

by Huntley Mitchell

Can you hear the popping of champagne corks coming from Helloworld HQ? Well, it’s either the company celebrating its half-yearly results or a staff member trying out their new pop gun.

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Cruise

More Diamond Princess evacuees catch coronavirus

Meanwhile, experts fear quarantines could be compromised by a longer incubation period.

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Aviation

Flight attendant says keto diet got him fired

The flight attendant claims he was fired for testing negative in a breath test, but says it was caused by the keto diet – not alcohol.

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Tourism

Ardent Leisure suffers another loss, warns of further impact from Dreamworld tragedy

by Huntley Mitchell

The company has warned investors it is unlikely that Dreamworld will break even in the second half of FY20.

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Destinations

Destination Wrap: Abu Dhabi’s record-breaking visitor numbers, Tourism Fiji rolls out new stage of Bulanaires + MORE!

Meanwhile, the only destination Travel Weekly staff will be exploring today is the streets of Surry Hills in search of a cheaper coffee than the place downstairs.

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Cruise

Hurtigruten makes history in Antarctica

Meanwhile, Travel Weekly’s editor has entered the office record books for shortest distance thrown in the staff paper plane throwing competition.

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Wholesalers

Aussie wholesaler expands to New Zealand

Staff at an Aussie wholesaler are beginning to work phrases like “choice bro”, “sweet as” and “chur” into their vocabulary upon receipt of this news.

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Cruise

Coronavirus: Diamond Princess passengers die, as two evacuated Aussies test positive

The coronavirus outbreak continues to wreak havoc on the travel industry, prompting the federal government to extend its travel ban for another week.

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