Hotel Wrap: NSW planning reforms welcomed by tourism industry, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales + MORE!

With Black Friday around the corner, we’re checking in to our next hotel in style, thanks to our latest round of expense claims being approved ahead of the weekend.

Proposed NSW planning reforms welcomed by tourism industry

The Accommodation Association of Australia (AAoA) has welcomed the Premier of New South Wales Gladys Berejiklian’s announcement of a review of the state planning system.

The Government’s decision to commit to planning reforms inclusive of cuts to red tape, increased transparency of the approval process and reduced assessment timeframes is great news for the accommodation sector, AAoA said.

“The recent rejection of the Star proposal for the Ritz Carlton development demonstrated that the planning system in NSW is flawed,” AAoA CEO Dean Long said.

Likewise, Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) has welcomed the decision as a necessary step to stimulate the state economy.

TAA NSW CEO Michael Johnson said the reforms would help drive certainty and cut lengthy delays, which is necessary for investment in major infrastructure like hotels.

“This announcement is very welcome,” Johnson said.

“Governments should be constantly looking at ways in which they can streamline processes or remove unnecessary red tape so as to encourage investment and stimulate growth.

“The recent decision by the Independent Planning Commission to reject the $500 million Ritz-Carlton project in Pyrmont provides clear evidence of the need to look closely at red tape and planning reform in NSW,” he said.

Anurak Lodge in Thailand Earns Travelife Gold Certification

Anurak Community Lodge in southern Thailand has become the first accommodation in the Khao Sok national park area to be Travelife certified.

The 20-unit ecolodge, which opened in 2016, received its certification on 15 November after complying with Travelife’s rigorous Gold Certificate criteria.

These include minimising environmental impact, recording and reducing energy consumption, respecting labour and human rights, maintaining health and safety standards, encouraging community integration, working with appropriate suppliers, and inspiring guest participation in onsite sustainability initiatives.

IHG unveils holiday season sale

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has announced its Cyber Sale, which gives guests the opportunity to save at least 20 per cent on the Best Flexible Rate at participating hotel stays this season.

IHG Rewards Club members can save an additional five percent throughout and 10 percent during Black Friday/Cyber Monday from 29 November 2019 to 6 December 2019.

The Cyber Sale promotion began on 11 November 2019 and will continue through 17 December 2019.

Members can begin to take advantage of this offer and start earning bonus points for stays through 31 May 2020.

Guests will automatically receive the discount when booking from

Last chance to save up to 30 per cent with Club Med

It’s the final week for agents to secure up to 30 per cent off their clients’ 2020 holidays at Club Med’s all-inclusive resorts worldwide.

The below offers are still available, and will expire Friday, 29 November 2019:

  • Beachside family oasis of Club Med Bali, Indonesia – 7 nights all-inclusive from $1,225 per person
  • Delicious food and endless smiles at Club Med Phuket, Thailand – 7 nights all-inclusive from $1,030 per person
  • Ultimate turquoise playground at Club Med Kani, Maldives – 7 nights all-inclusive from $1,930 per person
  • Holistic wellness escape at Club Med Bintan Island, Indonesia – 7 night all-inclusive from $1,535 per person
  • For the best of barefoot luxury, visit Club Med Finolhu Villas, Maldives – 7 nights all-inclusive from $3,760 per person.

Travel agents can find further information and sales resources on the Club Med travel agent portal.

Industry leaders donate 40 hours to raise $40k for charity

Twenty of the nation’s business leaders will mentor during the fundraising initiative, ‘Feel Mentored’, with a goal of raising $40,000 for Accor Community Fund Australia’s five charity partners.

At a cost of $10 per ticket, entrants go into the running to win two hours of face-to-face mentorship with one of 20 other lucky raffle winners.

All funds raised will be presented to Accor Community Fund Australia’s charity partners: Kokoda Youth Foundation, Lifeline, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, the Australian Childhood Foundation and AIME Mentoring.

Winners are to be announced Friday 6 December 2019, and tickets can be purchase online.

Fly, stay and cruise the best of Fiji all in one package

Castaway Island, Fiji has partnered with local operators Captain Cook Cruises Fiji and Pacific Island Air to create the seven-night ‘Mamanuca Magic’ package.

Incorporating “the best of Fiji on land, sea and in the air”, the package represents the first time the three operators have joined forces to design an itinerary that includes three of the best tourism services available in Fiji.

The package includes complimentary helicopter transfer for two adults from Nadi Airport to Castaway Island, Fiji and pickup by the ship’s tender from Castaway Island to join Reef Endeavour.

Marriott Bonvoy to partner with ATP Cup and Brisbane International

Tennis Australia has announced a new partnership with Marriott International’s global travel program, Marriott Bonvoy, for the ATP Cup and Brisbane International in 2020.

Premiering in January 2020, the ATP Cup will be played across three Australian cities: Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, with the tournament occurring between 3–12 January.

Marriott Bonvoy, as the official hotel partner, will host the world’s top tennis players, coaches, VIPs and tournament staff at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties.

These include The Westin Brisbane, W Brisbane, Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park and the newly opened, The Ritz-Carlton, Perth.

&Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge reopens

&Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge in Namibia has reopened with a sophisticated new look that merges a sleek design with the latest in sustainability, as well as a renewed focus on guest experiences that explore the secrets of the Namib Desert.

The selection of adventures available ranges far beyond the standard excursions and includes several opportunities for guests to see &Beyond Sossusvlei Private Desert Reserve, where the lodge is situated.

These include the opportunity to explore some unique and unexpected landscapes, such as the iconic star dunes near the lodge, the only ones in Namibia situated on a private reserve.

Six Senses Ninh Van Bay unveils ‘The Water Retreat’

Six Senses Ninh Van Bay has premiered the latest addition to the resort: ‘The Water Retreat’.

The three-bedroom villa is set at the water’s edge on the dramatic rock formations of a private bay, and spreads over 9,687 square feet. The villa offers uninterrupted sunset views.

The Water Retreat’s location is secluded and accessible by a private speedboat or walkway. An infinity-edge pool blends naturally with the horizon and surrounding boulders. Comprising three free-standing pavilions, there is a two-storey living area with a dining room on the ground floor and living room on the upper floor.

A master and second bedroom both have ensuite bathrooms that feature handmade wooden bathtubs and showers. The upper floor of the living room pavilion can be converted to a third bedroom with separate facilities.

Banyan Tree to open luxury resort in Krabi

Now under development in a serene location on Tubkaek Beach, a 45-minute scenic drive from Krabi Airport, Banyan Tree Krabi fronts powdery white sands and the shallow-shelved coast of the Andaman Sea.

The new Thai resort will offer 72 pool suites and villas, among them seven 2-bedroom options and one three-bedroom villa.

Facilities include all-day dining, a ballroom, a wedding chapel, a beach club, a kids’ club, and a fitness centre. In keeping with Banyan Tree’s holistic branding, the resort will also host a rainforest-themed spa.

Banyan Tree Holdings Ltd. said it expects to open the doors of Banyan Tree Krabi to guests on 1 April 2020.

East Hotel offers packages for Matisse and Picasso Summer NGA event

East Hotel in Canberra is offering inclusive packages between 13 December 2019–13 April 2020 for guests to see paintings by two of Europe’s most beloved artists: Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse.

The latest ‘Summer Blockbuster’ from the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) includes masterpieces by Matisse and Picasso from collections across the world, including paintings that will be on display in Australia for the first time.

East Hotel is offering the following packages around the event:

Matisse & Picasso ($289)

  • Upgrade to a Luxe Studio
  • two tickets to exhibition at NGA
  • Breakfast for two
  • Bottle of local Canberra wine
  • Parking & WiFi.

Art Summer Canberra ($499)

  • Two night’s accommodation with an upgrade to a Luxe Studio
  • Two tickets to exhibition at NGA
  • Breakfast for two
  • Bottle of local Canberra wine
  • Parking & WiFi.

Masterpieces for the Family ($599 for a family of four)

  • Two night’s accommodation in an East One Bedroom Apartment with a sofa bed or rollaway
  • Family pass to exhibition at NGA
  • Bottle of local Canberra wine
  • Parking & WiFi.

Dates: 13 December 2019–13 April 2020.

Soneva announces partnership with KSL

Soneva has announced that an affiliate of KSL Capital Partners, LLC has taken a significant minority stake in the company.

As part of KSL’s investment, Sailing Capital has redeemed its investment in Soneva after first investing in Soneva in 2014.

With the support of Sailing Capital, Soneva claims it was able to expand its portfolio in the Maldives.


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