AVANI spreads to South Korea

Minor Hotels has announced it will debut its dynamic AVANI brand in South Korea with the launch of AVANI Busan Hotel. The new-build 400-key hotel represents a milestone for Minor Hotels as its first property in South Korea, and is scheduled to open 2019. AVANI Busan will be ideally situated in the East Busan Tourism Complex Zoning, a haven for both shopping and entertainment. Lotte World, a theme park scheduled for opening in 2019, and Lotte Mall, comprising over 500 international and local brands, will both be located less than 250 metres from the hotel. The new upscale hotel will offer an all-day dining restaurant, event space and meeting rooms, a rooftop specialty bar, a Korean style bathhouse and spa, a gym and swimming pool. William Heinecke, founder, chairman and CEO of Minor International PCL, said: "We are excited to announce our first property in South Korea in the dynamic city of Busan, which is the perfect fit for our upscale AVANI brand. South Korea is an important feeder market for Minor Hotels and we also see a lot of opportunity as an inbound market, both for this new AVANI and potentially for future Minor Hotels’ properties as well."

Helicopter service takes off at Borthwick

Corporate groups can arrive in style at Borthwick Castle, with the venue now offering helicopter connections and experiences to its guests. The fifteenth century Scottish castle, located 12 miles outside Edinburgh, has partnered with private helicopter specialist, Heliair to add a glamorous start to any business event. The helicopter will collect guests from Edinburgh International Airport before sweeping guests over the rolling hills to a field adjacent to the castle, where a luxury Land Rover awaits. Alternatively, a helicopter experience can be organised during the group’s stay. Ewan Grant, general manager at Borthwick Castle, says: “Guests arriving by air enjoy spectacular views as they approach the castle, and can explore the stunning Scottish countryside and nearby Edinburgh from the sky as part of their time with us. With six hundred years of history to discover here, including strong links with Mary, Queen of Scots, Sir Walter Scott and Oliver Cromwell, exploring by air offers our guests an unforgettable way to see the castle in its glorious setting and achieve a sense of place.”

Thames views at new South Bank venue

A new events venue on London's iconic South Bank has been launched by hospitality company Green & Fortune. Sea Containers Events, housed in the Sea Containers building, offers floor-to-ceiling windows of some of London's most impressive river views, with the event spaces located on the 12th and 13th floors. Sea Containers Events offers six spaces capable of hosting numbers from 10 to 150 for dinner, cocktail receptions for 250 and exclusive hire available on application for larger events. It also has an amphitheatre for up to 200, a private dining room with balcony overlooking St. Paul's Cathedral and a roof terrace for 150. John Nugent, Green & Fortune’s chief executive, said: "These are special spaces and we've been very aware of designing the kind of unique offering that lends itself to fresh and innovative events. The premise of Sea Containers Events is to be individual - to be exceptional - to be remembered: the kind of space where brands strive to be seen."

Rocco Forte opens in Saudi Arabia

The 'sumptuous' Assila Hotel, from Rocco Forte Hotels, has now opened in Jeddah. Located at the centre of Jeddah’s fashionable business and shopping district, the hotel offers European warmth, charm and outstanding level of bespoke service, enhanced by traditional Arabian hospitality. The hotel occupies two towers and is made up of 147 deluxe, superior deluxe and executive rooms, 63 sumptuous suites culminating in the opulent magnificence of the Royal Suite, and 94 fully-serviced residential suites. The hotel offers fine dining at the Twenty Four restaurant. General manager Frank Heller said: "We are proud to be the first Rocco Forte hotel in Saudi Arabia and my team and I look forward to welcoming travellers and guests to Assila Hotel where they will enjoy the unrivalled individual service excellence that has won the hearts of guests worldwide."

Grand Hotel shrugs tradition in relaunch

The once very traditional Grand Hotel (pictured) in Bristol’s Old City is to launch a bold new look for spring 2017 as it becomes Mercure Bristol Grand. The Grade II listed hotel has had a top-to-toe redesign, described as ‘historic relaxed meets rebellious urban Bristol’. A complete departure from the old Grand Hotel, the transformation combines the building’s ornate Victorian architecture with striking furniture, dramatic statements and street-art influences. Bristol gallery and street-art festival Upfest was invited to curate a collection of over 500 pieces by local artists. The hotel’s restaurant and bar will be a Keepers, a concept developed in-house by Accor, and features a vintage-salvage look inspired by Bristol’s famous St Nicholas Market. The Mercure Bristol Grand’s relaunch is planned for 25 March.

More event space for Las Vegas museum

A significant expansion is set to take place at Las Vegas' Neon Museum, after the venue purchased 11 hectares adjacent to its site. The extension will include a new enclosed, open-air exhibit and events space which will include design motifs such as a decorative concrete block and stacked stone. It will also allow the museum to house 30 signs not currently on view, many of which have been held in the museum's storage facility due to lack of available space. The extension was made possible following a £340,500 grant from the City of Las Vegas, and construction work is due to finish late 2017. Rob McCoy, president and chief executive officer, Neon Museum, said: "We’re grateful to the City of Las Vegas, whose grant recognizes the Neon Museum’s role in promoting and preserving our community’s history. An expanded museum enables us to reintroduce even more retired Las Vegas signs to the public arena and enrich the historical narrative available to visitors of downtown Las Vegas."

Pendry opens in San Diego

Pendry Hotels has announced the grand opening of its first hotel in San Diego’s renowned downtown Gaslamp Quarter, the Pendry San Diego. The 137-room hotel has three dining options, three bars, meeting and event spaces and a lobby. Alan Fuerstman founder, chairman and CEO of Montage International, said: "We are thrilled to debut the first Pendry hotel, Pendry San Diego, in the heart of San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. San Diego is the ideal city for us to launch the brand and we look forward to welcoming guests and locals alike to experience all that the hotel has to offer." Rooms each boast custom furnishings, luxurious bathrooms, and a sophisticated yet understated design nod to the city’s beach and surf culture. The 36 suites offer stunning views of the city skyline and harbour, the historic streets of the Gaslamp Quarter or direct access to The Pool House outdoor deck.

Publisher unveils in-house event space

Hearst Magazines UK has unveiled a new, dedicated events venue - 6th @ Soho. The publishers of Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar and ELLE, say the space will be used to host a range of editorial events, and will also be available for hire by external companies and brands. Victoria Archbold, director of events and sponsorship - Hearst Live, says: "The launch of 6th @ Soho is an exciting step in the expansion of Hearst Live. The space is extremely versatile and can be adapted to accommodate many different types of events, creating new opportunities for brands both internally and externally." Duncan Chater, chief revenue officer, says: "Events are a clear area of growth for Hearst and allow consumers to engage with our brands like never before. Through the launch of this new space we aim to deliver more of the quality experiences that our audiences desire via the brands they love."

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