Arora Group breaks ground on Heathrow hotels

A ground breaking ceremony has been held for two new hotels at Heathrow Terminal 4, set to become the largest hotel development at the airport. The hotels, the 300-room Crowne Plaza London - Heathrow T4 and the 450-room Holiday Inn Express London - Heathrow T4, are due to open in 2018. They will operate under a franchise agreement with InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) and will be managed by Arora Hotels, a division of the Arora Group. Surinder Arora, founder and chairman of the Arora Group, said: "I am delighted to be here today to mark the official commencement of construction of our two new hotels, which will expand the footprint of the Arora Group at London Heathrow Airport from 1,434 bedrooms to 2,184 across five hotels. After the successful launch of the InterContinental London – The O2, this dual-brand development presents us with another exciting opportunity to work in partnership with IHG to bring not one, but two, new hotels to London, and working in collaboration with LJ Group and Heathrow Airport Limited we’re looking forward to developing these two best-in-class hotels for our business and leisure guests."

The Wellesley offers smartphones for guests

Luxury boutique hotel The Wellesley has introduced complimentary smartphones for its guests during their stay, complete with bespoke branded cases. The Knightsbridge property says the phones allow guests to make local and international phone calls, enjoy unlimited internet access, choose from an array of apps to navigate the city or capture their visit on the phone's camera. The introduction of the smartphones follows the launch of the hotel’s WhatsApp service, where guests can reach the reservations team via the instant messaging platform to make bookings and reservations. Stefano Lodi, general manager of The Wellesley, said: "Whilst the interior design of The Wellesley is reflective of the 1920s era, our approach to technology is very 21st century. We are always working to meet the needs of the modern-day traveller; the handy devices accompany our existing in-room tablets and WhatsApp service, giving guests everything they need at their fingertips to enjoy London and The Wellesley."

Raffles Hotel Singapore announces refurb

A three-phase restoration programme is set to begin on Raffles Hotel Singapore from January 2017 ahead of a grand reopening in 2018. The first stage will see the Raffles Hotel Arcade - made up of indoor and outdoor function areas including The Ballroom and The Lawn as well as a variety of shops - undergo restoration works while other areas of the property operate as normal. Phase two will begin mid-2017 when work will concentrate on the main hotel building, the lobby and some of the hotel suites. The hotel will then close for the final phase near the end of 2017 before a grand reopening in the second quarter of 2018. "Raffles Hotel Singapore has always evolved to stay distinctive and relevant, moving with the times and adapting to the changing needs of today’s traveller. We have a rich and colourful history and are about to begin a new chapter in our ongoing story – a sensitive restoration that will enable us to continue to offer what our guests expect and value," said Diana Banks, vice president, Raffles Brand and Luxury Sales, Raffles Hotels and Resorts. Raffles Hotel Singapore was declared a National Monument by the Singapore Government in 1987.

Meliá takes on Palma's new congress centre

Meliá Hotels International (MHI) has announced it will manage Palma de Mallorca’s forthcoming conference centre, Palacio de Congresos de Palma as well as the connecting hotel, Meliá Palma Bay. Located on Palma's sea front, the new conference centre is set to open in March 2017, offering 6,365 sqm of meeting space for up to 3,100 delegates. It will boast state of the art facilities including a 970 sqm Magna room. Meliá Palma Bay will have 268 rooms, a bar, restaurant, spa, additional meeting rooms and a swimming pool. Gabriel Escarrer, vice president at Meliá Hotels International, said: "We gratefully accept the responsibility of managing this new development in a successful and sustainable way, ensuring it becomes a key location for MICE in Europe."

Anantara makes it two in Sri Lanka

Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas has opened its second resort in Sri Lanka. The 141-room Anantara Kalutara Resort is located along the island’s southwest coast and situated one hour south of Colombo. The resort has three meeting rooms and will open its dedicated conference centre, with space for up to 500 delegates or 300 banquet style, in March 2017. All rooms come with a wine humidor while disabled and poolside guest rooms are available. The presidential suite has its own private plunge pool and sundeck. Dillip Rajakarier, CEO of Minor Hotels, said: "We are excited to open Anantara Kalutara, our second luxury Anantara resort in Sri Lanka. With its unique ocean and river front location and its original design by famed Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa, we are confident that Anantara Kalutara will become one of the ‘must stay’ luxury properties for discerning travellers visiting the island, along with the now well established Anantara Tangalle on the south coast."

BMA House launches new meeting rooms

BMA House has unveiled four new meeting rooms, adding another 190 sqm of space, as part of a wider venue makeover. The four new rooms have been named after inspiring medical figures and overlook the Tavistock Square. The Worcester room, Aldrich-Blake room, Magill room and Tudor-Hart room accommodate between 10 and 75 people, with each room featuring AV facilities, LED video walls, projection and tele conferencing, ergonomic chairs and natural light. It follows BMA's recent appointment of new caterers Ampersand, along with a refresh given to its courtyard. Rebecca Hurley, deputy head of events at BMA House said: "We are thrilled to enhance our venue offering for our existing corporate clients and for those looking for a fresh meeting space in central London. Our four new rooms have unrivalled views and are equipped with the latest in conferencing facilities."

Jurys Inn reveals first stage of £11m refit

Jurys Inn Oxford has unveiled the early results of its £10.8 million investment, while announcing an additional 72 rooms and new restaurant will be launched in December. The property has revealed a new-look conference centre and upgraded 168 rooms, all of which have been fitted with a Jurys DREAM bed. The lobby has also been transformed with a new colour palette and new floor coverings have ben added. The conference centre, consisting of 15 meeting spaces, has also been fully refurbished. General manager of Jurys Inn Oxford, Chris Broderick, said: "We are excited to be re-launching Jurys Inn Oxford to the UK corporate market following the significant investment into the hotel and the team are really proud of the new event spaces and the new look bedrooms. We're looking forward to event buyers visiting the hotel and using the new meeting spaces."

A Landmark refurbishment for London hotel

One of the capital's most iconic hotels has begun an extensive renovation project to transform its event spaces and all 291 bedrooms. The Landmark London will carry out the work over 24 months, and has already finished upgrading its ballroom and grand ballroom with new carpets, paintwork and marble restoration. In early 2017 it will unveil its new-look Spa and Health Club, with its three treatment rooms, gym and 15-metre pool refreshed. The upgrades to the bedrooms, the largest aspect of the renovations, will begin at the end of the year, with each room changed to neutral colour palettes and modern luxuries including high-speed Wi-Fi, flat screen TVs and luxurious bathroom amenities added. Andrew Batchelor, The Landmark London GM said: "The renovations the hotel is undertaking are all part of our journey to make the overall guest experience the best it can be. We want to continually invest time and effort into improving the hotel’s facilities to make our guests stay as memorable as possible and to keep the hotel at the forefront of people’s minds as one of the leading in London."

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